Broken Trust

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Moogle-Girl, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. The sun beat down harshly onto the streets of the fair-sized town, leaving the pedestrians little more than a mass of panting, sweating commuters looking to get to their respective destinations as quickly as possible. They wandered down sidewalks and across streets while the occasional car sped by around them, just a faceless crowd populating the area. Sure, they all had stories to tell, but did those stories matter? Of course not, unless they were among the gifted few to carry magical energy within their bodies. A few of them were easy to spot: they tended to look far more comfortable in the heat than the rest, some of them even surrounded in an aura of cold that kept the temperature around them at a much more reasonable level. Not all of the mages blended into the crowd were lucky enough to be able to cast the necessary ice spells, but they were there, and little did they know, they were being watched.

    A young brunette man stood alone in a shaded alleyway, leaning against the brick of the building next to him and scanning the crowd. To the untrained eye, he was normal: that is to say, entirely human. He looked...shady, sure, considering the place he had chosen to stand and the rather dark expression on his face, but surely he couldn't be much more, right? But if one were to look closer, they would notice a certain anomaly: his eyes were bright red, and had a certain dull, lifeless look to them. The man was not as he seemed. More specifically, he was being possessed.

    Shiro sighed quietly to himself as he watched everyone scurry past the alley. He wasn't sure why he was still doing this. He'd meant to simply use the borrowed body to explore the town without getting any odd looks, but, much as he'd done for the past few days, he found himself simply watching and listening. What was the point? The one boy he thought he could rely on until the day he died was gone. Shiro didn't think it was possible to fill the void that his old apprentice had left, and yet he still found himself searching.

    He started to turn back and make his way to the rudimentary cottage he'd constructed on the outskirts of town, and that was when she caught his eye. That one girl with the long, purple hair and the black dress. He wasn't particularly interested in her looks, though; it was the way she carried herself that interested him. Her expression was just as distant and cold as his always was. She even seemed to be actively avoiding the people around her. Maybe she would make a fitting apprentice? She certainly seemed to be the type to agree with his plans...He sighed again, figuring it couldn't hurt to say hello. Maybe she would replace Arrow. Maybe.

    Walking into the sweltering heat, Shiro began cutting his way through the streets and making his way over to the mysterious girl.
  2. Alina felt the bus finally stop, squeaking as it did so. She put the book that she was reading back in her backpack that held all the possessions she carried around with her, carefully guarding them as she went from so called 'home' to home, yet at least one thing always seemed to go missing at each location. Putting on the backpack, she stood up, waiting for a fair amount of people to pass her before she finally got her chance to slip into the line and step off of the bus.

    Outside the heat wasn't much better, as she had felt signs of it inside the barely air-conditioned bus full of sweating passengers, and she had to admit that her black dress wasn't helping her with the heat that it attracted, yet she still remained stubborn in her fashion choices... though a change into something cooler might be nice. She stepped aside to let all the people getting off go past her as she took out a notecard, carefully reading the slightly-smudged hand writing on it. Apparently she was supposed to go to her new foster parent's place by herself, she supposed that the system really did care less than she thought...

    She walked along the sidewalk, looking at various street names and trying to find the one that best fit the one on her note card as she had only her hand for shade, and occasionally being bumped against those going much faster than her. Being new to this place altogether, it might help more if she were to ask a local for help, but with her default cold, distant, and deadpan expression, she'd remain persistent in staying to herself. Besides, she was sure that it'd just be bothering them and she'd just get brushed off. In her ignorance of those around her, she didn't notice the man trying to find his way over to her.
  3. Shiro stopped halfway through his journey, nearly getting knocked over by a passerby who hadn't expected the sudden halt. What was he doing? The girl wouldn't trust him if he just walked right up, why would anyone? She would just walk away, and the opportunity would pass him he decided to take a more subtle approach. He walked closer and filed in behind her, keeping a few people between them and yet making sure she stayed in his sights. He would follow her, figure out where she was going and decide on a strategy from there. With luck, she would be alone for a good reason, and pulling her away from the town to explain himself would be child's play.

    She seemed nothing like Arrow, he noticed. Shiro's old apprentice had been filled with much more childlike innocence and curiosity, and yet at the same time, he was drastically unsure of himself. Shiro was sure that the boy's conflicting emotions were a direct result of the experiments that had been performed on him. Sure, they were a success, but the effects on his personality were unforeseen and obstructive. Arrow wasn't sure whether he could readily accept Shiro's goals and help in working towards them, despite the unwavering trust they placed in each other. And now that Arrow was gone, Shiro felt like he couldn't trust anyone...but instincts drove him on. He would never be satisfied with his life if he couldn't find someone to replace the boy.
  4. Alina continued on, occasionally being knocked against the wave of rushing civilians trying to get to their own destinations. She continued a pattern of reading street names and checking her card. Combined with the heat, you'd think that she might show an immense amount of frustration just behind her deadpan expression, but in truth she wasn't exactly looking forward to going to her new foster home. It only took about two weeks for her old one to kick her out, they said that 'they couldn't help her if she didn't want to be helped', she might say that this would be a new record if she kept track of how long it took before she was bounced around to the next place.

    She stopped in front of another street sign, admittedly it was a bit of a relief to her that the crowd began to get a bit smaller, allowing for easier movement. Looking up at it, and then comparing what it said to the card, she found that this did indeed seem to be the street that she had been searching for. She quickly scanned for the next part, apparently there was some sort of apartment complex that she had to find... Oh, how convenient. It seemed that the building was only right across from the sign.

    She entered the main floor of the apartment complex, somewhat thankful for it being empty except for a bored-looking receptionist, and at the very least it had actual air-conditioning, her body welcomed the contrast from the scorching heat.
  5. Shiro paused when he saw the girl enter the building, unsure of what his next move would be. It seemed like she was new to this place, so there were several possible reasons for her going inside: perhaps she was meeting a friend, or running an errand. It seemed unlikely that she lived there already (though he figured it was possible that she had only been living there for a few days and wasn't familiar with the path yet) or that she was moving in today (since she was alone). Anything was possible, though, so Shiro decided his first course of action would be to figure out why the girl was there. He figured that secrecy would be important: even if he followed her in his current disguise, she wouldn't recognize him, and if he returned to his normal form too soon, there was always the chance he would be caught in an entirely different sticky situation.

    His plan for now set, Shiro followed the girl into the apartment complex and took a seat in one of the nearby chairs, looking around the room to appear as though he was waiting for someone. He listened closely to what the girl had to say to the receptionist, trying not to look too suspicious, hoping that he would discover where she was headed from that point. From there, it would be easy to follow her in secret. Spirits like him had a knack for sneaking around. He just needed to know where he was sneaking to.
  6. Once again, Alina paid no attention to the man as he entered the building, the receptionist that seemed to be only half-there gave him more attention with a single glance than she did.

    She looked at the card, seeing a name: Roberto Tarner, apparently he was her new foster parent, "Miss." Alina said to the receptionist who looked at Alina with her head propped up on her hand, "What? What do you need?" the receptionist looked at a clock on the wall, as if she was begging for a lunch break- or perhaps when her work day would finally end.

    "What apartment does Roberto Tarner live in?" Alina said.

    "Because...?" the lady said, for whatever the reason being hesitant about giving this information out.

    "Foster." Alina said simply.

    The receptionist took a moment to decipher what the word meant, "... Oh." she said before looking through some folders, mumbling something about money, "He lives in apartment 418, it should be on the second floor, near the stairs. Want me to give you a key? I think I might have seen him leave earlier."

    "Sure." Alina said, taking the key that the receptionist gave her before heading for the stairs, climbing them towards the second floor.
  7. Ah, so she was moving in, to join a foster family. Did that mean she had lost her parents somehow? Or perhaps they had abandoned her? Shiro hoped that whatever happened to put her in this situation, it was no accident. The less trust she harbored towards other humans, the better. It was also quite the stroke of luck that this Roberto person was out at the moment, leaving the girl alone. Bringing her back to his home probably wouldn't be necessary, as long as he didn't return too soon.

    Shiro let the girl get a reasonable head-start and got up to head for the stairs as well. He did his best to look like he knew where he was going and ignored anything the receptionist had to say, knowing that she was probably more eager to leave than to stop someone who didn't belong. He went up a few steps, letting the door to the staircase close behind him, and looked around, ensuring he was alone, save for the girl a half-flight ahead of him. And with that, he finally left the young man's body, leaving the hapless victim to sit unconscious on the stairs.

    For the most part, he had a human appearance: a drawn-out face, touched by forty or fifty years of age; very pale skin, almost alabaster in color; perfectly straight, pristine white hair that reached halfway down his back. His clothes were simple enough, just a long-sleeved gray shirt and a black pair of dress pants that half-covered his gray slip-on shoes. And yet, it was still easy to tell he was quite inhuman at nothing more than a glance. His entire body, clothes included, had a certain degree of translucence to it, allowing one to see a blurred version of whatever was behind him. And, of course, there were his eyes: they glowed a dim red, and had that blank, lifeless look to them.

    His true appearance revealed, Shiro ducked into the wall of the staircase, phasing through the material and hiding within. From that point, it was easy to follow the girl unseen; his body was composed entirely of energy, and so levitation was a skill that came easy to him. He floated through the wall, quickly catching up to her, and watched her from there, letting her find the apartment for him.
  8. Alina continued to go up the stairs, the metal of the apartment keys starting to warm up in her hands as she finally reached the second floor. As surprising as it might have been for her too find out, she still didn't notice who was following her, and still very unaware of his intentions. The first door she saw was 409, so 418 must have been close by, and she walked a few steps to the left to stand in front of the apartment door.

    She hesitated for a moment, what if the receptionist had given her the wrong key? And not by accident, but on purpose? She did seem rather suspicious of her, after all, she might have assumed her to be some troublesome teenager, and just gave her some faulty key to make her go away, and why not give her the wrong apartment number as well? However, despite these thoughts, she finally inserted the key into the apartment door, figuring that she couldn't really do anything about it anyways. The key worked, the lock allowing her to turn it and with a click, the door unlocked.

    Alina opened the door, entering the apartment to see that it was surprisingly decent, a bit messy in some places, but nothing compared to some of the places that she was at before. There didn't seem to be any others in the apartment either, perhaps it was just Roberto as a single foster parent... In truth, this was a relief to Alina, since while she kept her emotionless expression even when she thought she was alone, she couldn't help but be glad about him not seeming to be one of those parents, the kind that collected kids like baseball cards for more money from the government.

    She closed the door behind her, and with a click it locked again. She hoped that her own room, if he gave her one, might have a lock. She noticed a note on a table, and picking it up she read some of the 'house rules', which was basically no parties, no having anyone else over, and no going out, at least not without his permission. He shouldn't have to worry about that... She thought. Apparently she was to check the peephole if anyone knocked, and unless it was one of the people described (one of them she remembered as being the receptionist), she wasn't to answer it. Another sentence said that there should be something in the fridge for her to eat, if not, check the cupboards. If she had to, she had permission to call for food if there was nothing to eat, and apparently whoever brought the food was on the 'allowed to let in' list.

    The last sentence was a welcome to his 'humble abode', as if he had put there as a last-minute addition.
  9. As soon as Shiro heard the distinctive click of the apartment door's lock, he took a few moments to listen closely for footsteps in the hallway. It wasn't like his sight had the same matter-piercing abilities that the rest of his body did, after all; while hiding, he was largely forced to use his sense of hearing just like anyone else. He heard one person walk past him, but thankfully, the place didn't seem too lively. It wasn't long before Shiro had the opportunity he needed, and he shot out through the wall like a rocket, levitating across the carpeted hall and in the direction he'd heard the girl walk. He paused for a split second to scan apartment numbers. 409, 411, 413...there it was. 418, just like the receptionist had said.

    He never did learn how to make an entrance that wasn't unceremoniously abrupt. It wasn't like he had much experience when it came to socializing, after all. And so, without really considering what might happen on the other side, he simply walked through the door, shoes making no sound on the floor.

    "Hello there," he said to her flatly.
  10. Alina turned around, a bit surprised to have not heard the door opening, even with how she could ignore the world around her. She was even more surprised with who was there. She scanned his figure; long, white hair, very pale skin, casual clothes... and seemingly translucent... wait. What. She had to rub her eyes, surely that was an illusion, long white hair was one thing, but translucence, that shouldn't have been possible, especially since she was sure that ghosts didn't exist anymore, not since she was a little girl. She looked down at the note, he wasn't described as one of the 'allowed to let in' people, and while he could be Roberto, she wasn't quite sure of that.

    She took a moment to think of a question, "Who are you?" she finally asked, trying to keep a deadpan expression, even when she swore that she could see a blurry image of the door past his body.
  11. She was careful, and still keeping up that same flat expression despite his rather sudden appearance. So far so good. Healthy skepticism was a good thing to have, even among friends. Not that Shiro really ever had any friends. That was natural, though, considering he never trusted anyone. Except for Arrow...

    Fighting to keep the crushingly sad look off his face and keep his own rather dull expression maintained, he looked her right in the eyes. "My name is Shiro," he said in a calm tone. "It probably won't mean much to you, but I'm not here to hurt you." He took a moment to look around the apartment, taking in the surroundings. He supposed that if he needed to hide or flee without being seen by more people than necessary, he could quickly possess someone in another room and just walk out. "Tell me your name," he added.
  12. Of course, Alina didn't quite believe his claim to not want to hurt her. After all, she had been tricked by niceness before, so why should she trust a complete (perhaps translucent, she was still having trouble believing that) stranger that for all she knows, could have just broken in here? She didn't hear anything, it was like he just suddenly appeared... but she was sure that she should have locked the door behind her, to think that she should have learned to do that by now...

    She hesitated. It might be only fair to tell her name since he told his, but then again, he could have just told an alias. She had no reason to trust him, but at the same time, wasn't sure about if she had the strength to get him out, "... Alina." she answered simply, not daring to say her last name. This was her true name, the one that her father had given her, since her mother couldn't be a part of that process... Perhaps that name meant something bad, maybe in some other language, since it was 'her fault' for killing her mother, as told several times by her biological father before. If you looked closely, you could see a touch of solemness in her eyes.
  13. Alina...He rolled the name around in his mind. It was a graceful name, one that matched her personality and the way she carried herself. For some reason it didn't really occur to him that she could've just given him a false name, and when he caught his internal mistake, he wondered if she really was the one to replace his previous apprentice...But no, there would be a time for such thoughts later. She didn't trust him, and he shouldn't trust her right away. He barely knew her, after all.

    This thought process took place in a matter of moments, and Shiro nodded in approval at Alina's response. "Tell me," he said to her, characteristically cutting right to the chase, "are you a mage, Alina?" His eyes were cold and his tone was rather businesslike. He hadn't seen her cast a spell, but it wasn't as though he'd been watching her for very long. Maybe she just didn't know anything that would have proven practical.
  14. Alina didn't raise an eyebrow, but she thought the question to be rather strange. A mage? A class that was usually restricted to the likes of RPGs, and at that should be a fictional class, just like a transparent human should be... And this man, Shiro, he seemed serious about this, as if he thought that she really might be able to shoot some sort of elemental spell or something.

    "No...?" she said, and despite the fact that she tried to keep her tone as flat and deadpan as possible, she couldn't help but have a bit of questioning as she said it. She couldn't help but wonder if this was perhaps a dreams, they usually didn't make any sense, but then again, she had never thought herself to be a lucid dreamer. A hallucination, then? Perhaps the pipes were leaky with some sort of toxic substance, slowly killing her as she spoke to this man that might be a mere hallucination.
  15. She seemed confused, he noticed. Did she not know about the existence of magic? It suddenly occurred to Shiro that perhaps his perception of it was warped by familiarity. He always knew what to look for to tell whether someone could use magic in a few different situations, and he'd always figured that other people were the same way...Was he more out of touch with society than he thought, or did she just live a sheltered life?

    "I can give you power," he said, expression still quite serious. It would be trivial for him to pass on a skill or two of his; he was fairly skilled in matters of the soul, where magic was drawn from. Perhaps a taste of supernatural power would do her good and leave her more open to believing him.
  16. Alina hesitated, even doubted at what kind of 'power' he might give her. For all she knew, he might really not be sane when he said this... even though some have suspected that there might be something 'wrong' with her as well.

    "What kind?" she asked. Perhaps it should have been obvious, since he did ask if she was a mage, and one could guess that he taught some sort of magic, but it wasn't like he was all that specific with what he could give her. And what would she need with 'power' anyways? Was he trying to bribe her with something she never desired in the first place?
  17. "Magic, of course," Shiro replied as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "In case you didn't know, yes, it's very real." It didn't even really occur to him that his appearance and offer had been rather...sudden. He simply didn't care; it was his style.

    To prove his point, he allowed his body to leave the ground once more, toes pointed downward and hanging a couple inches from the floor. Levitation was so simple, so second-nature to him, yet he assumed it would be quite the opposite to the girl. "And in case it wasn't obvious," he continued, "I am far from human. Magic is something that comes naturally to me, and I can easily grant you some of my powers. That is, if you believe me."
  18. Alina stared at him, still very hesitant to believe what he just said with just words, until he suddenly levitated himself from the ground. Then again, perhaps he was just a ghost, but she couldn't deny any longer that this man was certainly not human. Even if she was beginning to believe him, what she wasn't sure about was if she really wanted the power he claimed he could give her. For what reason would she want it? What could she possibly use it for? Would this man just use her for his own means? ... But then again, it wasn't like she had anything to lose. She didn't have anyone she cared for, and she was sure that no one cared for her either, she even questioned the worth of her own life.

    "... Perhaps." she said, not wanting to give a direct yes.
  19. "I would understand if you don't believe me," Shiro said quickly, assuming she wasn't being entirely truthful. He knew that people tended to lie to get what they wanted; surely she was no exception. Of course, he'd been entirely truthful so far. He had no reason not to be. Honesty was the key to building trust. In fact... "I'll be forward with you. I'm looking for an apprentice." He was careful to avoid using the word "new" there, not wanting her to probe about Arrow. "Someone detached from the world around them, who understands my actions and cooperates with me." He also didn't bother explaining his deeper motive - to find someone to fill the hole his previous trusted left - figuring it was for another time.

    "I saw you, Alina," Shiro continued. "You seemed distant, flat, uncaring, qualities that show promise. Let me ask you this: do you like people? Do you feel any attachment to anyone?"
  20. Alina assumed that he meant an apprentice in magic, if he could actually teach it, that is. The first part of what he said, "Someone detached from the world around them,", she could admit that she had been trying to detach herself, but then there was the second part. "who understands my actions and cooperates with me.", She was suspicious of him (as she was of everyone), he might just deceive her, and she'd only realize it when it was too late... It had happened before, without the magic of course.

    Most would not say that the traits he listed were 'promising', half of the time they were why her old foster parents gave up on her and shipped her somewhere else. The answers to his questions were obvious- no and no, and she shook her head to both of them.