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Circus Freaks

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For nearly two solid weeks after defeating the nightmare in her closet and returning to a normal sleep pattern, Darla had the same reoccurring dream. She dreamed that she was drowning at sea. There was no set-up, no real reason for being in the water. Her dream would begin just as she was sinking below the surface of the ocean, and no matter how hard she tried, she could never swim up for air. She slowly sank until she hit the rocky bottom. And just before everything went dark and the girl would awake, she would see a shadowy figure flit by in the dark water. The figure wasn't very frightening, and neither was the dream for that matter, more . . . unsettling, and it created in Darla an inexplicable longing to see the ocean and find the mysterious figure.

Darla had already learned to never dismiss her dreams. They were often the way in which she tapped into the shakras inside of her, but it wasn't until she saw the first circus poster that she made the connection.

mermaid.jpg

Darla knew right then that she needed to get to that circus, and she couldn't wait two more weeks for it to open.

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For nearly two solid weeks after defeating the nightmare in her closet and returning to a normal sleep pattern, Darla had the same reoccurring dream. She dreamed that she was drowning at sea. There was no set-up, no real reason for being in the water. Her dream would begin just as she was sinking below the surface of the ocean, and no matter how hard she tried, she could never swim up for air. She slowly sank until she hit the rocky bottom. And just before everything went dark and the girl would awake, she would see a shadowy figure flit by in the dark water. The figure wasn't very frightening, and neither was the dream for that matter, more . . . unsettling, and it created in Darla an inexplicable longing to see the ocean and find the mysterious figure.

Darla had already learned to never dismiss her dreams. They were often the way in which she tapped into the shakras inside of her, but it wasn't until she saw the first circus poster that she made the connection.

mermaid.jpg

Darla knew right then that she needed to get to that circus, and she couldn't wait two more weeks for it to open.

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For nearly two solid weeks after defeating the nightmare in her closet and returning to a normal sleep pattern, Darla had the same reoccurring dream. She dreamed that she was drowning at sea. There was no set-up, no real reason for being in the water. Her dream would begin just as she was sinking below the surface of the ocean, and no matter how hard she tried, she could never swim up for air. She slowly sank until she hit the rocky bottom. And just before everything went dark and the girl would awake, she would see a shadowy figure flit by in the dark water. The figure wasn't very frightening, and neither was the dream for that matter, more . . . unsettling, and it created in Darla an inexplicable longing to see the ocean and find the mysterious figure.

Darla had already learned to never dismiss her dreams. They were often the way in which she tapped into the shakras inside of her, but it wasn't until she saw the first circus poster that she made the connection.

mermaid.jpg

Darla knew right then that she needed to get to that circus, and she couldn't wait two more weeks for it to open.

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Darla finally felt caught up on her sleep, so she decided that tonight was the night she was going to check out the circus grounds. The workers had erected a giant fence already, and there was a lot of construction going on, but Darla was hopeful anyway. So, Darla set the alarm on her watch and put it under her pillow. She wanted it to be just loud enough to wake her up, but not her dad.

Sleep came quickly to Darla, but she only dozed off and on for a few hours. Excitement and the anticipation of the alarm kept her sleep uneasy, and when the little watch began beeping, Darla was already awake. As silently as possible she got out of bed, pulled on her clothes, and went to work. Darla had decided the evening before that she was going to visit her brother and take him with her, but getting to Dale's house and then getting them both to the park was going to take some effort.

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Darla finally felt caught up on her sleep, so she decided that tonight was the night she was going to check out the circus grounds. The workers had erected a giant fence already, and there was a lot of construction going on, but Darla was hopeful anyway. So, Darla set the alarm on her watch and put it under her pillow. She wanted it to be just loud enough to wake her up, but not her dad.

Sleep came quickly to Darla, but she only dozed off and on for a few hours. Excitement and the anticipation of the alarm kept her sleep uneasy, and when the little watch began beeping, Darla was already awake. As silently as possible she got out of bed, pulled on her clothes, and went to work. Darla had decided the evening before that she was going to visit her brother and take him with her, but getting to Dale's house and then getting them both to the park was going to take some effort.

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Darla finally felt caught up on her sleep, so she decided that tonight was the night she was going to check out the circus grounds. The workers had erected a giant fence already, and there was a lot of construction going on, but Darla was hopeful anyway. So, Darla set the alarm on her watch and put it under her pillow. She wanted it to be just loud enough to wake her up, but not her dad.

Sleep came quickly to Darla, but she only dozed off and on for a few hours. Excitement and the anticipation of the alarm kept her sleep uneasy, and when the little watch began beeping, Darla was already awake. As silently as possible she got out of bed, pulled on her clothes, and went to work. Darla had decided the evening before that she was going to visit her brother and take him with her, but getting to Dale's house and then getting them both to the park was going to take some effort.

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From the moment she started trying to envision the right magical configuration to get her from her house to Dale's, Darla felt Gerin's shakra trying to exert itself. She could feel the restless energy pouring out of the remainig fragments of Gerin's spirit. The sensation was nearly overpowering and horribly distracting. But the bottom line was . . . Gerin's shakra wasn't strong enough to get her there, and she new it. She needed a plan B.

Darla sat on the floor with her legs crossed, concentrating. She wanted to tap into her most powerful shakra, that of Mokar. It was a dangerous attempt to be sure. Mokar was as destructive as he was potent, and he couldn't be easily tamed. Darla took a deep breath and with her spirit delved into the remains of Mokar's shakra. Everything in there was all violence and destruction, death and decay. Darla was nearly overwhelmed by the barrage of power full words and symbols, a violent cacophony of every form of entropy and decay. It took Darla great willpower to continue the meditation, searching for what she needed. She struggled for several minutes, and then, in a mental flash like a distant memory, it came to her. With her eyes still closed she began scratching down the symbols into her notebook. She heard the words of the spell rattled off in her brain, but she dared not speak them yet.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

There was no way to accurately translate the arcane words into English, but she knew well enough what they meant. So she invented a name.

"Death walk," she said, opening her eyes.

It was actually the perfect solution. Darla looked down at the symbols she had drawn. They emblazoned themselves in her brain with little effort on her part. Such is the way with powerful words. Darla closed her notebook and put it back under her mattress. Then pulled her hoodie on over her head and stood in the middle of her bed.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

When she spoke the words, there was a silent vibration in the fabric of reality, and then Darla vanished completely.

For a few seconds, Darla Edwards ceased to exist and then . . . she was falling forward onto the floor. With another silent ripple in reality, Darla came spilling out of Dale's corpse body. Lying on the floor she looked up and her unusual looking brother. "Death walk." she said as if he should know exactly what she was talking about. Darla stood, rubbing her head. "Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

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From the moment she started trying to envision the right magical configuration to get her from her house to Dale's, Darla felt Gerin's shakra trying to exert itself. She could feel the restless energy pouring out of the remainig fragments of Gerin's spirit. The sensation was nearly overpowering and horribly distracting. But the bottom line was . . . Gerin's shakra wasn't strong enough to get her there, and she new it. She needed a plan B.

Darla sat on the floor with her legs crossed, concentrating. She wanted to tap into her most powerful shakra, that of Mokar. It was a dangerous attempt to be sure. Mokar was as destructive as he was potent, and he couldn't be easily tamed. Darla took a deep breath and with her spirit delved into the remains of Mokar's shakra. Everything in there was all violence and destruction, death and decay. Darla was nearly overwhelmed by the barrage of power full words and symbols, a violent cacophony of every form of entropy and decay. It took Darla great willpower to continue the meditation, searching for what she needed. She struggled for several minutes, and then, in a mental flash like a distant memory, it came to her. With her eyes still closed she began scratching down the symbols into her notebook. She heard the words of the spell rattled off in her brain, but she dared not speak them yet.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

There was no way to accurately translate the arcane words into English, but she knew well enough what they meant. So she invented a name.

"Death walk," she said, opening her eyes.

It was actually the perfect solution. Darla looked down at the symbols she had drawn. They emblazoned themselves in her brain with little effort on her part. Such is the way with powerful words. Darla closed her notebook and put it back under her mattress. Then pulled her hoodie on over her head and stood in the middle of her bed.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

When she spoke the words, there was a silent vibration in the fabric of reality, and then Darla vanished completely.

For a few seconds, Darla Edwards ceased to exist and then . . . she was falling forward onto the floor. With another silent ripple in reality, Darla came spilling out of Dale's corpse body. Lying on the floor she looked up and her unusual looking brother. "Death walk." she said as if he should know exactly what she was talking about. Darla stood, rubbing her head. "Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

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From the moment she started trying to envision the right magical configuration to get her from her house to Dale's, Darla felt Gerin's shakra trying to exert itself. She could feel the restless energy pouring out of the remainig fragments of Gerin's spirit. The sensation was nearly overpowering and horribly distracting. But the bottom line was . . . Gerin's shakra wasn't strong enough to get her there, and she new it. She needed a plan B.

Darla sat on the floor with her legs crossed, concentrating. She wanted to tap into her most powerful shakra, that of Mokar. It was a dangerous attempt to be sure. Mokar was as destructive as he was potent, and he couldn't be easily tamed. Darla took a deep breath and with her spirit delved into the remains of Mokar's shakra. Everything in there was all violence and destruction, death and decay. Darla was nearly overwhelmed by the barrage of power full words and symbols, a violent cacophony of every form of entropy and decay. It took Darla great willpower to continue the meditation, searching for what she needed. She struggled for several minutes, and then, in a mental flash like a distant memory, it came to her. With her eyes still closed she began scratching down the symbols into her notebook. She heard the words of the spell rattled off in her brain, but she dared not speak them yet.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

There was no way to accurately translate the arcane words into English, but she knew well enough what they meant. So she invented a name.

"Death walk," she said, opening her eyes.

It was actually the perfect solution. Darla looked down at the symbols she had drawn. They emblazoned themselves in her brain with little effort on her part. Such is the way with powerful words. Darla closed her notebook and put it back under her mattress. Then pulled her hoodie on over her head and stood in the middle of her bed.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

When she spoke the words, there was a silent vibration in the fabric of reality, and then Darla vanished completely.

For a few seconds, Darla Edwards ceased to exist and then . . . she was falling forward onto the floor. With another silent ripple in reality, Darla came spilling out of Dale's corpse body. Lying on the floor she looked up and her unusual looking brother. "Death walk." she said as if he should know exactly what she was talking about. Darla stood, rubbing her head. "Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

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deadboyheadshot.jpg

Dale turned and looked at his sister, his skeletal face maintained it's eerily curious fixture - perhaps it was the way Dale's head was often cocked to one side. Perhaps it was that he was quite famous among those who knew him (so, really, just his family) that his innate curiosity would get him into trouble. In any case, he didn't look too phased that his sister had just poured out of his body. He was rather happy to see her! Things, as usual, had been quiet around the house. For a normal person, the silence could be called 'maddening', but Dale didn't seem to mind - he could always find a way to occupy himself. Often, he'd work something out to do, but every now and then, his sister would be the herald of adventure:

"Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

Dale paused for a moment, taking it in - his body became that of a cat about to pounce. When he realised he had heard what he thought he heard, he did pounce! He danced on his feet, clapping his hands. The sound of bones tinkled through the room. He was obviously very happy to oblige Darla's wishes. He gave Darla a quick hug (she being pertty much the only being he could touch without worrying he'd damage her), before he ran to his dresser and pulled out a backpack. The backpack had been mended numerous times in various places from where Dale had accidentally eaten through it. He was very careful not to get over excited, or he might do that again. Once he had put that on, he came back to Darla, reporting for duty.

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Dale turned and looked at his sister, his skeletal face maintained it's eerily curious fixture - perhaps it was the way Dale's head was often cocked to one side. Perhaps it was that he was quite famous among those who knew him (so, really, just his family) that his innate curiosity would get him into trouble. In any case, he didn't look too phased that his sister had just poured out of his body. He was rather happy to see her! Things, as usual, had been quiet around the house. For a normal person, the silence could be called 'maddening', but Dale didn't seem to mind - he could always find a way to occupy himself. Often, he'd work something out to do, but every now and then, his sister would be the herald of adventure:

"Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

Dale paused for a moment, taking it in - his body became that of a cat about to pounce. When he realised he had heard what he thought he heard, he did pounce! He danced on his feet, clapping his hands. The sound of bones tinkled through the room. He was obviously very happy to oblige Darla's wishes. He gave Darla a quick hug (she being pertty much the only being he could touch without worrying he'd damage her), before he ran to his dresser and pulled out a backpack. The backpack had been mended numerous times in various places from where Dale had accidentally eaten through it. He was very careful not to get over excited, or he might do that again. Once he had put that on, he came back to Darla, reporting for duty.

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deadboyheadshot.jpg

Dale turned and looked at his sister, his skeletal face maintained it's eerily curious fixture - perhaps it was the way Dale's head was often cocked to one side. Perhaps it was that he was quite famous among those who knew him (so, really, just his family) that his innate curiosity would get him into trouble. In any case, he didn't look too phased that his sister had just poured out of his body. He was rather happy to see her! Things, as usual, had been quiet around the house. For a normal person, the silence could be called 'maddening', but Dale didn't seem to mind - he could always find a way to occupy himself. Often, he'd work something out to do, but every now and then, his sister would be the herald of adventure:

"Hi Dale, how are you? Wanna go to the circus?"

Dale paused for a moment, taking it in - his body became that of a cat about to pounce. When he realised he had heard what he thought he heard, he did pounce! He danced on his feet, clapping his hands. The sound of bones tinkled through the room. He was obviously very happy to oblige Darla's wishes. He gave Darla a quick hug (she being pertty much the only being he could touch without worrying he'd damage her), before he ran to his dresser and pulled out a backpack. The backpack had been mended numerous times in various places from where Dale had accidentally eaten through it. He was very careful not to get over excited, or he might do that again. Once he had put that on, he came back to Darla, reporting for duty.

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Darla hugged Dale back but didn't let go when he was ready to end the hug. She squeezed him tightly for another few seconds.

"It's good to see you," she said, rubbing his skull affectionately.

Once Dale was ready to go, Darla grabbed his bony hand and pulled him out into the middle of the floor.

"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Darla closed her eyes and did her best to imagine what the circus grounds might look like.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

For an instant, Darla and Dale winked out of physical existence. Their minds floated in the ether, traveling at the speed of thought toward their destination. Darla could sense the presence of Dale's spirit close by. It was a good feeling. Darla kept on trying to imagine the circus grounds to guide them there, and she could could tell that they were getting closer. But as they neared the end of their journey, the circus became harder and harder to picture. Darla's mind was bombarded with images of death and decay, and she felt like something powerful was pulling them off course. In the last moments before they reincarnated she was completely out of control, and they were flying off course.

THUD!

Darla and Dale came tumbling out of the still-standing carcass of a dead and decaying tree. They hit the ground and rolled through the leaves.

Darla looked up and saw a dense canopy of leaves above them. They were in the woods . . . somewhere. She looked over at the dead tree. "Deadwalk," she said almost apologetically. "Are you okay, Dale?"

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Darla hugged Dale back but didn't let go when he was ready to end the hug. She squeezed him tightly for another few seconds.

"It's good to see you," she said, rubbing his skull affectionately.

Once Dale was ready to go, Darla grabbed his bony hand and pulled him out into the middle of the floor.

"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Darla closed her eyes and did her best to imagine what the circus grounds might look like.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

For an instant, Darla and Dale winked out of physical existence. Their minds floated in the ether, traveling at the speed of thought toward their destination. Darla could sense the presence of Dale's spirit close by. It was a good feeling. Darla kept on trying to imagine the circus grounds to guide them there, and she could could tell that they were getting closer. But as they neared the end of their journey, the circus became harder and harder to picture. Darla's mind was bombarded with images of death and decay, and she felt like something powerful was pulling them off course. In the last moments before they reincarnated she was completely out of control, and they were flying off course.

THUD!

Darla and Dale came tumbling out of the still-standing carcass of a dead and decaying tree. They hit the ground and rolled through the leaves.

Darla looked up and saw a dense canopy of leaves above them. They were in the woods . . . somewhere. She looked over at the dead tree. "Deadwalk," she said almost apologetically. "Are you okay, Dale?"

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Darla hugged Dale back but didn't let go when he was ready to end the hug. She squeezed him tightly for another few seconds.

"It's good to see you," she said, rubbing his skull affectionately.

Once Dale was ready to go, Darla grabbed his bony hand and pulled him out into the middle of the floor.

"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Darla closed her eyes and did her best to imagine what the circus grounds might look like.

"Lokataridefal Moturbinderma"

For an instant, Darla and Dale winked out of physical existence. Their minds floated in the ether, traveling at the speed of thought toward their destination. Darla could sense the presence of Dale's spirit close by. It was a good feeling. Darla kept on trying to imagine the circus grounds to guide them there, and she could could tell that they were getting closer. But as they neared the end of their journey, the circus became harder and harder to picture. Darla's mind was bombarded with images of death and decay, and she felt like something powerful was pulling them off course. In the last moments before they reincarnated she was completely out of control, and they were flying off course.

THUD!

Darla and Dale came tumbling out of the still-standing carcass of a dead and decaying tree. They hit the ground and rolled through the leaves.

Darla looked up and saw a dense canopy of leaves above them. They were in the woods . . . somewhere. She looked over at the dead tree. "Deadwalk," she said almost apologetically. "Are you okay, Dale?"

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deadboyheadshot.jpg

"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Dale couldn't close his eyes - he had no eyelids - but if he could, he would have. Inside, images of clowns and tents and high-flyers drifted through his mind. He imagined the stiltwalkers and ringmasters as butterflies careened inside his organs. He didn't fully understand his sisters magical powers, but he didn't seek to - he trusted Darla with everything he had, and that included everything she could do. As they travelled the expanse between nowhere and somewhere, Dale's mind still focussed on the circus. He imaged being there, seeing the sights and smelling the smells. People didn't even recoil when they saw him. It wasn't until his imagination came to fairy floss that he found a problem. Like never having been to the circus, he'd never had fairy floss. He tried to imagine it - what it would taste like and feel like, but he couldn't. In his mind, the fairy floss he's holding decays in front of his eyes, becoming less than ash trickling through his bony fingers. He begins to feel uncomfortable. He feels Darla nearby, and the thought comforts him a little, but he's still turned inward.

Dale didn't realise anything was wrong until Darla looked like she had something to be sorry for. He had landed on the ground with his sister, getting up almost immediately. When asked if he was ok, he nodded his head emphatically, the familiar 'tinkling' of his bones accompanying the gesture. He caught sight of his yellow, Centurion backpack and went to pick it up, taking in all the trees around him. After he was set to go again Dale wandered back over to Darla, keeping his senses on the world around him. The setting was screaming one thing to him - adventure!

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"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Dale couldn't close his eyes - he had no eyelids - but if he could, he would have. Inside, images of clowns and tents and high-flyers drifted through his mind. He imagined the stiltwalkers and ringmasters as butterflies careened inside his organs. He didn't fully understand his sisters magical powers, but he didn't seek to - he trusted Darla with everything he had, and that included everything she could do. As they travelled the expanse between nowhere and somewhere, Dale's mind still focussed on the circus. He imaged being there, seeing the sights and smelling the smells. People didn't even recoil when they saw him. It wasn't until his imagination came to fairy floss that he found a problem. Like never having been to the circus, he'd never had fairy floss. He tried to imagine it - what it would taste like and feel like, but he couldn't. In his mind, the fairy floss he's holding decays in front of his eyes, becoming less than ash trickling through his bony fingers. He begins to feel uncomfortable. He feels Darla nearby, and the thought comforts him a little, but he's still turned inward.

Dale didn't realise anything was wrong until Darla looked like she had something to be sorry for. He had landed on the ground with his sister, getting up almost immediately. When asked if he was ok, he nodded his head emphatically, the familiar 'tinkling' of his bones accompanying the gesture. He caught sight of his yellow, Centurion backpack and went to pick it up, taking in all the trees around him. After he was set to go again Dale wandered back over to Darla, keeping his senses on the world around him. The setting was screaming one thing to him - adventure!

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"I think I've got the spell right, but . . . uh . . . I'm not quite sure where we are going to come out. The circus, I hope. Ready? Think of the circus . . . as hard as you can."

Dale couldn't close his eyes - he had no eyelids - but if he could, he would have. Inside, images of clowns and tents and high-flyers drifted through his mind. He imagined the stiltwalkers and ringmasters as butterflies careened inside his organs. He didn't fully understand his sisters magical powers, but he didn't seek to - he trusted Darla with everything he had, and that included everything she could do. As they travelled the expanse between nowhere and somewhere, Dale's mind still focussed on the circus. He imaged being there, seeing the sights and smelling the smells. People didn't even recoil when they saw him. It wasn't until his imagination came to fairy floss that he found a problem. Like never having been to the circus, he'd never had fairy floss. He tried to imagine it - what it would taste like and feel like, but he couldn't. In his mind, the fairy floss he's holding decays in front of his eyes, becoming less than ash trickling through his bony fingers. He begins to feel uncomfortable. He feels Darla nearby, and the thought comforts him a little, but he's still turned inward.

Dale didn't realise anything was wrong until Darla looked like she had something to be sorry for. He had landed on the ground with his sister, getting up almost immediately. When asked if he was ok, he nodded his head emphatically, the familiar 'tinkling' of his bones accompanying the gesture. He caught sight of his yellow, Centurion backpack and went to pick it up, taking in all the trees around him. After he was set to go again Dale wandered back over to Darla, keeping his senses on the world around him. The setting was screaming one thing to him - adventure!

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Daisuke Seto, otherwise known as Mashin-kun to a select few, (far too few, if one were to ask him) had seen better days. Although fine physically, he wasn't the best he'd ever been emotionally. Ever since waking up in that hospital, his world had been a roller coaster of frights. Not that he would have done anything else, or given his powers back, but one would think that life would eventually get easier.

Leaving Japan had been an adventure in and of itself. The gangs were bad enough, (especially that Kenji jerk) but then he'd faced off against Doc Otaku, that weird robot guy. The little nerd-perv had tried disec... desec... taking him apart in order to find out what made him tick! As if that wasn't bad enough, those girls that always hung around him had turned out to be robots themselves! (He'd been getting along so well with Aya, too) And talk about full of himself! That guy could talk the ear off of... well, him, he supposed. His ear had to be harder than a rhino these days. But he'd eventually got free (thanks, Aya ;) ) and hid out in Doc Otaku's own lab, hitching a ride in the back of the ship the child prode... perdo... smart kid was using all the way to Freedom City.

Getting captured seemed to be a past time for him now. Well, at least he hadn't been "captured" this time. Not really. Okay, maybe he was unable to leave, but that didn't mean he'd been captured! No sir! He walked into this situation all on his own. Who didn't want to see the circus? Even in Japan, they had things like them, only he'd never had the money to go. So when some guy off the street told him he could get in for free, how could he say no? Now, of course, he wished he had. There was nowhere to go here, and the guys running the operation didn't seem to care that he had people to help, or that he'd beaten up an entire gang of hoodlums by himself. (okay, not the entire gang - some of them had fallen into a drainage ditch and got sucked into the bay)

So here he sat, trapped in an indis... indust... unbreakable cage, helpless to help the helpless.

Even worse, he was bored out of his mind!

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Daisuke Seto, otherwise known as Mashin-kun to a select few, (far too few, if one were to ask him) had seen better days. Although fine physically, he wasn't the best he'd ever been emotionally. Ever since waking up in that hospital, his world had been a roller coaster of frights. Not that he would have done anything else, or given his powers back, but one would think that life would eventually get easier.

Leaving Japan had been an adventure in and of itself. The gangs were bad enough, (especially that Kenji jerk) but then he'd faced off against Doc Otaku, that weird robot guy. The little nerd-perv had tried disec... desec... taking him apart in order to find out what made him tick! As if that wasn't bad enough, those girls that always hung around him had turned out to be robots themselves! (He'd been getting along so well with Aya, too) And talk about full of himself! That guy could talk the ear off of... well, him, he supposed. His ear had to be harder than a rhino these days. But he'd eventually got free (thanks, Aya ;) ) and hid out in Doc Otaku's own lab, hitching a ride in the back of the ship the child prode... perdo... smart kid was using all the way to Freedom City.

Getting captured seemed to be a past time for him now. Well, at least he hadn't been "captured" this time. Not really. Okay, maybe he was unable to leave, but that didn't mean he'd been captured! No sir! He walked into this situation all on his own. Who didn't want to see the circus? Even in Japan, they had things like them, only he'd never had the money to go. So when some guy off the street told him he could get in for free, how could he say no? Now, of course, he wished he had. There was nowhere to go here, and the guys running the operation didn't seem to care that he had people to help, or that he'd beaten up an entire gang of hoodlums by himself. (okay, not the entire gang - some of them had fallen into a drainage ditch and got sucked into the bay)

So here he sat, trapped in an indis... indust... unbreakable cage, helpless to help the helpless.

Even worse, he was bored out of his mind!

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Daisuke Seto, otherwise known as Mashin-kun to a select few, (far too few, if one were to ask him) had seen better days. Although fine physically, he wasn't the best he'd ever been emotionally. Ever since waking up in that hospital, his world had been a roller coaster of frights. Not that he would have done anything else, or given his powers back, but one would think that life would eventually get easier.

Leaving Japan had been an adventure in and of itself. The gangs were bad enough, (especially that Kenji jerk) but then he'd faced off against Doc Otaku, that weird robot guy. The little nerd-perv had tried disec... desec... taking him apart in order to find out what made him tick! As if that wasn't bad enough, those girls that always hung around him had turned out to be robots themselves! (He'd been getting along so well with Aya, too) And talk about full of himself! That guy could talk the ear off of... well, him, he supposed. His ear had to be harder than a rhino these days. But he'd eventually got free (thanks, Aya ;) ) and hid out in Doc Otaku's own lab, hitching a ride in the back of the ship the child prode... perdo... smart kid was using all the way to Freedom City.

Getting captured seemed to be a past time for him now. Well, at least he hadn't been "captured" this time. Not really. Okay, maybe he was unable to leave, but that didn't mean he'd been captured! No sir! He walked into this situation all on his own. Who didn't want to see the circus? Even in Japan, they had things like them, only he'd never had the money to go. So when some guy off the street told him he could get in for free, how could he say no? Now, of course, he wished he had. There was nowhere to go here, and the guys running the operation didn't seem to care that he had people to help, or that he'd beaten up an entire gang of hoodlums by himself. (okay, not the entire gang - some of them had fallen into a drainage ditch and got sucked into the bay)

So here he sat, trapped in an indis... indust... unbreakable cage, helpless to help the helpless.

Even worse, he was bored out of his mind!

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Droplet was bored. Extremely bored. She sighed in frustration, letting out a thick stream of bubbles in the dark water. Slowly she floated down to the bottom of her tank and stretched out on the rocks. Her long black hair fanned out above her head like a garden of seaweed.

Traveling was the part of the circus routine that Droplet the Mermaid Girl hated the most. She liked the variety well enough, but a move always meant a week or more of downtime for her. And downtime meant hours and hours alone in the dark. The "Marvelous Menagerie" was always the last to be moved after a show, and it was the first to be set up at a new location. In the last seven days, Droplet had spent most of her time under a dark circus tent, in a small tank in the back of a truck, and now she was back under a dark circus tent, waiting for the show to open. But that was still a week away.

Droplet sighed again. This time she puckered her lips, shaping the bubbles into a narrow stream of tiny foam. She grabbed a fist full of rocks and tossed them up toward the top of the tank. The rocks didn't go very far before they slowly floated back down. She tried to keep a rock aloft in the water by blowing bubbles at it, but she failed. The attempts didn't keep her amused for very long.

"Boooooooring!" she exclaimed, but with no air left in her lungs all she could do was silently mouth the words.

Droplet was afraid that she was doomed to another solid week of solitude until she caught sight of some circus hands working on the other side of the curtain that surrounded her tank. Perhaps they were setting up a new exhibit. Perhaps she was going to have a neighbor in her little corner of the Menagerie. The prospect was exciting, but she wasn't getting her hopes up. For now she'd just have to hang out in the dark and try not to go crazy.

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Droplet was bored. Extremely bored. She sighed in frustration, letting out a thick stream of bubbles in the dark water. Slowly she floated down to the bottom of her tank and stretched out on the rocks. Her long black hair fanned out above her head like a garden of seaweed.

Traveling was the part of the circus routine that Droplet the Mermaid Girl hated the most. She liked the variety well enough, but a move always meant a week or more of downtime for her. And downtime meant hours and hours alone in the dark. The "Marvelous Menagerie" was always the last to be moved after a show, and it was the first to be set up at a new location. In the last seven days, Droplet had spent most of her time under a dark circus tent, in a small tank in the back of a truck, and now she was back under a dark circus tent, waiting for the show to open. But that was still a week away.

Droplet sighed again. This time she puckered her lips, shaping the bubbles into a narrow stream of tiny foam. She grabbed a fist full of rocks and tossed them up toward the top of the tank. The rocks didn't go very far before they slowly floated back down. She tried to keep a rock aloft in the water by blowing bubbles at it, but she failed. The attempts didn't keep her amused for very long.

"Boooooooring!" she exclaimed, but with no air left in her lungs all she could do was silently mouth the words.

Droplet was afraid that she was doomed to another solid week of solitude until she caught sight of some circus hands working on the other side of the curtain that surrounded her tank. Perhaps they were setting up a new exhibit. Perhaps she was going to have a neighbor in her little corner of the Menagerie. The prospect was exciting, but she wasn't getting her hopes up. For now she'd just have to hang out in the dark and try not to go crazy.

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Droplet was bored. Extremely bored. She sighed in frustration, letting out a thick stream of bubbles in the dark water. Slowly she floated down to the bottom of her tank and stretched out on the rocks. Her long black hair fanned out above her head like a garden of seaweed.

Traveling was the part of the circus routine that Droplet the Mermaid Girl hated the most. She liked the variety well enough, but a move always meant a week or more of downtime for her. And downtime meant hours and hours alone in the dark. The "Marvelous Menagerie" was always the last to be moved after a show, and it was the first to be set up at a new location. In the last seven days, Droplet had spent most of her time under a dark circus tent, in a small tank in the back of a truck, and now she was back under a dark circus tent, waiting for the show to open. But that was still a week away.

Droplet sighed again. This time she puckered her lips, shaping the bubbles into a narrow stream of tiny foam. She grabbed a fist full of rocks and tossed them up toward the top of the tank. The rocks didn't go very far before they slowly floated back down. She tried to keep a rock aloft in the water by blowing bubbles at it, but she failed. The attempts didn't keep her amused for very long.

"Boooooooring!" she exclaimed, but with no air left in her lungs all she could do was silently mouth the words.

Droplet was afraid that she was doomed to another solid week of solitude until she caught sight of some circus hands working on the other side of the curtain that surrounded her tank. Perhaps they were setting up a new exhibit. Perhaps she was going to have a neighbor in her little corner of the Menagerie. The prospect was exciting, but she wasn't getting her hopes up. For now she'd just have to hang out in the dark and try not to go crazy.

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To the human eye alone, the world around them seemed as dead as Dale's skeletal form. However, like Dale, the world held many secrets. Through sightless vision, Dale saw all the life around him - the rivers of ants under feet, a nest of crows perched high in the braches of the dead tree which a lone lizard made it's way down. To Dale, the grim setting opened up it's inner form to him, revealing the pulse of life. There was one particular form that caught Dale's attention, though he couldn't quite make out what it was. That didn't matter, of course - without a second thought, Dale sped off in the direction of this new curiosity, leaving his sister behind.

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