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Jinx

<PP-01> Shattered mind

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Larissa Lagoon, or Jinx, as she was known in the profesional scene of First Person Shooters, had been walking for..hours? The girl wasn't sure, so much of reality had vanished that day. Even now, it was impossible. Her friends, her best friends, had gone away. They'd vanished, before her very eyes. Dead. No! They were just... The girl crashed into the ground, her mind too weak to complete the sentence.

Slowly, she opened her crimson eyes. It was dark, the sun long since set. She didn't bother to stand up, sitting on the ground up against a nearby tree. The fields were abandoned, empty. She let out a sigh. How long had it been since she'd remembered, anything? She had once been the best, loved, adored, by many. And now, here she was, too pathetic to do anything. When she was awake, she hated it. She just saw her friends, over and over, dying, screaming. Begging for help, before silence fell over her. She felt something cold touch her arm. A tear...from, herself? The girl wiped her eyes. When had she started crying? She didn't even realize she could cry anymore. 

"There is no point. They're all gone, and i'm gunna join them. Maybe, if i die, i'll return to the real world. Y-yeah...that's gotta be it, it's all just a giant prank. If i find a monster, o-or a player killer. I can die and go back home..." 

@Hydra

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Hydra had been wandering again, it was just about all he could do with himself these days. Safe-zones had become far too treacherous to even try and enter, and during most events there was always the occasional PK hunter that he was sure would kill him faster than he could blink. "What floor am I on now..." He pondered, letting out a hefty sigh. Fields stretched out before him, vast and empty. Most likely the first. He bit his lower lip as a pang of loneliness set in, even he as an introvert still craved some form of social interaction. Of course with his current position that was oft' hard to come by.

Slowly he scanned the horizon, it was difficult to make out much seeing as it had gone dark. Eventually his vision settled on a small tree not too far away. "I suppose that'll work..." The spearman began to make his way across and it was only until he was a few yards away the faint sound of, well, a voice. Hydra's initial reaction was to freeze in his tracks, his left-hand swiftly moving to the hilt of his spear. However his senses quickly returned and after taking in a deep breath he realised this person was clearly distraught, crying and not an enemy. His hand slid of his weapon as he continued to listen in. Due to his position he couldn't really make out the player, as he processed the words however he realised what she was thinking and again the sudden rush of loneliness returned to his own heart. 

As soon as there was a brief pause Hydra finally mustered the courage to say something, his own voice filled with sorrow, empathy and calmness, "And if you are wrong... How do you think that would make your friends feel?" 

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The girl didn't see the person approach her, it was dark and the girl was simply staring at her opened palm. Her mind had agreed, if she was to die, maybe, she could go home! See everyone, go back to the pro scene! Life would be like it was, laughing and having fun and being the best. That was her life! That's what she had spent years forging for herself. This world, this mmorpg style game, she was so lost. And with her friends dead, all alone as well. 

That's when another voice asked a question. The girl laughed a sad laugh as the tears continued to dribble down her face, and she made no attempt to clean herself up "Who cares? They're dead anyway.....they're....dead..." She heard herself speak, but in a way, the voice was completely alien to her. "I watched...i watched them as...." The girl gave up trying to talk, grabbing onto her knees and pulling them up to her chest, and hiding her face behind her long golden locks. And the tears continued to roll out. 

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After Hydra had made his presence known and the player appeared to be aware of this, his own emotions calmed a little. Then carefully, moving forward he fell to the floor, cross-legged. Keeping a comfortable distance between the both of them. Respecting her personal space. Hydra continued to listen, his eyes refocusing a little to the point he could make out some features. Then when a silence hung once more he spoke...

"They might not be here in body, but in here..." Hydra raised his left-hand and lightly tapped at the area of his heart, a sad smile forming on his face. Then he continued, "I'm sorry, I didn't know your friends. However I know that if they were here now they would want you too continue on, win this game and enjoy the rest of your life. You may not think this to be true but as a last favour for your friends you should try your best to believe it..."  

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Ironically, despite Hydras attempts, the girl didn't even realize he existed. She thought that the male voice was inside her own head, giving her advice. She didn't bother looking up or around her, simply holding herself in her own arms in a pathetic attempt to keep herself calm and happy. The voice that spoke angered her! They were....they were gone...No. They weren't gone, were they?

"Why do you eve...why do i even care? You knew them well enough, i knew them. Frank, Johnny, Olivia....All of them!" The girl weakly punched the ground with her fist as she finally yelled with a broken voice "They're dead, they're dead and i should have died with them! If i did then i....i wouldn't.....i wouldn't miss them so much..." The girls crying got worse as she tightened on her self-hug "I miss them so much, a-and their families..oh god, how would i...i even...." The girls entire body shuddered as thunder cracked from above. A storm was coming soon, and the girl didn't seem to realize the storm existed, nor that Hydra was real. 

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Hydra remained sullen as the girl continued to cry out as much as she could muster. Then tilting his head to one side, gazed, momentarily wondering what he could do. In many ways he was similar, riddled by anxiety and depression, or at least had been. He had never gotten that close to anyone and witnessed them die, he had always been shy at heart however. "Was I mistaken..."

A large clasp of thunder suddenly sounded above, stirring the girl into herself even more. She had not looked at him yet... perhaps that was a place to start. Slowly the spearman shuffled forward, at least up to the point where he was under the cover of the shadowed tree. Raising an eye he then looked up towards the darkening clouds, even now. "Dark and Wet." He growled to himself. Still Hydra tried his best in continuing to respect the space. Resting his own back against another area of the trunk. Then finally, after mustering enough courage for a second time, lightly tapped her on the shoulder.

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Jinx's mind continued it infinite downward spiral, as it had for many months now. Further down the rabbit hole that was her depression, that was each through that pushed her to where she was. She wiped her eyes, only to finally hear the crack of thunder as the rain slowly starting trickling down. Her clothes, a plain white t-shirt, did nothing to protect her from the rain. In all of Hydras movements, the girls eyes remained hidden behind her golden hair and her curled knees. 

It was only when she was tapped on the shoulder, did she look. Her crimson eyes stained with tears and bloodshot, she looked at him with a look of absence. She blinked once...then again, as if not believing what was beside her. Slowly a frown came out on her face as she finally realized two things. There was a player with her, and he had the symbol. A player killer...Maybe.

"Y-your...a player killer, aren't you?" She asked, far too calmly as the rain started to get heavier. The girl forced herself to stand, shivering slightly in the 'calm' that was the storm "P-please...i just, want to see my friends again...If..if you kill me, i might..i might go back, t-they're waiting for me. P-please...." The girls mind was, nothing short, of delusional. She had manage to convince herself her friends had died, and yet, were alive in the real world. Jinx had convinced herself, if she was to die...she'd go back home! Everything would return to normal. Her shattered and splintered mind, so damaged, that insanity had set in long ago. 

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The sound of the storm seemed to drain out, the feeling of the rain against his skin nothing more than a senseless beat. All of his thoughts seemed to zone out as a feral instinct kicked in. Having been asked to kill someone, all he felt was bitterness and resentment. Hydra raised himself grasping his spear in his Left-hand and withdrawing it with speed. A dark aura surrounding his mind. With a single sweep he bought down the weapon, not on Jinx, but on the ground just in front of him. Creating an ear-splitting crack, of which the weapon shortly vanished there after. He fell to his knees, senses slowly returning his palms catching a few droplets of rain. Shaking violently.

Blinking a few times he then looked towards the other player. "Your friends are gone, they died in this game... There is no one waiting for you. If you leave this game you die, if I kill you, you die. Every sacrifice your friends have made for you will be for nothing, they will have died for nothing!" Even he was surprised himself to be speaking in such a manner. It was entirely the opposite of his usual self, however she was clearly lost and every bit of anxiety he had felt up to that point had just spilt out. The rain continued to fall around the pair and a silence hung. Hydra slowly regathered himself. "I'm sorry..." He whispered "I cannot do as you wish of me. I will never do what you wish of me."

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Seeing him draw his weapon, Jinxs reaction was different to every single person in this game. Seeing a player draw their weapon at them, some people might try and protect themselves. But to Jinx, this was a freedom. A way back home with her friends, to see them again. To know they were alive and well, back home, getting the pro circuit started back up...She heard the blade move, but, nothing. Opening her eyes, she saw the spear in the ground and the player killerr on his knees. HOW!? How did he....

The girl shook her head. Her delusional mind so consumed that this person, couldn't be right! She stood there in the rain, her tears indistinguishable, as she felt like she'd been slapped across the face. She looked like she'd been hit hard, and not just physically. "N..no, t-that can't be right...T-they aren't dead...My friends, t-they're alive, t-they made it back....d-didn't they?" Doubt had started to grow, her 'sanity' reminding her that the truth was simple: Death here, was final. The girl ran forwards and gave Hydra a shove, but she lacked any strength to push him over and crumpled into his chest, trying to hit him, but being so weak the game refused to take it as combat "Please, i just....i can't, this isn't fair. T-they...should have left me...i never..." 

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"It's scary but you have to open your eyes and realise... they are dead." A deep sorrow returned to his voice, as though he himself were crying. Although he could not tell with the masking of the rain. Jinx ran forward trying to push him over in her disbelief, instead only to end up collapsing into him. Hydra looked at her, "I am real... I am what is here and now. Everything else you have been telling yourself is a lie." Without really thinking he closed his eyes and embraced her. Not in the sense he was trying to hold her down or stop her from hitting him, instead it was one of gentleness and warmth. One that came naturally in the moment, at least for him it was something he needed. Another clasp of thunder sounded above, the rain now having soaked everything he seemingly was to the core. His whispers of sorry quickly drained out as a silence once again hung in the air. His blue eyes as visible as day even amongst the darkness. 

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Dead. The word hit the blonde girl like a truck, and she found her legs buckling. There was no way they were dead. But, if they were alive, where were they? Surely they'd come back for her, right? They wouldn't leave her alone, for all this time? Was this, player killer right? Did she...have to live for them? Because they were...were. She felt his arms around her, a weak warmth as the water soaked her to the bone. Shivering with cold, the girl gripped onto his chest, onto his shirt, like a life-raft. This, was the first human interaction she'd have since day 1, when she witness the unspeakable horror that had splintered her mind like wood.

"....w-..where are we...?" She asked quietly as some sanity returned to her, as the insanity that had gripped her for months, for as long as she was awake, began to slowly receed "How...how did i get here...Last i remember i was, in the town....." The girl didn't move, and in fact, if Hydra wasn't holding her up, she would collaspe into the ground as her legs refused to take any of her weight.  

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Hydra continued to hug her, no longer sure himself of what was really going on. Finally she spoke, only this time there was some form of her there for the first time... It took a few moments as he begun to make sense of the question, a spark of hope embracing his body and soul. "I think... the First Floor. Although I am not entirely sure myself." He laughed lightly continuing to support her weight. He wasn't the tallest or most muscular of people, but it did not matter. All that mattered was the here and now. "Welcome home..." He whispered. "Your mind has been lost to the darkness. But don't worry, I have been lost as well. It's better for two to walk together in the shadows, than for one to walk alone in the light." The last part rolled out naturally and it was only a few moments after he realised what he just said to this person he just met, that was now a little dazed by everything... Was probably a little on the weird side. Carefully Hydra went to speak again. "You had been mourning the death of your friends, I found you distraught and um, I guess that brought us to here... Do you have a name?" His voice was calm and sweet, although also a little nervous. 

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The girl blinked once, then again. She was...on the first floor? She was, still trapped here, even after so long... She opened her mouth to speak, but she had no idea how to. The words didn't come out, no noise did at all as he splintered mind attempted to pull together, something, anything. But it was all out of her grasp. She didn't know what words were there, so much was beyond her mind. What did she know?

Hearing the boy explain the situation, she flinched heavily being told her friends were dead, and in those moments, what progress Hydra made nearly backpedaled entirely as the girls eyes shut tight "D..de....dead...." she slowly echoed the word as she shivered, another boom of thunder in the sky as the girl felt herself weakening, even if her health bar wasn't getting any lower. The mental toll of being forced to confront the reality, that her friends were gone, after so long so tricking herself into believing they were alive, was more taxing on the former professional than anything else. "Oh god, they're dead...the werewolves..r-really, did...t-that player....he, i...my friends..." She sniffled loudly, trying, and failing, to hold back another wave of tears that were lost in the storm that surrounded them. 

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As she began to cry again Hydra quickly picked up on his mistakes. Wounds would not heal in a day, they could take years and even then a scar would be left behind. Gently he released his grip on her, and turned around, although ensuring he could still act as a support. The rain had now become harsh and perhaps it would be more comfortable should they find shelter. For personal reasons he could not go to any settlements, however he could not abandon her in case this were to happen again. Especially if he had the power to  help.

Even so he was not sure how to proceed next, he had always been awkward when it came to stuff like this. However, now of all times wasn't the time to worry about such small matters and by the looks of things she was to weak to even walk. "Try and focus on me..." He said a weary smile developing on his face once more, "I'll be able to explain what I can, I think for now you need rest." It was at this point he lifted her onto his back with what strength he could muster. Thankfully due to the type of gear he would usually be wearing it wasn't too much of a difficulty. Cautiously, he then began to head for the forest, listening and doing what he could to calm Jinx's nerves down...

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The girl fought to regain her sanity, but as her mind had been the past months, it quickly found the spiral of insanity all-too-familiar a path. Indeed, the wound on her heart, and the band-aid fix she had made, were never going to fad away from her crimson eyes. She shut her eyes right, trying to just focus on breathing, but even that felt too hard with the knowledge that was bearing down on her. That would always plague her, her friends corpses being on her hands for running away. 

The looked up at the boy who had his arms around her. Normally, she hated when guys touched her, msotly because they were 'fans' of her, and all that it implied. But, this was, different. He didn't seem to know her, and for that, she was thankful. She didn't try and speak, she knew she was too weak to even do that. She allowed him to lift her up, normally she'd protest. But with the rain hammering down, the girl simply closed her eyes and lay on the strangers back. She had no idea where he came from, or even his na,e. But, he'd stopped her...saved...or stolen? she wasn't sure anymore. 

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Hydra silently moved across the open fields of the first floor. Where they had once been so empty, now the sounds of thunder roared and the wind and rains clawed at there very persons. Thrice he staggered in different directions, fortunately fate would have him keep his balance. It also seemed like the girl he was carrying was in moments of reflection, allowing him to focus on the path ahead. She was perhaps the same height as him with crimson eyes and blonde hair, although most other distinguishable features had been masked by the dark,  it was clear that she had been crying and was exhausted both in mind and body. 

Finally after walking for long enough he reached the forests border, it was a shame they had not been on the Second Floor where Hydra's store had been located... Still he would make do what he could for now. The young spearman scouted the area as best he could, finally sighting an ideal spot near a small pool of water. A few boulders were stacked on one another creating a defence against the storm. Then with what he had left carefully placed her down before slumping himself against a rock. He could not rest just yet, everything had to be okay...

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Somehow, on the journey itself, despite the rough weather and being carried on the back of a complete stranger. Jinx managed to 'fall asleep', passing out from mental exhaustion. This day, like every other since release, had strained her sanity and made her dive deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole that was insanity. The male who had found her had poked his hand in to grab her, but she was far from sane. 

The girl opened one of her eyes as she was placed down, the only part of her that had the energy to move was her eyes, the rest of her body was dumb with cold, and not just from the rain. She was thankful for the break in the poor weather. Slowly, she raised her hand in front of her eyes. No, not her hand. A hand that she controlled, but not hers.  Her real hand was on her real body, which was....somewhere. She slumped up against the rock, completely and utterly defenseless. "Johnny, oh i'm so sorry johnny...its all my fault..." She muttered to herself, each time saying a different name. The names of those who were no longer with her. 

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Hydra watched for as long as he could, until his own eyes grew heavy. He could hear her faint whispers but for now could only sit and wait, pondering on his next move. It was not until a few hours later where a shimmer of sunlight broke through the canopy that he awoke. His mind still tired and in tune with the storm. He looked over towards Jinx who appeared to have passed out.
He could now see her fully, her hair was golden and her figure lithe. Even he was a little surprised and felt himself flush. Quickly shaking his head  he refocused his thoughts. She had been exhausted, so she would probably need water and food. Heading towards the small pool Hydra began to scroll through his inventory until he found one of his oddly failed trinkets. Taking it out and quickly hollowing it, he proceeded to fill it with water and then placed it besides the sleeping girl. "Finding food will be a little trickier he though to himself." Biting his lower lip and glancing around the forest.  

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The girl opened her eyes. The storm was gone. How...? She shifted through her memories. The last thing she remembered was being under a tree, a voice...hitting someone...Panic set in. Then she frowned. Why was she paniced? She didn't care what happened to her anymore, right? She shifted through the tattered remains of her brain, the splintered parts of her mind. She recalled...death. Her friends. Out of instinct, the girl brought her legs up and held herself. Her friends were, gone. The voice from yesterday, the one that had saved her from the storm. Was it true, had it been right all along? Her friends were de...de... 

She shook her head. She had been tired, yes...Tired. That voice was surely just her mind playing tricks on her, right? There was no way her friends were really dead. She looked to the her side and saw...a thing with water in it? She reached out and took a sip, coughing as she did. "W-when...did i...?"

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Hydra had briefly left to see if he could scavenge anything, thankfully finding a small portion of berries. It was not a huge amount, still it would hopefully suffice. The system of this world was different to that of home. One could not die yet still feel the effects of starvation, dehydration or otherwise. By the time he had returned it appeared the girl was just waking up. Hydra approached slowly making sure as to not suddenly alert her. "Hello... Glad to see your awake." His voice had returned to that of a more timid tone, although still had the friendly and calming ring to it. He held out his left hand offering her the berries. "Sorry, it was all I could find..." He glanced at her, trying to read the air. It was likely she would still be confused after last nights events and it was up to him to try and explain. The spearman bit his lower lip again, a force of habit when it came to scenarios like this.  "Oh, um. My name is Hydra. I err, well... please think of me as a friend. There are some things that we might need to talk about, only if you are comfortable though."  He finally mustered up, an awkward smile on his face.

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