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» The Way is Shut, and the Dead Keep it, The Way is Shut
SaintAbsol
 Posted: Aug 7 2016, 02:37 PM
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Calvin had never believed in an afterlife.

It was just a part of his outlook on life; he didn't care for the idea of some sort of 'being' that only promised generic 'eternal happiness' after death, but still threatened you with unending torture unless you followed an arbitrary set of rules. The whole thing was sketchy, if not outright horrible when you actually stopped to think about it. You got one life, and that was all there was to it.

Of course, given that -- ever since he'd been into this mess of a reality -- the universe had been actively trying to fuck him over, it really should have come as a surprise that he ended up in an afterlife once he'd died.

It was probably inevitable, really; he'd never had much in the way of people who tolerated him, much less cared enough to help him out. He was an asshole and made no apologies for being one, and it had knocked him flat on his ass so many times he'd just learned to take the punches. But, apparently, he'd finally run out of luck; it wasn't even a heartless or anything like that that had killed him, it had been a random guy with a knife to the back. He didn't even know what happened to the weapons and armor he'd managed to acquire before dying, probably got taken off his corpse most likely, not like he would ever find out.

He trudged along, his wrists bound by a pair of manacles and pulled along by one of the Heartless under Hades's control. In keeping with what one would expect of 'Hell', he was heading to another of the many tortures he'd been put through ever since coming here. He shivered, the tattered rags of his old clothing still dripping from being drowned in sub-freezing waters for longer than should have been possible for a human, and next was to be burning tar; death couldn't come to someone already dead, so there would only be more pain. He didn't want to think about whatever would come after that.

And, unbeknownst to the dead man, something else watched him, flickering in and out of the shadows of the Underworld, sight unseen.
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Icefox
 Posted: Aug 8 2016, 08:26 PM
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Stone said goodbye to Millie and thanked her for the ride as the pair parted ways outside the great Colosseum, one going for some training and the other on a much more personal quest. Stone had heard from one of her sometime adventuring contacts about someone she had known in the area, someone she had been looking for for a long time.

Someone she was willing to quite literally go to hell to drag back.

As she walked down the stairs towards the realm of Hades below the stadium, she took a moment to make sure she had everything ready to go. Reaper shotguns and lots and lots of shells, check. Chronal Accelerator covering most of her chest and primed for action, check. A satchel full of all the potions Nate had to spare to fix every ailment they could think of, check. Now all that was left was to rescue Calvin once and for all.

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Captain Natalie Prisma
Dutchess "Dovi" Prisma
Paathar Atma, a.k.a. Stoneheart
Selina Williams
Jane Doe
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eagerdigger
 Posted: Aug 9 2016, 02:40 PM
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Stone wasn't alone in the shadows...A young man in a brown cloak whistled gently as he walked through the underworld, he was a bit pressed to focus since this was an especially bad place to be a psychic. Edd had been a bit more wary about trying to keep Kantia on the up and up with things pertaining to her, and now he was trying to make good on that the best way he could. He told her, essentially...

"One of your friends got deep sixed...a guy named Calvin, right? Luckily it ain't anything permanent. Looks like he's being holed up in an underworld of sorts...if I had to guess by the looks of it, Hades' pad. I wanna make up for not telling you about your sister, so...Want to go check in on him?" Regardless, he also figured this was going to be something interesting anyhow...maybe even an Akashic point in this place? Still, the howling voices of the damned and dead were bugging him...mentally a loud place. He bit his lip a bit...

"Kantia, you see anything? It's dark as...well, Hell. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, but holy crap this place is dismal. Trying to open my mind is painful here too..." He murmured. Still, he had a gun and a small strange hilt of a blade at his side...it looked like a hollow tuning fork, almost...But it had a much greater function once used.

--------------------
"Well..It's about time"

George Beaumont - The Lecherous, Clever Gearhead
Ryoto Cuyler - The Gentle, Adoring Keyblade Holder
Gloria Harpe - The Broken, Brave Blademaster
Edd Z. - The Psychic, Excitable Pilot
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Millie Sentinal
 Posted: Aug 9 2016, 07:43 PM
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Kantia nodded slowly. Wracking her brain in an attempt to find who Calvin was again. Coming back with the fight for their lives in Monstro. "Oh, yeah, I remember him." She looked down a little, out of all those in that situation Calvin was the one that gave the best first impression to her. The robot that had become her ship was a close second and the girl... Well she was dead and an idiot.

Her eyes scanned the area. "Hold on." They trained in on a little floating orb of light. A damned soul. Always wandering the halls in agony. It let off some light. Slowly she would walk up to it and gently grab it... It felt cold in her hands. Kantia could feel the despair it was in and a yearning... A life cut by a thief in the night.

Kantia held it softly and it seemed to grow brighter. "That's it..." Now the light was bright enough to see by, at least nine feet. "That work?" She looked at Edd.

--------------------
Millie Sentinal ()
Kantia Rose (Quiet shy girl, that can forge weapons out of the hearts of her allies.)
Sakuya Izayoi (The Perfect and Elegant Maid of the Scarlet Mansion.)
Exsila (Heartless of Alexis Sentinal, and controls a few Heartless.)
Jacob Signar
Xia
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Tarkya
 Posted: Aug 9 2016, 11:44 PM
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Not everyone in the Underworld was there on a mission. Bastian was just trying to find a way out.

He'd ended up here by accident, dying not to a enemy's blade, but to his own lack of awareness and a chunk of flaming debris. As far as he could tell, the kisk had done its work; his body and soul was as whole as it could be after death. He'd just been... misplaced, somehow.

At least it was a dark place. To have to deal with sun on top of the ghosts and this dismal, draining atmosphere would have just been too much to handle.

The flare of light nearly blinded him, but it was also a good sign - he'd seen nothing like that out of the dead here. He approached it, perhaps a little too quickly for his own good - but how could he know the stories of this place, or how one might react to the approach of a clawed, red-eyed figure emerging from its darkness?

"Hey...!"

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SaintAbsol
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 02:14 AM
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That was always the trouble when it came to the mythologies of countless worlds attempting to inter-mesh with each other: what applied in one world didn't necessarily apply in another. The introduction of Interferences into the mix, who seemed to barely follow any rules set, just further muddied the issue. It was honestly no surprise that there was the occasional mix-up with such things, though it tended to make things that much more of a hassle for the various gods and goddesses of the dead.

This version of Hades, with his general smugness and propensity to quite literally explode with anger, wasn't the easiest deity to work with under the best circumstances. Add in this latest set of problems, and he was coming down hard on anyone trying to cheat the system even slightly.

Although Calvin was in no position to fight back at the moment, and was suitably bound should he even get the idea in his mind, Bastian's arrival in the Underworld was quite a bit different than most. He was technically still alive, so he couldn't be easily bound. Not that it would prevent Hades from trying, if only as a matter of pride at this point.

While actual demons couldn't be spared, given that someone still had to oversee the torture, there were always going be more Heartless.

Several Creeper Plants popped out of the ground, a few of them actually dangerously close to Bastian, and started taking potshots at the group with their seeds. Half a moment latter, a group of Zip Slashers dashed in out of the fog, their razor-sharp blades swinging through the air with a shocking precision. And, to complete the starting hurdle for the Interferences, two Morning Stars warped in and landed with a metallic 'THUNK' as the started hopping and clawing their way forward in their thick armor.
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Icefox
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 03:47 PM
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All things considered, this was a plan made more out of passion than logic, and Stone was starting to realize that as she crossed into the abode of the dead. George and Nate had done what they could to explain Hades and his realm to her, but at the end of the day she still didn't really know where she was going. Thankfully, the law of wonderful coincidences happened to be dealing with that for her, and in the distance she saw what looked like a man being attacked by a small mob of Heartless. If she was super lucky that was Calvin, but outside the realm of outright fantasy he might know where to find Calvin.

As she approached she took a quick stock of the things attacking him. The fast ones seemed to be the most dangerous, except maybe the big slow ones, and she knew just how to handle that. The large blue circle on her chest flared brightly for a moment in harmony with the Outsider brand on the back of her left hand, and in that moment what was really only a quarter of a second stretched on for her for nearly a minute. She smirked and drew the two shotguns out of her belt as she strolled forward, easily holding one in each hand and exterminating the monsters before they could even notice her. That left the plants and the big guys, and if she needed to she doubted they would be more than a speedbump for her as time resumed normal speed and the things all dropped dead at once.

--------------------
Captain Natalie Prisma
Dutchess "Dovi" Prisma
Paathar Atma, a.k.a. Stoneheart
Selina Williams
Jane Doe
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eagerdigger
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 04:06 PM
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Edd opened his mind a bit more, and he looked over. Shotguns, it looked like. It seems like a downright brawl was breaking out. Hades, trying to keep order. Very well. He relayed this to Kantia. "Eyes up, looks like someone got impatient." The young man said, pulling his hood down and taking out the hilt and empty receptacle of his beam katana. He quickly and discreetly shook the internal energy charger(he always kind of hid this bit from Kantia since it looked vulgar), quickly building up energy inside it before the katana proper burst into green energy...Looking like a heavy serrated club in power but easy to lift as a dream.

"Looks like someone with...Time powers. Cursed mark. Pretty strong and fast, too. I think they're fighting heartless...Not a lot, and nothing extremely dangerous."

He offers his hand to her, to let her take the mecha power armor ability from him.

"Just in case." He said. "Also.." His left glowed green a bit as he said "PK Shield, Alpha." A strange hexagonal force field enveloped her. "For good luck." He said, winking that left eye closed as he approached...

--------------------
"Well..It's about time"

George Beaumont - The Lecherous, Clever Gearhead
Ryoto Cuyler - The Gentle, Adoring Keyblade Holder
Gloria Harpe - The Broken, Brave Blademaster
Edd Z. - The Psychic, Excitable Pilot
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Millie Sentinal
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 04:45 PM
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Kantia tried to activate her powers but only got a small painful backlash from it. She couldn't use Edd for some reason. She drew her sword and guided the small spirit that she had taken from the air.

She drew her sword from her makeshift sheath and followed behind Edd, even though whoever was already over there was quickly cleaning out the Heartless.

--------------------
Millie Sentinal ()
Kantia Rose (Quiet shy girl, that can forge weapons out of the hearts of her allies.)
Sakuya Izayoi (The Perfect and Elegant Maid of the Scarlet Mansion.)
Exsila (Heartless of Alexis Sentinal, and controls a few Heartless.)
Jacob Signar
Xia
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Tarkya
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 05:08 PM
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Things happened quickly around Bastian.

First there were the Heartless, and he drew sword and shield from his cube in preparation for a long fight. He took a breath, gathering whatever scattered aether he could manage...

...and in a fraction of a second, most of the Heartless simply fell dead around him, and someone new stood in their place. Humanoid, but with the marks of a beast... sapiens? He gave her a red eyed glare, but he couldn't be picky in this place. The worlds never did follow the same rules as Asmodae...

He turned his attention to the Morning Stars, clashing sword against shield with a provoking roar. It was weak in this place, but it was at least enough to draw their attention towards him. He glanced sidelong at the eared woman. "Living or dead?"

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SaintAbsol
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 05:44 PM
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The Heartless were not smart enemies.

That was not a generalization, it was a fact. Being made up of lost Hearts, they were almost entirely dependent on instinct and emotion for their actions. It took a strong willed and intelligent leader for them to be effectively mobilized and actually impede the progress of anything. A group such as this, while fine for the more everyday kind of encroaches the Underworld would face, was woefully insufficient to deal with an Interference, even one bound by the Underworld's curse.

The Zip Slashers didn't even had time to react, the timeshifted wolfgirl cutting them down before even their prodigious speed to counter her. However, as she came closer to the Asmodaen, the Creeper Plants pulled themselves back under the ground and shot along through the own root systems, popping back out some distance way and taking more potshots at them. A few of them actually turned their attention toward Edd and Kantia, bringing them into the conflict with more seed bullets.

The Morning Stars gave no quarter either, with the one Bastian clashed with pushing back with all it's weight for the moment, before it's two weapon arms popped out of its sides. As with everything it did, the swings that followed were incredibly ungainly... but considering it was swinging with two giant spiked balls made of solid metal, the swings didn't need to look good to hurt.

The second one actually hopped off the ground, spinning as it went, and landed on one of the points of its armor, still spinning like a demented top. With speed that something so large normally shouldn't have possessed, it shot across the fog-covered ground, making a beeline for Edd and Kantia as well.
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Icefox
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 07:33 PM
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"Living. You?" Stone stepped up and glanced down at her chestpiece, wondering if it was worth going again. She didn't know the limits of the thing, and even though it was one of George's best she still wasn't too interested in pushing it to the limit this quickly. Best to let it rest for a while, and that meant relying on her own sense of aim and reflexes as she sighted down the two barrels and started shooting flower shadows.

--------------------
Captain Natalie Prisma
Dutchess "Dovi" Prisma
Paathar Atma, a.k.a. Stoneheart
Selina Williams
Jane Doe
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eagerdigger
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 07:54 PM
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The unfortunate thing about the heartless hordes, and the greatest asset they have in the face of their lack of true tactics, was that they were like cockroaches. Where there was one, there were 5 more in wait to support it once the fracas started. This was no different.

Rabid Dogs, the proverbial hellhounds, sniffed and started entering the fracas while Stone was thinking...Trying to take her off guard. They were followed up by Trick Ghosts, because what other sort of heartless would blend well in the realm of the dead?

The Lil cannons, however, were the only off-theme creature. They remained in the distance, a shot leveled at Bastian...Edd's voice broke through the darkness.

"PK Freeze! " A wall of thick ice, only barely wider than Stone herself, sprung up behind her as a Rabid Dog leaped to strike, slamming into it. The magical blast that launched at Bastion met green energy of the Beam Katana...Edd closed his eyes as he ran up to meet the projectile. He followed the flow of destiny to guide his steps...feeling like he was filling the blanks...or some guide. Step here. Step there...Lift blade so..A crackle as the blast sent him skidding back. He was still standing.

"If you want to keep living, might want to watch your back. Both of you." Edd said.

--------------------
"Well..It's about time"

George Beaumont - The Lecherous, Clever Gearhead
Ryoto Cuyler - The Gentle, Adoring Keyblade Holder
Gloria Harpe - The Broken, Brave Blademaster
Edd Z. - The Psychic, Excitable Pilot
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Millie Sentinal
 Posted: Aug 10 2016, 08:52 PM
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Kantia meanwhile made sure to keep Edd's back covered, quite literally, with the nanomachine dragon that she owned. It folded up and blocked a few shots from the cannons. Then bound off as a puddle to destroy the things, in most efficient way. Kantia on the other way was squaring off against a trick ghost, ducking under its flashlight and then running it through on her blade.

It dispersed, leaving her a little winded. She then launched herself to the side as a Rabid Dog tried to ram her. This was too much. Kantia stood back up and pulled a bottle from her pocket. Uncorking it and turning it upside down. Letting three Squirts (miniature Heartless like ghost) fell out and rush towards the Rabid Dogs that wanted to attack her.

The girl breathed heavy and glanced around. The Dragon had nearly dealt with everything that it needed to, so they mostly had to worry about what was left in melee range.

--------------------
Millie Sentinal ()
Kantia Rose (Quiet shy girl, that can forge weapons out of the hearts of her allies.)
Sakuya Izayoi (The Perfect and Elegant Maid of the Scarlet Mansion.)
Exsila (Heartless of Alexis Sentinal, and controls a few Heartless.)
Jacob Signar
Xia
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Tarkya
 Posted: Aug 11 2016, 12:31 AM
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Bastian took the left half of the Morning Star's flailing with his shield arm, and twisted his body so that he would take the majority of the impact on his right with his body, rather than his sword arm. It scraped across his armor with a metallic screech, and the daeva shuddered under the impact, but adrenaline was enough to bury the immediate pain of blunt-force injury.

"I'm alive enough," he growled, eyes flaring red as he pushed forward. The heartless's flailing, ungainly attacks didn't need much aim, but they moved slowly enough for him to push forward, raising his sword and striking at the creature's face with his sword's pommel. It was nowhere near as effective as a hammer, but it was enough to send the Morning Star reeling, and he pushed on, knocking it backwards with another sharp strike with the face of his shield.

He stood there a moment, catching his breath. Even a simple task like that had winded him as if he'd been fighting for far longer, and while he was used to fighting through the effects of soul sickness, this was something else. It was as if the very fabric of this place was an abyss, leeching away at his strength. He could handle it for now, but if it kept on... "How many of you are there?"

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SaintAbsol
 Posted: Aug 13 2016, 03:47 PM
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More, there were always more Heartless to call forward. They were drawn to the darkness within the Hearts of all people, and the Underworld had no shortage of those in stock.

Even so, there was a limit to just how many could be called to attack at a time. Not out of any fear of thinning their numbers, but out of fear for self-preservation. It didn't matter if a world's lock was sealed, enough Heartless in one location could brute force their way through even the strongest seals. Hades was many things, especially in this iteration of the Greek pantheon, but even he wasn't enough of a fool to risk his own safety for the sake of keeping the Underworld contained.

While more Heartless appeared in an attempt to overwhelm the Interferences, there was an end to them in due time. With Bastian's bashing of the Morning Star being enough to set the Heart inside free, and off to wherever it was they went afterward, the tide of Heartless receded and left them alone in the Underworld.

-----------------------

Deeper within the seemingly endless maze of tunnels and platforms and torture chambers, Calvin continued to stagger along. His wrists were raw and bleeding thanks to the manacles he wore being improperly sized, but that pain had long since faded into the background compared to what he'd been experiencing following death.

He winced as he heard multiple voices cry out in agony, screaming words in more languages than he could recognize or even begin to translate. Another wince soon followed as he felt the barely healed scars from a recent torture session involving bladed whips tear open again. Nothing ever really healed here, just lingered on that edge where any sudden movements could tear it back open and make you bleed to the point you should have died, but wouldn't.

Truthfully, the man had no idea an impromptu rescue party was coming to liberate him, and he probably wouldn't believe it if even if he did. The Underworld having done a remarkable job of crushing his capacity for hope in that regard.

And, through it all, a hidden figure watched, scowling heavily in the shadows.
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Icefox
 Posted: Aug 13 2016, 04:36 PM
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Stone finished off the last few Heartless as the bulk of them retreated and slid her weapons back into her belt, turning with a satisfied smirk to the rest of the group. She had no idea who these people were, but she imagined she was going to need to get as much help as she could to survive the next few hours, and if they were going anywhere close to the same direction she was she would take it.

"So, that was fun. Paathar Atma, but please, just call me Stoneheart. What brings all of you past the gates of the dead?"

--------------------
Captain Natalie Prisma
Dutchess "Dovi" Prisma
Paathar Atma, a.k.a. Stoneheart
Selina Williams
Jane Doe
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eagerdigger
 Posted: Aug 14 2016, 05:21 PM
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"Spoilers." Edd said, giving a little grin underneath his jedi-like cloak as he shook his finger..his eyes still glowing green as he winked before shutting the beam katana off and putting it to his side. The young man put his cloak down, revealing himself a bit.

"I'm here as a favor to a friend, if that helps, though I've got other reasons. I know who you are, though and who you're looking for.

Some guy named Calvin, right? Got knifed in the back for his loot, what a way to go..." A shake of his head.

"Anyways, like I said, here for my own reasons but I'm on your side for the time being." The mass of the damned still stretched out like a wave, Edd looking slightly uneasy. Their minds were even louder than they are, at least they only had one mouth...but a hundred hundred hundred ghostly neurons screaming in pain? Loud.

--------------------
"Well..It's about time"

George Beaumont - The Lecherous, Clever Gearhead
Ryoto Cuyler - The Gentle, Adoring Keyblade Holder
Gloria Harpe - The Broken, Brave Blademaster
Edd Z. - The Psychic, Excitable Pilot
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Millie Sentinal
 Posted: Aug 14 2016, 06:04 PM
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Kantia stared at Stone for a long time. She had changed quite a bit, but it was still Stone. The same one she met in Skyrim. Her eyes went along as she traced the edges of the wall and held the soul in her hands.

"Calvin." She said in her normal state of speech. Kantia let the soul float around her, lighting up the area. "He's here... And needs help."

--------------------
Millie Sentinal ()
Kantia Rose (Quiet shy girl, that can forge weapons out of the hearts of her allies.)
Sakuya Izayoi (The Perfect and Elegant Maid of the Scarlet Mansion.)
Exsila (Heartless of Alexis Sentinal, and controls a few Heartless.)
Jacob Signar
Xia
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SaintAbsol
 Posted: Aug 14 2016, 07:17 PM
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'Help'

Calvin needed a lot more than just 'help', but that still left the problem of actually getting to him.

Unlike in the game, where there were relatively few paths and areas to explore, the Underworld of this reality didn't have to adhere to any ESRB-ratings or allowing a player-character to finish the game in any decent amount of time. As such, there were a lot more paths to take, complete with screams of both the real and ethereal variety echoing about so much it was impossible to tell where they all came from.

Things weren't looking all that good for the group managing to find the deceased archer, even with the light Kantia had provided them.

Then, all of a sudden, a shadow flashed at the edge of the illumination.

It wasn't a Shadow Heartless, but more of a vaguely humanoid shape contrasted from the light. And, whatever it was, it had remained far enough away that only the most basic details about it could be illuminated, and even then the fog still hid most of it. Even so, the shadow was still visible, and it could be seen flitting down one of the paths before it could no longer be seen by the light.
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