A Return Trip Home

AN: As I have stated before, this is a story using my characters and Kate's characters. Thanks go out again to Kate for letting me use her characters! Please, e-mail all comments to FrankMayn@comcast.net

The last one out of the receptionist office was Brad, who closed the door behind him silently.

The Windia Natives had a lot on their minds. Some could hear the various demons in the hallways, some were worried about the traps that Frank had mentioned back the entryway.

"Frank... what do these traps look like anyhow?" Kate asked as they crept along the fluorescent lit hallway.

Before answering, the Persona User glanced at his surroundings. It seemed to be darker than the last time his group was there. Judging from the constant flickering from overhead, Frank determined that the lights were about to go out.

"That's the tricky part. They blend in with the floor, so it's hard to tell where they are. I remember that there are two of them here." Frank explained.

The rest of the group filed past Frank and Kate. Apparently, Brad was leading them toward the elevator.

Frank was going to say something, when a startled cry came from a few steps near the elevator.

Everyone turned to the source of the sound, only to find Diane, being electrocuted by a trap. Sparks of electricity were flying from the floor, making the poor woren's fur stand on end. After a few seconds, the electricity finally died down, leaving Diane with poofed out fur, smoking, and her tail sticking straight up.

Alex regarded his sister with a grin and a chuckle. Noticing his sister's fur, he decided to speak up.

"Gee Diane... That look is good for you!" Alex said with a wide grin.

Diane shook once to unpoof her fur. Once that was done, she carefully eased herself off the trapped floor tile. After doing that, she gave Alex the patented Diane Brandshire look of death.

"Go on... keep laughin'... y'all be lookin' a lot worse than this yerself... Jes remember... I know where you sleep..."

If looks could kill, then Alex Brandshire was dead, skinned, and left for the vultures. Wisely, the older Brandshire decided to shut his trap. The only sound in the hallways now was Ellen, chuckling lightly.

"C'mon, you big stripped furball..." Ellen said lightheartedly. "Let's just get into the elevator."

The group of teenagers piled into the elevator. Once the metal doors shut, Yuki spoke up.

"The elevators work, but someone rigged them to only go up or down one floor at a time. I couldn't override that." Yuki explained as she pressed the button for the second floor.

The Windian Natives gave a yelp as the elevator car began to move upward at a slow pace.

"Wha' is this thin'?" Diane yelped

"Hey... just relax, and enjoy the ride." Brad said as he fingered his spear.

"Ride??? What do you mean???" Janet said as she continued to look around, determined to figure out how this contraption worked.

"We're moving up. This elevator takes us up or down without the use of stairs." Ellen explained.

"Like magic???" Kate asked innocently. She looked at Frank, remembering what he had told her back in the hospital.

Frank sighed again. "No... there's a machine above us using a pulley to pull the car up."

Kate was going to say something else, when the elevator car dinged and the doors opened.

Frank motioned for the group to file out of the elevator. As soon as Tellka was out, the doors shut, nearly catching the warrior's tail.

Tellka whirled and began to glare at the doors. As her tail lashed about angrily, she unleashed a string of curses in the Woren language, punctuating each word with a swing of her staff.

Kate and Frank had to drag the angry woren away from the elevator doors. A dent was beginning to appear, and they did not want to risk the chance of the doors being jammed when they needed to go up another floor.

The group of teenagers made their way down another maze-like hall, looking around for any demons that may be out for blood. Fortunately, nothing decided to stop them, so the adventuring teenagers decided to stop in an office.

Immediately after entering, the Persona Users and their friends decided to spread out. Ellen and Alex were in one corner, talking amongst themselves. Yuki was seated at another computer trying to gather more information. Brad was seated at a green iMac, and was currently involved in an intriguing game of solitaire. Janet was staring out of a window, and was in awe at the eerie white landscape and the tall buildings that were in Lunarvale. Neko-Chan was curled up on a chair, trying her best to catch a cat-nap before they went back into the hallways again. Kate and Tellka were also talking amongst themselves, while Diane just glanced about the office in sheer boredom.

Frank, on the other hand, decided to explore the office. The Persona User had noticed four lockers along one wall that looked like they had not been opened yet. Frank decided to open them one by one.

The first locker Frank had opened up rewarded him with some healing items. The Persona User pocketed the 5 BloodOrbs and 5 ShinyCandies that were sitting on the shelf.

Frank approached the second locker and yanked it open. This time, the Persona User was rewarded with a Kevlar Vest.

Ellen took the time to approach him. "A Kevlar Vest???"

Frank nodded to his friend. "You want it, Ellie? I don't really have a need for this thing."

Ellen took the vest from Frank. "Thanks Frank... I have this feeling..."

"Don't say it, Ellie... I don't want anything happening to anyone." Frank said quietly.

Ellen regarded her friend with a confused look. She shrugged, then slipped the Kevlar Vest on over her school uniform. Feeling hot, she slipped out of her leather jacket, which she handed to Kate.

"Here... You seem to be the only one without a jacket... You can borrow mine, Kate, since this thing is warm." Ellen said to the younger, yet curious woren. She punctuated her last sentence by poking the vest that she was now wearing.

Kate purred at the design on the back of Ellen's jacket. "Thanks Ellen! I'll take care of it for you!" Kate slipped into the jacket. It was a little big, but not too big for her.

Frank smiled at the scene before returning to the lockers. The third one that he yanked open had a case of shotgun shells. What caught Frank's attention was the fact that they had a metallic gold casing all the way around it. Prying a shell open, Frank discovered that each shell was filled with gold pellets.

"GoldPacks... Not as strong as my SilverPacks... But the ammo case is enchanted, meaning that someone can hold as much ammo as I can... Thank you Philemon..." Frank said quietly as he slipped the ammo case into his backpack.

The Persona User approached the final locker. However, as soon as Frank opened the locker...

"Huh?" Was all that Frank got out, before something on the locker door blew up, sending him flying back and onto the floor.

"Agh... booby trapped... I should have been more careful..." Frank said painfully.

"Frank! Are you all right?" Kate asked. The woren was now crouching beside the Persona User, her tail waving in worry.

"Wow... look at all the fishies..." Frank muttered before shaking his head. "I think so... A few bruises... I should have been more careful." The Persona User slowly got up and dusted himself off. Upon approaching the locker, he found a shotgun with a sling, hanging off a hook inside.

"A shotgun... Pistol grip, about the same size as mine... pump action as well..." Frank said as he removed the gun from the locker. "Of course, mine has a stock and is a Remington M870 model... This is a Mossburg M500 shorty..."

However, Diane had gotten a glimpse at what Frank had found. The woren casually strolled up to him, batting her eyelashes, and waving her tail about innocently.

"Ah... Frank..." Diane said with cavity inducing sweetness.

Frank turned around, wide-eyed. If there was one weakness the Persona User had, it was a girl he knew being overly cute.

"Uh... y... y... yeah Diane?" Frank stammered out.

Diane continued to smile that candylike smile. "D'ya mind if I take tha' from ya? I mean... compared ta some of th' weapons y'all use..."

"Um... er... ah..." Frank stammered out.

The woren's tail continued to wave as she continued to bat her eyelashes cutely at the Persona User.

"I mean...It ain't so big, compared t' some of th' weapons ya use... and girls like me need t' protect themselves..." Diane punctuated the sentence with a low, throaty purr.

Immediately, Frank handed over the shotgun without a second thought.

"Why thank ya, Frank..." Diane said with a grin. Soon after, Frank handed her the GoldPacks as well.

While Diane was looking over the gun that Frank had given her, Alex was still shocked by how she had acquired it so easily.

"How... how did she..." Alex stammered.

Ellen was still laughing at the scene that had just been played out. "Love... oh my... Frank... Diane just played one of his weaknesses!!!"

"Weakness? What weakness? What are you talking about?" Alex said, before scratching his head in confusion.

Ellen continued to laugh as she watched her boyfriend's ears twitch and his tail wave in confusion.

"Alex... when a girl that Frank knows starts acting very cute and helpless around him... He breaks down! He can't help it!" The Persona User said with a giggle.

It took Alex a few seconds to absorb the words that had come out of his girlfriend's mouth. After the realization hit him, he began to laugh and could not stop.

Janet, however, was looking at Diane and her new toy. The Windian unholstered her Beretta and looked at it. She then looked at Diane and her shotgun before gazing back at the tiny handgun that was in her right hand.

"Hey! Why does she get the bigger gun???" Janet whined.

Diane turned to glare at the Windian. "Because I'm tha one who's used ta bein' around these weapons an' all... Say...what does this do?" With that, Diane began to fiddle with the trigger on the empty shotgun.

Alex began to get nervous. Those who were watching could tell, since his tail was waving slowly, and his ears were twitching spastically.

"Um... Diane..." Alex started.

"Kiddin', bro... Jus Kiddin'..." Diane said as she loaded shells into the bottom of her shotgun like she had seen Frank do. After doing that, the woren pumped the gun with a satisfying click. In fact, Diane was all smiles.

"Ahh... I love tha' sound! Nothin' like th' smell o' fresh gunpowder in th' mornin'!" The younger Brandshire had said before slinging the Mossburg onto her back.

It was safe to say that everyone in the room had just rolled their eyes at her.

"Diane..." Alex started, tail waving in worry. "I know how you get when it comes to guns and all... just don't get trigger happy, okay?"

"Alex... Alex... Alex..." Diane said with the cutest grin one could possibly imagine. "Now would ah be th' type o' person that would do somethin' like tha'?"

Both Alex and Ellen looked at each other. With a nod, both of them turned to look at a grinning Diane.

"Yes!!!" Both the Persona User and her boyfriend said in unison.

Diane's ears and her tail drooped. "Ah... yer both no fun..."

Frank's voice then broke the commotion in the room.

"All right... Let's get moving again... I hope that we find this thing soon..."

And with a nod from everyone, the teenagers made their way back into the halls of SEBEC.

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