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 COA III: The new IC

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Lupus
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeTue 25 Jun 2013, 2:01 am

Kaldra strolled along beside Tem, taking care to walk confidently and conceal how she truly felt at her core, where she was beyond nervous.  Everything seemed to be spiraling downward like a shark whose dorsal fin has just been sawed cruelly away by thoughtless fishermen with no visible upward slope in sight.  Eyes guarded, she settled on that target house number.


The unexpected raucous barking did nothing to soothe her unease, though her facial expression remained unchanged.  Head tilting towards Tem at the sound of his voice, she considered the possible paths to take in approaching this next investigation.  Honestly, she agreed with Tem, though that should probably come as no surprise by this point.



“I think that at least three of us should go up,” she said, “All of us going would be conspicuous and possibly overwhelming to who we end up speaking to, plus those who remain back could act as lookouts while the others are occupied.”



She then looked around at the faces of the others, trying to mentally determine who would be best in which group.  The yelp suddenly signaled an end to the dog’s racket, which was both a blessing and a curse simultaneously.  This investigation needed to be handled with utmost haste and care.



~~~~~



Aressa remained silent throughout the journey to the next stop on their messed up little spree.  The dog’s barking, though annoying, quickly faded to a place between white noise and awareness.  It was as if she recognized that the sound was there, but chose to file it below other observations on level of importance.  Any changes would elevate its rankings, but as of yet it was quite near the bottom.  Then just that happened when the dog’s barking was silenced with a pained yelp.



Well, that was sudden. 



Aressa assumed that the owners had simply shut up the little nuisance, but didn’t discount the possibility that it bespoke further trials to come in this neighborhood.  Whatever came, she’d mow it down.  Battle was her forte in a way that speaking would never be.  At that moment, the conversation in front of her brought up the fact that others would be remaining out of the investigation at this particular stop along with her.



At least Ev isn’t too confrontational… seems pretty meek to be blunt.  I’ll just avoid needless conversation.







 
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Michangs
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeTue 25 Jun 2013, 2:16 pm

Tem's gaze was browsing among his fellow group members when Kaldra spoke. She immediately had his attention. He agreed with her, naturally, although he thought her rationale for not taking everyone at once was pretty obvious. Then again, I didn't say that aloud, did I? Just "more than one of us"...good of her to clear that up for everyone. Another small smile found its way onto his face. And she says I'm the one who notices all the details for her.

He also didn't think three or more group members had to be a hard and fast rule, but two at least would be good. With no expert talkers in the group, it was a good idea to have others to cover for any awkwardness or pauses for thought.

He looked among the group yet again, hopeful that he wouldn't have to be one of those two or three, but when he realized that Aelirsa, Aressa, and Ev had all decided to sit out, he evaluated what would happen if he also refrained from volunteering. Kaldra would probably want to stay with me, so that just leaves...Kaden and Agate. He gulped. Kaden, at least, had done this before, in the electronics store, but he wasn't sure she'd be willing to try it again. And Agate... Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that talking isn't Agate's strong suit, he thought, not really cheered up by his own humor once he did. Kaden alone didn't make a group of three.

Tem sighed through his nostrils. I guess Kaldra could make it a group of two, but I'd really rather help her if she goes. He had to do what had to be done, then, as much as he dreaded it. I'm not...that bad at talking to people, right? Well, he'd just have to see. What an inspiring plan.

"Okay...I can go up and talk to them." He couldn't look anyone in the eye as he said those words, unease roiling around inside his gut. A second later, though, he was able to look at their faces once more to ask, "Who wants to join me?"

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Lyric
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeFri 28 Jun 2013, 2:33 pm

Agate’s cinnamon roll stuck uncomfortably to the lining of her stomach. Before them loomed the group’s own version of hell--the bricked variety, that is (which apparently came with a bicycle).

Scared witless, her lingering gaze failed to retreat from the foreboding house for serval temporal paces. When she was finally able to, she immediately shrank into herself, zeroed onto her tail, and began twirling it frantically.

It was so simple what she had to say; it was simple what she must do. So why, why on Earth, did she feel like she had to be a brain surgeon to achieve these aims?!

Really; how had she contributed to this investigation?! Unless anyone was foolish enough to count accidentally barfing on some smelly guy’s shoes as "help", it was about time for this earth dragoness to pull her own weight! She was sixteen, practically an adult in human terms. Scars don’t lie; the others had obviously encountered worse. This next obstacle would be a tea party compared to what they had been through. Would it really hurt for her to walk on in and talk?

The dragon-girl began twisting her tail, steadily cutting off the circulation.

Stop chickening out! She scolded herself. Just...say...it.......!

“I-I would like to h-help...” Agate squeaked, twisting her tail with such intensity that it was surprising that the end didn’t just spiral off. She shut her eyes so forcibly she managed to squeeze tears out of them. She didn’t want to see the other dragons’ expressions.
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Michangs
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeWed 03 Jul 2013, 2:54 pm

Tem was alternating his gaze between Kaden and Kaldra, more or less certain that they would be the ones to join him, when he noticed some kind of squirming motion in his peripheral vision. He turned his head; Agate was twisting up her own tail for some reason. She looked incredibly worried about something.

Tem squinted his eyes into a slightly confused expression just before the quetzalcoatl-girl stuttered out her intentions. The blue dragon's eyebrows now rose in astonishment. Does she really think she can...? He shifted his feet uncertainly and looked down at the pavement to think a little. So many things could go wrong if she... But a silent sigh ran through his thoughts. We should let her try. Maybe she'll surprise us, and if not...we'll have two others to cover for her. Besides, how could he stomach telling her to her face that she wasn't good enough for the job, without even giving her a chance? He'd given Aressa the chance to soften her angry, icy core, after all, and that had ended in a hug. Best to let her prove herself or get some practice now, when she has help if things go wrong.

He brought his still rather amazed eyes up to Agate's face and, trying to ignore the fact that her eyes were squeezed shut, agreed, "Um, okay, if you're really sure you want to, Agate." That left the third choice of dragon. "So, who else would like to try this?" He looked at Kaldra significantly, giving her one of his usual smiles. Despite being surprised once already, he was fairly sure she would like to accompany him next, though anyone else was definitely welcome to join in. Meaning Kaden, he smirked - they didn't have a lot of options. Maybe it could end up a group of four.

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Lupus
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeThu 18 Jul 2013, 12:28 pm

Kaldra watched Agate's fidgeting, waiting patiently for her to say what it was that was troubling her so. When she did, she couldn't fight the pleased smile that marginally curved the corners of her lips upwards. Good for her. It seemed that, in spite of her worries, Agate was striving to be helpful. Coming up with them while they talked to their next witness was a good start and, if it went well, then her confidence would hopefully be bolstered. Given her earlier display with that sandstorm, a braver Agate could be quite a useful asset if - and it probably would - came to fighting.

"You're welcome to come, Agate," she said in agreement with Tem's comment.

Catching Tem's significant look, she nodded once in assent. Though she could already feel sparks gathering in the cores of her larger blue spikes in an expression of her internal trepidation, she was one of the semi-leaders of this group and to turn tail would be detrimental.

"I'll come as well," she said, shifting and repositioning her wings along her back as she did so. Kaldra met Tem's gaze and nodded again. With some of the strong fighters on lookout, any chance of being taken by surprise during the talk was already minimal, so that was good. They might as well get on with it.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeThu 18 Jul 2013, 1:43 pm

Tem's smile broadened when Kaldra agreed to help and returned his gaze. "All right then, I think we're ready." He surveyed the group with his light blue eyes. "If anyone else wants to join us, feel free to walk up...although a good number of lookouts shouldn't hurt, either." Gulping slightly, he shifted on his feet. He wasn't sure if he'd spoken well even then; how would he have any idea what he was doing up at the door? By letting Kaldra help a lot, he thought dryly. He hoped it wouldn't actually come to that.

He took a deep breath and got out a slightly self-reassuring "Okay!" during the exhalation. "Let's go talk to them." He left the water bottle in his foreclaw standing up on the sidewalk (the food bag had finally been cleared out and left in a public garbage bin during the walk). He strode up to the door, keenly aware of every step, as if he were walking for the last time. Come on, it's not that bad.... The thought didn't help his limb-shaking anxiety much. He had to wonder if it was more than the need to talk to others that was setting him on edge so powerfully. The gravity of the investigation? The possibility of attackers? He couldn't be sure.

He took another deep breath once he was staring the plain door in the face. It's just a door...it's not going to blow up in your face.... Slowly, almost painfully, his right foreclaw rose up, clenched into a fist. He aimed the thick knuckles of his blue-scaled paw at the door and gave it three polite knocks.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeSun 28 Jul 2013, 5:44 pm

The curtains next to the door parted slightly, showing a sliver of a woman's face, then returned to its normal state. There was an awkward pause of about thirty seconds, then a well-built man of Hispanic descent cracked open the door, the chain clicking into place. "Whatever it is, we're not interested," he grunted. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out he was more than a little suspicious of a small gang of dragons showing up at his door at a time like this.

Around the corner, there was a slight rustling in the bushes. It was probably nothing, though.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeWed 31 Jul 2013, 2:42 am

((Thanks, Eo!))

With his own decision made, Ev sat quietly in the back of the group while the others sorted out where they would go. His eyes darted between whichever dragon was speaking, occasionally Aressa, the surrounding neighborhood, and (of course) Kaden. He'd assumed that the air dragoness's concern about the dog would prompt her to go inside, away from the potential danger, so he was waiting for her to join Tem at any moment.

Ev blinked and stared at her a little when she didn't answer either of Tem's requests for backup. What are you- go on, you're missing your chance! he goaded silently, even though she couldn't even see his encouraging expression. Why is...? She's never reluctant to speak up like I am... she must... His eyebrows shot up in happy surprise. She must want to stay out here! With me! Er, well... not with me, specifically, but still, nearby.... The prospect of keeping watch was suddenly a lot more enticing. Though he was usually quick to point out his own failures, this time Ev was too excited to remind himself that he had guessed Kaden's intentions completely wrong the first time.

Ev was quite surprised again a second later when he heard Agate timidly announce her desire to help with the interview. He stared at her in amazement until he noticed her incredibly nervous pose and expression; then he instantly looked down at his feet. Oh... poor girl. He recognized Agate's self-consciousness as easily as his own: the paralyzing force that, for some reason that still agonizingly evaded him, could make saying the simplest sentence as hard as moving a mountain. If his poison hadn't forced him to keep his distance, he might have gone up to the hybrid and laid an understanding foreclaw on her shoulder before he could talk himself out of it. He also wanted to congratulate her on overcoming her reluctance to speak, if only just. I'm not sure I could have in her situation. However, he stayed put, not wanting to complicate things with his breath or any moves that might draw more attention to her.

Now Ev once again felt slightly guilty about staying away from conversation; if Agate of all people was willing to step up to the challenge, why shouldn't he? He looked back at Kaden. I'm... I'm doing this for her. To help her feel safe, he told himself, although the idea didn't hearten him so much this time. Frowning, he conceded, It's too late to change my mind, anyway. Maybe next time - if there is one - I can try again. He wasn't too happy with that, but it would have to do.

He was so busy with his thoughts that he managed to miss Tem's approach until he heard the water dragon knock three times on the DeLeons' door. The little Luong quickly began to worry when no answer came for a long moment. Finally, a man who must have been Luis's father emerged and said... they weren't interested.

Ev was taken aback. Somehow he'd expected the family to be at least welcoming enough to ask their business, but now he was starting to realize the unlikelihood of that idea, given everything that had happened lately. Oh, no... this is going to be even harder than I thought. Ev actually wanted to respond before this opportunity slipped away like the one with Tom had, but he judged that he wouldn't be the best one to answer first. Besides being far enough from the door that he would have to shout loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear, he was pretty sure he would sound panicky and desperate if he tried; that was how he felt, after all, seeing how urgent it was to assure Mr. DeLeon of the group's good intentions. Ah, man... guess I should leave this to Tem and Kaldra. And Agate, he added, trying to give the dragon-girl a fair chance.

He reflexively glanced at the nearby bushes as soon as they made a sound. He looked back at the doorway for a moment, but then did a double-take. What did that? The second mysterious noise, timed just so after the first, and closer to their goal now... combined with Mr. DeLeon's immediate refusal, Ev was getting really anxious. Maybe there is something dangerous going on here. He looked over at Kaden, visualizing how he could dash between her and the bushes if anything leaped out of them. He felt his share of fear at the possibility of facing the monsters she had described, yet for the moment, Ev was mostly determined to make sure nothing threatened her a second time. That, at least, I can help with.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 10 I_icon_minitimeThu 01 Aug 2013, 3:21 pm

Staring intently as he was, Tem noticed the brief movement of the curtains in the side of his vision. He tried to feel glad about it - some reaction was good, right? - but when the pause afterward started stretching on, he grew nervous. Well, more nervous than he already was, which was something of a feat.

He could water-sense movement inside the house, yet he still felt woefully unprepared when the shape he could feel moving toward the door opened it slightly and sounded pretty disapproving of the dragons' presence at his house. Tem scrambled for the first vaguely appropriate words he could think of saying, unconsciously stepping back a pace or two and lowering his head submissively.

A few seconds in, just when he was about to start, he heard some bush-rustling off to the side. His eyes and attention darted there for a second before he realized how terribly distracted he must look. He could water-sense the leaves of the bushes, but was anything hiding among them? He couldn't be sure how well-watered the bushes were, not without taking time he very much lacked to look them over, so he didn't know.

"W- well sir, we were just - uhh - wondering if..." He gulped. "Well, look, we're all kind of...on an investigation, you see. You know how..." His throat tightened as always. "...A- Aurnia died, and you can imagine how upset the dragon community is, so...we're seeing what we can do to help out. Sh- shed some light on what happened? And we think...we think looking into the recent missing persons cases might hold some answers. Since they...came up around the same time and all."

He took a shaky breath. "Which is why we're here. We...we got hold of a flyer that a...Luis DeLeon went missing recently, and this was listed as his address. Is there...is there anything you might like to tell us...about that? Any help you could give? To try and solve the mystery behind...Aurnia, and...and the missing people too?"

His legs quaked in place, but he held his ground, keeping up his rather pleading gaze.

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