/simu/ - Simulacrum

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>Date: May 31st, 2017
>Location: Somewhere in the British Countryside
>Time: 10:00 AM

>Madeleine sits in a luxurious chair in a sitting room of her home, leaning slightly to the side, she stirs a cup of tea delicately, carefully dividing her focus between it and the other person in the room as she talks.

"You can't seriously tell me that you think Master: Curse, is a better film than Spirit Regret."

>Madeleine finishes stirring the teea and carefully puts the spoon to the side, touching the cup slightly to check the temperature of it.

"I mean, come on, Spirit Regret is a defining anime film, Master: Curse might have cool fight scenes, sure, but it's pretty shallow. . ."

>While waiting for a response, Madeleine picks up the cup delicately and takes a sip.


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"It has some of the best animation ever seen in film. Maybe the story isn't as good, but everything else about it beats Spirit Regret."

>Orion sits in a chair across from Madeleine, eyeing the cup as she picks it up. He leans back in his seat.

"So, are you always going to argue that what I like is worse than what you like?"

>Orion seems to be not entirely serious about the question.


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"Hey, I admitted that I was wrong about Thrones of the Great, didn't I?"

>Madeleine takes another sip, noticing Orion's eyes following the cup.

"Feel free to grab a drink for yourself. There's a stocked mini-fridge in that cabinet over there."

>Madeleine points at an ornate antique cabinet in the corner of the room.

"Or there's always the one in the kitchen - or you can always raid the 'good professor's' wine cellar if you want something stronger."

>Madeleine puts her cup down delicately, snidely adding.

"Better than what his legacy deserves anyway."


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>Orion slouches back in his seat a bit more.

"I'll get something later. I've already been to the toilet enough times today."

>Orion's eyes shift around for a few moments, seemingly thinking about something. Afterwards they gaze back to Madeleine.

"So was Professor Dirtnap completely obsessed with all this… high society stuff? Because aside from your things I haven't seen anything that looks like it's any less than a hundred years old."


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"Oh completely, you know those pictures of, like, 19th century explorers you see in history books? He made a point of being like those, actually. . ."

>Madeleine stands up, walking over to a bookcase and moving her finger along it until she finds what she's after.

>Pulling a book from the shelf, Madeleine makes her way back to her chair, holding the book in a way that reveals its title as "On the Meta-Gene and it's Consequences in Modern Psychology." and the author as "Professor Alexander H-", with Madeleine's hand covering the rest of the name.

>Once she's sat down, Madeleine opens the book to the first page and places it on the coffee table, revealing a black and white photograph of the author inside, done up as if it's one from the era when photographs were rare and expensive.

"He had a special photograph of himself made just to show off how high class he was, do you see the family resemblance?"

>Madeleine grimaces at the thought.

"Everything had to be perfect and according to his vision of his life, everyone he interacted with he did so in a curated way, like he was a king from a fairy tale - and nothing he bought was to be something that the poor could buy, hence. . ."

>Madeleine indicates around the room.

"That said most of this has been here for centuries."


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>Orion leans forward in his seat, giving himself a better look at the photo. He stares at it in silence for several seconds, before looking at Madeleine.

"Well, he sounds irritating. And from what you've said, he was. But on the up side. You turned out great."

>Orion reaches across, taking Madeleine's hand in an almost uncharacteristically serious manner. He looks her in the eyes, and speaks with a calm tone.

"Except for your taste in anime. It's pretty bad."

>Orion tries to hide the smirk forming on his face, while continuing to look into Madeleine's eyes.


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"Well, what can I say? I've got terrible taste in men too. . ."

>Madeleine leans over, moving in the direction of Orion's face, only to jerk back as a splash can be heard from a water feature at the side of the room.

>Removing her hand from Orion's, Madeleine lets out a sigh and looks over the water feature.

"What is it, Theia? I'm in the middle of something, can it wait?"

>The water from the water feature flows out, spinning as it forms a facsimile of a maid that steps closer to Madeleine and Orion.

"That I can see."

>The voice from the maid is distorted, sounding like it's underwater.

"But how could you make your dear friend wait? Even for. . ."

>The watery maid looks at Orion.

"A lover? Friend with benefits? Or just some random side piece you picked up off the street?"


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>Orion looks back at the watery maid, furrowing his brow in a mix of annoyance and confusion.

"Who the hell's this? I thought the water girl had some other name?"

>Orion looks to Madeleine for an answer.


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"Oh no, that's Cynthia, this is. . ."

>Madeleine thinks for a moment, trying to come up with the most concise way of explaining the newcomer.

"This is Theia Cassel, or rather. . . a creation of Theia Cassel that she uses to communicate with me from a distance so I can't read her mind. . ."

>Madeleine side-eyes the maid, which gives Orion a curtsy.

"Theia is my oldest friend, but she can be. . . difficult to get along with times, so don't feel obligated to, ok?"

>The water maid looks at Madeleine, mock offence somehow being sent through from it despite a relatively blank face.

"So rude, I only put the highest amount of effort in to getting along with people, and this is not just some 'creation', this is an incredibly advanced water manipulation technique, it's not just anyone who could do this. . ."

"Yes yes. . ."

>Madeleine lowers her voice.

"Theia has. . . certain views on things, so don't mention you work for Archeon, ok?"


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>Orion responds to Madeleine with his voice lowered.

"Er… okay then. I guess."

>He then leans back in his seat, and then stares at the water maid. He stares for a few moments, and then looks like he's thinking intensely about something.

"Are you some kind of wizard or something? I don't understand how you can talk to us through water like this."


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"You really know how to pick them, don't you Maddie. . . He doesn't even know about how sound works."

>The Theia puppet looks at Madeleine.

"France, I've sent the coordinates to your phone, say you're there to visit the Beaufort girl when you get to the hotel - she's got issues I can't solve but you can, bad dreams."

"Theia you can't just-"

"Have Blink take you or go on a plane or something, you can ever bring your new squeeze along if you want to 'occupy' yourself on the journey."


"Well, got to go now, got other things to do."

>The water dissolves itself into a stream and quickly moves back into the feature, leaving Madeleine looking defeated.

"Theia is. . . I swear she has her good points too, ok?"

>Madeleine sighs.

"She's just got a. . . personality, don't take what she said to heart, ok Orion?"

>Madeleine pauses for a moment, then sighs again.

"Also whoever she's asking me to help out probably doesn't have money for her hotel room, so I'm probably going to have to go there ASAP - Theia doesn't exactly carry around much money."

>Madeleine gives Orion a forced smile.

"Want to take a day trip to France?"


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>Orion grunts at Theia's comments, not saying anything in response.

>Once she's left Orion listens to Madeleine, turning to face her. He blinks at her question.

"…My mom is from France, you know. So… yeah. I guess that would be alright."


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"Oh, I didn't realise, you haven't really mentioned her. . ."

>Madeleine thinks for a moment.

"You don't have to come along if you think it'll make you uncomfortable - or just if you don't want to."

>Madeleine steps away for a moment, picking up her phone.

"I mean, it's my childhood friend dumping work on me, there's no obligation for you, I just figured we could do something nice as well to make up for the fact we were interrupted."

>Madeleine checks the coordinates on her phone.

"I mean, South France is meant to be nice around this time of year."


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"Yeah. Er… sure. France then. Let's do that."

>Orion peeks over and looks at Madeleine's phone as well.

"Sooo are we taking the really fast way or something else?"


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"Well, either works. . ."

>Location: Appencour, Occitaine, France

>The village of Appencour is a quaint site nestled away in the French countryside, located in scenic foothills, it would make the perfect location for a romantic getaway for most people.

>Including Orion and Madeleine, if they weren't forced there by other crcumstances.

>Having travelled from her home in Britain, Madeleine and Orion find themselves outside of an expensive looking hotel, the look of which makes Madeleine's twitch a little.

"I swear she picks these places to mock me. . ."

>Stepping forward, Madeleine goes through the door of the hotel, ringing the bell for attention and speaking to the receptionist in practiced, if obviously not native, French.

"<Hello, my name is Madeleine Cox, I am here to visit. . .>"

>Madeleine thinks for a moment, trying to remember the name.

"<. . .Ms Beaufort, she should be. . .>"

>Madeleine pauses again, trying to remember the right word in French.

"<. . .waiting for us.>"

>The receptionist processes what was said before nodding and checking a notebook.

"<I will retrieve her for you, if you wish to wait in the lounge?>"

>The receptionist indicates to a lounge area, done up to look as homely as it can, and Madeleine nods.

>Walking over to the lounge, Madeleine takes a seat, waiting for Orion to join her, and lets out a big sigh.

". . .my French is terrible, I could hear him thinking that the entire time. . ."


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>Orion takes a seat next to Madeleine, patting her on the shoulder.

"At least you can speak French without taking it from someone. All I know is 'bonjour'."

>Not used to travelling to fancy hotels in other countries, Orion fidgets in his seat slightly, trying to get more comfortable as he tries to adjust to his new surroundings.

"…So. You been here before? Not the hotel, but the country, I guess."


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>Madeleine shakes her head.

"Never, but French is the language of culture, so. . ."

>Madeleine leaves the sentence hanging for Orion to form his own answer.

"I would've received a beating if anyone heard me speaking like that as a child, not becoming."

>The door to the outside opens with the ring of a bell, and a man walks in, wearing a hoodie and cap, he makes his way over to a bar on the other side of the lobby and sits down, indicating to the barman to give him a drink.

>On the other end of the lobby, the door to the rest of the hotel opens and the receptionist walks through, soon followed by a woman that can only be described with one word. . .

"T-tall. . ."

>Madeleine coughs to hide what she said as the receptionist makes his way over to Orion and Madeleine, indicating that the woman is who Madeleine asked for.

"<Ah, thank you, here. . .>"

>Madeleine takes out a cheque, handing it to the receptionist.

"<To pay for the room, and a tip.>"

>The receptionist nods and walks off, leaving the tall woman with Orion and Madeleine.

>After a few seconds of silence, the woman awkwardly speaks up in a heavily accented voice.

"You are the one mentioned to me by the small woman?"

"Yes. . . and this is my partner. . ."

>Madeleine pauses for Orion to introduce himself.


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>Orion stares at the woman. His eyes slightly narrow, as he appears to be thinking about something.


>He continues to stare for a few more moments, before turning his eyes away. He leans back in his seat and then waits for the conversation to continue, still seemingly thinking about something.


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"Orion. . ."

>The tall woman thinks for a moment.

"Your name is like. . . the stars? La ceinture d'Orion?"

>Madeleine lets out a small chuckle.

"One moment. . ."

>Closing her eyes, Madeleine is silent for a moment before opening them again.

"You can speak in French now, you will understand us, and I will understand you, Orion will be able to too, if he let's me add him to the link. Much more convenient than us trying to find a common language, no?"

>The tall woman nods, then tentatively adds:


>Shocked at the understanding from Madeleine's face, the woman takes a seat opposite Orion and Madeleine.

"My name is Sabine Beaufort. . ."

>Sabine clasps her hands together, fidgeting with them.

"The small woman sent me to you because I have been having bad dreams. . . and I think my brother is sending them to me. . ."

>Sabine looks around, almost embarrassed.

"I know that sounds crazy, but my brother is trying to find me to hurt me, and the dreams are all. . . odd."


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>Orion turns his attention towards the woman, furrowing his brow.

"…Why do you think your brother is sending you bad dreams? You sure this isn't just paranoia?"


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>Sabine shakes her head.

"The dreams. . . they are of things I haven't seen before, in a level of detail that can't just be what I'm imagining. . ."

>Sabine shuffles her hands again.

"I am not a creative person. . . all I have is my height. . . but my brother. . . he is a Meta-Human, like me, but the doctors said that his powers were sigh. . . cy. . . psi. . ."


>Sabine nods.

"Yes, that."

"That's no guarantee though, Sabine, not every psionic Meta-Human has the ability to manipulate minds. Isn't that right, Orion?"


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>Orion glances in Madeleine's direction.

"Most can't."

>He looks at Sabine.

"Okay. So the dreams may or may not be your own. But what makes you think your brother is doing it? Do you two have beef with each other?"

>He stops for a moment, wondering if the slang "beef" even exists in French.

"What I mean is do you dislike each other, or something?"


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>Sabine looks confused.

"Oh. . . not originally, but since mum died he. . . has not been the same. . ."

>Sabine stops for a moment, wiping a tear from her eye.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to. . ."

"Don't worry about it."

>Madeleine takes out a hankerchief, handing it to Sabine for her to use.

"I can understand those things can be upsetting, while you may not want to talk about it. knowing about it is useful for helping you. . ."

"Thank you. . . ever since our mother died, my brother has been obsessed with bringing her back somehow, and somehow he's gotten the idea that if he sacrifices me to some. . . made up religion cult thing, he can bring her back - probably because he blames me for her dying, she died protecting me."


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>Orion looks taken aback at Sabine's story, clearly confused by her brother's behavior.

"What? Really? That's fucked up. Why the hell would he think that?"

>Annoyed, Orion lets out a huff.

"Well, where is he now?"


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"I don't know, he told me his plan last week - I've been running from him since then."

>Madeleine furrows her brow clearly trying to think of a solution.

"Sounds like we need a two-pronged solution to this, if I look into Sabine's dreams, you can keep an eye out for. . ."

>Madeleine looks at Sabine, having realised that they didn't get her brother's name.


". . .Renaud. Or you can go along and I can hold off Renaud with. . . a vase or something? Looks like it's a good job you came along in the end isn't it?"


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"Yeah… it's probably better for me to deal with Renaud if your plan is to point a vase at him."

>Orion looks at Sabine.

"I guess I can… talk to your brother, or something. Where does he usually hang out?"

>Orion appears somewhat annoyed, but keeps his gaze on her.


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"Hey, I said 'or something', it didn't have to be a vase. . ."

>Madeleine waves Orion's comments off

"I don't know. . . we hadn't talked much since mum died. . ."

>Sabine looks at Orion with sadness in her eyes.

"Sorry. . ."

"Don't worry Sabine, if he's as resourceful as you're making him out to be, I'm sure your brother will turn up while we're handling things, and we can get this all sorted nice and quickly."

"And if he doesn't?"

"Well if he's the one really sending you dreams, either me or Orion could probably find him from that, so don't worry."

>Madeleine gives Sabine a reassuring smile.

"Now, if you'd be so kind as to show us to your room? These things usually work better in more private settings."


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>Orion stands up from his seat, stretching a little.

"Yeah. Let's get this sorted. I'm sure you'd like to get some actual sleep for once after this."

>His eyes scan the room for a few moments, not noticing anything suspicious. He then turns his gaze back at Sabine, again narrowing his eyes slightly as he appears to be thinking hard about something.


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>Sabine stands up, walking across the lobby to the other door, having to crouch to fit through it - and to fit in the hallways.

>After a few minutes, the trio end up in front of a room door, which Sabine opens and awkwardly stumbles through, having to crawl at one point. Once she's inside, Sabine takes the only "seat" that fits her - the bed.

>Gracefully walking through behind Sabine, Madeleine looks around the room, taking in the sights briefly before making her way in front of the giant woman.

"Ok, Sabine, I need you to listen very carefully to me now. . ."



>Madeleine puts a finger on Sabine's head, causing the giant woman to flop over, fast asleep.

"Any signs of anyone yet, Orion?"


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"Just the occasional person walking down the hall."

>Orion eyes the door for several moments, before looking at Madeleine.

"Weird way to visit France for the first time."


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"Alright, I'll get to work then. . ."

>Madeleine moves around Sabine, taking a comfortable position near her head which she places her fingers on for a moment before moving away.

"Most important thing when doing telepathic dives. . . comfy pillows, or else your butt ends up sore."

>Having made herself more comfortable, Madeleine places her hands on Sabine's head again, and flashes Orion a smile.

"Oh and of course a big strong boyfriend who can protect you."

>Not giving Orion a chance to respond, Madeleine finishes placing her hands on Sabine's head and then goes blank to the outside world, leaving the room in silence besides Orion.

>After a few moments, a knock comes from the door, and a voice calls through in French.

"<Room service.>"


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>Orion returns Madeleine's smile, lingering on it even once she goes blank to the world. Not having been paying attention for a moment, he's nearly startled by the knock at the door, causing him to jerk his head in it's direction.


>He gets out of his seat, and walks towards the door. He opens the door just enough to poke his head out, obscuring the view of the rest of the room.

>He replies in surprisingly fluent French.

"<I don't remember ordering room service. You must have the wrong room.>"


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>The concierge looks down at his notes.

"<I have a note that you specifically ordered room service to. . .>"

>The concierge looks blank for a moment.

"<To take out the trash. It will only take a moment sir.>"


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>Orion stares at the concierge, narrowing his eyes.

{"Maybe Sabine called earlier. I don't know how these hotels work."}

"<Well, right now we're dealing with a private matter. Come back later, please.>"

>He starts to close the door.


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>The man moves out of the way of the door.

"<Of course sir, I will. . .>"

>The man stops, then suddenly shoves his foot forward to stop the door.

<. . .have to insist sir, I am sorry.>"

>From the other side of the room, a scratching sound comes from the window.


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"<I said leave.>"

>Orion pushes harder against the door, pushing it shut despite the man's attempts to stop it. He then immediately whips around, turning his attention towards the giant window on the other side of the room.


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>The concierge lets out a scream of pain, stepping backwards - allowing the door to slam shut.

>On the other side of the room, outside of the window, the man with a hoodie and cap from the lobby is crouched, holding a small black object in his hand, using it on the window somehow.

>Noticing Orion, the man looks over at Sabine, then back to Orion, clearly weighing his options, then takes a step back from the window, giving Orion a smug grin that suggests Orion can't reach him.


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>Orion stares at the man, following his eyes. He then looks down at the small object, and then the man. He lets out a chuckle and then points his palm at the man.

>Without warning an invisible force yanks the man forward, causing him to crash through the window and be held in place. Unfazed, Orion walks towards him, now grinning himself.

"<Oops. Looks like I broke the window. My bad.>"

>The glass shards spread throughout the room begin being pulled back towards the hole in the wall, being pieced back together until the window is now back, seemingly untouched.


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>The man brushes himself off.

"<That is a clever trick, but I won't let you take her from me. . .>"

>The man switches into a martial arts pose, his stance indicating that it's more copied from TV than being an actual trained pose


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>Still appearing amused, Orion doesn't bother taking a defensive stance.

"<You're Sabine's brother? I wasn't expecting much from you but you're even worse at this than I thought you would be.>"

>Without another word Orion suddenly slams his fist into the man's face, delivering a painful right hook that would be enough to knock out nearly anyone immediately.


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>The man, presumably Renaud, crumples under Orion's punch, clearly not granted superhuman durability by his psionic abilities.


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>Orion sighs, and then sits back down in his seat - content to allow Renaud to continue laying on the floor unconscious.

>He then pulls out his phone and begins mindlessly scrolling through it without a word.


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>After a few moments of scrolling, a sudden, almost palpable, feeling of menace descends on the room, and then disappears as suddenly as it appeared.

>The impact point from Orion's fist healing, the man stands up again, staring Orion down with desparate eyes.

>On the bed, Madeleine suddenly snaps back into consciousness, looking confused.

"Orion, what's-"

>Noticing Madeleine, the man looks at her, then at Orion, and grins, before jumping in her direction at a much faster speed than he was able to move before.


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>The invisible force redirects the man's movement at the last second, throwing him towards the wall. Orion jumps out of his chair and races across the room towards him, moving at a superhuman pace. He grabs the man by the throat, dragging him across the floor and then throwing him to the opposite side of the room.

"Keep your hands away from her, asshole."

>He glances over his shoulder in Madeleine's direction.

"You okay Maddie?"


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>Madeleine shakes her head as the man flies away, smiling at Orion and standing up.

"I'm alright, I just had to leave suddenly as I felt. . . something else in there for a moment, and I didn't want to face it without being prepared."

>The menacing feeling returns once again as the man picks himself up, causing him to smile.

"<Yes. . . I see. . . he's doing it with the same, that means. . .>"

>Still grinning, the man holds out his arm, and the wall behind Orion, Madeleine, and Sabine explodes into floating bricks and plasterwork.

"<I'll be taking that one now, and getting her back.>"

>Sabine suddenly flies out of the window, and starts shooting to the ground.

>Still keeping the grin on his face, the man jumps forward with the superhuman speed as before, moving to pass by Orion and Madeleine without interacting with them.


File: 1691697963408.jpg (250.48 KB, 500x706, Orion63.jpg)

>Orion turns and runs towards Madeleine to check on her.

"Maddie! You good? Did one of those bricks hit you?"

>He watches as the man runs past him, and grits his teeth while quickly turning to get an answer from Madeleine.


File: 1691698131926.jpg (61.07 KB, 564x800, Madeleine_94.jpg)

"I'm fine, Orion. More importantly. . ."

>Madeleine points out the new "window" at the sight of the man running away with Sabine's unconscious body behind him.

"We need to stop a murder, don't we?"

>Brushing off any dust from the exploded door that hit her, Madeleine looks down at the jump from the room.

"I think we should be able to catch him if you use this new exit, I can take the stairs and catch up to you. . ."


File: 1691698572317.jpg (388.83 KB, 800x600, Orion56.jpg)

"Exactly what I was thinking."

>Orion quickly leans in and kisses Madeleine on the forehead.

"See you soon."

>Orion turns around and then runs towards the "window". Without hesitation he jumps out, pushing himself towards Sabine and her abductor faster than what should seemingly be possible.

<"Hey Ronald! Whatever your name was! Get your ass back here before I make the last punch feel like a love tap!">


File: 1691698853503-0.png (346.71 KB, 800x800, Madeleine_87.png)

File: 1691698853503-1.png (203.94 KB, 900x840, 64309705fa8bdbf94e9e216ea0….png)

File: 1691698853503-2.gif (1.21 MB, 250x141, ezgif-2-6fac3775c7.gif)

>Madeleine sighs.

"I suppose I better pay for the wall too. . ."

>Down on the street level, the man keeps on running away, looking over his shoulder when he hears Orion shout after him.

"<It's Renaud! And never!>"

>Keeping one hand in the direction of Sabine, Renaud flicks his other hand, causing several cars and other items to fly in Orion's direction, as he keeps running away.


File: 1691699041495-0.jpg (794.95 KB, 991x1402, Orion28.jpg)

File: 1691699041495-1.gif (1.72 MB, 550x278, Punched.gif)

>Orion continues flying forward, casually avoiding the assortment of objects flying towards him. As he passes by they suddenly stop, and then get placed down relatively gently - at least gentle enough not to cause any major property damage.

>He suddenly speeds up, appearing directly in front of Renaud. Before giving him time to react Orion throws another right hook, this time using much more force.

"<Sit your ass down.>"


File: 1691699220450.jpg (679.97 KB, 850x1213, sample_5d6088d4015a9a4e54a….jpg)

"<Kh, won't work twice-!>"

>As the fist connects with his face, Renaud throws himself into the air, landing several foot away from Orion.

"<Just let me take her! A life for a life, that's fair, right?!>"

>Renaud's eyes dart about, looking for potential escape routes.

"<Besides, I'll be able to grant the dreams of others if it's successful, I could give you anything you want!>"


File: 1691699445690.jpg (41.48 KB, 600x600, Orion125.jpg)

"<What the hell are you even talking about?>"

>Orion watches Renaud's eyes, keeping track of the potential escape routes as well.

<"I'm not going to let you kill your sister just because you think it will bring your mom back. Final warning now. Give her to me and then piss off. Otherwise you won't like what I'll do.>"

>He clenches his fists, waiting for Renaud's next action.


File: 1691699647247.jpg (89.41 KB, 850x1107, sample_6d8dbfc4950d313990e….jpg)

"<I don't think it! I know it! It showed me!>"

>Renaud keeps on looking around, trying to decide on a direction.

"<I just need to sacrifice her and then it'll grant me the power to beat even death itself! Surely you understand, you must have lost someone too! Someone who should be alive while the person who died still lives!>"

>Renaud holds out his hand for Orion to take.

"<Join me, I'll bring them back too, a life for a life.>"


File: 1691700145819.jpg (27.34 KB, 425x600, Orion142.jpg)

>Orion stares at Renaud's hand, and then back at him. His eyes narrow, and then dart between both him and the unconscious Sabine.

"<…Have we met before?>"

>Orion continues to stare at Renaud, not having acknowledged his offer yet.

"<I'm sure I know both of you from somewhere.>"


File: 1691701076725-0.jpg (145.66 KB, 850x1140, sample_3d87fa59159b4980ff5….jpg)

File: 1691701076725-1.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

File: 1691701076725-2.png (514.85 KB, 526x856, Madeleine_46.png)

File: 1691701076725-3.jpg (85.87 KB, 900x600, DaUtsjcU8AA4f64.jpg)


>Renaud blinks, confused.

"<N-no, you're just trying to trick me or something, I have no idea who you are.>"

>As Renaud reels from the confusion, a telepathic message from Madeleine comes to Orion.

"{I'm nearly there Orion!}"

>Renaud looks at Orion, seemingly having made his mind.

"<If you won't believe me, I just have to show you too!>"

>Renaud leaps forward at Orion, managing to grab his shoulder.

>Reality breaks around the pair.

>Shard of what looks like glass, but is intangible to the touch, fly around the area, each of them showing small snippets of memories and thoughts from different people.

"-s should always hold their head high, Ch-"

"<Why are you even learning English, Aunt Monica's never gonna want to see you anyway!>"

"<-bine, always. . .>"

>Suddenly, what feels like a massive amount of weight forces itself on everyone gathered, as the storm of glass around them fades away, revealing an odd, twisted grove around them with a tree in the centre that sends out odd waves of unease, as well as the forms of everyone taken into Renaud's "spell".

>Standing across from Orion and Renaud, Madeleine stands, looking nonplussed at what happened.

>Now conscious, Sabine looks around, taking in the sights around her.

>Pulling his hand away from Orion, Renaud begins laughing, the look in his eyes indicating he's seeing something different from what everyone else is seeing.

"<See?! Isn't it beautiful?>"

"Orion, do you have any idea where we are?"


File: 1691702268817.jpg (250.48 KB, 500x706, Orion63.jpg)

>Orion stares at the tree, appearing more confused than panicked or astounded by it. Instinctively he knows the answer to Madeleine's question.

"…We're in the Astral Plane. Not someone's mind. But the real thing."

>He continues staring at the tree.

"And not a very nice part of it, apparently."

>He turns to look at Renaud.

"Damn it. You're Bertrand and Margot's kids, aren't you? That makes you my…"

>He pauses for a moment, trying to remember the correct term.

"Second cousins."

>Orion lets out a grunt, suddenly turning to face the tree.

"Why the hell is the tree screaming?"


File: 1691702735996-0.jpg (85.87 KB, 900x600, DaUtsjcU8AA4f64.jpg)

File: 1691702735996-1.jpg (476.34 KB, 850x1338, Madeleine_112.jpg)

File: 1691702735996-2.jpg (145.66 KB, 850x1140, sample_3d87fa59159b4980ff5….jpg)

File: 1691702735996-3.jpg (488.01 KB, 675x1200, 102872067_p0_master1200.jpg)

>Sabine speaks up.

"<Dad's name is Bertrand, and mom was called Margot->"

>Madeleine cuts in.

"Screaming? That tree practically radiates menace to me, Orion."

"<No! It's not menacing or screaming, can't you hear it's sweet song?>"

>Renaud starts stumbling closer to the tree.

>Seeing his frantic movements, Madeleine's face lights up as she has an idea.

"If this is really the Astral Plane, then. . ."

>Madeleine looks at Renaud directly and points at him.

"Fall. Pause."

>Renaud falls over suddenly, his frantic movements stopping as he lies on the ground.

"That's far more potent than usually. . ."

>Done with her experiment, Madeleine turns to Orion and smiles.

"So. . . second cousins? On your mother's side?"

>Sabine looks at Orion as well.

"<On your mother's side? Aunt Monica? Is she. . . ok?>"

>Another pulse of energy comes from the tree, sending the menacing feeling around, but otherwise doing nothing


File: 1691703091298.jpg (36.19 KB, 447x808, Orion101.jpg)

>Orion's expression darkens for a moment, as he goes silent - turning away from Sabine. After what feels like several seconds, he speaks bluntly.

"She's dead."

>He looks towards the tree.

"Like that fucking angry tree is about to be in a moment."

>The gap between Orion and the tree seems to shorten, as if the "world" itself had just compressed in space between them. Orion marches towards it, with visible killing intent.


File: 1691703341543-0.jpg (85.87 KB, 900x600, DaUtsjcU8AA4f64.jpg)

File: 1691703341543-1.jpg (107.76 KB, 738x1000, Madeleine_60.jpg)

>Another pulse of energy comes from the tree, focusing in on Orion.

>After a few seconds of doing nothing, the energy retreats, pulling itself back into the tree, and then, without warning, the tree vanishes, leaving no trace of it being there before.

>With the tree gone, the grove melts away into the village street again, albeit with everyone moved to where they were standing (or lying) in the grove.

>Looking around, Madeleine blinks.

"Did it just. . . run away?"


File: 1691703721538.png (234.01 KB, 396x915, Orion49.png)

>Orion furrows his brow.


>Orion throws his fist forward, audibly shattering wood. He pulls his arm out of what looks to be thin air, revealing a bloodied hole "floating" in place.

>Orion flicks his wrist, flinging the blood off his arm and hand.

"It's really bad at staying calm when hidden. And I could still hear it."

>Again, Orion drives a fist into the invisible tree, this time with his left hand. Once more he pulls it away, flicking the blood off himself.


File: 1691704026400.png (514.85 KB, 526x856, Madeleine_46.png)

>The ground "shakes" for Orion, Madeleine, and Renaud for a few seconds as another heavy feeling of malice descends on them.

>Then, after a few seconds, the "shaking" stops, and the energy parts, scattering like leaves in the wind away rather lifting like the previous times.

>After a few seconds, Madeleine lets out a sigh of relief.

"I think it's gone now Orion. . ."


File: 1691704335546-0.png (273.97 KB, 448x418, Orion105.png)

File: 1691704335546-1.jpg (24.79 KB, 500x500, Void - 2.jpg)


>Orion holds out his hand, causing the space in front of them to shatter like glass- before reconfiguring into a more typical form for the Astral Plane, somewhat resembling outer space.

>Turning around, Orion marches towards Renaud, picking him up by the shirt with one hand. He shakes him while dangling his body in front of him.

"Wake up dumb ass. I killed your fucking tree. Now you have no reason to hurt your sister."

>He tosses Renaud forward, causing him to land on his bottom.


File: 1691704886500-0.jpg (679.97 KB, 850x1213, sample_5d6088d4015a9a4e54a….jpg)

File: 1691704886500-1.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

File: 1691704886500-2.jpg (62.18 KB, 563x790, Madeleine_59.jpg)

>Renaud looks up at Orion, a crazed look in his eyes.

"<N-no! I need to! It's the only way I can see mom again!>"

"<Mom's dead, Renaud! You can't bring her back! That. . . whatever it was was probably lying to you!>"

>Renaud shakes his head.

"<Nononononononononono no! It showed me! You have to bring it back! If I can't see mom again, how can I. . .>"

>Madeleine "walks" over to Renaud, leaning down besides him.

"Renaud? I need you to listen to my voice, ok? It's going to be ok. . ."

>Renaud looks up at Madeleine, entranced.

"You're going to sleep now and have a lovely dream where you get to say anything you want to to your mother, and when you wake up it'll be all ok. . ."

>Renaud blankly looks at Madeleine for a few seconds, before slumping over uselessly.

"I know you're angry at him, Orion, but I had to or we'd lose him, ok?"


File: 1691705255372.jpg (165.23 KB, 658x811, Orion4.jpg)

>Orion stares at Renaud from the corner of his eyes. Coldly, he says:

"Maybe that would've been for the best."


File: 1691705526369.png (135.85 KB, 303x590, Madeleine_42.png)

"Sabine? Look after your brother for a moment, ok?"

>Concentrating for a second, Madeleine waves her hand, creating a "box" around Sabine and Renaud, leaving her and Orion alone for a time.

"Orion, I know you're upset, but they're your family - and not in that way either."

>Madeleine moves over to Orion, holding out a hand to put on his cheek.

"Besides, don't you think Sabine at least deserves to make that choice? And what would you tell Stephanie? You know you wouldn't be able to hide it from her."


File: 1691706581496.png (321.04 KB, 475x720, Orion81.png)

>Orion allows Madeleine to place her hand on his cheek. He places his hand over it, staring at Madeleine. His expression changes back and forth between angry and defeated, before he finally lets out a sigh.

"Fine. You're right. I'll let Sabine decide what to do. But I don't have to like Renaud."

>He closes his eyes, taking a moment to enjoy Madeleine's presence.

"At least I've got you to make all of this more tolerable."


File: 1691706827478.png (143.36 KB, 216x350, Madeleine_35.png)

"I never said you had to like him Orion, if I was going to force you to like things, we'd have fixed your terrible taste in anime."

>Madeleine gives Orion a warm smile.

"It's surprisingly nice here, calm. . ."

>Still keeping her hand on Orion's cheek, Madeleine closes her eyes for a moment, letting the silence wash over her.

"I could get used to it. . ."

>Madeleine lets out a contented sigh, then opens her eyes again, looking over her shoulder.

"Did you hear that?"


File: 1691706928387.jpg (794.95 KB, 991x1402, Orion28.jpg)

>Having been too distracted by the moment, Orion failed to notice the sound.

"Huh? What?"

>His eyes move to look behind Madeleine.


File: 1691707024978.jpg (398.3 KB, 852x1300, Madeleine_66.jpg)

>Madeleine looks around for a moment, unable to locate the sound.

"Probably nothing, it's stopped now, but we best not risk it. Do you have any sort of way of getting us out of here, or are we going to have to contact your sister somehow?"


File: 1691707510848.png (212.75 KB, 404x548, Orion55.png)

>Orion lets out a sigh.

"I can do it. I don't know why I feel so sure, but I do."

>He turns his eyes back towards Madeleine.

"But first. Just in case anything else happens today."

>Orion leans in, pressing his lips against Madeleine's - sharing a kiss with her.


File: 1691707842071-0.png (101.19 KB, 252x342, Madeleine_34.png)

File: 1691707842072-1.gif (998.38 KB, 500x270, kiss.gif)

"Well, in that case, I trust you to-"

>Madeleine is interrupted by Orion kissing her, and leans in herself to reciprocate.

>After a few moments of kissing, Madeleine pulls out, slightly flushed.

"We should, ahem. . . um. . . we should get to getting back to reality."


File: 1691708117058.jpg (38.67 KB, 600x705, Orion145.jpg)

"You sure? I could stay here a while, like this. Even if I am stuck with someone who only watches and reads subpar material."

>Orion smiles at Madeleine, and then turns to the side - still holding on to her hand.

"Give me a second…"

>Orion stares out into the "space" in front of them, concentrating. Moments later everything around the pair, and the near-by siblings again shatters like glass, revealing the material world.

>He turns to look at Madeleine again.

"Told you I could do it. Impressed?"


File: 1691708376057.png (267.23 KB, 452x471, Madeleine_37.png)

>Madeleine brushes herself off, still slightly flustered.

"Yes. . . ahem. . . Yes very impressive. I said I trusted you to do it. . ."

>Madeleine looks over at Sabine and the unconscious Renaud.

"Do you. . . do you want to talk to them? About, you know?"


File: 1691708585490.png (248.09 KB, 331x510, Orion61.png)





>He lets go of Madeleine's hand, hesitating for a moment - before taking a step towards the pair of siblings.


File: 1691781222570.png (265 KB, 600x728, Madeleine_89.png)

>Madeleine gives Orion a smile.

"I'm proud of you Orion. . ."

>Madeleine takes a step back from him, still smiling.

"I'll leave you to it, take as much time as you need, ok?"


File: 1691782761359.jpg (150.96 KB, 900x1200, Orion95.jpg)

>Orion steps towards the siblings, standing there watching them.


>He awkwardly scratches his head.


>Orion continues to stare in silence, feeling immensely out of place.


File: 1691782942661.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

>Sabine sits next to her unconscious brother, still managing to be taller than Orion. Until he speaks up, she's looking over him, checking for any injuries casually. With Orion's callout, she looks up at Orion instead.

"So. . . You're our. . . second? Cousin? Aunt Monica's child?"


File: 1691783413394.jpg (250.48 KB, 500x706, Orion63.jpg)


>Orion stares back in silence.


>Without warning Orion turns around.

"Okay well, goodbye."

>He then starts to walk away - only to suddenly stop, feeling like he has daggers drilling into him from somewhere. Sighing, Orion grumbles to himself.

"She would kill me if I tell her that I just walked away without saying anything…"

>In a somewhat stiff, awkward motion Orion turns back around and walks towards Sabine.

"Are you going to be alright?"


File: 1691784768076.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Oh. . ."

>Sabine looks shocked at the question, as she hasn't genuinely processed it yet.

"I. . . Don't know? I mean, I'll probably be fine when it comes to money, I had some saved up and it's not like a girl like me can't find work in stuff like construction. . ."

>Sabine sighs.

". . .don't like doing that though, feels like I'm being forced into it."


File: 1691784995319.png (181.42 KB, 310x840, Orion58.png)

"I meant more like… er… mentally. Or emotionally, I guess."

>Orion blinks, and continues to stare awkwardly before suddenly pulling out his phone.

"One second."

>Orion spends a minute or so scrolling through his phone, checking for something. Without looking up he starts talking again.

"Do you want like a million dollars or something? Would that convert to a lot in France? Or would you need more? I don't really pay attention to how much money I'm paid."


File: 1691785816870.jpg (488.01 KB, 675x1200, 102872067_p0_master1200.jpg)


>Sabine starts counting on her fingers, trying to comprehend the amount of money.

"Why would you give me that much? I know we're related but that's too much. A million. . ."

>Sabine scratches the back of head.

"I don't know about being mentally or emotionally though. . . I mean, my brother did try to kill me. . . that's pretty crazy, right?"


File: 1691785985187.jpg (125.98 KB, 1167x1800, Orion119.jpg)

>Orion shrugs

"I don't mind giving you a million it's apparently not much for me."

>Orion looks at Sabine.

"Yeah your brother trying to kill you is crazy. You… should probably figure out what you want to happen to him because of that."


File: 1691786312484.jpg (489.48 KB, 900x1200, 105583867_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Y-you're not some kind of dodgy con artist or something, are you? I mean, you're being very relaxed about that much money. . ."

>Sabine again tries to count on her fingers.

"As for Renaud. . . I don't know. . . I mean, he tried to kill me, but I don't want to see him killed or anything. . ."

>Sabine gently moves Renaud's head with one of her fingers.

". . .but he tried to kill me. . . he should be punished for that, right?"

>Sabine puts her head in her hands.

"I don't know. . ."


File: 1691786474125.png (273.97 KB, 448x418, Orion105.png)

>Orion scratches his head.

"No I'm not a con artist. I just have a high position in a company. For reasons I'll never understand, but I do."

>Orion turns to show Sabine his phone.


>After giving her a moment to look he turns his eyes towards Renaud.

"And I didn't mean kill him. I meant like… I dunno. Put him in jail or a mental hospital or something."


File: 1691786741283.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

>Sabine blinks at the number on Orion's phone, having to strain slightly due to how small it is compared to her.

"O-oh, it's real. . ."

>Sabine moves away from the phone, looking at Renaud again.

"He probably needs professional help, right? To make sure he doesn't start trying to kill people again."


File: 1691787073397.png (267.02 KB, 444x510, Orion115.png)


>Orion thinks for a moment, before turning to look in Madeleine's direction.

"…You could ask Madeleine over there if she would be willing to help. I mean, she's a psychologist. And I… talk to her sometimes. About… things."

>He turns to look at Sabine again.

"I mean you can't really jail your brother without any proof of what he did anyway. So this seems like the best thing."


File: 1691787811276.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Yeah. . ."

>Sabine looks down at Renaud again.

"It probably looks like we just went on some weird holiday or something, it's not like he was telling people he was going to kill me or anything. . . I think."

"Thank you for the help. . ."

>Sabine goes silent for a few moments.

"Can I ask. . . Do you. . ."

>Sabine sighs, trying to work out how to say what she wants to ask.

"Mom. . . she always used to say Aunt Monica was super smart and super kind and a genius. I only met her once or twice and I was young so I don't really remember her. . ."

>Sabine's eyes awkwardly dart about.

". . .was she happy? Aunt Monica that is. You. . . you don't have to answer that if you don't want to."


File: 1691787956001.png (313.36 KB, 588x855, Orion25.png)

>Orion stares at Sabine.


>He turns his head away from Sabine, waiting for literally anything else to happen while crossing his arms.


File: 1691788040483.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Oh. . ."

>Sabine looks sad at the answer.

"Did she. . . at least have you?"


File: 1691788230173.png (259.01 KB, 600x750, Orion121.png)

>Orion's head remains pointed away.

"For a little while. Until we were taken away."


File: 1691788306888.jpg (688.52 KB, 839x1200, 107597080_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Oh. . . err. . ."

>Sabine seems stuck for words.

"um. . . you said we?"


File: 1691788507560.jpg (165.23 KB, 658x811, Orion4.jpg)

>Orion finally looks at Sabine again. He furrows his brow, confused.

"Did I not mention earlier that I had a sister? Could've sworn I did."


File: 1691788590427.jpg (389.82 KB, 849x1200, 99806243_p0_master1200.jpg)

"No. Is she older or younger than you? Is she nice?"

>Sabine thinks for a moment.

"Would she. . . want to meet me and Renaud?"


File: 1691788745805.jpg (83.41 KB, 414x956, Orion22.jpg)

"We're the same age, she's nice but sometimes bossy. And she will probably want to meet you right away when I tell her about today."

>Orion blinks.

"Do you guys not interact with family much or something?"


File: 1691789224532.jpg (467.79 KB, 1166x837, 99655751_p0_master1200.jpg)

"It's kind of awkward for me because of, well. . ."

>Sabine scratches the back of her head.

"Mom dying for me and all that, and apparently I look a lot like her so they keep on mentioning that. It's a bit uncomfortable."

". . .so I don't really talk to them much anymore, avoids bringing up bad memories. You get it, right?"


File: 1691789488580.png (349.64 KB, 381x631, Orion62.png)

>Orion stares blankly at Sabine.

"Kind of."

>He lingers in silence for several moments before turning his attention back towards Renaud again.

"Anyway. You should talk to Madeleine while she's here. And if you want I can ask my sister to meet you. Even though she'll probably want to do that anyway."


File: 1691789654770.jpg (1.16 MB, 1200x1200, 103071137_p0_master1200.jpg)

"Yeah. . . right. . . I should thank her for coming when the little blonde lady asked. . ."

>Sabine thinks for a moment, then looks at Orion's phone.

"If you want, I can tell you my address, my real one, not that hotel, and she can visit me there - it'll be more comfortable."

"I would send it on my own phone but. . ."

>Sabine holds up one of her hands, the size of it sending her point across.


File: 1691789958492.png (248.09 KB, 331x510, Orion61.png)

"Er.. yeah, sure. One second."

>Orion fidgets with his phone until he gets it to where he needs it.

"Okay. Go ahead and tell me. I'll give it to my sister as soon as I can."

You were expecting some kind of complex end message? That's it. Thread's over. Get out.

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