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Frontier Town Main Street

The team was effective, but it had disbanded. Had they lost their leader, or did something else break them apart...? Something like that could easily happen to the party of 'heroic spirits', especially without a real leader...

Laura tried on the scarf, and wondered if the hush that descended around her and the stilling of her heart were placebo, or a real effect of the uncanny garment.

"Not knowing what the 'hero' who summoned us was doing kinda puts the handbrake on us getting on the same page about what we're here to do... And the cloud voice isn't really a leader figure, exactly. I don't know who out of all of us is a good candidate for leading us, at least not yet. Maybe someone will end up taking charge."

She didn't know who that should be. She just knew she didn't envy whoever it ended up being.

"Don't think I'm it."
Jade laughed slightly. "Yeah, me neither." On the one hand, she was kind of glad there wasn't anyone giving orders here. But on the other, it would've been nice to have someone like... someone like Ajia, who could figure out what was going on and come up with a bunch of plans, and...

The cloud voice really should've grabbed her.

Jade idly flipped through a handful of scarves, unsure of how to narrow the choice down to one. "I guess I'm hoping that I'll feel more in my element as part of the rangers. It did feel pretty cool passing their test, I gotta admit."
"Hey, nice one."

Would she have passed the rangers' test? It felt like the effort she'd put in at Bedaurejo around the same time was 'enough' somehow, but she still couldn't picture the rangers approving of her. Falling short, even in her own head she was always falling short...

Fuck. She shook her head clear.

"I'm tempted to swing by their base myself. Hard to choose what to prioritise, you know? If I don't join you, then... good luck, Jade."
Jade's ear flicked. "Right, yeah, you've got gazette work and stuff, right? Well, uh, hope you get the time to at least check it out. And hey, maybe I'll be doing ranger missions by then." It was a weird thought, finally being sort of established here in Forlas.

Her paws found a scarf with gold and blue stripes, and she held it up to herself experimentally. Huh, this one wasn't bad.
"Yeah, for sure. It's easier to see us integrating with the rangers than most other groups we've heard of. They've got that 'people from every conceivable background coming together for common cause' thing going on, which I guess meshes a lot better with us than any distinct cultural groups would. I figure if we can pull off everything we've done so far, and you guys impressed the rangers that much, you'll be doing missions within the week."

Jade's scarf was the complete opposite to the subtle black one Laura had selected. Bright, heroic colours – they'd go well with the girl's cream fur, probably.

"Nice pick. Bet it looks good on you."
Jade's whiskers lifted, her spirits feeling somewhat lighter. "Y-yeah. I bet we will." It would be nice to feel like they were helping out here. That them being in Forlas would matter.

"Guess I'll grab this one then," she added, taking the scarf from the rack.
Laura smiled faintly, and decided to commit to the 'stealth scarf' she was holding. Black went well with silver, why not. Who cared what it said about her that she chose the item that made you less noticed – it was a valid fucking combat strategy, and it'd look great on her.

"I'll see you at the team meet later," said Laura, intending for it to be a question. It came out as a statement. Confident. Of course they'd see each other there. "Got a lot of nonsense to talk about. It'll be tricky. But hey, it'll be easier with a friendly face there."

From the brightening look on Jade's face, she felt the same way.

Ch03: Bird Watching
If one wanted to witness the height of murkrow activity, staying up well past sunset was by far the most reliable method.

Bellatrix found herself sitting up on a barrel not even an hour after the stars began peeking out, intently focused on a small murder that had found themselves nestled a top Lorenzo's shop. Her ears were erect, trying to pick up on anything interesting that they might say, although it didn't seem that there was much new beyond idle gossip from far across the continent. Just how much were they involved in Terminal Two's business? They certainly didn't come off as shadows to her, although their presence here didn't ring entirely natural to her either.

Stumped for ideas, Bellatrix found her tail swaying idly and herself humming a chant from a memory long lost: "Workrum, Workrum - bad luck, don't come."
Sadly, bad luck did indeed arrive. Or at least that's how some would have believed a Misdreavus to be in Ghaspius's world.

"Howdy there," He whispered as he floated over towards Bellatrix. "Heard all 'bout what happened at the Haus from Drungfield. Figured I'd get as much of a wink doin' bird-watchin' than I would tryin' to sleep in that place again. Same for you I'm guessin'?"

He chuckled to himself as his necklace dimly glowed beneath his scarf. It seemed he understood more than he was letting on. "So, think they might be one to take on a bait?"
The night in Drungfield's office had really done wonders for her injuries, but as with everything that took time to heal, she still felt it. Each step triggered another dull ache or a minor sting, and her bandages felt tight against her skin. But, it was just something she was going to have to deal with for now.

Sleeping in the Haus felt like an internal taboo now. She didn't want to say she was traumatized, but she was traumatized. And with the idea that her pin might have drawn the drapion in there...it just felt bad now. Sleep had long evaded her, so all she could do was walk. It wasn't long before she caught a familiar sight of a misdreavus and a particular white zorua she'd grown to enjoy the company of. She supposed it couldn't hurt to approach.

"Uh, hey," she said slowly, raising a hand to wave. "Hope I'm not intruding."

She looked up to catch sight of the murder, and she furrowed her brow. "Hm. Are they doing much chattering tonight?"
Andre approached the group of mon gathered in front of the shop, slowing down as he noticed the murkrow on the roof. As the others seemed to be watching them, he didn't want to scare them off.

Right, true. The murkrow had chattered about Voclain and blindfolds in Blaguarro, so they were a possible source of information.

"Hey," he said, but nothing more, just a greeting. The others already seemed to be having a conversation.
Bellatrix's gaze flicked across the new company before her focus fully returned on the birds. She didn't seem to mind their presence. "As long as you remain quiet," she whispered back at them. "Mostly just the same," she then answered Odette. "And I'm not sure, though is there any harm in trying?" she then added to Ghaspius.

"They've caught my interest ever since I went to Blaguarro and I've been left wondering what their place is in all this. What do you think?"

The murkrow were in the midst of preening their feathers, and looking all over the area. Amidst them, 'Hole of a town ain't gonna last much longer. Wonder what we'll do.' could be heard.
"Always a chance of spookin' them away into a scatter," Ghaspius hummed as he tilted his head from side-to-side in thought. "How good are those illusions of yours miss... ah, pardon, don't think I caught your name? Mismag—dreavus Ghaspius, nice to meetcha without a big ol' crowd."

He gave a nod of acknowledgment to the others. "Andre and... Odette, right? Good seein' your lovely faces again. We're just bird watching, in a manner of speakin'."

The Misdreavus turned back towards the flock. "Informants, if I had to guess. Runners that don't know much 'bout ops but can't help but chirp up some good gossip when they see it." He carefully adjusted his scarf. "Now, what's this they're mentionin' about the town not lasting? Did I hear that right?"
Espurr, who was hopelessly nocturnal and until then had remained just out of sight, chose that moment to make herself and her drink known to the group.

"Given all that's been going on lately, I can't blame them if they think the town is doomed," she said calmly from behind them, taking a sip. She silently walked over and took a seat next to the group. "Unless they heard it from somewhere? It's a large jump to take if you don't know for sure something's about to happen."
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"They've caught my interest ever since I went to Blaguarro and I've been left wondering what their place is in all this. What do you think?"
“They’re a sign of a bad omen. So I’m certain they’re here to remind us that something bad is coming,” Odette said darkly. “Not to mention, they’ve proven they’ve heard things our Terminal Two perps have said. I’m sure they’re blabbing shit both sides are saying.”
Odette, right? Good seein' your lovely faces again. We're just bird watching, in a manner of speakin'."
“That’s me,” she said toward the misdreavus. “You’re…Gah…Gas…Ghaspius? Did I butcher that?”

"Now, what's this they're mentionin' about the town not lasting? Did I hear that right?"
Her ears perked at what he said next, and she tilted her head questioningly. “Who’s saying that?”
Bellatrix nodded along. "I'm not even sure they understand what they're even saying," she whispered back. "Their behaviours match that of the local ferals," although... She listened closer to the phase, which the murkrow were more than happy to repeat. "I don't recognise the voice at all, nor do I have any clue where it's coming from. Perhaps if we could get them to mention more..."

She looked back at Ghaspius with a questioning look. "Bellatrix and, I wouldn't call myself an expert but I like to think that the things I can conjure are convincing enough. Why?"
"Ya got it," Ghaspius confirmed for Odette with a polite nod. "And it's what those guys said, at least."

He turned back to Bellatrix. "Mighty fine to meetcha, Bellow-tricks. Bellatwix? Bellatrix." He cleared his throat. "Think your illusions are good enough to look and talk like those guys? Could ask a question as one."
"I don't recognise the voice at all, nor do I have any clue where it's coming from. Perhaps if we could get them to mention more..."
Odette raised her brows. “I’ll bite. What are the chances they’d scatter if I spoke to them directly?”
Bellatrix looked at the murkrow, then back at the Ghaspius. It wasn't as if she wasn't used to being seen as a bad omen nor was she exactly brimming with ideas herself. "I suppose there is no harm in trying," she said with a nod. At Odette she did her best impression of a shrug but then said, "There is a chance that they may stay put if I keep calm around them while you're talking."

With a deep breath, the zorua let the illusionary visage of a murkrow cover her before she hopped up onto the rooftop to join the murder. It was quite easy to tell which of them was the disguised Bellatrix - she never seemed to be able to get the tail right - although it seemed convincing enough for the murkrow. She eyed Odette curiously and the murder began to follow suit, their attention fully focused on the small group below.
Ghaspius's smile widened as he watched Bellatrix get to work, but he made sure to keep it closed. His voice lowered to a whisper, "Not the best with words. Ya think ya got this, Odette?"
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