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    • Shark

      Donations and Recognition!   12/22/2016

      Hello everyone! We are becoming a huge community and that doesn't come cheap. All staff here are volunteers and do this because they love the site. Right now, everything is paid out of pocket, by Erroneous. We would love for you to donate in order to help out with the site costs (i.e. Forum License, Domain Name, Hosting) so that we can keep Security and Forum Software up to date and possibly add some new features. If you do decide to donate, we have some fun, snazzy gifts of appreciation for you ;) Please message me (Shark) so we can get you the gifts of appreciation! We thank you for your support! Please use this link for more info   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ How To Donate Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the donate button.
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      NOTABLE DONORS LIST Here is where we honor the donors who go above and beyond the call of Aincrad! Top Tier Donors! Percival Row  Teayre Nezumi Zandra Alice Arc Atzo Baldur Claim Corvo Dominion Genji Ignavus_veneficus Jomei Kaya Kimi Lee Lessa Mack Macradon Nocturn Persephone Piera Ruus Sarial Hawke Shi Unyeilding Vale To express our gratitude, here is a picture of the iconic duo for all you wonderful supporters!
    • Shark

      The SAO Staff Team!   02/21/2017

      Hello members of SAO-RPG!

      I'm sure most of you (if not some) have noticed or heard changes were made to the staff team. If you are applying to staff, you may have noticed that the application process has recently changed. This has all happened because of a reformation of the staff team and the way it operates. The staff now has separate teams for development. These teams are: Floor Creation Team [Floors, Quests/Events, Bosses], Systems & Clarifications Team, and Player Support Team.

      "Who is on these teams?" Well the answer to that lies below! Floor Team Systems & Clarifications Team Player Support Team * - Denotes Team Lead

      We also have a team to work on and develop the current systems but that team will search for its members and is not allowed to be applied to.

      Now you may be asking, "Shark, how does one apply to the Staff Team?" And I have but 1 simple answer!
      Go read this thread and it may answer all your questions!

      If you have any more questions, send me a PM and I will answer your questions about staff. (Only the format of teams and/or the application process)
Telrenya

[PP-F11] Mewls & Mistletoe

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Telrenya wore a brighter smile than usual, the glow of colorful lights reflected in her chocolate-brown eyes and tinting the skin of her cheeks. She walked beside Jomei through the streets of Taft, her arm linked with his as they filled the air between them with idle conversation when they weren't entranced by the festive decorations littered throughout the modernistic city. It was Christmas day in Aincrad, and the couple had been able to spend their time together peacefully thus far--free from the worries of boss fights, PKers, and cultists that seemed to loom over them or otherwise cross their paths at every opportunity in the past weeks. The break from life-threatening dangers was much appreciated, even allowing them to host a party for their guildmates the day prior.

"Ah!" Telrenya spoke up as another question came to mind. "I can't believe I haven't asked yet. When's your birthday?" She tilted her head forward to look up at the Irishman, past the ginger fringe that hung over his right eye.

@Jomei

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All of the buildup leading up to this day was all worth it. Seeing decorations pop up all around Taft, the blanket of snow that covered the cobblestone paths and roofs. Truly brought out the Christmas spirit in Aincrad. After a night of enjoying their friends company in their home, Jomei and Telrenya decided to spend Christmas day together, just the two of them, enjoying it as a normal couple would; without the dangers of monsters and the like to ruin it. The Irishman looked to his side, where Telrenya walked along him, her arm locked around his. The girl looked mesmerized by all of the decorations in the show windows, enjoying the festive feeling they gave off. Jomei could not help but smile brightly at his love's excitement for the holiday. 

The couple enjoyed small talk for most of their walk, speaking of the party from the night before and other small aspects of their lives and how things were going. Though, now that the two had lived together for about a week, they had become a daily part of each other's lives. However, the two realized that there was still much to learn about each other.. not only about their past in Aincrad, but about the real Nick and Estelle. "Hm?" Jomei turned his head slightly to look at Tel, who questioned when Jomei's birthday was. The man smiled with a small chuckle, "My birthday is in June.. June 18th.. I guess I never told you how old I was either." Jomei said, rubbing the nape of his neck with his free hand. "I'm 24. What about you?"

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Working to commit the date to memory, Telrenya couldn't help the nervous chuckle the escaped her when Jomei asked her age, realizing the small gap between them. "Ahh, I'm only twenty. My birthday's November 6th." She said with a shy smile. The Irishman would have heard that date once before, among a short list of basic information about her that had been read off by their cobalt-eyed attacker just a couple of months ago. Even so, she wanted to cling to the satisfaction of telling Jomei herself. Though the admittance of her younger age was paired with a small shyness, she felt a bit of relief when she realized that maturity didn't seem to be an issue between the two of them. Then again, living trapped in a death game was one hell of a way to grow up.

"My favorite season was always a tie between winter and fall. If it wasn't totally obvious, I love the holidays." Her words trailed into a light laughter. She couldn't help the thought from entering her head: wondering what the holidays would be like when and if she managed to return to the real world. She had heard that 'firsts' without someone were always the most difficult. Not only that, but she had no idea how her parents had reacted to their son's death, and had no way to tell how they were managing. Worry festered, and Telrenya stared at the piled snow in front of their feet for a short while as they continued to walk. She eventually offered another gentle prompt in a softer voice, not wanting to let the uncertainties of the future overwhelm her. "Do you mind...if I ask what your family is like?"

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After the revelation of his own birthday and age to Telrenya, the woman answered his own question to tell him how old she was and when she was born. Jomei nodded in understanding, laughing lightly when he realized the gap between the two. He would not have guessed that Telrenya had only just turned twenty, since she seemed just as mature as everyone else. Wait.. he thought to himself.. just turned twenty. The gears clicked in his head for a moment before he stopped in his tracks, looking at Telrenya with concern in his eyes before his shoulders seemed to drop. "Estelle, I had no idea that your birthday had passed. I-I would have done something for you, or gotten you a gift." The ginger seemed conflicted in his own mind, feeling guilt as if he had forgotten Telrenya's birthday, despite never formally being told when it was. "I'm sorry." he said, his chin dropping to his chest, his voice low, asking for forgiveness.

The short conversation ensued after Jomei's apology, and the two returned to their path, walking through the streets of taft. Telrenya revealed another piece of her life to Jomei, telling him that her favorite seasons have always been Fall and Winter, never really sure which she liked more. Jomei smiled and nodded, "Fall has always been my favorite, despite being born in the summer. Theres something about the change in the colors of the leaves and the crisp Autumn air that just makes me happy." he said with a satisfied smile on his face. 

Eventually, after a short silence, Telrenya asked about Jomei's family. The corner of the man's lips curved into a small smirk. "Huh.. guess that is something we never really spoke much about, huh." 

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With Jomei halting unexpectedly, Telrenya stopped short as well, turning to look up at him with a mixture of surprise and slight concern. She blinked, mind working to process the reason behind his apologies and dejected expression. Eyes widening slightly, the blonde pulled her arm out from his enough to wrap gloved fingers around just above the bend of his elbow, pulling her other arm across to do the same. When she had drawn his eyes back to hers, a smile stretched wide across her face. "Nick, it's okay!" She assured him. "I never properly told you until now. And besides," She couldn't help but avert her gaze at the thought of unsavory memories. "There was...a lot going on." With a small shake of her head, she picked herself up onto the balls of her feet and briefly met his lips with hers.

When the couple had continued on in their conversation, the snow that lined the streets softly crunching beneath their boots as they walked, Telrenya felt a twinge of uncertainty after broaching the topic of the Irishman's family. She tensed for a moment, "Sorry, we don't have to talk about that if you don't want to!" She hurried to offer to change the subject. While she didn't mind speaking about it, she couldn't say she had the best home life herself at times, and so she only hoped she wasn't touching on too sensitive a subject.

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Jomei's eyes met with Telrenya's as she took hold of his arms, trying to quell his worrying. She had admitted to never telling the man about when her birthday had fallen, and that a lot had been going on at the time. Jomei let out a heavy sigh, "Yeah..If it was early November.. then it was probably... right when the boss fight was.. I'm still so-" before he had a chance to apologize again, Telrenya immediately interrupted his unneeded apology with a kiss on his lips. His cheeks flushed a pink color as his eyes closed, before reopening once their lips parted. The smile that stretched across his face was one that completely dismissed what he was upset about as they returned to their original locked-arm state, and continued down the snowy Taft roads. 

The man smirked as his head tilted forward slightly, looking over at Telrenya. "Love, its fine.. I want you to know more about the real me." His eyes returned front as they continued walking, slowing their steps slightly. The man took a small breath, figuring he'd might as well dive right into it, rather than sugar coating the truth. "My father was a drunk and abusive to my mother.. not so much me, but it was getting to a point where I was almost involved. Thats the reason we moved to Japan.. well.. My mother had put in for a transfer with her company, and Japan was the first one that came up." he said with a chuckle. "My father, I didn't really speak with him much after we had left.. we connected a bit more while I went back to Ireland for college.. but he was still a drunk that I would try to stay away from." the ginger shook his head in disgust at the thought. "Originally, I planned on staying over there.. back home. But then I learned that my mother was diagnosed with cancer.. and was hospitalized for awhile. Thats why, once I earned my degree, I moved back to be with her.. S-She seemed to be doing fine before entering SAO but... but I can't help but worry." the man's body seemed to shudder as he felt a lump in his throat, trying to hold back a bit of tears. He let out a chuckle, trying to take his mind off of it, "You would love her, my mother.."

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She listened carefully to everything Jomei told her about him and his immediate family. Her brows almost immediately knit with concern, though she continued facing forward throughout his story. The worse it got, and the shakier his voice became, Telrenya gently tightened her grip on his arm.

She was at a loss for words at first, wishing there was something she could do or say that would make all of the man's worries disappear. Surely, though, the most she was capable of would be trying to take his mind off of the unknown and hopefully reduce the weight of such heavy thoughts. He seemed to already take a similar approach, shifting the conversation just enough to prompt her reply. "I'd... I'd really like to meet her, when we make it out of here."  She agreed, a soft smile working its way through her troubled expression.

With another light squeeze, Telrenya's head tilted to the side until her temple pressed against his shoulder. She held it there for a few slow steps before picking it back up and continuing, "I'm sorry, Nick... I'm glad to hear she was doing okay before this whole mess." She tried to offer a few words of encouragement as she looked over to him. "Who knows? Maybe things will have gotten better when you get back home to them." Her gaze turned back forward with a small, persisting smile and she added on, "I really hope so."

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Worry about his mothers condition rose the more he spoke about her. How was she taking to all of her treatments with her son stuck in this game? Was it too much for her to handle? It was not until he felt the pressure of Tel's head against his shoulder did his nerves slowly calm down, as a soft smile appeared on his face. The smile lingered as Telrenya's words of encouragement made him feel better about the whole situation. Jomei nodded, "Yeah, you're right. Nothing will come of worrying about it in here." His chin rose until his eyes were locked onto the sky above them. "Just gives me one more thing to fight for.. to get us out of here faster." His eyes would then return to the town around them, and then to Telrenya at his side. "You said you were in Kyoto right? I'm in Kusatsu right now.. which really isn't far from Kyoto I guess.. Though I don't recall ever making a trip there. I plan on it though now." he said with a smile. "So, I told you about mine, why don't you tell me about your family?" he said, gently nudging the girl's side with his elbow. He was enjoying opening up to someone about his family and real life, someone he truly loved and trusted. He had opened up to people like Lowenthal, Piera, and Zandra before.. but never this much. It made him happy that he felt comfortable to do so with Telrenya.

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"Mmhm." She nodded with a small smile when Jomei confirmed where she was living. She was just familiar enough with the geography of the island nation to recognize the name of the city he said he was from, but she couldn't say that she'd been there before. She felt the corners of her mouth stretch a bit wider when Jomei made mention of visiting, a warmth fluttering in her chest at the thought.

His elbow pushed lightly against Telrenya's arm, drawing her attention back to the last point of conversation. She had looked up at him before chuckling at his encouragement and turning her eyes back forward. "Hmmm," She hummed, giving it a bit of thought before she opened up about her own home life. "Well, my parents are busy almost all the time. They both work, and especially since we moved to Japan things were kind of stressful for everyone, but we managed." She explained with a small smile. "My mom tried so hard to raise us well, I really love and respect her for everything." Her lips pursed lightly, unable to help the disheartened expression that took over her features. "My dad, on the other hand... Sometimes I got the impression he just didn't want any part of it. He left us alone for the most part, but... James got the worst of it when he came home to complain about things."

She picked up her tone a bit, pulling her attention away from the distant and strained relationship with her father. "My brother was incredible, though. I... I'm sure he had a lot to deal with on his own, but he always stood up for me." Her volume dropped a bit, as if she was ashamed to continue for a moment, "I got picked on a lot in school. I've always been a huge pushover. But whenever he found out about it, there was hell to pay." Telrenya chuckled lightly as the memories of her brother's protective nature came forward. "He hated it at home, so he got his own place and took me with him as soon as he could manage. We lived together just the two of us for about a year before SAO started."

The blonde let out a sigh that was filled with a mixture of relief and contentment. She had never before shared so much of her life with someone, and so she found solace in being able to open up to Jomei this much in return. "I'm nervous to go back." She added a final thought, finally picking her chin up from where it had been tilted downwards for the majority of her story. "I can't imagine how things have been...since then."

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Jomei listened with intent as Telrenya went into describing her home life after she had moved to Japan with her parents and James. From how it sounded, her parents were hard working, in both good and bad senses. Her mother was the primary caretaker, on top of all the work she had to do on her own. Her father, on the other hand, was not around as much, and seemed to sometimes take out his frustration on his family, primarily James. "Sounds like we have a bit more in common than i thought." Jomei said lightheartedly with a small chuckle. Though, Jomei could hear the hinted sadness in her voice at the relationship she held with her father. Jomei knew that feeling all to well. However, her mood seemed to brighten as she brought up her brother again, and how he was always there for her when times were tough. Jomei could not help but frown at the thought of a young Estelle being bullied, only to have her brother step in and protect her. Jomei's own soft smile shone through the sadness, "I.. really wish I could have been friends with him... He truly sounds like an incredible man" Finally, after letting the thoughts dwell on them for a moment, Telrenya admitted that she was nervous for how much life in the real world would have changed by the time they made it out. Letting out a small breath of air through his nostrils, Jomei's arm began to slide out from the hook Telrenya's own arm held him in, before sliding down her forearm and intertwining his fingers between hers, giving her a tight squeeze. His olive eyes shifted to look into hers with a smile on his face. "Don't be nervous. We will get used to whatever the world throws at us together." 

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A thought came to mind that caused Telrenya to tense up a bit before she let out a laugh. She brought her free hand up to her mouth, giggling and shaking her head lightly as she composed herself. "Sorry, I just thought... Any time I went on a date or something, James always gave them a hard time. I swear, I think he scared at least one or two people off." Although Jomei had recounted meeting Beatbox at least once before, she couldn't help but imagine her brother interrogating the Irishman with a suspicious scowl plastered on his face. She felt his fingers slide down and lace with hers and she returned his squeeze with a warm smile, nodding in agreement at his reassurance.

As if on cue, soft sobs would reach the couple's ears as they echoed down the near-empty path they had wandered along. Telrenya blinked in surprise, the sound catching her off-guard. With a sidelong glance to the man beside her, her smile widened once more as they had already silently agreed to investigate.

It didn't take more than a few seconds for the pair to find the source of the small cries. A young girl--maybe eight or nine years old by the looks of it--stood beside a wooden bench lining the street with tears streaming down her face, the back of her hand pulled up to rub at the corner of one eye while her shoulders bobbed steadily. The cursor that spun infinitely over her head indicated that the child was an NPC, sending a tiny wave of relief to cut through some the worry that had filled Telrenya. Even so, he sight of the girl's distress was more than enough to lead the players to carefully approach her.

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Suddenly, the blonde who stood at his side broke out into a small, unexpected laugh. The Irishman's brows rose in concern, yet the smirk on his lips held back a laugh of his own in reaction. After taking a moment to compose herself, Tel revealed that the memory of her brother giving any of her past dates hard times. Jomei rose his hand up to rube the nape of his neck, chuckling nervously, "Well... hopefully he would approve of me and not give me a hard time.." Despite the smile she wore on her face, remembering all the memories the two had formed in their childhood, Jomei could sense how his death still upset her deep inside. Olive eyes looked up to the sky yet again, I hope you approve of me James.. I promise to take care of Estelle, always.. he thought to himself.

As the two continued their walk through Taft, the soft sound of sobs from a child could be heard from a short distance away, causing the two to slow their steps and search for the origin of the noise. Jomei felt Telrenya's eyes turn to him, to which he returned the look, a smile forming on each of their faces as they silently agreed to check it out. They truly could not have an uneventful day together, yet in the ginger's mind, that was fine with him.

Standing alone near an empty bench was a young girl, who's cursor revealed her to be an NPC. Her small hands held near her eyes, trying to wipe away tears that continuously flowed down her cheeks. The couple slowly approached the girl, before Jomei looked to Telrenya for a moment before slipping away towards the girl and dropping to a knee so he was more to her level. "Hey.." he said in a soft voice. "Is everything okay?" 

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The child sniffled and hiccuped while she opened her wet eyes to see Jomei kneeling in front of her. Telrenya soon joined beside him, squatting down with her hands resting on her knees that were pressed together in front of her. The girl's bottom lip quivered before she opened her mouth to speak. "I can't find Hana... M-my kitty..." She managed in a cracking voice. "We were playing a-and then there was a loud noise and she ran away."

Telrenya's brows turned up with a troubled expression as she listening to the distressed girl. She inched forward a little bit and tilted her head to one side ever-so-slightly. "What does Hana look like?" She asked gently, hoping to get as many details as the little NPC could provide to them.

The girls sobs had died down with the distraction of conversation, and her arm finally fell to her side as she described her pet. "She has black fur, and her eyes are blue and really pretty. She's got little white spots on top of her ears. A-and on her paws, so she's wearing little gloves and shoes." She explained, sniffling once more before adding on, "And she likes talking. I was trying to talk with her to find her, b-but I think she ran far away." Her lip trembled again.

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The young girl seemed to snap to as Telrenya and Jomei approached her, trying to console her and see why she was crying. After controlling her sobs, the young girl looked up to Jomei and Telrenya, her eyes red and puffy from crying so much. Her lips seemed to quiver as she tried to form words in her mind before speaking them. Finally, the girl revealed that she had lost her cat as they were playing. Some loud noise startled the poor creature, which caused it to run away. The thought of this girl's small kitten out in the snow made Jomei's heart sink. The man considered jumping straight into action to find the feline, before Telrenya asked for what the cat looked like.. an important piece of information if they were to find her. As the little girl explained all of the features of the cat, Jomei pieced together the small animal in his mind. As soon as the little girl had finished explaining the cat, Jomei placed his hands on her shoulders, "Don't worry. We will find Hana. I promise." The man's voice was determined, driven by some fire that had been lit inside of him. Jomei shot up to his feet before turning to the blonde, "Come on. We have a cat to find." he said, taking his girlfriend's hand, about to hurry off. Logic hit the man once more, turning to the young girl one last time, a bashful look on his face. "W-Where exactly.. where you playing with her?"

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The tiny noirette blinked in surprise, seemingly entranced by the passion in Jomei's voice. She watched in silence when the two players stood, about to set off when the ginger thought to ask where exactly the two had been playing together. She perked up a bit, giving a final rub of her eyes and cheeks with both balled hands now that her tears had ceased. "Oh, umm," She turned to her right, walking quickly past the length of the bench and a few paces further down. Hanging another right, she walked down a dim alleyway that eventually opened up to a generous clearing. The space was blocked in and nestled behind a few buildings, to which she raised her arm and extended her finger towards the window of one. "That's my house." She stated simply. "We were playing right out here, and then," She turned dashed past the couple, back down the alley where they had come. "Hana ran this way, so I chased her," She called over her shoulder and then stopped a short distance from where she had been standing beside the bench. The girl's shoulders dropped and her head turned from side to side, staring down the stretches of road on either side. "But then she was gone and I don't know which way she went."

After following the child from their starting point and back again, Telrenya came to a stop behind her alongside the Irishman, their hands still intertwined. She smiled softly, taking half a step forward and reaching her free hand out to ruffle the girl's short raven hair. "We'll definitely find her." She offered a few more words of reassurance before turning her gaze back to Jomei. The same hand planted itself on her hip while a grin formed on her lips. "Shall we?"

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Jomei and Telrenya followed the dark haired girl around as she seemed to map out the trail from her house to where her cat ran. Jomei listened with his chin between his knuckle and thumb, nodded intently with each bit of information. In the end, it seemed the child was not sure which direction the cat ran. Telrenya stepped up to the small girl, her hand still holding onto one of Jomei's. The ginger haired man could not help but smile as Tel reassured the young girl, playfully running her fingers through the dark hair of the child, which seemed to be enough to get a small smile to form on her lips. His eyes shifted to Telrenya, looking at the girl lovingly as she eventually turned to see if he was ready to go. Jomei could not help but feel entranced by the calming, motherly instinct that she seemed to show around the child, yet her voice snapped him back to reality. "R-Right! Lets go." he said warmly.

As they stepped away from the girl, Jomei looked down to the ground, which was still covered with snow. "Wait.." Jomei said, stopping Telrenya from walking any farther. Slowly, the man dropped to a knee, gently running his fingertips over the surface of the white blanket that covered the ground. The snow was uneven from the mass amounts of players boots trudging through, making it pointless to keep checking for tiny pawprints. "Damn.." Jomei cursed under his breath, raising back to his feet. "Guess we are kinda going in blind on this one.."

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"Hm?" Telrenya stopped in her tracks when Jomei's eyes ran more carefully over the ground. She watched as he inspected the piled snow, quickly realizing his intention, before a small frown worked its way to her features when he concluded they would not be able to rely on a trail of little pawprints to lead them to their goal. She gave the Irishman's hand another gentle squeeze and then set off, choosing the rightmost path from where they had exited the alleyway. "I wonder how far away she could have gone..." Telrenya thought aloud, curious brown eyes scanning the path in front of them for any sign or clue that might lead them to the lost kitten.

"Psst! They had wandered for a few minutes when a sharp, urging whisper sounded from the side of the street. Telrenya's head turned to find the source, her attention immediately caught. She didn't have to look very hard before her gaze fell upon a vaguely familiar face. Wide amber eyes were trained on the couple behind a pair of thin-rimmed glasses. They belonged to a player that stood at the entrance of a similar alleyway to the one they had traversed earlier, and the man's lanky frame was practically pushed up against the wall, as if he was trying to keep himself out of sight. The alley behind him was dim, but in the muffled sunlight that shone against the overcast sky, his features could be seen rather clearly. Standing just a couple of inches taller than the blonde, a dark brown fringe hung over a creased brow and his thin fingers hovered in front of his torso, which was clad in a very basic set of gear, fidgeting and and fumbling amongst themselves. When he got the attention of the couple--despite being the one to call out to them--he flinched slightly before stammering out some words. "S-sorry to b-bother you. I simply w-wanted to advise you against going any f-farther down this w-w-way." His stuttering was persistent, and his eyes often tore themselves from the two players to glance nervously in the direction that they were headed.

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After raising to his feet, the couple looked both directions, each hoping they would see something that would tilt their favor in traveling that way. With a small squeeze of his hand to get his attention, Telrenya had made up the decision to take the path to the right, immediately after exiting the alleyway. The Irishman nodded before walking alongside the girl in the direction she had chosen. Jomei's eyes carefully scanned the sides of the buildings, looking for any sign of where the feline could have escaped to. Multiple low hanging windows she could have crawled through, crates leading up towards second levels of houses, small kiosks and wagons, as well as multiple alleyways and side streets. Jomei's mouth curved downward, realizing that this little mission they had set themselves up on would be a lot harder than it seemed. 

A short distance down the road, the couple's attention was brought to the sharp whisper of a bespectacled man standing just at the mouth of one of the alleyways. As both of their eyes locked onto the man, he seemed to be taken back, as if they had thrown something at him in the meantime. In a broken stutter, the man warned the two not to continue down the road the two had been traversing. Jomei, his brows lowering, took a small step forward, acting as somewhat of a barrier between the man and the woman at his side. "Why, whats over that way?" Jomei asked in a stern voice, looking to get an answer from the man before the two decided to continue. 

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He tensed and fidgeted even more after Jomei broke the silence. His eyes nervously away from the Irishman's. At some point, his gaze crossed Telrenya's and they seemed to focus on her for several long moments, as if he was looking at something he recognized but couldn't quite place the memory of. Jomei's frame soon presented itself as more prominent in his field of vision, and the man once again averted it elsewhere. "S-s-sorry," He said meekly. The short eye contact that he had maintained had caused Telrenya to raise a curious brow, and she continued to study the man while he searched for something else to lock his attention on. A few moments later and her eyes widened in recognition, her mouth opening to say something.

She managed to catch herself, however, and she quickly closed her jaw before any sound had escaped her. "S-some unsavory characters j-just came down this way. There's a dead-end with a small grove down this path, s-so it is incredibly likely you'll run into them, a-at this rate." He somehow seemed even more hesitant to continue, but the need to continue his wordy explanations was obviously too pressing for him to stop there. "I-if I wasn't mistaken, I've s-seen them before. P-pardon my accusations, but they may very well be the same thieves and brigands that press-ganged a poor woman out of her belongings."

Despite Jomei's intimidating presence between himself and the blonde at his side, the feeble man still shot sparse, fleeting glances at Telrenya. His lips pursed, and a hand raised to push at the thin wire resting on the bridge of his nose as he aired the question that had been cowering in the back of his throat for some time now. "E-e-excuse me, Miss? Have... Have we already met, by chance?"

Telrenya's shoulders stiffened at the question she had hoped he wouldn't ask. She did indeed recognize the man who had called himself Mercury, though he was somehow wracked with even more nerves than when she had met him. Perhaps Aincrad had not been so kind to him in the time between their first and last meeting, she thought. As much as Telrenya wanted to smile and greet him again, to try and calm his panicked state as she had done after their unsettling encounter with a giant spider roaming the forests of the third floor, she stopped herself. He knew her as Erin, and at this point that was a name she wanted reaching the Irishman's ears as scarcely as possible. And so, with brows turned up in an apologetic expression, Telrenya gave a small shake of her head. "No, I'm sorry... I don't think we've ever met before."

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Despite the Irishman’s direct addressing of the stuttering player, the eyes behind the wide spectacles avoided staying on Jomei for too long. Jomei would follow the the trail of the player’s eyesight, catching him looking at the blonde a step back more than him. The ginger would loudly clear his throat to gain his attention yet again. The shady man finally continued with his warning to the couple, telling them of some suspicious looking players at the end of the alleyway, which was a dead end anyway. Jomei sucked his teeth at the though, the whole thing seemed fishy.. was this guy one of them? Trying to lure them into some kind of trap?

Before Jomei had a moment to respond to the man about the allegations of thieves in the alley ahead, the bespectacled man asked the blonde behind them if they had a prior meeting before this. A curious brow rose above Jomei's eye as his arms crossed at his chest. After a moment, the ginger turned to look at the blonde behind him, as she disagreed that they had, in fact, never met. Jomei's gaze locked with Telrenya for a moment, thinking carefully about what they should do with this situation.

With a small sigh, Jomei shook his head. "He may be right.. might be best to just avoid that alley.. I mean, we may be in a safe zone, but it doesn't mean that they still won't be a nuisance to us." In the middle of Jomei's sentence to Telrenya, the sound of a cat's mew echoed off the buildings until it finally reached their ears. The ginger quickly spun around, eyes locked on the outdoor corridor ahead, "Hana." he said, gritting his teeth. The Irishman then rushed forward, his shoulder bumping into the man behind the glasses as he walked by, still feeling as though he had something to do with this. "I swear to God if they hurt that kitten... they're going to pay." Jomei said under his breath as his fingers curled into tight fists, continuing forward into the alleyway.

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