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    Information Warfare [Closed]

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    Tsubine
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    Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 5:55 am




    Neil held a small bundle of brown paper as he walked through the halls of his manor. It couldn't contain more than three loaves of bread, but the shape wasn't right. If anything, it looked like a giant flip phone was in the packaging. It was mainly square, but there was something odd sticking out like a large antenna. Either Neil was a bigger fan of the 1980s than he let on, or this wasn't a cell phone. There was a bit of pride in his step—more than usual.

    Neil knocked on the door to a second-story bedroom. It was where his currently most-trusted staff member resided. "Maria, meet me in my office in five minutes." Neil did not offer an explanation as to why, even if she asked. In fact, he left after giving her the time. In his office, Neil set the bundle down on his desk. It lay on the side that guests would be on—not his own side. Hearing a knock, Neil leaned back in his chair, a wry smile on his face. "Come in, come in."

    Neil gestured for his little companion to sit down across from him. "Sit, Maria." Neil seemed slightly more welcoming today. He nodded to the package. "That is for you. Open it." Inside... was a fresh loaf of bread from the best bakery in Grandview. But that wasn't the main part of it. There were three books there as well. They might be children's books, but there was a reason for that. "I heard you are progressing well in learning how to read and write. I thought I might pick you up some books to help you along."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 6:21 am



    Maria was done with her chores and had nothing else to do, except learn. She had a few reading and writing assignments that had been given to her, so she sat in the middle of her bedroom and was trying to learn. Unfortunately, she wasn't having an easy time with it. She didn't understand something about i's being after c's or why the comma went before an s after a word. It was confusing! Out of frustration, Maria threw her pencil an kicked at the books, groaning in anger until a knock came to the door. She immediately shushed and tried cleaning up real fast. "Who's there?" she asked cheerfully. She still hadn't mastered the "come in" or "who is it" greetings that were more accepted. She heard Neil's voice and perked up, completely forgetting about her work, "Okay! I'm coming!"

    Maria brushed her hair a bit, ignoring the mess on the floor, and hurried along to Neil's office. She was going to just rush in, but remembered getting in trouble for doing that before. She knocked and waited. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Frankie down the hall way waving at her and calling out to her. The moment Neil said she could come in, she rushed inside and locked his office door. She leaned down and looked through the keyhole to see if Frankie would move on, but Neil spoke up and grabbed her attention. She hurried over to the chair and sat down. She looked at the package and a star sparkled in her eye when she realized what it was. "Yummy! Thank you." she said and hugged it, but glared at the books. The glare faded a moment later. "It's hard and I don't understand some things." she said and opened up the first book, "I like the pictures in this one." And she began reading.

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 7:39 am




    Neil still did not fully understand why Maria was so afraid of Frankie. It was beginning to be a bit of an annoyance. If she couldn't work alongside someone like Frankie, then one of them would probably have to be let go. He'd address this tomorrow in the weekly staff meeting. "I will never understand your fascination and infatuation with bread. It is so simple, but... I will not complain. You are not like many of the other women in Grandview, Maria. You like the simple things, which is good for both my chefs and my bank account." Neil smiled and motioned to the books.

    "I do understand that learning to read can be hard. It is... not something that is easy to pick up later in life I imagine. But it will eventually all click and you will be able to read books that have far better stories than those." Neil crossed his legs, putting one shoe on his desk. "Tell me, Maria. It has been a few months since you have come to be part of the Scarletelli. What do you think of it? I know you don't get the most exciting jobs, but I like to keep you by my side—and usually, I am not an exciting person."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 8:07 am



    "Mister Phil says it's cause I've never had nothing good. Wait..." Maria stopped and pointed at the air, repeating that sentence in her mind a few times and then spoke up again, "Mister Phil says it's because I haven't had ever had anything good." She stopped again, thought about that sentence, smiled, and nodded. "Yes, that is how I'm supposed to say it... Mister Phil says that not having anything before makes me like what other people find basic. It's why the bathroom is my favorite room. I'm allowed to lock it and it's clean and helps me stay clean as well. My second favorite room is this one, though." Maria looked around the room and then returned to her books to begin reading.

    Maria dazed out again until he said her name. It was the best way of getting her attention. "Exciting jobs always meant someone was getting hurt, so I'm glad that they are not exciting, but um..." she thought about what his question was and stared at him while coming up with an answer. She did this often, but it always meant her answer had something to do with him. She smiled again and shrugged. "I don't want to be anywhere else." she said as her answer. Maria liked it here. She liked being around Neil and sometimes Frankie was fun. Now that she was learning more, she wasn't always scared of him, but that was only when Mister Phil was around. He told Frankie to keep his hands to himself.

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 8:34 am




    Out of all of the strange things Maria had said in the past, this was the one thing Neil understood the most. A locking door was something Neil would have killed for in the past. He actually did do so. He was glad that Maria didn't have to go through what he had to to get a locking door. Maria had a chance in this city, and more than that... she had a chance to get out. But there was a part of Neil that didn't want her to get out. He liked having her around. Maria's simple "I don't want to be anywhere else" touched Neil a bit, and his smile softened into one of care. "I'm glad that you don—"

    The sound of cracking wood shut him up. Neil sighed and stood. People were trying to kill him again? Sheesh, you'd think that people would learn not to do this. "Maria..." Neil spoke calmly before switching to the voice that sent shivers down even a statue's spine. "Let us go and greet our guests." Neil nodded for Maria to go out before him, as he had some things to prepare. He put a bookmark in Maria's book and closed it for her before putting on his coat.

    Downstairs, four burly men stood with arms crossed in the broken remains of Neil's doorway. They had thick black cudgels, and one had a fireman's axe in his hands from breaking down the door. A fifth man stood between them, his face horribly scarred. He wore a suit almost as nice as Neil's, and he did not carry a visible weapon. He was quite obviously the leader.

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 9:29 am



    Maria's head spun around at the sound of cracking wood. It was loud and coming from the front of the house. She looked back to Neil and just waited for the signal. Once she got it, she was up and out of his office. Maria quickly moved to a room at the front of the house and slipped out the window. She slid down from the second story, landing lightly in the grass, and then rushed around to the front door. They had taken out anyone that was already out here, so they wouldn't be expecting her. When she came up behind them, Maria didn't hesitate. She had three knives in her hand, all seemingly coming out of nowhere. Within two seconds, each knife was thrown at the backs of each mook that stood in Neil's door. She quickly drew a second batch as they realized what was going on and she tossed two at the other she had not hit, unfortunately not recognizing the unarmed man as the leader. The men were in pain and Maria was ready to throw more if they turned to her, but she froze like a turret in the front door way. "The next won't allow any of you to live. Move and so will I. Your host will be here soon."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 11:20 am




    Neil clapped as he walked into view from the top of the stairs. The wide stairway allowed him to quite easily walk into view without much trouble. "Excellent aim, Maria." The one goon that remained standing turned from Maria to Neil, his eyes narrowed. The scarred man glared at Neil, his eyes angry. "That is quite the welcome you show a guest." Neil stopped halfway down the stairs, a wide smile on his face and a cigar between his teeth. "And that's quite the thanks you show your host." Neil's voice was tight and dangerous, and Maria could probably make out the faint red glow to his eye.

    "Now, step into my office. I'm sure we have things to discuss. Unless, of course, you want to end up as mulch for my garden." Neil motioned for them to follow, including Maria in the gesture. He gave Maria a hand gesture that said to be by his side. In his office, Neil sat across from the scarred man. "So, who—" "The Bellante Trading Company wants your silence on a certain matter." Neil's eye narrowed, his smile fading. "Interrupting me is not very polite." The man didn't seem to be shaken by the threat.

    "You want me to stay quiet about your little smuggling operation? You here to buy me off?" "No, I'm here to ensure you won't say anything to them, or else." "Oh, you're threatening me? Wow, you sure are rude. I can assure you that I will stay quiet... unless someone provides me with a juicy enough secret. I always pay my informants back equally." "We'll bring you and your family down if we have to." "Oh yes, destabilize Grandview. That sounds smart."


    While Neil seemed unperturbed, the scarred man was getting irate. "We'll hurt anyone you care about, starting with that little gi—" "Now listen, my a-horse's-ass-is-prettier-than-me friend. I have put up with your rudeness this entire time. It pertained to me or my family or my business. However, Maria has done nothing to wrong you. If you are upset about her knifing your minions, then maybe you should have knocked first." Neil turned his head to Maria. "Maria, isn't that right?"
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 11:35 am



    Neil on one side, Maria on the other. More than half of their little army had been taken down within seconds by a young girl they just didn't see coming. Retaliation was foolish. This was the only time Maria actually looked frightening, when she was in battle mode and ready to kill for Neil. Maria was a little ninja, so when she was told to be by Neil's side, she practically disappeared and reappeared next to him. In reality, she was a quick little monkey who darted over to his side. Once in Neil's office, she stood off to the side of his desk, but behind him. Her knives never left her hands, but she kept them behind her back as if she were innocently standing there. She wasn't hiding them, it was more of an "I won't attack if you don't fuck up" gesture. Maria stayed silent, but her irritation was growing. She did not appreciate the repeated interruption and rude behavior they were showing toward Neil.

    Maria held back a chuckle when Neil went sarcastic. Did these guys even realize what Grandview was? Maria didn't either; however, she knew it was scary. When Neil got defensive of her, Maria froze. She didn't want to look at him in shock because she knew that would hint something toward other people. She knew better than to show her leaders weaknesses, changes in behavior, or hinting at codes or signals they had. She learned this from the Vonnera. That didn't stop her from wanting to smile wider than she had before. She actually felt something warm in her stomach right then. "Right." she nodded and showed a smile quite a bit more devious than normal, "Barging into someone's home, breaking down their door, and threatening them is not the smartest way to make friends or get what you want. It really only gets you a knife... or two..." Maria looked to the mook she hit twice, "...in your back."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 12:24 pm




    Neil let out a hearty laugh. "You did not tell me you were so good at jokes, Maria! Good jo—" "ENOUGH OF THIS FOOLISHNESS!" The scarred man slammed a knife into Neil's desk, causing everything to shift and rattle. Neil did not glare, but his eye shone with danger. This time, it was a literal shine. "I will not be made a fool by a brat and a one-eyed thug. I am only going to say this one more time, you keep quiet or—" "Or what?" Neil's voice was flat. "You don't scare me."

    Neil stood, eyeing the scarred man. "I could grind you up right here and not even blink. You would be turned into a paste and thrown into the sewers and I wouldn't care to learn your name, boy. I am a being of far, far greater power than you or your boss. I am a mortal who has come into contact with those of the Nether and came out stronger. They gave me power, and I will not waste it on you or your goons. If you want me to stay quiet, then try to kill me. I'll break every bone in your body before you can scream for help." Neil turned to Maria. "Maria. Kill him. And all but one of his goons. ...The one you made a joke about, spare him. He gets to tell his boss what he saw."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 1:06 pm



    Maria smiled so widely when she made Neil laugh like that. She felt her heart sore a little and she wanted to jump for joy. She would have too, if it weren't for her self control. Of course, that feeling was snatched away by the outburst of the leader. Maria felt her hand twitch. She was ready to throw her knives if she needed to. She felt a little anxious, wanting to jump forward at these bastards like a dog wanting to protect it's master. She received her orders, so the first thing she did was dart forward and roundhouse kick the joker away from his friends. The others attempted to retaliate, but with a graceful twirl, Maria slit two throats. The two that remained were the leader and one that was trying to flee Neil's office. Maria decided to take care of the leader first, so he now had her attention.

    Maria side stepped the man as he swung a knife at her. She sidestepped again when he brought out a second and used that as well. Maria was calm and confident in her movements. The man was irate and become worse. He swung his knives at her in a flurry of anger, missing each one until she had to block using one of her own knives. Maria was quick, but this man's strength overpowered her. He pushed her back, causing her to trip over one of his men. His knife slipped passed hers and into her upper right shoulder. She grit her teeth, but not a single noise came from Maria as she kicked him off. The two quickly stood and he charged her again. The moment the man got to close, she roundhouse kicked him again and then added an extra spin to bring her knife back around, stabbing into his head.

    Maria then darted out of the office and toward the front door without hesitation. She began her way back upstairs a minute later. She finished off the one that fled and returned to Neil. She seemed to not even feel the pain in her shoulder. She acted like it wasn't there, but it was still bleeding quite a bit. "Do I have to clean this up?" she asked, hoping for him to say no. It wasn't usually her job, but if he told her too, she wasn't going to argue. "And what do you want to do about the big door in the front?"

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 1:49 pm




    Neil did not watch the scene unfold behind him. Just like how cool guys don't look at explosions, the cooler guys don't need to watch their lackies kill the opposition. Neil turned around when he heard Maria come back in. He smiled and motioned for her to sit down. As he began to sit, he paused. "Maria, you've got a little..." Neil pointed on his shoulder where her wound was. "Let me get a doctor for you. You might need some painkillers too, so you'll have the rest of the day off from chores. More if the doctor says so."

    Neil pulled out a telephone. Not a modern one with buttons. No, this was one of those with the cup earpiece and a rotary dial. "I'll get someone on it. We keep a spare or two in the cellar for this occasion." Neil finally got an answer. "Doctor Hasegawa, it's Neil. We have a minor stabbing at my place... Yeah, just bring a small bag. Right, I'll pay your housecall fee too don't worry." Neil then stood and paced a bit behind his desk. "You did a splendid job, Maria. Let's go wait for the good doctor downstairs." Neil took her with an arm around her shoulders downstairs and to one of the sitting rooms. "Going out the window was a smart move. You will do well as my bodyguard."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 2:00 pm



    Maria looked to the wrong shoulder at first, but then saw the blood. She didn't even seem phased. "Do I need one?" she asked and pulled her shirt away to look at the wound through her collar. "It's just a stab hole." she explained. She began poking at it, which made it bleed a bit more. "I guess I do." Maria sat down where she had been told, "But don't waste painkillers on me. They don't work." She kept playing with the wound like she was fascinated with it. Maria couldn't remember what pain actually felt like, which was a good thing. This was barely a sting in her book, more like an itch. Maria happily went with Neil back down stairs once he was done talking to the doctor. "My chores are actually done. I did them really early because I wanted to see if I could stay near you today." Maria never asked to be with him, or participate in his dealings. She just wanted to be near him. Whether that meant she was sitting in the far corner of a room he was in, or right at his table, she didn't care. It's where she liked to be.

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 3:58 pm




    Neil was a bit surprised at what she said. She did the chores earlier so she could be with him? "Interesting... Not something I would have thought to come from you. Although, I can't say I blame you. I am terribly interesting." Neil gave a sarcastic smile and motioned for Maria to sit down. "So, you said something earlier that caught my attention. Painkillers do not work? Do you need higher doses or is it that you have no need for them? No matter why, I would like to know why. It could change what errands I send you on. It will not affect your daily duties, however."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 4:08 pm



    "No, you're not interesting." Maria said honestly and with a smile, "You're just my favorite person in this world. I like being around you." Maria sat down and kept playing with her wound. She didn't care that she was ripping it and making it worse. It was itching her. Neil brought up what she had said. "I have no need for them." she said as she wiped her blood on her skirt, "Vonnera made sure of it. He hit me a lot, stabbed me, shot me, had horses pull my body until my limbs weren't in my sockets anymore..." Maria explained all of this like she was speaking of her daily duties, "He said I needed to learn to not feel pain. He had some people come in with Arcana that altered the way I felt it while they beat me. He did it so often that my brain now thinks most pain is an itch or something... It's annoying." Maria's shoulder twitched a bit and she began scratching at it again. "Annoying, but it worked for him. He said me not feeling pain made me the perfect shield. Like this, I don't hesitate to take a hit for someone and can get up again to keep fighting for them. If you don't feel it, you don't fear it."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Thu May 12, 2016 5:16 pm




    "Disgusting." Neil shook his head, then raised a finger. "Not you, him. Gabriel... I never knew he was into that sort of business. And while I find what he did to you deplorable, I can say that it does make you all the more suited to be my bodyguard. I will not use you like a shield. I think that is a waste. Instead, Maria... you are my undulling sword. You will forever shine bright and be a beauty whose killing ability and defense strength will never falter. It is good that you do not fear pain too. I think it makes you far more trustworthy. Torture simply won't work, and that is a trait few people have. Even I barely have the ability to keep calm under torture." Neil stretched. "But even so, I will not use you solely as a sword. Maria, you are still a member of the Scarletelli. I will not let anyone take you away, harm you, or anything. You will only be able to leave my side if I say so. And that is something I simply do not see happening any time soon."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Thu May 12, 2016 6:28 pm



    Maria's eyes widened. She was completely horrified. For that single moment, she felt sick to her stomach and completely appalled at her own existence. She was going to say something, but Neil raised a finger. He wasn't talking about her. Maria visibly relaxed. The whites of her eyes has become red in that short time and evidence of tears were apparent. Luckily, she felt better the moment he clarified. She was glad to hear she wasn't just his sword, nor was she his shield. She nodded in agreement, liking his arrangement. "Neil..." she spoke up, but it sounded like her voice cracked. She was hesitating. She cleared her throat and sighed. "What does it mean when a girl belongs to you?" she asked nervously, "I mean... When someone say 'you're my girl' or... wait... That's not what I mean."

    Maria thought for a moment. She got that one wrong again. "When someone says 'you're gonna be my girl', I mean. Is that a good thing? A-And if it is, can a guy belong to a girl? Like... could a girl say to a guy that same thing, but with guy instead of that with girl?" Maria knew she was sounding strange, but she couldn't get the words right. She stood up in frustration and stomped her foot. She rubbed her forehead, trying to reword what she was saying, but it wasn't coming to her! "Can a man belong to a woman to? Or do men just own women? Are there any free women that can work like you do? Or are all women slaves and workers? I mean... Ugh!" she kicked hard at one of the dead bodies, so hard that she fell on her ass. "I don't know what I mean anymore! The words aren't working like they should."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri May 13, 2016 7:46 am




    Neil was confused initially by what she meant. Then, he smiled. Neil, the cold-hearted, cynical, demon-contracting, murdering sociopath... found this girl to be quite cute when she wasn't being a ditz or killing someone. He stood and helped her up before sitting back down. "It is okay, Maria. You got your point across quite well. For things like this... words, they usually are quite insufficient. Especially when you are just learning how to read, you will not have a vocabulary as astute as most." Neil was trying to use simpler words around her now, but he still let one slip by every now and then.

    "Whe someone says that, it means they are either," Neil began counting with his fingers, "confident, possessive, stalking, or stupid. What a guy should do is ask politely—'would you be my girl?' And yes, a girl can do the same to a guy or another girl. Hell, even guys can do the same to guys, but I'm not particularly a fan of that. What a guy means when he says that is that he feels a strong desire to be with that woman. It is not an ownership like how I own this mansion. It is more like..." Neil had to think on something to compare it to. "I honestly can not think of a good way to describe it other than a strong agreement on friendship."

    "You and I have something similar to that, but it's not quite that big. When a guy wants a girl to be his, he wants to kiss her and do intimate things with her—something I do—I don't think I ever asked, Maria. How old are you?"
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri May 13, 2016 9:11 am



    "Astute." she repeated immediately. She had a habit of doing that on words she never heard before. Half-way through his explanation, she did it again. "Friendship." she said, tilting her head. She heard this word before, but it was more of a clarification for herself. It could happen between friends. Maria's mind began racking up quite a few more questions, but she had to keep listening first! And she was glad she did. "You and I?" she did it again, but with more curiosity. Okay, so she just had a habit of repeating things she found interesting. Maria was excited when he asked a question about her! That was amazing! She held up her hand and counted out a few things, but was immediately confused. "I don't know..." she said and then looked around her skirt. She grabbed a knife from one of her many hidden areas and looked at it. "I got this when I was five. I remember the day because it was the only birthday present that I ever got... Miste-... Gabriel marked it for each year I didn't die..." Maria counted the marks up. They were on the handle of the blade and each were very small, but deep. "What is five with nineteen put with it?" Yes, this little lady was actually twenty four years old.

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri May 13, 2016 9:46 am




    She didn't know? That was truly unfortunate. The number she gave made Neil's jaw drop a bit. "Twenty-four. I... Huh, I never pegged you for being older than maybe sixteen. You are small for your age. That... is actually a good thing. Most people will underestimate you. But since you are definitely old enough to know this, I'll continue where I left off." Neil thought back for a moment, then nodded when he had his train of thought back. "When a guy wants a girl to be his, he wants to kiss her and do intimate things with her. These things involve trusting the privacy, feeling, and safety of one's own body to another. I'm not sure if you know of sex, but that is what I mean. If you don't know what sex is, we'll discuss that at a later date. I don't think right now would be good for that conversation."

    "Anyways, we are friends, Maria. At least in the most basic of sense. I trust you with things, so you are my friend. So to speak. You are my employee first though. I can not let my liking of you to interfere with my business, you see. If I did that, then people would think I am soft and they would try to hurt you or me. And then I will have to buy another door. Anyways, Maria. If you are trying to ask if you are my girl or if I am your man, the answer is no. That could change in the future, but... I can not and will not promise anything. The one thing I do not want to do is to get your hopes up. Even I am not that evil."
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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri May 13, 2016 10:09 am



    "Gabriel said I was born too early so I'll stay small forever." Maria gave a quick explanation of her age and size. She didn't really like it, but if it made her more useful to Neil, she'd be happy about that. He continued his explanation, but she only smiled. She waved her hands and shook her head. "No, no. I know about sex. Someone tried it with me a long time ago and got their dick cut off because of it." Maria said as she twirled a knife between her fingers and then put it away somewhere.

    "I know I don't know a lot of things about people and most basic things like reading, but I know lots about other stuff. I know the body like the back of my hand. I know about sex because it was going to be my job for Gabriel's guards; I made sure it didn't work for them though. A friend read me a book about  this love thing one day and decided I didn't want just sex. It was just about this woman who was hit all the time by the one she belonged to. She thought she loved him and he loved her, but he hurt her always and so she ran away. She found a man that didn't hurt her anymore and she gave herself to him. Sounded nicer than being a sex slave. Gabriel said that was just a fairy tale, but the lady who read me the book said it wasn't. Gabriel was mean to me, so I listened to her more. After that, I started my combat training. He didn't want to go through the hassle of getting one of his men's dick cut off again. And besides, he said my skill with a knife was worth more than lying on my back forever."

    Maria stopped there. She had pretty much proven there was a fairy tale going on in her head right now. She was trying to understand it and herself at the same time. It was just becoming more difficult for her. Grandview was not the place to try and be happy, even if it's all you want. Neil continued on after her story and Maria listened. "I want to be your friend first, though." Maria looked to the ground when she said that. She was being honest, but she didn't think he'd want to hear that. He even though she'd get in trouble for saying it. "I mean... Employees are good, I think, but aren't friends better? Th-They mean something and would do more than an employee, right? I mean, I-..." she whimpered, still staring at the floor, "I asked cause of Frankie... He's the one that keeps saying I will belong to him and if it means what you say it means, then it might not be that bad... I think. At least I'd be important to someone, maybe. And he's never hit me. He always smiles at me. It's scary because it confuses me, but..." Maria sighed and curled her knees to her chest, hiding her face in them, "I don't know..."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri May 13, 2016 10:32 am




    Neil was somewhat surprised she knew what sex was. More than that, he was relieved. She was already a bit slow on the uptake on some things, but knowing what sex was was a relief. "And that is why I prefer you as a bodyguard." Neil smiled slightly, then listened to her story. It wasn't sad to Neil. It was standard Grandview. It was bad that it happened to such a sweet, young girl, but it wasn't uncommon. "Well, I am surprised to say that I agree with Gabriel on that. You do have an uncanny ability to use a knife. ...And more than that, I still have no idea where you hide them all. I am impressed by that."

    A friend first? Neil gave his apologetic smile, shaking his head. "I will let you in on a secret. Frankie is not someone you want to be your man, and you do not want to be his woman. He is a boy, and he does not know how to keep it in his pants. Frankie is good with a rifle, no doubt. However, he is not someone who... He is not someone who you can trust to be faithful." Neil's apologetic smile faded. "Maria. You are important to me. You are surprising me every time we sit down and talk with how much you know. You may not be book-smart, but I have rarely seen a female as street smart as you. You are an invaluable person to me and the Family. And besides, first is not always best. The second mouse gets the cheese."

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    Re: Information Warfare [Closed]

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