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[SS] Vagrant By Any Other Name: A Match Made in Hell

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Post  Jack Nightingale on Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:51 pm

[District 6, Academy City, Japan; 20:00]

Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

This was no land of Oz. This wasn’t even America. And yet, here in Academy City, Japan, one of its parks if one wanted to be truly specific, sticking out from the bushes were a pair of feet faintly illuminated by the streetlights. Nothing else extruded, not hand or hair. And if truth were to be told, they weren’t exactly wearing ruby slippers either, but rather a pair of shoes that were well-worn to the point that they just barely couldn’t be called ragged yet…

The owner of the feet was, of course, Jack Nightingale. Magician extraordinaire, a freelancer who allied himself with no specific cabal, but still managed to navigate the world of magic with not just competency, but aplomb. He had even successfully infiltrated the walls of Academy City, bastion of the Science Side and magic’s erstwhile enemy. But yet, while he had successfully entered its walls. While he had not been discovered by its sentinels, a troubling fact still remained.

He was homeless, running on limited cash (given a credit card would tip off the electronic security systems of his identity and lack of entry record), and had no way to secure more funds while in the city without turning to crime. A truly sordid state of affairs, but in truth, not one he was unfamiliar with. No matter the terrain, no matter the situation, he would survive. He would eke out a living and make it to the next day. No matter the cost to his pride, so long as he remained true to himself, that was all that mattered.

It was for that reason that he had taken shelter here within the bush. Unlike the alleys, which might be comparatively more private, there was less fear of being discovered by unsavory sorts. He could use his magic to clear an area and make a base, but that would require the risk of being discovered by the city’s wardens, and so given his lack of long-term goals he had decided to give up on that. It lacked protection from the elements as well, but with the season being what it was and the weather forecast being favorable, well, here he was. With nothing planned for the night, he’d tucked in early and gone to sleep already, dozing soundly enough to unconsciously shuffle around and change his position, in spite of his normally sharp instincts, and expose his feet to the open air. But that was fine; it was past curfew, and this park was relatively out of the way. It was within the margin of error.

But still. But still. When it all came down to it, when it really came down to it, wasn’t he that?


That is to say…

A homeless bum, a jobless vagrant sleeping under the flimsy cover of the park bushes. A truly poor excuse for a Wicked Witch, no?
Jack Nightingale
Jack Nightingale

Posts : 91
Join date : 2014-04-15
Location : Academy City, Japan


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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:36 pm

It was quite past curfew. In fact, curfew had been broken so long ago that it was no longer truly an issue, but a commitment. After all, when you were hours late to return to the dorm, as a student of an elite school, you could no longer get by saying that you’d been sidetracked and busy. It was a matter of accepting your fate – and eventual punishment – as you tried to make the most out of your additional hours of freedom.

While usually this girl would only break curfew if she felt obliged to, for once, she felt like simply taking a walk while the sun was setting in Academy City. Not for the sake of observing any beautiful, pink and orange tinted landscapes, but simply to relax and be far away from people.

This situation is what led Hujisaka Natsumi to taking a casual stroll in a park she didn’t often visit, one that was usually bountiful with teenagers making the most of their afterschool or vacation time. The heavy traffic usually present in this park was now clear save for a couple of lone souls like her, or at most lovey-dovey couples. Nothing she found herself too bothered about. However, as she very calmly made her way through the man-arranged greenery, her strong tendency to analyse her environment had her abruptly stop to deeply stare at a couple of bushes.

She looked around, only to note that she seemed to be alone; no one had seemed to take the same path as her so far. Her glance returned to the bush that would occasionally rustle along with the movement of the feet, which had a distinctive part of it that wasn’t of any natural colour.

‘What in the world is sticking out of that bush?’, one would normally ask in front of this peculiar sight.

And one would either decide that they didn’t care enough since it would probably be a small animal and carry on their merry way, or otherwise decide to investigate and poke at something they may or may not get in trouble for.

But for this long-haired, curfew breaking and dorm skipping brunette, only one option made sense…

It was to set ablaze the part that stuck out.

After all, it was unlikely to be an animal given that it resembled a sort of fabric that seemed to be ragged beyond normal usage. In that case, if it were an object, she could simply control the fire and start putting it out before it spread – even though the probability of the whole park catching on fire just because of that was, realistically, fairly low -  and if it were not merely an object… well, it would be taken care of.

Yes, where a normal human being would resign themselves to either caution or curiosity, this girl walked the very thin line between both, one that the average folk would call…

Hujisaka Natsumi
Hujisaka Natsumi
Level 4 Ignikinesis

Posts : 674
Join date : 2013-05-06
Location : Tokiwadai's Middle School, Academy City.

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Post  Jack Nightingale on Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:22 pm

When it comes to regulating the temperature of the human body, two parts are more important than any other: the head, and the feet. If either of them were to feel cold, then the rest of the body will follow. If either of them were to feel warm, then the rest of the body would follow. The method, of course, does matter; only the temperature. Whether the change in temperature is caused by the heat of the sun or polar ice, air conditioning or all-consuming flame, all the body feels is temperature.

So, it would follow that Jack Nightingale woke up because of the heat. In the first place, he had unconsciously stuck his feet out of the bush for the purpose of temperature regulation; the warmth of the flame would raise his temperature again, cause him to be uncomfortable, wake up, and look for the source of the heat. But that is not why he woke up. What is the reason?

Well, his feet were on fire. That's why.

"The hell?!"

With a strangled gasp of pain, the previously inert bush suddenly became a hub of activity, curses, and rapidly spreading fire. Within a few moments, a man with blonde hair, average height, and decidedly non-Japanese features would appear from within, hurriedly kicking off his shoes while patting out the fire on his clothes whilst rapidly backing away from the quickly-burning bush.

"Seriously, the hell was that fo— ...Eh, Natsume?"

For as much as he was relatively out of his wits from his rude awakening, considering the circumstances of their meeting, it would be rather hard for him to fail to recognize that face.

"Since when did you pick up arsony as a hobby...?"

And yet, for as much as the face was undoubtedly the same, and even the build, something was different. Something about the atmosphere, the facial expressions, that feeling of vague disinterest like she looking as a rather interesting insect instead of a person, the arsony...

Jack had more than enough experience to recognize when something was amiss. Yet, this was different from the classical cases of impersonation. At the very least, if this wasn't Natsume, they certainly weren't pretending to be, either. That left only one recourse...

"Seriously, what the hell is going on here?"

Namely, asking sarcastic, rhetorical questions which were unlikely to ever be answered. When all the misfortune in the world assaults you at once, sometimes retorts are all you can do to fight back. Somewhere out there, he felt certain that there were fellow cursed souls who agreed with him wholeheartedly...
Jack Nightingale
Jack Nightingale

Posts : 91
Join date : 2014-04-15
Location : Academy City, Japan


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