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Old 08-03-2011, 02:22 AM   #136
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It was still rather early in the morning, with the sun in its first third risen arc. The lone Red Hair didn't like how she had gotten abroad and no one know that she knew had said anything about where they would be. She had thought about asking the Manager, but couldn't summon the courage. After what she had just said and like acted like? It wasn't going to work for her. Suffle took one of the ship's elevators from the bridge to the first floor. "Better start somewhere," was her thought.

Getting off one of five elevators in contact with the residential first floor of the Mother Load, Suffle bumped into somebody whom she had a good feeling she knew. He was on his feet for once, but had actual shoes on. He wore a long sleeve brown coat with a dirty white collar shirt underneath. He had hands covered with ivory gloves and tanned leather pants covered his legs completely. Most of all, his identity was given away by the mask and the thin shawl covering the very back of his head. Plus the brown hat. Suffle could sum up his disguise as looking pretty boring. "You couldn't have gotten a better disguise Zul?"

Zul's head looked down. "I didn't pick this out!" He almost said it too loud, then realizing how much he needed to keep cover. He continued more quietly, "Your friends got all giddy playing dress up with a skeleton that can pretend to have fleshy body. Watching them pick out my disguise was... unnerving."

Suffle smiled and a small laugh fell through. His disguise wasn't bad; boring clothes made Zul look conspicuous for all of the wrong reasons. Maybe that's what they wanted? "And the mask is from Jack?" Or Shadow. Or whoever.

"Yeah. I'm surprised that no one's bothered me yet, but Gar'thon told me to stay in their rooms so I don't get reported. Look at me! I could only pass as a criminal."

"Where are their rooms?" Zul had forgotten something. "And why are you out there?"

"My Lady, I'm so bored!" Once again he had screamed it. A few faces turned, although it wasn't because he was bored. Suffle's eyes shuffled at the faces. They needed to get out, thus she yanked Zul by the hand and ran off into one of lesser hallways close by. It had been a long time ago since Suffle had been in the Mother Load, but thankfully the first floor's layout had not changed since then.

"What're you doing?!" Zul's Lady complained. "Calling me Lady like I'm some kind of princess? In front of people?"

"Sorry, it slipped."

She wasn't done. "That's besides the point. Why are you calling me that?" Suffle didn't remember doing anything ladylike. Not to Zul or... really, to anyone.

It struck Zul's backbone and his limped posture straightened up. "You act like you don't remember what I said when we parted ways at the castle in Dathe. I got in so much trouble for what I did then that I pretty much got kicked out. The Queen got back and everyone in Agarve pleaded my case, but she still had to punish me since contact with outside is against the law. That was when Shadow got into contact with me. Coincidences couldn't have gotten better since he found me to find out what was wrong with you."

"Really?" Jack did that for her? "Hey- wait. I thought I heard everything I needed to know from Gar'thon and Sparkz, but they didn't tell me this."

"Sorry," an unknown voice made Suffle squirm. She and Zul turned their head deeper into the hallway there had stopped in. Another man with a mask, but gloomier clothes than Zul. "It wasn't something was you absolutely had to know."

This had already happened one too many times. She made an exasperated sigh and begged, "Pleeeease don't do that."

Zul ignored them. "I think I remember telling you already, but you weren't supposed to wake up soon after you got back... but still, you should have woken up a lot sooner. Now I feel partly responsible for what's happened to your boyfriend."

Suffle was quick to correct. Her head faced the floor and... not good thoughts ensued. "... What did you say?"

"Oh no! I'm sorry!" Zul tried to take it back. "I mean uh... p-playmate?"

Add an evil aura to Suffle. "Zul... if you want to die again, I can have that arranged."

Zul bowed down to Miss Hothead's feet submissively. "AHH! Please forgive me, my Lady!" The evil aura escaped and Suffle's face went blank for a second.

"See you did it again," she exclaimed. "I thought I told you! I'm not your Queen! You know that already, that's why you helped me get out of that place."

A pool of water remained on the floor below where Zul's face was. His mask also got wet. He looked up with shame. "You really don't remember what I said?"

"Stop saying that!" It was getting annoying. She didn't know what she was supposed to remember, so why did Zul keep asking the dumb question? "Just tell me!"

"I serve you, now," said Zul, but Suffle rose a brow. "I told you before you came back to Azeroth. I kind of said it to you last night. It's my duty! I may have also gotten kicked out by the Queen because renounced my loyalty."

Suffle closed her eyes and scratched the side of her head. She had never gotten herself into a situation like this. Someone actually gave her their servitude? Zul had to have done it on accident. She had never needed anybody, before. Friends and family are one thing, but servant? Why would he want to stay under her? It made Suffle think about how much brutal and abusive some of her... relationships were like. "I don't know-- this is just... This has never happened to me before."

Jack made his voice heard. "I'd say stick with it."

Suffle's pointed at the... creature-human-thing. She didn't know what he was. "Stop phasing in and out of conversations!"

Dismissed. Jack kept talking, "A lot of people would be very jealous if they found out someone like Zul swore loyalty to them by choice. He's a Lich and that's a lot of power at your disposal."

The skeleton in disguise felt a need to interrupt. "Uhhh, not really. Compared to how I much magic I used to have, I'm pathetically weak. All I can really do is turn water to ice and back again." Zul pointed his index finger at the pool of water that had fallen where his face used to be. It took a few seconds for the clear body to freeze over. "That's it, I'm afraid."

"Wait," Suffle remembered something, "what about earlier, when the Ark was getting attacked? You completely froze Jack-- er, the other Jack with lots of frost. You know, the person who was trying to kidnap me?" It was something she didn't want to remember, namely because she had wished no one had to die for the Ark's sake. Aaron may have felt some justification for it, but still...

Zul shrugged. As best he could with the mountain of clothes, anyway. "I get my powers from you, so it must fluctuate or something."

What the ex-Lich said rubbed off his Lady the wrong way. "So you're just gonna leave when you find someone who actually has a lot of magic to draw from? Like my niece or her master or the next random person?" It made Suffle a little sad and sick on the inside, walking out of the hallway and back into the main walkway. She didn't dare look back. "Do whatever you want. Why should I care?"

Zul started to cry again, although the tears were gushing out of his eye sockets. Through the mask? He limped over a little as he watched Suffle leave. "Why do you have no faith in me?"

Jack sat down and watched, then looking Zul and the constant stream of water leaking into the disguise that others worked so hard to put on him correctly. "At that rate, your clothes will get too heavy."
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

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Old 08-24-2011, 10:54 PM   #137
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Zul. Thinking about him made Suffle angry, disappointed, and sad. Three things that she did not want to be worrying about, right now. Finding Zul and Jack was not the reason why she went to the first floor of the ship. Where was her niece? And Gar'thon? Oh, and that silly Orc is probably around, too. Stalking her and Erith, as usual. Not that she cared about him and not that he cared about her. The feelings are mutual.

It was moot for Suffle to try asking anybody for help. There were plenty of teenagers on the Motherload that could look like Erith. Plus, who would help her? To Cartel, she's a criminal. What Suffle continued to do for the next hour was check every cabin on the first floor. She didn't think there they would have a spot on the first floor since it's the most clean and recognized of all ten floors. It bothered Suffle at the same time. The Manager could have at least given her niece and friends a nice room. Then again, they weren't paying.

Didn't Suffle just ask the Lich where their room was? He didn't answer and changed subject. Either he didn't know or he had forgotten about the question. Uugh, either way she couldn't go back and ask him, now. Would Jack have known? Not that it matters now; She just lost her chance to ask him since the masked man likes his vanishing magic trick.

The next destination: The second floor. Also a residential area, but the main hall was a shopping center that focused on basic living expenses. Every time the red headed woman came here, her mind came to the unsurprising thought of how possible it is some people on the Mother Load to have never left the might-as-well-be floating town. It was sad and a bit pitiful in Suffle's eye. People born here, lived here, and died on this air ship.

She had forgotten about something very important on this floor and remembered when the elevator stopped. She walked out and looked to her right, then eyed a man with fairly dark skin sitting behind a gray, metal desk. He sat in a brown arm chair, currently looking at a piece of paper with a list of peoples' names. That was exactly Suffle was looking for and walked to the other side from where he sat.

Just hearing her footsteps made the man look up, then he sighed and rolled his eyes. "Still alive?" he said. Thus why Suffle never liked him. Stupid and snarky comments.

"Got a problem with that?" Fine. If he was going give Suffle an attitude, she was going to do it, too. "I'm looking for the special guests got came aboard this morning. Know where they are?" The one person who talk to Suffle without running out of fear, prejudice, or anything else except snark.

The man's eyes swayed to his right. "Yes... special, indeed." The woman's tolerance went down another level. What a bastard. Despite his comment, he had to have known where Erith and Gar'thon's room was. He didn't check any of his papers. "I'm sorry, but the-- ahem, special guests are not currently in rooms D thirty-five and D thirty-six." Okay, now he's pushing it.

A moment of hearing nothing but the Mother Load's background noises of shoppers. It was almost unbelievable. Slowly she spoke, "Didn't you just tell me where to find them?" See-- this is why Suffle hated this guy. Snarky... but the stupid should have been stressed sooner.

The man looked away with a slight crack of a grin on his face. "I didn't say where they were. I only said where their rooms are." Maybe not stupid. More like smart ass.

"Uh..." Suffle stayed still for a good three seconds. "Right. Anyway, I'm gonna go now. Thanks." As she began walking away in the direction of the second floor's D-block. Just until she was far away enough that the guy couldn't hear her she whispered, "Loser."

He said that Erith and Gar'thon weren't in their rooms, right? So the rooms must have been locked. This was okay, though. All of those years living on a farm and just many years as a runaway turned Suffle into a highly resourceful person. The Mother Load may be state of the art, but it's old in some areas. If Cartel tried to renovate every portion of the ship every year, they'd go broke very quickly. Miss Redhead figured that the locked doors still had the same locks when she was on the the ship years ago. From one of her pockets, she dug out a bobby pin. "I love these things," Suffle smiled and gave a light laugh.

When she got to room D-35, she picked the lock open. She had not opened any doors this way in months, so it took a few minutes. Just as Suffle thought: the locks hadn't changed. When she opened the door, the first thing she encountered was a small animal on the nightstand. "Eh? Bunky?" It was true that Erith was not around, but she left Bunky behind?

"Hi, Auntie," The stuffed rabbit said. Suffle wasn't its Auntie, but she guessed it was something the rabbit picked up due to Erith. Good influence or bad? "We saw you get dragged in."

Not something she wanted to remember. "Gee, thanks. So where's Erith?" Auntie scanned the room and saw a small bag next to Bunky. Definitely Erith's room.

"She went to buy new clothes. Gar'thon went with her." Where was all of this money coming from?

"I see." One thing that Suffle had to question. "Hey, you. You heard me picking the lock other side, didn't you? You weren't scared?"

Bunky's head tilted. "I knew it was you." This made Suffle remember her niece's shaman powers. Of course the rabbit wasn't scared. He probably even knew that Suffle was on her way the moment she stepped out of the elevator. "I didn't help you, because you felt confident."

Auntie had to say it again. "Gee, thanks." Suffle put the pin back in her pocket, closed the door she opened and locked it. "Well, if it's just shopping then I'm not gonna bother looking for them. Arron kicked me out of the Ark, so I didn't get much sleep. I'm gonna take a nap, okay?" Suffle didn't wait for permission, took off her shoes, and fell flat on the bed. Where the money they got to go shopping was still on her mind, but the thoughts were consumed by her need to sleep. "Good night. Or whatever."
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

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Old 09-04-2011, 04:53 AM   #138
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The wind calmly breezed through the grassy plains. Partial clouds slowly moved across the blue and boundless sky with a lukewarm sun beaming onto the fields. In the far off the horizon, high mountains awaited in the north and south. The soft scent of the ocean found its way to land from the west. On the top of a hill, a single adult Sugar Maple tree stands firm and alone. Its wide and lofty green foliage is something other trees of its kind envied and grew jealous of.

Suffle had never been here before. She opened her eyes and found herself leaning on the trunk of the tree on top of a hill. It took a minute or two to swallow the scene that surrounded her. This land was incredibly alien. There should be no place in Azeroth like it, but somewhere deep inside it felt familiar. It felt to her like a place people dreamed anyone could come back to. A place people would love to call home.

All of those years being a slave to little green people made it impossible for Suffle to know this place. If she had known of it, this would always have been destination number one. Why then, did it feel so close to her heart? The air: so pristine and unpolluted by the gaseous darkness of machinery. The land was too clean to be real, but Suffle knew she was there. How could it not be?

"We used to live here," said a man's voice. Normally two things would happen in cases like these. Either Suffle would punch the living daylights out of someone who try to surprise her or she would make a squeal. Suffle did neither. Somehow this man had appeared from behind the maple tree on the hill and he sat down to join her. And she thought nothing of it.

She looked at him straight in the face. It was distinguishable, yet hardly peculiar at all; His face was blurry. Despite the fuzziness of the face, Suffle could at least recognize his short, cardinal colored hair. As for what he wore... Suffle had no idea what anything he wore was called, but what he had on was very pretty. A lot of reds with white and a gold trim in sparse spots. Something that only very rich people would wear.

"See, look?" the man pointed out towards the east and Suffle's head followed it. the mountain range from the north crawled to the right. The mountains to the south came to meet the northern mountains halfway, creating an expansive, flat valley in between. From the earth and closer to the mountains from the north, rose a castle. It wasn't a huge castle; nothing like Stormwind. Not that Suffle had never gone there, before. It was surrounded by water with a river flowing at its side. Just a little farther downstream, a town could be found. All of the houses there had red rooftops. Suffle almost forgot that the man sitting next to her was there. He then said, "That's our home."

Our? "Our who?" was all Suffle heard herself say. The man looked to his left and closer into view was someone walking up to them. It was woman wearing with long and glowing red hair. Suffle gave a puzzled gaze when the woman's face was also blurry, but she wore a dress that was the same color as the man's cardinal hair. It made her smile; they must be together. And so happy, too.

Then, something happened. Suffle took another look at the woman's face. It was hazy, but she could at least get the general shape. "Hey. She looks kind of like--"

---

"Auntie?" said Erith, looking at Suffle with a confused and concerned face. "Wake up!"

"Ah?" Suffle's eyes dazed around the room. She stretched her tired limbs and yawned for a wake up call. "Oh. Hey, Erith. What's going on?"

"You've been asleep for about five hours," the niece gave a weak smile. Whoa, really? Then why didn't anyone wake Suffle up? "Bunky told me you were tired, so when we got back we decided not to say anything, then." True enough, they did go shopping. Erith was sporting clothes that Suffle had never seen her niece wear before. A simple ivory colored shirt with a brown waistcoat over it. Her legs were covered in hazel trousers and a belt the same brown as the waistcoat.

"What's with you guys and brown all of sudden?" Suffle stated. What kind of fashion trend were they trying to start? Now she was afraid of what Gar'thon was wearing.

"Hey, look what else I found at the store!" Erith pulled something from behind her and placed it on her head. It was a black silk hat, but the niece had to hold it in place because it was too big for her head. "Isn't it cool? Looks like I'm ready to do some magic tricks. I even got a matching cloak." She put that on in a few seconds, too. The cloak was also too large for Erith to put on properly.

Suffle got a good laugh. "It kind of clashes with all of the brown you're wearing. They're really big for you, too."

"Yeah," Erith gave a slight frown. "I originally bought these for Zul so we could disguise him as a magician instead, but the majority voted for Bear Man." The niece threw out her tongue in disgust. "I still think the magician disguise would have been better for Zul's reputation." Then Erith's face went sour. "Now he's wearing that ugly brown suit with Jack's mask on."

"Yes, I know. I saw it already." It seemed like Erith hated Zul's current disguise more than Suffle did.

The teenage girl hesitated before talking again. "By the way... Auntie, do you happen to know where Master is?"

Uugh. Suffle just knew that he was on the Mother Load. "He's still stalking us?" Why did Arron even let the damn guy on the Ark when they were leaving Ironforge in the first place? They did the same thing with the Manager. "Well... I can help look, I guess..." What else was she going to do?

"Okay!" Erith picked Bunky from off the nightstand and handed him to her aunt. "Bunky will tell me where you guys are if you find him first and vice versa." Suffle's niece didn't give her time to reply back. Erith zoomed across the room and went out the door. Before that though, she stopped for five seconds to say, "Oh and, Auntie? Please don't fight with Master when you see him."

Suffle crossed her arms and looked away. "I can try, but I'm not promising anything."
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 09-17-2011, 11:33 PM   #139
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Before the two split up, Erith told her aunt that she would check the rest of the second floor. Interestingly enough, prior to waking up Suffle, the teenager had told Gar'thon to look for the Orc, too. The Dwarf was on the third floor. Auntie didn't understand how after five hours, Gar'thon was searching the same floor he had been on. He could be being really lazy, which could not be the case for someone like him. Erith's master could be just that hard to find. This was more likely, since when they were at Ironforge, Erith could feel her master's presence, but just couldn't pinpoint where he was. Suffle insisted to check the fourth floor mostly because she didn't want to see Gar'thon's bear suit.

"So we're doing this because you guys can't find him?" Suffle asked Bunky as they got off the elevator at the fourth floor. Bunky was sitting a little below her chest, being cradled by both arms.

"I know that he's around," but Bunky didn't sound very confident. "Somewhere."

A few peculiar thoughts came to mind as she walked around, her eyes scouting for a face she didn't like. Suffle asked, "I haven't known you are Laeoh for that long, but how come you're all of a sudden having this problem?"

"What problem?" Bunky didn't understand?

"Like your... spiritual vision has gotten all blurry." She didn't want to hurt their feelings, but was it always like this? Suffle could faintly remember the two of them saying that Gar'goth is doing it purposefully. However, there's no need for the shaman to hide anymore, since he's always following them around regardless. It'd be a complete waste of energy. And wouldn't using his power all of the time attract unwanted attention from other spirits? "What's going on with you? I wonder if Erith is suffering to some extent, too." Erith was pretty worried when Suffle almost died... then it sort of got worse when her aunt was in limbo. Could stress be a problem? But everything should be fine now...

Then it was something else? Suffle didn't think Erith would tell her since she hasn't brought it up so far. One of the things that itched Suffle about how her niece acts is that since Erith is sensitive to people's emotions and the 'waves' she gets because of them, the teenage girl gets pretty particular about what comes out of her mouth.

Bunky suddenly said, "You're thinking that Erith is hiding something from you?"

Suffle sighed. There's no point in thinking to herself if Bunky is going to make extremely accurate guesses. "Uh, yeah. Something like that. I know that it's more complicated. I was a sixteen years old too, at one point."

The stuffed rabbit was trying not to move, since animated stuffed animals aren't too common. Besides, Suffle has no ability to animate anything, whatsoever. Auntie could get questioned by someone and well... rumors would go flying about. "So what do you think, then?" Bunky asked. Suffle didn't quite understand the point in voicing her opinion if the rabbit could easily read her mind.

"Her dad?" Old Steve hasn't anything in a long time. Then again, it was probably only because the gang was always on the move. Stephen would have no way of getting in touch with them. The only place he would know where they were was--

"Wait a minute," Suffle paused. "I just thought about something."

"I know!" Bunky's voice happily replied. "You're thinking, 'How come my brother hasn't come back for Erith, yet? Wasn't he only on a business trip?' Is that right?"

What a showoff. Suffle wanted to laugh."Hah... Truth be told, I didn't remember all too much what he wrote exactly." She wanted to keep talking about this, but Suffle realized that they had stopped looking for Gar'goth. Oops, don't want to start acting like Gar'thon. Whatever it was that he was doing. "We should be looking for your master."

"Hmmm," Bunky muttered, "I don't think he's on this floor... It feels like we got even farther away from him."

"Oh! Why didn't you say that earlier?" That made this easy, then. "So he's up. Erith hasn't found anything yet, so there are two places where he'd be. He could be at the bridge, but I was just there and I'm pretty sure I didn't see him." Suffle probably would have raised an even bigger fit, then. "So he must be on the deck."

Nothing else was said until Suffle watched the gate separating the interior of the ship to the outside open. It creaked as the gratings split apart and the gears turned to unlock the multiple sliding doors going outside. As they walked out, what got immediately noticed was the gust of crisp sea air. One sight outside showed they were surrounded by the sea. The Mother Load was just under the a huge, fluffy looking cloud. Judging from the sky, there was a chance of rain later in the evening.

"Master!" Bunky jumped out of Suffle's arm cradle and hopped along the floor. Sure enough, he was there. Sitting alone, as usual. Wearing that grimacing face. Did Orcs never smile? Would it look wrong if they did? Suffle wondered, but may never know. She supposed it was just Gar'goth. The light cast by the sun amplified the wrinkles on his face. It looked like he had aged some ten years... and this Orc is already old. There were more reasons why Suffle didn't like looking at him: Old, tense body, unhappy face, grumpy voice, pessimistic attitude; everything was depressing. Maybe that's why he doesn't get along with his own kind, even. Did Suffle forget to mention that he seems to hate Humans for no apparent reason? But, there are a lot of people like that, so...

Suffle and Gar'goth stared at each other for about five seconds. Laeoh was with him, but she didn't bother to look. The stuffed lion was laying on the steel floor, apparently taking a nap. Until Bunky jumped on her to say hello. The human woman took a step forward and said, "Nice to see you." Not. Suffle didn't care even if Erith was around, she was going to say it. "Looks like you haven't gotten over your bad habit."

The elderly Orc just looked at her. He didn't say anything. No reaction at all. Not even a twitch in his fingers. Was he dead? If he had given up on Erith, he wouldn't be here.

"I'm surprised. To you, I'm pretty easy to spot. You didn't run away this time, though. Oh yeah, also, you'd be doing yourself a favor if you'd stop trying to hide from Erith. I don't really like you, but Erith loves you for some reason. I only came looking for you because I said I'd help." Suffle wanted to press his buttons, but nothing was working. "But you probably knew all of that, already."

"Auntie," Bunky said it just audible enough that Suffle could hear him. "You shouldn't say that... Remember what Erith said?"

"I heard what she said," Suffle was sure to point it out. "It's only fighting if the other side fights back. Anyway, you guys know where your Master is now, so I'm leaving." She wouldn't soon forget that she fell of a cliff because of him, and then almost died because of it.
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 10-04-2011, 06:53 PM   #140
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Suffle couldn’t stay there and look at him. Gar’goth was just so… annoying. The redhead had to admit that she was probably a little too mean to him. Is it only because he wouldn’t say anything back to her? Did he want to make himself look like a victim? Did he want Suffle to feel that she was bullying him? She didn’t want to think about it. When she did… it made her angry.

So she was done, right? Suffle found the old Orc. That was it, and then she could go back to doing whatever until the Mother Load gets to Theramore Isle. Donning on this thought was pointless; it would make the day and all others following it feel even longer. The sun was in the middle of sky, gradually beginning to fall to the west.

Technically there were plenty of things to do; finding an odd job on this ship would be very easy, but there were two problems in the way of that. First, Suffle was not in the mood to work for Cartel again. Even if it was something miniscule like sorting clothes or boxes, or running errands for businesses on board. The Mother Load is still a ship owned by a Cartel. Business here is their business. Suffle does not want nor like their business. Second, since the gang was considered guests and not employees, most people would refuse help. If anyone would give any work at all, it would be considered a favor. They may get something in return, but Suffle has met more than her fair share of people who take advantage of run-on-the-mill kindness. More than likely, they would have to work for nothing.

Time to go find some friends, Suffle shrugged. What else could she do? Bunky probably relayed the message to Erith about where their Master was, so Auntie wasn’t too worried about her. Suffle had abandoned Zul—now suddenly thinking about it, where did he go anyway? Jack casually disappeared and would reappear when he deemed it necessary. It isn’t hard to notice a masked man with a raven perched on his shoulder. How exactly does the guy hide in a place like this?

The only person Suffle hadn’t seen today was Gar’thon. He should be on the third floor. This happened some time ago, though. It wouldn’t hurt to look, would it? “Nothing better to do,” Suffle whispered to herself. She walked through the same hallway she had taken to get to the deck and went back inside the elevator, taking it to the third floor. If she didn’t find the Dwarf, to her it was okay. What better way to waste time than to look for friends and have no idea where they are?

Thankfully, she did find one person when she got to the third floor. Almost immediately after stepping out of the elevator and into the floor’s main lobby, a familiar man clad in brown as though fashion no longer made sense eyed Suffle immediately and ran up to her. “Ah! Thank goodness!”

“Zul?” Again? “What’re you doing here?”

“Please accept my apologies about happened earlier today.” Zul brought up his hands to the mask on his skeletal face and seemed like he wanted to remove it, but then remembered what it was hiding. Instead, his head faced the floor in shame. “I-I tried to look for you! And then I ran into Gar’thon and Erith a few hours ago and they told me you were sleeping in your niece’s room. I had upset you already, so I didn’t want to bother you.”

“Oh?” Suffle crossed her arms, making sure to avert her confused eyes from his gaze, looking elsewhere. “That’s… very considerate of you. Did you need something from me?” The Lady tried to look at Zul, but with the mask on she couldn’t take him very seriously. And his clothes… Knowing that he used to be a Lich, having Zul wearing what he’s wearing sealed the deal. The poor guy really needed to change his disguise. The magician idea that Erith had earlier would at least make more sense.

“Soon after you left me with Shadow, I asked him if there was a way to get into contact with a friend of mine,” Zul started then paused for a moment. “You remember Malfos, right?”

Suffle’s face went mute, then quickly turned into an agitated frown. “What is there to not remember about her?”

“We probably won’t be able to help your friend without getting some help ourselves. Malfos can help us find him.”

“I don’t know.” Suffle found one problem with that. “She is a ghost. Isn’t there stuff made to stop people like her from getting into specific places?”

“I know, but you have to admit she’s a good girl. Magic like divinity should only stop evil spirits. She won’t be able to help us rescue him, but like I said earlier, she’ll be able help us find him.” Zul made to sure add, “And if we have to run for our lives, find a way to get out.”

“Okay, fine. We’re doing something else, first.” Suffle didn’t want to handle it, anymore. “We’re going to find the receipt and bought you those clothes, return them, and get something else.”

“Does it really bother you that much?” How the ex-Lich said it could only be defined as puzzled.

“Yes.” Suffle repeated herself. “Yes, it does.” Was he so out of touch with society that he didn't know that his imitation Bear suit was the most abnormally normal thing he could wear? Talking to him made Suffle forget that workers and families from around were aware that they were there, giving them a few stares every now and then, but trying not to pay attention to such an odd couple of people.
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 10-19-2011, 08:17 AM   #141
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Suffle asked, "Who put that ugly thing on you anyway?"

"Ahh-" Zul was too late.

"You know what? Don't answer." Lady didn't care what he had to say. "Save me some sanity by not knowing." She held him by the hand, fast enough so they could get out of public as soon as possible, but slowly enough so Zul's gloves didn't fall out and reveal his boney body. Suffle was mostly focused on what was ahead of them, but she looked back every twenty seconds or so making sure that she wasn't twisting his body in some unnatural, painful, or grotesque way. A mistake was easy to make. Zul wanted to know why she didn't just let go and they could run the whole way. "You DO know where the receipt is, right?"

"Was I supposed to keep track of a piece of paper?" The dead guy was hopeless.

"Of course you wouldn't know. The only people I think who could have it or at least know where it is are Gar'thon and Erith." Now may have not been the best time to bother her niece, considering that she was probably still with her master. The Dwarf they knew was nowhere to be found for some reason.

"I know where it is," said Jack.

Suffle's heart skipped a beat. She took a quick gasp and jumped away as she heard his voice, letting go of the ex-Lich's hand as well. From the corner of her eye, Jack was already a few feet away from where Suffle and Zul were standing. Looking at the creepy masked man in front of her, Suffle's tense body settled down. "Good god. I thought I told you to stop doing that!"

"It's right here," the cloaked man with the small raven perched on his shoulder took a slip of paper of his pocket. Suffle was familiar with the shape of they were looking for and took it immediately. "You'll probably also want these too." Jack took some clothes from under his cloak. It was the long black robe and silk hat that Erith had shown Suffle earlier that day. How did he fit the hat in his clothes without ruining it?

"Cool," Suffle smiled. "This saves us a lot of time. How did you find them?"

"I was with your niece and your other friends while they went shopping. Also, I had a feeling that you wouldn't be happy with the get-up that your loyal servant is wearing as of this moment. So I fetched everything for you." He made sure to add, "Not like there's anything else to do..."

Suffle invited him to help Zul get his ugly clothes changed. She was insistent that the masked man would not disappear on them again. As she predicted, the nice guy obliged, perhaps in a cute and unusual way. Now that the two of them were walking side by side, Suffle didn't think Jack was so... tall. It hadn't occurred to her before, since she had never actually walked anywhere with Jack, before. They hadn't even stood next to each other for a good five minutes or so. There was the one time at Arden's mansion, but he was sitting down that time.

While on their way, the red haired woman gave him a quiet laugh. "Despite your reputation, you're a pretty nice person, you know?"

"I have my reasons, of course. I'm not on the job or anything, either." Jack started again, abruptly. It was as if he didn't on plan on anything else until he thought about something. "I could say the same for you."

"Huh?" was all that came from Suffle's mouth.

"I was signed under Cartel, you know." Shadow began. "If I was going capture someone, I want to know as much as possible about the hostage so I don't hurt them. You know how my line of duty works; I got myself familiar with the stories they say about you."

This she had to know. "What do they say?"

"You've heard it all in a nutshell. Suffle Deming: Crazy beast in human skin. Basically. Always wants to be free. Always runs and will resort to cold blooded murder if she has to." He stopped for a moment. "A few circles say that you killed somebody when you were about eight years old."

Suffle stopped. A deer in headlights.

"Did I catch you?" Shadow's voice got a pitch higher. It was subtle, but very noticeable for someone who talks in monotone most of the time. There was a smile hiding beneath that mask. "I had no idea, of course. Until I heard what you told those maids, yesterday."

"It's not nice to eavesdrop on peoples' conversations." Suffle said. It was stressed. She was forcing out words that could have come out in a much worse way. The pair had forgotten about Zul.

"You think so? Everyone else heard you, too. You never said when this happened, but this is the kind of information that may or may not be significant for someone in my field. Especially when you have a target that's been known to kill people." Jack wanted to come clean with her. If she was going to trust him, then... "Especially if victim of that murder was someone related to you."

This caught her immediate attention. Now he knew way more than what Suffle had ever said. "Just how much do you know about me, exactly?"

"Enough to consider you a bit dangerous. I don't like to brag and consider myself an expert, so a person can never be too careful." Jack touched Black's beak, carefully petting it with his arm raised. "I know things because it comes with the job, but I can see that you're taking this personally. Honestly, I was waiting for a time where I could talk to you about these things, but without anyone else to listen."

Suffle was upset... but Jack was right. She knew she should not really be so angry with him, even though it did make her angry. It was also pretty unnerving. Who did Jack talk to if he knew all of this, already? And before even personally meeting her. "Look, I'm sorry. It's just... what you know just comes as a huge surprise." As far as Suffle knew, she didn't remember telling anyone at Cartel about that particular incident. "What about Zul? Don't care about what he has just heard? Or has to say?"

"I-" Zul had no chance to talk.

"He's your servant, right?" Jack looked at Suffle for a moment. "He shouldn't care."

"Yeah," Suffle said, her voice falling low and somewhat condescending. "He shouldn't care..." She heard an even quieter sigh come from Zul's direction.
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:50 AM   #142
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Suffle took a peek at all of the clothing stores as they were busy looking for their destination. Nothing that they sold would necessarily work for Zul. He was a skeleton, after all. The only place that had anything good was the place were Erith and Gar'thon had gotten Zul's bear suit. It was a store dedicated to costumes. The redhead grimaced as she walked in. No wonder where they got the outfit from.

Suffle and company went towards the check out desk. A lady whom wore a collared, long sleeve suit with slacks was standing behind the cashier. She was blue all around except for the black dress shoes and the black strap sitting on the brim of the beret on her head. They had come during the dead hours; no one was standing in line. "Excuse me," Suffle walked up to the clerk. "I would like to return some clothes."

The woman currently running the store nodded. "Of course. We accept returns only if you have a receipt and what you purchased is in the same condition that you purchased them in."

"Oh, yeah." Suffle handed her the receipt that Jack had given to her previously. "Here's the receipt. As for the clothes..." She pointed at Zul. Zul was standing behind Jack, while Jack himself gave an empty stare inside of the store. At least, that's what Suffle thought he was doing under that mask. "He kind of has them on right now."

"I remember him," the clerk gave a cheeky grin. "So you must be another friend of his."

"My friends bought those for him. I don't want to be walking around with someone that thinks everyday is a costume party."

The cashier gave a slanted frown. "The only thing we have here are costumes. There are plenty of other stores in this ship where you can buy actual clothes."

Uh oh. Suffle was about to blow Zul's cover. How do you tell somebody that you need something that looks normal for a person that isn't necessarily normal? "Uuurgh, yeah, see... That's kind of difficult in his situation." Just then, she had a good idea hit her brain. "Forget that. Do you have something like..."

---

It took awhlie to find the right materials, but it would work in Zul's situation. Jack wasn't very impressed with Suffle's version of a disguise. Zul was sitting quietly in the dressing room while Suffle wrapped his synthetic body made of ice with an endless white band. Jack kept his voice low; they didn't want the clerk to get in on Zul's real identity. Not that the current costume would help that. "It gives him away. Immediately."

The Lady had a better way of looking at it. "Oh, Zul can just tell people that he's an actor that's trying to get in character."

Jack thought otherwise. "The role is too perfect. You know, being Undead and all..."

"Okay." Suffle had more ideas. "Zul follows you and you say that you're a wizard that likes to make your elementals dress up."

"What?!" Poor Jack. "Why me?"

"You fit the part, obviously." Suffle pointed out the hunter's fashionable clothes: "You've got the mask. The cloak. The belt. The raven..."

"Okay, okay. Fine." He had to admit that his clothes were also extremely out of place, but pretending he was a wizard that had a dress-up fetish with elementals? He had to mention something else, too. Black cawed about it, as well. "By the way, Black isn't a raven. He's a crow."

"Raven. Crow. Same thing. So you admit that my current plan is better." Suffle spoke with much mischief in her voice. "Just remember. There's always my plan B."

Jack pointed out, "I like how you're not part of either plan."

Suffle ignored him. "Okay, I'm done. That took awhile. Sheesh. And that was a lot of straps."

"I thought the suit that Erith and Gar'thon put me in was difficult to move in," Zul complained. "This is atrocious."

The Lady laughed. "Your body is made of bones covered in frozen water. We don't need tape or anything since you can just freeze the stuff in place. It works totally fine."

Suffle opened the door that kept the dressing room private. Zul's new costume was in full view of Jack, standing right outside. The hunter muttered, "I still think this is a bad idea."

"Don't tell me you're jealous." Suffle teased.

"It's hard to be jealous of a mummy wearing a business suit." Jack smirked and almost chocked on laugh he held in. "And I thought I was out of place."

Zul tried to move, noticing how tight the sleeves of the suit were against the artificial bulk of his arms. "I think I used too much ice. Or the suit is too small. Or the these bandages are thicker than I thought."

"Don't forget these," Suffle put the black silk hat over Zul's head and hooked the cape that was too small for Erith onto his shoulders. "Business man? No way. Magician!"

"A mummy magician?" Jack found the combination intriguing. "That almost makes sense. But why the cape?"

Suffle shrugged. "I just threw it on because it looks cool."

"Oh, wow!" said someone from behind Jack. It was the clerk, taking a moment to look at Zul's costume. "I was wondering if you needed help since you three were taking to so long, but it looks like you just finished."

"I think he looks good!" Suffle stood, proud of her masterpiece.

"Maybe it's just me," the cashier wondered, "but did your friend get taller?" Suffle and Jack looked at Zul another time. With the hat on Zul was a few inches shorter than Jack.

"I think it's the hat." Suffle wasn't quite entirely sure herself. "Anyway, I like what we have here. We'll be taking this." The clerk took the ex-Lich's old bear costume on one of the chairs next to where Jack was standing. She inspected it, making sure it was clean. Even though Zul was logging around in the suit for the last eight hours or so, it was mysteriously pristine.

The trio left the costume store. Jack left first, then Zul whom was being guided by Suffle as the two held hands. "I'm glad that I wrapped your hands," Suffle tried not to sound irritated, but the uncomfortable feeling didn't leave her face. "Otherwise I'd feel I'd had gotten frostbite in a few seconds."

"That's odd," Zul said rather blatantly. "We were holding hands earlier. You didn't seem to have a problem, then."

"Don't forget. You had gloves, then."

"Hey, listen." Jack turned around, getting Suffle and Zul's attention. "I have to... go do something. I'll see you guys later, okay?" He didn't have anything else to add to that?

"Thanks for helping out," Suffle wanted him to know that she did appreciate his company.

"I didn't really do anything." Jack walked off, giving them a wave as he and his feathered companion turned a corner. If he was going to go do something, Suffle assumed she wouldn't see him for awhile.

"What are we going to do, now?" Zul asked his lady.

"To be honest, I'm just waiting for the day to end," Suffle answered, following with a sigh. She turned her head towards the nearest window she could find. The sky was taking on a red hue. Finally, it was evening. "The Mother Load may be huge, but there's nothing much to see. We'll be spending a lot of these days doing nothing."

"That will be good," Zul told her. "Don't forget what we're really here for."

"Yes, I know." Suffle didn't want to think about it, but... now may be the only real rest that she would get for awhile. People don't get kidnapped for no reason; someone took Arden by force if they destroyed his house and hurt the servants he loved and treated as family to do it. They weren't going to get him back very easily.
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 11-30-2011, 09:05 AM   #143
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Default Interlude #2

WARNING! All EX Chapters have characters that may have not been introduced in the story, yet!

Chapter EX 2: Arden's Day Off

Arden stood in the kitchen of the Ark, a pot of roasted beef stew on the stove in front of him. He stirred the broth with a metal ladle in his right hand, breathing the aroma of beef marinated in cayenne, vegetables, and carefully added spices. A little black pepper and a helping of salt for rich taste, three teaspoonfuls of sugar to enhance the carrots and onions, three large potatoes to thicken the soup, and who could forget--

Suffle drooling with a bowl and soup spoon. Never mind the saucer to hold the bowl in place. "You're taking forever, Arden. Hurry up!"

Arron clamored with her. He held his spoon and slammed the wooden table with both fists in unison with, "Food! Food! Food!" His bowl made of white ceramic shook with the table, getting closer to falling off the edge.

Apparently Arden could no longer afford a quiet kitchen. What happened to the good old days... being abused by Chef Gravytusk, that is. "Hey, wait," something didn't make much sense to Arden. It wasn't quiet those days, either. Skip it; a kitchen is only quiet when it isn't being used. "I told you guys to wait about ten minutes ago."

The best friend didn't care. "Ten minutes ago was ten minutes too long. We're dying here!"

"Yes, please." Suffle scooted back her chair so she could agonize over the table with arms outstretched. Then she cried in despair, "Feed me!"

Arden sighed. When was he charge of babysitting adults? He guessed it was what happens when he is only one in the entire crew who can cook well. Suffle just wants meat. Arron can get the Ark repaired in a few weeks, but can't cook for his life. Erith was only a teenager. Above that, she's a shaman in training; killing animals is more or less like killing someone related to them. Sparkz never seemed interested in cooking. Probably because he's always dealing with Arron. Gar'thon is a bartender, but not necessarily a cook. Xenira can cook, but Orc cuisine is... something no one is really used to. Now that he thought about it, Arden had never seen Jack eat anything. Inda wasn't worth asking. It would become a guilt lecture on why people should be vegan.

Zul and Malfos are Undead, although they do remember what it was like to eat. But their interest in cooking was entirely different. Zul once asked, "Is it possible to make haunted food?" Malfos' suggestion was, "Zombies still have tongues that work. We can make rotting brain spaghetti!" Arden turned them away with a blunt, "Please leave my kitchen."

The man with the dirty blonde hair sighed again. Arden liked being useful, but it was like he was only wanted in the kitchen. Every. Single. Day. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, supper, dinner, midnight snacks. The full-time, double over-time job just getting harder. Sparkz and Gar'thon were reluctant to eat anything on the table until Arden asked them about the Gnomish and Dwarven cuisine. At least dishes native to Ironforge. Xenira was happy to cook for herself; a blessing for Arden. The only real people he had to worry about were--

"Stop thinking to yourself!" Suffle almost screamed while thrusting her bowl forward. "Serve us!"

Arron too, complete with more table banging. "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

"STOP YELLING!" The cook screamed at the kids, their mouths silenced. There was a few moments of quiet before Arden slouched out of irritation and let out an exhausted grunt. "Help yourselves. I'm taking a break. I've been in here for waaay too long." The couple of childish adults silently watched Arden leave the kitchen and a glimpse of him going upstairs.

Arron looked at Suffle. "You made him mad."

"Shut up!" She retorted, pricking Arron in the chest with her index finger. "It's your fault, too."

"Look!" Arron pointed at the roasted beef stew using his spoon. In a dramatized voice he uttered, "The pot of heaven. Left unguarded by demons. A good day to die."

Suffle eyed the man with the goggles on his forehead. "What is wrong with you? Sounding oddly poetic all of a sudden?" Poetry put to the side, each of them happily dunked the ladle into the stew and served themselves a piping hot bowl of roasted beef stew. They reveled in it; to Arden, it was just another dish. They had almost forgotten about him, until Arron brought the ladle up with arm outstretched, full speeding into one of the upper cabinets. Whatever it was, a small bottle of mysterious powder fell over and rolled due to the impact of the ladle. Whoever had used it last didn't account for this, and the bottle's cap fell off as the whole container fell right into--

"Ahhhh!" Suffle screamed. "The stew!" Arron desperately tried to get the the yellow, powdery substance out of the roasted beef stew, but stove was still cooling down. One heated bubble popped and the concentrated powder splashed all over the surface of the stew, then settling into it. The only thing Arron managed to fish out was the container, now with nothing in it except beef stew.

Arron let out a very weak, "Uh oh." The engineer looked at his accomplice. "What'da we do, now?"

"Uhhh," Little Miss Makes Mistakes wasn't sure. Instead, she made something up. "Call for help?"

Mister Mess En Place called, "Arden went upstairs, right? Why don't you go and--"

"I know what you're planning-- I don't think so!" Suffle wasn't going to let Arron run away so she would be the only one that Arden would hound. "You hit the bottle, you do it!"

"But you gave me the ladle," Arron put the ladle to the side of the pot holding the beef stew. It hung inside with it's hook-like metal end. Suffle refused to listen to her friend, refusing to budge while holding him. "Fine, we go and get chewed out together."

Suffle was pushed Arron up the stairs. "Hey, if I get punished, I'm going to make sure you're there to get punished with me."
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Old 12-19-2011, 04:24 AM   #144
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The two kids climbed their way up to the second floor of the Ark and stopped in front of the door that went into Arden's cabin. The two sat down, thinking of a way to explain to their friend what had happened to his precious roast beef stew. Arron started, "Okay, so you go in first to take the first hit, then I stand behind you and cheer you on!" The engineer stepped back several feet, all the way to the opposing the wall that the door to the cabin faced. "Alright, you're on. Good luck!"

"What?" Suffle looked at Arron in disbelief. "No! Get back here!"

"It's all part of the plan," the black haired man brushed his chin. "Arden's a nice guy and he's your boyfriend. He'd never hit you."

Miss Redhead disagreed. "He's NOT my boyfriend! And what about you? You've been his best friend for years now."

"But--" Arron frowned and leaned forward an inch. "Best friends fight all of the time!"

"So? Couples fight all of the time, too. No one said it applied to the two of you," They were wasting time and Suffle wanted to get this over with. She grabbed Arden by the hand and forced him to stand next to her as she knocked on the door. "Err, Arden? Are you in there?" There wasn't an answer. "We're sorry that we upset you. Arron's here, too."

Suffle glared at Arron, trying to prompt him to say something. The best friend said, "What she said!" She replied with a soft knock on his head. "Hey! That hurts."

There was still no answer? "Arden?" She tried again, then beginning to twist the door knob. It gave way with a few squeaks, coming as a surprise. "He didn't lock the door?" Suffle slowly opened the door, revealing only Arden's belongings in the room. However, there was no chef to be found.

The sound of someone coming close made the two friends gasp with a slight thrill and fear. It was a male voice, but not the man they were looking for. "What're you guys doing?" It was Gar'thon.

Suffle gave the Dwarf a glimpse and replied with, "Oh it's just you," and returned to peer into the room they had opened the door to.

The captain of the Ark showed Gar'thon a joyful smile and asked, "Have you seen Arden?"

"Yeah, he wanted to talk to you guys in the Kitchen," the answer was casual for Gar'thon.

Suffle shut the door to Arden's room. "We know that. We were down there and we got him upset, and then we came to find him."

"No, I mean he was in his room and then he went back downstairs to the kitchen to talk to you guys." Gar'thon thought about what he had just said, realizing that something contradictory was amiss. "Hold on. Why am I telling this to you guys when you've already talked to him?"

"Because we haven't." Arron gasped. "Uh oh. Arden went back downstairs."

"How did we miss him?" It didn't make sense to Suffle. "We got here as soon as he left."

The Dwarf narrowed his brows in deep thought. "Oh. Maybe he didn't go to his room."

---

Arden breathed a sigh of many things that he simply summed up as relief. No more voices screaming to his head. "Going to the washroom has never never felt so nice," he said to himself, returning to the hallway then entering the kitchen from where he left. The chef looked around, expecting his pot of roasted beef stew to be half empty. However, Suffle and Arron left their bowls on the counter next to the pot.

They made quite the mess; there was little splotches of stew on the stove and the counter tops that sided. The cupboards were left wide open and it seemed like a few things were missing from above. "What the heck?" Upon closer inspection, Arden noticed a small container smothered in beef stew that was put in one of the two bowls. What did they add to the stew that was so important that they didn't just put in a little, but a whole bottle's worth? It didn't make Arden very happy. "First they beg me to feed them, now I'm not good enough?"

Arden took a second look at this roasted beef stew. It didn't look any different... but that didn't say anything about taste. "I worked hard on this..." It made him upset, but Arden knew they were still his friends... or his over grown kids... Either way, he hoped that they better had not messed with it too much. He took a spoonful and ate it.
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

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Old 12-27-2011, 08:11 AM   #145
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Suffle and Arron raced down the staircase; the same one that they used in hopes of apologizing to their good friend before anything bad happened. It appeared they were too late for that. The two turned the corner and stumbled into the kitchen as their eyes made contact with Arden on the floor. Still, motionless, with a green sweater that he seemed to have put on since the last time they saw him, his head turned over on the side where they couldn't see it. There was also a spoon on the floor, clean of whatever it had been used for.

The engineered assumed the worst and gasped very slowly, "We killed him!"

They rounded up next to the body. Suffle was the first to inspect the crime scene. "Oh, crap!" She made a weak squeal to the heavens and grasped her accomplice by the shoulders. "I told his parents that we'd take care of him. What'm I supposed to tell them, now?!"

"Uhhhh," Arron made a gesture with his eyes steered to his upper right. "We killed your son?"

Suffle screamed while violently shaking the navigator, "Don't include me in this, bastard! This is all your fault!"

Arron cringed. "Before that, what about his body? We have to do something before someone sees it!"

All of a sudden the voice of Gar'thon was heard and his figure turning the corner to the kitchen. "Why do you guys keep screamin--" Arron slammed the door in his face. "Hey! What the heck? Guys?!"

"Oh, god," Arron was sweating rather profusely. That was close. Or maybe not. "I hope he didn't see anything."

"See what?" said the voice behind the door.

"Nothing!" Suffle needed an excuse. "We're just... cleaning up while Arden is taking a nap."

"I thought I saw him in there..." said the pondering voice. "Why's he sleeping in the kitchen?"

Arron muttered, "We kind of, erm... knocked him out."

"Well," said Gar'thon, "you two DO keep screaming in his face and stuff. No surprise there." There was a moment of silence. "Uh, do you guys mind letting me in? Since Arden worked so hard on the stew, I was thinking I would try some."

They were worrying and panicking so much about the corpse in the kitchen that Suffle forgot the roasted beef stew; their murder weapon. "I don't know about that. It's kind of.... powerful?"

"Powerful?" Gar'thon thought about the word for a second. "That's an odd way to describe something. Like, spicy? Or..."

Arron grabbed one of the chairs that he and Suffle had sat on previously and anchored it on the door, keeping it shut. At least, for now. Until someone uses a lot of force, possibly breaking the door and the chair in the process. That didn't right now to the two criminals, though. The two grabbed Arden by the head and the feet and moved him behind the kitchen counter, where Gar'thon wouldn't be able to see him right away. Or anyone else who came through the same door. The next they had to do was do something with the stew. "We have to get rid of it, somehow," Suffle murmured, upset that something that smelled and tasted so good had become lethal.

"The secret hatch!" Arron pointed at the west wall of the kitchen. "See? It's times like these when my secret passages become handy. It'll take us right outside!"

Suffle was baffled with a little relief. "Seriously? There's one in here?" Arron ran to one of drawers by the sink, sliding it open and put his right arm in the shaded space. He was trying to look for something, then Suffle heard a tiny clicking sound. A small door disguised with the wall opened, a pathway that Suffle had never seen before.

"You guys?" Gar'thon started to bang on the door. "Come on! What're you doing?"

"Hurry!" Arron rushed, pushing Suffle impatiently while she held the entire pot.

Suffle was a little confused. "What if we run into someone outside? Gar'thon and the others will find out eventually."

"Worry about it later! Escape the crime scene!" Arron yelled as the two traveled through a small path. Suffle went ahead while Arron closed the wall behind them. After a dozen feet or slow of fast paced walking and a little crawling, Suffle opened a second hatch. Bright light came out; She was outside, but she took a peek around where she was in order to make sure she didn't see anyone. "Coast is clear," she spoke to herself silently. The woman jumped out of the secret passage, landing on firm ground. From the looks of it, it seemed they had come out near the Ark's rear. "Alright, so how do we get rid of this without accidentally killing more people?" Suffle asked as Arron came out of the secret passage.

It took awhile for Arron to answer before he said, "Oh, so that's where this leads." Suffle stared at their captain. "Haha! I forgot. I built so many of these..."

Suffle began, "The Ark: The Swiss Cheese of Ships. I'm surprised the hull hasn't collapsed altogether..."

"Nonsense!" Arron exclaimed. "I am a master of my profession!"

Miss Redhead didn't understand any word that came out of the captain's mouth. "You do so many jobs in the Ark since no one else can, I don't even know WHAT your 'profession' really is."

"Bah!" Arron complained about Suffle's attention to needless things. "Minors details. Let's go that way," said the navigator, pointing to the south. "Hensville doesn't have much regarding waste municipialities, but we can use their dump."

Suffle still felt bad about wasting such good food. "We don't have a choice, do we? Put it anywhere else and someone or something is bound to think it's edible without thinking it could kill them..." And so the two scurried off to the town dump.

Meanwhile, back at the Ark... There were a few mumbling sounds coming from the behind the counters.

"Mmmmhmm?" Arden was attempting to recall what exactly had happened. He had a bite of the beef stew and... he assumed he blacked out? "Oh, man. That's never happened to me before." Arden wondered while scratching his head, wondering how he had gotten behind the counter. "What am I doing over here?" He didn't remember fainting because the stew tasted horrible; to him, it was as amazing as he remembered when adding each ingredient. So, what happened? "Does my stew taste so good that... I knocked out?"

Speaking of stews, Arden wanted to try another spoonful. Did it really...? Only then, he realized that as he looked at where his pot of roasted beef stew should have been-- "Hey, where is the pot?"

And someone was banging on the door. "Hey! If you two don't let us in there, we're gonna bust the door down!" It was a male voice.

"You two are in worlds of trouble once we get inside!" said a woman.

"Auntie!" Screamed who could only be Erith. "This is evil! We're hungry!"
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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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