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September 5th, 2019

7:30 PM

Riverside Park

 

Riverside parks was silent in the growing darkness. The weather was nice and warm, the last of the rapidly fading summer quickly casting its light on Riverside Park. Despite the presence of the Sentry statue, the park was quiet and relatively empty for the time of year and day. Even now, with the hour growing late, there would usually be plenty of tourists and Freedom City natives alike in the park. 

 

Jessica Witchblood had heard rumors. There were reasons the park was empty. Something feeding on something in the park. It had happened slowly, and it would probably attract greater attention soon, but maybe there was something interesting there for her to do or see first?

 

Of course, there was something else to get her attention first, wasn't there? A red haired young man clad in jeans and a green hoodie hovering before the face of the Sentry statue, arms crossed in front of his chest, one hand cupping his chin. Golden dust seemed to fall from him. He seemed deep in thought, like he was studying the statue intensely.

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While the seasonal weather didn't bother her due to her demonic heritage, she was more a summer girl. The sun was warm, the people were more active, and the world just seemed more alive. All autumn reminded her of is the time she had to rake leaves for days on end, the ubiquity of pumpkin spice, and... Halloween. Probably the only fun thing in a span of around three or four months. Dressing up and running around getting free candy for a night. Also the powerful mysticism surrounding the night. It ticked quite a few of her boxes.

 

The rumors of something feeding on something was the catalyst for her going to the park, but she had been wanting to visit this place for a long time. So happy coincidence, except not so happy. She sucked in some air as she took in the sights of the area. Mainly the Rose Garden. She stopped there for a bit, forgetting why she was even here for a while.

 

When she came to her senses, she pulled herself the pretty beautiful flowers the color of her skin. It wasn't that hard as there was a guy up in the air, face to face with the Sentry statue. Obviously not everyone knew everything, but at least she could question him about the rumors. Maybe he would even help her? As she drew closer, the shadowish figure turned into an attractive looking boy in a hoodie. A stark contrast to her costume; a black mesh top with knee length leggings and elbow length arm guards of the same fabric.

 

"Greetings," she said, hands on her hips, in an exaggerated heroic voice. It was something she was trying out, it needed work. "what brings you to this height," she paused, looking at him for a second. Don't eat the eye candy! "citizen," she asked awkwardly in an upward tone.

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Forever Boy

 

The boy looked over, a smile already on his face. Holding up his right index finger for a brief moment, he then pointed at the statue. "This statue, for the most part. It is quite interesting, is it not?" His voice was light and playful, and yet with a somber undercurrent. There was something about him that seemed just a slightly bit off, like the way he spoke without contractions at all, and just the slightest hint of an accent that Jessica would not be able to place. "I read about the Centurion a short while ago. Such an interesting man. He had such brilliant adventures!" He spun in mid-air, swinging his arm around, glowing golden dust falling off him in the process. "So, I just had to visit!" 

 

He turned to the woman before him, making a quick bow, before turning his face up to get a proper look at her. "And you! What an interesting color you are! But! Red can mean many things! The color of the hero, or the color of blood! What does your red mean?" 

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Oh wow, that kind of spirit was almost infectious. In a good way. Jessica's cool demeanor took a hit, but she kept a straight face. Barely. Resisting the urge to reach out and catch some of that dust. Though she did catch something he said. Just read stories about the Centurion? Jessica was born four years after he died and remembered the world treating him like a modern saint.

 

Suppressing a giggle under her breath, she cleared her throat and continued her cadence, "yes! The Centurion was a good man who did no wrong. A savior to us all." As he critiqued her skin, she showed off with a midair spin of her own. "Oh, my red is... Well, it helps to be noticeable." That really didn't answer his question, but she had questions of her own.

 

"Since I have you here, might I ask you a few questions? I'm here for a reason. Hero business, you know?"

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Forever Boy

 

The boy smiled, and gave a nod. "It is a lovely shade to be noticed by, at least." If he was offended by the lack of an answer, it didn't show. While she spoke, he pointed down and started descending, until he landed on the ground in front of the statue, the golden dust fading within moments.

 

He took a moment before responding, seeming to think the question over for a moment, but still met the woman with a smile, if she followed him. "The color of a hero, then!" he exclaimed with the same excitement as before, while he placed his hands in the big front pocket of the hoodie. "How can I be of service, for this hero business?" The playful tone played through his voice as he asked with a smile.

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He felt so genuine in his compliments. Something Jessica hadn't heard in a while. Like he was too good to be true. Though really, she felt no ill will from him or towards him. It was nice to feel nice. The float down was slow as she watched him shimmer in gold while she talked. She wasn't going to be nosy about his powers, for now at least. He might not even be a hero type. Like, really, who doesn't know the Centurion?

 

"Unfortunately it's not that simple," she said in a concerned, less exaggerated voice. She wasn't trying to drop the hero voice, it was just really uneasy to keep up with the topic at hand. At least she was still floating a head taller than him, something she always saw her costumed allies do. "People have been disappearing in this area," she said bluntly, "I was wondering if you have heard anything of the sort? Seeing as this place isn't crawling with investigators, I'll assume we got here a little early." She grinned, "well, maybe just me then."

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Forever Boy

 

The young man shrugged, the smile of course remaining on his lips. It shifted and changed, but it was constantly there. A warm, happy smile. "And here I would have believed this to be a safe place. Honestly, who goes around disappearing people in a place like this?" There was a bit of edge to his voice now. Not a lot, not enough to cut, but a clear annoyance, as he shook his head.

 

Still, he seemed more amused by the situation than anything. A bit excited, perhaps. "This is the first that I am hearing of people disappearing from here, so I suppose my presence is nothing but luck, at least for one of us." His entire body went stiff for a moment, as if he was listening to something, even if Jessica could not hear nothing. "Well, whatever it is, I believe we are about to have company." He shifted lightly, stepping close to Jessica, while still remaining grounded.  He was turned in the direction of some nearby trees. "It does not sound friendly, but let us see, yes? Oh, and I do not believe I ever got a name. What should I call you, Miss Red?"

Edited by RocketLord

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She wanted nothing more than the happiness this guy had. She didn't expect anything to come of it, though once this was over, she'd ask to meet him in plain clothes. Her identity was, well, kind of not secret. Not wearing a mask at all, and being quite noticeable among the population. "Yeah, luck. More than one of us," she said before a small laugh and happy sigh. Her voice returned to the upright, "just keep you eyes peeled and your head on a swivel!"

 

She should have taken her own advice! When he stepped towards her, explaining that something sinister was abound, she looked in the direction of the disturbance. "My name is," she said, thinking of all the aliases she'd used in the past year, plucking one out quickly, "Crimson Beguiler." Name was not important at the moment. She'd explain later. When potential danger was not abound.

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GM

 

There was a crack as something stepped on a stick in the direction the young man had pointed out. Something was indeed approaching the Crimson Beguiler and her companion. A humanoid figure, a man it seemed, stepped out from the shadows under a group of trees, his left hand resting one the tree closest to the two.

 

He was dressed in a nice deep blue suit with matching pants, with a white dress shirt under it, and a deep blue tie. It was all looking very neat and proper. He had short black hair, cleanshaven. Dark eyes. Honestly, he looked like just a regular man in a business suit, if not for three things: He was not wearing any shoes or socks, not exactly comfortable in the weather. His fingers were digging into the bark of the tree he was leaning against, and his eyes were glowing faintly purple as he stared at them.

 

The man let go of the tree, his lips splitting into a smile just a bit wider than it should be. 

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"Well, this isn't ominous," Crimson Beguiler said jokingly, "nope. Not at all." She didn't know if - wait, she hadn't got the flying guy's name! - he was up for it. This was hers to do anyway. She stepped in front of him, as a protector.

 

"Hello," she put on a big grin, wordlessly daring him to come closer, "is there anything I can help you with?" She knew not to take people on appearances, as she herself wasn't some people's cup of tea. But this guy looked almost deranged. Self preservation was something you learned in this business.

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GM

 

"Who are you?" The man raised his right hand as he spoke, pointing in the direction of Jessica and the young man, though it was not quite clear who he meant. He took a step forward, leaving distinct burnt marks behind every step in the grass, like the skin under his feet were enough to set the grass on fire, even if just for a brief moment.

 

"Not from around here. Not quite. Not the usual visitors to this park." He stopped about ten feet away from Jessica and the young man, then repeated his first question. "Now, tell me, who are you?"

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