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    13th District, January 1st, 6:00 PM... Home Sweet Home Generally speaking, the last thing somebody probably wanted after a long day of nearly dying, watching someone actually die - the mayor of Megalopolis at that - and still having to deal with paperwork after the fact, was for it to be raining when they got home. But if she was asked, Sei would admit that at this point, crossing the threshold into that one corner of town where it constantly rained was somewhat refreshing. If nothing else, it meant there would be somebody to welcome her back home. Sei had even made a point to send a text on the way back, to let Alice know for certain that she was fine, despite the roughed-up appearance she'd would be met with. Once everything had settled down, she unceremoniously made her way home, stepped inside, hung her raincoat up by the door and left her boots beside it... And couldn't help but notice the lights were all out. Which was odd. With Alice being a Fount, it wasn't like Sei had trouble tracking her down when she was nearby, and she was definitely in this building, just on the other side of a small wall that separated the house's entrance from the rest of the living room/kitchen. As Sei turned the corner to find out what the deal with the creepily-dark interior was, she did spot two little sources of light. Candles! Two candles forming the number 29 had been carefully placed in the center of what seemed to be a strawberry cake, which itself was set on a plate sitting atop a pair of brightly-wrapped boxes. "I heard someone around here's getting old," Alice teased. "Go clean yourself up; I got you a couple presents and this cake won't be good forever. Happy birthday, Sei." As Sei passed by, she couldn't help but notice the state of the kitchen out the corner of her eye. It was an absolute disaster, but one that was clearly in the middle of being cleaned before stopping abruptly. And, after a couple of minutes to wash herself off, it was time to sit down, and have a nice evening. Cake was had, jokes were exchanged, and eventually it was time to see what was in the two boxes Alice had left sitting in the middle of the table. The first was just some clothes Sei had commented on needing. A new pair of boots, some shirts, and one skirt she distinctly recalled seeing on one of Alice's rare ventures outside of the 13th District, when the two had gone to the mall together on a day that already happened to be raining a few weeks ago. The other was... "What the!! Alice isn't this thing like crazy expensive!? How did you even know I was looking at these lately!?" "I've got my resources. You aren't the only one who's got kami experience, you know." 1st District, January 2nd, 9:50 AM... Sei always liked arriving to meetings and such early. Punctuality was a good habit to form, and her relative proximity to the 1st District only made showing up early all the easier for her. And since today was as good a day as any, she opted to try on that skirt she'd gotten just the day before. Pink wasn't usually something Sei went for, but "expand my horizons" had been a resolution she set for herself for the year of 2100. So, here she was, pink skirt, white shirt, ready to investigate. Alas, she imagined the MPD was busy enough at present, and she wasn't going to make their job even harder by bothering them with questions about an incident they probably knew even less about than she did. So, her attention was less on the site and more on the people around it. Above all else, she was keeping a watchful eye out for suspicious-looking people. And possibly whoever could have been behind that piece of street art over there. 1st District, 10:00 AM... Aside from the general mood in Megalopolis following yesterday's tragedy, it was quite a lovely day today, and Kiyoko woke up feeling confident. Just yesterday she had helped save the city, made significant contributions to the cleanup at Samsara Tower's final resting place, and even made a tentative friend in her fellow literature-wielding Fount! And best of all? The girl in question wanted to read the Necronomicon! Normally Kiyoko had to convince others to do it herself, to no real success either, but this was practically a free convert if all went well! Alas, the timing of the request could have been better. Kiyoko had been putting the holy book to significant use yesterday, and having only delved into the early chapters that could be read with her limiting, purely-human form, she wasn't too certain about the finer details of its inner workings. She wanted to make absolutely certain that Kaede reading the book would let her see the things Kiyoko saw that fateful day, and hear the things she heard, so Kiyoko had said that while she'd be delighted to have an exchange of information, yesterday wasn't really the best time for it. The reason she cited was she wanted to confirm her own "family" was overall unharmed - which was thankfully the case, aside from the shock of the news - but the reality was she wanted to give the Necronomicon some time to "recharge", just in case. But that brought her recollection back round to today! Today was a very important day, after all! Not only was she planning to go home tonight having successfully converted someone to the one true faith, but it was also the day her investigations began in earnest. Before her lied a big pile of nothing, right in the middle of the city, where Samsara Tower used to be before Stratford went berserk. There were a lot of questions Kiyoko had about the scene before her, though it was more about the culprits behind Stratford's rampage than the conspicuously missing Samsara Tower. Most importantly, there was no way to use this as a springboard to spread the old word until the whole mess was resolved and the culprits were brought to justice thanks to the personal involvement of Kiyoko and by extension the Old Gods, so just who and where were they? As if staring at the empty lot and its police tape barrier would yield answers, Kiyoko had been doing just that. Until a person walked straight into her, anyway. Then her full attention was directed at them instead. "Oh, pardon me!" she said. She could detect the presence of another Fount in this girl who had bumped into her. With any luck, it was a stray thread that would lead her into the tangle of evil lurking somewhere in the city. "I must have been taking up more of the path than I thought. You're also here to see the lot, I take it? It seems to be all the news is talking about, after all." It was immediately clear from the girl's directionless stare and dark glasses, as well as the cane in her hand, that she was blind. "Whoops! Gotta watch where I'm going!" she snickered like she had just told the most incredible joke as she stood back up and dusted herself off. "I'm not really one to see much, I'm just here with a coworker," she waved a hand in front of her face with a grin, "do you know what went on here? Been hearing lots of different stuff from lots of different people." Without giving Kiyoko a chance to respond to her question, the girl extended a hand out to the rest of the group, seemingly expecting a handshake in introduction. "Usagi's the name, btdubs. What's such a colorful group doing together here?" "Kiyoko. It's a pleasure to meet you." Kiyoko took this girl's hand, giving it a shake. The name Usagi seemed awfully appropriate; her high energy made Kiyoko think of a rabbit. Gesturing to the empty lot, she explained "The short version is that for reasons and by methods I don't fully understand, somebody incited a berserk rampage from our late mayor - may the Old Gods watch over his soul - and he used the Samsara Tower as something like a skyscraper-sized suit of power armor. The way I hear it, it caused quite a mess in a bunch of districts, but he was stopped in the Sixth District. The group I've come with were planning to look into the matter to try and learn more about the whole incident." "And what about you?" Kiyoko then asked. "Something similar, I'd imagine, if you're here with a co-worker. What sort of work brings you to such a scene? Not journalism I hope, or else I'm afraid you're quite late to the headline." Usagi frowned slightly as her hand was taken by Kiyoko, but the expression faded in an instant. Removing her glasses, she wiped them off with the corner of her shirt, her clouded and blank eyes unabashedly within full view. "Y'know, mostly just clerical stuff. My boss gets real disorganized so I keep him on track." She put her sunglasses back on, smiling warmly, "It looks like his and your bunch's plans are along the same lines, make sure to keep all your eyes open!" Despite not really answering Kiyoko's question, Usagi turned on her heel and made her way away from the group, weabing between people in the crowd as her folded cane clacked back and forth, hanging from the belt loop of her jeans. "...will do." What a strange person. With that out of the way, Kiyoko brought her attention back to the other Founts. Kaede was here, and that was far more important than someone's seemingly-blind assistant. The book. She'd have to get her to read it. And while she was at it, she'd get to take a look at that fascinating rainbow scroll her fellow wielder of literature had. Manuevering her way through the gaggle of other Founts that had assembled here, Kiyoko flagged Kaede down with a waving hand until the two were within speaking range of each other. "Good morning," Kiyoko smiled. "Sorry about postponing our little exchange of info until today, but like I said, more important matters and all." Eagerly extending her holy book in Kaede's direction, she continued "I'm not sure if you'll be able to read it, but by all means, I encourage you to try your hardest. Give it a nice, thorough look. You might be surprised by what you find out!" Kaede excitedly took the book, turning it over in her hands as she ran her fingers over the spine. She looked tired, and was tired; she had barely slept the night before, her entire body wired after the events of the day and the near miss for both her and her mother. Her parents almost hadn't let her leave the house that morning, but she'd wormed her way out of it. "It has to be very old," she said, marveling at the ancient cover. "You've taken great care of it to have it still be in a condition where people can handle it with their bare hands." "Thank you. It wouldn't reflect well on me if I simply let this book fall apart, so I take great care to ensure it is well maintained." Kaede placed her fingers around the edges of the cover. She pulled the book open to its first page, her eyes wide. She held that pose for several moments, expression unchanging. Then her forehead creased slightly in a frown. She turned the page, scanning the next entry more quickly. After repeating this three more times she finally looked up. "I can't make heads or tails of it," she said, sounding a little bit offended that the book had the audacity to be incomprehensible. "It's coptic, that's for certain, but... Oh, it's like someone who knew Sumerian wrote it all and it doesn't make any sense." "Coptic, you say?" There was only a small amount of disappointment on Kiyoko's face, though it didn't fully reflect the feelings behind it. Was this some divine prank? That Kiyoko was so blessed with otherworldly visions upon first reading the book, but not Kaede? There were a couple of other explanations she could think of too, that didn't involve divine pranks. Perhaps Kaede's status as a Fount was creating some sort of interference? Alternatively, Kiyoko was more chosen than she initially suspected. Had she underestimated the confidence that had been placed in her by those beyond? Oh dear. She'd have to work a lot harder to gather new followers if that was the case. "I'm not really a linguistics expert, but that doesn't seem right." Flipping through a few of the pages, Kiyoko stopped at one point in particular, pointing it out with her finger. "See here for example, where it says ♥☼☺♀♣‼♥♣? From what little specks of knowledge I've got on the matter, that doesn't quite sound like any Egyptian dialect. There's no denying these are hieroglyphics, but perhaps they're not meant to be used in ways you're familiar with? Very interesting all the same, and having a rough idea of a time period to pin to the book is oddly comforting! Though, I'll admit, I always imagined it being a bit older than that."
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    ╭── ⋅ ⋅ ── ✩ ── ⋅ ⋅──╮ Naranja Academy, Mesagoza – 9:30 AM STEM Homeroom The front of the classroom was empty as the students trickled in, leaving them to get settled in alone. A few students gossiped among themselves, while others just continued getting their sleep by taking little naps, until Tyme walked into the room a few minutes later, "I'm sorry, everyone. Director Clavell was speaking to me about the announcement today." A few students perked up at the mention, "That's why we were given a late start right?" Tyme nodded her head, before holding a hand up towards the class, "I'll mention it briefly, but then we're going to get to the lesson. The director wanted us teachers to meet to discuss the announcement today, so we weren't able to start at our usual time. Lucky for you, that meant you got a bit of extra sleep for the day!" She smiled as she took her place at the front of the class, nodding to the students as she did, "That's all I'm going to say though. If you want to know what the announcement is, you'll just have to wait until noon." With a knowing smile, Tyme gave the class a nod, before directing everyone back to their studies for the rest of the class session... DING DONG DONG DING General Studies Homeroom "I know today is a very late day and we don't have much time to cover anything substantial..." Jacq ran his fingers through his hair for a moment as he considered the options for the day, "With the end of our classroom time coming up, I really thought we would be able to cover a bit more than we did..." One student near the front of the class raised her hand, waiting for Jacq to notice her, and when he did, "Well... Can you tell us anything about the school event? You taught us about picnics and how to spot if our Pokemon are showing signs of illness, a lot of stuff we don't use in class, are those going to be useful for it?" Jacq smiled as he crossed his arms over his chest, "You could say that. The Director is going to go over it in more detail, but as usual... We'll be allowing you all to go on your own studies. Some of you may stay here, but I know many of you will choose to head out into Paldea to explore and forge your own path... I just hope some of what I've taught you will help. Let's review instead of covering anything new." Time passed from there, leaving the students at the mercy of Jacq's review. There was more than enough information for him to keep the class occupied for thirty minutes... Then an hour, then finally, hitting the 11:30 mark. DING DONG DONG DING Humanities Homeroom "Bonjour, my students! The past few months have gone by in a flash, I know. I wish we had more time to chat." The professor at the front of the classroom held a hand behind his head, a small laugh escaping him as he shook his head gently, "But nein, I'm afraid that isn't the case. You all have a wonderful experience ahead of you today... You'll be joining the school's très important annual event!" "The Treasure Hunt!" A small murmuring started as he held out his hands, "Now, now, I'm not at liberty to say too much. Some of our higher grade students knows. The Director loves to give the opening speech and all. I just cannot contain my own podniecenie!" Salvatore blinked at some of the blank faces staring at him from the front row, before laughing again, "Oh, yes. That would be excitement! With that, we can begin our lesson today... Excitement!" Salvatore led the students into a brief discussion, one that was entirely based on his need to get his excitement out, until... DING DONG DONG DING Each class was left to their own devices until that bell ring snapped everyone to attention. There was a moment of silence, quiet contemplation, until a voice spoke through the speakers. "Attention students and teachers, this is Director Clavell. At this time, I would like you to lead your students, one class at a time, to the courtyard for our special announcement. We'll begin with the General Studies..." Jacq motioned for his students to stand up, herding them out of the classroom towards the courtyard. Tyme's classroom wasn't far behind, and then last was Salvatore's homeroom entering the grounds. In the center of the track was a small stage constructed for the event, where Director Clavell stood above the rest of the school. He kept his arms folded behind his back as the crowd filtered into the courtyard, teachers moving up to the stage as he spoke up. “Everyone, if I may…" When no one stopped speaking to listen to him, Clavell pulled the microphone a bit closer to him, "Please, listen!" A little sigh escaped the director as he pushed his glasses up his face, the students were a bit rowdier than usual, the crowd chattering among themselves as he tried to get their attention. On one side of the stage, Jacq and Tyme both gave Director Clavell a little smirk, while Hassel and Saguaro tried to keep the other two from heckling the Director. On the other end, a black haired woman stepped forward, raising a gloved hand into the air as she cried out, “Hey! You all quiet down, the Director is trying to speak!” Her voice echoed through the courtyard as the students finally began to quiet down, the Director giving her a thankful nod, “Wonderful. Now, this will come to no surprise to most of you, as it has become a long running tradition in our school, but the theme of this year’s group studies is once again: ‘A Treasure Hunt’.” Clavell raised his hand in the air as a few students began to murmur among themselves, “I know, many students wonder if having the same theme could grow tiresome, but I believe the answer to that is no. It is important for each of you to find your own way through our world, and here at Naranja Academy, that means figuring out what brings you joy in this life.” Next to the stage, Dendra nodded her head, her arms crossing in front of her as she smiled. There was a brief whisper on the other side, Jacq had leaned in to speak to Tyme, earning him a little glare from Hassel. Still though, Clavell’s speech wasn’t finished, but a large part of the crowd was starting to get antsy as it continued, especially the younger children. “The Paldea region is a wonderful place for you to discover yourselves, and to soak in the expansive history we have… From the rich landscape, to our own Gym Challenge and Champion Assessment. And this year, we have one extra attraction for you, our eager students. In conjunction with the Pokemon Activities Committee, Pokemon Contests will be hosted across the region. Anyone who collects five contest ribbons will have the honor of participating on Paldea’s first Grand Festival to become the Top Coordinator of the region." "Of course... I will have to wrap this up shortly, so you can all begin your planning... We have organized the groups for your travels. If you are unsure of who your group contains, find a teacher or refer to the board we have put up in the main hall. Please, stick together for safety if you choose to travel across the region. For now, I will end on these important words. Never stop striving for anything but the best for yourself, students. If you lack direction, look to those around you for help. Your teachers will do whatever we can for you, as well as your friends, and of course... Your Pokemon. Never forget that." The crowd was about ready to disperse, but Clavell held a single hand up into the air, "Before you leave, we have two guest speakers. One, you all will likely know well. The other is associated with the Pokemon Activities Committee. Please, welcome Top Champion Geeta and Mr. Raoul Contesta to the stage." As Clavell finished, a figure approached the stage from either side. On the left, a tall woman with dark hair approached the stage, her arms folded behind her back as she looked out to the crowd of students. Most of them seemed to recognize her, varying degrees of excitement bubbling as the crowd spoke to each other... On the other side, an older man with greying hair, clad in a bright red suit climbed atop the stage as Clavell stepped down. He took the mic first, a wide grin on his face, "Hello, Naranja Academy! As your director introduced me, I am Raoul Contesta, and I'll be one of the three judges of each contest here in the Paldea region. My schedule is sure to be busy with how much I'll have to do!" That grin on his face broke out into a laugh as he clapped his hands together, "This is a momentous occasion, not just for you all, but for me. It isn't every day the Activities Committee is able to expand contests to a new region, so I look forward to seeing what any of you who chooses to participate can show me... I'll turn it over to your champion now, but I'm ready to be dazzled by you upcoming stars!" Mr. Contesta stepped back, allowing Geeta to take the mic from him. She folded a hand over her chest, "I believe you all have been waiting patiently, so I will keep this short. I see in front of me limitless potential in you students. As Top Champion, it has been my priority to see the light of Paldea shine brightly into the future. This is why, in conjunction with the Pokemon Activities Committee, I worked to bring Contests to Paldea. That said..." She paused, her hand dropping back to her side, "I greatly looking forward to seeing who wishes to challenge the Champion Assessment. The Gym Leaders across the region have been working overtime to be sure to make this the most interesting Gym Challenge yet, and I cannot wait to see the shining results. For now, however... Go, students. Your journeys begin here." ╰── ⋅ ⋅ ── ✩ ── ⋅ ⋅──╯
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    Flame-Wreathed Tyrant 7th District, 9:30 PM Kess stepped into what was once a gymnasium of the university, long since overrun by the Jolokia gang. The ceiling had been torn away, allowing moonlight in from the waxing crescent visible in the sky above. Megalopolis's light pollution was significant enough that all but the brightest few dozen stars were drowned out, but the moon always shone brightly. From the entrance of the room to the end was a tattered red carpet, flanked by a series of oil barrels, each filled with burning coals. At the end of the promenade was a throne built up out of wrecked and repurposed bleachers, and upon it lazed Number 31, The Fount of Flames: Morgan O’Connor. She was fiddling with what appeared to be a Rubik's cube, seemingly baffled as to how to solve it, but the moment she noticed the new entrant to her throne room plastic cube was crushed within her hand, a sound like gunfire released seemingly from her body itself. "I heard the mayor died. Your doing?" "Yep." The lie flipped off Kess' tongue easily. She was too tired to care. She had been awake for over twelve hours and after the scaling and subsequent ejection from the Titan, not to mention her fight with Leo, that was two hours too many. She'd be damned if she let it show, though. She stood in her traditional leaning slouch, hand on hip, customary scowl stapled to her face. "Had to go through the Titan to find the asshole, but a chair to the head worked as good on him as everybody else." Besides. She sure as hell wasn't turning down the street cred of taking down Stratford. At the very least it might make Daiki and Sin-Yu less likely to cross her. "That frigid bitch was nosing around there," she continued. They both would know who Kess was talking about. She only ever referred to Aurora as the frigid bitch. "Ryo was down there as her eyes." Morgan raised an eyebrow, leaning forward, "And did you use the opportunity to take her out? With Stratford gone, so are half the rules we had to follow. Hell, probably all the rules." She scrutinized her subordinate carefully, rolling one of the plastic fragments that remained in her hand between two of her fingers, "As much of a mess as today was, I'm looking to make it into a Big Win for us. I think if we act promptly, we can reform the full Seventh District in the space of a week." With another crack like gunfire, she flicked the piece of plastic away, launching it through the exposed top of the building and out of sight. Kess barked out a laugh. "The bitch had the same idea. She wanted to help me kill Stratford. Was completely useless at it, too." She leaned back, allowing herself a theatrical yawn. "I used up all the juice taking out Stratford; I'll take care of Ryo later." She knew bringing up Aurora would get Morgan off the track of Stratford's death. After all, the mayor was dead. Might as well take the credit. With a frown, Morgan lazily pushed herself up onto her feet. With the sound of cannonfire she was suddenly upon Kess. Standing less than a foot in front of her subordinate, Morgan looked down slightly to account for the small difference in their height, as a tailwind of hot air blew around her and ruffled the hair of both women. "Do you intend to let her survive your next encounter? You have a prominent future in our group, but not if you can't take care of your baggage." Kess had committed long ago to never flinching in front of Morgan. She was so tired that she almost slipped. She barely managed to restrict her reaction to a lazy blink. "Let her survive? Not fuckin' particularly. She did the last useful thing she'll ever do when I used her as a landing pad out of Stratford's building." Morgan stared daggers at Kess for several seconds without a word, the crackling fires surrounding the two providing a soundtrack to the furry visible in her eyes. Before it came to a head, she turned away. "And of Stratford. What was the cause of the commotion?" Kess scowled. She still hated that Morgan was confident in showing her back to her. Cocky motherfucker. "There was a couple 'a nosy motherfuckers there, they figured some fount or other made him do it. I wouldn't think much a' it but they're all founts too, so they know KINDA what they're talkin' about." She arched an eyebrow, looking to see if Morgan's shoulders tensed. "This guy might be a problem for plan Big Win, 's what I'm thinkin', yeah?" "I agree. Any threat to the old regime is a threat to the next one. Figure out who's responsible, kill them." "Say less," was her response as she turned to go. "Kess." Kess whipped around, some resentment from the morning with the very brief phone call surfacing as she brusquely asked "What?" NOW the bitch is talkative. Looking over her shoulder, Morgan smiled uncomfortably warmly, "Ryo too." "Yeah, yeah, I know," she snapped, irritated. "S'cuse me if I was too busy setting up Plan Big Win to take out the trash, I'll cave her ribcage in, tell her ya send yer regards." "Good girl. Keep me updated." Ground Zero 1st District, 11:15 AM Considering that the group of varyingly unlikely heroes of the previous day had agreed to meet at this location at 10 AM so as to gather information regarding the mysterious founts Elita had described, it was almost impressive how close to the goal time the group had managed to assemble. Or rather, most of them had. The knight errant that had helped slay the dragons had not been seen after the battle in question, disappearing into the surrounding chaos. The last of the group to arrive was Leo, the Fount of Destruction. His clothing was visibly slept-in, and though his wounds from his bout with Kess were scarred over, the telltale signs of violence were still clearly visible on the ensemble he had not yet changed since the previous day. "Listen, I know you lot's the type to rise bright 'n early, but man's not waking up on anyone's schedule ever since I got to this island. 'Sides, this way I ain't gotta wait." Leo looked past the group to see the setup that the Megalopolis Police Department had put together some time in the previous 24 hours. At least a mile around had been barred off by police tape. The members of the force swarmed about, although none of them seemed to enter the perimeter that contained what little remained of the tower. Curious pedestrians seemed to stop and stare, only for the cops to quickly come by and usher them away, looking about nervously as they did. "You think the chief and that guy are fine alone in there? Seems like a lot of dangerous work for two people." "I'unno, do you have magic abilities?" "It's not magic, it's harnessing the power of humanity's collective unconscious." "Harness the collective fuck I don't give, you sound like one of those New Age Triskelion nuts." "Jeez man, I was just repeating something I read online." "On what, a recruitment site?" On a rooftop a few buildings away stood a young man, his hand on the hilt of an ornate broadsword, safely sheathed at his side. A outline of a pair of wings, formed seemingly from pure sparkling silver, sprouted from his back, though it appeared they were on display as a show of force more than anything else. He wanted to make sure his presence was known to any would-be trouble starters. On the opposite side of the clearing, emblazoned upon what was previously a neighboring skyscraper to Samsara Tower, was an enormous mural, seemingly made through use of spray paint and large-scale stencils. The image depicted the Samsara Titan, wandering with its arms forward in the air, chasing after a stylized white bird made from geometric shapes. Considering the sensitive, or more accurately insensitive subject matter of the image, it could be assumed that the art was put up where it was less than legally, though the process by which one would pull off such a feat was left to the viewers' imagination. "Looks like the boydem ain't exactly running tours. I'm all for tearing through this yellow tape," Leo cocked his head toward Sei, "but not if our resident super-hero is gonna tackle me extra fast once I'm in. Got me all wavey after the reporter here fixed me up yesterday, not lookin ta snooze another half a day."
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    9:30 AM, Naranja STEM homeroom As was the case more often than not, Wendy had arrived to the homeroom early. Her days started early, after all, and she was often in the room before most others. As was generally the case, Wendy used this spare time before class to study. Lately, her attention had been on the geography of Paldea. If she was going to live in the region, it only made sense to not just live here, but to also understand where she truly was, right? Though, admittedly, she had yet to venture outside of Mesagoza. She'd have to do that inevitably, since she did still have a job to do here and all, but she imagined the school staff wouldn't take kindly to one of their students just up and taking off into the wild to research a weather phenomenon the people of Paldea were altogether completely unbothered by. "I'm sorry, everyone. Director Clavell was speaking to me about the announcement today." Ah yes, the announcement. Wendy had heard gossip about it lately, though she wasn't paying much attention to it, so she wasn't privvy to the details. After a bit of discussion on the matter, it was time for classes to start proper, and they would continue for the next two and a half hours, until noon. At which time... "Attention students and teachers, this is Director Clavell. At this time, I would like you to lead your students, one class at a time, to the courtyard for our special announcement. We'll begin with the General Studies..." As the students assembled to hear Director Clavell deliver this important announcement, it took some persuading to get the crowds to simmer down so he could be properly heard. And once he started speaking, Wendy made sure to give the good Director her undivided attention. A treasure hunt. At first she wasn't particularly interested - going off in search of chests of gold never really sounded like her thing - but as he clarified that this treasure could be anything and was more likely than not a highly personalized "treasure" more in the metaphorical sense, the hunt suddenly seemed much more appealing. After all, Wendy was already here to seek out the greatest treasure of them all. Knowledge. "Of course... I will have to wrap this up shortly, so you can all begin your planning... We have organized the groups for your travels. If you are unsure of who your group contains, find a teacher or refer to the board we have put up in the main hall. Please, stick together for safety if you choose to travel across the region. For now, I will end on these important words. Never stop striving for anything but the best for yourself, students. If you lack direction, look to those around you for help. Your teachers will do whatever we can for you, as well as your friends, and of course... Your Pokémon. Never forget that." The crowd was about ready to disperse, but Clavell held a single hand up into the air, "Before you leave, we have two guest speakers. One, you all will likely know well. The other is associated with the Pokemon Activities Committee. Please, welcome Top Champion Geeta and Mr. Raoul Contesta to the stage." Raoul Contesta was first. By the sound of it, he'd be overseeing contests in Paldea, a new addition to the region. Wendy had some familiarity with them from her time in Hoenn, so she liked to think she'd be at something of an advantage if she were to pursue them recreationally. On the more battle-focused side of things, Top Champion Geeta claimed that the region's gym leaders were working to make this year's gym challenge the best yet. The concept still felt a bit foreign to her. The way she was used to gyms, people would just walk in, battle trainers, then square off with the gym leader to get the badge. Trying this out was also an option, to be certain. But those were all ultimately side goals. She didn't forget what really brought her here. Research on behalf of the Weather Institute. Not that she imagined the rest of her group would be interested in that. Of course, first she'd have to find her group. The board was already swarmed by other students by the time she had arrived, and she had trouble getting up close to find her group or the names of her teammates. The first thing she noticed, however, was a posted note, seemingly from a student. Urging members of Group 13 to meet up behind the western Pokémon Center. And, as luck would have it, once she was able to catch a glimpse of her name, it seemed that was the very group she belonged to as well! Truly, luck was on her side today! While Wendy would have hated to keep her team waiting, there was one detour she had to make first. A return to her dorm. An adventure across the Paldea region was set to begin, and if she was leaving the academy, she wanted to make sure she was ready to go. She had to make sure her bag was properly packed. Most of it was just potions for her pokemon and books for herself, and a spare poke ball or two. Nothing special, really. She had to make sure the place was effectively shut down before she left too; lights out, other electronics turned off, and ensuring anything that could be charged was fully charged. And of course, there was the matter of Wendy herself. She'd come here with a purpose, but also with an understanding of what she was signing up for. This was a job that could and very likely would involve getting wet, assigned to a person whose body really didn't like getting wet. While a conspicuous towel existed among the various items in her bag, more important were the conspicuous items on her body. A blue raincoat and matching boots adorned Wendy's body by the time she left her dorm, and stepped out into the rest of the academy campus, and Mesagoza in general. She wasn't going to pretend like it didn't grab a few looks here and there, but this was also not the first time Wendy had done this; in the time since getting to Paldea, if she left Naranja's campus for any period of time, and even if she expected to be on campus but outdoors for particularly long periods of time, it was never without this getup. Just in case. Eventually, she did make her way to the ladder mentioned in the note, to find two others had already arrived. A boy, and a girl, neither of whom she recognized. "Hello," she simply greeted. "I'm Wendy, Group 13 like the pair of you."
  5. 2 likes
    "Pssst. Hey, buddy. Calm down, we gotta sit tight a second." Gligar hopped over to Scully's opposite shoulder, fidgeting as he steadied himself with one claw back behind the boy's head to support him, looking around nervously at the great crush of students that surrounded them. Used to wide-open sky, Gligar wasn't used to crowds, and he was getting anxious in the thick of one. Despite his assurances to the Pokemon, Scully wasn't too far off him, the Pokemon constantly having to shift its weight to stop himself from falling off Scully's shoulder as he shifted his weight from one leg to the other, sporadically half-turned, and generally made a fidgeting mess of himself. They couldn't help it, either of them. Fortunate for Scully that he sat toward the back of Jacq's class, otherwise the teacher might have noticed that he was blatantly not paying attention. The days ahead were completely suffusing his thoughts, and now he was about to set out on the Treasure Hunt. He had constructed a half a million elaborate scenarios in his head, hypothetical adventures that he, Gligar, and the Charcadet inside a Poke Ball in his pocket would soon undertake. He was excited, but also dreadfully nervous. Clavell finally passed the buck to the Top Champion and a contest rep, and Scully swallowed as Geeta took the stage. She seemed so effortlessly graceful, her strength and title almost visible. "I wish I were like that," he muttered, low enough that only Gligar heard it. The Pokemon tapped on the back of his shoulder with his tail, and when Scully turned his head a big, encouraging grin was awaiting him. He managed to return a determined one of his own. "And we'll both get there, right buddy?" "Gli gli!" - - - - - - "Gliiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" "Ah jeez, Gligar, wait up!" Scully rushed down the stairs, chasing after Gligar as a strong gust blew the gliding Pokemon along, Gligar caught in the wind to blow along uncontrollably. Scully and Gligar had approached the bulleting board, which Gligar had set to spinning briefly when he hopped on top of it in a big to try and find Scully's name himself so his Trainer didn't have to force his way through to it. They were now on the way to the meeting spot for Group 13, and Scully let out a frustrated shout as Gligar was blown around a corner and he heard a crashing noise. "Gligar! Are you okay?" He whipped around the corner, skidding to a halt as he saw an older girl sat beside a ladder, holding a binder and just now turning to look and see a very pained-looking Gligar crumpled against the wall next to her. He could have only just missed her. "Buddy! Oh man, you gotta watch out for those strong winds." Scully darted forward, snatching up Gligar and holding him in his arms as they both looked to Helena. "Sorry if he almost hit you there," Scully apologized profusely, embarassed. "He um..." It was only then he truly took in the ladder next to Helena and realized where he was. His face reddened immediately, face turning down as his volume plummeted, Gligar looking up with confusion. "I ummm... You're Group 13? I'm.... I'm Scully..." He internally despaired at the circumstances of their meeting. At the very least he'd only embarassed himself in front of ONE member of Group 13.
  6. 2 likes
    "Yeesh, the director sure is longwinded," Helena mused as she exited the courtyard, en route to the main hall, "And that's after Salvatore's 'class'. This academy is so much more than I bargained for. But it's been fun being somewhere so different, don't you think, Jackie?" A small Pumkaboo that was cradled in her arms let out a small coo as if in agreement, earning a grin from her trainer. "I wonder how the Treasure Hunt's going to impact my work, though... I mean yeah, we have contests to look forward to, but that doesn't mean I wanna put the other projects on the backburner. Decisions, decisions..." Upon arriving at the crowded main hall, Helena stopped and pondered for a moment. She could see her name and group number from where she was, but she couldn't get to the board with all the other students... After considering her options, she cleared her throat. "Up up, Jackie." As the little ghost-type flew up and out of Helena's arms, Jackie tilted her head to the side in a questioning manner. The humanities student quickly pulled out a scrap of paper and a pen, quickly scrawling a message on it. A moment later, she had fetched another pokeball, letting her second pokemon out. As the Klefki popped out, it look about furtively, jingling wildly. "No, Lockpick, no mischief. Not yet, at least. For now, I need you to take this," She held the paper up, "And pin it to that board over there. Think you can handle it?" Helena had to stifle a laugh as the Klefki before her almost looked offended, puffing up cheeks it did not have. It snatched the slip of paper and flew above the students clamoring for the board, only to descend just enough to attach it to the board, before heading back. When it did, Helena could swear she heard an audible puff, the pokemon looking up and closing its eyes as if to puff out its chest. "I knew you could do it, good job! I'll make sure to give you something fun to do later." Lockpick jingled happily before being put back in its ball. Turning towards the door Helena hummed, "Hopefully they'll all see that~" As the Pumpkaboo flew after her, the note remained pinned to the board written with a brightly colored header: ----- After arriving at the meeting spot she had set up, Helena removed her backpack and set it down on the ground. She then turned around and slide against the wall until she was sitting with her knees bunched in front of her. Rummaging through the bag on her right, she produced a heavy binder and a pencil, tapping the eraser to her lips. "Now, what do I need to flesh out next..."
  7. 2 likes
    Moments Before Daichi sat in the locker room of the stadium, his duffel-bag with his costume on the bench. In his hand, he went through his deck one more time...he needed to make sure everything was in ship shape for this. It would be his redemption Duel...he had to make sure this counted. After a sigh, the young man looked down at two of his cards, giving a soft smile. "It's the first Duel with you both in my performance. I'm hoping it'll work out!" he said, putting them in the deck and shuffling it. He shifted slightly to reach into his bag, before seeing two other cards fall out of it. Curious, he looked down at them and the gears started to turn for a bit. He began to ponder these two for a moment...before a smile appeared on his face. "Hmmm, actually...these two might just be what I need..." Not another thought was given as he tossed these two right into the deck box as well. It was a gamble with those two cards, but he had to try. Present Moment “In the Action Duel, we have Lance Sheridan against Daichi Raimu! Daichi lost his first match, and Lance has a pretty good record. Can he do it!?” As the announcer spoke, Lance strode onto the field, wearing a suit of armor and adjusting into place. He scoffed at the announcer’s antics, simply giving a small nod to Daichi. Or at least…he would've if his opponent was standing there on the field. BGM “LADIES ANNNNNNNNNND GENTLEMEN!!!!” The lights cut off the moment this rang out in the arena, with the spotlights turning on one by one in a rhythmic fashion. “I hope you’re ready for an exciting and heart pounding Action Duel, because we’ll be serving one up for you!” “A stoic knight, donned in his beautifully shining armor, a visage of a true servant to his highness…truly fit to be the Vice Captain of Team Shining. Please give mister Lance Sheridan a round of applause!” Whatever applause for Lance, if any at all, would follow this introduction as a few spotlights trained themselves onto Lance. “Yes, truly this Duel is straight from the pages of the medieval age…a time of swords…and sorcery! But I won’t back down from this formal challenge…” The last of the spotlights trained themselves on a spot in the arena where once again, a purple explosion of smoke emerged and once again, Daichi stood there in his outfit. “The Moonlit Magician makes his appearance once more!” “Quite gaudy, honestly. Though I suppose I look much the same to you…" Daichi simply took a simple bow. "Thank you. This is the first time my show has been classified as gaudy. Perhaps I'm finally hitting my stride?" he laughed. "It would appear that I am the one chosen to go first, so good luck to you.” Lance drew his hand as the field spell activated above. ”Our field today is… Action Field: Virtuous Castle!” As an ornate castle appeared, its halls lit bright, a red carpet rolled out from Lance to Daichi. Behind the knight, there stood a grand throne, and behind the magician a throne room to accompany it, with tables and adornments fit for a luxurious banquet. “I summon Noble Knight Borz. Then I activate the equip spell Noble Arms of Destiny, equipping it to him.” A knight with ornate armor appeared [Normal Monster; LIGHT Warrior; Level 4; 1700/900], standing at ready, only for a gleaming silver shield and blade to be offered to him. Arming himself with them, his stats showed up once more, changing his qualities to [Effect Monster; DARK Warrior; Level 5]. “Borz is a normal monster while it is on the field, but it becomes an effect monster when it has a Noble Arms equipped. It also becomes Level 5 and DARK. Next I use its effect. I reveal three Noble Arms from my deck- Gwenhwyfar, Caliburn, and Excaliburn, then you randomly choose one for me to keep. The others go to my grave.” As the explanation wrapped up, the three cards and their effects briefly showed up on Daichi’s disk screen, before flipping face down and shuffling themselves around, waiting for him to click. “By your leave.” "Hmmm choices, choices…" Daichi hummed, before finally picking one. "I choose the leftmost card. Let's see if Lady Luck chose to shine on your first turn with this!" The cards flipped back around, revealing that Noble Arms - Caliburn was the card Daichi selected. Nodding, Lance took Caliburn, sending the other two to the grave. “Then I’ll go ahead and activate it as well. This will give Borz 500 ATK and…” As Borz’ attack changed from 1700 to 2200, Lance’s Life Points also changed, raising from [4000 -> 4500]. “Once per turn, I can use Caliburn to gain 500 LP. And then, I activate the effect of Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms. I can equip her from my grave to a Noble Knight I control. With that, I will set 1 card… and end my turn. Your go, sorcerer.” Borz’s attack went up once again, capping at 2500 for the turn as Lance’s turn ended. "Too kind, Sir Knight." Daichi chuckled, drawing for turn. "And I must say, truly a stunning start for this Duel. So let's see if I can attempt to top that…" Alright. It's a home field advantage with this. he thought, looking at his hand. Noble Knights, as expected, but an Action Field that which happens to be used as a backdrop for his knights to truly shine. However…despite all this, I'm still not going to lose! Daichi smiled as he shifted slightly, tossing two cards into the air before catching them and immediately placing them on the disk. "The curtains raise upon this little magic show! I set the Pendulum Scales!!" On his left and right appeared two magicians…as they rose high into the air. "Stargazer and Timegazer Magicians! Now the Scale has been set to 1 and 8…monsters Level 2 through 7 are fair game! And now…" he smirked, watching a dowsing pendulum appear in the middle between Stargazer and Timegazer. "Metronomic Pendulum, swing and sway to mesmerize the audience! Give way for the magicians to take the stage! PENDULUM SUMMON!! Now, put your hands together!!" Out from the hand appeared Oafdragon Magician [WIND Spellcaster; Level 6; 2100/1400], as he slowly descended beside Daichi. "My partner and assistant, Oafdragon Magician has arrived!" he smiled, before tipping his hat slightly. "Now, let's have some fun!" He turned on his heel to venture around the throne room, searching for an Action Card. Just as the magician thought he found one, he was met with Caliburn flying through the air just ahead of his face, spearing the Action Card into a nearby wall. Not far behind was Lance, shoving Daichi out of the way as he took the card, immediately activating it. “I activate Action Spell - Holy Blade! By targeting Borz, he gains 1200 ATK until the end of the turn!” "A-Ah…so this is what she referred to…" Daichi muttered, but simply nodded. "However…that will not deter this wizard one bit! It's an Action Field, after all…" he leaped out the way of Lance, grabbing Oafdragon's hand to make sure he was descending slowly. "There's bound to be more!!" Once he touched down, he made a mad dash towards another Action Card he fixed his eyes on. “Gwenhwyfar!” Before Daichi could snatch the card, the spirit of the Noble Arms’ queen took it from right before his eyes, holding it up just long enough for Lance to dash over and take it, once again activating it. “Another copy of Holy Blade! Borz is now at 4900 this turn!” "Now that was a bit more entertaining than shoving me after almost stabbing my head." Daichi laughed, sighing as he placed two more cards on the disk. "Alas, I feel that'll be the same end result for the rest of this turn…so I shall set two face downs and I'll relinquish my turn to you." “Hrm. Entertainment is fine, but depending on Action Cards to fish you out is… I must say, I do not like it.” "It gives some excitement and drama to an Action Duel." Daichi wagged his finger slightly. "But alas, to each their own, Sir Knight."
  8. 2 likes
    Today was the day. TheLegend27's day. For today, he would join his new guild. What kind of people would he meet? He didn't know. What sort of adventures would they have? He didn't know. It was so exciting! He logged into the game, appearing in the Blue City. He stood on top of the buildings, grinning to himself. He never regretted finding ways to climb these things. He dashed off, leaping from rooftop to rooftop to get to their meeting point. The building was really easy to find. It only took him a few minutes to get there. He leapt off the top of the building, feeling the wind whip by him as he dived towards the ground. He held his arms by his side, reducing his air resistance as much as he could, becoming a black speeding bullet. When he neared the ground, TheLegend27 flipped around, landing on the ground in a traditional superhero landing. "Nailed it." the man thought gleefully to himself. He stood up, and noticed a group leaving the building. His eyes was drawn to one of them in particular, an orange looking robot. And the robot's single eye locked on to him. The two stared at each other silently. TheLegend27 had to admit... that robot avatar was really cool. Doing his best to keep a cool image, he stood up, walking to the building. The two passed each other with exchanging a single word, and yet the air was tense around them. That robot was so goddamn cool. He made it just in time to hear his new team leader's opening speech. "Thank you all for coming. I know we don't all have to be here for the charter being submitted, but we're going to be working together from now on, so I'd like us to all take the first step together, as a unit. Additionally, I'd like to ask everyone a couple of questions, as a group. We're all a team now, and as such, we should make decisions as a team. With that in mind, I'd like to hear any suggestions you may have for a team name. And, also as a team, I'd like to know what you all think is the most important thing that makes a team successful. Not because I plan to copy others who have risen to success, but because I want us to blaze our own trail to victory, and eventually to that mystery boss everyone's getting ready for." Before he could answer, everyone else stepped forward with their own suggestions. "I think we should go with Team Beyond; We're on Battle Horizon, so we should want to fight so hard we go BEYOND that Horizon, right?" As for team name, Beyond seems like it could work...so my vote is currently on it, although I'll add my own into the mix: Team Frontier. “… Team… Excel. No, Excise. Team Excise. We’ll be a cut above the rest if we manage to pull this off, and we’ll certainly have to cut off and through anyone who tries to stop us so that they’ll no longer even be a factor in the grand scheme of things." All fine suggestions. However, there was an easier way. "If we are truly trying to become a team, then choosing a name is out of the question." TheLegend27 raised his arms defensively as he saw the leader glaring at him. "Wait, hang on, don't look at me like that, I'm going somewhere with this." Clearing his throat, the man continued. "We must combine names, like we are combining forces. With that in mind, I would like to suggest the name Team---" The man suddenly struck a pose, standing on one foot as he raised an arm over his head and crossed his other arm over his chest. "Beyond!" With the grace of a cat, the man bent forward, once again balancing on one leg. His other leg stretched behind him like it was a stiff tail, and his arms were spread like wings. "Excise!" With one final show of athleticism, the man sprung forward, standing on a single hand as his legs raised up, bending to make a diamond. His free hand made half of a heart shape that he placed in front of his face. "Frontiers!" A loud explosion of lights and colored smoke erupted behind the man as he struck the final pose, and digital confetti rained from the sky. He never regretted getting that emote. "Oh yes, if you have a name you'd like to suggest, Ms. Leader, I will find a way to mash in there with the rest!" He didn't dismount from his pose as he continued. "As for the most important thing our team needs for success, that thing is... friendship!" The man pointed at all his teammates. "And I don't mean some anime 'power of friendship' bullshit, although that would be nice! You all bring up very valid points, and they are important... BUT! We could have the greatest skills, the most up to date knowledge, and the greatest communication, but if we have an unwelcoming presence, for both current members and any future members, and drive someone away, then we have failed as a team!" He nodded like he had just spoken wise words, and was not hand standing in a goofy pose as he delivered it.
  9. 2 likes
    1:30 PM, District 4 On the streets of Neo-Kabukicho strode an unusual pair - a tall and well-kept woman who an onlooker would never have suspected to have been parading as a knight only an hour ago, now wearing the ornate and feminine outfit of a geisha, and another whose face was concealed by the basket-like shape of a rōningasa, the hat once upon a time used to obscure the identities of warriors without a master. Upon the hip of the latter was sheathed a long sword of Japanese construction, a gilded cloud design adorning the sheath and a visible tsuba taking the form of eight twisted serpent heads converging around the base of the blade. They wore a yukata with a vibrant design of flowers being consumed by dragons, and carried an expensive-looking umbrella over their shoulder. "So you say the city itself was made a weapon? How curious…" the concealed figure's voice was feminine, but devoid of emotion as if deep in thought. "I must admit, I was not before aware of the late mayor's ability, but I suppose this makes sense given his station." “And many youths of varying power, you should know, appeared,” the other informed, staring askew in recollecting what they were like and their capabilities. “They must have reconvened by now, but I left almost wordlessly after helping them defeat those metal serpents, to inform you and inquire what you should like done. Ah…but this kind of folly typical of the prince would have me found, even through these scented robes,” she played with a stray horse’s hair which made its way through her outfit from below its outermost layers, “shining sunshine alone would have undone me then, inauspicious as if I had found a laughing mask in my sickbed, but I am not sick.” She let the wind carry it away with a new manner, where the stress from earlier would have worn someone else down, or accustomed them to particular gaits or postures to compensate, or even some appropriate muscular tension, but she gave away no such secret, and seemed more separate in convention and habit from her previous appearance than any analysis could predict, though never so far as to invite suspicion on that front alone. A light chuckle could be heard from underneath the woven hat, "Ever the poet, aren't you, Sarashina." The figure reached underneath the hat, making a motion that appeared to be moving a stray hair from their face, "You seek my guidance in interpreting this bizarre occurrence. It is true, such an event is unprecedented. I would wager the one to blame is my longtime enemy. I'm sure you suspected the same. This appears to be the work of the vicious monster that hides within the depths of our beloved district, The Dragon of Neo-Kabukicho." The figure paused in their stride for a moment, as if contemplating whether to elaborate, but continued forward instead. "In this small sliver of the city, those who do not bow to The Beast are forced to hide themselves away, and not in the fantastical way you manage to. I can't imagine this is a fate you want to see befall all of Megalopolis." She eyed the serpentine sword guard at the mention of the dragon, connecting the figure to her enemy motivistically as in music—a useful parallel for the future. While her impressions lead to considering the same possibility as the other person, she was quite epistemologically agnostic, at least in these material, real-life affairs, and chose her response quite carefully, “the low ant, the pig, our mayor, or our high Dragon, you may press your finger into and measure its fatness, but its origin is nowhere to be found what ordains the sunflowers prostrate themselves to the, deep as you go; these myriad things, I am aware of less than I am unaware, and of those few of which I may be expert, it is only in their fatness, not the plot which conspired to make fatness initially necessary. I would not have the dragon’s dominion be gorged on the rest of the island, but to know his body is not to know everything else, or the origins of all deeds his character and station make him eligible to commit, or to determine a dimensionless locus as the essence of a fungal network, at a point of time which excludes all others.” Her response, though asserting ignorance, intended to communicate ultimate receptiveness and fidelity to any sort of possibility. "Remind me to commission haiku from you when I sit upon the throne, Sarashina. Not a better storyteller lives in this city. You mentioned you had allies…" the figure paused and turned mid-stride, a glint of a red eye visible through the tight mesh of the hat. "I understand that there may be delays in rallying them, but as soon as you are able, bring them to me. Powerful as I am, I am no myojin. I will require help to slay this serpent." They turned away from Sarashina, a hand reaching up to grip the hilt of their sword, "This city, tumultuous as it is, was far worse several years ago. Without that man, I expect it to be worse than ever. We must nip this in the bud, for the sake of Neo-Kabukicho, and the rest of Megalopolis." After a pause, they looked back over their shoulder. "I'll have a car for you to return to the scene post haste." Not much later, a most luxurious car bent around into the gradual beginnings of charmless, disorderly wreckage. Sarashina had ordered her driver to follow the least damaged paths, and to not take certain routes turning them toward certain directions in obedience to old superstitions, however inconvenient it may have been for him, and returned the hateful sight impressed on her vision with a disconcerted look of her own, enough of it hidden behind fanned cypress. That this had to happen at a bar irritated her, with her retinue of a single driver to take care of nothing for her, but she did see someone she heard of, a good fortune she was momentarily distracted from by the person—Sei—possessing great stature, which Sarashina disliked but would expertly, as per her professions, not let show in the slightest in any act, expression, or word. As her driver opened her door, she told him to summon the tall, exhausted woman to her location, and to offer her a seat in the car while she stood outside it, distant from the rest so that they may establish a connection at an undisturbed pace. As Sei lay her head on the bar, replaying events in her mind for something she may have missed, yet another figure entered the scene. He didn't seem to be a fount. And based on the big fancy car parked behind him, he definitely wasn't somebody Sei knew, or connected to anyone she knew. He had gestured for her specifically, to follow him into the car. In any other circumstance, she wouldn't trust this guy. For all she knew, he was a lackey of one of the offending parties, here to kidnap her after helping foil their plans. But to send what seemed like just one guy, the plan was either to kill this guy instead, or it was too elaborate to likely work. So, albeit reluctantly, Sei got up, and trudged along the distance between the bar and the car. He kindly opened the door for her, and once inside, Sei saw that the sole occupant was a geisha. Last time Sei had seen one of those was... just after moving in with Alice, come to think of it. She'd gone to Neo-cho to get souveniers, since Alice wanted some and refused to go there herself, lest, as she'd put it, "my power reacts to the place and sends Megalopolis to the bottom of the sea." "A geisha in a limo, huh?" Sei observed, taking a seat and slouching down to avoid letting herself stiffen up when she was already worn out. "To what do I owe the pleasure of such a distinguished visitor?" These interactions with strangers call for some covering of the face on Sarashina’s part, but she had her fan put away to look more personable to her temporary guest. This exception came about by several reasons, including pity, and she had already arranged with her driver to clean where Sei was seated after they were alone again, so she had little to fear in the way of cleanliness, and in fact by now, this kind of protocol was tacit. There was great incongruity between the person and where she was, and for Sarashina, Sei and the others in the bar seemed emergent, as if they had only spawned into existence from the rubble to serve as furnishing to the destruction, and in standing outside with Sei in her space, she fulfills a self-sacrificial sort of hospitality—in return for daring to deign to stand outside in the space of the wreckage, her guest rests in this just-isolated space—though she could still act the part of tolerance if needed, alongside a true understanding she only has problems with formally, and not fundamentally. “You can recline your seat, you know, miss Sei, and your leisure is earned after what we know happened here. We can speak briefly, and you can rest where you lie as long as you see fit. I can have you driven home after we are done here as well…. I have requested your conversation because we are aware of who you are, and trust you in acting as an intermediate between us and your new connections. Precisely, we have suspicions ranging from peripheral to essential of the fourth district being connected to what happened with the mayor, namely through the Dragon of Neo-Kabukicho. Are you already aware of who this is?” "I've heard of the dragon here and there," Sei answered as she made good on the geisha's note that her seat could recline. "Not the first time I've heard rumors about someone eating kami either. Why me, though, to play middleman? Why anyone for that matter? Don't like crowds or something?" “To be seen in that eyesore of a destroyed bar is a much greater concern to me than any crowd, but my personal proclivities, I suppress before the emergency in question. Now, you like fighting for important causes, don’t you? Your vigilante history corroborates a legitimate conviction for revolution and experience in unpleasant business I would never expect from civilians, or children….We can let the rest prattle about this after we find ourselves at the same page, and have some plan for dissemination and engagement, wherever my district comes in the order of business, and you can catch me up with the theories in vogue at the same time. What do you think?” "Not much to discuss in the theories department yet, I'm afraid. All we know is someone... hypnotized Stratford, or something. I wasn't paying much attention to the details, to be honest. But working together to put a stop to this? Sounds good to me. How should I contact you?"
  10. 2 likes
    Was pretty surprised how good this was on my first listen. Usually it takes a few for me to appreciate something I haven't heard before, but this was an exception.
  11. 1 like
    --- 1st District, 9:00 AM Soon enough, I will have freedom to explore the scene of the crime. Elita hummed to herself gently as she tapped at her cheek gently, her eyes lazily scanning across the wreckage of District 1 from the top of her family’s home.. The site of the Tower’s origin was truly impressive, the police force had been working nearly non-stop to make sure that civilians weren’t accessing it. Dangerous to the common folk, a need to quell rumors about the mayor, or maybe… Maybe the police force was involved in the attack as well? She couldn’t rule it out, it would be a fair enough angle for the attacker to take, if they needed to buy time to get an opportunity to attack Stratford. She couldn’t rule it out… She brushed her hair behind her head as she thought back to the previous day. The tower’s rampage had cleared a path through the further districts, but even from her family’s home atop an artificial hilltop, she couldn’t see that far out. Her mother liked to have a good view of the rest of the District and the city beyond it, even if she liked to complain about the sight of District 12 so close to her own home. Elita was sure she enjoyed the sense of superiority she got from literally looking down at others, but that wasn’t her business. She knew it had been unlikely for the tower to hit her family’s home, it would have started moving in the opposite direction and then made a U-Turn back towards District 6 for that to happen, but she had to at least pretend to be concerned when she got a spare moment to call her mother… ___ Yesterday, 6th District, 2:40 PM She let her hand hold the phone steadily in front of her, a deep breath escaping the girl as she tapped on the contact labeled “Mom”. The phone buzzed as she held it up to her ear, until finally… “Where are you? You were supposed to be home at 2 on the dot. I have a very important meeting, I need you here to-” “Mother, have you been paying attention to anything today? Samsura Tower started moving. It carved a path straight through District 6.” There was a pause on the other end of the line, a choked sound escaping the woman, “What do you mean, carving a path? Are you okay, you were traveling through… Is this why you hung up earlier?” Elita let out a tiny sigh, nodding her head, before realizing that wouldn’t do anything to help, “Yes, I had to pause our conversation to figure out what the… Disturbance was. I helped quell Stratford. Unfortunately…” “Richard? Richard Stratford would not run a rampage through his own streets, you know that! You’ve seen the man-” “I’ll be home soon. It will be about an hour before I’m free. I need to speak to the other Founts, and then… When I get home, we’ll have this conversation in full. I thought you might appreciate the warning that your meetings today are likely to be canceled. I doubt anyone will be in the mood.” She hung up the phone before her mother could protest. She rarely did that, she just had to hope her mother would take the hint that this was a serious matter, and not argue with her on this one. It was rare she took such a hard stance against her, but it felt necessary since her own meetings were about to begin… ___ 6th District, 4:10 PM Elita quickly stepped out of the building, following the boy who had slipped free while others weren’t looking. She had been working to piece together most of the events of the day, from bystanders, from other Founts… And the rumors of a boy toying with shadows had caught her attention for obvious reasons. She knew it could not be that simple, there was likely no way for him to have been in the Tower at the same time as the evacuation events, but she could at least ask him for input. He stood in the alley, his hands in his pockets as he gazed up at the sky, but when he heard her footsteps exiting the bar, he seemed ready to jump and run at first notice. Elita held her hands up in front of her, “...I just wanted to ask a few questions. You are not required to answer anything you don’t wish to.” He flinched and Elita was able to feel a sudden tinge of concern from him. She forced herself to ignore it though, and waited for him to reply, “You’re the one who was hanging out with the reporter for a while. You saw Stratford die, right?” She paused, she hadn’t expected him to launch the first question. She nodded her head gently, a little sigh escaping her, “I did. I cannot talk about too much of what occurred. I cannot risk information falling into the wrong hands. What I can say is that Mr. Stratford perished and I am looking for the one who-” “I didn’t do anything! I was on the ground the whole time.” That panic spiked again as she held her composure, “I apologize,” Tempest seemed to tense up when she said that, “I did not mean to imply I suspected you. I just wanted to ask about what occurred on the ground level. I heard from bystanders that you were helping with the evacuation.” He nodded his head, before taking a deep breath… He launched into an explanation of the events as he recalled them. The brief mention of a weird book, and the constant reinforcements from the tower. When she asked about his abilities: “I can do small shadow manipulation. Nothing too impressive, but I can get a decent cloak, or a shield if the shadows are dense enough.” “Did you happen to notice any other shadowy figures during the events today?” Her face was stoic as she asked that, and his own scrunched up in confusion, “...No, I didn’t. It was all really fast, but… It was just me I think?” Elita nodded her head, before offering him her hand, “I appreciate your cooperation. I have one last request, if you will hear me out.” ___ 1st District, 11:15 AM And now, her patience was beginning to bear fruit. As the others gathered around, her focus drifted a bit to watched the sky, a small frown on her face, “I should have pushed to meet earlier than this, I suppose…” She wasn’t focused much on the others around her, instead taking time to watch the comings and goings of the police force. Watching their usual paths, how they patrolled the crater that they were busy investigating and what blind spots they had. It wasn’t as if she thought she could get down there easily, but she would like to take a closer look around the scene itself if she could manage. She let out a tiny hum as she took a glance at her phone, before putting it away as she turned her attention back to the crater. “I do not know what the rest of you would like to investigate, but I know what I’ll be checking out.” "Looks like the boydem ain't exactly running tours. I'm all for tearing through this yellow tape," Leo cocked his head toward Sei, "but not if our resident super-hero is gonna tackle me extra fast once I'm in. Got me all wavey after the reporter here fixed me up yesterday, not lookin ta snooze another half a day." Elita didn’t acknowledge Leo’s arrival, but she did give a small nod to him after the rest of what he said, “I will be entering the scene, but I won’t need to tear through the tape. I have a plan.” She nodded her head again as Tempest stepped through the group, “Are you prepared? We’ll have to avoid the police in there.” She felt a twinge of panic, but his face didn’t show much as he glanced towards the crater, then nodded his head, “First sign of trouble and we’re leaving, right? I know you want to dig up more information, but like…” He took another look at the gathered police force, then back to her, “It’s one thing when it’s a rogue tower, but there are actual people with authority here. You could get into a lot of trouble if you aren’t paying attention.” “I know. We will keep a low profile… I would like to hear what the investigators inside of the remains are saying.” ---
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    Two new +10s finished, being Female Corrin and Summmer Elincia. And with these two Blue is kow the colour I have merged up the most with 19, beating out Red which I have 18 +10s of. Now to decide who to build next. I am planning on building Lumera though with the rate I am doing Aether Raids that is going to be a while. Could actually finish merging up Valentines Alfonse, as I've had him sitting a +4 with 5 manuals and a +Atk 4* copy sitting there since his release.
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    “Just so you know, because we wouldn’t want you to think we had anything to do with it, your friend got a page or something and had to go on ahead. Nothing to worry about, I don’t think, unless you’re one of those people who worries about everything.” And then there were two...Override wasn't exactly thrilled about losing one of his allies this early on, but duty forever called...so to an extent he could understand. Nevertheless, it was he and Aeon left, which could've been good or bad, he wasn't too sure about that yet. But now they needed to go off towards "Wonderland" and Zodiac...trying to talk with their leader, Ophiuchus XIII. Override was overhead again, soaring in the skies as he had the file and information pulled up on his HUD. Ulmer, Ray Cape Name: Ophiuchus XIII Active for: 5 Years, 5 months Power Classification: Shaker Current leader of The Zodiac gang. No known direct participation in criminal activity but orchestrates the distribution of controlled substances grade C-52 and above. Goals: As the oldest currently active gang, The Zodiac’s goals have shifted from power and expansion to a consolidation of power within their territory and maintaining the status quo. Any improvement is spent on efficiencies of their Just don't add thirteen to his name when referring to him...good to know. But either way, I doubt it'll be an easy one to deal with. Override thought, sighing a bit at how this would go. He just hoped it would be a smooth one. “Welcome, honored guests, and, to our particularly honored guest, welcome back. It is a shame we could not meet under better circumstances, but what can one do? I assume you are here to apologize for last night’s… indiscretions? Let us call them that. Your messenger certainly made it seem as though that were the case.” ........ "Sure I have, I had shorter hair, and it was uhhh red? I think it was red. Anyway, I'd say you haven't changed either but that ain't totally right, is it, Thirteen?" The armored hero could only be seen with his hand on the "face" of his suit. Once again, Aeon spoke up first and now put them in hotter water than they already were apparently. "...the dossier said don't call him by the number marking...that's for archival purposes...Jesus H. Christ." he muttered quietly, to which he heard P.I.X.E.L. speak up. "I believe you may need to talk your way out of this, sir." his Scottish voice broke the silence for a moment in his helmet. "...you may be right..." "But that is two apologies you owe me now." "That's a pretty good one. Well, maybe he's got the apologies on him somewhere. He seems the type." Override simply looked in the direction of Aeon, his suit hiding the fact that he was glaring daggers at her. She was fortunate that she had not on any obvious technology on her, otherwise he planned to use them against her in an instant. But nevertheless, he sighed and stepped forward, hoping to make a better impression. "I don't have the apology, we weren't sent with one. I can tell you if anything, our superiors can give you one at a later date, if you so wish it, Ophiucus." Override spoke. "No, were simply here under diplomatic reasons...coincidentally, in regards to what was displayed last evening." "You are here to ask something of me regarding last night?" Ophiuchus didn't seem the laughing type, but even he seemed bemused by this. "To my knowledge the Zodiac took no part in any of the riots and if you present proper evidence to the contrary the offending member will be immediately excommunicated." "I'm not referring to the riots. Right now all I'm referring to is the declaration that Cassandra made last night and our efforts to prevent it." he attempted to continue, however now the bemused smile disappeared. He tried not to show the fact he was nervous at seeing this, thank God for the suit of armor. "I am referring to the riots because procedure is important. The truces were put in place and have survived this long for a reason." In the corner, Cassiopeia tensed again, and there was no ghostly hand to put her at ease this time. Ophiuchus continued, "Your G3 organization has a different perspective on things. I see that now, and will, in fact, discuss this with your superiors. But you are not exactly in a position to be dancing around the issue. I am already annoyed, so say what it is you were sent here to say." Override thought for a moment, realizing what he was referring to now, recalling what he asked Aeon a moment ago. There was a breach of true at the end of it last night...Spotlight helped Cassandra and he shouldn't have. And G3 seemed to have either swept that under the rug or neglected to mention anything to them. Either option was plausible at this point, but for the time being, he had a job to do. Later...later he would be doing some digging for sure. Override held the file in the hand with the documents for Ophiuchus to sign, glancing in the direction of Cassiopeia. "This is what we were sent here for. Would you mind handing this to him? I'm sure this would be safer than allowing a Cape to just approach your boss like this." he said, extending his hand with the document towards Cassiopeia. "All we need is your signature and cooperation...that said, while I can't physically guarantee any negotiations to occur in regards to the evening prior, I will say that speaking to our superiors and their negotiators may be able to assist in fixing and even apologizing for what transpired." Ophiuchus took the documents himself, manifesting another ethereal hand open and ready to accept them. "Better," he said. He continued to hold the folder with his power as he read. The snake around his shoulders also seemed interested in the document, curling up into the crook of his shoulder to get a better look. Eventually, he said, "This is asking a lot of us, but it is largely acceptable. For my signature, however, I have one additional price: an explanation. I want to know why the events of last night took place. Why then? And why were those helping Cassandra willing to break one of the more sacred truces to do so? Swear to answer those questions for me, and any others that might come up, and I will assent." "...yes, I suppose the hand thing was definitely more simpler." Override nodded, relenting at the ethereal hand. However, Ophiuchus brought up his price for this signature, which made the young man think this was generally a running theme with these villainous leaders, but he digressed. All this one wanted was answers, which was the same thing they themselves were looking for. "Seems somewhat of a simple thing to ask for, Ophiuchus, but knowledge is power in some's eyes, a powerful weapon to wield. In truth, we're looking to learn these reasons ourselves, so I will say right now...the moment we find the answers to these questions of yours, I'll personally hand you the information, either myself or I'll have P.I.X.E.L. deliver it."
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    City folk were weird. It was a thought that crossed Ryu's mind almost every day, and today was no exception. Today, the school was in a fervor, like there was a festival today. There was no festival today though. Instead, they were sending everyone out on a journey, out into the wild. That was unheard of back home, but hey, city folk. They were incomprehensible to him. He spent the day listening to his teacher Jacq. The boy tried to keep up, but frankly, it was a lot to take in. Eventually though, the bell rang, sending the youth from a long boring lecture to... another long boring lecture. The director spoke of them heading out to the world like it was something to be proud of. Something to be praised. It just seemed too dangerous to Ryu, but he didn't have much to say to that. Besides... somewhere out there, his precious partner was waiting for him. He had to find him... he just had to... His grip on his sole pokeball tightened as the speech concluded. Now he was free to meet up with the group, but before that, there was something very important he had to do, something he was sure everyone else was doing as well. He adjusted the giant bag on his back, the bag being nearly as tall as he was, and just as wide. Time for a shopping trip. He went around the town square, looking at what every store had to offer. It was all shocking to him, everything around him. Back home, he could never imagine so many stores, all selling different things. Where he was from, there were small vendors, usually attached to a person's house. Here though, there were entire buildings dedicated to selling things. And not just one or two, but entire streets of them. The buildings themselves still felt very strange to him to. He was used to being surrounded by trees, but the buildings blocked those, as if mocking nature itself. Even the food was strange to him. Pre-sliced bread? Back home in the village, the bread was always made fresh, and you had to slice it yourself. Peanut butter? Never heard of it until two seconds ago, when he bought it. He was sure other people in his group would know what to do with it. He kept buying random things until his bag was completely filled. Despite how heavy the bag was, he walked forward with it like it weighed nothing. It was a familiar weight, one almost comforting to the boy. Now with all the food bought, it was time to meet his group. As he walked to the board, he passed by one thing that did remind him of home. A vendor was selling things from a small stall. That made him nostalgic. Eventually, he found everyone else, the group gathered next to a ladder. He walked to them, raising a hand in greeting with a quiet nod. "How do you do, fellow students?" He asked awkwardly. Well, at least his greeting was nice and 'hip', as people say.
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    ←Previous Post Week Forty-Seven -- The Alluring Siren In financial desperation, I struck a bargain with the ancient things that surfaced in search of sacrifice when the moon was right. Their price was the delivery of an obscure idol and one other item of more troubling portent. The pact struck, my new-found accomplices slipped silently beneath the brackish water. A fearful stirring at the edge of the torchlight betrayed a familiar witness and gifted me with malign inspiration. I was taking a look at the current levelling situation, and with several adventurers hitting Level Five, we’re pretty close to being able to take on the Darkest Dungeon proper. Which is a scary thought! I mean, I knew that going in, how limiting our access to more heroes, practically forbidding me from dismissing them, means we were getting more useful experience per run, but still. It also means we’re unlikely to actually hit all the versions of all the bosses, but we did thankfully see the first versions, so you can get the gist of what the next ones might be like. I’m still trepidatious because of our trinket situation, but that will get rectified in time. For now, we’re just staying the path with the Siren fight, as promised. A small mistake you don’t see here is that I forgot to give Audrey, our Grave Robber, a second trinket -- she’s only got one that boosts her speed. This is largely fine in this case since she’s mostly there to support the one-two punch of Skaia and LordCowCow, but a utility trinket to help with scouting wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. On a related note, a frustrating quirk of the map design is that the game likes to have the party in the center at all times, but in this case, that obfuscates which way we need to go. I was pretty sure the Siren was in the bottom-right square since that’s what the game defaults to in situations like this, but I needed to count the left path just to make sure it wasn’t longer, which the game seemingly enjoyed preventing by zooming in on the party. I eventually managed, but it was a small quality of life thing I hadn’t noticed in previous runs. We face this lineup a few times in the runup to The Siren fight proper. It would probably be a backbreaker necessitating some pretty heavy item usage if it weren’t for a few key points. The first and most obvious is that Margaret directly counters the two Shamans in the back with her Skeet Shoot ability, which serves to de-stealth them. The second is that Skaia’s ability to mark enemies also comes with PROT reduction, meaning the Giant Enemy Crab is a little less threatening. Lastly, it turns out the team’s Dodge stat was pretty high since everyone got at least one key dodge in when it mattered. One fun interaction we get after one of these fights is how the game will let you camp before taking loot or interacting with the curio in the middle of the room. It’s something I’ve done a few times without comment, but it’s especially exciting when I’ve given LordCowCow all the damage trinkets and we come across an idol that will buff damage even more when purified. That buff lasts until we camp, so we camp first, take the loot from the fight now that the camping log slot is empty, and then interact with the curio. Now all that can go wrong is if The Siren enchants LordCowCow first. Aw son of a - I mean, it’s fine. Does it still suck when CowCow deals twenty damage to Audrey cutting her HP to a fifth of what it once was? Yeah, sure, but she never gets put on Death’s Door and Cow only gets to do that once anyway. Like all the other summoner bosses, the real difficulty spike is in exactly what it can summon, and we’re prepared for that for the same reasons we could fight through those room battles. If the enemy has a high PROT, Skaia reduces it or Audrey’s pickaxe pierces right through it. If a healer gets charmed, we brought along a spare. It’s still a grind, but it’s always a grind in our favor. I alluded to solving our trinket situation in the next few weeks. I said that because hopefully, we’ll be able to do that soon. We might be running into a miniboss we haven’t seen yet to do so, so that’s exciting as well. Until then, -r ←Previous Post
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    I am addicted to making threads now help Is there any particular Poll Tournament idea anyone has in mind? Or types of polls people would like to see? With Engage coming out, I'll probably do another FE one this year, and I intend to continue my video game series too but, yeah idk figured would put this up
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    This hardly seemed fair, Melissa thought. Time and time again, she found herself face-down in the mud. This wasn’t even specific to this fight with Rei, though it had happened at least twice -- the first time it happened with that one sand woman had been the inciting incident of the computers’ worry. It really only served to remind her of that. She’d tried to correct it since then. She’d slid through the air without protection a few times, sure, but those had explicitly been temporary measures. That just meant apparently it was her and Zadkiel eating dirt, and between those two, only one of them had to really experience the consequences of that. The impact of Rei’s strike had shattered that connection, too, so it was especially just her dealing with the taste of artificial earth. It wasn’t over yet, but her health was dwindling, and one of Rei’s ghostly hands on Melissa’s back meant she wasn’t moving anytime soon. At least, she thought, she didn’t need to move to fight back, though she did need to draw up the will. One last effort, then. She went with what worked. She still had the memory of where Rei had just been, and summoned Zadkiel right behind that spot, again, sword at the ready. The move wasn’t as quick this time, probably because this time it had to identify that Rei was still there. That split-second was all Rei needed. She launched herself upwards, dodging the attack completely. Melissa could see what was coming next. She couldn’t see the exact nature of Rei’s arms, but past experience -- all that playing of the information game -- told her there was certainly a riposte headed her way in the form of an ethereal fist. Of course, the gulf between realizing something invisible was going to hit you and actually being able to do something about it was a pretty wide one. The best she could do was obscure Rei’s line of sight to her, and hope that that messed things up. Zadkiel disappeared and Sandalphon took its place, now between Rei and her still-prone body. Sandalphon was larger, at least, even if it had holes in itself any ghost worth its salt could fit through. It also could fire at Rei. There weren’t any trees up in the air to hide behind, after all. Time seemed to slow. Melissa watched the beam get closer and closer to Rei, even as she, at the same time, braced herself to take whatever Rei could throw at her.I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. -Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV)Melissa stumbled out of her pod. Waking up was a disorienting experience, though it was helped by the fact that she was slowly getting used to suddenly being shunted back into her body. She didn’t fall over after a few wretched half-steps, so that was good. The difference, probably, was that she frequently had control over when the angels put her back in her body, while this time, she’d barely expected it to happen. At least, she hadn’t expected the pod to kick her out for the reasons it had. She could still feel the impact point on her back from where Rei had delivered that final strike, burdened even further by her nascent awareness of the blinking red display behind her. Sandalphon’s laser had been fired too late. She had lost. The computers were still rather silent. She’d ask them for an assessment on the fight later, but first, there was a bit of ceremony and the rest of the denouement. Melissa made her way around to the other side, where Rei’s pod was in the process of ejecting her. Already, the pain was fading. It had been imaginary all along. “Thank you for the fight,” she told Rei as she helped the girl out of her pod. “I got something out of it, I think, so the effort I asked of you wasn’t in vain.”
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    I didn't see a ton of anime, and this one is most likely not "best of the year" but I guess everybody knows of Mob Psycho 200, Bocchi the Rock, or Spy x Family by now sooo here's another thing: IDK how new it really is but I found this anime called "Romantic Killer" that I liked a lot more than I expected. Fun was had.
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    Is pretty good, not really my thing I don't think, maybe its cause was listening to hype music earlier but, 7.5/10
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    General Studies Homeroom Naranja Academy, Mesagoza – 9:30 AM BGM "I know today is a very late day and we don't have much time to cover anything substantial...With the end of our classroom time coming up, I really thought we would be able to cover a bit more than we did..." Aruto glanced in the direction of Jacq, moving his chair back on all fours and shifting his head forward, his pencil rolling off the bridge of his nose as he did so. It was unusual that Jacq would be late for class like that, but it was never unheard of...especially if the director was involved...which, surprisingly...he was. "You could say that. The Director is going to go over it in more detail, but as usual... We'll be allowing you all to go on your own studies. Some of you may stay here, but I know many of you will choose to head out into Paldea to explore and forge your own path... I just hope some of what I've taught you will help. Let's review instead of covering anything new." Hearing this, a wide smirk began to creep along the young man's face, his leg bouncing up and down in excitement. He was pumped to hear even this news, and was even watching the clock the entire time. Of course, one of the students would've actually nudged him to try and pay attention and take notes, but even then...he couldn't help it. Then, at 11:30...the bell rung out. It was time for that big announcement and Aruto was 100% ready for it! "Before you leave, we have two guest speakers. One, you all will likely know well. The other is associated with the Pokemon Activities Committee. Please, welcome Top Champion Geeta and Mr. Raoul Contesta to the stage." "This is a momentous occasion, not just for you all, but for me. It isn't every day the Activities Committee is able to expand contests to a new region, so I look forward to seeing what any of you who chooses to participate can show me... I'll turn it over to your champion now, but I'm ready to be dazzled by you upcoming stars!" "I greatly looking forward to seeing who wishes to challenge the Champion Assessment. The Gym Leaders across the region have been working overtime to be sure to make this the most interesting Gym Challenge yet, and I cannot wait to see the shining results. For now, however... Go, students. Your journeys begin here." Aruto saw them both...Raoul Contesta and Champion Geeta...those two there...those were his goal. With a quick turn of his heel, the young man made a combee-line straight for his dorm room, grabbing his stuff (after he quickly packed things into a backpack) and immediately grabbed one of his PokéBalls, tossing it up into the air. Out of it emerged his partner Pokémon, Hongo the Nymble, who ended up hopping right onto the shoulder of the young man. "Today's the day, Hongo! We're going to finally start this journey of ours!" he said, making his way from his dorm room down the stairs as he made it towards the Entrance Hall. "You as pumped as I am?" Hongo simply made a few buggy clicks and chatters, with a simple nod of his head. "That's what I figured." Aruto smirked, walking out the doors...or at least he would've if he didn't notice something with brightly colored headers on the bulletin board. "Huh...? ...Group 13...western PokéCenter...ladder..." he muttered, before nodding and punching a fist into his open hand. "Awright! Looks like we got a meeting to attend, buddy! Let's kick this into high gear then!!" Without another word spoken, Aruto rushed out the Entrance Hall's doors, making his way straight towards the western side of Mezagoza. ...he did have a bit of an issue out the gate however, namely the tripping under his own feet and sort of falling the last flight of stairs, but the best starts for any aspiring "Hero of Justice" was obviously going to have a bit of injury. Aruto groaned, finally getting up from the fall as Hongo hopped back on his shoulder. "...ow...not the best start, but c'mon...let's get going! Hopefully we aren't late!" Not breaking his stride whatsoever, Aruto made his way towards the western PokéCenter, skidding to a halt as he turned his head just in time to see a small group of three students gathering by a...ladder!! "Hey, I think that may be the crew, buddy!" he said, seeing Hongo nod a few times, making a few happy noises. Aruto smiled, finally approaching the three, with a wave. "H-Hey there...sorry if we're late! Aruto Takeshi and Hongo, at your service!"
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    The further they moved into the room, the weirder Chris felt. He was used to having to try to not be seen, but even when he tripped that zombie he hadn’t been noticed while under Ziun’s illusion. The monsters just kept acting like Lana was the only one there. It was uncanny. That didn’t mean the monsters didn’t pull out new surprises, of course. The zombies were quicker than expected when they wanted to be, and one of the eyes pulled out some new kind of magic that spread a red fog out in front of them. That was another part of the weird. Normally, he’d have to run headfirst into one of those things to draw out whatever tricks they were hiding, maybe even get hit with it. Now, he was still reacting, but in a different sort of way. The eye was the one causing the most issues? He motioned for Estellise, and the mage took a few steps forward and shot an arrow cutting through the mist, striking the eye right in the… eye. It wasn’t quite enough to kill the thing, but it did nearly knock it to the ground. When it came back up, though, it was able to focus back on the mage. It didn’t do anything, but Chris realized the attack had been enough to draw attention past Ziun’s illusion. He swore under his breath, though if anything was going to see past anything, it probably would be the giant eye, wasn’t it? He had other, more immediate problems anyway. A zombie was moving around to flank Lana and, when he looked to the rest of the group’s flank as well, he saw another zombie coming around there too. “Robin,” he mouthed at that one, since she was closest to it. By that logic, that meant he had to deal with the one about to attack Lana while she was busy with another one, though. He ran up and cut the zombie’s head off in a single, clean stroke. But this far up, this close to the mist, two things happened. First, he could see around the black box in the middle now, and there were more monsters than he’d originally expected -- at least one more eye and several more zombies. The second was his visceral reaction to that additional knowledge. More? They couldn’t fight more. They’d all get torn apart while still fighting the first wave. No, better to get out while they still could. The dungeon would never be completed, but at least he’d be alive. Chris jumped back, back out of the mist, and sprinted a couple steps before stopping to catch his breath. He’d been hyperventilating and the run hadn’t helped. It was enough to get him doubled over, dropping his sword and clutching his stomach. Only then did his vision clear. No, obviously they could do this. He’d just cut a zombie’s head clean off, what else did he have to prove? He was still a little shaken, but he was able to turn back around and say, “Don’t, uh, don’t go in that red stuff. Also, there’s more back there, so watch out,” before returning to the fray.
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Forty-Five and Forty-Six -- The Best Revenge Is Living Well I’m a little tired of how the game’s been populating missions, even if I understand what’s happening. In a strange twisted benevolence, it never wants to give you more than it thinks you can handle. That’s why there’s always at least one green mission in the pool, it’s so you can always pull new recruits off the stagecoach and try again. It also won’t introduce harder missions until you have characters that are ready for them, which is why we didn’t see orange or red missions until characters started crossing those thresholds. At the same time, though, I’ve only got three adventurers who can comfortably go on one of these champion-level missions without cowering in fear and taking a boatload of stress, so, like, what is it expecting me to do with all these red options then, hm? I feel like I’m being dared. I won’t fall for it, though. I just lost my occultist and am immediately turning around and going to the Cove, you think I’m going to be cocksure now? You’ll notice this is a Short mission, which is ideal for this team given that it’s running three veteran (level three) adventurers. The one holdout, Doggo the Abomination, is ideal here as he’s got a solid blight attack, a stun in Manacles, and his beastly side can help dance Paracelsus back to where she belongs. We encounter a lot of bandits, which makes it really nice that Thar’s riposte has only gotten stronger, but they’re also not interesting to recap in the same way as introducing The Cove’s new enemy is. This giant enemy crab has two attacks and they both suck, but then, what else is new? The first one, Arterial Pinch, is the real reason you bring a Plague Doctor to high-level Cove missions, because it inflicts a whopping 8/turn bleed, the most in the game, and something only Battlefield Bandages can cure without spending actual resources. It also debuffs healing, just for the extra rub-ins. The other move it has is called Tidal Slam, which deals some pretty significant damage and will stun and knock you back if it gets the chance. Did I mention this thing has 50% PROT also, meaning if you’re not prepared to pierce through that it has effectively 120 health? I mean, we are prepared for it, but still. Thar gets put on Death’s Door, but there are two party members with healing abilities so he’s not in any particular danger. It’s just the Cove being the Cove, really. I also packed a slight surplus of food, which helps a bit as well. I forgot to take a pregame lineup screenshot like I normally do, oops. This is a pretty standard mark party with a bit of Sethera to taste. The biggest problem is no heals, but this is another Short dungeon and I packed extra food again, so it’s not a big deal. It also helps that everyone on this team seemed to dodge like a god. Seriously, this was the attack with the highest likelihood to screw things up. I wish I managed to screenshot the time the team dodged the Swine Marcher’s Drum of Doom AoE stress attack. Like, how do you manage to dodge being drummed at? There wasn’t much else to report back about, though. The Warrens offer plenty of damage buffs, and both Skaia and Joan do a decent amount of damage already, so all the fights got resolved pretty quickly. There was a small moment of panic when three attacks went Skaia’s way in a row, but again, extra food. You know what they say about an apple a day, right? We’ve unlocked the second Siren fight, so that’s where we’re probably going next. As long as we’re being extra cautious, I’ll be sure to learn from last time’s mistakes, right? We’re not going to lose another character to a boss, right? Guess we’ll all find out together. -r ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    At this point, Vi questioned how she even got herself in this situation when her other two teammates were in a completely different part of the building and out of sight. She groaned through gritted teeth as she held her open umbrella in front of her like a shield, keeping her aura dense enough to withstand the constant shocks protruding from the floating drones in front of her. She was too distracted to notice Adler was no longer on the street before she made another glance in that direction. “Tsh…” she scoffed, rolling her eyes, “...show off.” Almost on cue, she noticed a sudden shift in the movements of the drones around her. At first they were only passive and reactive, but with what seemed like a synchronized movement, they all turned and began to position themselves around Vi. Her first instinct was to go into another defensive stance, but knowing where they were going, guarding only one side didn’t seem to be a viable tactic in this situation. “Alright, guess I’ll just… wait a minute-” just as she was about to use her brain for once, her vision focused on one drone in particular. Like a spider dangling on a web inches in front of her, she didn’t seem to notice that one of the drones was wearing her hat which had fallen off when she charged in. Perplexed, she blinked a couple times before looking again. She wasn’t going crazy. That drone is really wearing her hat. “Wha- how the f-” and then it hit her. She didn’t know for sure, but it had to have been, “...you motherfucker…” She didn’t know whether to laugh or growl, but the emotions surged from her once more as she closed her umbrella, holding it to her side as she twisted her hips and pivoted her legs preparing to spin. Once wound up, she executed the motion with a strong release of her aura energy as the air around her violently swirled like a vortex which brought a bunch of the debris from the destroyed warehouse with it. The combined force of the whirlwind as well as the impact of the rubble seemed to have caught the drones surrounding her, causing them to stagger. The attack didn’t last long. Vi only seemed to want to test it out in the heat of the moment, which appeared to have been effective enough to show results. The drones looked to be less of a threat as the electricity from their shock weapons had less of an impact against her armor. She gave a smug grin as she wound up for the same whirlwind attack, satisfied by the fact that the same debris she would use was almost in the exact same area when it settled from the first. As expected, the same scope of damage managed to finish them off. …except for one. The one drone wearing Vi’s hat sat floating just outside of the area of effect, and an awkward pause lingered as Vi would’ve locked eyes with it if it had any. With one last scoff, she simply lunged forward for a stab, releasing a burst from the tip of her umbrella on impact that knocked it back against the wall where it lay out of commission under more rubble. The burst caused her hat to fly upwards in an arc that almost touched the ceiling. Not even looking up at it, she turned around to start heading down the hallway where everyone else seemed to have gone, catching it with one hand and putting it back on without even a break in her stride. At that moment, the adrenaline began to wear off when she noticed the hole she had made before the hallway was starting to… repair itself? Taken aback, she looked around, also noticing the hole to the outside was doing the same. “Uh, guys?!” she shouted down the hall, making her way down to catch up with the group, “...what are we doing now? The building’s fuckin’ healing itself, who's doing that??”
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    Thinking on it might do the Type one at some point cause its an easy one to do. YGO one sounds interesting though I feel someone else could do that one too. Pokemon music sounds like a fun one, manga is one that I feel should happen. As for myself I'll probably do: Continue the Video Games by Console thing A Pokemon and FE one (probably in July and Feb/March respectively, want to give it 1 or 2 month from Engage release) The Type one at some point Might try the other ideas too but other people also could do some of these lol First one I'll do will be either another console one though cause I enjoy those.
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    darkest dungeon is back in the new year with the second hag fight go team
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    What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? -Romans 9:22 (NIV)The splinters didn’t do much to provoke Melissa. She saw them coming and remembered what one of the Spike Brothers had done when they had seen Sandalphon in the wheeled winged flesh (that was the second time she associated the Spike Brothers with Rei -- how odd!) and did the same as she had then. She didn’t even register until too late that she had contradicted herself, having previously played up Zadkiel as especially fragile and now Sandalphon was taking a series of haphazard wooden strikes without any regard at all. Melissa’s health bar dinged her for it, both those hits and the few splinters that had snuck through the wheels within wheels that made up Sandalphon’s body. Wasn’t Sandalphon supposed to have a minor healing effect? Maybe that had been disabled for the simulation too. She didn’t want to linger. She didn’t want to betray herself any more than she had to. At the same time, Rei had disappeared again, and Sandalphon was significantly less mobile than Zadkiel, so she didn’t really have a means of doing anything that might help track her target down. Sandalphon may have multitudes of eyes and give off its own ambient light, but it still couldn’t see through wood. An idea seized Melissa. She’d already demonstrated the capability to strike down one tree. It wouldn’t be too hard to just continue the process. But something else seized her also, the tell-tale sign of one of Rei’s ghostly hands reaching through Sandalphon and seizing her shoulder. What followed was practically an instinctual response, even if it had a vague chain of reasoning attached. She’d seen Rei get pulled around by her ghosts. They had to be attached somehow, right? If she could disrupt that enough, she wouldn’t get grabbed again. The best tools available to her were the wheels themselves, so she had them do what any wheel was supposed to do – she had them spin, hoping to cut off any link the ghosts might have. It didn’t work; she was still being dragged outside of Sandalphon’s center. Whatever was going on with Rei was intangible to Melissa. Which meant more drastic actions needed to be taken. Melissa had already primed Sandalphon to fire, and fire it did, every which way as its wheels kept spinning, each taking out another tree in the process. She was aiming at anything in her effective range, creating a space where she could see everything and there was nothing to hide behind. Rei’s effective range might have been longer, but that was for steps where she wasn’t being physically accosted. She was slammed into the inside of one of Sandalphon’s wheels -- Rei appeared not to agree with her wishes and added an extra bit of violence on top of that. Melissa only managed to stay unconscious by focusing on the why: One of Sandalphon’s beams had found Rei’s tree, and through her angel’s eyes she could see Rei and a barricade of the leftovers quickly building back up. That wouldn’t do. She knew where Rei was, which meant now she had to be on the offensive. Melissa had one of Sandalphon’s rings keep spinning around her while the other stopped, locked on target, and fired once again. She was slammed into the other wheel this time. Rei’s ghost had wrapped around her once again. It had probably been easier with one less wheel to get through. Melissa let her hold on Sandalphon slip. The beam was already on its way, crashing through Rei’s quick barricade and sending the girl scrambling. She relinquished her hold on Melissa as well, and Melissa crumpled to the ground. It hurt to move, not to the point that, like, she couldn’t, but she didn’t particularly want to. It was fortunate then, that she didn’t have to move to keep pressing the attack. When she summoned Zadkiel again, it was already on top of her, already ready to pick her up and charge forward after Rei. When she was close enough -- or closer, at least -- she arced upwards, giving her enough time to swap Zadkiel for Sandalphon, summoning the ophan as high above her as she could manage to fire a few more beams in Rei’s direction before swapping back to her cherub in time to catch her and keep up the chase. The maneuver asked a lot of her angels, even more than normal. It asked a lot of Melissa, really, what with the flying around like her own speeding missile that she insisted on doing. There had to be a better way to do that, but it wasn’t something she could think about right now. Both she and Rei had landed some pretty hefty blows already. One way or another, things had to be coming to a head soon.
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    I uh, think I can only really say for games this year, oddly, so as for the one I've actually met, Mel from Konosuba: Fantastic Days
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    Once again in the mood to share my ideas, this time the somewhat incomplete "Zaparticle" Archtype, a group of Thunder monsters that like to either have empty zones between them or a sequence of monsters whose combined Level is 0 to make their spell/traps and ED monsters more powerful, all loosely based on the idea of positive/negative ions. it uses my (very unoriginal) concepts of "Negative" monsters (monsters whose level is a negative value) and my iteration of Trap Pendulums (seen here: The Monsters The strategy primarily revolves around using the effects of the three pendulum monsters to easily swarm the field, after which they can be used as both link materials and tribute fodder for you link monster's effects. "Once per turn, If you have a Thunder-Type monster in your other Pendulum Zone, you can draw one card for each empty zone between (exclusive) this card and that monster." "If you control a face-up Thunder-Type Negative Monster you can Special Summon this card to a zone adjacent to that monster." "Once per turn, If you have a Thunder-Type monster in your other Pendulum Zone, you can target one card on the field; return that card to it's owners Hand. You cannot Pendulum Summon except "Zaparticle" Monsters. (this cards Pendulum Scales is always treated as -2)." "If you control a face-up Thunder-Type Monster with a positive Level you can Special Summon this card to a zone adjacent to that monster. This cards Level is always treated as -1." "Target two Thunder-Type Monsters you control whose combined Levels equals 0, monsters you control in zones between those targets cannot be removed from the field until the Endphase, then you can Pendulum Summon Thunder-Type monsters. This cards Pendulum Scale is always treated as the scale of the monster in your other Pendulum Zone x-1." "Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. If you control Thunder-Type monsters whose combined Levels equals 0 you can Special Summon this card from your Hand." The Link monsters, with the exception of Collida, each have effects revolving around the level of monsters you tribute for their effects or summon. "1 Thunder-Type monsters You can also Link Summon this card by discarding one "Zaparticle Prota" and "Zaparticle Electra", if Link Summoned this way you can, immediately after this effect resolves, Link Summon one "Zaparticle" monster from your Extra Deck using this card and other "Zaparticle" monsters you control. Once per turn you can tribute this Link Summoned monster (quick effect); Special Summon up to three monsters from your Hand, GY, or faceup from your Extra Deck whose combined Levels equals 0. You can only Link Summon one "Zaparticle Collida" per turn." "2 Thunder-Type Monsters This card and any monster it is used as a Link Material for the summon of gains the following effects based on the level of "Zaparticle Monsters used as Materials for this card's Link Summon; ● -1 or lower: This card is immune to Spell Cards/Effects. ● 0: When this card is summoned destroy cards on the field equal to the number of empty zonesthis card points to. ● 1 or higher: This card is immune to trap cards/effects." "3 Thunder-Type monsters If you control a Negative Monster and a monster with a positive Level you can move this card to a main monster zone between those monsters. Once per turn you can tribute a monster linked to this card, add one "Zaparticle" Spell or Trap card from your Deck to your Hand." image has an error, Reactor Dragon's ATK is 2800 "2+ Thunder-Type and/or Negative Monsters Once per turn you can tribute a monster linked to this card, activate the appropriate effect based on that monsters Level; ● -1 or lower: this card can attack all monsters with a positive Level your opponent controls during your next battlephase. ●0: add monsters from your Deck or face-up from your Extra Deck to your Hand whose combined Levels equals 0. ●1 or higher: Special Summon one Thunder-Type Monster from your GY or Face-up from your Extra Deck to a zone this card points to." The Spells/Traps I currently don't have images for the few spells/traps I have made. Ionized Zaparticles Quickplay "Discard one card then target two Thunder-Type Monsters you control whose combined Levels equals 0; Special Summon as many "Zaparticle Ion Token" (Thunder/LIGHT/Level 0/ATK 0/DEF 0) as possible to Monster Zones between those targeted monsters." Zaparticle Inversion Normal "Target one Thunder-Type monster you control; it's Level becomes equal to it's original Level x-1." Zaparticle Barrier Continuous "Face-up Thunder-Type monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle or your opponents card effects. Destroy this card if the combined Levels of monsters you control is not 0." Charged Zaparticles Normal "Target all "Zaparticle" monsters you control in zones adjacent to each other whose combined Levels equals 0; Those monsters gain 500 ATK for each targeted monster until the Endphase."
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    Takina Inoue from Lycoris Recoil
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    Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to (Japanese title) / Life with an Ordinary Guy who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (English title)
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    LOOK AT THIS DESNEY STAR! ... not that I can't be a non-weeb, but usually it takes longer than the year it comes out for me to find/actually appreciate them. and Kessoku Band for overall band, whoooo!
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    Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2 is CygamesPictures putting way too much of a budget into making a mobile game adaptation that has way better action scenes than almost anything you will ever see in your life. Anime anyway. And holy (mahiru) cow is it fantastic. This is one media where I can go much deeper in terms of top # I can make a list of... *sigh* a top 5 + mention that since I chose nothing for summer, I'm giving an honorary shoutout to Tokyo Mew Mew New will do though. Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2 Bocchi the Rock! Kaguya-sama: Love Is War -Ultra Romantic- Spy x Family In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki Didn't really do a proper list of most manga I read, I've basically been doing it for Jump because of polls that I found so I know RuriDragon is one I can say for sure.
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    my favorite part was when elon morbed all over twitter
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    Elon Musk buying Twitter and running it to the ground in a matter of weeks is pretty hard to top. Though the shit with Andrew Tate came pretty close.
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    Yes I'm responding to all of these sue me. To no one's surprised based on some status updates I made, Sonic Frontiers won the year for me.
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    Hector had had time to kill today, which was incredibly convenient since today was the day he and four others would officially become a team. He felt genuinely excited even if his face was currently hidden by Steelswarm Moth’s intense but rather blank expression. After all, one of the initial reasons Hector had signed up for Battle Horizon was to meet fellow duelists and eventually form a social group in his new home of Japan- even if only online. He neglected to do so, though, becoming more caught up in the single-player and story-related content. Sure, he would interact with other players every so often, dueling and socializing, and was active enough with others to be recognizable if you hung around the same places he did. Hector even got an invite from a clan or two, but usually he would just feel out of place and uncertain if it was even necessary to join a clan with how long he had been playing solo. “I’ll join a clan once I’ve gotten more experience,” Hector would tell himself, which naturally caused the plan to constantly get pushed back due to Hector’s subtle perfectionism. When Royal Flush fell apart, however, and especially when KaibaCorp announced the new superboss event, he decided it was finally time to do what he originally set out to do: join a clan. There was certainly no shortage of new clans now; dozens popped up each day as seemingly everyone desired to be the next hottest clan by taking down the superboss. “I guess I really have no excuse not to join with a group anymore,” Hector thought. “A brand new clan won’t have a ‘subculture’ to learn and acclimate to, and it more than likely won’t have any strange trials or hazings to pass. Fine. It’s well past time.” So, Hector looked. He would casually wander through Battle Horizon’s world, observing those individuals and groups who caught his attention. His Battle Horizon pet, a curious monster named Steelswarm Scout, had actually ended up being rather helpful in this search, essentially acting as a second pair of eyes and excitedly flying towards something that would catch his attention. It was a… somewhat slow process at first. There were a LOT of people to sift through, so Hector decided to focus on first impressions: appearances, how they carried themselves, how they spoke when he would approach them, and of course, how they would duel if he came across them in the middle of a duel. Not long after that, he met Teimei. Hector’s notice of Teimei was as good as it could have been. She looked like a swordstress from a cyberpunk future, a neat and sleek design Hector felt stood out from many of the other players and was immediately fond of. Her demeanor, while not “unfriendly”, was cold and austere, befitting her look well and her status as a potential team leader. Hector couldn’t help but already feel respectful of her, “familiar” too, given his exposure to similar people throughout the business world. Last, but certainly not least, Teimei seemed skilled in dueling. Her profile listed many wins outweighing her losses, and when Hector first met her, she had actually been in the middle of a duel. Well, more like the end of it, as her Shiranui samurais had quickly burned through her opponent’s defenses and lifepoints after some cleverly executed plays. “I think… I think she’ll be a good one. Hopefully she’ll be as good a leader as she impresses.” They had talked, exchanged messages, and Hector’s entrance into her fledgling clan was that. They only had to meet today around 2 PM to make the clan official. He logged on early to avoid potentially missing his meetup with the others, and so far had been killing time by people watching. Activity was certainly still as high as it had been when the superboss was announced, and Hector was enjoying looking at the way other players had designed themselves to look in-game. He… also made a habit of eavesdropping on conversations. Steelswarm Scout also seemed to be enjoying the boisterous activity, flying constantly from place to place in search of new interactions to observe. Every so often, some of the players he would spy on would have pets of their own, and a small, entertaining game of tag, “stealing”, or scuffle would ensue. Eventually, Hector had lost track of time, and he was getting slightly impatient to finally meet with the others. From among the other team of players, mostly mingling among themselves save for the robot-looking player who was busy dealing with the NPC in the room, one of their number stood up. He was a man of pale skin, and considerable height. An intricate tattoo adorned his neck, and his attire wouldn't look out of place in any real-life setting of today. The tall man gave Hector a nod of acknowledgement. "Yo. Neat cape." Hector smiled behind his Moth’s visage, and nodded his head in appreciation to make his reaction more obvious. "Thanks," he said, flourishing the wing-like tapestry behind him. "Maybe one day I'll actually be able to use these 'wings' as actual wings on here, but until then, I think they make a fine adornment." Hector looked over the man more keenly now, checking out his own attire. He looked... fairly casual compared to many of the other players around, even the group he had come from. The one distinguishing feature he did have, though, was an intricate tattoo on his neck. Normally, Hector wouldn't have been fond of tattoos so close to the face, but seeing how this was technically a game still... "Interesting tattoo design. I don't think I recognize it as the symbol for any monsters. Does it mean anything?" "Dunno, actually. It's the same as what I've got on my real neck, I just thought it looked neat. Looks like I'm not the only one." "Ah, I see," Hector replied. Even in real life, it was difficult to discern Hector's internal reactions beyond what he deliberately allowed, but he was still thankful of having Moth's visage active to cover up any potential negative expressions. A neck tattoo in real life? Rather... distasteful in his opinion. Still, it wasn't like it was an obscene design, and it really was rather eye-catching in a more positive way. More importantly, the man had been cordial to him, and if there was one thing Hector enjoyed, it was compliments. "Well, maybe you can go back to where you got the tattoo from and ask. It would be interesting to hear about its background." Hector looked back to where the man had come from, paying closer attention to what seemed to be his teammates. A pink-haired girl with a rather stern expression caught his eye, and Hector couldn't help but give a small chuckle at the contrast. "Are those your teammates? Are you guys just forming your group too?" He asked. "Oh, and what's your name?" "Yep, that's the squad over there. Team Rising Star, the boss said we'd be called, since the plan is to rise up to the top and all. Me, I'm just here for a good time. You can call me Max, or you can use my username of Viator, I don't really mind either way." Nodding toward those among Hector's teammates that had assembled in the building, Max asked in return "That your team?" "Not a bad name all things considered," Hector replied, "Though- and maybe I shouldn't be encouraging the 'competition' and all- but it'll definitely take work to live up to that name." Hector's attention briefly turned towards a rather loud and boisterous group proudly proclaiming their presence and intent to be "better than Team Royal Flush". "Some certainly deserve a title more than others," he said, his Moth visage clearly glaring. "Anyway, I'm 9Inversions, though I guess you can call me... 9? It's a mouthful, I know." Hector followed Viator's nod. He laughed. "Ha, yeah. And I showed up early to be one of the first ones present, but it looks like they all beat me to it." Hector turned back towards Viator and extended his hand. Perhaps a very formal gesture in this world, but old habits die hard. "It was good to meet you. Maybe we'll see each other later. You and the rest of your team." "Good meeting you too, 9. I'm sure we'll see each other again before long, if we're walking the same path and all." They parted ways after that, and Hector quickly set out to meet his new teammates. He felt… somewhat shy, oddly enough, despite being no stranger to interviews, formal meetings, and the like. Perhaps it was the novelty of the occasion, or maybe it was excitement manifesting as “nervousness”. Regardless, Hector brushed off the feelings and strode confidently towards the others, his cape flowing elegantly behind him as his pet Steelswarm chittered after him to catch up. The Scout grabbed onto his shoulder, resting atop it as Hector waved with the opposite arm. “Good afternoon,” Hector called out, his yellow eyes already examining them. It looked like they had all just gotten here, with nothing “official” underway yet. “Funny how you all technically got here before me; I’ve been lurking around Blue City for the past hour or so.” Hector billowed his cape, taking care that it wouldn’t become messy and wrinkled as he sat down and waited for their meeting to begin. "Thank you all for coming. I know we don't all have to be here for the charter being submitted, but we're going to be working together from now on, so I'd like us to all take the first step together, as a unit. Additionally, I'd like to ask everyone a couple of questions, as a group. We're all a team now, and as such, we should make decisions as a team. With that in mind, I'd like to hear any suggestions you may have for a team name. And, also as a team, I'd like to know what you all think is the most important thing that makes a team successful. Not because I plan to copy others who have risen to success, but because I want us to blaze our own trail to victory, and eventually to that mystery boss everyone's getting ready for." Hector waited to speak, wanting to gauge the other members’ behaviors and ideas before offering anything of his own. The first to speak was Ivy9d, and her behavior was… definitely exuberant, confident, albeit maybe a tad too excessive on the display of eagerness. At least she was invested, and an interested cooperator was definitely a much more reliable and useful teammate than someone who cared little or only for niche things in an endeavor. Her ideas were actually pretty decent too. Aside from those details, Hector liked her name, thinking it sounded cool, and it coincidentally also had a 9 in it like his. Her black suit reminded him of the Evilswarms’ black carapaces, though judging by her name and more notably, the sword she so proudly brandished and leaned on, she probably wasn’t a fellow lswarm user. “Likely a plant user judging by her name and her sword’s branch-like design. Good individual theming; I can appreciate that,” Hector thought to himself. Steelswarm Scout also seemed to have taken an interest in her sword, and slid off Hector’s shoulder to get a closer look at it. Then was… Crimson_Star. Oh man, Crimson_Star. Hector said nothing, but his posture did shift. He crossed his legs and leaned upon the armrest next to him, tilting his head to rest upon his hand as the nobleman went on and on about records and skill and even longer about “simple game mechanics”. “So… ‘extra’,” Hector thought with a hidden smirk, “Clearly trying way too hard to evoke a sense of refinement and intelligence. And I thought Ivy had been trying to show off.” His eyes glanced over Crimson’s attire. Hector couldn’t really guess on his “theme” since he basically just looked like a human with some fancy clothes on. Very fancy clothes on. “At least his clothes look good. Maybe I'll get my tailor to design me something similar." When it finally came time for Hector to speak, he merely straightened and spoke clearly. “I’m not sure I can answer that question,” Hector replied, “At least, not yet. Other teams have names based on a particular aesthetic, theme, or concept they strive to embody or that others have recognized them for. Maybe we should wait until we get a solid team composition and do a few raids and events to see what could fit us best. Then again…” Hector looked over at the registration NPC. Teimei had to turn something in to officially create the team. Hopefully whatever she ended up using was good, and if not, then hopefully it was possible to change it later on. He shifted his gaze to the other players assembled with him and thought. Hector didn’t know their decks yet, which is why he had been paying attention to their avatars’ designs and usernames for an idea. Other than Teimei, Crimson, and Ivy, there was… just thelegend27. He stood out to Hector, mostly because he was the only other person there who wasn’t using a completely human avatar. Technically speaking, Hector used a human avatar himself, but you currently wouldn’t be able to tell due to the Steelswarm Moth “headpiece” being active in addition to the rest of his design. “Definitely an insect user. Seems unusually chipper for some reason.” After a few more moment of silence, Hector spoke up again, though he figured his suggestions weren’t as good as what had been offered so far. “So… two insects, a plant, a nobleman, and a warrior,” Hector finally said aloud. “I don’t know… Garden of Eyes? The Wicked Garden? Those kind of fit with what we currently have. Too specific, though. Maybe Parasol, since we’re a fairly varied group by the looks of it, but we’re under the same umbrella?” Hector paused as he thought some more. “… Team… Excel. No, Excise. Team Excise. We’ll be a cut above the rest if we manage to pull this off, and we’ll certainly have to cut off and through anyone who tries to stop us so that they’ll no longer even be a factor in the grand scheme of things. And as far as successful teams go… I don’t think there’s one specific thing that leads to success, but some things are definitely more crucial than others. I’d say… communication, which is a pretty broad topic the way I’m thinking of it. Other than obvious talking, it’s knowing your teammates’ preferred playstyles and ace plays, transmitting and interpreting intent, and basically anything that goes into strategizing and improvising based on what they present.”
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    BGM He hated how late he currently was at the present time. Crimson_Star, or Crimson for short, was currently rushing through Blue City, trying to get to a rendezvous point that his mutual friend...maybe that was too on the nose...perhaps just acquaintance or future team lead, Teimei, had sent him the day prior. So he had plenty of time to get to the point within a proper time frame...so why was he rushing and seeming like he was running late? Simple: time slipped away from him. He was simply doing his research on a few things before logging into Battle Horizon and thusly, it engrossed him to the point where he was in the predicament he found himself in. While dodging a few of the various players and even NPCs, Crimson began to grit his teeth slightly. "...what's the saying...? My kingdom for a horse? I need to hurry up and get myself a sort of ride around here. Would make travel so much easier..." he huffed, glancing at the message in his HUD again. "Nearly there though...tch...terrible first impression for sure." Well, he hoped he could fix that later on. Nevertheless, he found himself at an office-looking building here in Blue City and there with her Sky Striker avatar: Teimei. "Thank you all for coming. I know we don't all have to be here for the charter being submitted, but we're going to be working together from now on, so I'd like us to all take the first step together, as a unit. Additionally, I'd like to ask everyone a couple of questions, as a group. We're all a team now, and as such, we should make decisions as a team. With that in mind, I'd like to hear any suggestions you may have for a team name. And, also as a team, I'd like to know what you all think is the most important thing that makes a team successful. Not because I plan to copy others who have risen to success, but because I want us to blaze our own trail to victory, and eventually to that mystery boss everyone's getting ready for." Crimson stood there, his arms crossed as he listened intently to his future team lead's query. He brought a hand to his chin, seeming to ponder this question...luckily he didn't have to wait long for someone else to attempt to answer this before he did. The red and black haired user, Ivy9d, spoke up first. "I think we should go with Team Beyond; We're on Battle Horizon, so we should want to fight so hard we go BEYOND that Horizon, right? As for a successful team.... well, we just have to make sure everyone's at the right skill level, shouldn't we? If we can win in any situation then the raid bosses are easy! Teimei's record speaks for itself, and I feel pretty confident about my own. Well? How 'bout the rest of ya? Might have to make sure we're all up to scratch; See what each other's made of!" This elicited a chuckle from Crimson, as he finally began to speak up. "Quite the energetic but encouraging one. However, a record does not a Duelist make." he said, waving his hand in the air to dismiss the earlier thought from Ivy. "If one would recall, not every single Duelist and user that has logged into BH has their records set immediately from the get-go. They had to earn their rights to those stats and records. If we become complacent in just going off of a Duelist's record, we could simply be going in blind and following after an impossible situation." He began to pace as he spoke...one arm behind his waist, the other seeming to make gestures in the air. "That said, I would say we've all experienced Teimei's skill to the point where we can see that she's earned the record she has, rather than simply being gifted that. She has the skill to back that number up." Crimson paused before sighing, pausing his pacing. "However, I feel like I just rambled there rather than answering your question, Teimei. So allow me to get to the point then...what is the most important thing to make a team successful: a good battle plan and strategy. And what do I mean by that, it's simple really..." He turned on his heel, continuing to pace as he was earlier. "The more research and general planning in the situation of any given obstacle we have...say any specific Raid Boss...whatever information we have we can easily use to our advantage. Set the team up in a manner to where everyone shines in their appropriate spot..." He began to chuckle a bit. "It's simple gaming mechanics, honestly. Healers being put in a situation where they heal and support, the tanks take the brunt of the damage and the attackers strike until they win. So a good strategy and battle plan is key in a team, at least in my own eyes. As for team name, Beyond seems like it could work...so my vote is currently on it, although I'll add my own into the mix: Team Frontier. Battle Horizon is a new frontier in gaming, in both Duel Monsters as well as online gaming. It would be fitting for us to blaze through this new frontier on our way to the top, wouldn't you agree?"
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    "What good does that do you if you fall because you were focused on other things, think, boy, think!" Trevor wasn't fully grasping at what the elderly gentleman was saying here. Focused on other things? "What are you t-..." he paused suddenly, seeing Grigoriy currently now using Morgan as an electrified flail. "Quite the shocking display, I'll say." Trevor gripped the grimoire's chain and watched it wrap around the book before he slammed it down onto the ground, which the force of it propelled him upward over the Morgan flail. "Things are gonna get pretty chilly, Morgan...just hang in there!" Trevor shouted, as his blue gemmed ring began to glow. "Offensive Spell...Blizzara!" He fired off the freezing spell in the direction of Grigoriy's arms. Using the second rank spell, he figured, could still prove helpful without doing overall damage to his undead companion. ...unfortunately...he wasn't expecting the reaction he got. Grigoriy laughed as the freeze reached him, "Reminds me of mother Russia!" He pulled Morgan closer to him as the spell continued with the intention to force her in the path of it. "Using a human...er...zombie shield! How low can you possibly stoop?" Trevor lamented, stopping the Blizzard spell and immediately landed down with as much grace and elegance as he could. "Alright then, let's try this on for size...Offensive Spell..." The young sorcerer immediately took off his hat and pointed it towards Grigoriy and Morgan. "BALLOONS!" Out from the hat emerged a various amount of multi-colored balloons which began to surround the young sorcerer. "If you worry about 'stooping low' you won't make it far out here." Grigoriy said with a grunt. He pulled Morgan a bit closer before letting go and kicking her, a bolt of electricity launching her towards Trevor. "At the cost of one's ally? If that's what it takes to make it out here, then perhaps Mauvache should just send me back then." Trevor simply said, doing his best to keep from having Morgan hit the balloons he had surrounding him. With a swing of his left wrist, he took the Cabanomicon flail, forcing it to grab ahold of Morgan's large arms. And with another yank, he tried his best to force her on the ground, to where she would just skid across the ground. "Again...sorry, Morgan." Now, however, he had a bit of time...at least he hoped...to ask him now that the balloons were between him and the old man. "What did you mean earlier, pray tell? If I fall because I'm focused on other things." "She's not my ally." Grigoriy responded. "That should be obvious." Grigoriy pointed at Trevor. "You can't help anyone if you let yourself get destroyed in the process." Trevor would hear a crackle as a bolt of lightning dropped down from above. Trevor took his grimoire and with the flail moved a singular balloon overhead to attempt to have the two different magic styles collide like they did prior. "You sound as if you speak from experience...but I wonder..." he said, starting to attempt to move out of the way just in case. However, luckily for him the balloon made contact with the lightning, causing it to reflect upward and then just vanish. "...if you've ever dealt with someone who has been destroyed before...or at least...in a sense." "I'm not particularly interested in your past, it doesn't mean anything right here and now." Grigoriy responded, cloaking himself in crackling lightning, and putting a shoulder forward, as he kicked off the ground and charged forward. Bolts of lightning shot out at intervals as he moved. "Means nothing?" Trevor asked, watching the old man, now cloaked in lightning, proceeded to charge towards him. "My past means EVERYTHING! The memories and connections I made in my world, when I died...and even when I was granted another life at the end of my journey and arrived at this point." His red gemmed ring began to flare up brightly, his hand being made to form a gun. "They've made me who I am...who you see before you...and they've made me stronger." Fire began to form at the tip of his index finger, almost like it was charging. "...Firaga..." Like a blazing bullet, the strong fire spell that Trevor had launched from his finger towards the speeding elder.
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    Ivy was quick to step forward. The red-haired girl's avatar opened up her response to Teimei by taking a confident step forward, taking the massive black sword she carried and striking the point into the floor, stood leaning on it like a walking stick. "I think we should go with Team Beyond; We're on Battle Horizon, so we should want to fight so hard we go BEYOND that Horizon, right?" She grinned, excitement running through her. The day had been rather rubbish up to that point; She had been balancing the budget of the student council for an hour and a half despite not even being the treasurer, but Akito seemed incredibly dense at maths anytime she was around to do it for him. But now the prospect of the raid duels to come lit a fire in her belly that she was itching to put to the torch. "As for a successful team.... well, we just have to make sure everyone's at the right skill level, shouldn't we? If we can win in any situation then the raid bosses are easy!" She scanned around the team, as well as the five across the way. Competitors, at the end of the day. "Teimei's record speaks for itself, and I feel pretty confident about my own. Well? How 'bout the rest of ya?" She grinned anew, winking at the rest of the team. "Might have to make sure we're all up to scratch; See what each other's made of!"
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    Bosses Hang, Pt. I The Fates didn’t wait for an answer. They moved as one, each grabbing at the wrist of the hero they wanted to spend their favor on and guiding them towards their assigned section of Echo Park. It was a wordless process. Had they arranged this beforehand? Or was it something that came up often enough that they already knew? In any case, each Fate had already been in front of their intended target. Clotho grew frustrated with Override’s suit of armor weighing him down and making it impossible for her to drag, so she settled on simply walking backward ahead of him with a beckoning hand gesture. Echo Park was just two paths, and Clotho had taken her charge further down the main one, following the creek to a small bridge, across which was a picnic table and stairs leading up to houses of those who were fortunate enough to have a whole park as basically their backyard. One such person came down the stairs with a dog on a leash. Clotho waved at them with a smile, one that the person returned before moving on, away from the other capes in the park. “You can sit if you want,” Clotho said, gesturing to the picnic table. She remained standing. “I will say up front that part of this favor is contingent on you not recording this or listening to the conversations of my sisters through external means. Obviously, I can’t stop you from relaying our talk through memory alone later, nor can we control your teammates if there’s a particularly loud outburst, but if we find out you stuck a microphone on them or your suit’s got a camera on, well, then you’ll owe us an extra favor, I guess.” She shrugged. “And it’d probably be a favor that didn’t have those moral protections the first two did, so, you know.” She paused, both to give time for Override to disable whatever he needed to and to let her threat linger in the air. “We’re not going to check, though. We’re not going to go looking for it, because what I want to spend my favor on is a matter of trust.” Another pause. Then she said, “Do you think I’m actively plotting to kill you?” Clotho didn’t give Override a chance to answer. “I ask because, well, if that’s your primary motivator for trusting villains, a binary ‘Are they killing me? Yes or no?’ you probably should be a lot more trusting in general, and then you wouldn’t need to be dangling this --” she held up the folder “-- out of reach. And if it’s just an ‘Oh, they’re supervillains’ thing, come on. Like, you’re the one trying to get me to sign something.” An impish grin crept onto her face. “Unless you want me to be trying to kill you,” she said. “I mean, my schedule’s pretty busy what with the world about to end and all, and it obviously won’t be right away, but I can probably slot you in if you want that.” Bosses Hang, Pt. II Atropos took Ember to the other side of the park. There was a wall there that nobody could quite remember the purpose of. It didn’t support anything and it wasn’t even attached to the overpass where the bird mural was. And yet, it had always existed as a part of Echo Park. And it had only gotten thicker over time, as more and more paint between the spray tags and the hackneyed cover jobs Scarlet City occasionally arranged cycled between each other ad infinitum. It was currently in its vandalized state. “Really ought to get Sibyl down here one of these days,” Atropos said, touching the wall, then turning around and leaning up against it. She reached into her pocket, pulled out her butterfly knife, and idly began toying with it as she spoke to Ember. “So, you’re one of the ones that got away, huh? Can’t say I blame you. There’s security in that that a lot of gangs don’t offer. I mean, we do, or try to, anyway, but still. Is that why you left? “No, don’t answer that.” She wasn’t flipping her knife around, just holding one of the handles in each hand and swinging the blade back and forth. Her attention was almost more on that than the actual words coming out of her mouth. “Make no mistake, I’m not trying to get either of us to switch sides here, I’m just trying to get to know the person who owes me another favor a bit more. You know, so you’re less likely to renege on the deal later ‘cause it’s just so tuned to your interests as well as ours or whatever. “Clotho’s definitely going to sign that, by the way. No worries there. My sister can speak for us all just fine. But yeah. If we’re going to be working together either because you owe us or because the world’s going to end otherwise, it’d probably be a good idea to drop all that for a moment and just hang out a bit.” Atropos seemed satisfied with the condition of her knife and went back to swinging it around. “Here is a question you can answer for me,” she said. “The other two, they didn’t really get a choice, I don’t think. But when our participation got priced at six favors, you said yes. I dunno. I think that’s interesting. I might have haggled a little. Why’d you say yes?” Bosses Hang, Pt. III Lachesis took Aeon to the top of the stairs and moved a little bit further down across the overpass to the corner of an intersection, crossing it to the other corner where an ice cream shop awaited them. It was closed, unfortunately (Lachesis pointed out their limited hours sign and said something like “Winter hours and it’s not even Winter yet.”) but the seating was still out and Lachesis scootched into one of the tables and gestured for Aeon to sit across from her. It took a moment for Lachesis to say anything. She looked Aeon up and down a few times first, then, “Freaky.” She looked up from the table. “You’re freaky, you know that? And I don’t mean, like in a bad way or anything. I mean, like, I try to size people up on first meeting them, just questions like height, weight, shoe size, all that good stuff. Age is a big number I like to grab ‘cause I can get it super specific and that catches people off-guard. But looks are a big part of that and, to be blunt, you don’t look that old. I’ve done my homework. I know how old you are - or how old you say you are, anyway - but, you know, dissonance. Freaky.” She settled down into her seat, leaning in to talk to Thessa further. “So, Æon,” -- it was not clear whether her mispronunciation was deliberate or not -- “The Immortal Hero. Keeper of Grudges, apparently. How’s G3 life treating you? I don’t actually know what I’m supposed to say here. I’m tempted to just act like this is a book club and talk about something I’ve read recently you might find interesting. Is that okay? I mean, it’s my favor, so I guess it’s okay. “I’ve been reading this book called All Men are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir,” Lachesis said. “It’s about this prince of a made-up land called Italy who becomes immortal and decides to use his newfound lifespan to take control of the whole county. He thinks the only reason nobody has done this before is because they die partway through achieving it and progress stalls without their strong hand. But that turns out not to be the case. It turns out you can’t change the system by the rules of the system itself.” She shrugged. “I don’t know if that’s something every immortal fears or just the ones in stories, but you make me think of it.” Lachesis leaned in a little further into the table to the point she was almost lying against it, stretching out her arms to the edges of the thing. “The prince is a bit stupid anyway. Firstly because he gives up after, like, a few hundred years, which is surely nothing to someone who’s doomed to live forever, and second, like, you don’t have to become immortal to make a change in the world. I hope not. It’s tough given what the world is like, but, you know…” She perked back up. “That was a downer. First no ice cream and now all of that. I’m sorry. Hey, you know what?” She pulled a pen and paper out from one of her pockets. “As payback for being a lame-o, if you ever want to dump some nonsense on me, doesn’t have to be G3 work, just whatever you want, give me a call.” She wrote down her number and showed it to Thessa. “You have a good memory, right? Memorize it quick ‘cause it’s about to, uh.” It was a piece of nitrocellulose. Flash paper. Very quickly, the whole thing was in flames, and Lachesis tossed the thing on the ground and stamped the fire out. She looked back at Aeon and made a clicking noise with her mouth and a “call me” sign with her hand. Undoing a Luciferian Towers Dee Moxley didn’t wake up to the alarm on the main gate going off, she woke up to her own. That was the sort of person she was, always on a schedule. She didn’t even register the banging on the door until she rolled off the mattress the Gibbons had provided her when assigning her this station, put her glasses on, and pounded the top of the instant coffee machine to dispense something that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee. She knew it was a tinker’s fault, that the person who had made the machine had had to scale back their design to the point that the machine could only be described charitably as “doing the best it could,” and she forgave the machine itself for its creator’s folly, but she missed the days of being able to leave the house and go down the street for a double shot of espresso. She’d wanted this post. This was the reason she joined Gibbons in the first place, for access to their resources, particularly the land so close to the Shimmer so she could study it without being bothered, but it did have its trade-offs, and that was one of them. Another was the people Gibbons had assigned to be with her. Babs slept through just about anything and lazed through the day despite her power and Güber, well, he was the one who made the coffee machine. At least it woke her up. It woke her up enough, anyway, to know to not respond to Güber’s wailing on the other side of her door. There was no way, without her console at hand, that she’d be able to help him by opening that door. But there were other ways. She tapped the side of her glasses and scrolled through the options that appeared on the lenses, finally selecting a few options that she believed would help the most. First was cameras. She needed to see what was going on, and her glasses flooded her vision with information. Next, obviously, was locking down the room. Whoever was attacking Güber was just on the other side, and though they’d demonstrate the ability to tear the walls of her lab down, now they’d have to try a little bit harder to get to her. Through the cameras, she saw the shimmers of her forcefields envelop the exterior of the room. They were the harder ones. The softer ones, those were the ones on the drones. It was time to wake those up as well. Her laptop was not in the room, an operational security oversight that probably had to be corrected once these particular invaders were repelled. Without that, she could only switch her drones on, off, and through a few basic modes. Two out of the three invaders were still in the warehouse? Maybe the plan was to contain them there until she managed to get Babs up. As for Güber, maybe if he didn’t pull out his “Ray Gun That Makes You Say ‘Ow’ And Nothing Else” at every opportunity he could think of something actually worth trying. She watched him struggle to his feet only to get duffed again and sighed. Alright, maybe not. But there were two more things to do before she had to go play the hero. She switched all the drones on standby in the warehouse to activate and put them on their defensive programming. A softer forcefield and electrical shocks within their range would hopefully be a good enough deterrent, and if it wasn’t… there wasn’t a good answer to that. But she’d think of something. As the drones, those perfect little balls of metal and tinker engineering, rose from the racks and started hovering around the warehouse in search of threats, all Dee had left to do was grab two supplies. The first was a forcefield extruder, a barrier gun that could buy her some time, and the second, meant for Babs personally, was an airhorn. “Anyone else want to come out?” someone said at her bedroom door. Dee readied her extruder, lowered the lockdown field around her room back down, and answered by bursting through. OOC
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    Got some snacks, a Squirtle amiibo, a hoodie, hair trimmer, Tales of Arise, some money, and these
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    She's Just In It For The Science
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    Learn from the Past to Make a Brighter Future
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