The New Open Road -- Section 20-D3-HAW

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THE NEW OPEN ROAD -- Branch & Hawthorn (Segment 20-D3) Copyright 2020 Dorie B. Welcome back to The New Open Road. Hawthorn was both relieved and frustrated after he & the anjelica fairies defeated the chameleon monster, created thru the new powers Oluchi and the Starlight Fairies now possess. Relieved, that they won a tough battle. Frustrated, that they were unable to save the life of the homeless man that was transformed into that creature. Both sides look to move on from that encounter, as springtime & cherry blossoms make their annual grand entrance. Cherry Blossom Tales Vol. 3 (The Anjelica) -- FLIGHT ATTENDANT One day in the city of Manassas, Hawthorn Maina & Paige Viswanatha review several applications for a flight attendant position to help with their upcoming charter service. In addition to the usual questions, other required elements included a photo of themselves, past experience, and whether they possess any magic (although they agreed not to use that as a determining factor). Paige is hopeful by what she reads. "Given what's going on, I'm impressed that we got this many talented people interested in the job. I'm intrigued by this guy here." Hawthorn tells her, "There's something interesting about this woman, Paige." After spending a good amount of time reviewing the applications, they settle on five men & women to interview for the position. A smiling Hawthorn turns to Paige & tells her, "Say, this process makes me feel like those judges on National Sing-Off." Paige could understand that feeling too, and wonders if they can handle such a power. He assures her they can do this properly. Meanwhile in Prince George's County, Oluchi Medeiros & Delphinium (in human form) visit the casino at the National Harbor. They await another man who has expressed interest in their powers. At a sports bar, Delphinium spots the man, and casually greets him over. They sit down, order ribs, and discuss business. This man, built with a slight bulk in his muscles, naturally tan with his skin color, and his light brown hair slicked down to the nape, kept a calm face while hearing their proposal. "You've seen our capabilities, so what do you young man have to contribute?" The man wastes no time pitching his offer. "For security reasons, I am to be addressed as Agent Mark. As I understand, you salvaged the transformation pods. I am willing to offer to you some valuable resources as payment for use of those pods." Oluchi couldn't believe there were still people around that cared about those things. He gives the agent the bad news. "I regret to inform you that the pods you speak of have been scrapped for good. However, we possess something that is not only greater in efficiency, but more economical than those outdated relics." Mark was intrigued by this new source. Delphinium explains that her group of fairies have obtained a divine fairy magic that busts open the boundaries of any pod. She asks him exactly what resources does he offer to them. "Here's the deal. I think you're fighting this battle of yours in the wrong realm. I have a small army of talented individuals on my side, just begging to get their hands dirty on somebody." Oluchi is skeptical. He wonders if these people are just a bunch of lowly street punks rather than talented individuals. Mark shows them a video on his phone to alleviate his concerns. The video, recorded at an outdoor training course, shows several men & women blazing through the course with both speed & ease. Delphinium gives him points for this display. Then, the video shows their top recruits displaying their high level magic. That got them really interested. Oluchi says, "They do show some promise after all, but still, what are you trying to get out of your services?" The agent tells them he cannot disclose his true intentions just yet, but he assures him that once he sees them in person, he'll come begging for more. Delphinium looks toward him, and replies "Alright, we want to see these people for ourselves. If we like what we see, then you're on." The agent chuckles, and thanks them. A few moments later, the ribs they ordered make it to the bar. Oluchi was a bit surprised at the size of the rib portions, and offers Mark a share of the entree. A few days later in Manassas, Hawthorn & Paige begin the difficult process interviewing the five finalists, one at a time. It was difficult because all five showed both professionalism, and a good personality they thought would be needed for this job. And then, the last one made their appearance. "Good afternoon, pilots. My name is Jamba Michel." The pilots thought this dark skinned woman looked rather plain, yet equal to the other four before her. Her long off-black hair fell down to the shoulder blades, and she wore a gold framed pair of glasses. Paige asks her, "What do you think makes you qualified for this job?" Jamba calmly answers, "I not only have plenty of experience under my belt, but I also offer a plethora of knowledge with the type of clients you two are seeking." That alone seems to score points in Hawthorn's mind, but he wanted to hear something else from her. "You look quite fit & strong for your age. Do you work out a lot?" "Yes, sir. What you see here is the real me, no magic, no steroids, none of that." As curious as his question was, he was pleasantly surprised to get the answer he hoped for. Paige whispers to him that a prior finalist looked quite strong too. A few moments after, they thank her for coming, and will call her back on whether or not she landed the job. Shortly after, Paige & Hawthorn review what the finalists had to say. Hawthorn says, "Coming in, I was hoping we would have some people that could at least hold their own like we can. These two both look promising for me." Paige agrees, and asks him if he had to pick one right now, which one. He didn't like being put on the spot like that, as she was curious. He thinks about it for a moment, then picks one. Paige chuckles. "I knew you would do that." Somewhere in Charles County, Oluchi & the Starlight Fairies visit the outdoor obstacle course, which was featured in Agent Mark's video. The agent welcomes them to the site, and assures them they have taken all precautions necessary to protect everyone from the pandemic. Oluchi appreciates that. Mark wonders, "Do you always dress that sharp?" Oluchi answers, "Pretty much, but I've known to follow the trends from time to time." Anemone watches a couple of the recruits run the course. She thinks some of the equipment looks military grade, and hopes they didn't steal anything. The agent glances toward her with a peeved look. "Do you think we here would be that foolish? No, this site was left over from a biker gang. They abandoned it a while ago, so we're using it." Oluchi is convinced. After seeing the demonstration, Oluchi asks, "Is is okay that I have a go at the course?" Agent Mark doesn't see anything wrong with that. He heads to the start, and transforms into his elk form. Mark was surprised. "Sir, you didn't tell me you had a transformation. What is this about?" Delphinium replies, "It's called going hands-on. Besides, you never know with him." Oluchi begins his run on the course, and navigates the obstacles with as much ease as the others have. Lilac comments, "He's flying down the course!" Agent Mark was amazed by his speed & strength. He even gives him props for adapting his strategy so his horns wouldn't slow him down. Delphinium concurs. Then, Lilac had a thought for the other fairies. "You know that one spell we did that gobbled up a whole bunch of people? Do you think that one's more powerful now with our new magic?" Anemone knew exactly what she's talking about, and hopes she's not thinking of trying that spell here. Lilac wasn't, but thinks it might be a good time to pull that out next fight. Anemone tells her they'll discuss that when they get home. Oluchi successfully completes the course with a top five time. Exhausted, he is congratulated by Mark & the fairies. After changing back, he comments "That was a good, challenging course. remind me to thank whoever built this place." So now that they've seen everything, the agent is anxious to get a decision. Oluchi says, "Okay, sir. You have a deal, but any shady business means you & your buddies are done. They shake hands to confirm the deal. Cherry Blossom Tales Vol. 3 (The Anjelica) - FISH-TO-FISH CHAT One day in Bellflower, Nara Ishikawa & her father welcome California Minette & his genderfluid white fox Winter (not transformed) over to their house. They take their seats at the liven groom table, while Nara runs to the kitchen for some refreshments. Winter looks over to Cali & says, "That's the mermaid? She doesn't look all that, Cali." He replies, "You be nice to her, Winter. Besides, girls don't need to be so pretty to be good people." Nara's dad approves of Cali's words. "You seem to have a high level of respect. I like that in a young man." Cali wishes he does, noting he's still working to show the same to older people, one of which being an anjelica fairy. Then, Nara enters the room with some snacks & bottled water. She asks him, "So, what's it like being one of those fairies?" Cali says there's nothing too special about it, and explains that he can't fly unless Winter uses their magic to enchant him. Nara couldn't believe he was a wingless fairy. Winter wonders how she felt about being a flying mermaid. She hesitates to answer that, but does so anyway. "Well, the fact I was one shocked me a lot more than becoming one. As you can tell, I'm not the prettiest, and both my dad & I are fine with that. It helps me not stick out to bad guys." Winter gets it that she looks plain on purpose, but they wonder how other people around here feel about that. Nara's dad says it hasn't been as bad as he originally feared. Later, they play a video game together, in which Winter shows their competitive side. Nara ends up winning, which makes the white fox pouty. Cali sees how much fun she's having, and starts to feel something different about her. "I think I'm beginning to like you, Nara." Nara blushed in embarrassment, unsure of what to say. Winter seemed concerned. "Wait, you don't mean..." Nara's dad tells them that she's not trying to think about relationships right now, with everything going on. Then, Cali makes a suggestion: "There's a lady in my realm that does research on merfolk, and I think her services would help you a lot." Nara thought about it, then realizes who he's talking about. "Dad, why hadn't we thought about that before? Thank you so much, California!" Winter isn't sure if that's possible, since there's no outpost for Tanya to operate in Bellflower, let alone make it to Bellflower. Cali reminds them that she has other ways to get around, so it's worth asking. Nara's dad says they'll look into that later on today, and thanks him for the tip. Nara continues to blush somewhat. Cali advises her not to take it seriously. Nara replies, "I'm sorry, that made me a little anxious." Several days later in Heatherdale Beach, a well dressed Nara awaits the arrival of Tanya Hikkomori near the river. Nara wore a gray kinomo with a sea plant print, and was darker on the bottom. Her hair was tied up & held with a flower pin. She looks around & says, "It feels so different here after the last time." Then, Tanya arrives from behind with a large tote. Nara greets her kindly. Tanya came dressed in a yellow kimono with red trim, the same colors as her Sun Koi armor. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Ishikawa," she spoke in Japanese. Nara says likewise, and they settle down on a bench. There was no one else around except for a few joggers because the pandemic had even taken hold in several regions of this realm. Tanya tells her that she recently checked over with her family in Japan, and all of them are doing well. Nara was curious about what's going on at her job. Mrs. Hikkomori says, "The crisis has us at Commonwealth & Chorus surprisingly busy. We're doing stuff that we never thought we had to." Next, Tanya pulled out a notebook and starting writing as Nara explains about her own issues, from concealing her true self from others, to adjusting to new realities. Tanya says, "And you didn't know you were a flying mermaid until last winter? That does sound like a mouthful." Then, she reminds her that she's also does mermaid research, and it's something she takes seriously. "I'll be honest, Ms. Ishikawa, meeting a flying mermaid is something I never thought I would see in my life. The stuff that I could learn about you may be a gold mine of sorts. Don't worry about it right now though, we both have our own personal matters to deal with." Nara understands, but adds "Maybe you can help me figure out what happened to my mother. Not even my dad has seen her for years." Tanya couldn't promise her on that, but does want her to promise to stay out of trouble until they can meet again. And so, Nara thanks Mrs. Hikkomori for meeting with her today, and promises to keep in touch in case something comes up. Before she leaves, Tanya tells her, "You look lovely by the way." That made Nara blush again. Cherry Blossom Tales Vol.3 (The Anjelica) -- FAIRIES FLOCK APART One day in Delmarvia, sad faces drown Harbor City after the announced closure of the amusement park south of town due to the pandemic. Despite being the least affected in the realm so far, they do not want infected visitors around. In fact, the airport has seen a significant drop in passenger flights from both realms. In the Council Chamber, the super regional representatives discuss a plan of action in case what has already stricken Romandia to the west comes their way. Ironically, it was the wasps that presented the best idea--restricting the main roads & AmStar railways to essential personnel only, since they believe limiting long distance travel in a highway system void of gas guzzlers would help promote the idea of keeping spread to a minimum (if any). Up at the Rosy Dove Mansion, the Petal Fairies (in human forms) alongside Courtney Highland & Jenna Doncaster watch the proceedings with great interest. Courtney lowers his head, realizing what this could mean for the people he's shared nearly an entire decade with. "Jen, we need to come up with a plan so the fairies don't get it either." Jenna has an idea, but isn't sure they're going to like it. She tells them, "We need to close the tavern for a while." The fairies groan. Fallon Longwood, the violet fairy, wonders where they will hang out. Courtney replies, "The answer is you won't. We think it's best that each of the fairies stay in their homes for now until we figure out this virus. One thing we do know is that magic is ineffective against it, so we have to wait for a medical solution like everybody else. That includes you fairies." Esther Brownlee lowers her head in disappointment. The snowdrop fairy says her sister Sethunya is not going to take this well. Jenna wonders where she is anyway. The cherry blossom fairy (in fairy form) was practicing in a secluded area near the tavern. She taught herself a new special attack by joining her twin swords together & using her magic to create a powerful double slash that chops a pair of dummy targets in four. Sethunya surveys her damage, and says "That turned out much better. This move is going to wreck those Starlights." Then, she gets a phone call from her sister, telling her to come home as soon as possible. As she does, she hopes nothing bad happened. At the Brownlee's house, Esther brings Sethunya (back in human form) to her room to share the news about the fairy guardians' plan. There was a lot the cherry blossom fairy was looking forward to, and now those plans have been completely wiped away. "But why, sis? What's going to happen with the other fairies?" Esther couldn't give her an honest answer. She tells her to remain calm, and not venture off anywhere they're not supposed to be until all this ends. Sethunya cries, "But that won't stop the Starlights from taking advantage of the situation. We can't just stand down." The snowdrop fairy replies, "I don't like it as much as you do sis, but the fairy guardians know what they're doing. We cannot question their orders now." Sethunya groans, saying that this sucks. Esther asks if some pudding will make her feel better. She nods. On Karis Island, Oluchi & the Starlight Fairies complete a set of "hearts" for future use. Oluchi was watching national news, and asks the fairies "Are you positive your new magic will work with those toys?" Anemone answers, "They will work, sir. In the right settings, the results can be devastating, even against that new giant they got." Oluchi says he'll believe it when they see it. That said, the targets they can choose from are becoming narrower by the day. Lilac however offers a suggested target that's both reliable & plentiful. The only caveat is it's not in this realm. One day in Montgomery County, Nancy Goldsborough was fretting over not having any assistants today, because they're under isolation. Her boyfriend Courtney decides to fill in at her palace in the city of Rockville, which was of great relief for her. As they digest the latest developments, Nancy asks, "How did the Petal Fairies take it? I assume it wasn't well." The fairy guardian shakes his head in frustration. More, he says some of them are worried about potential surprise attacks from the bad fairies. Nancy tells him, "I can see it in your face, you didn't want to leave them like that. If you want, I can help keep a tab on the Petal Fairies in case something goes down. You're not alone in this, Courtney." Courtney appreciates the assistance, and it wasn't a bad idea either since she does have a healthy relationship with them. But for now, Nancy needed the fairy guardian's help with her problems. She had a huge cache of supplies delivered to her, and she needs help in figuring out how to allocate it. Courtney looks around, and says "Hmm, this is going to be tougher than I imagined." Elsewhere in Rockville, Oluchi & the Starlights arrive at an active construction site. A new store was being worked on, and there were plenty of strong men & women on the job. Oluchi says, "Not bad, Lilac. You know a little something after all. Let's get to work then." Delphinium calls upon the power of Morrigan once again. The "heart" that they brought begins to flash & pulse in Oluchi's hand. He tells them, "Let's build our own structure!" He steps back, then launches it into the air as would a quarterback throw a deep pass. Delphinium is confident in its trajectory. The device stops in midair over the front of the construction site, and emits a powerful blast of pink light & energy. Workers with a fairly broad radius were suddenly sucked into the device like a vacuum. Then, an astonishing transformation occurs, creating a new, dark fairy in its place. The Starlights were stunned by the result. The new fairy wore all brown over their gray skin, and had large ebony wings. Oluchi says, "T-That's a fairy. What is this madness?" Anemone replies, "Simple, we feel it's time we fought fairy with fairy." Oluchi considers, saying that more could be better for them, especially after the chameleon battle. Back at Nancy's palace, the duchess' mother Kiran alerts her & Courtney to the new threat on the TV. They watch in horror the Starlights & dark fairy wreck the city without prejudice. Kiran asks, "Those aren't the Petal Fairies, who are they?" Courtney was shocked. "Those are the bad fairies, the Starlights that have been trying to slay my own fairies. I don't recognize the new one though." Nancy says they have to check it out. The fairy guardian however decries that they let Hawthorn know about this first. Kiran agrees. Hawthorn was flying the skyhopper over Tysons Corner when that call from Courtney comes. He too was shocked. "What are those fiends doing in this realm?!" Courtney doesn't know, but sais he & Nancy are going to confront them. Hawthorn tells him, "We'll be there as quickly as possible." Paige realizes this was a serious situation, and says "I guess we're gonna have to wait on confirming that new flight attendant for a while...oh, and you're not going into that battle alone." Hawthorn thanks her for sticking around, though he wishes the anjelica fairies were easily available. Courtney & Nancy transform & intercept the evil fairies at an empty park. Delphinium greets them to the fight. "So the little guy decides to show up. Where's the big guy in the dress?" Courtney replies, "You should be more worried about what Nancy & I are going to do to you." Oluchi doesn't believe they're in a position to do anything. The dark fairy demonstrates that by hitting them with dark feather missiles. Oluchi adds, "I don't know if Hawthorn told you, but we've been making improvements lately." Nancy wonders just how powerful they have become. He changes into his elk form once again, and says they'll show her. They all charge at the couple, and a battle begins. Courtney realizes the dark fairy was more than a match, so he focuses on beating up the Starlights since he has fought them before. Nancy uses light attacks from her Sunshiner Sword, which frustrates the fairy no matter how they attack the duchess. Oluchi notices this, and hits Nancy with an energy blast that coupled with the fairy's attacks, causes a little damage, but knocks her a few yards. She quickly gets up, knowing they have to hang in there before help arrives. A minute later, the skyhopper stops near the park, out of view. Hawthorn & Paige quickly exit the vehicle & see that at least Courtney & Nancy are putting up a good fight. Hawthorn says, "The fight must have just started." Paige adds, "Let's get in there and shine! Oh that's right, you haven't seen my transformation yet." He sees her pull out a magic pen, and asks if that was a warning. Paige shakes her head. Together they change, then leap over the buses & hit the evil fairies with a surprise attack. As they rise again, Delphinium was not pleased. "Now you show up!" Courtney was surprised he had another woman with him. Hawthorn elegantly introduces everyone to his co-pilot Paige Viswanatha. Paige, comfortable in her fancy white cropped top & long skirt with purple bolero, says she's delighted to meet all of them. Oluchi shakes his head, and tells Hawthorn "You have poor taste, boy." That got him an angry blast from his Pilot Light in return. He says, "I'd think twice before disrespecting her." The dark fairy takes her on, but Paige hits her with a combo slash with her Summer Nightblade, which is her pen's true form. The fairy gets up again & smiles at her. That confused her for a moment, a moment they use to blast her with more feather missiles. She slowly resets herself after, commenting how much that hurt. Then, the others charge after the dark fairy, and everyone goes at it once more. A couple minutes later, another fairy swoops in, and attacks the Starlight Fairies for some decent damage. Oluchi looks around, trying to figure out who did that. Courtney sees where the help came from, and it was an unlikely savior. It was Marion Margate, the carnation fairy. Paige asks if that's another anjelica fairy. The fairy guardian shakes his head. "No, that's one of the Petal Fairies that live around here, Marion. [To Marion] How are you here?" The Latina fairy with her red dress & curly black hair replies, "I saw what happened on the TV, and came to help." She aims her new Love Shooter at the dark fairy, and fires a quick shot at their heart. It causes the fairy to struggle in pain. Delphinium screams as this could mean a weakness has been found. Hawthorn looks over at Paige, and says "You thinking what I'm thinking?" She does, but so were the others. They fire at the pilots, but Courtney & Nancy rush in to deflect the barrage. Then, the pilots use their weapons at the dark fairy's heart while they was still down. Seconds later they exploded in bursts of light & sparkles, restoring the people it sucked in back to normal...and more importantly living. Oluchi was frustrated, and fires his mouth blast at Marion in retaliation. She avoids it, and fires back with her shooter. He deflects the shot away with ease. Then, he orders "We need to get out of here!" He & the Starlights magically vanish in flashes of light. Paige examines Marion's new Love Shooter. "That thing is sweet! How did you figure out that fairy's weakness anyway?" Marion replies, "I had been thinking about it with the other fairies here about a way we could help the anjelica fairies & preserve the lives of those transformed by their magic." That was what Courtney wanted to know. "I mean, your love magic shouldn't be that useful, even in that situation." Nancy believes that it's because love comes in many forms, and that can be a powerful thing. Hawthorn agrees. Right now, he feels they need to get these workers to a safe place. And so they did just that while making sure not to get too close to them. As the pilots head back to the skyhopper, Paige tells Hawthorn, "I like that dress on you." Later at Nancy's palace, they get a message from the construction workers thanking them for saving their lives today. Nancy thought that was nice of them. Hawthorn wonders how they even formed that fairy. Courtney says one of the workers saw an object hurled toward them, and then it exploded & pulled them in. The pilot's shoulders slump. "Courtney, they've done this before on a similar scale. If they pull that off with the right crowd, then not even a shot to the heart may be good enough against the next one." Paige comments, "Sounds like you guys have struggled at times against those bad guys. Tell you what, I can help you shut those people down if you need me." Hawthorn adds that she lives in Manassas, so she is available if they need her for something. Nancy gives her the thumbs up in approval. --

:icondonotuseplz::iconmyartplz:  This segment is also the first piece of the Cherry Blossom Tales Vol. 3!  Here, Hawthorn & Paige look to add another important piece to their charter service, their own flight attendant.  Also, a conversation with Nara, and what's this with the Petal Fairies?!
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