In our previous adventure, the intrepid travelers had found themselves in a strange, dark land filled with evil powers. They had encountered a creepy, undead hand, and a powerful magician/necromancer who they faced within the confines of his gruesome mansion. Causing this dark wizard to flee, the adventurers now find themselves at a crossroads. To the East - the mansion they had explored in the previous chapter, looming with it's graveyard and creeking fence. To the South - A broken bridge over a fast moving river. In the distance, a forest can be seen, but it seems nearly impossible to go beyond the waters. To the North - the road tapers off and seems to vanish completely into a gray plain of nothingness that only seems to fade at the foothills of mountains in the distance. To the West - the road widens slightly, showing deep wagon rutts dug into the ground from many years of travel.
Along the road, a few small, run-down farms can be spotted. One, closer to the road, looks as if it has caved in on itself, showing signs of rubble and debris. Further along, however, the houses grow thicker as they form into the rough semblance of a town. However, there doesn't seem to be much travel along this road, to or from the town. The only companions of our travelers, for the time being, is a vulture circling overhead, and the cold whine of the wind.
Having left the mansion of doom and despair, only to end up at a crossroads is kind of one of those creepy situations in which Kamui probably would never imagined himself before today. "Nya..." It is standing in the exact middle with its back turned to the mansion and turns its head to the left. A broken bridge, he could possibly make it across, but not everyone was as dexterous as this particular cat. If only there was some kind of winged angel with thm. After all, the forest may be interesting to check out later. He turns his head to the front and blinks for a moment. He nods at the other angels present, some of which had not been present on his previous exploration of this place, and tries to see what is behind them.
It would appear there was a town over there. His head turns further to finish his scan of the area... but the north seems to be the least interesting part of this crossroad, as it goes off into absolutely nothing but hills. "Nyooo..." He shrugs and begins to walk slowly towards the bridge, just to see how fast that water was going. He was still wielding the stick he had grabbed earlier, so he throws it into the water.
<<Kamui checks how fast the water is going>>
Usagi-tan looks around at the group gathered outside with her. It's certainly gotten bigger since the last time, which is probably a good thing. It never hurts to have allies after all. While she's still thinking this over, she notices Kamui already walking off. The two of them had made a decent team the last time they were here, and so the tiny rabbit angel with the giant leaden carrot weapon walks the short distance after Kamui to see what it is he's up to. She looks over at the <<bridge>> itself then, wanting to figure out just how broken it is and how big the gaps are. She might not be as fast as the catboy, but she can certainly jump.
It's a faint sound, a quiet sound. Almost that of a clearing throat...a wordless noise, but weighted with meaning all the same. A figure moves, at the edge of the dusty path. Panzer steps up to where the other two are, her boots heavy upon the ground. The armoured figure approaches the river bank, the treads upon her feet digging deep into the soil. She comes to a halt behind the two, pausing there, not interrupting. Her head lifts, giving a cursory glance to the broken bridge and shattered timbers. The way, it seems, is blocked.
Panzer turns her own attention <<to the banks of the river>>, searching for any other means of passage. The sensor frame mounted over her right eye rotates, clicking through a few configurations as the lens changes focus.
The others appear to have gotten themselves interested in that river. Not Marlone. She looks around for a second before taking a place under one of the trees, pulling the vial she got from the mansion out of her bag and <<examining it closely>> to see if she can figure out what was in it. She makes sure to keep her ears open for any sounds of warning, exclamations, or anything similar that may mean that there was trouble on the way, but otherwise keeping her attention glued to that vial.
The events at the mansion are still clear enough in Kensei's mind, and he silently looks around at the other adventurers in his group. Some of them he recognizes, others he doesn't. In any case, most of them seem to be checking the bridge out, enough of them that they probably won't need another person to help. Instead, he makes his way over to a nearby farmhouse, checking if there are any doors. Even if they aren't, the samurai will force it open, using his strength to power through so he can <<take a look inside>>.
Zankoku wasn't really a part of the group, at least not yet. In fact one had to wonder why they were letting a zombie follow them around, considering what had happened to them not too long ago. It's not like he could speak and tell them what he was doing, and they didn't seem to really care. Although it could also be the fact that the tattered patchwork cloak did a pretty good job of hiding what he actually looked like. All the better for him. The others seemed intent on checking various things out, but the zombie-angel himself was intent on the others specifically. For now he would remain at the crossroads, watching the others with arms folded over his chest. Silent.
The first thing that crossed the Angel Mukuro's mind was, "Find a way across the river." Immidiately twelve ideas popped up in her mind, but going about most of them was obviously out of the question. While most of the other Angels were scanning the area of the bridge, Mukuro believed the one by the farmhouse to have the best idea, provided he went there to fetch some wood to make a makeshift bridge, which had quickly planted itself as Mukuro's favorite immidiately-thought-of plan. Quickly taking an inconspicuous glance around to make sure none of the other Angels meant her any obvious harm, she walked over to the decrepit farmhouse to <<look for loose wood to make a makeshift bridge with>>.
The raging waters take hold of the stick thrown by Kamui, sweeping it downstream quickly before crashing it into tiny, teeny-tiny little bits on some nearby rocks. On closer inspection, it also doesn't seem like one could easily jump across the river, seeing as it's quite wide where the rickety, broken bridge teeters over it. The bridge itself looks as if something big had come down and smashed it right across the middle. There is broken, splintered wood, covered in green decay that seems to be eating the remaining material from the inside out. Below the wreckage, however, a little gleam can be seen. As if something metallic were underneath the decaying wooden structure. The vial of liquid that Marlone holds is in a strange container that seems half glass, half metal with a cross etched into it. The contents seem about 3/4ths of the way full. If opened, the smell seems somewhat acrid, but not spoiled.
Kensei finds that the farm house has no door, or at least, the door no longer stands upright. Instead, there is a gap where the roof is missing and the door may have once stood. Rubble lays across the bottom of the floors, covering up what appears to be skeletal remains of a person. The only areas still visibable being one foot and one hand. The rest is buried below rock and wood. Much of the rest of the small farmhouse lies in ruins. There is a crumbled fireplace, a bed which seems to have been soaked through and molded over from rain and weather, and a shotgun, including used shells, laying at Kensei's feet. Unfortunately for Mukuro, not much seems to be of use within the farm-house. Everything seems to have been left out to decay in the elements.
"It does not seem like we can rrrreally get anywhere with this bridge. The road the other way~nya leads to nowhere. I think we are prettymuch stuck with visiting the mansion once more~nyo, or going into town~nya." Kamui purrs and meows while talking before turning about and returning to the middle of the crossroads, where he finds Zankoku being his lonesome self. "Mooo... stop standing around and start being mopey~nya." The angel pouts and attempts to poke the zombie's nose, or what could be concidered its nose. "Now start moving or I'll be using you as a mighty mount~nya." And with that the angel turns around, sticks his butt up to taunt the zombie, and then runs off towards the rickety old farm. Seeing if he could be of any help.
Hmm...to nowhere? Usagi-tan turns to look at the one path remaining that no one had yet chosen to explore. It can't go to nowhere and nothing because...well...why would it be here, then? After the silly catboy taunts Zankoku, the rabbit grins. She returns to the middle of the roads as well, and rather than being quite as silly as the feline, she just takes Zankoku's hand in her free one. "Come on. Let's go <<check out those hills,>>" she says, knowing full well that he can't answer. Whether or not he comes along, the tiny bunny will head that direction regardless.
Left alone by the banks of the river, Panzer's lips settle into a thin line, pressing together. She glances over her armoured shoulders, watching the strangers as they move away. She scowls again. Then she turns her head back to the wreckage of the bridge. With careful measured strides, she walks onto what is left of the structure, testing her weight each step of the way. She approaches the break in the bridge, stopping just short of the damaged portions. Then she settles down...her visible eye narrowing into a half-lidded gaze. The metal frame resting over the other side of her face clicks softly, the faint sound of shifting gears audible as she <<focuses on the glint of metal just barely visible beneath the wreckage>>, zooming in with her enhanced eye. The others might have given up here, but there's /something/...
Having gathered probably about as much information as she can about the vial as she can for now, Marlone caps the vial back up, sticking it in her bag and standing. She brushes herself off before taking a quick account of where people are. They probably didn't need anymore help with the house considering how small it was, so the river? There was still one of their party over there, and quite interested in something by the look of it. So up she gets and heads over towards Panzer, stopping at the edge of the cliff and trying to peer around at what was so intriguing. "What'cha looking at down there?" she asks, trying to figure out where the other's gaze was directed.
Kensei offers a moment of silence to the dead, then asks for forgiveness, as the next thing he does is begin rummaging around inside the house. He wants to <<find anything that may be useful>>, outside of perhaps that shot gun he already saw. He doesn't want it, or need it, and most of the others have their own means of combat as well. Having fought most of the others at some point, Kensei knows this well. During his search, he also <<looks for anything that might stand out>>.
Zankoku is somewhat resistant to being grabbed and dragged off, and makes a ponit of dragging his feet. He wasn't entirely sure why Usagi-tan wanted to go over towards the hills either, beyond idle curiousity. The others were investigating anything else of interest already though, so there was no harm in following a long for now. Also, movement meant that Kamui would not be trying to mount him anytime soon. This was a good thing. He wasn't very helpful however, as he is a zombie.
'So much for the makeshift bridge idea...' Mukuro thought, sighing inaudiably. The mansion screamed 'bad idea', and the town wasn't much better. Still feeling drawn to the forest, Mukuro absently wondered if the river was thinner near the mountains or if there were another bridge further down, thereby presenting a way to cross said river. She wasn't sure why she felt the need to go to the forest, but she did (perhaps because shiny things ended up in forests frequently). The odd rabbit-Angel seemed to be heading (and dragging a companion) in that direction, so perhaps she'd join them... She'd also <<look for anything shiny and/or important looking>> while she caught up to the rabbit-Angel and her current partner (though she wouldn't say anything once she started following them unless she was spoken to).
The distant hills, are quite far away. You could start walking that way, but you'd soon find yourself walking right back the same direction you came. Strange? Try walking another way, still end up right back where you started. It almost seems like the hills in the distance are nothing more than a mirage. Even so, there has to be something that direction, right? Some sort of power that prevents passage through the grey and dismal plains beyond?
Panzer, with the keen eyes, is able to spot what looks like a small piece of metal. It's easily within reach if one were to look for it. It seems to be pointy in shape, and recognisable to some as a child's toy, a jack. It seems strange for a child's toy to be found near the broken remains of a bridge. There is also a small peice of cloth clinging to a splinter of wood nearby, as if someone had snagged themselves while trying to escape in a hurry.
One of the first things to stand out strangely within the run-down farmhouse is that the skeletal hand buried under rubble still has a single, silver wedding band encircling one finger. There is a torn painting of a woman, but no female remains anywhere to be found. As for things of use, there doesn't appear to be much unless you're interested in sleeping in a soggy bed. It's likely that either time, weather, or looters have taken everything else.
You paged Keiichi with 'Your angel feels as if you REALLY should not be going towards the hills. Not only do you find yourself bakc where you started each time, but you SENSE that you shouldn't be going that way. You feel a power similar to your own, but far more powerful, that feels as if it is physically pushing at the core of your being NOT to continue trying to go that way. You realize you would be in a great deal of pain if you tried to continue.'
Kamui soon finds his way inside of the farm, joining Kensei in his venture for 'useful things', and notices the skeleton with the weddingring quite soon there-after. "Oye..." The angel comments, approaching it while dodging the rubble that lays about most masterfully. "Look at this here lady. She's all skin and... no, correction~nya. She's just bones." He joke before grabbing the hand and attempting to drag it upwards!
After a short period of time heading towards the hills, Zankoku slips his hand free from Usagi-tan's grasp if possible. Brows furrow as his eyes peer off distantly towards the hills, and he then shakes his head and points over towards the others while turning towards them himself. He is making it plainly obvious that he does not wish to go in that direction, and if he could talk he'd probably be saying something about now.
Usagi-tan allows the zombie angel to free his hand easily. She wasn't trying to force him into anything, simply to have him accompany her. As he pulls away, she stops and turns her head to look at him, a curious expression on her face. Apparently there's something this direction that he doesn't like...though what that might be she has no idea. Since he's so insistent on going back, however, it may mean that whatever is out this way could be bad for them both, not just him. She sighs and shrugs a little, then joins Zankoku in heading back.
Click. Click. Whirr.
The circular frame mounted over Panzer's right eye spools back to normal focus, the targeting reticule leaving her vision. She blinks, once, giving a small shake of the head. Carefully, she extends one gauntleted hand, her mailed fingers closing first around ^the scrap of cloth^ hanging from the splintered wood, then palming the metal jack lying on the bridge in the same motion. As her hand closes, she rises...again being careful to ensure her weight doesn't upset the badly damaged bridge. As she moves back to solid ground, Panzer notices the figure standing at the edge of the bridge. Marlone.
"This," Panzer replies, after a moment. She holds her hand out, letting the other see the child's toy and torn cloth in her grasp. Panzer's tone is neutral, her enunciation precise. She speaks loudly enough to be heard - but no louder, her voice barely carrying over the sound of rushing water in the river down below. There's little emotion in her voice.
But as her head turns back to look at the destroyed bridge, her expression darkens. "Something," Panzer says, "bad."
The armoured angel's other hand points towards the shattered gap in the bridge, where she found the remains lying. Telling a grim story all on its own.
Marlone nods a little bit, taking a look at the items as Panzer holds them out. She shakes her head a little bit, looking at the broken bridge. "Whatever happened to this area needs to be found out quickly I'd imagine." She looks over at the house for a moment before moving her gaze to find the two that had started off towards the hills. She isn't sure why they came back already, but it was good for her. She walks to the middle of the crossroads before clearing her throat. "Alright everyone, let's gather here for a moment. I think it's pretty clear we aren't getting across the river now, so we should quick put what we've got together and decide where to head from here."
Marlone nods a little bit, taking a look at the items as Panzer holds them out. She shakes her head a little bit, looking at the broken bridge. "Whatever happened to this area needs to be found out quickly I'd imagine." She looks over at the house for a moment before moving her gaze to find the two that had started off towards the hills. She isn't sure why they came back already, but it was good for her. She walks to the middle of the crossroads before clearing her throat. "Alright everyone, let's gather here for a moment. I think it's pretty clear we aren't getting across the river now, so we should quick put what we've got together and decide where to head from here." She pulls the vial out. "So far all I've found is this vial of mystery liquid. It appears to be some kind of awakening formula, though I have nothing solid on this theory as of yet."
Kensei actually lets out a sigh as Ranmaru just charges into the place, then offers a silent apology to the dead man once again, though this time for the sake of the catboy. "I believe it's actually a man," he points out, the first time he's talked in a while. WIth nothing else to do, and with Kamui grabbing at the skeleton already, he turns around and steps out of the farmhouse. At least it seems like Kamui won't mind grabbing the ring. For now, the samurai decides to return to where they started, which is handy, because Marlone seems to be calling everyone back as he's doing so.
Realizing that something was obviously preventing them from reaching the hills, Mukuro stored that idea away for later, along with the thought to look for something that would alter that fact. She seemed not to be noticed by the rabbit-Angel and her companion, and that suited her just fine. Straying from the two, Mukuro walked over to the other road to <<examine the wagon ruts>> more out of curiosity and boredom than anything. Sure, she heard one Angel call everyone to the center of the crossroads to discuss things, but she wasn't hard of hearing and being in close proximity to the other Angels - some of which she wasn't entirely sure she trusted - wasn't high on her to-do list.
As Kamui pulls on the skeletal arm, the force first manages to pull the entire arm away from the rest of the body, but also manages to unseat the rubble ontop of the corpse. As a few rocks giveway, the skull of a man rolls down and lands at Kamui's feet, looking up at him with the dull, empty look of hollow eye sockets. Mukuro can easily see that the wagon ruts have been recently used, and well used, although it almost seems like they are the path of an exodous rather than normal travel. Still, they seem to all go to/from the small town nearby. It's likely that they were used by travelers or townsfolk before the bridge collapse to get from the town to the forest.
"Oh..." The angel blinks for a moment and turns his eyes towards Kensei. "Oops~nya?" He asks, blinking for a moment as some dust settles. "Hmm?" He blinks a littlebit before turning his eyes down and staring right bacl at those empty sockets. "Aw... no fair~nya." He catboy states before bending over, grabbing the skull and dragging the arm along with him outside of the house that is clearly falling apart. He then raises the skull towards the skies and looks at it. "Poor Yorick... I knew him well." He suddenly states before turning about and laying it at the entrance along with most of its arm. "I'll be taking this though, mister Yorick~nya." And he ^grabs the ring^ before pocketing it. "Oh, one moment." The angel comments and runs back into the house and grabs the ^shotgun^ and slings it about a bit, trying to look cool. Not like anybody can see him however, seeing as he is inside of the house. He closes one eye and looks at the painting. "Hmm..." He grabs the ring tightly for a moment before looking at it, trying to see if anything was written on the inside. "This must have been your husband then, huh? Lady? I wonder if he was in a fight~nya." The angel shrugs and puts the shotgun to his shoulder and treds out of the house, leaving the dismembered skeletonal arm with the skull, placing the latter into the hand, as if the hand was holding out the skull. "Yo, Ken-ken. I am ready. Lets go shopping in town~nya!"
A meeting of everyone, huh? Well, Usagi-tan hasn't found anything or really figured anything out, so she doesn't have anything to add. And of course, she's not really cut out for any kind of serious thinking...normally. So instead of gathering, she'll head off into the town, though she'll try and find a different house to check. Whether anyone comes with her or not is up to them, but this rabbit is certainly not too timid to go it alone.
Meanwhile, out near the crossroads, Panzer walks up to Marlone. She regards her carefully, her features composed into an iron mask, then glances at the others nearby - and those heading in the direction of town. There's something there beyond surly suspicion, on her face...the faint trace of expression breaking through. Perhaps there's something to this cooperation business, in a situation such as this. She turns back to Marlone, then. Her normal eye narrows, the targeting reticule installed on the right half of her face grinds through a full rotation, locking on the vial held in the other angel's hand.
Panzer speaks the word in a low mid-alto, her voice dispassionate. But it's a very clear question. What does that /mean/?
Marlone nods a little bit, noting how few of the others actually come over to her little pow wow. She sighs a little bit before speaking. "I'm not entirely sure what it awakens, but as far as I can tell it's something similar to smelling salts. Using the odor to bring someone back to their senses." She glances around at the rest for a moment. "Either way, since the bridge is down, the manor has been gone through, and the fact that our little bunny brigade has turned away from the hills, the only way to head is into town." She stashes the vial safely away before jogging to catch up to the little rabbit, wrapping an arm about her shoulders.
Kensei obviously has no sense of humor, because he doesn't even crack a smile at Kamui. His words are more focused on what Marlone has to say though, and he nods. "It seems that way," he says. Without another word, he decides to head off in that direction... which makes the catboy's words make a little more sense. Looks like he's going to go the same way as him after all.
Zankoku peers around himself for a moment and then nods simply. Town was the oly real choice, and he would follow along as well. But from this point on he hangs in the background, silently observing the others. He wasn't particularly good at the whole investigation of things anyway.
Mukuro took note that the wagon tracks were recently used, figuring that implied the village townsfolk had fled some time ago - from an hour to a week ago, she guessed. Either way, something of value or importance must have been left behind, so Mukuro's current train of thought was, "Go to the village and look for important-looking items that could be of use later. Or shiny things." Of course, the way things had been going for her so far, she didn't actually expect to find much, but it was in her nature to cover as many bases as possible in the amount of time given. Noting the rabbit-Angel wandering off in the direction Mukuro had decided to travel yet again (this time with seemingly an army of followers), she shrugged and once again followed the other Angels, not explicitly alerting any of them to her presence. She'd yet to speak, but that was fine with her; she'd wait until something important need be said.
The inside of the ring that Kamui found is engraved with the following words. 'My heart, forever. - Sarah.
For those heading closer to town... The town looks like a quaint little western village from any of those age old gunslinger tales. Of course, that only holds true if one of those villages had been sucked into iternal darkness, overrun by evil forces that drove out most of it's citizens, and left it looking like something out of a cross between a Stephen King novel and Bram Stoker's Dracula. As Chibi Usagi-tan comes closer, she may see a few people peering out of windows, before closing shutters. But in the main street of town, if you can call it a main street, there is still some faint signs of life. A tinkle of piano keys can be heard from what appears to be a saloon with double doors. A pair of young boys seem to be playing a game outside of the stables. There is an inn that still has a light burning in one window and a 'rooms for rent' sign up. An old man rocks in a chair outside of a dusty looking general store. Within a window, a man is sharpening a razor inside the barber shop, but seems to have no customers. There is even a small out house, complete with a backwards crescent moon on the door.
"Aww, how adorable." Kamui comments in the most honest voice anyone else on the layer probably has ever heard him speak. He smiles and shrugs before putting it onto his left hand's ringfinger. After all, where else was he going to put it? Its not as if the feline wore clothing that was good for anything like pocketing things. Unlike his Deus, who seemed to have pockets /everywhere/. He chases after Miina until he catches up with the rest and turns to a slower walk as they come to the town and begins to stare about at the people. Oh, how he felt like running at one of those people to prevent them from closing those shutters, it'd surely be funny to him. "I wonder." He states and <looks about for a town-name sign, possibly with a population count on it>. Whether he finds something or not, he keeps on walking, intending to go to the saloon. "I am going to the saloon. Lets split up. If we need help, just yell." He turns about and looks at Zankoku. "Or... groan. Whatever you do best~nya."
Usagi-tan looks around at the town, not surprised in the least about shutters smacking closed. After all, there was something apparently going on and they're strangers in town. With a zombie. That might not go over so well. She casts a quick glance back at Zankoku, then shrugs. They're all very strange looking, really...so maybe he won't really be noticed. Hopefully. She decides to try speaking to the old man, since old men generally like telling stories. Herself being tiny and cute, she's obviously not a threat, right? She makes her way casually over to him and smiles. "Hello there, sir. My name is Usagi-tan. I wonder...would you be able to tell me about what's been happening around here? Things are a little strange." That should hopefully get some sort of response.
Walking at the edge of the group, the very last member of the ragtag party to enter town, Panzer still seems preoccupied with what Marlone said. That vial...
Panzer says it out loud, a faintly incredulous note creeping in to her usual deadpan demeanour. She shakes her head, her visible eye closing. Unless they can wake the dead, she rather fails to see the use. For the victims...there can be no such simple remediesAs she walks, the green-clad angel's hand closes tighter around the scrap of cloth she retrieved from the bridge, wadding it up alongside the small child's toy in her palm.
As she steps into town proper, she catches the tail end of Kamui's little speech. Split up and gather intelligence? Hn. As sound a plan as any, she supposes. She turns her head, her camera eye sweeping the town. But what can be gleaned from...
The rotating ring bolted to Panzer's right eye freezes, glowing a dull red - as her normal eye widens.
She stands still, spine stiff, staring at the children playing near the stables. It's an unpleasant jolt. One that makes her remember what it is she's holding.
The angel lifts her hand, fingering the cool metal prongs of the little jack. Then she lowers the toy...and takes a step forward. Then another.
Panzer <<approaches the children, moving softly so as to not alarm them.>>
Splitting up to gather information, huh? Doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. Usagi should be able to talk to the old guy just fine, and she doesn't really see Kamui heading into the bar a big problem so long as he stays out of the drinks. Panzer might not seem like a people person on the outside, but with the help of the child's toy she found might be able to talk to the children anyway. So she's going to go door to door trying to talk to anyone and everyone she can get an answer from, wanting to <<gather information on what's happened in the last couple of months>>.
Sure, they're supposed to split up... at least if they want to follow Kamui's orders, but Kensei catches what Miina has asked the old man, and it's a curious enough question that he lingers nearby and listens in. If she can get answers, then he won't have to talk himself, which works out nicely one way or the other.
For the moment, Mukuro is simply content watching the happenings of the town. Her visible left eye (and possibly her right; who knows what's under that piece of cloth) <<scans the area for anything that may cast off a glint>> - in other words, the shiny she's been looking for. She wasn't looking for the Shiny for a particular reason, other than she liked shiny things, and they had a tendency to come in handy later. She'd <<keep her ears open for gossip>>, but doubted she'd be the one to hear something important.
The town seems to be called Summerfield. The carved sign near the center of town is old, with dull corners. It shows a population of 1032, which is crossed out, replaced with 802, crossed out, replaced with 487, crossed out, replaced with 221, crossed out, replaced with 42.
The old man in his rocking chair, pulls a pipe out of his mouth and looks up at Usagi-tan. For a moment, he seems surprised that anyone has spoken to him. "Oh my. Oh my." He pulls his glasses off of his nose and wipes them off quickly. "Who might you be? You look like one of those spring rabbits." He muses, placing the classes back on his nose. "Back in the day, the whole valley was filled with rabbits, before the dark one came. Oh they were cute! My wife... bless her soul, would bring them the carrots that weren't good for sellin'. Loved those fluffy things." He seems almost about to continue his ramblings on rabbits when he seems to regain a moment of clarity. "Bad things been happenin' here, little bunny lady. Bad things ever since the Mayor's sun died in that accident. Bless his soul. They say the Mayor's dun become some sort of dark demon, so we call 'im the dark one. Brought the dark, brought the monsters, drove away everyone." There is a glassy look in the man's eyes.
The children playing near the stables don't even seem to notice Panzer, at least not at first. "Hah, I win!" The larger of the two boys says, pointing at a handful of wooden jacks in one hand, and a ball in the other. "You cheated!" The younger one argues, frowning as he looks from the game up towards the other boy, and then behind him towards Panzer. Following his gaze, the older boy turns around, and starts collecting the game. "Come on, Joe, let's get out of here." Joe, the younger of the two, nods hurridly, looking curiously at Panzer before turning to follow the unnamed older boy into the stables.
As for glinty things... there's certainly many glinting metal objects in this town, from the razor of the barber, to the glint of a dust covered coin that lies in the road, forgotten by some passer-by. A man walks out from the saloon and begins to take a long drag from a cigarette, and he has shinies on him, too. He has a silver plated pistol at one hip, a slew of gold rings, and a gold front tooth. Jackpot?
As Marlone comes to one of the back buildings, she'll find that no one is really quick to answer the door, but a woman finally does answer at the first door she tries. Pulling open the door slowly, she leaves it hooked to a chain and peers outwards. "What do you want? ..." There is a pause. "You're a stranger here... aren't you?" The woman sighs slightly. "The Inn is back that way." Her arm appears out the door as she points back the way Marlone had come. "And I suggest you don't stay here long. Anyone who stays here is cursed. And you don't want to be stuck here to die like the rest of us. Or get turned into the walking dead like our lost ones. Off with ye."
Usagi-tan grins a little at the man's mention of rabbits, and patiently lets him go on. She listens closely to what he says, and doesn't interrupt him, staying quiet until he finishes. "Monsters, you say? What sort of monsters? Do you mean the zombies that are around, or is there something else?" Since her back is turned, she doesn't see the man with the shiny exit the saloon. "Who is the mayor here? Would he be easy to find?" she asks, seemingly full of questions. If he happens to miss any of them, she'll just repeat it after he finishes with the others.
"Seems this town is populated to the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything." Kamui muses while opening the saloon's swining doors and taps the shutgun to his shoulder a few times. "Howdy." He states with a most broken accent, giving a good look around. "What's a cute catboy gotta do in a town like this to get some holy water?" Whether or not he realizes that this was not a western, but more of a dark realm is a question for anther time. Not to mention that he probably could not care less. "Ahem." The feline corrects itself and walks up to the bar and takes a <good look around for anything strange>. "So what's been going on in this part of the country? Heard you guys got some hauntin' trouble. Me and my friends out there are profesyonal ghost-hunters." He pauses for a moment, for some reason now speaking in a Osakan accent, the closest one could get to sounding like a Redneck in Japan. "Heck, we even have a pet zombie." He adds to that. "I figured I'd go ahead and offah our services."
A frown settles on Panzer's face, as she comes to a halt at the edge of the stables. The heavy toe of her boot digs into the dust, kicking up a small cloud that drifts across her legs. She watches as the boys retreat into the stables, alarmed by her presence. Unsurprising, she reflects, considering her size and the angular bulk of her armour.
"Hi," Panzer calls, speaking in the direction of the stables. With great effort, <<she pitches her voice to the most concilatory tone she can manage, trying not to spook the children - >> turning her usually flat tones into something rather less intimidating.
"Didn't mean," she murmurs, "to interrupt your game. Sorry..."
"Hold on a moment please. What do you mean 'cursed'? Would you be willing to spare me a few moments to inform me of what's happened here to cause all of the dark? We've already explored the mansion outside of town." She smiles lightly at the woman. "My friends and I have come here in hopes of getting rid of this darkness, so anything you have that can help us bring an end to this faster would be of immense help." She bows, hoping she got through to this woman.
Even more good question. Kensei sticks around, but when Usagi-tan doesn't ask the one question he wants to know, well, specifically wants to know, he speaks up. "Jii-han, where would be able to find the mayor?" He addresses the old man with the proper respect, but it looks like he's planning on just taking off after he gets his answer. He's not about to charge in and kill the mayor, but it feels like it might be better to get answers right from the man himself. And if he can't, then... he'll deal with it then.
Not spotting anything of value, save maybe the coin (though that alone wouldn't be good for much), Mukuro returned to paying attention to what the others were doing, saying, and the like. Hearing what was said to one of the Angels (Malroy? No, that's not right... Anyway), she instantly became suspicious of this 'mayor', and had she been less cautious would've advised a visit to him. She /was/ cautious, though, and thought things through a little more. "If we visit the mayor as we are, we may be bested," she thought. "I'm not sure how powerful or cunning the rest of this odd group is. There's something that needs to be figured out, and quickly," she noted in her mind, absently wondering if the smelling-salt vial would free any of the villagers or awaken the Mayor from whatever state he was in. Or maybe it would revive his son (though that was doubtful, but still a possibility. How much are you willing to bet the son was that skeleton Kamui bothered?). Chibi Usagi-tan and Kensei seemed to want to visit the mayor, so her first order of business would have to be talking them out of that, for now.