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The seawater-submerged psychedelic-skinned slug Serenity slides from the dance floor following a change in music. Apparently it's also a change in DJ, as the techno beats have been replaced by equally-energetic but quite different polka. Ren waits a moment after the mass exodus (so as not to dunk anyone in the irregular blob of water suspended over the black disk of the forcefield generator) and then wanders on out towards the restaurant. Ren takes a few more deliberately jerky motions with simulated legs (actually just ripples in the lower edges of fins artfully chosen to suggest limb movement) before flowing out into a more relaxed ripple and starting for the exit.
As it turns out, Asato is coming into the restaurant as Serenity is coming out of the dance club. His ears perk in that direction as he hears the unusual music. He's never heard anything like it before. He catches sight of Serenity and smiles. It's a little weird to him that he can't greet her properly. Or well, 'properly' for a Ribika, which would include nudging her with his nose on the shoulder-- or well...
Now you see the problem!?
Well, either way, instead of moving over to nuzzle Serenity fins, he moves away from the door, a little closer to the mollusc, and offers a verbal, "Hello." He's getting better at the whole 'people' business. His ears are relaxed, his tail set normally, the end twitching ever so slightly.
Echoing screams beak the muffled beat of Polka music coming from the dance floor of the UR. What tortured souls of the damned could have been unearthed this time in Twisted? What horrors from beyond could be thirsting for the souls of the living? The scream sounds oh so distant and yet it feels as if its coming near the restaurant fast. What trouble indeed could be ready to be unleashed upon Twisted? Because as most inhabitants here know, anything can be expected.
Suddenly, a green portal appears over head and spits out a screaming man wearing a white hoodie.
He happens to fall right on top of Asato.
Serenity lifts a pair of right fins from the water to wave the 'wing' in reply to Asato's greeting. "Hello," Ren rasps amiably, flowing over next to him (and out of the way of the door) to offer a damp pat on the arm. "It's good to see you again. You're settling well, I ho--hhhk..." Ren 'blinks' eyes inward at the sudden appearance of a portal and shrinks lengthwise while pouring quickly backwards in a ripple of aquamarine undulatory fins and fluttering gill-feathers.
The echoing screams have Asato on-guard instantly, and he lowers his stance, ducking his head. His ears swivel around as his head turns, trying to find the source of the screaming. He turns around, just as the portal opens above and behind him. He hears Desmond scream and turns quickly to face the threat...
Only to end up bowled over. His hands go up to try to preserve his balance, but it's in vain. With a thud he hits the floor, hands on the floor beside his head. Speaking of his head... he kind of cracked the back of his head pretty hard. Desmond is not light! So he looks kind of dazed.
That's only going to last a moment, though. But it's probably long enough for Desmond to realize he fell on someone who's not quite human. The ears are pretty clear, and from that angle, Desmond will be able to see that there are no ears on the SIDE of his head. Also those hands are clawed, and being half-curled into fists it's visible that they seem to be wht would happen in someone put a cat's retractible claws into a human hand.
Though once that dazed moment has passed? Desmond's going to get a better demonstration. When Asato starts FLAILING MADLY! It's very much like Desmond has landed on a very large cat. Which uh, is about the long and short of the situation as it stands. Or rather, sits. On Asato's stomach. WRIGGLE SQUIRM FLAIL SWIPE! He's not really trying to HIT Desmond, it's just panic.
And from the other end of the UR, Sunset just happens to step out of the Gym.. and right into people falling out of portals, it would seem. She takes this rather well in general. Then again, emergances happening in the UR aren't that uncommon. "I guess the resturant -is- the center of the city." Of course she's also quick to walk over and offer a hand to help the newcomer up off the cat-man. "Careful, that first step is a doozy sometimes."
Desmond wasn't sure what to expect. The best that he can do in his current predicament is brace himself for what usually happens when someone falls long distances. At some point, he was going to reach the end of the fall and hit something hard.
Hard in this case is very subjective, as Desmond certainly wasn't expecting to have his fall cushioned by the stomach of some sort of cat man. Still, a fall through a portal still has a lot of velocity to it and Desmond's first reaction is to exhale a pained grunt as the impact quite nearly knocks all the wind out of his stomach.
He lays there for a second, in that -very- awkward position on top of another guy who has his hands up. Like Asato, though, the hoodie wearing fellow also seems to recover quickly. He immediately gasps in fight and backpedals away from the swiping claws of Asato. In his hurry to retreat he bumps into Sunset and he gasps again backpedaling away from the offered hand, eyes full of fear and confusion.
"Wh-where?" He stutters to say. "Is this..? Is this the after life??" For now, he's not accepting Sunset's offer to stand up, apparently preferring to stay down on the ground.
Serenity stares in shock at Asato as his head hits the floor, then looks no less confused as he continues moving after that. Ren shifts again into a 'standing' pose but continues backing away slowly from Desmond and Asato. Eyes alighting on Sunset, Ren regards her uncertainly for a moment before motioning with fin edges to the new arrival. Ren apparently leaves the teen to take the first shot at that question and instead slips over to Asato (keeping on the far side of him the new person). "Are you all right?" Ren hisses quietly to Asato, 'kneeling' down next to him.
No sooner is Asato free from Desmond's weight than he moves. With a movement that would probably have cracked vertebrae in an average human, Asato gets hands and feet under him, quickly flipping backwards and landing in a crouch on the floor. His head is down, his ears back, his tail bristled and lashing behind him, and he stares at Desmond as if he expects to be attacked. The pupils of his cobalt blue eyes are narrowed to slits.
Mind you, he's not ignoring Serenity and Sunset, though... he's aware they're there. But hunter-type creatures tend to focus in on the source of greatest threat when they feel threatened. And seeing as how Desmond landed on him, that seems the biggest threat. Though... it doesn't take him long to see that Desmond's in a similar state as hm. And logic catches up-- he probably wouldn't be screaming if he'd been TRYING to come through a portal, would he?
Asato's stance relaxes, as Serenity 'kneels' next to him. His ears relax, instead perking forward towards Desmond. The fur on his tail begins to relax, and his pupils start to return to a round shape. He pauses, turning to Serenity to nod at her. "...Did you lose any?" he asks. He means the water in her forcefield generator, since he's concerned the newcomer might have hit her on the way in too.
And then he looks at Sunset, someone else he doesn't know! But she came in through the door, so he's not going to be catty at her. Also she didn't fall on him and scare him. He tilts forward slightly, sniffing the air in the general direction of Sunset, and then Desmond curiously, his tail twitching a bit at the end.
Sunset withdraws her hand when the new cloaked figure doesn't take it. He sounds confused, which is totally understandable. "No, it's not," she replies, keeping her voice at a neutral non-aggressive tone. Don't need to worry the new arrival any more than he already is. "You've wound up in a place known as Twisted." Instead she uses the hand to rub the back of her head. "By accident, by the looks of it." Considering he fell out of a portal.
First things first. While Desmond feels an utter loss of what's going on with his surroundings, he doesn't feel necessarily threatened by Sunset. She's a comely girl with very curious hair color! There are many ways to react to seeing such and fear is probably not one of them.
The young man lowers the hoodie of his sweat shirt and tentatively begins to stand up, dusting himself and adjusting his messenger back. He touches his arms, chest and face to see if everything's in order. "Not.. quite an accident.." He responds with a somewhat trembling voice, perhaps on the verge of having an anxiety attack. "I was supposed to-- I thought I was dead." He looks at his hand and frowns, apparently not finding what he expected.
Once he's done with his inspection he looks up, finally watching Sunset, Asato and Serenity each in turn. To Serenity in particular he frowns profusely and then something strange happens to him. His eyes glow for just a fraction of a second. It is monetary, it could almost pass as trick of the light. Regardless of what actually happened, Desmond exhales a breath that he didn't he was holding in and taps his chest. "I'm.. I'm alive!" He says suddenly. "I think??" Yep, heart is beating and everything.
"Y-You said this place is called Twisted or is it twisted?" He begins to say whilst taking a few defensive steps back, still not fully trusting of anyone here. Though at least he does regard Asato with an awkward grin of his scarred lips. "Oh, uh, sorry for falling on ya. I didn't mean it."
Serenity leans sideways a bit to regard Asato's built-in brain armor but refrains from touching there. Rather, Ren offers him a pat on the arm. "Did I lose any people? Or parts of myself?" Ren guesses. "I've lost neither so far." Ren shifts to more of a 'standing' height then and follows his eyes to Sunset. "Asato," Ren says, gesturing toward her, "This is Sunset." Ren then turns to Desmond and continues in an encouragingly calm tone, "And I'm Serenity. Perhaps you'd like to have a seat here? Or would you prefer a quieter place to talk?" Ren motions to one of the tables and then to the exit.
Asato remains in a crouch as Desmond gets his bearings, and Sunset explains. He nods, though, as she mentions 'Twisted'. That's what they told him, too. Once the other man stands up, Asato tilts his head, regarding Desmond carefully. The glowing eyes are noted, but he doesn't say anything yet. He just narrows his eyes a little bit. Finally, though, as Desmond offers the apology, Asato notices he's still crouched. He stands, with a nod. Asato nods to the mention of being alive. "I can hear your heartbeat," he confirms.
As for 'is it twisted'? Asato's next words might push the opinion towards the latter. "...You smell like a Two Canes," he remarks. He hasn't put that terminology away, no. Though to be fair that's actually a really hard thing for him to do, since he didn't know they were CALLED humans until he came to Twisted. And humans were gods to the Ribika; it'd be like asking a human to stop saying 'god' and use 'ksyahf' instead.
Thankfully he doesn't seem to be injured, from Serenity's scrutiny. But it might be hard to tell, since his hair's so thick. It really is a little like fur. Her return question gets a look to the water inside her field generator. "...The water." He can see she didn't lose any body parts, not to worry there.
Sunset chuckles softly. "Ah, yeah, actually both of those can apply. The city is called Twisted, and it can be very... confusing. Guess you could say it's aptly named." She makes a bit of a face, mostly confusion herself, when he mumbles about being dead and finding himself not dead at all. "It's a lot to take in the first time. You just need to remain calm. We won't hurt you." She puts her hands to her chest. "My name is Sunset Shimmer. That over there is Serenity. And," she flusters a moment, but Serenity coincidentally fills in the blank. "Asato?" Pause. Then grins a little herself. "Good job breaking his fall."
"Um.. what, man?" Desmond first answers Asato when he calls him a 'Two Cane' and mentions he can hear his heart beat. In a room with an honest to goodness catboy, a girl with fiery and yellow hair, and what appears to be a talking jellyfish in a water bubble, Desmond realizes that the least of his worries is how other people perceive him, and thus doesn't inquire any further as to what Asato may have meant by that.
For the time being, he just brings his hands up defensively at Serenity's offer. "I'm fine standing." He says abruptly, wanting to keep an eye on everyone present so they can't sneak around his back. Awfully twitchy this one, perhaps more so than other newcomers.
All that said, he can at least recognize when everyone's introducing themselves and he inclines his head a little in a somewhat awkward resemblance of a bow. "I'm Desmond Miles, and .." It looked like he wanted to say something else but his cheeks puffed and he stopped himself.
Instead, he takes a deep breath and brings a fist to his chest for a more formal salute opting for appears to be a more practiced way of greetings.
"Safety and Peace."
It almost feels like he's saying that to calm himself more than anything.
"No, I'm not missing any water," Ren reassures in an aside to Asato. Ren doesn't approach Desmond any more closely for the moment, but does address him. Ren mimics his gesture... in a way; with a pair of right fins over the abdomen mottled in safety orange and electric turquoise, Ren folds some lines into the muscular surface of the fins to vaguely suggest a human arm beneath a loose garment. "Thank you for that fine sentiment," Ren hisses in a hopefully calming tone. "Certainly we can stand. I was only suggesting that we have a seat because there is some bad news to deliver before I can tell you more encouraging facts about this place that you are in." Still facing Desmond, Ren slides sideways a bit so as not to obstruct the entrance.
Asato nods to Sunset's question of his name. He doesn't seem to be the talkative sort. Though the grin and comment about breaking Desmond's fall gets a tilt of his head. "He's not that heavy," he remarks. Actually that makes a lot of sense if one thinks about it. Asato is a feline. With the proportionate strength of a feline. And probably the proportionate muscle tone. Which at least is visible-- his blue tunic leaves his arms bared.
Desmond's discomfiture is noted, and again Asato tilts his head at the other man. He takes a cautious step forward, visibly sniffing the air in Desmond's direction again. The salute gets a confused look. But nonetheless, he notes of the 'safety and peace', "...Those are good things."
He nods to Serenity's assurance of the water not being missing. And as Serenity speaks, he busies himself by poking at the water that's keeping its shape inside the forcefield. He doesn't appear to be being much help explaining things. But his antics might be amusing nonetheless.
Sunset huffs softly into her bangs. Despite all the practicing and preperation and whatnot, it still felt a little awkward actually dealing with the situation of a newcomer. It was different being on this side of things instead of being the newcomer...
.. And Serenity's wording makes her figit a little more. They're going to have to work on that concept of phrasing, even if it's entirely true.
Seeing he's bowing as part of the greeting, Sunset figures that's still a norm where he's from and thus makes a short bow of her own to return it. "Uh.. yeah.. she's kind of right. There's.. a lot of things to cover, and some of it can be a bit hard to grasp at first." She aherms softly, and not wanting to figit more herself grabs a chair, turning it around so she stradles it sitting down and can fold her arms across the top of the back.
Desmond keeps his eyes on Asato, particularly when he starts to try and sniff him. The young man with the white sweatshirt leans back and arches an eyebrow at the curious cat man before he nods at Serenity. Even though his greeting didn't have the intended effect, apparently Desmond was asking for a specific response, it still put everyone at ease which was profitable for everyone involved.
"Uh oh, more bad news?" Desmond grimaces, finally taking his eyes off Asato and his cat weirdness. He sighs and shrugs his shoulders while Sunset finds a seat.
"Look, I've through a lot lately, just a moment ago I thought I was as good as dead. I don't really care what happens anymore so just lay it to me straight, don't suguar coat it." It seems he's resigned himself to his destiny.
"Just, toss me into oblivion or whatever. I have officially given up."
Serenity pays no mind to Asato's play with the suspended water, as the drip-stripping action of the forcefield ensures that only a thin surface layer stays stuck to him. Ren frowns at Desmond's mention of recent events, but still nods slowly at his request. "Sunset and I work for the Welcome Center for the town," Ren says, motioning towards her, "where we can spend some quiet time later if you would like." Perhaps the news toppings are not entirely sugar-free. Ren then motions out to the sides. "In this world reside people from a large number of universes. We do not know what or who has brought us here, but it's typically one or two at a time, and now and then the convergence of worlds repeats to take people from the same world. Thus, Twisted ends up with a diverse array of cultures and, sometimes, a diverse array of physical laws."
Sunset's huff draws Asato's attention away from the odd behavior of the water, and he looks up at her, with a blink. And when she draws the chair over and straddles it, Asato welcomes himself to sit on the floor near her chair, between Sunset and Serenity, folding his legs tailor-style as he looks up at Desmond.
Though the newcomer's statement gets a frown. "You're still alive," he points out, in response to the mention of giving up. There's a peptalk in there somewhere, after what Konoe has been through, what he had to work past. Just... Asato cannot Words, so he's hard-pressed to give that peptalk.
Besides that, Serenity is explaining! And after she finishes, he adds the thing that Serenity was probably wanting to wait on for a while. "We can't go back," he says. Then again, if Desmond thought he was dead...
"We don't know of a way to go back," Sunset quickly chimes in to.. not so much correct Asato's blurting out as to better explain it. "Not that anyone has yet found. Though it sounds like going back might not be high on your list." He did think he was dead at first, after all. "Maybe you were brought her for a second chance at... whatever it is you do?" He hadn't really mentioned that, yet.
Having given up on everything makes someone have drastically low expectations. Serenity telling Desmond that he is now in some strange multiversal hub only has him react by pursing his lips and furrowing his eyebrows. Less the shock of a lifetime as its common and more someone being told an interesting scientific fact that they didn't know. Desmond's expression seems to say that he thinks the whole thing is 'neat'.
Its not until Asato and Sunset get to the nitty gritty that Desmond finally has a noticeable reaction, namely, his eyebrows raising and his eyes widening. "Can't go back??" He repeats in shock.
This is when the despair sets in and he bemoans his inability to return to his cherished home and be with his love ones, right?
Except not really, Desmond's reaction is that of positive jubilation.
"Seriously?? I can't go back!?" He exclaims with a cheer that he doesn't bother hiding. "Yes!! YES!! AHAHAHA!!" The young man begins to jump and down, fists pumping wildly up in the air.
"I'm finally free! I'M FREE!!" Sunset's right, it looks like Desmond has no intentions whatsoever to go back home.
"Oh, I hope not! My last job sucked!!" He's not even the considering the possibility that all this might be an illusion fabricated by the animus. Not even that could come up with something as weird as this situation.
Desmond pulls his the sleeves of his sweatshirt up revealing that he's wearing some strange mechanical bracers. A slight hint to Sunset of what was it that 'he did' back in his home. It looks like he's about remove them from his arms when he hesitates and glances. "Hold on, there has to be a catch. There is no way I can be this lucky."
"What's the next step here? I suppose I don't get to live happily ever after. This place can't possibly be all sunshines and rainbows like some kind of wonderland, can it?"
Serenity glances over to Asato with a brief frown as he helps explain, though looks more hopefully to Sunset with her additions. Desmond's reaction, though, doesn't get an immediate response one way or another from Ren, other than to ripple backwards just a bit from his outburst. Perhaps Ren is still trying to decide whether that's jubilation or some strange sarcasm. His further remark suggests the former. "hhh..." Ren eventually replies to his question with a still-uncertain expression. "While there is no shortage of people who might at first glance seem to belong in a myth, a happy life here will still require continuing effort on your part as well as the help of others. Compared to the culture I was familiar with, this is not a safe town nor one with enviable infrastructure." Ren motions toward the bar and then toward the door. "You can find temporary employment and food here in the Usual Restaurant, and, for as long as you like, free housing in the partment building across the street." Ren tries to offer an encouraging smile (as much as one can without teeth) and adds, "And please do stop in the Welcome Center if you just need someone to listen."
Asato's ears lower when Desmond says those words. He's expecting the sadness, too. Especially because his own reaction to finding out he couldn't go back to Sisa was pretty sad. In fact, he seems to deflate a little, shoulders and back slouching as he hunkers down. Sunset's assurance that it's not 'impossible', merely hasn't been done yet, doesn't seem to help him any.
But then the whoop of joy from Desmond, that gets Asato to sit up straight with surprise. He blinks. The bracers are a hint to Asato, too. He has no idea what they actually do, though. He waits until Serenity's finished speaking before noting, "...And there are big bugs with two mouths and acid inside them when they go squish." That's been the only thing that's hurt him seriously that he remembers from recent history.
Sunset leans back a bit, a little taken by surprise by the abrupt change in Desmond's demeanor. And a little amused at her assumption being right. "Twisted isn't without it's problems," she nods a little with Asato's reaccount, "and the occasional needing to fight to keep it safe, but I'm sure you'll find it is hardly a bad place to be overall." Not all sunshine and rainbows, but hardly a bad lot, either. Once she's recovered from the surprise she smiles again. "If you need help adjusting, or just for people to talk to, that's what the Welcome Center is here for."
Just as he suspected. There's a fair bit of danger lurking around here and though Desmond had previously just stated how he didn't care about dying, he certainly wasn't so keen on forfeiting his life now that he knew he was no longer bound to the responsibilities of his home.
He pulls his sleeves down, hiding the metal bracers on his arms again and listens carefully to what the odd trio have to tell him.
"Fights, huh?" He says once the three have finished their spiel about creatures of myths, bugs with two mouths, and the occasional fights to assure that one continues to have a happy existence.
Desmond touches his chest again, trying to feel something that may be under his sweatshirt. Finding it, he slides his hand down said jacket and pulls what seems to be handle of a gun. He quickly tucks it back in though, apparently he was just making sure he was still carrying it. "I think I can handle a few fights." He concludes.
But wait! There's more! Free food and temporary employment at the bar?? "No way! I can even be a bartender again!!?" Desmond sounds a bit too happy about the prospect that most should be. "And free housing to boot!?" Needless to say, he's really liking what he hears.
"This is amazing! I think this is all more than worth dealing with oversized bugs if I get to keep all this." He rubs his palms and his face lights up in happiness that he hadn't felt for such a long time that it shows.
"I'll definitely check out the Welcome Center, thanks for everything but.." He glances at the door. "If you excuse me, I think I'll go have a look outside. I really want to check this place out for myself."
With a nod, he takes another breath and briskly starts walking towards the exit while putting his hood back on again.