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Reality Fault

Dreams and Stories for the Sphynx

    The Sphinx's Home Office
    The sphinx lives in a little building out on the edge of the university, with a green, grassy roof and wooden beams, sunk partly into the ground. Inside its swinging door is the home of someone with no hands; mostly a large, empty space with different kinds of floor coverings indicating the purpose of that area. Most of the room is a large collection of various huge, fluffy pillows, but one corner has a slightly inclined, padded board. Against one of the walls and the board is a human-sized desk and chair, handmade of different hardwoods. The other edge of the platform has a stereotypical psychiatrist's couch -- a leather padded chaise lounge.

The sphinx pads in and curls up in a sunbeam, the golden light making her tawny fur glow a little. "Come in, come in, pull up a piece of floor and tell me all yourselves. I've never seen quite such an interesting group of individuals before."

Vash kneels down close to the sphinx and smiles a bit. "Thank you, Cat. Interesting is... a kind way of putting it." Douglas walks in quietly, looking around as he crosses his legs and settles to the floor. Sakura settles herself down on the floor, tucking her legs under her in a very proper Japanese style, and places her hands on her knees.

Kerry hops up on the desk and then inverts to hang from one of the roof beams. "Heh. Since we're not locals, this is hardly much of a surprise."

Cat watches the bat curiously, but not surprisedly. She asks the group in general, "Where are you from? Azteka?"

Vash grins lopsidedly. "Not exactly. My crew and I... aren't from anywhere on the Crossroads."

Kerry skrees, "Nope. Azteka is local, by our standards. We're from an alternate universe entirely, we think."

The sphinx sits up a bit, and looks interested, and says, "Tell me the whole story."

Douglas says, "We think.""

Kerry turns his head in Vash's direction. "You want to tell the story again, or should I do it this time?"

Sakura stays fairly quiet, trusting her crewmates and captain to have better storytelling skills than she has... Vash takes a breath. "Well.... we represent a company called the Aurora Group, back on our home.... they sent us out here to explore the other sides of an artifact that they called a Gate..." Some time later he concludes, pausing for breath.

The sphinx considers, then finally says, "Interesting. You're from another planet in the same relative position as this one, and your ship is still there, but your little ship to get to it has been stolen." She asks, "Was the ship that's stolen very large or heavy?"

Vash says, "Douglas? How heavy do you suppose the Alshain is?"

Kerry skrees, "About 60 meters, 20 tons. Not exactly something you can stick in your pocket and walk off with."

Douglas thinks for a moment, then looks to Kerry and nods. Sakura's ear twitches. The Indigo had better still be there The sphinx looks surprised, and says, "You tell me that a twenty-ton ship can fly? If so, that's quite a desirable object, yes. Very powerful." She considers aloud, "Now, who would know what to do with it?"

Vash says, "That isn't certain. It was considered at the outset that the Wild Hunt may have had something to do with it."

Kerry skrees, "Besides me, Sakura, and Zildjian? No one on this planet."

The sphynx hmms, asking, "Can you tell me about any dreams you've had that might be related?"

Vash says, "To the disappearance of the ship? Not directly, that I can tell... though maybe some of the others...?" The sphinx settles down in that professional-listening sort of posture and pays attention to whoever has something to say. Vash turns and looks at each of the crew in turn.

Kerry shrugs. "Nothing that relates directly. I think the dreams we had on our quest may connect, though..." He describes the dream he had; the disembodied voice and its accusations, and the swan who appeared to pull him out of the flames. He pulls out the swan feather at the end....

The sphinx stands up and pads over, to sniff at the feather Kerry holds. She looks up at him and says, "I'd like to know more about the speaker in that dream. I'm sure you've told me all you recall -- people often have a hard time remembering details of dreams -- so I'd like to go and look at it for myself." She settles back to a sitting position and says, "Has anyone explained what a Dreamwalker does?"

Kerry skrees, "Not in detail..."

Vash says, "Zildjian gave us the general idea."

Douglas says, "Only in roughest terms, ma'am...."

The sphynx walks over to the padded platform and agilely leaps up onto it, curling into a feline ball and explaining, "A Dreamwalker is able to enter someone's dreams and share that experience with them. Sometimes they can affect them, as they occur. Most often they can't. They often can get a very good feeling for what something means, though, by what things it's connected to and the symbolism used by the mind in dreams." She adds, "In the case where someone is being magically affected in a dream or altered state, they can usually do more, and often know more, about the spell caster. It's the residuals of the caster I hope I can recognize in this case."

Douglas tilts his head to the side, listening curiously and frowning. Sakura watches the sphinx, eyes bright with curiosity as she listens to the explanation of Dreamwalking... she nods now and again, not so much in agreement as a nod of understanding. Vash opens his mouth as if to say something, then closes it, hesitating. Something's got to be wrong, then... you don't get padlocked to a burning pole in a normal REM cycle.... Kerry nods. "Sounds interesting... what do I need to do?"

Almost as if she's considering to herself, the sphynx adds, "I don't quite know what will happen with you, as you're a really different species and from a completely different cultural background. The symbolism may be completely different." Looking up and answering Kerry, she says, "Oh. Come over here, and, er, hang over the couch and relax. Try and keep your mind clear. If you drift off to sleep -- can you sleep upside-down like that? -that's all right too."

Kerry grins. "This is how I prefer to sleep. Most bats do."

"Interesting." comments the sphinx.

Vash curls a hand over his fist, leaning his chin against his knee, and looking distant for a moment. "Cat, when you've finished... I think maybe you and I should discuss our, ah, shared experience, yeah?"

Kerry complies, gliding over to the couch and handstanding again to get into position. "I should warn you that much of the imagery will probably be strange to you... my primary sense is echolocation, with sight only secondary. I don't know how that will translate."

Cat looks at Vash and nods, saying, "I'd be happy to. I want to find out if I know who talked to Kerry. Then I'll see if I can't answer all your questions." She tells Kerry, "I'm more trying to sense -- to taste is the best analogy, I guess -- the feel of the person who interfered in your dream, if it was that at all and not something else. As they referred to something you didn't know about, I see it as likely."

Kerry nods. "Fair enough." He settles himself and waits for the sphinx to begin.

The sphinx settles carefully on the same plane as Kerry. She nudges what appears to be a tile on the wall, which slides to the left. A soft noise begins to come from the corners of the room -- a quiet, windy sort of whistling, or perhaps watery sort of rushing noise. It seems to change, almost naturally, like the patterns of nature, and it's very hard to pin down what it is. The sound isn't loud, but is fairly attractive, and listening to it is gently mesmerizing. The sphinx settles calmly, eyes closed. Vash picks absently at the corner of his lip with a claw tip, nodding softly to some internal rhythm, listening to the sound. He tries not to analyze it, and mentally chastises himself for thinking, Easy listening, across the galaxy. Douglas blinks, looking around for the source of the wind and the sound. Kerry nods to himself. She looks awfully like the statue like that... His thoughts break off as he feels a... a presence in the back of his mind, and he lets himself drift on the currents of the sound...

Vash doesn't realize he's spaced out from focusing on the sound, until his chin slides off his knee and he nearly slips to horizontal. It's hard to say how long it is, although the sun hasn't moved, before the sphinx opens her eyes and moves to stop the sound, which fades away. She stands and shakes herself energetically, then settles again, commenting, "That was unusual, yes."

Kerry skrees, "Not used to my way of seeing the world, ma'am?"

Cat pauses to groom herself for a moment, licking paws and rubbing ears almost distractedly, as she centers on this world again. Finally she says, "I'm so very glad I don't have a weak stomach." Apparently cats aren't meant to fly. Larrikan, who has been trying to be unnoticeable, sits next to Sakura, taking a strange amount of reassurance that there is something that upsets this person.

Kerry chirrips. "Sorry. We do kind of think in three dimensions more than most folks." Douglas leans forward, resting his chin on his folded hands. He glances slightly towards Sakura. I wonder what the sphinx will say about our dreams, he thinks. I guess the answer to that will be, I wonder what the sphinx thinks about spiders. I hope her first reaction isn't to squish them. That might get a little painful....

The sphinx nods and swallows once before she says, "Apparently." Looking back at the others, she adds, "The magician who spoke to Kerry is the same one who had pinned me down. I didn't know he was powerful enough to pin me at all, much less talk to someone else at the same time." She sighs and adds, "If so, it probably is he who has taken your ship, as he's an all-around unsavory sort."

Douglas blinks. "He's a magician? I mean, he exists?" Vash doesn't say anything at all, and looks rather grim. Knew it. Guess we'll have to fight after all...

Kerry nods. "If he thought we were Aztekan, he probably figured that stealing it would disrupt communications if naught else. And... it may have had a residual Aztekan... well, feel, I guess... after the little incident we had when we entered orbit."

Cat says, "Oh, yes, he exists." She looks at Vash and says, "I don't know why yet -- and I'd like to try and look and see if I can tell -- but you wound up interacting with me. I was under a powerful spell which held me in the dream-world."

Douglas says, "He's not entirely all-powerful then, if he thought we were Azteka. You don't know him, do you, ma'am?"

Vash nods softly. "I thought it would be something like that. It seems a complicated problem... perhaps it would be best to save that for last, and see to the other two linked dreams?"

Looking at Kerry, Cat says, "I significantly doubt that Quetzalcoatl had managed to reach your vessel. He would have been more likely to destroy it than do anything subtle like infect it. I also don't know how he could affect anything with so much mechanical force in any subtle way. He is... forcefully direct."

Vash pauses. "Wait... did you say infect?"

Kerry shrugs. "Whatever it was, it just passed through the ship without really affecting it."

Douglas blinks. "Quetzalcoatl...? Pilot, didn't you say that was the dragon-thing that approached our ship when we first arrived?"

Vash says, "No, it did have an effect... do you remember? Everything in the ship was somehow charged with electricity."

The sphinx adds, "In fact, that he's looking in that direction at all may mean that he's wary. Someone or something may have ruffled his divine feathers." She nods to Vash, "Infect, possess, control, yes."

Kerry skrees, "Hmm... you're right, I'd nearly forgotten that. And yes, that was my first impression of the entity that visited us."

Vash says, "Perhaps he made a passing attempt on us... a warning shot."

The sphinx nods and repeats, "He wasn't able to easily affect that much machinery. It's anathema to him."

Vash says, "If he hates technology, perhaps it was only meant to scare us. The equivalent of leaping out and saying, 'Boo.'"

Kerry skrees, "Why does he dislike it so much?"

The sphynx says, "Shall we look at the other set of linked dreams?" and looks over at Douglas and Sakura, adding with a grin, "Keep your mind out of the gutter, Larrikan." The dog fox actually blushes, which makes the sphinx grin cheerfully at him.

Douglas nods, and looks to Sakura. "Shall I go first, Doctor, or would you like to?" Kerry goes back to his original perch over the desk, releasing the couch for the next participant.

Sakura says, "You go first, please, Douglas-san."

Douglas nods quietly, and moves over to the sphinx. "Where would you like me to be, ma'am? Just sitting down, or lying down, or...?"

The sphinx has Douglas recline on the couch, then slides the tile again, and the calming susurration begins again. She settles down near his head, and goes into her light trance. Vash leans carefully back against the wall this time, settling down. Douglas blinks a little and his eyes half-close, a deep, buzzing purr coming from him. He shivers a little, half-blinking sleepily to the sphinx, as if barely awake. The sphinx ends the odd sounds much more quickly this time, and stops the relaxing sound. She says, "Hmmm. Interesting." She looks at the vixen, "Sakura, you're next. Let me correlate these."

Vash grins lopsidedly, reassuringly, at Sakura, and nods. Sakura also nods... she gets to her feet and goes to the sphinx, looking a little apprehensive. The sphinx sees or scents Sakura's worry and says, "It's all right, Sakura. This won't hurt." Getting her set where she wants her, the sphynx engages the relaxing sounds, and settles again... Kawaii trots over to stand under the couch, grunting a bit worriedly, his head up to sniff-sniff at Sakura's small hand on the edge. He stays well away from the sphynx. Douglas shakes his head, blinking as he clears his head, returning to his position where he was sitting, watching Sakura. Sakura's eyes slide shut and her body seems to relax fully. Now and then her eyes twitch with movement between her eyelids... she seems to be completely asleep. Larrikan watches Sakura too, a little apprehensively in case this sphinx comes up with something embarrassing. If I've done a halfway decent job, she's dreamt about me, he thinks, and I'm not sure I want her friends to know that.

The sphinx takes a little longer with Sakura, mumbling something softly to her. When she stops there's a bit of a pause before she moves away and stops the sounds again. Kawaii peers with nervous suspicion over the couch edge at the big scary cat lady... the sphinx stands and shakes, then stretches in her feline way. She says, "All right. Interesting." Looking at Sakura and Douglas, she says, "Your dreams were normal quest-effect dreams. Discovery and development of self, really, although some odd symbolism."

Douglas blinks to the sphinx. Just like that? Nothing more? "But... if I may, ma'am... my claws...?" Sakura sits up on the chair that Cat had put her in and, as unobtrusively as she can, sneaks back to her previous spot on the floor, badly stifling a yawn...

The sphinx says, "Oh, that's right, you're not used to quests. Quests are usually about self-discovery and evolution. The fact that you experienced a change because of it is relatively common from a successful quest. Your claws are better because you made them that way; because you realized they could be."

Douglas blinks slightly, looking down at his paws. His claws glint faintly as he extends them. "I... I don't understand...." He looks... not crestfallen, just confused. Larrikan moves next to Sakura, silently offering to let her lean against him, and sliding his arm around her, hopefully unobtrusively.

Vash sits up a bit. "Maybe that's the point, Douglas. It's that primal thing... there has been a noticeable change in you since we arrived." Sakura's brows knit together. I wonder what that means for me... She does actually accept Larrikan's arm, but also gives his hand a quick, reassuring squeeze.

The sphinx hmms, "Well, if the symbolism holds true, you had an uncertainty about something; your bravery or strength or something. The situation demanded you use that skill, and you did, mastering it. Having internally realized you could, the world, or your body -- there's some contention as to how it actually happens -- changed to reflect that. If you had been uncertain, or had failed to master this part of yourself, the dream would have gone differently. In a truly failed quest you might have been left with more fear of whatever it was or, at the farthest extreme, decreased capabilities." She sounds rather like a college professor now, not a fierce and capricious carnivore. "In this case it might have been dulled or more brittle claws," she continues, "-while in most cases it works out to be a wash -- some part of the quest is a success, and some other part is not, or the results aren't overwhelmingly either way... and so things stay as they are."

Kerry listens with interest. Hmm... I wonder if the improvement in my gliding needs the feather, then? Maybe... maybe my worldview was too rigid to accept a change in myself without an external aid. Vash studies some spot on the floor, staring quietly. It's like I thought... we all got something we wanted... The sphynx continues, "The part of Kerry's dream with the ring of fire and the flight and swans -- that is probably also unchanged quest-effect. That also explains why he got to keep his symbol; he successfully managed to overcome some hurdle. Where it was affected, I could sense the intrusion quite clearly," she explains.

Douglas swallows slightly and nods, albeit a little dumbly. He folds his hands together, looking up at the sphinx. "I... I think I understand, ma'am." He glances towards Sakura for a moment, then back to the sphinx. "I gained something from wanting to fight the spider, and the Doctor gained something from sacrificing herself in saving one of her crew-mates." Sakura chews a little on her bottom lip. Does that mean I failed? Decreased capabilities, hmm... I died. Doesn't get much more decreased than that!

The sphinx says, "It's hard to judge the 'success' or 'failure' of a quest-event on an objective scale like that. More likely, the Doctor's dream showed both some promise and some part that didn't manage to meet the quest's expectation. As she didn't report some effect, I expect she wound up having countered any negative with some sort of positive." Sakura nods a little at the sphinx, looking genuinely buoyed that it wasn't anything negative. The sphinx says, "Vash, do you want me to look at what happened again, or is my own recollection of events enough?"

Vash says, "Why don't we look again... perhaps it will help to look at it from both sides. Or two of three... as the case may be."

The sphinx smiles and says, "Come over here and we'll begin." Douglas nods slowly, frowning slightly. Hardly seems fair for her. She's been the cool-headed one through all this, the voice of reason... so what does this mean? I made my claws stronger or sharper? I haven't ever used my claws since coming here, and yet almost as soon as I come here, and stop to really take stock of my surroundings here, I start feeling... odd. Starting to be more in touch with my genetic heritage.... He breaks his reverie, looking up as Vash moves over towards the sphinx.

Vash stands slowly, and stretches a bit, the plates at his neck sliding smoothly over each other. He walks to the couch and lies down. Once again Cat settles and starts the quiet sound generator. She breathes slowly above Vash, then licks her lips, murmuring, "That's right, I was going to eat you." She grins toothily.

"And I was going to shoot you dead," Vash replies flatly. Then he grins softly. "But we didn't, did we?"

The sphinx murmurs, "No, we didn't," and drifts deeper into her trance. Vash closes his eyes, the grin fading to a soft smile that remains on his lips even in his apparent sleep. One of his hands slips from his chest and dangles from the edge of the couch.

The sphinx opens her eyes and comes to, stopping the effect generator. She comments, "It's always odd to see myself in dreams." She gives Vash an amused, perhaps feline-smug glance, and carefully washes one paw.

Vash makes a face. "Mmrf." He sits up after a moment and runs a hand over his head plates. "Just for the record, Cat, I'm sorry about the gun. It was rude of me."

The sphinx beams momentarily at Vash, then says, "Of course. It was somewhat thoughtless of me to leap upon you so." She smiles, adding, "Interesting information."

Vash tilts his head sharply, making a most interesting popping noise. "So... tell us what you've learned?"

Cat murrs, "The magic from Kerry's dream, and Vash's and my experience, were all the same. I do know the man, not only because he told me, but because I've met him." She comments, "If his dreams are any indicator, he's a disgusting, violent person."

Douglas blinks. "You've met him, ma'am?" He glances at the others. "What... who is he?"

Vash takes a deep breath. "So we suspected. Tell us who he is."

Kerry nods. "Indeed."

Cat nods, "Yes, I did, before I found this place. I come from the far south; he is east and a little south of here -- or he was. He is Drekaris of Kanjerkan, and if I remember correctly he was overlord of a couple of little fiefdoms, and looking greedily at his neighbors. I knew he had a little magic, but I was unaware of anything at this scale. If he has done this, he has gotten somehow more powerful. How he has done that, I don't know."

Kerry frowns. "What would be the possibilities? Deals with demons? Djinn? Necromancy? Our world has legends of magic, but nothing demonstrably real." Vash frowns deeply, leaning back on his palms. A feudal overlord. And a wizard. Albondigas. And now he has Alshain, and her stock of our weaponry. Cagada... there's only so much ammunition... but every bullet is a potential dead civilian. Our fault. Damn it all.

Douglas frowns deeply. "I guess... this is a bit beyond just loosing our shuttle, now, doesn't it?"

Vash says, "Not just our shuttle, Douglas... our weapons as well."

Kerry skrees, "And the stash of trade goods, and the Land Rover. Some of that stuff might be valuable here."

Douglas nods quietly, sighing. "Yes. And it'll mean more than just a bill of unwarranted expenses from TAG, I think." He looks up at Vash. "It's pretty clear that we have to get it back."

The sphinx says, "He had a little bit of persuasive ability, and perhaps a tiny skill at Dreamwalking. That's not too uncommon; many people have it and never realize it." Looking at Douglas she adds, "If he is able to manipulate an object of that power, which is purely mechanical, he will be able to threaten other areas. If he gets to your ship and can somehow fathom that... I can't say what he'll do. I can hope that however he's gotten this extra power doesn't let him understand what he's gotten from you, and that he isn't able to scry it."

Vash nods, straightening. "Yes. And beyond our jobs with TAG, I think we owe it to the Crossroads." He closes one of his hands tightly. The tips of his claws dig into his palm. And I owe you too now, Drekaris. For making me fight here.

Kerry skrees, "I'm beginning to be very glad that Aurora insisted the ship have nothing usable as a weapon on it. We might be able to boost the comm laser into something dangerous, but I doubt this fellow can."

Sakura nods at Vash, "Agreed, Sir."

Douglas says, "And let's not give him any ideas. If he can get into our dreams..."

"If we presume that he is behind the theft of your ship," Cat suggests, "-and that it was indeed taken by the Wild Hunt, then we can conclude that he controls it. That is a significant thing, which may have consequences for the entire area, depending on the size of his desire for conquest."

Kerry skrees, "I don't know about you, but I don't usually dream in tech-specs."

Douglas frowns. "You mean, he may be allied to the Wild Hunt, then...." Douglas looks to Kerry, looks about to say something, then looks merely kind of sheepish, and tries not to look at anyone in particular.

Kerry snickers. "I'll make sure I dream about a nice tasty Keero banquet, followed by personal aerobatics."

Sakura says, "Is that why we heard the Wild Hunt, then?"

The sphinx says, "No, he will control the Hunt. It allies itself to no one, but sometimes someone can dominate it -- at least until it manages to kill them." At Kerry's words, Cat looks a little green, and then moves on to Sakura's question, "Perhaps. Finding out what happened to your ship could confirm it. If not who ordered it, at least how it was done."

Vash smiles, but just a little. I have lots of dreams for you. Maybe you'll like coming back to El Paso with me. Or maybe it'll just be you and me and Juan-Miguel Ramos Montoya. See how well you Dreamwalk when you wake up with scars. "They can be killed, then?" Douglas perks his ears slightly at Vash's question, looking up.

Cat asks, "Who? The Hunt? Not that I know of. Drekaris is just a man; he can be killed. At least... he was last time I saw him."

Kerry skrees, "I think she meant, until the Hunt escapes that control and kills the presumptuous mage who tried."

The feline nods at Kerry, "That's it."

Vash says, "I'd like to know more about them sometime soon."

Professor Cat looks a bit embarrassed, "We don't know much about the Hunt, really. When it shows up, someone is controlling it, and it does as it's bidden. It's very powerful, nearly elementally so."

Douglas blinks. They sounded like a motorcycle gang, though.... "Does... anyone know what they look like?"

Vash nods, still watching his fingers methodically open and close. "Not enough to go on, yet."

"It's usually not a good idea to look at them... if they're all together, it's probably fatal. Alone, it might merely irritate them," warns the sphinx. "They're something which strikes fear in you usually, and it depends on who controls them, where they are, and who is looking at them."

Vash says, "When they came through last, we heard machines. Like bikers. Maybe machinery's been on Drekaris' mind lately...."

Kerry skrees, "Is there anyone else on Crossroads who functions the way I do? I don't have to look at things, after all... might it be safe for me?"

The Cat frowns, and says, "Machinery as an element of destruction? That symbolizes nothing good for your shuttle." Looking at Kerry, she answers, "I don't know. Personally, I wouldn't want to get close enough to find out." That admission from this fearsome-seeming person might mean a lot.

Vash says, "Not for Alshain, and not for Crossroads. Damn it."

Douglas frowns slightly. Fear, again. For a brief moment, he thinks of his claws... then he berates himself. This is something which has haunted this world for centuries, if not millennia, Douglas. And you're just a cougar who's getting back in touch with his roots! "At the very least," he says quietly, "-we have to keep the Alshain out of his hands."

The professor looks at Vash and comments, "I find it quite telling that you're moreso concerned for a world of strangers, than you are of your own way home."

Kerry sighs. "After seeing Terra Two... how could we not be concerned?"

Vash gives the sphinx a tight little smile. "We all got something we wanted, here.... and I always pay back my debts. Always." Sakura smiles a little at Vash's statement about everyone getting what they wanted here. Douglas nods softly at Vash's words. Vash frowns again. "Besides. We've already seen what weapons and ambition do. I owe it to that woman, too... I promised her we wouldn't forget."

Sakura says, "I have to agree with Vash-san on this one. We brought the Alshain here and we owe it to the people of the Crossroads to clean up our mess."

Kerry snorts. "If you recall, we didn't exactly bring it here. We were caught."

"What?!" asks the sphynx sharply. "What do you mean, you were caught?"

Kerry goes back to that part of the story. "We were planning to land, but something grabbed our ship high in the sky and brought us down in a clearing too small for a takeoff run. By the time we arranged to move the shuttle out of that clearing, something had already taken it away."

"Oh, my. I missed that," says the professor, thinking. Her brow furrows, and she adds, "That's a very powerful magic, then, to affect so much machinery so far away. It does not bode well." She thinks a bit more, then continues, "Well, at this moment I don't know what more I can tell you. If you can find out what happened to your shuttle, that might help. See if a pattern of the Hunt's activities can lead to a center for its actions, and perhaps show who is controlling it."

Douglas nods quietly. "We were going to ask the dryads in the clearing where we landed, I think?" Larrikan listens, eyes wide and ears back.

Sakura says, "How do we find out where the Hunt has been active?"

The professor says, "Look for the damage, or ask people. It's a fairly memorable thing, at least for the survivors." Sakura nods at the Professor, who adds, "After all, having all your relatives in the next village over suddenly die or go insane all at once is rather memorable. No one who's seen the Hunt will be able to tell you about it directly; you'll have to follow stories and rumors."

Kerry skrees, "We can ask folks now. A great improvement... I hope we can make up for lost time."

Douglas blinks. 'Die or go insane all at once...?' Maybe trying to find the Hunt is not the way to go right now!

Vash says, "Any amount of legwork is well-spent time... there'll be no overpowering them... we'll have to rely on intelligence for now."

The sphinx yawns, then says, "I wish I could help you more, but I fear that's about all I can tell from what you've given me."

Vash says, "You've helped us immeasurably, Cat.... we appreciate all your work."

Douglas nods quietly, soberly, and in admitted disquiet. "Thank you, ma'am. You've been very helpful to us all."

Vash smiles, looking suddenly very tired. "All because of a stupid key, eh?"

Kerry skrees, "Dream-imagery, I suspect."

Sakura smiles a little timidly at the sphinx. "Yes, sensei. Thank you so much for seeing us."

Kerry drops down from the roof and gives the sphinx a full bow. "Thank you for your time, Professor. We'll be back when we have more information -- or more dreams."

The professor nods, "Good luck. If any of you have any interesting dreams, come back and see me."

Vash nods. "Of course, Cat." He lets the rest of the crew exit, and half-turns in the doorway. "Hey. Stay away from any more torches, yeah?" He grins crookedly.

The cat tells Vash, with a wicked grin, "You stay away from immortals, then."




Last modified: 2001-Mar-19 10:51:52

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