A gathering that for many, are a nice way to meet with a group, or upwards to entire crowds of people who share a common interest. Be it comics, or video games. A very popular subject for cons is Japanese Animation, or “anime” as its shortened name. The cartoons provide great amount of entertainment for a broad audience, to the point where the fanbases like to emulate their favorite characters at these gatherings. Taking part in what is called “cosplaying” or costume play, where said fans create their very own costumes to fully represent their favorite character. Along with panels and meet and greets of their favorite voice actors, and many pieces of paraphernalia that they can purchase.
For those outside of this, it's all a bit...out there. The concept of it all isn't entirely ingrained, and the costumes look somewhat absurd from their point of view. That isn't to say that they shun these people. Quite the contrary. If anything, it interests some. Example being the very person who even stands out amongst all of these cosplayers, Sean Show.
Dressed very casually with his white button up short-sleeved shirt opened, a plain black undershirt, blue jeans, and black boots, all topped off with his black cabby cap. Hands in his pockets, and a brow raised, the setting has more than piqued his interest, but it was also, as mentioned before, unusual to him.
“Wow...they really do go all-out at these things.” He said, before he took a look around once again, not exactly paying any mind to the on-lookers.
Dwarfed next to Show was the small form of Morgan Anderson, clad in a skin-tight spandex body suit of white and grey-green, two chunky styrofoam wrist bands with thin straps of pink reflective tape around the circumference, an equally chunky belt that Show had been informed was 3D printed over the course of a week, and knee high boots that bowed out into a pear shape around her calves. Her hair looked similar to what it always had, save for the color change from black to brown thanks to the aide of a wig.
"So, n-now you know what I do." Morgan said. Show may not have been able to claim to know what went on inside Morgan's head, but thankfully him being there didn't seem to embarrass her. She just seemed a little 'exposed' with a good friend of hers diving into the deep end of the anime community pool.
"AH! Moe-MoA!" a voice from their left sounds off. Two young women in similarly colored grey school uniforms approached Morgan excitedly. Show's eyes widened seeing one of the girls painted entirely pink wherever her skin showed, topped off with a mound of pink curly hair and what looked like antennae poking out. The other girl had brown hair shaped indentically to Morgan's wig, and she was the one that walked right up to Morgan's person. "We did the same character, I can't believe it!" she excitedly pointed out. "Please tell me you're coming to the Hero Acedemia group photos." Morgan, a huge grin on her face, nodded silently but enthusiastically. "Oh, it's going to be so so cool! Hey, uh, I bet you're busy but can I get-"
"Oh! No, no, it's fine, you can get a picture!" Morgan's posture straightened and the two huddled together shoulder to shoulder. They both held out their hands with their palms outward to the pink-painted girl's phone camera, and when the flash went off they dropped their pose. Immediately the girls swapped places, and Morgan and the pink girl did their own variation on the previous photo.
"Thank you so much, Morgan!" The pink...everything girl stated. Both getting ready to head inside the convention proper.
"I'll see you two again!" Morgan waved. They both hoped she would before leaving.
"OH!!" The pink girl walked backwards to face the two, undoing her dress shirt at the top to uncover the TDW branded shirt underneath. "I ALMOST DIDN'T SAY 'HI THERE'!" The two rushed off into the crowd.
Show was silent for a moment, and he still had a brow raised. He couldn't entirely place his thoughts on how to feel by the sudden approach, let alone having his own catchphrase repeated back to him by someone literally covered entirely of pink. It didn't bother him, he knew that much.
"Huh..." was as much as he could muster for the moment given. His eyes then glanced down at Morgan, who was noticeably nervous - in a different fashion than usual given the setting. Show's eyes then looked back over in the direction where the two cosplayers had disappeared to.
"That was...interesting, to say the least. I have this feeling that I shouldn't be, but I'm sort of surprised that there are wrestling fans amongst this community." His quizzical expression started to form back to the usual smiling demeanor he's known for. "It's pretty cool, honestly." He turned his gaze down to Morgan again, who seemed a bit more at ease given his reaction.
"Speaking of cool. You're quite the talk of the town here, I've noticed...and that one girl had a costume a little similar to yours." He bent down some, enough to be somewhat eye-level with her. It didn't click to Show until now that he didn't entirely pay as much attention to Morgan's costume than he should have. So without realizing how it looked to those around, he eyed over her getup.
"I've seen wrestlers with attires similar to this but I don't think theirs are as tight as yours. How are you able to breath in that, let alone walk in it with all the other stuff attached?" He asked, before directing his eyes to Morgan's own.
"Oh g-god is it really that tight?" Morgan looked down at herself intently. Nothing was poking or wedging out like she had feared, but her curves were rather pronounced in the suit. It didn't show anything outright, but suddenly she was very aware of how little of her shape was left to the imagination. She shook her head, reminding herself where she was. "No, trust me, I make these myself and I know how to move and not move in them." She turned around with ease, but still moving carefully enough not to break any of her props.
He nodded his head lightly a few times, and went to say something, but was cutoff by the sudden shout heard behind him. "OH MY GOD HE IS PERFECT!"
Turning his head to look over his shoulder, Show saw a group of cosplayers gathered around him. All dressed in what could be perceived as some kind of military uniform. Not one he had ever seen, though. Small tan jackets, white pants that what looked like some form of brown suspenders on them, connected to knee high brown boots. One of them, a girl with dark hair and burgundy scarf around her neck had an odd looking contraption strapped to her sides, while holding two - what he hoped were - plastic swords.
So obviously, this caught him entirely off guard, as they had their eyes fixated on him. It was a little bit until the one in the burgundy scarf spoke up for the rest of the group. "Sorry, sorry. Didn't mean to get all shouty and stuff." She said with a nervous laugh, which was shared with the others. "But, um, we've been in need of some help, and this is totally weird, I know. But..." She paused.
"...please be our Colossal Titan." She wore a very worried expression as she said this, and once again, this was shared with the rest of her group. Morgan snickered behind his back.
"Colossal...Titan?" Show's eyes narrowed as he repeated the name, while standing up to his full height.
The collective jaws of the group dropped. The red scarf girl's eyes lit up. "He's a total bara..."
"Bara?" He then turned his head back over to Morgan, with it tilted to the side. "Hey Morgan, what does "Bara" mean?" Morgan was on the verge of hysterics, a badly hidden smile quivering on lips.
"Baras are a wonderful thing!" The girl in the red-scarf exclaimed. "Their chiseled bodies and defining features leaves so many things to be desired!" She wrapped her arms around herself. "Imagine, just imagine. Being embraced by their arms, holding you close that you can feel every muscle! Every ounce of love and affection just pressing against you. The warmth they would exude to make you feel so comforted and protected. Ahhh they're just so beautiful."
Her body language was unsettling to not only Sean Show, but to her group mates as well, as they watched her radiate in her own self-bliss. He again turned to Morgan "Okay seriously what on earth is she going on ab-"
"IREALLYHAVETOGOTOTHEBATHROOMEXCUSEME" Morgan sped off clunkily in her outfit toward the public restroom, her face bright red and slightly sweaty. "OHI'MSOSORRYIDIDN'TMEANI'MJUSTINAHURRYAHHHHHHHHHH-" There was a thud in the hall and several people painted grey with horns nearly fell on top of Morgan's prone body.
"Morgan!" Show quickly turned his head to look at the cosplayers. "Excuse me but I gotta go!" He exclaimed before running off, leaving the red-scarfed girl standing in utter sadness as her friends collectively sighed at her behavior.
Show and Morgan are now sitting at a table in the convention's food court. A plate of food from Chicken N' Eggs in front of both of them. Show's arms were crossed on top of the table as he wore a look of concern. "Morgan, are you okay? You haven't said much after what happened."
Morgan poked at something on her plate that was hard to differentiate between chicken or eggs with her fork. Her pout was nothing Show hadn't seen a thousand times before, but she seemed to be deep in an internal conversation she didn't want to be having. "I'm okay. ...Was there anything coming up you wanted to see?"
He would've rather figured out what was going through her mind, but he knew that this wasn't the time to do that. So it was best to indulge in his own curiosity over the convention. With that, he pulled out a pamphlet from his jeans pocket, and began to scan the options listed. Nothing really stuck out at first...until an interesting one caught his eye. Boy was it something that he was very tempted in, but knew the situation at hand would play a part in it. Nonetheless, he decided to take the risk, and placed the pamphlet on the table, with his index finger pointing at his choice.
"Mars Denon fans discussion panel. That sounds intriguing. What do you think?" He said, with a light smile.
Morgan's plastic fork hit the tray, bouncing off the food in front of her, causing her to fumble with and attempt to wrangle it. "ARE Y-...Are you crazy?!" Morgan corrected her outburst with a hushed tone.
"Whaaaat?" Show said innocently enough.
"It's a panel about...about ME, Sean!" she said still hushing herself. "How am I going to walk into a panel about myself without...exploding into feathers?!"
"Or something else, I don't know!"
"Hmmmm..." He wore a faux quizzical expression, as he leaned back, while rubbing his goatee. It wasn't exactly helping the situation, yet he was having some fun with it, as he snapped his fingers then turned his gaze towards her. "I got it! With your head held high, and a smile on your face! You're right when you say it's about you, Morgan. But you should be proud of that!" He laced a chuckle in while finishing that statement. "They're fans of you...well not you, you. You-" Sean waved it off while shaking his head. "You get where I'm going with this. Anyway, Morgan, just be happy. I mean, if things go really great...you could even reveal that Mars Denon is you to everyone!"
"Wh-!" Morgan's head shook violently, making negative toned grunts. "NN-MMM, nonononono, I can't do that I can't put myself out there like that. No. I mean if I tell people here then it's going to spread, I was born before the internet took off I've seen how these things spread especially if something is true. Someone's going to take a video of me saying it and everyone is going to know and god what if there are people that don't like my books anymore!" Morgan's hands hid her face completely.
"I can tell you someone who does." This caused Morgan to look up, and what she saw was Sean, with that smile on his face, raising a hand up. "Me."
"Wha-wha-wha-when did you-" She stammered.
"Remember your outburst at the Garden?" He put his hands behind his head, interlacing his fingers, as he remained leaning back in his chair. "Well, after hearing that. Admittedly, I got curious. So I decided to take it upon myself to go a bookstore before leaving Ohio that day, and purchase a Mars Denon novel. 'Fast Fascination,' was the title." He adjusted himself in his seat before he continued. "I read it, and wow...Morgan, it was really, really good. You've got an amazing grasp at writing romance and drama. There were some parts that honestly tugged at my heart strings. The journey of self-discovery can be so painful sometimes."
This was all genuine, as he let out of a saddened sigh at remembering the MC's turmoils. "Critics are everywhere. If someone isn't a fan of it," He shrugged "that's just their opinion. But there's going to be a lot of people who do like your books in there, Morgan, I know it. I mean, you've got a fan sitting right in front of you, after all."
Morgan's wig hung in front of her face. "You read it...because I wrote it?"
"Mhm, that I did."
Morgan looked at her lap for a moment. "If you...if you held me afterwards...I'll do it. I'll introduce m-myself to the panel..." Morgan almost gave off a heat signature from her blushing face.
He was silent for a moment. There was something about her request that sort of...it was difficult for him to put his finger on it, in a sense. Nevertheless, Sean already had his answer at the ready. He stood up from his seat, then walked over to stand beside her, then bent down at the knees just enough to be eye-level with her like earlier in the day, as one of his hands held onto the back of her chair.
"I will hold you for however long you want me to." He said, in a soft tone, that gentle aura surrounding every word. Bending back up, Show extended his hand out to her. Wearing the warm smile he's known for.
Morgan made the most audible swallowing sound she may have ever produced. "Kay!" is all she could get out.
Before Morgan knew it they made the 10 minute walk across the hall against the flow of con traffic and stood outside of Hall 19, a modest little room that held the Mars Denon panel. Morgan was peering into the room where a slideshow of manga panels were being shown to various female swoons in the audience.
"I s-s-still don't know about this...I've kept this hidden on purpose, y-yknow?" Morgan whirled around, this time her wig and accessories off and laid by the side of the hallway. "S-Show, convince me to go in there one more time..."
"No matter the outcome, Morgan..." He leaned down, and slowly pressed his lips against her forehead for a moment, with his eyes closed, and then pulled back while smiling. "I'll be right here waiting for you...and consider that a thank you for last time." He chuckled with a wink.
Morgan only squeaked and slid in between the space between the door and frame.
Turns out the two cosplayers that took her picture were there too. Needless to say she was a hit.
So I gots a little somethin' somethin' to share with you all. I've been part of AES for a long ass time now, okay. Like, 6yrs. Yeah buddy that's right, I been here since about day one (not really I'm just saying that to make myself feel more special). And let me tell all of you that I feel fucking OLD because of this. I mean holy shit look how far this place has come. So many damn new faces that it is just so unreal to me at times. That's the good shit, though. It tells me that this community is fucking awesome.
Okay so enough with that. Basically I am making this thread because
Nah just kidding I'm not. A man with 1,000 characters can't retire. I'm stuck here forever (God help me)! Seriously, I've been on this sight for so long that I've always wanted to sorta get myself out there a little more, in a way. Most know that when it comes to groups and things like that, I'm pretty aloof. I prefer more one-on-one (fight me) stuff. However something that had me really excited was when Radio Armbar started bringing AES members (primarily fedheads) to voice their opinions on stuff about the site.
I'm no fedhead, obviously, but man lemme tell you I wanted to be a part of that. Circumstances change up and of course nothing ever really falls into place perfectly. So now I feel like I may as well just take the matter into my own hands. See, I do have stuff I wanna talk about, I'm just not very vocal in crowds. I figure this could be a nice way to get my opinions out there.
And it doesn't have to be just fed stuff or character stuff. It can be anything! Irl wrestling be it NJPW, WWE, TNA, even obscure indies that I'll bullshit an answer on, whatever you can think of! Hell throw some joke questions in! Hit me with your best shot (but pls be careful for I am a soft marshmallow of emotion)!
So of are you probably saying to yourselves right now:
"But Sean, you don't have anything to record with or have the knowledge to stream some shit like this!"
And guess what?
You're god damn right I don't.
So a good pal of mine and awesome dude all around by the name of Sam Gladwin is gonna be my co-host (don't take up my fucking spotlight Sam or I will end you) for this!
That being said, let's get down to the dealio of what goes on up in this thread.
1 - Questions! Lots of questions (if I get lots)! Like I said, you can throw just about any type at me and I'll answer a giant majority of them to the best of my abilities. 2 - Fun! Have fun with it! That's it. Nothing else in this reason so don't expect much. 3 - Even if you want to drop a "You're a cool guy, Sean" or "Fuck you buddy I won't do what you tell me." in here, feel free! 4 - I got nothing I just wanted to count to four. Don't judge me.
So y'all gots until about the end of the month of July to get them questions in! Let's say about until uhhh...
After that I'll get shit all sorted and get that party started.
So yes, have a good time everyone, ask away (pls ;__;) and look forward to spend an evening with me.
The rain falls from the gray covered sky over the city of Kingston, Ontario. It brings a near gloomy atmosphere as some people walk with their heads down, uncertainty painted on their faces, wondering if the weather will ease up sometime soon, as each step they take on the darkened sidewalk sends little bits of water off their shoes and into the air. Nearby is the ever familiar establishment known as The Laboratory. The building where Laura Brennan takes in young hopefuls looking to take their first step towards their wrestling dreams. A place where one would find themselves lost in the serenity of Laura's motherly and caring nature. Giving those who seek a safe haven their much needed sanctuary.
Outside The Laboratory, a dark golden Chevrolet Malibu is parked alongside the curb, where a young woman sits inside with her sky-blue eyes locked on the establishment. She is dressed in a gold & brown pull-over hoodie, faded blue jeans, black and white Vans Mountain shoes, with her blonde hair done into twin braids that go just a bit past her shoulders. After surveying the building a while longer, the young woman turns her head to look at an old blue flip-phone in her hand, where a text message is displayed.
“You are to infiltrate the wrestling school known as The Laboratory, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. There you will gain the trust of wrestling superstar Laura Brennan, as well as her staff, and other students. You will send detailed reports of your daily activities, and any vital information you can find on those individuals. Your alias has already been established, and there is a wallet and pamphlet inside the glove compartment of the vehicle that obtains the necessary documentation and information you will need to uphold your new identity.
Keep this phone nearby you at all times, be sure to delete every message we send you after you've fully read them, and under no circumstances must it fall into the hands of the enemy, or there will be dire consequences in store for you. We expect only the best from you. Your success is imperative to the Union's mission.
Do not fail. -VM”
The woman leans over, and opens the glove compartment where said wallet is, with the pamphlet right on top of it. She swiftly deletes the text message, shuts the phone, then takes hold of the pamphlet, opening it to reveal said information she read about in the text. Her eyes quickly move back and forth, scanning every single word that is written, being sure to log every detail into her mind. She takes a deep breath, before folding it back shut, as she then retrieves the wallet. Flipping it open, she looks closely at the name she has been given.
“Kimberly Thatcher. Cheyenne, Wyoming. Nineteen years of age.” the newly christened Kimberly says, her voice peppered with a Russian accent. Kimberly exhales, as she directs her eyes to the rear view mirror in front of her, seeing her stern expression in the reflection. Closing her eyes momentarily, she fills her mind with the vital thoughts needed to portray this new persona of hers, so as not to drawn any suspicion once the mission officially begins. Slowly opening them, they are now filled with a glimmer of happiness, as the corners of her mouth lift into a bright and beaming smile.
“Well, let's get this show on the road!” Her voice has completely changed. There isn't a single ounce of the Russian accent that was heard before. It's now one of a peppy young American woman.
Grabbing onto the handle of the door, she takes a step out of the car and into the pouring rain falling down upon her from the still gray covered Kingston sky. Kimberly pulls her hood up and over her head to give herself a bit of cover from the rain, though her braids stick slightly out of it. She walks around the car, then hops onto the sidewalk, before breaking into a small jog towards the doors of the Laboratory. Her hand grasps the handle of the door, and pulls it open, allowing her to take shelter from the rain, as her hoodie is now a darker shade of gold and brown thanks to it being covered in water.
“Guess it was too much for them provide me with an umbrella.” she mutters to herself out of annoyance, before retracting the hood back down. Kimberly takes a look around, seeing some students in the ring, others off to the side chatting amongst themselves, and the aforementioned coaches at ringside, analyzing the students' every little move.
Clearing her throat, she takes a couple steps towards the crowded area. “Excuse me!” She exclaims, catching their attention. “I'm really sorry to interrupt, but um, who do I speak to to sign-up to this place?”
"That'd be me." A slightly deep feminine voices calls out from behind Kimberly, the words airy with the faintest amount of drowsiness. Kimberly turns around and is greeted by a petite brunette in her late twenties, a small and calm smile on her face. Her small hand extends out from the sleeve of the green track jacket burying most of her form, waving in greeting before lowering to offer in handshake. "I'm Laura Brennan, and this is my Lab. And you are...?"
"Oh, uh..." Kimberly was taken by surprise. She didn't expect to be face-to-face with one of her primary targets so soon. She needs to act quickly, before any suspicion can be drawn towards her. "Sorry, I'm just kind of...starstruck, heh." She says, before reaching out to accept Laura's handshake.
"My name's Kimberly. Kimberly Thatcher. I'm a very big fan of yours, Ms. Brennan. So much so that, well, you inspired me to follow a dream that I've had ever since I saw one of your matches." Now she was more at ease, after being able to remember some of the details she read in the pamphlet. "It's what's brought me here all the way from Wyoming. I want to be a student here so I can become one of the best wrestlers the world has ever seen. And that's something I know I can achieve with your training."
Though Kimberly managed to get the message across without any minor slip-ups, she still wonders if she may have come across too strong, or maybe not as endearing as she should have. Nonetheless, she lets go of Laura's hand, placing both of her own hands in her jacket pockets, while wearing a small smile.
"Well, that's all very humbling, thank you," Laura remarks with an anxious chuckle. "While everyone's on break, lemme show you around a bit and talk, if that's okay." She smiles as she steps ahead, lifting her arm and motioning for Kimberly to follow. As she walks ahead slowly, Laura clasps her hands behind her back, head turned towards who she perceives as a new potential student. "So, Kimberly, tell me a bit about yourself. What got you into wrestling and why do you wanna be one now?"
"Well, I got into it a few years ago. My family had this whole life plan sorted out for me, in a way. They wanted me to go to college and get my degree in natural science, then move on to a real big high paying job, a-k-a a biologist." She sighs. "Only problem with that was...I just wasn't interested in it. Like, at all. I get that my family wants me to be successful, and I love them for that, but that kind of job?" Kimberly shakes her head. "It just isn't for me. I'm not enough of a bookworm for that."
She clears her throat, taking a minute to think over the lines going through her head. "Anyway, instead of focusing on their plan, I decided to give my brain a break, and started channel surfing. During that I came across the World Freestyle League, and it hooked me. I knew at that moment, that this is what I want to do." Kimberly brings one of her hands up, and runs it slowly down along one of her braids, as her eyes focus on the ground below. "Hearing the crowd cheer for you, chant your name, and just going nuts. It's something that I need to experience. I wouldn't get that kind of reaction by being a biologist." Deep breath. "And if I can accomplish that, then I can tell any other kid that feels the same way I do that it's not impossible. Be an inspiration to them, you know?"
Kimberly brought her eyes up, as they were now slightly welled up, to add for some dramatic effect. She was proud of herself for being able to convey her "dream" so well, but kept it hidden.
"Well, there are definitely ways to make something of yourself doin' what you love," Laura adds, still smiling. "And if you're this passionate about wrestling, then this might be the right fit for you." She turns around to face the heart of the gymnasium, raising a hand and motioning it out ahead of her. "Here in the Lab, I like to think of myself as a 'hands on' trainer because I work directly with every student to make sure they really have a grasp of basic wrestling skills as well as the fundamentals to find a wrestling style that's truly their own." She chuckles. "I've seen and heard of a lot of wrestling schools in my time where the wrestler who founded it just isn't there beyond a name, and that just doesn't feel right to me, know what I mean?" She folds her arms over her chest and shakes her head before looking back to Kimberly. "At the same time, though, I do have some help just so you wouldn't have to slack off at the expense of me not being able to be here that day. I also like to make sure my students are able to teach others, just because sometimes you only understand something if you can easily explain it to others. There's one in particular who's already more of an assistant teacher than a student."
Laura lowers her arms and rests her hands on her hips. "Anyway, do you have any questions right now?"
Kimberly nods. "Just a couple. Who's the...advanced student? If that's the right thing to call them, from what you said." She looks off to the side out of the corner of her eye. "I figure it'd be easier to find out now rather than having to seek them out when you're not around."
Laura's eyebrows perk up, taken aback by the forward explanation for Kimberly's question. "His name is...Callum." She reassures. Something seems off to her, but she isn't certain if she should pry further and instead decides to give Kimberly the benefit of the doubt for now. "Don't worry, he's been a wrestler for a few years now, and I can assure you he knows what he's talking about."
"Callum, okay. I'll make sure to remember that." The name was more than familiar to her, as she raises a brow while laughing. "Sorry if that was a bit weird. I've just had it hammered into my head that I need to have all my bases covered." Kimberly hums a little to herself, as she carefully thinks of the next question.
"If you aren't comfortable being trained by a student, I understand completely." Laura continues, filling the gap of silence between her and Kimberly. "There's also my full time assistant, Alice, who's also been wrestling for a few years now. I think you might like her once you get to know her."
Kimberly lets out a sigh of relief. "That's good to know. I didn't want to be rude, so I was trying to think of the best way possible to ask if there was, you know, an actual assistant I could turn to." She places her hand on her hip. "There's not one set style that's taught, right? Cause I had the idea of using some of my farm girl strength in someway." She asks, as she lets the name Alice sink into her head, now being more at ease.
"Oh, that could be interesting!" Laura compliments, lightly clapping her hands before her. "Bringing some of your own personality into how you wrestle is always good, to make it more like it's really you out there." She smiles brightly, resting one hand on her hip as she holds her other forward, occasionally motioning as she continues to speak. "Like I said, here at the Lab I like to give the students the basics as well as any sort of fundamentals they may need to forge their own path and find a style that feels right to them. Admittedly, most of my students who come here do end up becoming high flyers, strikers, or a blend of the two, but a more power-based moveset could definitely work for you, I think."
A light blush surfaces on Kimberly's cheeks, as she rubs the back of her neck. "Right, right. I think I spaced out earlier when you mentioned the whole, "forge your own path", stuff. That's just a little embarrassing, on my part." She giggles nervously. "Thank you for liking the idea, too. I was kind of unsure about it since, well, I've never step foot in a ring, and here I am already thinking of what my style's gonna be. She smiles, sheepishly. "Sounded fine in my head but when I actually said it out loud, it felt a bit silly."
"No, it's okay, you didn't sound silly at all." Laura says. Her smile falters slightly, but not enough to drop completely, as she's uncertain if Kimberly is a genuinely bubbly girl with insecurities or if something else is going on. Something about Kimberly's need to explain herself and talk a lot stands out in Laura's mind. "Farming, huh? I spent a lot of my childhood in an area with a lot of forests. What does your family farm in...Wyoming, right?"
Though the question had caught Kimberly off guard, she wasn't going to show it. She was trained for moments like this, and it was the time to utilize that training. "Well, there's the crops of wheat and barley for one. Then we have the livestock to take care of. Mostly sheep, and sheering them can be such a chore, but hey, people want their wool, and it's one of the bigger sellers."
"Oh yeah, for sure. Back in BC mountain goat wool was really popular for weaving," Laura adds, reminiscing. "But I'm certain the sheering definitely must've helped with the arm strength for the wrestling style you want." She smiles brightly. "Anyway, you seem pretty enthusiastic about this. Unfortunately, because we're so close to the winter break, I don't think I'm gonna be able to start really working with any new students until January." Her smile becomes uncomfortable. "I'm so sorry, especially because I'm sure you drove all the way out here. But if you wanna go ahead and get a headstart on some of the paperwork because you did come up here, we can definitely go over that."
Her heart sank, this wasn't the outcome she had planned for. However, she kept reminding herself to keep her composure together. "Something's better than nothing at this point, and paperwork is just that." She shrugs her shoulders. "What can you do though, right? I've waited this long, so another few weeks won't hurt."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that," Laura apologizes, reaching up to rub the back of her head. "Anyway, I assume you've brought some ID documentation with you, right? I'll just make a few copies of that and then we can go over more information in my office."
"Of course." Kim smiles, as she reaches into her jeans pocket to retrieve her wallet. She opens it up and pulls out her driver's license, along with a folded up piece of worn out yellow paper, then extends her arm out towards Laura. "Sorry for the shape the birth certificate's in. It's really seen better days."
"Ah, that's okay," Laura says, smiling as well as she takes Kimberly's documentation into her hands. "Anyway, let's go bring this into the office and then we can talk some more about what you can expect here and maybe meet some of your classmates, shall we?"
Kim's eyes lit up, as her smile grew into a big grin. Sounds great!" She exclaims, with a laugh mixed in, as she followed Laura to her office.
Though things didn't go as smoothly as she had hoped they would, Kimberly was still counting it as a success when she heard Laura say "classmates." To her, this means she'll be able to give VM some good news, and not have to worry about the dire consequences they may have had in store.
"Mathews! Mah-yews! Holy balls, you're not going to believe it!"
Koto's voice cut through the chilled autumn air as she sprinted across the asphault parking lot toward her friend, Joss Mathews, sitting on one of the bales of hay that lined the perimeter. In Ohio fall festivals were not a rare occurance, and one such festival had been populated with the hard working staff of Roses of Sports Entertainment. Camera operators, lighting, sound, refs, and of course the trusted on-air interview and commentary talents were all enjoying the local festivities at the order of Tsukasa Kondo, convinced that a night of local flavor and seasonal merriment would bring everyone together.
Joss looked up from her book as the steps of Koto's excited running came closer.
"What took so long? Did you fall in, or something?" Joss's attempt at a joking smile faded immediately at seeing the droplets of water hanging from the fox demon's whiskers. "Oh, dear god, you actually did..."
"Nononono, this isn't toliet water, swear. Look!" Koto unfolded her arms to show half a dozen red apples. "There was like a whoooole tub of these, and I'm like 'sweet', so I dunked my head in and turns out I'm really damn good at this bobbing for apples shit, so I snagged a bunch to eat. Here, have one!"
Koto popped her elbow up, causing an apple to fly from her craddled arms and arc perfectly into Joss's lap. The bite Koto had taken out was face up.
"Uh, thanks...Kotes. You know I don't think that you have to bob for those, I'm pretty sure the water is just to keep them fresh."
"A'ight, well, how was I spozed to know that? I've never been to one of these fall dealies."
"Never?" Joss asked as Koto took a seat next to her on the hay bale.
"Nope, not-a-one. And there's a really good reason for that. Ah, ah, it's not the massive shut-in thing, I know, that's what you're thinking, and good guess, Mathews, really, but it's something else. I don't go outside in the fall because I might run into a fox."
Joss and Koto locked eyes, unblinking.
"Y'see, 'cuz, it's kind of fucked up when you think about it. When you see, like, a normal fox running around and then you have this kinda self aware 'whoa, wait a sec, I'm not a human!' moment and it's really kind of shattering to your world view?"
"...you don't have that problem, do you?"
Joss shook her head.
"Ah, then you can't understand the struggle, Mathews."
As the two continued their conversation, they were soon joined by another figure. This one, towered over both of them, and was dressed in an off-white tunic shirt, brown Locksley pants, a pair of medieval looking leather boots...and was carrying around a large backpack. It was the World's Largest Intervewier, The Sean Show, wearing his usual friendly smile.
"WEEELLLL hi there Ms. Mathews, Ms. Koto!" he said, with a light wave.
The giant's appearance brought a little smile to Joss's face.
"Good to see you here, Sean."
Koto took a quick bite of her apple before she pointed at Show, with a brow raised.
"What's with the Shrek get up?"
"It's not a Shrek costume." He chuckled. "I'm Fezzik, from The Princess Bride. I figured it'd be fun to wear a costume to this. Get into the spirit of things for the night."
"Uh-huh, okay." She leaned back and turned her attention to something else.
"And the backpack's for...?"
"Oh, this?" He said, while looking over his shoulder behind him. "Ms. Anderson asked me to bring it."
Joss tilted her head slightly. "Speaking of, where is Morgan, anyway?"
"In the backpack."
Koto and Joss stared at Show with blank expressions on their faces after hearing his answer.
"What?" they said in unison.
Show slid one of the straps off his shoulder and brought the backpack around, placed his hand under the bottom of it, and held it up in front of them.
"She's in here. She asked me to bring this so she'd have somewhere to hide while we go through the haunted house."
Show raised his other hand, and unzipped the top of the backpack.
"Ms. Anderson, Ms. Mathews and Koto are here."
Morgan Anderson poked her head out of the main compartment of the backpack, adjusting her glasses that had gotten crooked. "H-Hello, Joss. Koto."
"Ay!" Koto said with a mouthful of apple.
"Morgan are you...comfortable in there?"
"It's the b-better option, trust me. See you after the h-h-haunted house!" she ducked back into the pocket and zipped up the bag.
"I tried to convince her otherwise, but she was really insistent on staying in there." Show said, as he carefully put the backpack behind him, and slid the strap up his shoulder again.
"It's a shame, really. It would've been much more fun if we all experienced the haunted house together. I just hope this one goes better than others I've gone to in the past."
"What happened at those ones?" Joss asked
"I sorta...scared off the actors. Not intentionally, though, of course." He replied, wearing a sheepish smile. "It's a downside to being beeg."
He cleared his throat. "So, uh, are we about ready to get going?"
"Izznd Molleh wif you guys?" Koto managed in the middle of chewing.
"Yeah, where is Molly?"
"Ta-daaaaaaaaaaa!" came a voice from behind the giant.
Joining the circle, dressed in an elaborate and highly detailed red schoolgirl outfit, was interviewer Molly Bee.
"So...how do I look?" Molly asked "Good? ...Good? ...For the love of god, please say good. This took me like three weeks."
"It looks great!" Show exlcaimed. "But, uh...who are you supposed to be?"
"ELSA!" Koto exclaimed.
"Haha...good guess, but no." Molly said, before cluing the three of them in by posing and laughing. "Any more guesses?"
"OH COME ON!" Molly said, now annoyed. "...I'M RED! Wait...are foxes colorblind?"
"And I've never seen Frozen, either!" Koto leaned back proudly, almost tipping backwards before remembering her haybail had no backrest.
"I'm Karin! From Street Fighter!" she exclaimed.
"If it's any consolation, she thought I was Shrek." Show looked around at his co-workers, before raising a brow. "Wait, there's still someone missing. Where's Mr. Davis?"
Joss snorted "Him? Yeah, sure, like he's coming to a company picnic hosted by Ohio-tan in the middle of the state in a costume to have fun with the five of us. Rather see him dressed down than dressed up, if I'm being honest."
"I don't see why. All he needs is a change of clothes and he can be Ariel from The Little Mermaid." Molly sighed. "So, are we going through the haunted house, then?" Show's backpack squirmed a bit.
"I believe so."
"The hell are we waiting around for then?" Koto said, as she hopped off the bail of hay. "Let the Dark Tourna-...ahem, the FUN BEGIN!"
The group of ROSE interviewers and commentators had made their way through a portion of the haunted house. The hallways were dimly lit, and the walls that weren't covered in thick carpetting to prevent fleeing patrons from slamming into them, were covered in fake blood, spelling out things such as "TURN BACK", "LEAVE NOW", and various other ominous messages. A large wooden THUNKing sound was in chorus with the hissing of hydraulic pistons and smoke machines as lids of crates snapped at the group as they passed. The scene was made up like the storehouse of a mansion, with skeletal workers posed around as if they'd died where they stood in a horrible act of violence. One such housekeeper was slumped against the door, a crowbar in their hand to signify they had planned to fight back.
"Cr-creepy..." Koto said, gripping Molly's hand tighter.
Joss led the group, not by choice but rather because she was the least eager to stick to the back. Koto followed her, with Molly behind her intently holding the commentators hand and Sean Show bringing up the rear.
"Frick, wh-what do you think happened here? Some k-kind of serial killer?"
"I-It might've been." said the giant, who was cautiously surveying their surroundings. "O-Or it could've been something m-more..." He paused, as his eyes locked onto a dismembered arm on the floor, with the bone jutting out, and what looked to be a bite mark on the upper forearm.
The backpack squirmed again, light whimpering coming from the dimminutive interviewer still stored for her own safety in the main compartment.
"Just follow me, I think we turn right." Joss said, feeling the safety rails with her hands.
Suddenly an aggressive groan filled the room, and the once lifeless crowbar-wielding staffer lurched to life and began to bang his piece of metal against the very safety railing that had been off limits to the other spooks and spectres that had popped out at them thus far. The metallic clangs rang out through the room, and as if called to arms the skeletons also began to come to motion, heads and jaws creaking and clacking, moans of vengeful murder victims pumped into the room.
"REPAID! REPAID! OUR LIVES WILL BE REPAID!"
"Wha-wha-wha-what do they mean by repaid!?" Show shouted, as his large body started to tremble.
"They want our lunch money!" Koto threw out.
"No one is getting their money stolen today!" Molly said, tugging Show's unmoving feet forward. "Joss! Remember the move we agreed on if Koto was getting problematic in public again?"
Joss nodded and with a rehearsed motion swept her broadcast partner up off the ground, slinging Koto over her shoulder and swiftly making a beeline down the pathway, rounding the doorway into what was presumed to be another hallway.
"C'MON SEAN!" Molly screamed, resorting to planting her feet on one of Show's large legs and pulling on his arm with all her might, yellow curls of her Karin wig flailing around.
"I CAN'T!" He yelled. "MY LEGS ARE LOCKED!"
The large interviewer was stiff as a board, as his arm - the one Molly wasn't grasping at - was down by his side, with his hand clenched into a fist. The sheer amount of fright he was feeling had made him unable to move.
"WHAT DO I DO!?"
"Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie..." the crowbar equiped undead had gotten to their feet and shambled over directly beside them. It raised the crowdbar high above their head.
"I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" Sean screamed, as he instinctively closed his eyes, and quickly turned his large frame to the side, uknowingly causing his backpack to collide with the creature, sending it flying, then crashing to the ground.
"Nice shot, Sean!" Molly cheered.
"Wha?" The giant opened his eyes, and turned his head slightly. The sight of the motionless creature on the ground made him a bit more at ease, as one of his feet managed to shuffle forward, prompting Molly to tug at his arm once again.
"Time to get out of here!"
With Molly's help, they headed down the pathway, rounded the corner, and went through the doorway to the next hall. Show placed his hands on his knees while hunched over, trying to catch his breath.
"How...how did that...thing end up on the ground?" He asked between breaths.
"You hit him!" She exlcaimed.
"Yeah! Your backpack became a weapon when you turned and it sent that undead guy soaring!"
"Really...? Wow." He stood back up straight, as a smile started to slowly form, until a sudden realization hit him, causing his eyes to widen as he gasped.
"Ms. Anderson!" Show slid his arms out from under the straps as fast as possible, placed the backpack on the floor, knelt down in front of it, and quickly unzipped the main compartment while wearing a worried expression.
"Please be okay. Please be okay. Please be okay..." he muttered to himself. Show gingerly grabbed the bottom of the backpack and slowly lifted it up, pouring the dazed interviewer out of the backpack on onto the floor.
"Mommy, Annabelle flushed Teddy-graham..." Morgan muttered, her glasses completely askew.
"Teddy-graham?" Molly said with a raised brow.
"U-Uh, Ms. Anderson are you, um...okay?" Sean asked, as he dropped the backpack to the floor, while still wearing a look of concern.
Morgan's eyes came back into focus, and she groaned in pain. "Mr. Sean Show? Miss Bee? W-w-what happened?"
Show chuckled nervously. "Y-You see, u-uh, what happened is that, and i-i-it wasn't my intention at all b-but I was scared and-"
"He basically used you as a weapon against a zombie." Molly interjected.
"What? That's what happened."
The giant sighed as he placed his face in his hands out of embarrassment. "I'm so sorry."
Suddenly the lights in the hall came up, the spooky ambient sounds stopped, and the three interviewers looked around confused.
"...is that supposed to happen-"
Show's question was cutoff by a rather stern sounding voice from behind him, causing the large interviewer to look over his shoulder. Standing near the three of them was the crowbar wielding staff member from earlier and a rather disappointed older man with a long conical beard and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. Sean let out a small yelp as he quickly backed away, as the staffer stood there with his arms crossed, glaring at Show.
"Listen, I took part in this whole deal to have some fun and give people some scares, not to be knocked off my feet by some blunt object." He said, as he then pointed at the cowering giant.
"You. Out. Now," the older man said.
"Wha-what?" Show stuttered.
"Get out of here, before he has you escorted out."
"Hold on a second!" Molly shouted. "That was a complete accident! He didn't do it inten-"
"You have to leave, too. Along with your other friend."
"I'm not going to repeat myself. If you want to blame someone, blame the lumbering oaf."
Sean grabbed his backpack as he stood up to his feet, now towering over the older man and staff member. He rubbed the back his neck, while sighing again. "I understand, and I'm sorry. We'll leave."
"R-right, good, we can't allow that kind of, uh, behavior here." the older man said stroking his beard and ushering himself and the previously KO'd staff member back down the hall to reset the attraction.
Molly turned her attention to Show. "Are you serious? He called you a lumbering oaf, Sean. That's not right."
The giant smiled weakly. "It's okay, Miss Bee, honestly. I'm not bothered by that. And of what I saw and experienced, I had fun! A lot more fun than I've had in past haunted houses. Besides..." He looked down at Morgan. "Ms. Anderson won't have to stay in that cramped backpack anymore, which I'm sure she's okay with. Right, Ms. Anderson?"
"I'd like some water and a cookie, please." Morgan said stumbling to her feet with the help of Molly.
"We'll get you all the cookies you want, Morgan, promise."
The three interviewers began to make their way down the hall. While they made their exit, Show chuckled to himself suddenly.
"What's so funny?" Molly asked.
"Just wondering how Ms. Koto's reacting to the rest of the house, is all. She seemed pretty creeped out at the last spot."
"Knowing Koto? She's probably made Joss go deaf by now due to shouting so much." Molly laughed some herself.
"Think she tried to feign being brave afterwards?"
"Without a doubt."
"Where are they, anyway?" Morgan asked, finally cleaning her glasses on her skirt. She wore a purple skirt with slight checkering in white, a cream colored sweater with a sefuku collar poking out from the neck that seemed a size too big for her, and plain school uniform flats with kneehigh socks.
"No clue." Molly shrugged.
"With how fast Ms. Mathews ran, they might already be waiting for us outside."
"Guess we'll see when we get there."
The three continued to make their exit, conversing here and there, the whole building now significantly less spooky with all the lights on and no machinery working. That didn't prevent Morgan and Sean Show from clutching the braids of Molly's wig as a security leash. As they left, voices could be heard outside.
"'Scuse me? You have a maneuver planned out with Molly to shitcan me from the room?"
"Koto it's not-"
"You say problematic, I call it 'quirky', ya feel? I'm cool, I still give DH Pierce car rides!"
"Koto you're taking this too ha-, oh, hi fellas."
The two turned to the emerging trio, all looking like they were still embarrassed from the precedings. The five stood in silence until a crisp crunch of an apple in Koto's mouth sounded out. She pointed to Morgan's costume.
"Elsa." she said smiling. "Finally got one right today." She turned and started to walk off from the others "Last one to the face painting table is a slowass!"