Cutscene: Social Chain Links

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Tuesday, April 07, 2010, 12:00am

Location: ...

The blue lights flicker by.


Not lights.

The glowing membranes of beautiful blue butterflies, floating about and leaving glowing trails in the air.

Reki blinks slightly, peering around the featureless blackness. The emptiness, which he disturbingly senses is not empty.

"Reki. Reki Kurusu..not Souma."

"What do you want, S-sir?" Reki speaks, turning at odd intervals to try to find the voice amidst the flittering butterflies and finds himself face to face with three cards floating in space...

"Friendship carries countless risks, and countless benefits. The lines of connection form a network, a chain between people. A lifeline, and a binding which weighs one down."

Reki's hand rises, taking the grim card that floats before him.

"Death. The changing path. You resist this one, and yet plan to so easily give into it. Death comes for all eventually. Will you accept it as change, or annihilation? A man's mortality defines many things, behold the corpse man rising, changed by the burial in earth. Ghoul."

As Reki takes the card, an image of an emaciated figure spawns into view, decayed and horrible, glowering with glowing eyes for a moment. But even as Ghoul is summoned, thick chains roil up its body, binding its arms, iron wires sealing its mouth shut, and a harsh muzzle like mask snaps into position over its face, leaving only the inhuman weltering of light where its eyes should be to peer out.

Reki shakes his head, horror overwhelming him but finding himself compelled to take another..he takes the card depicting the man and the lion.

"Strength. You have much fortitude, but will you tame the lion, or will you shave his mane and leave him broken and the tamer unneeded? Are the rowdy einherjar who drink and feast in joyous revelry lacking in fortitude or possessed of too much that they require so much to drown their thoughts of what is coming? I give you one experienced with them that you may find your answer. Valkyrie."

A woman forms into place, proud, with Nordic features, seemingly strong. But she screams as chains roil up over her, shackling her hands, ankles and neck, and with a mask seeming to boil up out of living metal and dark leather, over her face, leaving only her pure golden hair to spill down her back, and her mouth forced open.

"The final card for you tonight."

Reki peers at it, the female figure, calming and soothing, seated on a throne. Strangely he finds himself overwhelmed by a crushing sense of guilt.

"The Priestess. Passive, quiet, strong. Have you learned a lesson from this one? That there are times and places for inaction, or that a lack of movement will doom you? There is strength in remaining untouched by the world, but there is only so much of life amidst glades of the dark and lonely forest. Unicorn."

The proud horse strides forth, taking shape...even as the chains again roil up about its legs. Iron shoes are shod onto the creature, jagged nails cleaving through the hooves at unpleasant angles. The roiling chains cruelly wrap about its head, forcing its jaw shut and cracking off the tip of its horn, before a mask is forced into position and a bridle of chain.

"I have a final gift to give you, Reki Kurusu...Kurusu not Souma."

"What...," Reki blinks, staring around blankly as the three prisoners float about him..

"My gift is to ask you this."

Reki turns, finding himself face to face with the writhing, pained and chained form of the Man in the Iron Mask. The persona's screams muffled by the encompassing metal mask that obscures the features of the entity within.

"Who is beneath the mask, Reki Kurusu..Kurusu, not Souma?"

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