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What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]

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#1Tomoe Tanaka 

 What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]    Empty Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:58 pm

Tomoe Tanaka
Disguised as Kyle Winger:

As the sun rose on Fiore, Kyle Winger could be seen dressed in his regular clothes, heading towards Dawncliff Mine. He had applied to be a miner in the mines, and was accepted. In truth, he was hired by some guy from Rush Valley to find the best mining outcrops and most valuable areas within the caverns, but Kyle was a man that enjoyed getting to know his victims first; that is, if they decided to be naughty and not behave. Mr. Winger detested those that got angry for no real reason. Such trivial things, and yet he had to acknowledge that he envied them at the same time. He'd start as some guy on his first day on the job, and from there investigate further into how this mining operation works and take notes of all the important places he would need to visit as per his employer's request.

"Well, guess I'd better get to it.", Kyle grumbled, not keen on the idea of a long and exhausting work day ahead of him, choosing to blend in as one of the "miners" ready for a day spent making chump change in exchange for body-altering labor.

Kyle looked down at his hands, soft and unsullied by the cruel world of a laborer. He almost felt like crying, but decided against it. This would certainly be something, though he hoped he wouldn't lose something important for stepping into this new world of mining even temporarily. He looked at the entrance to Dawncliff Mine, surrounded by rugged muscle-men ready to start the day. He could probably count the collective brain cells between all of them on both hands, much to his own dismay. There was enough manly musk and aggressive masculinity in the air to crush a baby's skull through sheer air pressure, and that wasn't really Kyle's deal.

Regardless, it didn't matter what he wanted. Kyle, with a sigh, took a step forward to start his busy day of mining and espionage.

WC: 331/2,500

#2Tomoe Tanaka 

 What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]    Empty Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:10 am

Tomoe Tanaka
"Who're you, Tiny?", a deep, rugged voice rang out from behind Kyle as he attempted to progress into the mine.

Kyle turned around in confusion and slight fear, hoping not to cause any trouble with the locals just yet. He'd just gotten here, dammit! It was too soon to spill the beans on anything. No, no, he'd need to devote himself to the act fully. Tomoe wouldn't accept failure, so Kyle couldn't fail. Mr. Winger straightened himself up and turned to face a hulking 7'0" beast of a man, muscles fit to break necks on contact and patches of soot and dirt all over him as he'd gotten into a fight with a boar. Kyle, reasonably, knew he stood no chance in a straight fight.

"Oh, uh. I'm the new guy, Kyle. How's the day treating you? Doing good?", Kyle spat out, trying to make small talk with the large man, wondering how he'd respond, looking into the man's eyes.

After a moment of studying up and down, the giant let out a small chuckle and gave a friendly yet firm smack on Kyle's back, almost sending the comparatively small man to the ground before he caught himself. "You seem alright, Kyle. Quick to make pleasantries, eh? We'll see if you're that polite after a day digging and picking away with the guys.", the intimidating miner stated, lightening his tone and brightening his eyes from his initially ambiguous and threatening gaze. "I'm Ron, the newly promoted foreman of this operation. Good to have ye, Kyle. Pick up your gear and get going, before we burn any more daylight!"

With that, Kyle would diligently do as the man commanded, taking a pickaxe, shovel and some dirty, crusty overalls to slip over his casual attire. The overalls smelled of piss, vomit and vodka, but it'd have to do, being the only overalls left. Kyle held in his disgust and made his way into the mine, hoping the smell of black powder and sweat would eventually overpower the disgusting trinity that currently made up his smell. He could only hope, in the end.

This was also the time to get serious, however. From here, Kyle would also take note of areas rich in minerals while he went about his mundane work. Apparently this mine had horrible luck with actually keeping the same staff for some reason, but all he heard as the day passed was rumors. Rumors of some ominous woman in black with a sword, or of a gluttonous cannibal dressed as Santa that gave out presents from his sack in the form of human limbs. If someone denied his gifts or had a negative or shocked reaction to them, he would add those people to his ever-growing bag of wonders.

Such stories sent a shiver down Kyle's back. "Dear god, please no. Please tell me that these are just stories though. They are, right? Tales to tease the new guy with, right?", Kyle would inquire to his fellow miners who told him about these tales as they worked, but he was met with stoic faces; not a single soul denied reality or piped up to say that these stories were fake.

Mr. Winger would get back to work, eyes constantly shifting around to make sure no horrible murderers or Santa cannibals would sneak up on him when he least expected it. Dammit, Tomoe, you didn't tell me about this...!, Kyle thought, his heart rate increasing with each passing second as he continued to keep watch for both rich mining outcrops and crazed serial killers now.

WC: 925/2,500

#3Tomoe Tanaka 

 What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]    Empty Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:23 pm

Tomoe Tanaka
As Kyle kept watch for creeps and killers, he got quite a few chuckles out of the older miners. Yet despite the chuckles hinting that the newbie was getting worked up over nothing, their shifty eyes told a different story - one of caution, or perhaps coping. There was nothing innately suspicious at first glance, but looking at any of the laughing workers for long enough gave away hints that perhaps they were also worried about the stories. This mine did, after all, go through workers like sheets of paper. Kyle was a perceptive one, trained for such by Tomoe himself, so he knew how to pick up on social cues like this very quickly even if nothing was said.

Just like the man feared, after a few hours of labor his body wished for death. He felt as if particular joints on his body had aged well beyond their years, and his spine felt like a wet noodle. "Is this how guys get buff? Is... is slamming rocks and lifting heavy ore really the way?", Kyle would barely gasp out while wiping sweat from his brow, brushing strands of stray hair out of his vision as he leaned back to take a quick breather.

Just when he thought he could take such a breather, he felt a smack against his back again, firm but gentle. Before even turning around to meet the person, he knew who it was. Ron stared at him with a grinning face and a hearty chuckle, pickaxe slung over his shoulder as he looked down at the exhausted Mr. Winger. "Having some trouble, son? You got something you wanna say?", Ron inquired, a slight curve in his brow to signal concern.

Kyle backed up with hands raised, shaking his head. "Nah, nah, just wondering about this whole serial killer nonsense. Any truth to it?"

Ron took a slow step back, hand to chin in thought. He then, after a moment of contemplation, looked into Kyle's eyes with an expression that had grown a bit more serious. After another beat, the giant would nod his head. "Workers around here have died quite often. A lot of new hires. I'm the newest among the foremen, because of how often people get murdered around here. High pay to compensate though, so that's why people still bother signing up. Thinking that they won't be the ones to get killed. Poor bastards.", Kyle sighed, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it to relieve a bit of stress that was now showing on his face.

It was a lot to take in, admittedly. Had Tomoe sent Kyle off to die? His own subordinate? This was a simple mission to observe mineral deposits and find the most profitable places for ore, but it had turned into this. Well, if need be, he was equipped with gear that Tomoe had personally supplied, so that relieved his tension a little. After that, Kyle would nod and get back to work, not wishing to discuss the subject further. Ron and him would part ways, Ron vanishing further into the mine to yell at more lazy or inefficient workers.

After finishing up with a specific outcrop, Kyle would advance further to the next designated location to continue his back-breaking labor. Crime paid a lot better than this, so the man hoped he would be put into a less tiresome situation than this next time. He was more than fine with murder, theft or anything else. But mining? Mining sucked.

WC: 1,507/2,500

#4Tomoe Tanaka 

 What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]    Empty Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:20 am

Tomoe Tanaka
Break was called, and not a second too soon. One couldn't even imagine the look of relief on Kyle's face when Ron came along and, with his loud voice, commanded everybody to put their stuff away for now and have lunch.
, Kyle would exclaim, refusing to believe in the reality he lived in, in which he broke every bone in his body, cried and shuffled in fear of serial killers... all for it to only scratch noon?!

Begrudgingly, Kyle took his seat on some mats laid down for the workers to avoid fully embracing the rocky ground below. His skeleton was crying, but that was okay. Tomoe would ensure that everything worked out in the end, right? Kyle had to cling to that idea before anything else. A distant dream where all of Mr. Winger's monetary issues were solved and he didn't need to roll around in the dirt like someone's dog doing tricks for treats. In the end, that's what Kyle identified most with: a dirty dog. A rabid mutt clinging to life and just barely maintaining sanity, because the world didn't take kindly to layabouts and the weak. Kyle understood this, but it didn't make it any better. It didn't make a single part about it any better. The humble Winger would much rather a world where nobody needed to put in effort and nobody needed to worry about a thing, having every success and achievement handed to them on a silver platter.

As Kyle thought about such things, desiring such a slow, relaxed and perfect world, he looked down at the bucket of slop before him, coming back to reality. That was a far-off wonderland, and what really mattered was his survival until it could be realized. He had met Tomoe on the basis that SHE could bring a new and better world, and accepted that unhinged man's offer as a henchman on the condition that such a world would be the ideal to strive for; and moreover, that such a world would be possible in the first place. What more could he cling to? Kyle had no future, no past, and nothing at all to live for other than for the hope for a new world that would accept him for who he was.

Every gulp of miner's soup would force Kyle to imagine divine banquets in HER new world. Every time the old metal spoon would scrape against his teeth as it exited his maw, he would visualize the golden cutlery of gods. As he emptied his bowl and gave thanks silently to Ron while feeling the desire to hurl his guts out, he imagined how he'd instead bust his gut with laughter and bliss having a perfect life in HER utopia.

"Thanks, Ron. You're the man.", Kyle would breathe out, holding still as a stone to keep all of the "nutrition" from his soup in his stomach rather than unload a torrent of stomach acid all over his foreman.

"Ah? No need to thank me, boy! You just keep working hard and I'll keep giving you more of our trademark miner's soup! Designed to keep you on your toes! Ahahaha!", Ron would laugh joyously and deeply, once again giving a friendly smack on Kyle's back.

Unlike other times, something broke. Kyle would mutter a meek, "Excuse me, excuse me.", and then trail off, sprinting for any sign of an outhouse, realizing that his life was over if he didn't push himself at one hundred percent capacity towards momentary solitude and relief.

WC: 2,095/2,500

#5Tomoe Tanaka 

 What's Mine is Mine 6 [Quest]    Empty Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:27 am

Tomoe Tanaka
The harps of angels could be heard as Kyle poked his head out of the closest outhouse he could find. He heard the chuckles of his co-workers as he exited and got back to his designated post, realizing that this must be some kind of regular reaction from newbies. Or worse to think about it, a regular reaction from the less hardy and manly of the bunch. Kyle claimed to have some skill in magic and knife fighting, but he knew he wasn't what anybody would call "jacked". He was lithe and limber, and not at all suited for this. Despite this, Kyle wouldn't whine, suppressing all of his annoyance towards these people within himself. Well, other than Ron. As hours passed and Ron continued to be encouraging about pushing Kyle to his limits, the man's opinion on Ron started to shift slowly.

Ron was a bulky idiot with the only thoughts in his head being of keeping morale up and ensuring that everybody was doing their job. He did this in a way that wasn't par for the course for a work boss, though. "Don't slack, boy! Work hard so you can go to the bar in Rush Valley, get a stiff drink, a good fuck, and a long night's rest! Your muscles will scream, but you'll be happy that you pushed yourself!", Ron would protest, noting Kyle's faltering stamina and shaky legs. "Keep pushing yourself! Your parents may have been all cushy with you in yer life, but I'll reform you into something else!", Ron would continue. "Believe in what little power you have, ye hear? If you can't, you'll never get a raise! Moreover, you'll never get married and have a family! You'll stay single forever.", Ron would scold.

As day slowly turned to night, Kyle still taking notes of the various mining outcrops as time passed, he thought of his family. Not of Tomoe or of HER world, but for a brief moment, his family. Down in humble Marigold. A father who would ignore his existence while studying magic and was absent more often than not on expeditions, and a mother who scolded him as an underachieving layabout. Both viewed their son as a cog in a greater machine, and neither cared for him, ultimately. Being told about his lazy nature growing up, he never tried once he realized he wasn't chosen for greatness like others were.

Ron reminded him of something akin to what he once wanted to be. Somebody strong and unafraid of the world. Somebody devoted to their beliefs and deciding above all else that they couldn't compromise on their vision. Even if Ron was a simple foreman, he had the drive of someone more valuable than anyone else, Kyle thought.

That's why, when Kyle delved into farther depths of Dawncliff Mine late at night, searching for some more valuable ore deposits for his employer in Rush Valley, he had a gut feeling he was being watched. After finding a variety of shiny rocks that almost made up a rainbow in their brilliance in one unassuming corner of the caverns, he knew his suspicions were correct when he heard a stomping footstep erupt from a few meters behind him. "What do you think you're doing here, Winger?", the voice would boom as a light shone.

Kyle whipped around to see Ron, arms crossed and wearing a mining helmet with a lacrima attached for light. He held a stern expression as he glared at his subordinate, waiting for an answer patiently.

"I, uh... well, you see, I'm..."

"Gaining some ground for another employer? That prick in Rush Valley again, I take it? Always sending people out here... hey, Kyle, you know he's trying to take our jobs, yeah? If he does what he wants, we're all out of work and he takes all the profits."

Kyle would nod his head in acknowledgement.

"So why? Is it money? Is money all it is?"

Again, a nod of the head. "Just business.", Kyle muttered without making eye contact, head down.

"Kyle, I..."

Ron turned away for a second, shaking with rage. He was a working man trying to provide for his family, and knew no other life than one of labor. No talent for magic or for battle, no other path than to support others at simple manual labor in order to support himself. After a life of toiling away and honing himself to become a master of labor, a profession not so noble to the public eye, his reward was to see the greedy try to tear it all down. He was furious, and turning back towards Kyle, made it clear.

"You seemed like an alright guy, but I guess you were just scum in the end.", Ron would say, cracking his knuckles, stepping forward, and letting loose a right hook to Kyle's face.

Years of labor and training, honing his body to become a tool only for mining and to be the most durable among all his peers. Working many mining operations, Ron was the epitome of both charisma and efficiency among anybody who he ever worked with. That was the life he lead. That was his entire purpose. And so, to channel the frustration against the greedy nobility who spat on laborers and charged them next to nothing for their work, and unleashing all that feral rage out on Kyle as the sole receptor...

"Was that all?"

Silence overtook Dawncliff Cave. Kyle had taken the hit to the side of his face, leaving a slight bruise, but not sending him spiraling back the way it at first looked like it would. Even Kyle was a little surprised, but the sting in his cheeks was overpowering the shock. It was as if Ron had tried to punch a boulder - there was no chance of a break. Kyle looked up at Ron with hate in his eyes, boiling over and building to a crescendo as he reciprocated the attack with one of his own.

Kyle swept towards Ron's legs with a kick, which shattered the foreman's bones on impact and sent him to the ground. Ron would cry out in pain and agony, looking up at the agent of the rich. The symbol of all that was wrong with the world. He saw, for a moment, a devil. Afterwards, he saw a man. And one final breath later, he saw a man who was...

"Ah, I get it now. The gloomy expressions. The lack of work ethic. Above all, that look of yours right now. You're..."


With a single fist, Kyle had crushed Ron's head into paste on the earthen floor. It was strength that flowed, yet he remained ignorant to it, assuming it was a burst of adrenaline. He couldn't be somebody so durable. So ruthless. So emotionless. Yes, at the very least, he knew that last one wasn't true.

He knew it wasn't true because the water that fell now in a cavern from which rain couldn't enter, meant it could only be him shedding tears.

It made no sense to do so. He'd known this man for a day. Yet to Kyle, it felt as if it had been the majority of his life. He felt emotion as if feeling it for the first time, and had no idea what it meant. His chest ached as if fit to burst, and there were no words he could use to describe this feeling. None, save a handful.

"I'm sorry. I'm... sorry...", he squeaked out through tears, though didn't know why the death of a man he'd known for a day had resonated with him so strongly. "You're right. You were right. I'm..."

Kyle struggled to his feet, shaky and uncertain. He stumbled out of the cave, leaving Ron's corpse there to be found by workers tomorrow. Any witnesses that lingered as he made his exit were also dealt with, allowing nobody to trace it back to him. Or at least, he hoped nobody would figure it out. He took the information that he had compiled on Dawncliff Mine's profitable outcrops and gave it to his employer in Rush Valley, doing so all without a hint of satisfaction on his face. He politely accepted his reward money and found a bar in town to spend the night at before returning to meet up with Tomoe.

Don't slack, boy! Work hard so you can go to the bar in Rush Valley, get a stiff drink, a good fuck, and a long night's rest! Your muscles will scream, but you'll be happy that you pushed yourself!

The words would echo in Kyle's mind as he sat down after ordering a drink. After finishing a single mug and not a drop more, no happiness on his face at all, he'd retire to his room for the night. Laying down in bed, he'd listen to rain downpour outside for hours on end, thinking. He knew that, if anything, he'd accomplished his job for the night. Back to work tomorrow. Still, his mind lingered on the image of Ron's death. His mind processed the foreman's words one after another, one after another, again and again and again, always on repeat, looping in his head. Why did he care so much? There was nothing to care for, knowing this person for a single day and killing him at the end of it. It was the same as usual. Business as usual. Nothing more.

"I'm...", Kyle would mutter to himself, needing to acknowledge it to make it a reality. He needed to say openly what Ron was going to, if he would ever find sleep tonight. "I'm weak. Fragmented. There's not a single thing about me that amounts to anything more than the henchman of another, a sorry excuse of a lackey. There isn't a single fucking thing I can do right other than follow orders, and... and I won't be able to stop myself in the future. I'm not meant to be more than that."

He would mutter such things to himself in bed, over and over, for hours. He twisted and turned with ideas, but eventually succumbed to sleep. There was nothing else for it. However, the final thought before sleep finally took him was...

But if I could, for a moment, imagine a better life... is Tomoe's path the correct one, if it brings about this kind of despair along the way? And if it ever got to that point... could I decide a better path? Do I have that right? I...

But that was enough for one night. With that, Kyle had fallen asleep in a relatively comfortable inn room in Rush Valley.

WC: 2,500/2,500

- EXIT -

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