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Kord Dormitories, Third Floor

Claremont Academy, Freedom City, New Jersey

Saturday, September 4, 2021

 

The start of another school year was only a few days away, so unsurprisingly the Claremont Academy campus was abuzz with activity as parents and students descended on the school's dormitories. Amid this activity, a pair of teenage girls with bright red hair made their way from the parking lot toward the Rita Kord Dormitory.

 

At first glance, one might have assumed the two girls were twins, except it was not just their features that were completely identical, they were both dressed in the exact same grey and black plaid skirt and white top. In fact, the only difference between the two was that one was carrying a suitcase and had a backpack over one shoulder, while the other was carrying a box.

 

Bernadette O'Connell glanced back at her duplicate that was carrying the box behind her, letting out a slight sigh at the unintended display of her powers. The teen was glad that her older brothers had stayed up in Boston when her parents had driven her down for the start of the year at her new school, as there had been a few times where the family mini-van had gotten a bit too crowded. Hopefully this new school would help her learn to prevent things like that.

 

Reaching the entrance of the building, the redhead glanced up towards the upper floors a moment before looking back down at the letter from the school that had her room assignment. "Alright, third floor, Room 308." She stated to her duplicate with a slight Irish accent, even though it was entirely unnecessary to communicate that out loud. Her other duplicate that was still back at the car with her parents also knew where the floor was located and could guide them up there when with the remainder of Bernadette's things.

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At the top of the stairs, a cat was waiting for them. Curled up in a corner where it was out of the way, it was mostly white with brown and orange spots on the body, watching them through wide yellow eyes. It made eye contact with the box-carrying duo, gave a distinct 'Mrow' sound, then turned and ran pell-mell away with the mad scramble of a cat running away from some invisible terror. With a slight patter of feet, it ran into the girl's common room on this floor and disappeared. 

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Starshine

Rosalind was regretting insisting that she was dropped off at the end of the drive, but after an hour in a car with her mom it was either that or matricide. Ever since she’d found out about the bracelets she’d worried about how it was affecting her little daughter, more dangerous though was apparently the big bad city that had crime, alcohol and even worse boys (or girl or non-binary her mom was at least that progressive).

 

She’d also insisted that she take a rather large bags packed with essential clothes for living in Freedom City, apparently the temperature dropped a dozen degrees in the forty miles between here and home. She’d stubbornly managed half the long, long drive before using her bracelets enhancement of her strength. Finally she reached Kord house, after checking several times, and made her way up the stairs to her floor.

 

Hi there I think I’m on the right floor?”

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Multi-Girl

 

Bernadette and her duplicate had stopped in surprise at the appearance of a cat up on the landing for the third floor before it took off toward the hallway of the floor.

 

"Are pets allowed?" Asked yet another redheaded duplicate that had appeared.

 

The original regarded the new duplicate as she replied, "I think there was something about them in the letter."


As Rosalind came up the stairs to the trio, the Bernadette at the back carrying the box looked over to the other girl. "That depends," she replied with a slight Irish accent, "this is one of the girl’s floors, but I think the fourth floor is as well."

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Starshine

With a worried look Rosalind looked back down at her phone with all the important details, before her brain caught up wth what she was seeing and looked back up. Weird stuff might be common in the big city, but she was still getting use to it all.

 

I hope this isn’t rude to ask, but are you triplets?”

 

Was there an etiquette to asking if someone had powers? Hopefully the school had a guide on such things, because she really needed to learn all this fairly rapidly!

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Multi-Girl

 

"No" Replied all three version of Bernadette at the same time, causing the one carrying a suitcase to look at the other two with a slight frown. Both started continuing to the room, the most recently created duplicate taking the suitcase before turning to go.

 

The remaining redhead turned back toward Rosalind. "Sorry." She said with a small smile. "I'm Bernadette, I…am able to make copies of myself. But don't exactly have good control over it yet."

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Starshine

Hopefully not a good and evil version!” she laughed nervously, saying the first thing that came to mind

 

My names Rosalind, Rosalind Sommaripa.” she carefully pronounced every syllable, an old habit “It’s a Greek name, but as you can probably tell by my accent I’m relatively local. Not from Freedom City though.”

 

She took a breath and gave a nervous little smile, she tended to go on a bit when nervous.

 

I guess babbling is one of my superpowers!”

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Shadowborne

 

Muirne had managed to move in without too much trouble earlier since she had only needed to move a single floor, which wasn't exactly the most difficult traversal for someone with her powers. Instead she's decided to try her hands at baking after remembering her own welcome to the fourth floor the previous year. The muffins and cookies weren't the prettiest and she'd had to use her powers to do some things, like avoid burning her hands by turning them to shadow, which she was pretty sure wouldn't affect the flavour...

 

I don't see the point of this.

 

I want to make a good first impression with my new floormates. Having friends isn't exactly a bad thing.

 

Hmmmmmmm...

 

Ignoring the feeling that Aoife had drawn the wrong conclusion she walked up the stairs to the common area, wreathed in shadows with her arms literally wrapped around a bowl of cookies and tray of muffins. "Wilcumian gehwa1! I made some things to welcome everyone, hope you like them!" She'd overheard something about duplicates and guessed it was the identical girl's but wasn't going to make any assumptions or comment until she had confirmation.

 

1 Welcome everyone

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"Mrow?" Another cat from who knew where walked past Starshine, sinously intertwining itself between her legs, and looked up with a curious expression. This certainly resembled the same cat as before, right down to the short little bobtail that looked more like a bunny's than a cat's. Perhaps lacking the nature of its identical twin, it flopped down on the floor between the two girls, looking at them expectantly. 

 

When Muirne walked into the common room she had a distinct impression that there was someone there who was neither of the two girls outside, but quickly that impression faded. The room seemed perfectly innocuous, just as she had last seen it before going on summer break, except there was a chubby white and brown cat curled up on the room's couch, watching her as it slowly and methodically licked its front paw. 

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Muti-Girl

 

The Bernadette still in the stairway gave Rosalind another smile as the other girl introduced herself. "Well, so far I have not had a duplicate that was evil, hopefully it will stay that way." The redhead responded as the two started to follow after the two duplicates.

 

"I'm from Boston, but was born in Ireland and lived there for awhile, as I’m sure you can gather from my accent." She stated.

 

Up ahead in the common room of the third floor, the two duplicates looked over at Muirne as she brought out some treats.

 

"Wow, those look great." One of the identical redheads carrying a suitcase said to Muirne. "I'm Bernadette, well, a copy of her, anyway."

 

"She is just behind us." Added the duplicate carrying a box as the two continued down towards one of the rooms.

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Starshine

Carefully putting down the heavy bag, so not to startle the cat, Rosalind bent down to attempt to scritch the kitty behind the ear. She wasn’t overly home sick yet, it helped it was a couple of minutes flight away, but she was reminded of her own cat Artemis who wasn’t anything like her namesake.

 

Oooh save me a cookie, I’ve a little busy right now with very important stuff!”

 

Car snacks or no she was still a little peckish, she wonder if it was something to do with using her powers something else to find out at here.

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The cat purred at Starshine's touch, reaching up to catch her hands with its paws, then flopped back onto its legs and scampered into the common room too. Muirne saw this cat enter as well, trotting into the room and leaping up onto the couch next to its chunkier sibling. As the time-displaced Kentish girl watched, the two cats sat in nearly identical 'meatloaf' postures with their limbs tucked away under their bodies, watching her with bright yellow eyes. 

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Nocturne

 

"Tch. More animals," said Natalia, taking in the common room as she entered; she was wearing black slacks and a loose golden top, but the matching jacket was draped over a piece of luggage too large to be reasonably moved as easily as it was.

 

She set the luggage down for a moment and it immediately slumped under weight it hadn't previously had. "I don't suppose anyone's figured out who owns them," she asked, looking down at the cats from behind her sunglasses. "I'd really prefer to not spend yet another year trying to get animal fur out of everything I own."

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The cats looked up at Nocturne through slitted yellow eyes - then suddenly they were gone. 

 

And a girl was sitting there, a girl who seemed to have the qualities of 'cat' herself. Her hair was thick and mostly white with a few patches of brown that matched the colors of the cats that had been occupying her space, as were the large triangular ears that sat atop her head. She looked up at Nocturne through huge yellow eyes and wrinkled her small, upturned nose. A tray sat on her lap holding a single handless cup, adorned with the Japanese character '猫'. The girl herself looked Japanese, right down to a brightly-colored Art Deco kimono wrapped around her body. 

 

Counting inside her head to prolong the moment, Neko raised the steaming cup to her lips and said with the slow, distinct voice of someone speaking a foreign language. "You will." She set down the cup and let it and the tray disappear from her lap. "I am Neko," she said, pronouncing it like "Neck-O" in English as she folded her hands in her lap. She peered past Nocturne at the other girls and asked, unable to keep some trepidation out of her voice. "Do any of you speak Japanese?" 

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Multi-Girl


Bernadette, the original one, had followed Rosalinda up to the third floor common room. She gave a small wave and a smile to Muirne, considering her two duplicates had already introduced her, before turning to regard the pair of cats that had both now made their way into the common room. It was then that Natalia made her way into the common room and commented about the cats and animal fur getting everywhere.

 

That was when the cats disappeared to be replaced by an Asian teenager who introduced herself as Neko. Bernadette moved closer, giving the other teen a smile. "Hi Neko," she began, trying her best to match how the other girl had pronounced her name, "I'm Bernadette, it is very nice to meet you. I am afraid I don’t speak Japanese though."

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Starshine

Lost in her own thoughts Rosalind wasn’t prepared for the sudden appearance of Neko, jumping back a bit in shock. It took a few seconds to quite process quite what had just happened,.

 

Oh sorry you shocked me a little!”

 

Duplicators, people shrouded in shadow and shapeshifters this was her life now! Still as crazy as it seemed it was also kind of fun.

 

The only Japanese I know is from the local menu, apart from Konnichiwa!”she even gave a little bow “Geia sou if you will! That's hello in Greek the only other language I speak!”

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Nocturne

 

Natalia pressed her lips together for a moment before, apparently, deciding that this was just how this year was going to go. "Well," she said, "then I suppose you own yourself. Phenomenal. Try to keep your fur to other things you own, hm?"

 

She removed her sunglasses, carefully slipping them into one of her folded jacket's pockets in exchange for a small slip of paper. "Though unless you're in room....305," she added, gold irises skimming her notes, "I imagine that won't be hard. I'll just have to live in hope that my new roommate doesn't run a zoo...or a cat rescue."

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Shadowborne

 

Muirne had to admit that the cat's presence was confusing but the girl's response was a bit on the rude side if she had to be honest, regardless she wasn't going to be brought down by it. Some people just weren't fond of animals and that was... Well she didn't super understand why, but she wasn't going to judge regardless.

 

The sensation of someone else being present was a tad more concerning, but she'd felt the sensation of being watched plenty of times since she'd awoken without anyone being there, and had grown accustomed to odd things. Still, she leaned into her life sense and found nothing to be amiss which was reassuring. Regardless, she smiled at the others who seemed appreciative of her baking, offering the duplicate who'd complimented her baking the muffin tray. "Þancian þú,1 feel free to help yourself!" She gave a small chuckle at the other girl's preoccupation, and resolved to save at least one as she'd asked.

 

She almost dropped the muffin tray in surprise at the sudden transformation of the cat... girl, but recovered far enough to avoid a tragedy. "Oh, hello! Are you a shapeshifter? I'm Muirne, I don't speak Japanese sorry." Registering the other girl's question about rooms she turned to face her, feeling her shadows run over her face causing her eyes to become glowing pinpricks of light, which she hoped wasn't intimidating. "I guess I'll be your roommate then, and don't worry, I don't have any pets."

 

 

1 Thank you

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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Neko blinked a few times amid all the chatter in English and sighed softly. So much for 'this is an international school, with heroes from all over the world.' Of course they do not have many Japanese students hereshe thought sharply. "Okay. I speak Japanese. Some English." Sketching a bow to Miurne, she took one of the muffins and took a big bite out of it, chewing slowly as she listened to everyone talk. "Bernadette. Rosalind. You are Greek?" she hazarded to Starshine. She tried to get a feel for the emotional temperature of the room; the two polite girls, the one who brought snacks, and the rude one, even if she couldn't understand what everyone was saying right away. Up close it was clear that her front teeth came to small, delicate points sharper than a human's, just like her nails. Behind her curled a tail that matched the coloring of her ears and fur, mostly white with a few isolated patches of brown. 

 

"And you are magic?" she asked Muirne. "Of the night - realm." 

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Starshine

Rosalind also took the opportunity to help herself with to a muffin, making sure to thank Muire as she did so. She considered a dainty bite before dismissing the idea and enjoying a healthy mouthful of muffin.

 

Oh I’m relatively local, from a place called Shamong, about an hour from Freedom City.” she replied after finishing her bite

 

My family are originally from Greece though, my grandparents move here in the late ‘50s. From the tales granny tells the place was a bit of a mess back then!”

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Multi-Girl

 

Bernadette had taken one of the offered cookies, thanking Muirne as well. The redhead then glanced over at Natalia briefly at the other girl's comments to Neko. But she was soon distracted by the shadows that had formed around Muirne's face, the sight startling the teen slightly.

 

Clam down, you knew that the other students here would have powers as well. Better get used to it. She thought to herself as she took a bite of the cookie as she focused on listening to Rosalind explain her background to Neko.

 

"So you are originally from Japan Neko?" Bernadette then asked when Rosalind had finished.

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Shadowborne

 

Muirne's smile faltered slightly at Neko's question before she shook her head. "No, uh... I use power from a dimension called the Schattenwelt, and can also teleport there. No magic involved!" She carefully put the bowl of cookies down on the couch. "By the way, Neko. If you want lessons in English I can help." She had gone through learning English once and figured she could help avoid some of the issues she'd had learning.

 

Besides, she was quite happy making more friends and was sure her roommate wouldn't mind terribly. Surely Neko wouldn't shed when she was human shaped.

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Where else would I be from? thought Neko for a nettled moment before she responded to Bernadette. "Yes. I am from Iya Valley. There are many big, um, mountains," she added, gesturing up into the air. "But ma, er, towns are very small. I do not come to cities very much." She smiled at Miurne, looking down at her feet as her tail thrashed, and added, "Thank you very much. I learn English from my friend Owain, but his English is very old." She considered the other girl's words, then said, "Der Schattenwelt." The German she pronounced perfectly, with hardly a hesitation. "I know this. Like...Kantor. Die Ubersoldaten. You are German?" She shifted nervously on her feet, wondering if it was possible that there were two legacies of the Axis here at Claremont this year. 

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Shadowborne

 

Muirne smiled at Neko's description of her home, even if she seemed to struggle with it a bit. She knew what it was like to talk about her home, especially when her grasp of English hadn't been the best. Which is partly why she was glad of the warm reception her offer of lessons had received, she knew how frustrating her own experiences had been.

 

Her smile reduced slightly at the sudden German and the following question of nationality. She'd heard of Nacht-Krieger, since their powers were similar and came from the same source. She was pretty sure that was the reason for the question. "No, I'm Kentish, uh, that is, I'm from Kent in England. I've heard of Nacht-Krieger though, so I get why you'd ask..." She rubbed the back of her head awkwardly as she tripped over herself to answer.

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Starshine

All the cool powers and weird stuff that everyone was talking about, that she’d have check out when she had a point later. Homework here was going to get very werid going forwards!

 

Still one thing she did understand was small town life, hopefully something to bond over.

 

Now small town living is something I understand, the great thing is nothing happens, the worse that is that nothing ever happens!”

 

Feeling a little self conscious she hefted the large bag and looked around to get her bearing.

 

I guess I better take this to my new room, I’m in…” she glanced at her phone “...erm 308!”

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