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Mari

[PP-F21] <<Natures Treasure>> A Hunting we will go

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Macradon told her it was a bit of a story and Mari's smile faded. Concern filled her for her friend. Was he okay? If he was suffering he'd tell her - right? Then again...she was being quite closed off herself, wasn't she? "Hey - how about we exchange stories after this?" Mari offered. He gave a firm nod in reply, then went on to talk about how they should tackle the skeletons.

"Eh? Oh- Oh yeh okay that works!" It was better than what she was thinking anyway. Mari flipped her dagger in her hand and charged toward the skeleton with the higher health,  with a quick pirouette and a few heavy slashes Mari had successfully whittle down its health. SOmehow - despite it being a skeleton - she had also inflicted the bleed effect. 

Mari jumped back a few feet so she was in line with Macradon. "Hey so - I guess they bleed marrow or something, eh?" Mari said with a snort. At least it'd still get injured, even if Macradon missed.

"You doin' okay? That hit earlier looked like it whacked a bit of a punch."

@Macradon
 

Spoiler

Mari's Attack | ID:138228   BD:8   BLEED
13+5 Charge=19 x 11=234



SKELETON ATTACKS
Skeleton 1  ID:138229     MOB: 3 MISS
Skeleton 3  ID:   138230      MOB:2 MISS

[6,-,5,-]< Macradon > 1832/1920 HP |  23 DMG | 122 MIT | 4 ACC | 2 EVA | 129/189 NRG
[0,-,0,-]< Mari >     1170/1170 HP |  13 DMG |  43 MIT | 4 ACC | 3 EVA |  59/114 NRG

< Skeleton 1 >          42/870  HP | 261 DMG                                        
< Skeleton 2 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                                        
< Skeleton 3 >         84/870  HP | 261 DMG           -234    (BLEED  2/2 -24 Damage)                              
< Skeleton 4 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                           

Total Loot:
18 x T3 Material
2 x T3 Rare Trinket (138011)
(138203)
2 x T3 Perfect Trinket (137972)(137976a)
2 x T3 Perfect Weapon (137976b) (138008)
1 x T3 Perfect Armor (138190a)
2 x T3 Perfect Consumables (138190b)(138190c)
52,503 Col.

Edited by Mari

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He smiled after dealing his heavy blow to these foul creatures, bashing them to the side for Mari to hit the third skeleton. “Aye! Sounds like a good idea!” he replied, it would be nice to tell different stories, the two that had so little, yet so much in common. Listening to Mari’s question, Macradon would jokingly proposer “Maybe we should taste it then!” and began approaching the skeletons in a menacing stride.

Instead of licking its wounds to find out if it bled, Macradon would simply just do a quick sweep with his sword and cut down the skeletal figures before they got anything else to do. As they dispersed, hoards of Col were added to their collective pool. “Nice, we’re getting close to half.” he said and sheathed his sword. 

“I can keep fighting, but it wouldn’t be fair for you to just collect materials while I fought on, it would be too boring to just … collect rocks and whatever minerals you can find in here, possibly liquids as well .. but it was just feel weird to be split.” he said while looking for a place to take a short break. He did not have to look for long before he found this rocky formation, which looked like some stalagmites that had been broken off and now served as chairs in this cavernous area.

He planted his butt on the cold rocks and took a breather. “Back when I were in the lower levels … probably around level 6, the frontlines had just reached the 5th floor, looking for the bossroom to come. I had been powerleveling at that point, trying to catch up to everyone up at level 8-10, it was quite something back then, you’d remember.” he said and leaned back towards the rocks, “I just didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I had few friends, no one to talk to, and I wasn’t really strong enough to help the frontlines at that point … that’s when I just went into isolation. I wasn’t chased away, I just … walked away, ignoring what was behind me and venturing out.

I explored the different floors, made home at different areas, camped, ate, and walked again. I lived a very nomadic life, I tried to get a good grip of who I was in here, because it was not real life, I couldn’t just begin to study for my exams, I had to fight to survive. I continued with this trend for a while, I think until the 8th or 9th floor had been unlocked, I heard the news while traveling and finally made my return back to civilization. Somewhat of a culture shock when you’ve been gone for what feels like years, returning to a place full of life and hope to clear the floors.

I began training with others, began looking around to find places to fit in. And I did, I found my guild. I think I had just passed level 17 at that point, it was very long ago … but I still didn’t feel like I actually fit in at all. It was the Vice Commander, Opal - whom you must’ve heard about - that contacted me because she saw promising skills developing while questing with me, she urged me to join the guild she had just begun starting up, and I obliged.

The guild was filled with people that actually already knew each other. The reason my guild was booming was because it had merged with the Crimson Blades to become a bigger guild. Heathcliff was our Commander, Opal our Vice Commander, and Mack our Vanguard Commander. It was actually looking like it was about to become a really really good guild. There were a few … mishaps that happened. After a few floors after I had joined the frontlines, the assassination incident happened. I didn’t know anything of it, and neither did most of the frontlines, it just happened. It was when Zelrius and Dom died, it was when my mentor was slain by my Vice Commander. It was a .. surreal experience to say the least.” he said and sighed heavily, trying to get some breathing room.

@Mari

Spoiler

image.png

                                Attack 1: 23x12 = 276 Damage to Skeleton 1
                                Attack 2: 23x12 = 276 Damage to Skeleton 3

ID: 138232
CD: 10 -> Recovery Proc!

ID: 138233
LD: 4+5+3=12 -> HP*2 Bonus Col
CD: 5 -> T3 Rare Weapon, T3 Uncommon Consumable
- [(4+3+2)x870]x1.05 = 8221 Col

ID: 138234
LD: 5+5+3=13 -> 2 Bonus Materials
CD: 6 -> T3 Rare Weapon, T3 Uncommon Consumable
- [(4+3)x870]x1.05 = 6394 Col

[-,-,-,-]< Macradon > 1920/1920 HP |  23 DMG | 122 MIT | 4 ACC | 2 EVA | 123/189 NRG (+96)(-13)(+7)
[-,-,-,-]< Mari >     1170/1170 HP |  13 DMG |  43 MIT | 4 ACC | 3 EVA |  59/114 NRG

< Skeleton 1 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                                         (-276)
< Skeleton 2 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                                        
< Skeleton 3 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                                         (-276)(BLEED  2/2 -24 Damage)
< Skeleton 4 >           0/870  HP | 261 DMG                           

Total Loot:
22 x T3 Material
2 x T3 Uncommon Consumables (138233b)(138234b)
2 x T3 Rare Trinket (138011)(138203)
2 x T3 Rare Weapon (138233a)(138234a)
2 x T3 Perfect Trinket (137972)(137976a)
2 x T3 Perfect Weapon (137976b) (138008)
1 x T3 Perfect Armor (138190a)
2 x T3 Perfect Consumables (138190b)(138190c)
67,118 Col.

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Taste it!?

Right...bone marrow was nice, but she wasn't so sure about human bone marrow  "Yeeeh...." Mari said as she physically recoiled from the comment. "I'm pretty sure that still counts as cannibalism. Maybe we should just stick to strawberries." She watched as he made short work of the last few Skeletons, and was thankful that he wasn't going to quite literally disappear to run into the next lot of them. Mari could have probably tackled another group, but it'd be tight -right now it'd be better for them to take a breather. So Mari was all too happy to accept and agree - following Macradon through the cave system.

"Really? We're already halfway to your goal." Mari chuckled lightly. "My Mac...you're gonna be rich."  They found a place to sit; a pile of rocks that had been cut down either by a battle or by someone who just wanted a place to sit like them. Macradon plopped himself down, his armour clanking loudly. "PFft..."  Mari sat down next to him, much more quietly without the armour. "Not very quiet are you?" Mari teased.

It was then, that Macradon opened up, and Mari listened intently - it was rare...for the two to be serious. Their adventures and quests were often lighthearted - a way to escape from the troubles that no doubt plagued them both. So it was nice to hear from Macradon, to see this other side of him.  "Yeh I remember..." Mari said quietly as he talked about what it was like back on the lower floors - there were a few guilds around then, namely the Crimson Inquisition- whose leader was convinced he was a literal demon king. "I guess I felt the same." Mari added. "But...I had a lot of issues myself back then. I didn't want to make friends. I figured what was the point if people were going to easily die...that I wouldn't be able to meet any of them in real life."

Mari never knew Macradon had been so...lonely...She shuffled off her stone-seat and her butt hit the ground, Mari then shuffled over to where Macradon sat and placed a comforting hand upon his knee.  "It's a shame we didn't meet back then, maybe things might have been different. We coulda been nomads together."  Her eyes lowered. Maybe my daughter would have still been alive.

It was nice to see how things slowly worked out for him, as he spoke about his training with others he began to get that 'Macradon Spark' back. "Yeh, I've heard of Opal - never sounded like a very nice person...but I didn't have too many bad experiences with her, she came to my shop a few times. I have to say though...." Mari pursed her lips. "She always seemed like she had a hidden agenda." Mari didn't recognize the names Heathcliff or Mack, but the way Macradon talked about it...it seemed like he missed that sort of thing.

"Do...you miss them? And the guild?"

Mari didn't have the heart to tell him what Zelrius had done to her during the boss raids.  If he was Macradon's friend then Mari wanted Macradon to remember him fondly. Mari gave Mac a weak smile. This....was ok, she'd let him talk - let him vent. She was fine with holding things close to her heart. She always had.

"Are...you okay now That was quite the load off, do you feel better?"

@Macradon

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He shrugged “I don’t need to be quiet.” he replied with a snicker as he sat down, the plates of armor clanging towards the rocky surface that was his chair for his bottom. He nodded “Mhm.” he replied while placing his hand on Mari’s as well “Perhaps we could’ve had a better past …”. But if they had a different past, they would be a different person … perhaps not ending up where they are now … perhaps winding down a worse road … no one would know …

“Mhmm.” he replied “Well … I miss Mack, Heathcliff not so much. Opal not at all. Azide, a bit, Hirru .. not really either … Mack just went and vanished, Opal turned orange and died during what seems to be an inside job, Azide died during a boss raid, Hirru betrayed the frontlines … my guild doesn’t really have the best track record.” he said, trying to give out a chuckle, but the sadness of his thoughts could not muster up any happy tone, not even for a chuckle.

“I miss the friendships I had back when my guild was thriving, the comradery … it just shattered. When Opal left, it was fine, Mack was there. Big charismatic dude that was one of the most welcome people I had ever met, proud as heck, I was fine being his lieutenant in the Vanguard, and pretty fine being Vanguard Commander when Opal left and Mack got lifted up by the council to Vice Commander. But when Mack left, and I were told to become Vice Commander, I just couldn’t, and slowly the guild broke down one after the other, people stopped showing up, people stopped congregating.

I was still hurt from seeing Ssendom die. Zlerius was just a kid, not really someone I had any ties to … but it wasn’t nice seeing someone being assassinated in front of you.” he added and sighed heavily, “And went Teayre went into a maddening rage … that’s when I snapped as well.”. He leaned back to relax, but the cut off stalagmite didn’t have any backrest, so Macradon just ended up laying on the flat surface. “I cut off as many emotions as I could, it hurt too much seeing your friends and closest being mowed down like so. I had a hard time understanding people from that point on. I never enjoyed anything, I never felt anything, I never had fun, I was never sad … it was just … pure nothingness.

It was when I began tanking on the frontlines I finally began having emotions again … rage, anger, hatred. It drove me forward. The more negative feedback I got from the damage, the more I finally felt anything again. I finally enjoyed something … But this … joy … it wasn’t really joy, but I kept on fighting as always. It all continued until a certain point, valentines day, a year or two back. I met this girl that actually made me feel something, sensations in my body, that was when I met my fiance.” he said with a sheepish smile thinking of the first time he met his beautiful fiance.

@Mari

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It seemed Macradon had more to say, and Mari wanted to be there for him so when he placed his hand on hers and squeezed Mari gave him a lopsided smile, then slowly pulled her hand away and placed it in her own lap. "Yeh...Opal was a little crass, wasn't she?" Mari asked rhetorically, she'd only met the woman a few times - seemed far too big for her haunches back then, but it seemed like she powered her way through levels and made her way to the frontlines alarmingly quickly.  Last Mari heard she had something to do with the Laughing Coffin guild. "Wasn't see associated with that Pker guild?" Mari asked, then shook her head. "Not that it matters I guess. Azide...now that's someone I would miss..." Mari said quietly, she had met him just a few times, but he had always been fairly nice. 

Mari could tell that Macradon wasn't feeling too good, so as he started talking about Mack - she silently opened up her HUD and scrolled thew her menu. She picked out a few strawberries and smiled at the memory they brought. Mari reached out and grabbed Macradon's hand and placed the strawberry in it.  "That's not your fault though. Death affects us all in ways we can't fathom. You did what you could at the time."

Right...Zelrius was a kid, its why Mari had continued to make excuses for what he did and his behavior - but she was done doing that, a kid who reveled in killing was still a killer - and Mari felt he just simply let power get to him. Still, it was a shame to see him go before he had a chance to grow up and redeem himself. "Right..." Mari said in a pensive voice - just how did her killing others affect people? There were numerous times she had taken a life in front of others. Mari doubted those who had witnessed it would ever forgive her, and that...would be something she'd have to carry with her. Mari had stopped so much death, but at what cost? Was it really fair to say one life was worth more than many? 

"I don't know Teayre...but..." Mari sighed as she bought her knees up to her chest and hugged them tightly to herself. "I know what it's like to snap...to have a breakdown - and I know what it's like to try and cut off as many emotions as you can. I'm still trying to recover and rehabilitate myself from that..." She turned to him and gave him a weak smile. She wouldn't delve too much into the who how and why that happened. This time wasn't for her. It was for him. "Most would say rage, anger, and hatred aren't really a healthy way to cope but the way I see it - it's better than nothing. It's better than feeling empty." Mari shifted her gaze forward, away from Macradon. It was funny how similar they were, but also painful to hear.

At least things began to end on a lighter note for him. He had found someone to help. Someone who made him feel something other than all that fiery hatred, Raina. Mari had met her briefly at the Gala but instead of talking to her , Mari chose to give them time to themselves - since it seemed like he didn't spend as much time with her as he'd have liked. Someone there for you... Mari burried her face in her knees, she could feel the tears threatening to burst out as her chest grew tight and constricted.


Do you really think i was interested in associating myself with you now? You don't seem very shaken by killing this man, oh how you've lost yourself Mari

                  "You're nothing, but, a, monster. You will soon learn what it truly means to suffer Mari. It's already too late for you. There is no escape from this place
                                                                                                            You're so debased and tarnished even Alkor wouldn't touch you

She'd never really have something like that.  Mari took a few deep and trembling breaths, steeling herself away. Pushing down the hurt. Now wasn't the time to show it. It wouldn't be fair. Mari finally lifted her head from her lap after a few minutes. "Raina definitely seems like the kind of person who lights up a room with her smile." Mari said, putting a brave one of her own on.

@Macradon

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He shrugged and shook his head “Yes and no. For what I know, she joined the PK guild right after the assassination incident, but later, she took downmultiple of her PK guild mates … like she tried to ruin it from the inside out … she was … weird, I never understood her reasoning.” he said and sighed. He smiled when Mari handed him a strawberry, not crushed, he accepted and took a bite of the sweet juicy - botanically a nut - fruit and savored the taste.

He nodded his head “I realized later, but that was a bit too late that I realized that …” he said and thought about when he went all PK hunting for Death_Adder, who he doesn’t even know is there anymore or not. He quickly looked over at Mari who suddenly began to look distressed somehow, “uh, eh,” he said, trying to think of something but Mari was somewhat quick to recover from what seemed like something … sad. He wouldn’t try to dig deeper into it, and tried to ignore it.

“Anywho … that was my story. Do you want to tell a story, or do you want to go hunting again?” he asked Mari, either thing would work, as their energy was close to fully regenerated, but they also liked the time they spent together, even if there was no major purpose to it.

@Mari

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Mari sighed as she shifted her gaze downward. "I..." what was she to say? He had opened up so much to her; made himself vulnerable. "I don't want to detract from everything you told me. I kinda feel like this was your moment to talk things through, and if I start talking it'd take away from that." She said quietly. "But, I don't know..." She pushed her head back into her knees.  "What even is there to tell? where do I even start...?"

She shut her eyes and sighed, gripping herself tightly. "You probably know me as the Pink Pker, right? I doused myself in the cotton candy colour because everyone else was all blacks and reds... I never ...really wanted to kill or hurt anyone." Mari's voice wavered. "I was married once, before all this - he seemed nice...but the moment I was pregnant he changed- grew cold and distant. My ex husband hired a crooked lawyer, and got full custody of our child...I wasn't even fightng for that...I believed that it was unfair to take her away from him but...ahaha..." Mari forced out a laugh as she pushed her fringe out of her face. "So...would you believe I found my daugther...in here of all places? ANd she was with that sick bastard of a lawyer? He was hurting her.  She was crying, and I ...I..." Her eyes burned, tears began to sting them - and Mari was barely able to even finish. "He threw her...right in front of my attack...and I...ever since I just...I never wanted to..."

Mari hiccuped as she pressed her face into her legs, she wanted to hide away and cry. "ARgumail..." She said the name. "He was the second...and I ...he was laughing and attacking my friends - and he was licking tears off their faces. Do you know what that feels like? B-Because I do! I tried to reason...but he kept on going on about how he was the king of demons and..and I just....I don't....He's gone too and now so are those friends I saved. Because I'm a murderer, right?" Mari asked between choking words. "Things like that kept happening...and I just...I had no one but a few people and even they hated me."

She thought about Alkor, and about Life...and Lowenthal, all people she cared for deeply. None wanted anything to do with her. 

"Someone I considered my best friend...froze me, called me debased and tarnished... brutally tried to torture me for days...weeks....kept on trying to get me to kill more, but I didn't - and he didn't like that so he...." Mari shook her head and wiped more tears away from her face.  "He said I'm so debased and tarnished - no one would ever w-wanna touch me...and he's right. I'm stupid....gods I'm so f**king stupid."

@Macradon

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He shook his head “Just because I’m sharing doesn’t mean you can’t. I don’t care if my past is being shadowed into nothingness, then I know that my past, how significant I may perceive it, might not be as bad and traumatizing as I’ve made myself believe. “ he said, encouraging Mari to tell her story.

He nodded, he did indeed know her as the Pink PKer, that’s what everyone called her, because he had never met her, that was the only thing he knew, that was what everyone told him she was. He listened to the story, about her last relationship, how bad it went. When she told him that she met her daughter in the game, he was about to give some words of encouragement, but then he remembered what sadness that has been brought to Mari because of all this.

He remembered the place he met Mari, he remembered the grave, the flower crown he was given at that day, the time when he finally met the real Mari and got to know her. When Mari somewhat consolidated like a turtle, Macradon would wrap his arms around her to give her a warm hug, he was there for her and just wanted her to be able to vent everything.

When she began talking about how someone had been calling her degrading words, Macradon would tighten his hug “No! You’re not tarnished, you’re not stupid! I’m touching you right now! I care about you as my friend! Whoever said those words to you knows nothing about you!” he said and let go. He he stood up from his stalagmite chair and went up in front of Mari and pointed at himself, “I, Macradon of the Knight of Blood Oath, Commander of the Vanguard, Vice Commander of the guild, third highest leveled player, able to tank at floor raids because of who I am, would I be tarnished as well?!” he erupted while trying to reason with Mari’s self loathing words.

“If you are debased and tarnished for mistakes that you didn’t want to do, then what am I?! he yelled into the cavernous room as the last few words echoed throughout the walls What am I?! What am I! what am i?“I purposely HUNTED people, I purposely murdered people! You accidentally and regretfully took the lives of someone because of evil deeds of others! If anyone I should be the one people hate, I should be t he one people fear, not you!” he exclaimed.

@Mari

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Mari shook her head; she didn't want him to feel like his past had to wilt away like a forgotten flower, she wanted to say something encouraging to him but all that came forth from her lips were chocked sobs and hiccups. "Y-You don't....unde.r..." She shook her head as she felt him slide next to her, wrapping his arms around her. Mari buried her face into his shoulder. It felt like his warmth was being leeched from him, quickly bringing a comfort to her trembling form that she had long since forgotten. He didn't understand..she hadn't just killed accidentally. But, with his words he knew that.  Mari didn't have the heart to explain each life she took. She simply gripped his arm tight, apologizing profusely.  "The person who said that w-was my only friend." She said as she felt Macradon pull away Mari almost didn't want to let him go - but she relented, wiping her tears away with the back of her trembling hands. "I am stupid...I'm stupid for liking someone and stupid for thinking anyone would like me."

Stinging blue eyes rose up to Macradon as he made his declaration. He asked her, that according to her logic - the words she had used on herself, that wouldn't he be tarnished. Mari shook her head. "N-No...you're not..."

She flinched when he asked her again, what he was and that he hunted others. Mari didn't know how to answer him. She didn't know why she was so hated, she didn't know why she was the one who was targeted whilst others were left free. "I-I don't know why I was targeted..." She admitted, she was biting her tongue as she tried to hold in more emotions. They had already burst forth like a damn and she had felt horrible for it. She felt guilty for making Macradon deal with them. "M-maybe I'm just that much of a hated person..." She mumbled.

"But honestly...if it means I can be your friend I guess its all worth it."

@Macradon

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He shook his head “Well whoever said that wasn’t a good friend at all!” he said with a heavily sarcastic tone, it was obvious that whoever did that was horrible and that this girl truly deserved better than that. “And hey, you got me now, right? And possibly others as well! Look at you, you’re thriving!” he said with a smile, thinking of the bonds she might have now, at least 2 of what he knows, perhaps 3, maybe even more! 

“But if I’m not tarnished and debased, then you aren’t either!” he said, shaking Mari by the shoulders gently back and forth “You’re just as norma- wrong words … - you’re just as hated as I am, you’re just as tarnished as I am, and I don’t see myself as tarnished at all! So you ain’t either!” he said, pushing the message into her to get all the stupid stuff out of her, those super negative extreme self loathing words that had been hammered into her mind, they had to be pushed away somehow.

He shrugged “The masses hate the upper class, be it in wealth or in this world; gear. You were targeted because you were an easy target to rally up on. An orange player with a demonic weapon? Of course the masses wouldn’t like that in the beginning. But now, you’re not so different from the rest of the frontlines. A big ragtag team, a motley crew of idiots like us.”.

He smiled when she said that it was worth all this to be his friend, he reached out a hand to help her up on her legs again “Sounds good to me. Let’s go hunting again, we have some Col to get, unless you wanna look for stuff before we continue?” he asked.

@Mari

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Mari nodded, "Yeh.." She shook her head. "They were never really my friend to begin with. I know that now."  She left out the part where it was Life who had done those things, and that he had recently come back into her life, trying to blame it on some sort of errant AI who'd whisper things into his head - and he'd do them. Even if that were true... he was still the one who did it. That he was wanting them to friends again, and how very difficult she was finding it. Mari knew Macradon was trying to help - but also knew that too much of this sort of thing probably didn't sit well with him.  Mari didn't want to put more on his shoulders. Not when he was bearing so much already.  She wiped her face clean. Her eyes stung - and it still hurt. She still felt all knotted up on the inside, and doubted that it'd be a feeling that'd go away any time soon.

"I honestly don't know what I'd do without you, and others like Baldur or Cordelia." Mari realized he hadn't heard her say she was stupid for liking anyone - it had been something she didn't entirely mean to blurt out - and it was probably something better left bottled up. She didn't need that out there in the world.

"B-But you're NOT hated!" Mari cried out as she pushed herself up off the ground. "You're not hated! You're not tarnished. You're a good person Macradon!" It wasn't the same thing...surely. He couldn't really compare them. That wasn't fair to him. "You're not!"  Mari insisted. Mari listened as Macradon pointed out something to her that she had stopped believing in - it was something she had assumed - she was targeted because she was at the top - she was at the time one of if not the strongest player - she had a demonic... Mari closed her eyes, thinking about Lowenthal and how he had tried to take her weapon.

"Yeh....let's get some more Col." Mari said with a weak smile.

@Macradon

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