/simu/ - Simulacrum

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>The Scottish Highlands

>It was a cold winter, that year, cold enough to freeze the lakes. No weather for a child to be out on the highlands.

>Yet, at least one was, a young boy, his thick clothing doing all it could to keep the cold out. A task made more difficult by his apparent decision to display his blonde hair to any that could see him. Running through the snow, his thin, lithe form betrays little of the lawyer he would grow up to be. Yet still, despite his young age, the boy's looks appear almost noble, like a child out of story for children, a future knight.

>The boy runs, stopping when he sees a pillar of smoke rising from the distance. Blinking, he changes directions and runs over to it. . .

>The boy arrives at his destination, a few scuffs and scrapes revealing his trip over wasn't entirely without incident, and finds the source of the smoke.

>A pile of rubble, smoldering from what was clearly a massive blaze, fills an area that indicates that it was once a barn. In the centre, a young girl sits, her knees brought up to her chest to keep out the outside world. Matted white hair drapes over her body, with ash turning what would normally match the snow into a grey mess. Sitting in a tree by the remains is a young boy, similar in age to the blonde boy and the girl, a book in his hands.

>As the blonde boy approaches, the boy in the tree scoffs, flicking a page in his book.

>The noise brings the blonde's attention to the tree, causing him to look up.

"What happened?"

"Ask her."

>The boy in the tree nudges his head to the girl.

"Don't you care?"

"Why should I?"

"She could be hurt!"


"Well. . . she. . ."

>The blonde stops talking, unable to come up with a response.

"Go talk to her if you care."

"I will!"

>The blonde boy indignantly marches across the rubble, the flames not even coming close to touching him as he makes his way over to the girl. Once he's reached her, he stands tall, as tall as a boy his age can look anyway, and loudly steps around to announce his presence.

"What happened?"

>The girl looks up for a moment, watching the boy with tear-stained eyes.

"I don't wanna talk."

>Her voice is buried in a thick accent, betraying her roots in the region.

"Well I'm not leaving!"

>The blonde boy keeps on stomping around.

"Not leaving! Not leaving!"

>A flame bursts up in the boy's path, nearly hitting him. Watching it for a second, the boy stares it in wonder.

"Woooaaah. . . cool!"

>He stomps back over to the girl.

"Did you do that? That's super cool! I can only make a little flame like this!"

>The boy holds out his hand and lifts a finger up, staring at it intensely for a moment before a little flicker of fire emerges from it, the warmth of it touching the girl's head.

>The girl looks up at the flame, blinking.

"It's not cool like yours though! I bet you could do loads of stuff with yours!"

"Iwas. . . Iwas. . . trying to get fire wood for gra. . ."

>The flames throughout the rubble die down.

"Oh cool! Want me to help with that? I'm strong!"

>The blonde boy flexes his spindly arms, earning a giggle from the girl.

"No point. . . dad's gonna kill me when I get back. . ."

>The blonde boy frowns.

"Oh. . . well. . . wanna play before he gets back?"


"More fun than moping around."

>The blonde boy offers out his hand for the girl to take.

"I'm Leo!"

>In the distance, the boy in the tree rolls his eyes.

>The girl looks at the hand for a second, and then carefully goes to take it.

"I'm. . ."


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>February 16th, 2017

>Sanctuary City Residential District, Outskirts


>An alarm rings out, and a tall woman with long lavender hair rolls over to knock the alarm off. With a sigh, she slumps, going back to sleep for a moment before picking herself up.

"Merde. . . the twins. . ."

>The woman cricks her neck, pulling herself up and looking at the clock.

"Still on schedule."

>Suddenly, the entire room changes, the lights turn on to reveal a neatly kept room, several mannequins stand around the room, wearing pieces of clothing that are in varying stages of completion, the light also reveals that the room has no curtains, with the glass for the window instead being darkened to maintain privacy. The woman herself is no longer her bed, which is instead neatly made up, and can be seen nowhere in the room briefly.

>Now donning a suit, the woman steps out of a side room, doing the finishing touches on her look. Then, with a refined grace, she steps out of the door, nearly walking into a smaller woman than her, her black hair with various coloured striped mirrioring the tall woman's own. A pair of small horns on the top of her head create a contrast close to a devil and an angel between the two.

>Seemingly unbothered by nearly being hit, the smaller woman instead yawns and scratches her side.

"Oh hey Ardy, y' picking up those kids today?"

>"Ardy" sighs.

"Yes, Rebeka, I am taking the twins from MRD custody to my own, and I am going to be running late if you don't get out of my way."

"'sonly seconds, Ardy, you'cn make it back in no time, not like us. . ."

>"Rebeka" yawns.

"It may look like that to you, Rebeka, but I am a reputation to keep, now get out of my way."

>"Ardy" nudges her way past the other woman, making her way into the hallway.

"And I have told you to call me by my full name many times before, Rebeka."

>"Rebeka" yawns again.

"Sure sure, Ardelle, just 'member the name's Beki. . ."

>Beki begins walking away to another room.

"Wan' me to be the welcome wagon?"

>Ardelle scoffs.

"I would be much happier if you remained in your room all day, I don't want them to be negatively influenced imm-"

"Yeah yeah, I'll keep out the way, don' worry. . ."

>Beki disappears into another room, earning a sigh from Ardelle.

>With her first obstacle out of the way, Ardelle makes her way into a shared living area, each of her steps measured and careful, and looks around, spotting a book on the table.

>With a sigh, Ardelle makes her way over to the book and picks it up, revealing it as a textbook on fear responses.

"Another one. . ."

>In a blink and with a flick of Ardelle's wrist, the book disappears from Ardelle's hand and instead rests on a bookshelf in the corner of the room. With a satisfied smile, Ardelle continues to her destination briefly before stopping as she notices a gift placed on the counter.

>Making her way over to it, she carefully turns over the label for it.

[Ardelle, please give these to the twins ~Noah]

>With another smile, Ardelle chuckles to herself and carefully puts the gift under her arm.

"How sweet of him, he didn't need to, especially on such short notice. . ."

>With that, Ardelle continues her journey once again, heading to a door at the side of the room and opening it to enter a garage.

>Looking around the garage at a selection of various vehicles, Ardelle picks one, an SUV, practical, efficient, and French. . .


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>Location: Sanctuary City - The Spire
>Time: 6:30 AM

>Tossing an apple in the air, Ashley looks between her hand and the fruit, carefully weighing her gestures as she tries to catch the apple - at a faster pace.

"I didn't know you were anxious about this."

>Hearing the familiar voice from behind her, Ashley instinctively fumbles the apple - watching as it falls onto the metallic table before her. Muttering to herself, she turns around and glares at the figure walking into the room.

"…..Shut up Albert. I'm thinking."

>Now walking into the MRD holding room, Albert appears with a bag of candy and a bottle of water. Placing both down on the metallic table in front of Ashley, he states:

"Hey, I get it. First time we've had a place to stay in years."

>Still feeling Ashley's glare on him, Albert looks sheepishly to the side, stating:

"I mean….outside of the RV, and the improvised campfires…..and the waterfall……and the-"

"I get the point. I'm not happy about being adopted. But it'll have to do."

>Noticing Ashley's demeanor, Albert then narrows his eyes for a moment - before sighing and closing his eyes briefly. After being silent for another moment, he then states:

"…..I'm sorry about what happened on the freeway. But you needed to be stopped."

>Ashley glares at Albert with even more anger in her eyes as she says:

"I almost had him! Mosaic! Imagine if we got our hands on his power-"

"He was already immune, and he was toying with you the entire time, Ashley. You have to let this go."

>Closing her eyes now, Ashley turns her head towards the front of the room, clenching her fists and lightly tapping them on the metal table. Muttering again, she then says:

"But still. We'd have the power to stop Chiral if we could just….."

>Albert then walks forward and puts his hand over Ashley's right fist, reassuring her of the situation.

"You don't need to keep doing this to yourself Ashley. You deserve better, and you deserve a normal life. We have to let this go. Let him go."

>Silent once more, Ashley then mutters once again and puts her hands in her jacket pockets. Her brunette hair gets between her eyes as she looks away from Albert, then stating:

"Then let's get this shit over with already. Where's the guardian?"

>In the back of her mind, Ashley begins conjuring up mental images of Mosaic, and another well known vigilante figure in Sanctuary City.

{"….That masked man. I need to find him after this."}


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>With a distinctive click, the door to the holding room opens, and Ardelle carefully steps in, looking over the twins with a similar amount of attention as Leo did when he first saw them, although her patterns seems more methodical and practiced, like she's sizing them up for something. With a small cough to get their attention, she walks across the room.

"I am Ardelle Blanchet, as of today, I will legally be your guardian, although I will not be providing all of the care for you, that will be split between me and the other members of our household who have volunteered to provide care for you until you are legal adults. That is to say. . ."

>Ardelle stops for a second, her eyes focusing on Alfred's hair. Then, as if nothing happened, she continues, although her pose is slightly changed from before, the details changing in an instant, far quicker than she could've moved naturally. The offending part of Alfred's hair has, as well, been shifted into a new position.

"-we are all busy individuals, experts in our fields, but such expertise can be shared, and used by you once to become independent of us - not that we wish to abandon you, of course."

"I myself travel often, being a fashion designer who provides only perfection to those who need it."

"Leo, who you have already met, is often busy with cases, and Alfred, the third of this main group, acts as a private detective."

>Ardelles shifts her weight, bringing attention to the gift under her arm.

"But first, before that, a gift from one of us, while it would be customary to give this in person, the gifter in this case is somewhat of a recluse, so I must apologise on his behalf. . ."

>Ardelle places the gift down in front of the twins.


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>Silent for a few moments, Ashley looks at Albert, then back at Ardelle. Looking carefully at the woman, she then remains silent as the gift is placed down on the table beside her.

>Albert is the first to speak up. Recognizing the context of the situation. Walking forward, he picks up the gift with his hands, stating to Ardelle.

"…Thank you Miss Blanchet. My sister and I appreciate the hospitality."

>Ashley glares at Ardelle for a moment, sizing up the woman herself. As her eyes scan the figure of the woman, Ashley's instincts kick in - only for her to restrict them at the last moment.

{"No. I won't do it. I need more power, but not from her."}

>Out loud, she then finally says:

"…..Nice gift."

>Opening the wrapping, Albert raises an eyebrow in surprise as he sees a very high end smartphone in his hands. Judging by the weight, as well as the last few smartphones that he's seen in marketing material - Albert guesses that the smartphone is very expensive.

{"At least a grand in price. Has to be. Especially given this craftsmanship. How wealthy are these people?"}

>Looking at Ashley, Albert's face conveys his surprise. Curious, Ashley opens up the gift wrapping in her name - and receives a similarly expensive smartphone with a different visual aesthetic.


>Ashley says as she pockets the phone in her jacket. After Albert has done the same, she then says to Ardelle carefully:

"….So what do I do now? I'm not doing any cheery crap like team building. Just give me something to hammer or build, and I'm good."

>Albert looks at Ardelle and says:

"What my sister means to say is that we're not sure what jobs you have in mind for us. We don't want to freeload off of you and your family, and we're used to living on our own for most of our lives."


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>Ardelle's expression shifts, her face looking like someone had thrown a slur at her, as Alfred mentions jobs and not wanting to freeload.

"You are children, your job is to learn, to grow, to experience, we will not be using you for labour."

>The woman starts pacing. Of a sorts, at least, to anyone observing her, it more looks like she's disappearing and reappearing in different locations in the room.

"No no no, who told you that that was the way? You may have whatever hobbies you wish, but you are not paying your way while in my custody, you are children, not employees or tenants."


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>Even Ashley's face develops a display of confusion and surprise as she's taken aback by Ardelle's statement.

"….I uh……"

>Albert, regaining his composure and also surprised by the response, states:

"We really appreciate your concern. If that's your assertion, we'll do as you say - not see it as working for our keep."

>Still blinking, Ashley then looks back at the wall, staring intently at it as the mental conflict in her body grows. Albert's words then ring through her ears.

{"You have to let this go."}

{"You deserve better, and you deserve a normal life. We have to let this go. Let him go."}

>Reflexively, Ashley fights back tears at Albert's statements as they push back into her mind. Recognizing the emotional turmoil experienced by his sister, Albert walks over and puts his hand on her back, comforting her. Looking back up at Ardelle, Albert then says:

"We're not used to having someone care about us - to any degree. Thank you."

>Albert's statement is genuine with his tone of voice, as well as his facial expression. Ashley remains silent, wiping away the few tears that have appeared on her face. She then states:

"…..Yeah. Thanks."

>Still looking away, Ashley then stands up as Albert positions himself back into a standing position. With both of them facing Ardelle, Albert then says:

"Do we have to fill any papers before we leave or is that already taken care of?"


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"Everyone should have someone to care about them, no matter who they are."

>Ardelle finishes her statement with a pause, to let it hang in the air for a moment.

"As for any paperwork, it has mostly been sorted out, although you yourselves need to officially sign to say you consent to this. That, however. . ."

>Ardelle turns and walks to the door.

"Can wait until you have seen where we wish to house you, I would not have you sign until you have seen it for yourselves."


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>Ashley and Albert look at each other. Nodding, they both then turn towards Adelle and say:

"Alright. Where are we going then?"

"How big's the house anyways?"

>The twins wait for a response from Ardelle to know what they're in for and where they're going soon.


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>Ardelle continues her walk to the car.

"A house on the outskirts of the city, designed by one of us, you'll be staying in some guest rooms for now, at least until we can prepare proper accomodation for you. The lady who designed the house has already begun, but we needed your input before we could start work properly. . ."

>As the trio arrive at her car, Ardelle unlocks it so the pair can enter.

"The journey can be a long one, particularly not as the morning traffic builds up, so feel free to ask questions as we drive along."


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>Ashley looks at Albert for a moment, making a non-verbal gesture with her hands. Taking note of the gesture, Albert then looks at Ardelle and states:

"Again, we appreciate you taking us in, though we have to warn you. We've had….issues, trying to contain our shared power. It causes a lot of collateral damage, so we're still hesitant - as we don't want to cause trouble."

>Ashley crosses her arms, her gaze turning towards the floor as a sense of trepidation crosses over her.

"….But, we can make an exception, given our current circumstances. We're willing to trust you."

>Albert then moves towards the car, with Ashley right behind him. After both of them get into the car, Ashley then closes the door.

>After a few seconds, Ashley then immediately begins looking through her new phone, scrolling with precision accuracy and astonishment.

"….It's really high end. Wow….."

>Continuing to look dazed, she then says:


>Albert then looks up at the window, taking in the view of the city from the parked position of the car.

"…….We'll see how this goes then, I suppose."


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>Ardelle snaps her fingers, changing where she is without visibly moving.

"We can contain you if you have any outbursts like before, and help you to manage your power without having to worry."

>With a warm smile, the lavender-haired woman reappears in the driver's chair.

"After all, we just want you to be able to thrive without worries, and you having to worry about holding yourselves back works against that."

"Of course, we also don't want you to use your powers as a crutch, so we'll make sure you can defend yourselves properly without them."

>As Ardelle speaks, the city 'moves past' the windows, as the car moves at a leisurely pace.


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>Ashley sits eerily still, taking in the scene before her. Her eyes fixate on the smooth inclines of the buildings as they blend together in her vision - trailing in waves of motion. She narrows her eyes as she thinks to herself:

{"….Why did we have to get lucky now? I was this close to finding The Broken. Maybe….Maybe they could've helped us get revenge on him. Chiral….He can't just…."}

>An uneasy feeling courses through Ashley as her right hand slowly curls up into a fist. Catching the motion in the periphery of his view, Albert narrows his eyes, then looks at the rear mirror view of the car. Speaking to Ardelle, he says:

"I know I'm sounding like a broken record here - but thank you. We really do appreciate it, and we're not used to being treated this well - or treated well at all, honestly."

>Looking at the rear view mirror to see Ardelle's face more carefully, he then asks:

"….How is it that you can 'contain' our powers again? You probably heard what Director McIntyre said about us, right? How we're not really…stable, power wise? Do you have dampeners at the house or something else? Some sort of contingency that you can use for us now?"

>Albert says, curious, but also hesitant about his adopted guardian's capacity to help them in a tangible way.


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>As Albert finishes his question, Ardelle turns the car into the driveway for her destination, carefully pulling the vehicle towards the garage as she talks.

"None of what Director McIntyre particularly concerns me, nor our group as a whole, we. . . had a friend with a sim-"

>Ardelle is interrupted as something heavy hits the roof of the car, causing a large dent that is visible to the twins in their seat. The source of the noise is soon revealed as an upside-down head emerges from the top of Ashley's window. With wild hair that hangs down thanks to the owner's odd position, it looks more like a bull's head given human form. Looking into the car, the strange individual looks at Ashley, then Albert, then to Ardelle, smiling once they're done.

"So. . . these the little brats? Thought they'd have more muscle on 'em, if the fuzz was so worried about 'em."

>Bringing an arm down, the person presses a finger against Ashley's window, pushing through it and then curling it around before pulling the pane out and shaking it off so it shatters on the ground. They then offer a hand out for Ashley to shake.

"The name's-"

"Bart. . ."

>Ardelle interrupts, her tone betraying years of having to deal with this kind of situation - and the exhaustion that comes from that.

". . .what possessed you to think that. . . this, would be a good way to introduce yourself?"

>Bart looks confused for a moment, bringing the hand back to his upside down chin and storking it in thought.

"Well. . . Beki said. . ."

"Of. . . course. . ."

>Ardelle lets out a sigh and brings her head down to the wheel of the car.

"Ashley, Albert, this is Bart, he is another resident here. . . he means you no harm, I assure you. . ."

>Having recomposed herself, Ardelle coughs in a practised manner.

"Bart, get off the roof and introduce yourself properly."

>With a few creaks and groans, Bart manages to flip himself off the roof of the car, revealing a body that matches what little could be seen through the window. Standing easily at 7 foot tall, Bart can be more accurately described as a "hulk" than a man, with muscles that could match even the most enhanced of meta-humans.

>Dusting himself off, Bart offers out his hand to shake again.

"Hey, name's Bart, don't mind Ardie, she can be really wound up. . ."

>This comment earns him a death glare from Ardelle.

"-but she's a nice lady, I'd beat her up if she weren't, give her the old one-two."

>Bart punches the air to demonstrate.

"Oh, but I don't know your names, and can't just call you brats all the time, right?"


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>Both of the twins slowly open the door of the car and move themselves outside - giving each other serious stares. Ashley narrows her eyes at Bart, glaring daggers at him, as her combat instincts kick in.


>More aware of the situation and measured, Albert quickly puts a hand on Ashley's shoulder, calming her down. He then looks up at Bart and says:

"Sorry. We weren't expecting such a unique…..introduction. My name is Albert, and this is my twin sister, Ashley."

>Albert then quickly follows up, wanting to change the subject.

"You're pretty tall. Definitely taller than most guys. That's pretty cool, honestly."

>Ashley, taking note of Albert's hand on her shoulder, furrows her brow for a moment. She then sighs in resignation and mutters to herself:

"…..Can stop you…."

>After a moment, she then straightens her facial expression and looks up at Bart, eyeing him carefully before relaxing her disposition a bit.

"….You look strong. Not bad."


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>Bart grins

"300 pounds of pure Celtic muscle!"

"-and 0 pounds of Celtic brains, apparently. What possessed you to jump directly on to the car?"

>Bart scratches the back of his head.

"Well, I saw it coming and figured I needed to move fast to beat Beki. . ."

>While the twins are treated to the image of Bart being told off by a woman much smaller than him, someone's head appears between Albert and Ashley.


>The owner of the head, around the same size as the twins, with a head of black hair broken up by red and white highlights, as well as a pair of stubby horns, looks between the two, waiting for a response.


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>Albert laughs nervously as he taps the side of his cheek.

"Ahaha. You must be Beki. Ardelle and Bart were just talking about you."

>Instinctively, Ashley pushes back away from Beki, feeling her heart racing rapidly for a moment.

"Ashley. It's fine. I don't think she's here to bite."

>Ashley then calms down after a moment and then says:

"…..Yeah. Sorry. You're Beki."

>Looking at Beki and examining her hair style for a moment, Albert then says:

"That's a really neat hairstyle you've got. Awesome."

>Looking back up at the giant manor before him, he then says:

"….So you all live here? That's pretty amazing, honestly."


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>Beki grins, showing her teeth, including a set of pronounced canines.

"I could bite though. . ."

>The woman "melts" away, "growing" back behind Ashley, tilting her head in a stiff fashion.

"Hah! Just kidding, I don't bite - unless my partner's into that. . ."

>Beki "melts" away again, appearing sitting down in a shadow on the side of the house, her leg hanging off the side.

"I mean, I guess this place's ok, not my best work though, it's a little too normie for me. . ."

>Beki does a dramatic sigh and brings a hand to her head.

"Gotta please the client though. . . oh the pain. . ."


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>Albert and Ashley look at each other quizzically. They then telepathically speak to each other.


{"Yeah. I saw. Relax, Ashley. If they were dangerous, I don't think Director McIntyre would let us go with them."}

{"…..Ugh. Fine. But if they mess this up, we're gone. OK?"}

{"It won't come to that Ashley. I promise."}

{"You say that, but we'll see, Albert. Not sure you're right about that."}

>Out loud, Albert then says to all three of their new family.

"Right…So is there anywhere we should go or…We don't have much stuff packed obviously. Just our certificates and cards."

>Ashley puts her hands in her pockets, looking around with her eyes narrowing a bit. She then speaks up:

"….Yeah. That."

>Looking back down at her jacket, Ashley fishes her new phone out of her pocket as she begins looking at it and interfacing with it carefully.


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>Beki looks down at Ashley, noticing her new phone.

"Oh, Noah got you a phone, that's nice, sure to have all the new features - and no way of anyone tracking you unless you turn it on. Noah's good like that."

>With a dramatic flourish, Beki dismounts from the side of the building, landing perfectly on her feet without even a minor stumble, her shadow gathering up and dispersing silently at the moment she reached the ground. With a cheerful pace, she begins stepping back over to the twins, saying a word with each step.

"Sucks. At. Talking. To. People. Though. He usually spends all his time-"

>Beki stops as a man steps behind her, freezing as if she senses his presence. The man himself is dressed smartly, with a suit and hat, a head of green hair poking out from underneath it contrasting with his well-dressed manner.

>Turning her head to look at him, Beki seems to start stumbling over her words.

"O-oh hi Karl. . ."

>Karl says nothing, and instead simply smiles with his mouth, giving the impression of a barely concealed danger behind the friendly gesture.

>Across the courtyard, Ardelle notices the newcomers and pulls herslef away from Bart, appearing between Karl, Beki, and the twins in an instant.

"Karl, this doesn't concern you, carry on along your way. . ."

>Karl takes a few moments to respond, as if picking his answer carefully, and then walks around the group, heading away from the house. As he passes by, he says a single word:

"Interesting. . ."

>With the man gone, Ardelle lets out a sigh of relief, turning around to face the twins.

"I see you have met Rebekka, and Karl. . . but you need not concern yourself with him."

>Ardelle coughs to clear her throat and move the conversation on.

"Instead, why not come with me to greet Alfred, he handles the majority of household affairs, so he can allocate some funding to arrange getting you some more clothing. . ."


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>Ashley feels her body immediately tense up the moment she looks at Karl. An instinctual desire to run bubbles up to the front of her mind, with her hindbrain firing on all cylinders to leave.


>Ashley can also feel her breathing weaken, and grow stale for a minute. Sensing his twin sister's apprehension and genuine fear, Albert stares at Karl as he leaves, thinking to himself:

{"I can already tell he's problematic, and so can Ashley it seems. Going to have to make a note of him."}

>Looking back at Ardelle, Albert puts a hand on Ashley's shoulder as he states:

"Yeah, that'd probably be best. Ready Ash?"

>Ashley's eyes give a blank stare, signaling to Albert that she's relapsing into her former unresponsive state, a coping mechanism.

>Grabbing his sister's hand, Albert then says to her telepathically:

{"Ashley, you're going to be alright. I swear I'm not going to let anything happen to you - ever again."}

>After a few moments, Ashley takes a deep breath - regaining her composure as she thinks back:

{"….Yeah, I know."}

>Albert and Ashley then signal to Ardelle to take them to Alfred in the house.


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>Ardelle sighs and nods, taking the pair into the building and up a set of stairs, stopping when she reaches a white, unmarked door whcih she knocks on.

>From within, a tired voice responds.

"Come in, I haven't the time to wait around."

>Turning the door handle, Ardelle gives the twins a quick smile as if to reassure them that there's nothing to worry about before opening the door proper to let the group in.

>The inside of the room is a white, immaculately kept home office with no signs of anything out of order, or even what the occupant uses it for. Sitting at a desk is a tall man with messy black hair and a pair of glasses that are tilted slightly askew due to his head resting on one of his hands.

>As the people enter the room, he slowly moves his eyes over to Ardelle and the twins.

"What is it, Ardelle, I am very busy."

"Well, Alfred, I brought along the twins-"

"Case 5LXGN99, I'm aware of them."

"I brought along the twins to see if you could arrange an account for them, they don't have much in the way of supplies you see, and they'll be staying-"

>Alfred closes his eyes, rubbing them.

"In and out of several foster homes, no parents, no time to acclimate themselves or build up much in the way of possession, they should consider themselves lucky that they weren't sent to the Goodness Grannies. . ."

>With little energy, Alfred puts his hand in a pocket and takes out a credit card, placing it on the desk.

"There, that should be sufficient for their needs. . ."

>Silence settles for a few seconds, and Alfred slowly opens his eyes again.



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>Albert and Ashley look at each other for a moment, blinking, before turning back to Alfred as Albert says:

"Wait, you're just giving this to us? How much money is on this card?"

>Ashley pick up the shiny looking card and examines it carefully. Looking at the details of the card, she then finally speaks out loud for the first time in a while:

"….It's a lot of money, isn't it? A few million."

>Ashley says, staring intently at Alfred with legitimate conviction in her eyes. Albert is startled by his sister's response, and the intensity of her stare as well as he states:

"H-Hey, Ashley. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm not sure they'd give us that much money to start off with, right? It's likely two to three thousand dollars, right?"

>Albert says awkwardly as he looks between Ardelle and Alfred.



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"Are all children these days this loud?"

>Alfred rubs his forehead as if dealing with a headache.

"That card. Is loaded with $50,000, you are to spend it wisely. A proviso that I am certain that Ardelle can ensure."

>Alfred gives the woman a death glare.

"Argh. . . You caused me to lose my train of thought. . ."

>Alfred stands up, adjusting his glasses.

"While I agreed to allow these children to stay here, Ardelle, I cannot have them constantly interrupting my work like this. . ."

"Alfred. . ."

>Alfred sighs.

"My apologies, my work is highly stressful and as such I have a rather short fuse at times. . ."


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>Ashley looks slightly taken aback as Albert looks astonished at the remark.

"F-Fifty thousand dollars?! We don't even know what to spend one hundred dollars on…."

>Still completely shocked by the revelation, Ashley hands the card to Albert, saying:

"You're the responsible one. Keep it."

>Shaking his head in resignation, Albert takes the card and pockets it in his jacket pocket.

>He then looks at Alfred, saying:

"We'll be out of your hair then. Trust me, we're not the talkative type."

>Ashley nods, still staring at Alfred for a moment.

>Looking back at Ardelle, Ashley then states:

"…So now what?"

>Albert also looks at Ardelle, stating:

"I'm generally inclined to agree with my sister here, what exactly do we do now?"


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>Looking at Alfred, Ardelle coughs.

"We should go now. . ."

>Calmly ushering the twins out of the room, Ardelle gives them a warm smile.

"As for what we do now, that, is up to you. . ."

[To be continued]

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