On the far, far edge of Hyacinth Ridge, juuuust past the point where the area can, in fact, be CALLED Hyacinth Ridge, a pair of teenagers has set up a small stall just off the side of the road, on the well-manicured grass under a well-manicured tree. Near the Marina, the home behind them is a rental, but a classy rental, and looks as though it has had itself spruced up just as tidily as the trees have, not a spot of worn paint or crooked masonry in sight.
The sweet, sweet chime of singing bells rings on the breeze, a breeze which carries with it the scents of lilies of the valley, too, from the short bouquets the couple has in tiny vases, little sprays of perfect white. They aren't the only ones to have attempted to capitalize upon the unusual growth in alleys and parks, flowers continuing to bloom long after, by all rights, they should have died back for the season, but they are the only ones to have provided bells to match the blossoms.
A few pedestrians here and there stop by, making purchases or simply enjoying the chance to be literal dingalings and play with coral bells.
Nanette is out and about exploring again. Which, if history repeats itself at all, may be an activity that she swears off of at this rate. Still, here she is, in a bright red thank top to compliment her caramel skin and darker red hair, casual looking shorts and expensive but hella comfortable sneakers, her hair pulled up into a high pony that bounces when she walks. Minimal makeup and jewelry, too. Nanette is not a girl who often dresses to reflect her actual wealth, but absolutely every stitch is of the highest quality, no matter how casual it might be.
She is a girl attracted by the pretty tinkling of little bells, though, the sound drawing her towards the stand. And, not really knowing any better, she's soon picking up one of those little bouquets. "How charming. How much are you charging? The bells just make it perfect."
Mira is driving by. Going right on though here to someplace entirely different. Except that her car has other ideas. For a moment is makes some odds noises and then is just sort of stops. With a baffle expression she lets it roll to a top, eventually hitting the break as she turns the wheel and ends up some what near the stall.
And much like a cloud moving on through, Rosalind simply moves through the area as if she belongs. A matching sateen wrap carries lazily on the breeze behind Rosalind, an homage to Isodora Duncan.
And that wonderful day of being out and about, invading other peoples' neighborhoods and looking in their windows while Robin Leech narrates is just... gone. Rosalind stops on the sidewalk several paces from the stand, her expression turning to shock as a bicycler nearly mows her down but just barely misses as he swerves around her. "I'm so sorry!" She calls out.
Draped in a tea-length dress of ivory lace, the subtle work of an artist has created a textural effect where instead of blinding onlookers, Rosalind's summery gown simply... Drifts between the places where the contrasts between harsh and soft, or dark and light, like a determined cloud in light blues and gossamer-embroidered pinks.
The little immortal anime punk seems to be a frequent visitor now when it comes to the lilies of the valley phenomenon. Idly she wanders towards the rental the flowers and bells are being sold at. Towards the rental she glances, her expression betraying that she seems to know something about it but she says nothing. Instead she moves to admire the flowers and bells. That seems a good plan for now.
However, whatever she has been thinking about is forgotten as she steps out of an alley and almost gets run over by a byclist who misses her narrowly. Briefcase and drink go flying into the air and she manages only to catch one of them. The bad news: Its the Briefcase she catches. The good news: Its the Briefcase because she uses her face to catch it, aka, a nice resounding wet twap of leather hitting the woman in her face, followed by some very unrefined curses as the warm liquid of the cup spills all over the ground.
Walking down the street with a cup of freshly Brewed Starbucks coffee and the name 'Hun' scribbled over the front of it is a certain vixen enjoying a nice little walk through the alleys. Briefcase carried in her hand, the steaming mug in her other, slurping and looking at those flowers, a little hum on her lips as heeled steps carry her through the floral fashion hidden in the dark alleyways that usually give only birth to crime, rancid smells, and only in big cities to something like Ninja Turtles.
Candi's hair is seemingly naturally blonde, held up in a high and bouncy ponytail, and she beams a practiced, cheerleader's smile down toward Nanette. "Hi!" she chirps. "The little ones are $5, the bigger ones are $8, and the bells are $10. We, like, found this guy with a whole ton of them, super cheap, but they're, like, made of REAL coral. We had our science teacher test them." *ting!* goes the gleaming smile on those white, white, perfect teeth.
Roland, the Ken-doll of a teenage boy, widens his eyes at the sudden disasters afoot in their vicinity. Cycling accidents, coffee spills, and a car breaking down all at once? This is fate. THIS is a chance for marketing. Rather than volunteering to help with, oh, any of it, he calls out, "Fresh bouquets! Coral bells! Great gifts for you or your loved ones!"
The pair of teenagers working that stall are the kinds of teenagers you see in movies -- flawless skin, tall, athletic, glowing with health and youthful firmness. The girl has a hand written stick-on name tag calling her Candi, with a heart in lieu of a proper tittle over the i. The boy's name tag is somewhat messier, but calls him Roland. He has no hearts in HIS name.
A voice reaches Nanette's ears. Familiar. /Surprising/. And slowly, her head turns away from the bouquet with bells in her hands, and towards Rosalind, mismatched eyes of sky blue and vivid silver going almost comically wide as she regards the woman in her beautiful, flowing dress. And she stares. Just... stares.
"...Rosalind?" she asks, as if not entirely believing the proof of her own eyes, and nevermind that - to her eyes, anyway - there's probably no one who looks quite like Rosalind.
She is, in fact, so shocked that the whole tragic demise of the coffee is barely noticed. Rebel's arrival, too, doesn't twig her brain /immediately/. She's just staring. Until the too-perfect teen speaks. Shaking herself, Nanette glances back, puts down the smaller bouquet, and picks up the larger one. "I'll take two of these, then, with the bells. One for an old, dear friend I've just spotted, one for me, and..." And /then/ she spots Rebel. Belatedly. And there is a slow blink. "Oh. It's you."
"Roland and Candi, eh?" Rosalind says, walking up to the stand with her smartphone out. "Cockel shells and coral bells, a-lie-a-lie-ay?" Rosalind asks. "Roland, you have what it takes to make it in the business, and in another life, I would have you on the next plane to LA. But tell me please, Candi with an I: what school? I love to see active..." Rosalind searches for the word, grateful for the huge sunglasses hiding her eyes. "Students! Yes. Students. Active students, you know, out and about!" She smiles and flits the fingers of her free hand hither and yon. "But I would /love/ to know which school you go to. I am considering a sizeable grant now that your ingenuity has inspired me."
Mira gets out and glares at her car but not for every long as it is quickly apparent that she's not having the worse day here. For a moment she isn't really quite sure what to do until someone gets hit in the face. Medical training kicks in and she rushes that way. "Ouch! Ouch!" Yeah she forgot to put her shoes on.
Rosalind is clearly about to say more, her smile that vicious smile of every HOA nightmare who takes the time to personally sign the letters. But Candi and Roland need not know about mortgage madness right now, and Rosalind is interrupted anyways. The cellphone slides from her hand as she turns to regard Nanette. "Well, darling," She says, straightening up. "I never! Are you summering in the Hamptons and just dropping by Maine for the clams? Are your parents here?" She asks immediately, perking up with mischief curling her grin.
Tucking the briefcase away under her arm wiggles hyun her nose slightly and adjusts her glasses that got pushed a tad closer into her face. Once all that is taken care of and the damage of the spilled coffee has been surveyed sighs she sadly and instead begins to look around, picking up the plastic cup and deppositing it in a nearby trashcan with a well trained toss. Except suddenly there is someone rushing over towards her and cursing, "Are you in pain?" She asks instantly while looking rather concerned, albeit her gaze does wander over towards the stand, the flowers, and the teens selling them for just a moment, before she looks over back at Mira. "Did you get robbed? Where are your shoes lady? You know its not safe to walk around all barefoot in these places. Just look at what is all over the ground." Case in point, the still steaming coffee she just had spilled.
Roland, looking at Rosalind, seems surprised by the woman's oddly aggressive behaviour, and glances at Candi like 'do we have a problem?' before telling the strange, potential customer, "We just graduated, but we're earning money for college. Candi's gonna be a -nurse!-"
Candi gives Roland a nose-wrinkly look, but upon hearing Mira's ouch ouch ouch, she leans over the counter and calls, "Hey, lady! Are you, like, okay? Do you, like, need to call somebody?"
Candi with an i beams prettily at Nanette, getting out small plastic containers which look like they bought them off of a florist's wholesaler website. Professional, for high schoolers, but they don't exactly look like mommy and daddy are poor. The bouquets are wrapped, and so are the bells, all prettied up with tissue paper packaging and little bows, and once payment is dealt with, all of it is slid over the counter of the little stall with a practiced smile. "Thanks sooooo much for your business!"
The rather forthright way Rosalind propositions the two sellers gets a bit of an uncomfortable look. Beyond that, notihng is done by Rebel. Instead she just goes back to idly admiring the flowers and studying the rental, as if it was a temptation to wander towards it. It never seems to go well when Rebel is involved in anything with the odd lilies of the valley, at least for er.
Turning back to Rosalind, Nanette smiles, though it's a touch pained. "Oh, well, I'm sure my father is here somewhere. I've managed to avoid him, so far. Mom's still back out west. No, I was.. well. Actually, I was born here. It's just that I was quite young when Mom and I headed out west. Long before I met you, of course." Which doesn't explain just what brought the half-Latina woman back to this coast. "But what on earth are you doing here, of all places?"
The briefcase-besmacked Hyun and helpful Mira aren't so much ignored as, well, there's things occupying Nanette's attention. A surprising reunion, a young woman she played a part in rescuing, pretty flowers and pretty bells. A billfold is withdrawn from a pocket, and cash is handed over in exchange for goods, and then one of the little packages is held out towards Rosalind. "To commemorate our reunion. And for all the kindnesses in the past." Again, she turns her gaze to Rebel, giving her a searching look.
Linus meanders down the street wearing his snappy tailored suit looking around curiously at all the commotion tilting his head with a soft smile on his lips. In his hand he carries a violin case which looked rather well used and had alot of odd stickers and marks on it. Closing the distance some trying to discern what was going on fully
Mira comes to a top in front of Hyun since it becomes quickly clear that she isn't actually hurt. A few beats go by then her face turns red and she looks down. "Uh ... in the car. I wasn't really planning on walking anywhere. The car sort of," she stops and looks over at the stand. Did someone call for a nurse?
"So sweet of you to think of me," Rosalind says, raising a gloved hand to flip her sunglasses up. She leans in to delicately brush cheeks with Nanette. "You look, oh. Just gorgeous. I can't remember when I saw you last! But I moved out here, oh, a little while ago. Sony wanted..." Rosalind takes a deep breath, staring off into the past of some hell keeping the lower circles warm. "Pippin but Spiderman, with a chorus line thrown in, the reason being that the webs..." Trailing off once again, she raises fingertips to her temples as if a delicate constitution were offended. "Can you even imagine? But tell me all about you," She adds, accepting the gift with a delighted smile.
Looking quite concerned at the feet of Mira does Hyun not let her go off so easily. "Your car? Poor dear. Did you get hijacked? Or carjacked? Do we have to call the police?" She slightly taps her chin, "Albeit, I must admit, I am curious about these flowers and those that sell them. So, if you do not mind." And without further ado she heads straight towards the flowersop, brightest smile on her face. "Hi! Do you sell those flowers? They are gorgeous and beautiful."
A bit of a blink is given by the even more tired looking Rebel (weeks of little sleep does that). The glances end now and instead Rebel starts walking towards the rental, easily enough sliding out of the way of people and cyclists. She is intent on going off to follow the fleeting figure.
Mira is looking at her feet too since attention has been drawn to them. "Oh no," she says with a shake of her head. "Nothing like that. It just stopped ... " Oh. Hyun left. For no pacticular reason she hurries to catch up. "No it just died. The car. I have no idea why."
"What an amazing science teacher, to work during the summer on composite analysis for students that have graduated," Rosalind says, her tone as breezy as the actual wind. "Now I'm really quite interested. And this is to raise money for... nurse school?" Rosalind enquires, reaching for her purse as if perhaps she, too, may financially support such a cause.
Linus would slip closer to the stand and the people gathered around it looking Rosalind over and offering her a polite and friendly nod. Then looking over Nanette and then of course the teens at the stand.
"I'm not sure I even want to know what they were smoking," Nanette informs Rosalind with a wry little smile. That cheek brush is, of course, returned. "Well. I seem to have come into my inheritance after my...." And her voice trails off, her head turning sharply to look beyond Candi and Roland for a long moment, a faint furrow creasing her brow as her stance shifts slightly, wariness crossing her face. Is it the Feds? It could totally be the Feds.
Until Rebel suddenly sets off in rather the same direction as she saw something. "Oh, no," she murmurs. "Rosalind, I think we might want to stop the young woman, there, just in case, or at least follow." Does she know that something is definitely rong? Well, no, but the only experience she has with Rebel is watching her traipse off into the Hedge and then get pulled back. So she starts off after the Immortal, trying to catch up. "Hey, there, you probably don't remember me, but I thought I should just stop you and ask how you're feeling now."
"If it were a computer I could probably fix it." muses Hyun, "Have you tried turning it on and off again? Or maybe its the onboard hardware and software. Those things always get the fritz nowadays when they stuff more and more into the engines." She does arrive at the shop though, eventually, and turns to Rosalind and Linus "Nursing school is not too cheap around here, having a nursery drive, so to say, is the most american tradition I can think of to pay for it. Right after asking for it on Go-Fund-me that is."
"Just so you both know?" Rosalind says, glancing down upon Roland and Candi. If anyone is going to give cardboard cutouts or plastic figurines a run for their money while clothed all the while in expensive shit, it's Rosalind vs The Teenagers. "But cockel shell necklaces are so 2004, and these days when people buy them, they only think of former President Bush and the War on Terror. This summer it's all about Magic City Hippies," She says in bemusement, glancing between Candi and Roland as she picks up pace to follow Nanette, who is following Roland.
Candi, hearing Hyun, points at the wise stranger and says, "That's smart! We tooootally should. You're, like, really good with words, Roland. Why don't you--hey!" The perfect, perky blonde twists at the hips to look behind herself, calling after Rebel and, now, Nanette, "That's, like, not your yard!"
Roland, frowning at Rosalind, asks, "Like, what's your problem, lady? Selling flowers isn't a crime."
"Fuck youuuuuuuuuu," Rosalind calls behind her.
Mira looks over towards the car as Hyun talks about it. A good hard glare does wonders for cars. She holds up a hand and smiles. "I went to nursing school and the Navy paid for it. That's an option," she times in before the vulgarities start to fly.
"Oh my, it seems that the whole party is moving! Alas, there seems to be more interesting things happening in the backyard. I wonder what we shall find. A meth lab? Child labour weaving those flowers? The federal government running a flower smuggling operation under the dark cover of the night and trying to get listening devices into every little household that way?" And while talking is she already making her way and following along the group, beause that seems to be where the fun is going to be. "Or maybe we wil lfind those majestic Ninja turtles that I have heard so much about."
Rebel stops, briefly glancing at the other people present before focusing on the two kids, "I saw someone that looked like they were doing something suspicious in it. I don't like seeing good kids trying to earn their way through school being at risk." It is likely all true since Rebel, when not basically hypnotized is a very kind person. That said Rebel once more turns to go back to following the very familiar mysterious figure. A light wave of the hand is given by Rebel to Nanette, "I'm fine. You don't have to follow me, you know."
Mira looks around as Hyun leaves. She seems to ... well it gets ackward. That's as close as has to someone she knows here so she moves to follow Hyun.
"Mmhmm," Nanette replies to Rebel. "You know. I'd believe you, except that I don't often make the same mistake twice. Besides, in all the hullabaloo the other day, I did not actually introduce myself. I'm Nanette, and you're looking a bit tired. Perhaps you ought to hang back, this time?" Linus is given a brief look, a slow blink and an arching of eyebrows, and then Rosalind gets a rather more significant look. Then a look to Rebel. Back to Rosalind, as if trying to tell the woman something without outright telling her. "Have you met a rather unique woman named Gert, Rosalind?" she asks. "She had to fetch the young lady here out of a spot of bother recently." She is still holding her little parcel of flowers and bells, of course.
When Rebel steps around the corner, she sees a perfectly ordinary back yard, groomed to a fare-thee-well. The landscaping is exquisite. The hedge maze...also exquisite, and since Rebel is the first to round the corner, Rebel is the only one who sees the white fabric whisking around the corner, into the maze.
Neither Candi nor Roland dignifies Rosalind's childishness with a response, looking over toward Mira with interest. "Like...what did you have to DO, in the Navy? I look great at a desk, if people need secretaries?" Candi seems dubious. Her manicure likely wouldn't survive boot camp.
A little 'Mm' is given by Rebel to Nanette then the fabric disappearing into the maze has her moving a little quicker to follow the fabric. Rebel is a lot of things but slow is not one of them for the small immortal moves quite quickly. She's kinda shown that whenever it comes to the lilies of the valley stuff getting her to share her name tends to be like pulling teeth. One day she'll be able to sleep again and not be so difficult. "I'm sure I've seen them before." She half says to herself, half to the others following the figures. How much they hear is possibly varied.
Linus remains unaware of any whisking fabrics or chasing near a hedge maze. Though he certainly looks to the people rushing towards the house and the back of it raising a brow curiously looking for those that not given chace a curiously look for perhaps an explination though not really seeming to be expecting one. "Seems rather lively here"
Curiosity killed the cat. Hyun might have been involved there too, but she definitely has witnesses that can testify, under oath, that she was not there but in Oklahama, Burmington, and even taking an extended weekend with the judge himself. In short, the curious Asian woman pushes her way through into the backyard and then looks around with wide eyes, ooohing and ahhing in an elated voice. "What wonderful hedges! What delicate grass! What a pile of absolute fuck all!"
"Yes, albeit in passing. That was enough to leave quite an impression." Rosalind says, turning her gaze from Rebel to Nanette and Linus. All character dropped, she nods to Nanette. "Being saved by Gert." Even here, even now, even Rosalind needs a moment to ponder that particular sequence of events. "Well," She says a bit more slowly, "That would teach me twice about putting myself in that situation-- look, even the military recognizes the need for landmine sniffers," Rosalind says, swapping mid-sentence to gesture helplessly as Rebel runs along.
"Oh, for fuck's sake." Rebel starts to run, and that's enough for Nanette to also try to run after the woman, making an attempt to reach out and grab for her. However, rather like the first time, she is making grabby hands with her mind, not her /actual/ hand. Which might make it a grabby brain. Still, she tries to reach out for a telekinetic grapple of the woman. Because it worked /so/ well the last time, didn't it? "You'd think she'd learn. You really would."
Mira isn't quite certain. She follows Hyun to a point. But then there's shouting. And she's curious. Glancing around she goes through the hedge with the group as well. "Is everything OK?"
Rosalind turns her gaze from Rebel's retreating back and instead focuses on where the group came in through the hedges, as if an unpleasant musical score had just played.
Sadly, the hedge maze is not paved in grass. Rebel's feet slap down on slate paving stones with moss growing between them, the privet hedge an old, old thing, as densely as those shrubberies have grown. Bushes, really. Privet can get QUITE tall, and these are at least ten or twelve feet.
To those behind her, it looks as though Rebel stops dead in her tracks for no apparent reason. For Rebel herself, a force outside herself is holding her still, and since she has spidey senses for darned near everything, she knows what.
Also for Rebel herself? Being grabbed. Thanks, Nanette! Bundling Rebel up like that, with NO Defense whatsoever, just made the white-wearer's job so much faster! Arms with white lace gloves (Queen Anne's Lace flowers, hedgespun) reach out to draw Rebel in, billowing sleeves (white petals, hedgespun) as delicate, soft and silky as the arms around Rebel aren't. Those are hard, and strong, and outright drag her away and out of sight into the maze.
The grass under Mira's toes is muuuuch nicer than asphalt or concrete. It's cool, and soft, and soothes her soles quite well.
"Oh my god," Rosalind says, for want of a better reaction. "Those maze hands from Link to the Past really exist? Now that I'm /sober/ they're real? See?" She gestures to Rebel. "I'm not risking you," Rosalind says simply to Nanette. "What are the odds that my proclamation is final and you will do as I say?"
Hyung bellows excitedly, "I don't know! But there is a lot of running happening right now. There is also a lot of... something!" She is curiously crooning her neck and keeps pushing forward to get a better look at what is happening. "What mazes? What hands?" She asks all too curiously as she peers about, cute little nose inhaling the air as if to sniff a scent from the outside." And that is when she spots Rebel and those rebelious arms, in a single leap she moves forwards to do something. And that something means grabbing Rebel by the scruff of her collar and yank her back from those arms.
"Pretty... damned.. high. I've always heeded you before." The strain in Nanette's voice is evident as she exerts her will to hold Rebel still and try to keep her from venturing further in. Only to have arms suddenly reach out and drag the woman out of sight, which, well, breaks the spell and causes Nanette to stagger. And swear, in Spanish.Then, she's whirling to Rosalind... expectantly.
"Hoist!" Rosalind calls out, reaching into her purse and withdrawing... a jumprope. One of those last-forever plastic holdovers from the 90's, still here, still real. "Yo!" She calls out to Hyung. "Rope! I'm tossing it now! Get it around your ankle, it's a slipknot!" So saying, she'll toss one end of the jumprope towards Hyung.
The figure holding Rebel appears to be a, ah, plant. A very tall plant, which looks sort of human? Or maybe it's a human that was turned into a plant? To those familiar with the rules of faerie, should Nanette, Rosalind or Linus round that corner to take a peek, this is an exceptionally high Wyrd Changeling.
Just one problem: Hyun shouldn't be able to see that.
One bigger problem: while Hyun did manage to grab Rebel's collar, all it did was drag Hyun into the maze with Rebel and the...flower thing. Person. Whatever. The flower person croons to Rebel, guiding her along with a strong grip and a gentle lullaby, and the inevitable scent of lilies of the valley.
As for what Rebel sees...and Hyun, seeing as Hyun is jumping in to grab Rebel, the moment Rebel breaks line of sight with Nanette, she is free to move again, which she may or may not want to do.
"REbel? Other person? It's not too late. Grab the jump rope," Rosalind calls out. "It'll knot around your arm! Hey," She lowers her voice. "So I'm like, super weak? And I do not trust myself to win a battle alone against like, even a Queen Anne's lace glove. Like that's not even piquet weave, how pathetic is my upper body strength? Anyways," She says, the flurry of words between Nanette, Linus and Mira dispersing immediately. "All that to say, someone grab me and someone grab that person because this is Waterloo: Tug of War motherfuckers."
Rosalind splays her fingers while she deadpans this information, as if already tired of this spiel.
Rosalind stumbles a little bit as she tries to find her footing... not a terribly good sign.
Nanette gives her head a quick shake. She's stopped at the entrance of the Hedge. Literally, right there. At the entrance. One slight nudging of a toe, and she'd be over that threshold and into the Hedge and for now? She's not nudging. Save that she does waver briefly for a moment, swaying as if in a breeze as a rush of dizziness washes over her for just a brief moment in time. She looks after the vanished Rebel, and then back at Rosalind. "What do you want me to do?" And then she is told what she wants her to do. "Well. Right. Physical strength is not my strong suit. Throwing things with my brain is." But she nonetheless throws her arms around her friend's waist from behind, dropping her bouquet in the process, and clings for dear life.
Linus would rush towards the entrance of the Maze after Rebel and Hyun trying to see the wyrd plantling violing case still in hand. He would grab the rope but rather he would start to sing then to really put his weight into pulling, once he saw he would start singing to hold the plantling in place.
Living in Ancient Greek in a former life (or two) has made Rebel a little bit hard to phase when it comes to odd things. After all, it is a time when it is believed walked among mortals. The plant figure get a small start from Rebel as does the grasp to her collar. The instinctive kind nature of Rebel does kick in and her hand lifts to try and release Hyun's grasp and shove her back to keep her from being put into a bad situation. Rebel as all her faculties this time. "Not sleeping makes it hard for me to think clearly, but not letting anyone else be in trouble." Rebel is fast but not the most strong of people so Hyun likely wouldn't find it to hard to resist the little Rebel who isn't allowing her brain to lose itself again, even if she is letting herself being dragged off in favor of trying to keep another safe.
"Hoi-?" Bapf goes the rope into hyuns face, the second time today that she gets something twapped into her face. Technically the third, considering the sausage incident just earlier today and which is best not mentioned again. But now she is in a tad of precrious situation. The world is upside down, topsy turvy, the door is ajar. And there is some strange plant creature seemingly seducing Rebel and leading her down the path of begundia's and lilly's. And the scent is getting to her, making her wobble and flail and tumble and oof. She goes sprawling. Ohhey, Rope. Sghe quickly grabs the rope and holds it out to Rebel. "Quick! Take my hand!" In the worst thick Austrian accent. The shove from Rebel just once more ends up pushing her face away while she wiggles the rope like one wiggles a hot dog to a hungry dog. "Oof! Not my face again!"
"Honey?" Rosalind says over her shoulder, in that moment in the eye of the storm where plans make or break, and fates are sealed and dealed. "I don't know how or why we ran into one another today... Okay, someone has the line, take position!" She digs her heels into the soil. "But Nanette? If I should die, have all my stuff, whatever. The rolodex is the most important thing. But I have to get this off my chest. Do you remember how your family always serviced my cars? I think that's because they were stolen."
The Hedge gate closes, enough time having elapsed since its creator passed, and the unbreakable jump rope is broken.
To those inside the Hedge, they get a lovely serenade from Linus, but they also get the sound of running paws approaching from deeper within, strange wolves of warped flesh and twisted thorns bursting through gaps which weren't there, and aren't there, and never will be -- but they were.
Unfortunately for Rosalind's heroic jump rope efforts, the timer just ended.
"My cousins, you mean?" On her maternal side, the Hispanic side, Nanette has a /lot/ of family, not all of them as well off as Nanette herself. Or her mother, who seems to have come out /way/ ahead on divorce settlements. "Of course they were." She says this as if it's no big thing. "Didn't you know?" She keeps on clinging tight to Nanette's slim waistline, like a... not very buff heroine. And then the gate closes. "Fuck, this happened last time. I'm... am I going to have to go /in/ there? You know I hate going in there. Unless it's to the freehold proper."
Rosalind looks at the jump rope in her hand, and the usually quick-witted, endlessly quipy woman seems to have come up short for a change. "If it were a snake it woulda bit me," is what she settles for, patting Nanette's hand and gently squeezing it to reassure her. "Briar wolves," She whispers, shaking her head to Nanette's suggestion. "No. I don't think they're lost, but the time differential. And we are in no position to survive a full frontal charge." She glances between Nanette, Linus, and Mira. "So. Any ideas?"
Mira comes along eventually. Bare feet slowed her down maybe. She stops and looks confused. "I ... what happened." She turns in a circle to look around. "What happened? Where did they go?"
"Will you let me go now?" Rebel asks the plant-person. "I've grasped enough that my route of escape is no longer there. A bit of a wriggle is given by the little Rebel so she can glance at Hyun, try to get released, and gives a bit of an apologic smile, "I tried pushing you back so you could escape. Are you hurt?"
Nanette lets go of her not so deathgrip on Rosalind. "I think he ran in there with them. Don't know the fellow, but hell, I've only just been in town less than a week." Mira comes running up, and Nanette turns to her. Mira, who looks quite normal, bare feet aside, and so she flashes an unconvincing smile. "Oh. Nothing at all, miss. Nothing at all. Perhaps you should go assure those young people selling the flowers that everything is okay back here? We just need to fetch our... friends. From the maze." From the scary maze with the pounding paws of approaching direness. Gulp. "...my rifle is in my car, too. Damn it. Not that it would do me much good anyway, I suppose, so maybe that's just as well. But I /can/ shield you, if we go in, Rosalind. I can stand behind you and shield us both, but it will be all I can do."
Rosalind reaches out to tap ever so politely upon the door. "Hello hello, please open."
Slowly getting up rubs Hyun her face and then shakes her head. "Nah, I am f-" And then those warped wolves wedge their way in, "-uuucked." She takes a step back, her eyes wide and heart beating faster and faster. "Fight or flight, fightorflightfightorflight." And she guives Rebel a nudge, "FIGHT? OR? FLIGHT?!" Totally not panicking at the sight of fleshhounds, no sirree, just normal behavior and totally not panicking whatsoever.
Linus continues singing though now putting words into his song "She can not move.... I have her enchanted... but you both are in great danger, we must escape out quick as we can. As long as you do not attack her she can do nothing" Motioning the two of them to try and move to where the door had been
...at the plant thing, pointedly, contemptuously flicking its tail at Linus, as if in defiance of his words.
The plant thing, now that it can move again, blinks dazedly for an instant, then frowns, vines tightening in anger, before unleashing a powerful (sorry, Rebel's brain) burst of energy, the Hedge around them suddenly coming to life with wildly whipping branches, dirt, detritus and .. wasn't it sunny, a moment ago? It sure isn't, now. Thunder and rain swarm up, sky darkening, and hail hammers down. Anyone who tries to follow them is going to hurt. Point in fact, one of the wolves hurts, too, yelping and giving the faerie creature a wounded look, but Rebel, Hyun and Linus are all fine, winds swerving around them, dust avoiding their eyes, hail landing everywhere -except- on them. The figure beckons them to follow, then jerks its head up, anxious, and beckons more urgently, looking over its shoulder as if afraid of something it expects to see there.
Tooootally normal wolves. While the others outside are discussing options, within the Hedge, one of the wolves sniffs at Linus, snarls, then lunges...
Linus follows the plant woman "You know this is terribly dangerous for them? Though I guess you can protect them?" looking around and then over to Rebel and the Fox? "Oh... thats not good.. last thing we need is a pretty hedgefox.." shaking his head
Taking one look at what appears to be flying clods of dirt, stone, debris, and a little maelstrom of nature's wrath, Rosalind says, "I think... they're just going to have to get their shit together and run for it. The other half of the jump rope should still show them the way."
Nanette does /not/ want to go in there. The nightmares that already plague her sleep are fully wrapped up in things she's seen due to being Enchanted and the worst of those things are in the Hedge. But there are people in there. Innocent people in trouble and while Nanette isn't a shining beacon of morality and lawfulness, she does care about such things. She takes a reluctant step forward, grunting in pain as debris hits her, though it's not hard for Rosalind to stop her. "I can't see them," she calls out, lifting her voice to be heard above the tumult. And, hearing Rosalind's own words, she stops. "Shouldn't we help them?" Still, she's stopped just inside, and looks back at her friend.
Mira gives a nod. "Sure I can check on those k ... wait what? Rifle?" She turns back, now alarmed. More so when there is a very localized storm. "What in the ... what is going on? Help them how?"
The immortal is good at ignoring things going on around her in favor of pretending it will go away. How else could she have lived for so long? Then the storm kicks up and towards the way they came the way that the plant is trying to urge them gets an indecisive look on Rebel's face. To Linus she glances, since he seems to know what is going on, "Looks like you're in charge of where we go. Back or forwards?" Rebel likely sensed the change of Hyun more than saw it for she doesn't give a start at a fox now by her. "you good with that?" she asks Fox-Hyun.
The lovely plant figure seems pained, as if she were being harmed by something not visible, then fixes that inhuman face into a stubborn frown, subtle as it is. And lovely. Always lovely. She gestures for the wolves to run ahead, which they do, and hurries through the storm, looking from side to side before ducking behind a tree and beckoning for the group to follow, very urgently. Her attitude is less that of a kidnapper and more that of someone attempting to protect, and hide, though she still hasn't said a word.
Inside of the realm Hyun is panicking, those hounds are not good for her little mind and in an instant her body begins to change. Arms and legs grow more gaunt, fingers turn into paws with claws. her jaw idslocates as sharp little shark like fangs begin to sprout and replace her molars. Her face grows more longated and her dark hair turns into a vermilian coat that covers her head to toe. Then, with almost a poof like appearence, there is no more human. There is a fox standing there. A large fox. A gigantic fox. A fox that easily comes head to head with a normal human, and has a brandishing, smooth and magnificent coat. A simple tilt of her head as the fox looks at Rebel before she raises a paw and points ahead. As the tree creature moves lowers hyun herself and grumbles slightly, her back offered towards the two humans with a very clear invitation.
Rosalind can only shake her head, her eyes glancing just beyond Nanette. "I don't want to tell you what to do, but whatever is happening in there, I don't think we stand a chance. Someone has to get back to Court with this. Would you go for me, Nanette? Who else is going to return the cigarette case your mother lent me?" She grins but her attention snaps bck to keeping the gate open. "And..." She motions to Mira with a tilt of her head. "It just looks like certain death."
Linus looks to Rebel then the fox "Two options we book it through the storm and weather it.. it will hurt but you will be out... or we follow her and see what she wants... she is using magic to keep us safe, she is afraid of something but I know not what.. I am curious to follow her but this place is dangerous for you two" seeming rather concerned for the two of them.
The anime punk is not super skilled at understanding the true intents of people but she does nudge the fox and Linus, "Follow the lovely plant. I don't think the intent is to be evil or anything. I'm not getting bad vibes. So, it seems the best method to follow." She likely picked up on the panic of Hyun as well because her hand lifts to the head of the large fox to give it a soothing pat. She again glances the way they came then assures Hyun, "We can walk. From what I can gather from past interactions, we're best to stay with these two over venturing off on our own."
Mira stands in the grass looking pail and breathing hard. "Court? You mean the police? Sure ... I mean ... I left my cell phone back there. Hey ... you're hurt," she says to both the women.
You'd not believe it, but the Fox is scrounging her face and looking a tad... hurt? Insulted? Dangerous? Her middle name is danger, granted, it is 'Avoids danger' and 'runs away from danger' but it is her middle name nonetheless, and sometimes she laughs at danger. usually when it is far away. And hence her steps are carrying her just a tad quicker after the plant than they might do in any other time.
Nanette inevitably backs out of the hedge again, and motions rather frantically for Mira to do the same. "I'll.. uh. Fuck, I don't have Gert's number, she's supposed to call me. I will... leave a note at... the place." What place? She's not saying in front of an outsider. But she's also not sticking around in here, there's little she can do. "Come on, Miss, this is too dangerous."
Rosalind pulls her hand back, and the portal closes only after Mira and Nanette pass back through. After all, Linus can open it again if need be. "This is far beyond us," She says in the silence that follows, smoothing her hands on her dress as if itching for something to do. She glances at Nanette again, narrows her eyes, and says, "Honey you got a little schmootz right--" licking a gloved fingertip, she reaches out to rub Nanette's face.
Mira nods her head. She follows Rosalind's urging and follows Roaslind still looking kinds of ... numb. "Right right," she mutters as she is lead back and away.
For the time being, no sounds can be heard outside the protected Hollow. Is that a good thing?
To those still in the Hedge, if they follow the planty figure behind that tree, the winds are slightly calmer, blocked by foliage, and a twist and a turn later leave them tucked away in a protected Hollow. The faint, faint sound of a sweetly chiming bell can be heard in the distance, and the strange woman stiffens, alarm widening alien eyes, before she puts a finger to her lips and rushes toward the exit, disappearing.
If the flower lady gestures for stealth, then stealthy it shall be. Despite her size is the fox moving surprisingly quiet, paws barely leaving trails on the ground as she steps about. Nary a wood cracking or branch breaking as she moves swiftly after.
Linus would follow silently nodding to the two others as they follow. In this world Linus would look abit more vibrant, color in his hair brightly red and much deeper, his eyes white. And where he moves there is a soft scent of budding flowers, but with all the flower girl it is probably not all that noticable.
The immortal quite calmly, at least visually calmly, follows along behind the plant, keeping track of where Linus and Hyun is as she does so, a little more on Hyun since she seems to be figuring out Linus belongs in the world of the Hedge. Or, well, knows it to survive. The indication for silence has Rebel falling silent.
The voice seems unhappy, and while it sounds like it, he, is communicating with someone, the other person (the plant lady?) must be speaking too softly to be overheard.
...The fact that the entire experience ends with a shrill, feminine scream of anguish and agony is proooobably not a good sign.
Silence lingers, and then, of a sudden, there is a fierce snarling of wolves, followed by a *yipe* and .. the words aren't English, but oh, they make the hearer ache to listen. There's something almost hypnotic about it, a siren's call (literally, in this case -- take -2 to any actions not related to listening), even if the hearer hasn't the faintest idea what is being said.
Walking in front of the two humans is the fox moving with a bit of swagger, the previous nervousness gone and replaced with... Well, she is humming the tune to hakuna matata and doing the whole moving with your whole body shtick from the Lion King. Then there is that scream and the fur of the fox stands up, her head turns and she looks towards Linus and Rebel, who seem all the more aquainted and well knowing as to what is happening.
The immortal's face makes it clear she wants to go help the, likely person, plant girl, that just gave an anguished cry. She peers towards Linus then Hyun, trying to guess if they would also be willing to help their Guide. She's well aware that Rebel is pretty helpless against most anything when it is physical.
Linus frowns lightly from the snarl and yipe. Assuming a hedgewolf been struck, he knew that kind of voice, he sorely missed that kind of voice, but it was not the same one. He moves quietly to see if he could see who the flower was talking to trying not be spotted as he had been shown to be quiet.
All except Hyun, because brilliant, ENORMOUS red-orange foxes are clearly the best at camo.
The plant lady starts to say something, but clams up an instant before she can do so, forcibly stopping herself, and glares at the man. The Fae, really. Hi! Ever wanted to meet a god? Here's your chance! To Rebel, the Fae is familiar. A bit too familiar. His voice, his minions, have been haunting her dreams for weeks. To the others...take a person, then turn it into living vines, then let Escher get his hands on it, then try to pretend it's still a person, somehow, with an allure that is as maddening as it is magnetic, beauty and pain, brain-meltingly good. And bad.
He(it?) largely ignores Linus, but brushes past the chastised plant lady to approach Rebel, hands lowering as if to touch her shoulders in benediction. Will she let him?
When the group tries to sneak, while the wolves don't notice them, the injured plant lady does...aaaaand so does the figure she is defending them FROM.
At the plant and Linus Rebel glances, not looking at Hyun since it seems like she has become a ghost.. for a giant fox. The excessively tired Rebel looks indecisive as the figure approaches. He/It has been a temptation in her dreams and even outside of it on occasion but as far as she can tell also did ill towards the plant that saved her Linus, and Hyun. She takes a small step back but doesn't pull from his attempt to touch her. It is clear she can not decide if he's a threat or not, despite the repeated warnings.
A paw scoops up some of the florals on the ground, paws surprisingly dexterious in knitting it into a sort of Crown and adoring it as the Fox Human steps out of her hiding. A brialiant smile on her teeth, there is even a sparkle, her magnificent hued coat shining and glimmering a she steps out and speaks, "Oh great and magnificent one! Your presence is as terrifyingly beautiful as your wisdom is deep and your intelligence is hailed everywhere. So 'tis is I that I present this valuable charm of my hometown to you, in bargain for letting us pass through this place and let this lovely lady of the plants be our guide to the outside once again. For we have not wished to tread upon your domain, 'tis was merely a mistep, and I do hope that this shall be worth enough to buy the passage out once again unharmed."
You know. Totally the kind of thing one wants. To be kept. Do what it says, and eeeverything will be hunky dory. That's how all the fairy tales end up, right? Right!
The being's focus shifts toward Hyun when the fox begins her efforts to deceive, and while the Fae's gaze lingers on the flowers, his/its voice, alas, dashes any hopes that the trick -worked-. Hypnotic, as distractingly alluring as before, it's difficult NOT to want to hang on every word he says. "Clever fox. You don't belong, but I've foxes cleverer than you in my stable."
Mind, it still hasn't let go of Rebel.
The Fae's regard shifts toward Linus, shadows deepening in his vicinity, though they pause after a moment, then retreat, the Fae's gaze shifting toward one of almost benediction.
"They will return." A look toward the injured plant lady prompts her to push herself up to her feet, even though she has a gash slashing across her arm onto her chest, and she can barely stand. She musters a hint of pained pride, silent, and bleeds. The Fae orders, "Release them."
Evidently, he has standards, because the moment he turns away, each and every stitch the trio wears, assuming Hyun is wearing anything at all, transforms into elegant, Victorian ball-wear, fluffy hoop skirt in white/silver/green for ladies and a deep green tailcoat, white shirt, white stock, and white vest with silver accents and white gloves for Linus. Where they go from there doesn't appear to concern him -- he strolls into the thorns without a word, attention already on other things.
The Fae's touch is...odd. It doesn't feel BAD, per se. It's a bit like feeling cool spring water washing over her skin after a good run, while at the same time being warm and dry and baking in the sun in a field, and at the same time being securely held, protected, kept safe.
Considering Hyun is still very much a in her big fox form, and foxes don't wear clothes, remains she unclothed. "There might be other foxes, but none of them are me." Brilliant smile, fashing teeth. Just the faintest bit of cat like behavior as she drops the 'gift' and just scoots it away into the underbrush as she observes her Companions and their new attires.
Then again, a human sized fox wearing a hoop skirt would be hilarious to look at.
Linus moves over to the flower lady and tries to heal her
Linus would try to at least limit her bleeding and to close minor wounds "I am sorry... I am not so strong"
The feel of some weight unfamiliar in the style of clothing has Rebel briefly distracted and her hand slides along the skirt until it finds a pocket. From it she pulls a pouch. It is studied then it is grasped in her hand. Not once while the hand was on her shoulder did the little Rebel pull away. She is still in an indecisive place. Her head gives a small toss to clear it a little. "Well.. what are we doign now?" she wonders.
"To quote the most magnificent Jean Renau from Godzilla, Running would not be a bad idea." answers Hyun as she sneakily moves behind Rebel and plops down on her furry butt. "Still an option after all... Admittedly, I do not know where to run from here, but that doesn't mean we can't."
Eventually, they reach a particular spot, and their guide lifts a hand to touch the trunk of a tree. The Gate opens, revealing an innocent back yard, and she gestures them toward it. Rebel is the only one she touches, smooth hand as firm, cool and inhuman as a flower's stem, to give the Reborn a calm look, cautioning her without words.
The planty lady smiles wanly at Linus, dipping her head in gratitude, and seems frustrated for a moment, before beckoning for the group to follow her. One of the briar wolves paces them, nuzzling up under her hand, as she moves along the trod, though the path around them isn't terribly familiar; it shifted, again.
Linus looks to Rebel "You really should not rush into things... specially if a Fae is after you. You can loose your mind, your soul and much worse" shaking his head. He looks down to his clothing, which he unfortunatly likes, he should not.. he should not be pulled back into it all. Frowning lightly "Fae turn people into play things, shred their souls and form them after their own accord.. very few escape.. those who do... well are never the same." stepping out into the real world again taking a deep breath. He offers a card to her, which says "Linus Naekken, musician. With a few phone numbers and email" Then looks to Hyu "For you it is worse, you probably turn into one of those wolves.. or worse"
Hyun is trotting along, nose raised and sniffing in all the tantalizing scents until they come to the path leading out. She steps through, her body shifting with the creaking and cracking of her bones and body back to normal forms. All including her clothes. Dusting herself off and smirking at Linus, "Ah, but that would imply that they catch me first. Alas, I am a clever fox and the trap that can catch me has not been built just yet." She gets her own card out, Hyun Jeong. Computer Specialist. You break it, we fix it, no questions asked. "Besides, it was fun to actually be challenged for once."
Once out Rebel gives a mix of a sigh of relief and disappointment. She is still in an odd place. "I guess I'm use to having my Dion with me." A bright smile is offered over, she /seems/ fine so far. Whether she actually is.. its not easy to tell. "I'm Rebel Nicks. I own Fantastic Finds." The offered card is taken, glanced at, and pocketed. "IT has been an interesting first meeting. I should probably wander home and let my Dion grumble at me."
There is a grin playing over hyuns face as she moves forwards and takes both of Rebels and Linus hands, "Ah, this was such a thrilling adventure though, still, there is one last little thing that I can do to help you. Just in case." Her eyes Sparkle with mirth. "And for that, I wish you two, the best of luck."