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F01/PP Knight Takes Bishop

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Oscar - Lvl 55
1140 HP
110 Energy
1 Accuracy (+1 Precision)
1 Evasion
19 Base Damage - (1 Base +7 Skill +1 Ferocity +9 Familiar +1 Athletics)
106 Mitigation 
12 Fallen
2 Burn
Vampiric (Defensive)

Tesseleth’s Fury | Fallen, Fallen, Burn, Burn
Tactical Outfitting Mk.III | Vampiric (Defensive), Fireproof, EVA
Mythril Greaves |  +81 MIT

Leeroy & Jenkins - Familiar | +3*Tier DMG

Battle Ready Inventory
Teleportation Crystal
Empty Inventory Slot |
Empty Inventory Slot |
Empty Inventory Slot |
Empty Inventory Slot |
Empty Inventory Slot |

Well-Rested | -1 energy cost for the first three expenditures of each combat.
Filling | Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 slot.
Relaxed | Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Col Stash | 5% Bonus Col from Monster kills and Chests
Squeaky Clean | The first time you would suffer DoT damage in a thread, reduce damage taken from DoT each turn by 25%

2HBA | Rank 5: +8 Damage
Light Armor | Rank 5: +25 Damage Mitigation
Battle Healing | Rank 3: Recover 3% Max HP every round while in combat
Concentration | +1 to your BD (3 turn cooldown)
Survival | Heal 15*Tier HP when out of battle
Parry | 2-turn CD, 5 EN Half damage of next attack and remove Stun/Paralysis effects
Fishing | Gain materials/encounter enemies based on CD result.

Skill Mods
Ferocity                   | Increases Base Damage by 1
Athletics                  | Increases Base Damage by 1, Max HP by 10*tier
Precision                 | Increases Accuracy by 1
Justified Riposte      | Successful Parries Stun Opponent, 3 Turn CD

"Well that's definitely unlike her," Oscar said as he looked down at his watch. Nine a.m. Concilator always had her shop open at eight-thirty on the dot. Oscar had been out about town, taking care of his usual business. The day had been good to him so far. Most of the small inconveniences that slowed one down hadn't really affected him too much. Thus, he found himself outside of Concilator's shop earlier than he usually did - arriving right when she would ordinarily open. Although, the word "shop" was something of a misnomer. It was more of a news stand. Concilator spent her days gathering rumors and information from all around Aincrad and then brought them down to the Town of Beginnings to share with everyone else. He had relied upon her counsel for more than a few quests when he was leveling up. Nowadays, however, he liked to merely stay abreast of current events. Daily visits to her shop were a common occurrence.


Oscar waited for another few minutes. Maybe she had forgotten to unlock the door. Or maybe she just needed a break from it all. He couldn't exactly blame her. She worked hard. But then again, it wasn't exactly like her to not let people know if she was going to be unavailable. Oscar looked down at his watch again. Nine-fifteen. He'd been waiting almost an hour at this point. He was about to write the whole thing off as a lost cause when something possessed him to just take a peek inside the shop. He stepped up to the window - normally a bit too high for your average man to look into - and cupped his hands around his eyes to block out the light. His eyes scanned the interior of the room. Normally, Concilator had books lining all of the walls. They were meticulously cataloged. Each book contained vital information about the game. Her insurance policy in case something happened to her. She didn't want the knowledge lost.

When Oscar saw the shelves knocked off of the wall and the books strewn about the floor, he knew that this wasn't simply a case of her being late. He stepped back from the window and tried the door. He hadn't done it earlier because he hadn't seen any lights on inside. It had just barely been ajar - not even latched. Oscar stepped inside of the trashed shop and started looking around. This whole scene was rather familiar. Usually, one looks at a trashed room and they think "oh, well this is gonna suck to clean." But, there were certain things that an experienced eye could see. It was often how a room was trashed that told you what you needed to know. This wasn't a common burglary. Nothing seemed to be missing. At least, as far as he could tell. The pages had been torn from the books and scattered all about the room. Someone had taken the time to ruin Concilator's entire life's work in Aincrad. That was someone sending a message. And Oscar had an idea of who was behind it. He opened his menu and began typing out a message. Short and sweet. Somehow he didn't think he had the luxury of taking his time right now.



Concilator's shop. 9-11.


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LEVEL - 58
HP - 1190
EN - 116
DMG - 19
MIT - 79
ACC - 3
EVA - 4




           COOLDOWN: 2 TURNS

           COOLDOWN: 3 TURNS
           COOLDOWN: 3 TURNS


 +25 MIT

           COOLDOWN: 3 TURNS
      +1 ACC


     ➥ FALLEN 2
     ➥ PHASE

      +54 MIT
      +1 EVA

      +2 EVA
      +2 ACC

     ➥ +9 DMG


From: Oscar

Conciliator's shop. 9-11.

Weird. It had been awhile since he got a message from Oscar, much less one so cryptic. All he'd been doing with his day so far was fishing, and despite not feeling the motivation to do much more, this seemed urgent. If it wasn't, Oscar would have offered more details. With a sigh, he reeled in his line and collected his gear. It seemed he was heading back to the first floor ahead of schedule. 

When he arrived, he noticed that the door to the shop was still ajar. This wasn't unusual for Conciliator - she'd often go on and on about the weather on a good day. She never missed an opportunity to tell anyone within arm's reach about how much she enjoyed the sun, and the smells of spring and summer, and how she wanted to leave the door open so that she could allow the scents and warmth to seep through and permeate the little space she'd carved out for herself in the floating castle Aincrad. But this felt different. The shop lights were out, and there wasn't any sign that she had updated the materials in the window since the previous day. Not that he'd been around lately - he couldn't know, for certain.

When he entered the shop, he felt like his jaw could touch the floor. Conciliator was nowhere in sight, and everything had been torn asunder. Scattered papers littered the expanse, and all of the furniture had been either displaced and thrown across the room or destroyed in their entirety. How strange that they hadn't yet dissolved into piles of polygonal fractals. Not that that was what should be on the forefront of his mind.

Oscar was standing in the middle of the catastrophe, looking at Bahr expectantly. Their eyes met, and Bahr only had one thing to say. "What the hell, man!?" But as the words left his lips, he realized that Oscar couldn't possibly be the cause of this. Bahr was simply so drummed up by what he was seeing that Oscar stood as a lightning rod to his confusion and ire. He quickly collected himself, then corrected. "Sorry, obviously you didn't do this. You wouldn't have message me if you had." Once again, he let his eyes trace the room. "This is f*cked. Any idea what happened here?"

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Oscar took a moment to poke around while he waited for Bahr to join him. The entire scene hearkened back to when Oscar was on the streets. Occasionally, local dealers or thugs would pay kids on the street to break into a place and trash it. It was a win/win for all parties. The homeless kid would get to eat and if the owners showed up early, the criminal wouldn't be caught red-handed in a crime - giving the cops a reason to look into them. In Oscar's experience, there were only two real reasons to toss a place. The first was to destroy it. It was the most straight-forward. Go in, bust up the place, and leave. But the second reason was to send a message. To give the impression - the look - that the place had been destroyed when, really, it was just a really inconvenient clean up. The fact that the pages from the books were strewn about the floor and furniture - instead of having been reduced to polygonal dust - gave Oscar reason to assume it was the latter. Before he could go too far down that rabbit hole, Bahr joined him. His reaction was pretty much what Oscar expected. Then, he asked the million-Col question.

"Any idea what happened here?"

Oscar scanned the room one more time, truly hoping that he had just read the evidence wrong. But when reality is smacking you dead in the face, pretending to the contrary was only going to get you hurt. "Tyson's men have been here," Oscar began, rifling through the pages on the counter in front of him. He didn't really pay much attention to Bahr specifically. He was far too focused on the task at hand. "It's basically the same M.O. as when they trashed my shop. If they'd destroyed my shop, I can pop out some replacement tables and chairs with a few menu clicks. But they took the time to trash, not destroy it. More difficult for me to deal with that way. Same thing happened here. They're sending a message." But then that begged the next million-Col question:

What message were they trying to send?

We know who your friends are. Well, of course they do. They'd been shadowing Oscar for who knows how long. Plus Bahr had to jump in that one time.

We can get to whoever we want. Also not a huge logical leap. They'd been able to slip in, trash his shop, and slip out without Bahr even noticing anything amiss next door.

Oscar tried his best to get into the same mindset that he'd been in when he was hungry on the streets. He would have done just about anything to secure his next meal. He actually did some messed up stuff just to survive. But he wasn't that guy anymore. Entering that state of mind again was unfathomable. His mind just couldn't justify the shift. A real shame considering that if he could have pulled it off, he and Bahr wouldn't be completely caught off guard right now. No, it was best to focus on something he could actually change. Like tracking down Concilator. Speaking of...

"Hey Bahr. She didn't message you or anything when this went down did she?"

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"Hey Bahr. She didn't message you or anything when this went down did she?"

No, would have been his knee jerk response. He wasn't the type to let the telltale notification jingle of an incoming message go unnoticed. But he had been fishing, so whether or not he'd even noticed it in the midst of attempting to access his inner zen was questionable. So he opened his menu with the twinkle of bells, navigated to the messaging panel, and found the conversation with Conciliator.


To: Bahr

I seriously can't find anythin' on this chick. Are ya sure she's even real?

Just playin'. The last anyone ever saw of her was hangin' out in a garden. Apparently she and some other chick got in a fight, and a dude in a red coat stepped in to stop the skirmish. Sounds pretty familiar, eh? Just how much skin have ya got in this game?

Anyways, the trail ends there. Nobody has seen or heard from her since. Sorry to say, pal, but after extensive searchin', I only know as much as you do.

Don't worry 'bout the payment. Not like I told ya anything ya don't already know. Best a luck, alright?

- Conciliator

How long ago had that been? If he remembered correctly, it was when he was retraining Swine Bajesus into a Fighter Familiar. Before he even knew what had happened to Kirbs. Again, pang of annoyance hit. How could she have declared her search as extensive when she hadn't even checked the Monument of Life? Not that that was relevant to the matter at hand. He swiped the panel, which swiveled around to Oscar so he could take a look. 

"Nope, that's the last I've got from her," he responded. As he did, he realized a fairly easy solution to their quandary - they could simply look up her location data and go from there. His own menu still resting before him, he navigated to his friend list and populated Conciliator's card. LOCATION DATA UNAVAILABLE. His heart sank as he read it. Such a message had never led to a positive outcome in the past. "No location data, either. Do you think they-"

He was cut off by the chime of an incoming message would sound twice in unison - once each for Bahr and Oscar. In place of the message that was currently displayed, a new one would emerge.


To: Bahr, Oscar

Gxxw axei  Whgm atox fnva mbfx mh mted

Maxrox zhm fx hg yehhk mpxgmr mph  Ghm lnkx paxkx  Xoxkrmabgz bl wtkd

Max znrl matm zhm fx mtedxw tuhnm uhma hy rhn  Patm max axee bl zhbgz hg

Mabgd maxr ltp fx fxlltzbgz rhn  Zhmmt zh

- Conciliator

Bahr dismissed the panels he'd brought up and circled around through the tattered mess to bump shoulders with Oscar and read what had been sense. "Hell's this?" he muttered as his eyes traced the gibberish over and over again. After a few moments of trying to carve meaning out of the meaningless, he sighed and shifted his eyes toward his companion. "You got a clue what this means?"

The silver lining was that this meant Conciliator was still alive. It could have even been her typing out whatever she could while blindfolded to get the message out that she was still alive. Still, something felt... off about it. "Feels weird that we'd get this at this exact moment. Also feels weird that we can get this, but there's no location data. Something definitely ain't right."

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  • 1 month later...

Oscar pulled up his message as Bahr did. Much to his chagrin, it was complete and utter gibberish. Bahr circled the room as Oscar studied the message. He was focused less on the content of the message and more of the implications. Oscar could only assume that this message was sent under duress. It was almost as if it had been sent blindfolded. Oscar mulled it over for a second and sighed. "I really have no idea. But I think we got a good news, bad news situation. Good news is, she's clearly alive. Bad news is, someone's got her somewhere that location data can't populate. Inside an inn or inside a private home." Oscar had to pump the brakes for a moment. He was making a lot of wild assumptions. He hoped that it was just paranoia and that Concilator was just pulling an elaborate prank on them. Of course, it ultimately knew that this was delusional. Denial wouldn't help them. The sad fact was that he just wasn't ready to take on Tyson.

As Bahr finally settled, Oscar heard a faint rustle of papers. Not entirely unexpected. But he heard it after Bahr had stopped moving, from the opposite side of the room. He couldn't help but get a sinking suspicion that they were being watched. The timing had been all-too convenient, after all. Why wait to send the message until they were both at the shop? Oscar stood up straight, looking over the room. As his gaze swept over the ruined shop, Oscar activated <<Concentration>>. His eyes flashed blue for a split second. In an instant, his sight - quite literally - expanded. He could make out each individual piece of dust that floated through the shafts of morning sun that filtered in through the windows. He registered the slight fluttering of the pages caused by the air wafting in through the still-ajar door. All around them, the corners of the pages flopped up and down in the wind. Except for in three places. Under Oscar and Bahr's feet and in the corner of the room to the right of the one of the bookshelves.

Oscar was no mathematician but he could put two and two together.

"Hey man, close the door. The wind's blowing the paper around. Concilator would kill us if any of these flew out the window." 

Assuming there was someone in the room with them, Oscar couldn't coordinate very well with Bahr. He kept his tone of voice as casual as possible, perhaps too casual. As he left Bahr to meander about the shop, he could only hope the white-haired man listened. Oscar slowly began to peruse the shelves. Making a beeline straight for the corner would arouse too much suspicion. "Maybe there's something here that can help us figure out what that message is supposed to be," he called out to Bahr in an effort to justify his maneuver. "When you're done with the door, maybe start with the shelves on the opposite end of the room. Divide and conquer?"

Oscar continued to inch towards the corner. Now that he'd noticed the suspiciously-inert pile of pages on the floor, he kept an eye on the ground. If there was someone here, they would almost certainly try to inch away from him. If they did, the pages would give them away, no matter how carefully they moved. And with Bahr looking through the shelves on the other side of the room, they would eventually meet in the middle, effectively trapping the person between them behind the counter. As he neared the corner, however, the pages didn't even shift. Maybe they were content with tucking themselves away in the corner until they left? It would be the best way to avoid getting sandwiched. Or Oscar was just imagining things. He really hoped it was the latter. Finally, after some minutes, he arrived at the shelf directly in front of the corner. 

It was time for a leap of faith.

As he reached up as if to grab one of the still-intact tomes, his arm flew out to his right quick as a flash. He closed his fist, his hand finding purchase on what felt like fabric. He yanked his arm back, pulling whatever it was forward. A man quite literally stumbled out of thin air, staggering forward still shocked from the sudden motion. Oscar kicked his legs out from under him, sending the man sprawling to the ground towards Bahr. The interior of the shop was filled with a loud thud and the rustling of pages as the man sprawled out belly first onto the wooden floor. He tried to get up but quickly found Oscar's foot planted firmly between his shoulder blades, pushing him back down. Oscar put on his best customer service smile and leaned down towards the man. "'Sup. I'm sure you got a great reason for being stealthed in the corner there, right?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Hey man, close the door. The wind's blowing the paper around. Concilator would kill us if any of these flew out the window."

"Yeah, you're right,"
 Bahr responded nonchalantly as he dismissed his windows and began clumsily stepping over the myriad garbage toward the still ajar threshold. He casually sweeped a few stray pages that were uncomfortably close to the exit inside with his boot before folding the thick mahogany slab back into the cavity perfectly carved to encapsulate it. Once there was no longer wind to fill the air, something felt... off about it. Bahr hadn't the senses to appropriately gauge the true reality of their situation, but he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing at attention one after another. Something wasn't right here. Then again, nothing was right about any of this.

"Maybe there's something here that can help us figure out what that message is supposed to be," Oscar mused as he began perusing the shelves. "When you're done with the door, maybe start with the shelves on the opposite end of the room. Divide and conquer?"

"Works for me," Bahr grunted with a shrug, taking to the shelves nearest him and sifting through whatever scarce remains still populated them. He was only half investigating, in all truth, distracted equally by the uneasy sensation that had pitched him on edge as he was the dust that took flight from the unkempt ledges and tickled his nostrils as they swirled about. It was in the golden light cast into this airborne concoction of gray-colored powder that Bahr's anxiousness was fully cemented. He still couldn't tell exactly what, but there was something in the room that made everything feel off. The light didn't seem to refract the way it was meant to. The air tasted as though tainted - as though some trace of whoever had been here still lingered.

"I'm getting all sorts of weird vibes from this," Bahr admitted as he continued making his way along the shelves, stopping momentarily to rub his fingers together and dispel the fine layer of dust that had caked onto them. "Remember when your shop got ransacked? Well, of course you do. But I didn't get the same feeling when that happened. This is... different. Somehow." His mismatched orbs flickered briefly to his unresponsive partner, who seemed all too concentrated on his search to issue a reply. With a sigh, he brought his attention back to the suspended boards he was supposed to be searching, and resumed his slow waltz down their length. "Dunno man. It's fishy."

Then, a harsh thud!

Again, Bahr found his eyes spun back around, crossed with confusion as he first spotted Oscar, then with smug delight as they descended upon their fresh captive. "Oh-ho-ho, how cute. A spy, huh?" Bahr briefly considered pulling out his most recent message from Conciliator to interrogate the man about it, but decided against it. No use revealing their hand when they were the ones holding all the cards. Instead, he summoned Dawn's Demise in a ribbon of light and began walking slowly toward their helpless victim. "That's pretty silly. I mean, I wouldn't go stalking someone like Zandra or Macradon. I'm still an ant when compared to players like that." He squatted in front of the spy and squinted as he looked the fool over. He looked terrified. "But everything is relative. If we're ants, you're a mite." 

He slowly pressed the tip of his blade into the man's cheek. Sure, you couldn't inflict actual damage against anyone inside of a Safe Zone. But you could sure make them really uncomfortable. "So. Tell us, mite," he began as the blade started to turn, twisting the flesh of their captive's cheek. "What brings you here today?"

At first, the spy was silent. Then, he gulped. And, shakily, he delivered a response. "A-as if I'd tell you!" he countered pitifully.

"Wow, look at that," Bahr chortled as he pitched his jaw upward to look at his comrade. "He thinks he's safe because he's in a 'Safe Zone.'" Dawn's Demise twisted and pressed further into the man's flesh, Bahr still not averting his gaze from Oscar. Were they anywhere else, it would have already begun to grind the man's flesh apart. "I think he wants us to escort him out of the city to test that."

"I think he does," Oscar responded.

"I have Disguise," Bahr offered with a shrug. "I could get us past the gates in a jiffy."

"Sounds good," Oscar responded, nodding in the affirmative. "Let's get going."

"Wait!" came the spy's panicked interjection, prompting Bahr to slowly crane his head back down toward the whelp. "Just... wait. What do you want to know?"

"Ah, he's feeling chatty now. You hear that? He wants to talk suddenly."

"Too little, too late. I say we brain him."

"I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I don't feel like taking Redemption right now. On the other, I really don't want to turn this guy loose."

The spy's breathing was heavy and irregular at this point, anxiety having secured him in its iron grip. "Please. Please! I'll tell you anything. I don't want to die. I can't die. I have a sister, and- and a niece! Please, they need me!"

 Bahr mused as he once again cast his eyes toward Oscar, who nodded in response. It seemed the poor boy had been shaken enough to give up the goods. So, Bahr pulled Dawn's Demise away from his cheek and leaned down. Got real close, to the point that the spy would be able to feel the heat of his breath which each syllable that passed through his lips. "What. The f*ck. Happened here."

"It was Karst!"
 he blurted out. Bahr's eyes flickered toward Oscar, skeptically inquisitive, before pitching back toward the spy. "He told us to do it. I was instructed to hang back and report your findings to them. They're taking her to the maze on Floor 25."

Floor 25. That's serious.

"What else? Why Conciliator?" Bahr demanded.

"He said that she was important. To Oscar, to you- both of you, I guess. I-I don't really know, I'm just a grunt. I'm only doing this because I have to."

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Oscar stopped listening when the word "Karst" fell from the man's lips. It was one thing to suspect a that a ghost from his past was coming back to haunt him. It was quite another to get confirmation. And so suddenly at that. His previous cocky attitude abruptly shifted. Emotion drained from his face like mud washed from a wall. Oscar's eyes narrowed, his mind racing. Justified in his paranoia though he was, it only served to make him more paranoid. But before he let himself fall down that rabbit hole, there were two things that needed to be dealt with. First and foremost, they had to go get Conciliator. They had the benefit of knowing where the people that took her would be. There was only one entrance to The Endless Maze after all.  And second, they had to figure out what to do with this guy. If they went flying out after Conciliator, then this dude would definitely give his accomplices the heads up. Somehow Oscar doubted they could travel faster than a message.

But how was the question. Surely Macradon wouldn't have a problem keeping an eye on the guy. But what could Macradon actually threaten him with? The guy was green. Anything Macradon did to him would ultimately result in the only Grandmaster Blacksmith that he knew of being unable to even enter a settlement. Mari, then? She was a Player-Killer. But then again, in his dealings with her, she hardly acted like one. Plus, how would he even find her? It wasn't like he knew anything about where she hung out. And then it hit him. There was a twinge in his gut, like an old injury flaring up. A sudden chill came over him as he walked over and hoisted the man to his feet.

"Karst is Tyson's screen name," Oscar said flatly. He turned his attention to the man and pointed to the door. "Walk."

Despite his prior pleading the man stood firm and crossed his arms over his chest. Something about this man's outright defiance awakened a fury in Oscar's chest like he hadn't felt in years. He grabbed the man by the arm and shoved his face square into the desk. Not an "attack" but it would definitely sting. "I swing around this hunk of obsidian on my back for hours straight. I have no problem dragging you. Now walk." Oscar then relented and so did the man. He headed towards the door with Oscar close behind. The way Oscar figured it was that if someone could grab Conciliator and drag her off all the way to the teleportation platform, Oscar had a lot of leeway when it came to motivating this guy. Bahr followed along behind him.

"Where are we going?" Bahr asked. Oscar knew better than to answer that. If he shared with the Crimson Marauder what he was thinking, he knew that it wouldn't go over well. They guided the man out into the field. Oscar was silent as the grave. Honestly, he wasn't sure if he was going to go through with the plan or rip this guy apart himself. Rage was not an emotion that Oscar felt very often. Thus, he was ill-equipped to deal with it. Luckily, their destination wasn't very far outside of the gates. Bahr would recognize it in an instant. Before he could even say something about it, Oscar called out, bellowing at the top of his lungs.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Supplies were always scarce when your entire life was spent aimlessly wandering. 

Day in and day out, things were pretty much always the same for him. He walked. And walked. Sometimes he'd stop to sleep, or eat, or fight -- on very rare occassions he'd take on a quest -- but more often than not, he didn't spend much time lingering in one place. He kept himself fed on edible plants and animals from the various wilds of Aincrad, and when he couldn't find either he'd settle for tasteless and often stale rations bought from vendors. The cheapest and most bland of which were found on none other than inside the Town of Beginnings. 

It wasn't often he donned his hooded cloak and discretely rushed to the merchants. He normally took his time climbing and exploring each of the twenty-something unlocked floors before making his way back down. Rarely was it that he ran into anyone - even rarer still that people took it upon themselves to hunt him down. But fate was a funny thing, and it had a way of curbing your expectations. 

He hadn't made it very far. The voice rang through the plains, and his expression darkened while his heart sank. Adjusting the sword on his waist, Pinball would turn around, walking back the way he had came. He had the feeling that this meeting was going to be a special one. Pinball would emerge from the tree line just moments later, his heart dropping in his chest when he took note of the person accompanying Oscar. He froze in place, planting his boots firmly in the dirt beneath him.

Pinball was silent, but his gaze warily rested itself on the angry looking pair. 

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It took a moment for the words to register, ping-ponging back and forth within the confines of Bahr's skull much like a school of ornery bouncing balls. Had he heard that right? Pinball was who they were after? Time ground to a halt as Father Time allowed Bahr to process the implications of such an encounter. Mother Nature, bride of Father Time, shared in this moment of clarity. The breeze evaporated. The clouds hung suspended in place, unmoving. The birds stopped chirping. The only thing that seemed to cut through it all was the heat of the sun as it grew hotter, and hotter, and hotter.

"You better be f*cking joking," Bahr seethed through his teeth toward Oscar as he kept his eyes on the treeline. But, as the lanky frame of his nemesis materialized from beyond the brush, Bahr understood it was no joke. Bahr clenched his fists and set his jaw, eyes narrowing as he took in Pinball's form. There stood the man who had taken so much from him. No, not just him. Everyone connected to the lives he'd stolen. There stood the man who'd almost turned Bahr into the same monster as he. There stood the menace that Bahr had allowed to slip through his fingers. And just why had he done that? The reasoning was becoming a bit fuzzy.

"You son of a bitch," Bahr began as he started toward Pinball, having not yet noticed that Dawn's Demise had already been drawn. He didn't make it more than a step before he felt Oscar's arm extended across his chest, holding him back. His eyes shot toward his companion's. They were wide and accusing, as though he could see Oscar as one of Pinball's allies. The deepest of betrayals. "You're gonna want to sit your five dollar ass down before I make you pay for it," he hissed. "This flimsy thing won't stay attached long." Gesturing toward the arm that was still pressed across his chest.

"If you can think of a better option, I'm all ears," Oscar countered coolly, trying to maintain some semblance of control over the situation. Bahr threw his arm aside.

"I can think of about a billion," Bahr shot back. "THAT man, that-" He struggled to find the word. "Monster is responsible for at least half of the tragedy that blankets this f*cking castle. You think he's going to help us? Please. He'd sooner lead us into one of Tyson's traps. If he even let us live long enough to make it that far." His expression was still one of disbelief and hurt, but in the delay he'd been forced to suffer, some of Bahr's faculties managed to claw their way back. The realization that he couldn't kill Pinball if he valued what he had with Lessa. Or Oscar, probably. His eyes flickered back to the murderous youth, consumed in flame. Could he really afford to let this kid take anything more from him?



"We came all this way. Explain in extremely clear terms exactly what the f*ck we are doing in the company of this lunatic."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Just shut up for once and listen," Oscar said. Bahr's prattle was beginning to give him a headache. Like he was the only one in the world with unfinished business with Pinball. He might have been Oscar's best friend, but damn it if he didn't have his head up his ass sometimes. At least he could content himself for now with the fact that Bahr wasn't going to jump Pinball before Oscar had a chance to talk him him. Without another word, Oscar shoved his hands into his pockets and calmly strode over to Aincrad's most prolific killer. There was an air of calm about the man. A shift in his demeanor just profound enough to be off-putting. Was it the ferocity of his gaze? The unwavering smile stretching across his features? Perhaps a combination of factors. To approach the man who had brought him so close to dying with such familiarity was insane at best. But then again...

No one had really seen this side of him before.

Oscar hadn't seen this side of himself in a while.

All he knew is that one of his friends was in trouble. And he would do anything - anything - to get her out of it. Even if it took making a deal with the devil. 

Oscar towered over Pinball. He was open. Hands in his pockets, nothing protecting his chest. Everything about his body language screamed that he didn't see Pinball as a threat. Not in the same sense that Bahr did. Rage and a desire for revenge invoked courage in the Crimson Marauder. Oscar had no need for courage because you don't need to be courageous to face something that you're ultimately indifferent towards. He'd just as soon let Bahr rip Pinball to pieces than talk to him. It didn't really matter to him. Fortunately for the kid, Oscar needed a favor from him.

"So," Oscar began. "Remember how you almost killed me when I was like level 11? The way I see it, you kinda owe me one. It was a real dick move to attack such a low-leveled character back then. Of course, dick moves are kinda your specialty. However!" Oscar stepped back and gestured to Bahr. "My buddy here got his pound of flesh. I'm here for mine. See that guy next to Bahr? You're gonna watch him for me. If he tries to send a message or run away, I really don't care what you do to stop him. Kill him for all I care. I'd do it myself, but of the two of us, I have some things preventing me from going orange over the likes of him. Can't very well help the newbies if I'm a player-killer now can I?" Oscar would hope that his reasoning would click in Bahr's head and the Crimson Marauder would calm down. Of course, he also doubted Bahr's willingness to feed their captive to the hounds like this. If only Oscar cared about what he thought about it, he might have taken pause. "Do me this favor and you and I have no more beef. I won't even tag team you straight to Hell with Bahr. Otherwise, I don't have the same things preventing me from putting you down that Bahr does."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anger. They took offense to his presence, and honestly, Pinball would too. But why were they here? To kill him? It didn't seem the case, with how Oscar held his hand out to stop a particular snowy-haired swordsman from gauging his throat out. Honestly, it was Pinball's own curiosity that kept him here, silent, unmoving, watching. 

All he could really do was hope that halfway through their lecture, the two didn't end up changing their minds. 

Pinball was so transfixed on those morbid ideas that it wasn't until Oscar went out of his way to point them out that he realized they were with someone. The man's face was unfamiliar to Pinball, and he couldn't help but notice that he seemed exponentially more nervous about this whole encounter than either of his two escorts. It was shady, and the whole situation was met with a quizzical glance between them. They wanted him to babysit-? And if the man tried to send a message or to get away, they expected Pinball to... kill him. 

There really wasn't any reason for him to object. He shouldn't. He couldn't, really, all things considered. But there was something about the whole thing that didn't quite sit well with him. And it wasn't just the threat on his life - those things didn't even faze him anymore. It was something else. A distinct flavor in the air he couldn't place. Whatever it was, Pinball was sure that he wouldn't be killing anyone today. The very thought of it made his face twist up. 

"Okay," he started slowly. His voice was rough. Pinball took a second to pause and swallow before he continued, more firmly now. "That's fine. But why? What did they do?" 

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  • 2 months later...

Were they not digital, Bahr was certain he'd have ground his teeth down to pitiful ivory nubs more reminiscent of a seventy-year-old meth addict than that of a healthy man in his twenties. Cavorting with a serial killer? Instructing him to kill if necessary? What the hell did Oscar think he was getting them into!?

"He took someone," Bahr jeered through his teeth. "A transgression not easily forgiven."

Imagine giving this killer the benefit of the doubt. Allowing him to hold their captive. Trusting that he would follow through, just because he said he was fine with it. What was prevent him from releasing their prisoner? Hell, what was to prevent him from joining whatever crooked machinations the man was wrapped up in? Lord knew a little sin never bothered the boy. Further harming Bahr or Oscar would only be par for the course.

He cut Oscar a sharp glance. "This is a mistake. He'll lead us to ruin." Perhaps a tad dramatic, but only marginally. It was a huge gamble to put any responsibility on Pinball's plate.

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