|A Not-So-Vigorous Walk|
The most notable businesses here are Ray's Occult Books, the Coffee of Doom, and Eat or Die (an automated restaurant). All of them look a bit run down on the outside and don't see a lot of traffic, but who can really blame them? Not many would want to visit the edge of that constant chaos consuming the rest of the Twisted Street just past the barrier protecting the town.
Running alongside Eat or Die is a small road that leads to the Twisted branch of S-Mart, or at least the parking lot as the retail store is quite a bit behind the shopping district and up on a hill as if to draw attention to it.
Tabitha stands at the end of the street, clutching Johnny's dagger in one hand while staring off at the chaotic wastelands before her. Her body literally pressed against the barrier which separates the city from the chaos beyond. It would only take the slightest movement to pass through, but it's enough that she's paused in contemplation. The last time she went out there her mind snapped and she came back with four other versions of herself living inside her head. Even knowing that most of her questions can be answered by this voyage, she can't help but hesitate and ponder what could happen to her this time...
Dante is currently hanging out on a nearby, floating piece of random structure. Why? He likes being up high. Good vantage point. PLUS it looks TOTALLY awesome leaping down like that and falling, wind whipping his hair around, all like WOOSH YEAH I'M BADASS-I digress here. He peers down, kneeling on said piece of debris. Yeah, he'd rather not be here. He'd rather Tabs not be here. However, he put SOME degree of trust in Diablo and what he was told, in return for the trust placed in him...and, well, the rest is history. (Check the Wiki, assholes.) He yells down. "Heya Tabs. Goin' my way?"
The nekojin nearly jumps out of her skin when Dante's voice calls out to her. With her ears and tail reflecting how tense her body suddenly becomes, her eyes dart around the street a moment before she manages to see him floating above and before her. Shaking her head and releasing a sigh she seems to relax a little before responding. "Came out here ta talk me out of it, huh? Ya know ya coulda tried that BEFORE I walked out 'ere." At least one voice screams at her to use that weapon in her hand but instead she twirls it like a gunslinger with a pistol and resheaths it at her side.
Dante vaults into the air, dropping head first down at the ground. This is usual for him, by the way. He flips around at the last second, slamming into said pavement...leaving a small crater around himself from the impact. He dusts himself off, stepping from the damage that's PROBABLY already being repaired and shakes his head. "Nah. Not this time. I'd PREFER ya not go this route but...if this is the way it's gotta be, I'd rather ya not go alone. If you'll have me, anyway."
Tabitha's left eye narrows, "Oh? What brought about this change of heart? Guilt getting the better of ya?" She shakes her head again and takes a half step back, putting her weight on one foot behind her. "You seemed pretty determined to tell me no. So why should I even believe yer serious now?" It's a fair question. The catgirl crosses her arms as she waits for an answer.
Dante rubs the back of his head, sighs a bit. "Because I had no flying fuck of an idea what the hell was going on. It was explained to me, sort of at least...and now that I get it, I realize this shit is going down whether I want it or not. So, if...it's just GOTTA happen this way, I'd rather be there just in case the shit hits the fan. I don't expect trouble or anything but..." He trails off there, offering a weak shrug?
Both Tabitha's eyes narrow now. "So you suddenly realized exactly what I tried to tell ya, but only because someone else told ya to. Who, Dante? The only person I told about this was Sun!" Her hand slips down and wavers over the handle of the Dread Dagger sheathed at her side, but luckily only for a moment. Instead she takes a deep breath and lets her arms drop to her side, balling her hands into fists and then letting them relax. "Know what? I don't care anymore. Do whatever. Follow me if yer gonna. I'm tired of procrastinating about this." Now with stubborn determination restored, the neko marches through the barrier and into the chaos...
Dante sighs softly, shaking his head. He whispers to himself mostly, rather stoically at that, "Yeah...if people kept hidin' shit from me like this, I'd be pretty fucking pissed off too. This better be a one time thing, Diablo, or I may have ta pimp slap ya one. ... I'm probably not even getting a lap dance for this." He shakes his head and steps forward as well, eventually making HIS attempt to walk through the barrier.
Without turning around or saying a word, Tabitha marches the first mile or so seeming to not care to even know if Dante is behind her. Once the wind dies down and that bizarre barbed wire tree suddenly shines in the distance the girl's determination finally falters and she slows. "So..." She finally turns to see if and where her companion might be. "...'ve you ever been out this far?"
Dante is standing RIGHT there. She'd be looking at his torso. Little close for comfort? He's peering around and upon being queried, looks down at Tabs. He shakes his head. "Nah. Never come out here. Don't trust it and I haven't had a reason. No jobs're anything." He offers a slight shrug. "Life's an adventure, kiddo." He grins, reaching out to ruffle her hair if she lets em. "Besides, after the beating you gave me at the tourny, I've got you to protect me, so I'm good."
There's a slight yelp as Tabitha leaps back after practically smacking into him. She listens to him half-heartedly, at least until he messes with her hair and her ears droop a bit until she attempts to smooth it back again. "The beatin' I gave you...? I seem to remember bleedin' all over th' stage before you called it quits an' won the fight." Her arms are crossed as she continues towards the tree. "It feels like that was a lifetime ago..."
Dante laughs a bit, nodding. He doesn't say anymore on the matter. This poor kid's been wrung around enough and he's STILL lying to her, just a little. He hates that. He actually really likes Tabi and the idea that treating her THIS way is good for her and everything else. ... Diablo can be a selfish prick SOMEtimes, whatever his motivations at the time. "Once ya get old like me, kiddo, everything feels like a lifetime ago. I'll....what's that word?...paraphrase a movie for ya. I like ta keep things simple. I live my life one 6-pack and pizza combo at a time. ... Only problem there is all the days blur together. Moral of the story is don't ever get old." Way to go, Dante. Waxing philosophic.
His own motives aside, the story brings a smirk to her face as they finally stand in the shadow of the living barbed wire tree which Alessa created to seal the portal to Hell behind her for reasons which may never fully be understood - not that more than a hand full even remember that it occurred. Tabitha bites her lip as she watches the liquid metal writhe around itself as if anxiously waiting for something to happen. Once more she draws Johnny's dagger, running her fingers over the comical head carved into the hilt of the blade as she stares. "I guess this is it. Either we're about to see the long lost other half of Twisted City or..." The girl sighs nervously not wanting to finish that statement.
Dante pats Tabs on the shoulder. "When pullin' out a nasty splinter, there's 2 things to remember. 1.) Do it fast and get it the fuck over with before you talk yourself out of doin' what NEEDS to be done...and 2.)Make sure you're drunk as fuck. Now, you're too young to be drinkin', so you'll have to go with number 1. ... Don't worry, Tabs. If anything happens, they'll have to go through me...so, you know, at least you'll have time to run." He offers a wink and what he hopes is a comforting smile.
One, do it fast and get it the fuck over with. That's exactly what she thinks as Tabitha readies the dagger and starts to walk up to the tree. Some of the razorwire actually seems to draw closer to her as she approaches. It can't possibly be sentient, can it? The dagger reacts to the tree and much like that infamous fight in the tournament darkness begins to snake up the girl's arm turning it black. "I'm older than you'd think, Dante." Somehow her voice seems a tad darker as well. The girl stabs the tree and the barbed wire suddenly explodes outwards and retracts into the ground, leaving nothing but a gaping hole and a swirling vortex inside it. "Heck for a nekojin I think I'm in my twenties?" Those words sound somehow wrong coming out of her...
Dante seems to falter, for JUST a second. Scared? Hell no. Literally. He's been to many a hell before. Scared of Tabs? No...not scared of what she might be able to do to him. That....change. That change in someone he considers a friend is...that's always a little scary. He shrugs slightly and wanders a bit closer but waits for Tabi to take the lead. "Don't tell me that, Tabs, or I'll try to sleep with you." REAL subtle, D. He's just trying to shake the whole feeling of 'wrong' here.
The girl turns back and laughs, only the face that greets Dante isn't Tabitha's. Instead a decaying corpse looks back with gaunt lips and laughs at his words. "Oh I'm sure I could make ya think of me ALL night long." Suddenly the girl shakes her head, somehow shaking away the corpse look and puts the dagger away. "Okay, that... that would be one of the others trying to come out and say hello." Tabitha pauses as if out of breath. "Normally it's not quite so sudden. I'm not sure what happened."
Dante huhs. He's a little surprised but...it's hard to shake the guy. He laughs a bit, shaking his head. "Well, if anything would be a boner killer, THAT would have done it. Remind me not to hit on that one. I think your proximity to this place is fucking with ya. I dunno much of anything though." He just kind of waits at that point. It's her ballgame.
Tabitha closes her eyes, biting her lip again. Mentally she's yelling at the trio inside her. We don't speak about the forth. She opens her eyes with renewed determination and lifts one foot over the vortex. "...get it the fuck over with." Such good advice. With a dramatic flair the vortex seems to explode in light as the neko literally hops into it. The edges of the portal seem to burn off into the air like bits of flame and a loud sizzling 'WHOOSH' accompanies it like something out of a movie. Just as soon as it happens it's over and Dante stands alone.
Dante watches her go. He lets her do this one first, on her own. It's important. He grins, shaking his head once again and glances off into the distance. "Diablo, I hope you haven't dug us all into a hole here. Gegs, I don't mind you scheduling this as low-priority for later...but if I don't come back, please let everyone play this back so they know what happened." He's probably just assuming that she'll hear em at SOME point, depending on her scheduling. He takes that moment to dive in after Tabi.
Falling after Tabitha, Dante will see a swirling of colors and that unmistakable cheesy-effect-vibe as though this was all made for a low budget film in someone's garage. Diablo would tell you it's deliberate of course. The first time someone saw that effect on screen it wasn't fake. Although the dancing skeleton arms reaching out of the darkness surely makes it feel that way. Seconds later they drop off onto a wasteland not much of a change from Twisted's - except for the red sky and the floating rocks. Then again, you go to the right places and...
Tabitha rubs her neck as she pulls herself up into a sitting position. Normally she can land on her feet, but she doesn't normally venture into Hell either. In the distance a ruined city seems to beckon ominously. "So? Real Hell or parallel world nicknamed Hell?" She sighs heavily trying to push herself to her feet. "Clearly this isn't the missing part of the city."
Dante seems to be on his feet. Whether he fell over or just landed that way...who knows? He looks around slowly, seemingly unperturbed but sometimes it's hard to tell how that jackass is feeling. He finally nods over to Tabs. "Guess it ain't. Sorry honey, I dunno WHERE the fuck we are now. This is your game from here on in. I'm just here to keep everythin' safe." He just kind of leaves it at that.
As Tabitha and Dante leap into that Vortex, there's a slight shift in the realm of perception as they find themselves within the Endless Wastes. The shear fact that it seemingly goes on forever would be unsettling for most beings. Of course, Dante and Tabitha SHOULD be fine.
...They should be fine, right?
Of course not! It's Hell, and as their vision clears and everything has entered focus, Caliga himself sits idly on a large rock before them, idly picking his nose as he relishes in not having to constrain himself again. He lifts his left hand (which is not planted squarely in his nose) in greeting. "Took you two long enough! So, what's the plan? We going to go and rob some graves? Kick some skulls! OH! OH! I KNOW!" He rises to his feet as he removes the finger and rolls his index finger and thumb together, only to flick what he pulled out off into the endless expanse. "You're going on a wild goose chase."
Tabitha stares wide eyed for several moments and screeeeeaaaaams. "IT IS HELL! HE'S DEAD!! HOLY FUCK I DID KILL 'EM!!!" The girl takes several steps back, ready to go back through that vortex and run. "I'M SORRY!! IT WASN'T EXACTLY ME!! PLEASE DON'T KILL US!!" She has no idea what happened, if that wasn't blindingly obvious.
Dante steps up behind Tabi, trying to place hands on her shoulders to keep her from going crazy and doing something rash. He tries to speak soothingly. "Calm down Tabs, it's ok." He peers over at Caliga, noticing him for the first time. "I dunno, buddy boy. I'm just here to make sure Tabi stays safe. Who the fuck're you exactly?" Yeah, he's got a lot of tact ya see.
The man cocks his head as he stares at Tabitha. He takes a few steps towards the Nekojin and her companion, only to grin sadistically. "Why Tabby, if I'm dead, do you think I'd really be able to do this?"
The world behind Caliga suddenly distorts as he allows himself to release what little control is left over himself. Creatures from ones nightmares slowly start to crawl through rifts in space as blood starts to pour upwards from the ground. He reaches behind him and holds forward the sheathed sword. His attention is now upon Dante.
"I am the lord of the Endless Wastes, One Seventh Council of Hell, Dai Kaioshin of Death, Lord of Hell, Ken of the Saiya-jin. To you, I am another God who has resigned to call Twisted their home. I am the keeper of history." As he rants, a large skeleton with what appears to be /jetpacks/ on its back starts to claw through one of the rifts, only to vanish entirely as the area behind him suddenly returns to the state it was before.
"But really, you can just call me Caliga." He places the sheathed sword back on his back, as his right finger once more rises up to start digging around for Magic Nose Goblins.
Tabitha stares blankly as her brain tries to process this. Erm. Brains. "Okay, okay. Then WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?? I didn't wake up from that fer two days! Now I've got a little kid, a bitchy zombie, an' a mostly mute girl in a strait jacket living in my head!" It's worth noting that all three are yelling about that at the moment. The 'real' Tabitha winces from the noise, turning her head to the side momentarily. "SHUT UP!" She holds a hand to her forehead. "Look, I don't even KNOW what happened but I know I came out of it pretty badly. Where the FUCK have you been this whole time if this isn't Hell?
Dante makes a bit of a whoopdie-do kind of motion with a finger, looking kind of unimpressed. He blinks and stops as Cali reveals his name, though. He grins a bit. "Ahhh. I get it. YOU'RE that Caliga guy. Ok. I've heard ALL about you. Troublemaker type, as I understand it. Still, haven't done anything arrestable, I guess." He nods down at Tabitha. "Well, since you're here and trying to be all dramatic n' shit, why not shed some light on the situation for Tabs sake, huh?"
"Oh, I've been doing a bit of this, and a bit of that." Caliga idly waves his left hand in dismissal to Tabitha's question. Its obvious he doesn't care to answer it in great detail. Of course, as Dante mentions how he hasn't done anything arrestable yet. "Of course I have. You just can't arrest me because you don't know about it yet."
His attention returns back to Tabitha as he moves towards the girl, moving to gently pat her head with his left hand. "I've had a few things to take care of as well Tabby-cat. You're not the only one whose had some severe life threatening issues. Mine were.. just a bit more pressing." He then pulls his sword forward for Tabitha to get a better look. "You're a smart girl. I'm pretty sure you can figure out what this is, and why I may have it."
Instantly the blade in Caliga's hands flares up with black flames dancing over its surface. Tabitha's eyes seem to glaze over and anywhere the flames come close to her suddenly turns jet black. Clothes, hair, skin, everything. The girl stares mesmerized as one hand instinctively draws Johnny's dagger from its sheath. The two Dread Blades seem to fuel one another and as the energies pass through the nekojin her body reacts as well. In the span of only a few seconds her body is completely black - a female feline shadow of Johnny's wastelock-powered form. Her pupil-less white eyes still locked on Caliga's weapon.
Dante is pretty much instantaneous about snapping E&I up and pointing them at Cali. He still seems chill, but....he narrows his eyes EVER so slightly. "Ya know, I'm sure you don't mean anything by it since you're OBVIOUSLY a wonderful kind of person but would ya do me a favor and NOT make the shit hit the fan?" This was SUPPOSED to remain peaceful, DIABLO...
Caliga's finger comes out of his nose, as his bird takes flight, middle finger and thumb extended like the Creators fully intended. "Eat a dick. Can't you see we're having a moment here?" He pulls the blade back and stares at the shadow covered Nekojin. He doesn't move away from the girl, however he does glance in those white sockets she calls eyes.
"Tabitha, you came here. What did you think would happen if you came here?" He steps backwards and turns away, facing towards the expanse before him. "You, bitchboy. How come you guys decided to come visit Hell? Did you finally get the flyers that those damn Unicorns have been passing out about how its a primo vacation spot?"
In a zombie-like trance the girl continues to stare blankly as Caliga speaks, eventually muttering, "VEN AL INFIERNO! ES FANTASTICO!" She blinks finally and rubs her eyes as her normal consciousness reasserts itself. "I want answers. I got conflictin' memories in my head about whatever Diablo did ta me and I don't know what was real and what was something he put there. I figured comin' here I could at least see if the Wastelands where really..." Tabitha trails off realizing what's happened to her hand and then the rest of her body. When she realizes she's clutching the dagger again she puts it away and almost instantly the darkness starts to fade away again. "I just wanna know th' truth, Caliga. I want ta know who I can trust." This probably isn't the best group to be saying this to given recent events.
Dante puts E&I away and snorts. "Ya might have to repeat that in a language I understand, fuck-face. I don't speak over-dramatic poser." He shakes his head and folds his arms but doesn't bother responding to the question. This is Tabs thing and if she isn't attacked, he's not really going to get involved. Already things are a little different than what Diablo implied. He might get pissed about it but he ALSO realizes that Diablo only has SO much control...still though.
"Oh man, really?" Caliga sighs and turns once more to face Tabitha and Dante. He moves to sit back down on his rock, and pulls a cigarette from within his jacket. Placing it between his lips, the tip suddenly springs to life as he takes a long drag. "For fucks sakes.." He motions for Dante to sit down, or get comfortable, or whatever it is pretty boy does.
"All right. It's obvious we all have a lot to talk about, don't we." He grumbles loudly once more only look towards Dante fully now. "I'm going to let you start, as I'm pretty certain your questions won't be as painful as hers, Dante Sparda of TASK."