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    "Hey, did you read the paper today? Seems there was a freak accident a couple of days ago in the subway..." Quick and Dirty version of the Application (But please watch the video, it took a lot of work): Colored Character Images
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    Alois, Penelope, and Citron "I'll just sleep outside tonight." "Oh, no ye ain't," Mene said. "You'll catch yer death o'cold out there. I ain't lettin' no one be asleepin' outside." She would've said more, but stopped upon hearing Penelope's quiet comment. The words took the wind from her sails as easily as puncturing a hole through them. But whether Alois's mother was dispirited or else remained to be seen. Her shoulders sagged, mouth softening, but her eyes had narrowed into sharpened brittle. The woman said nothing as she busied herself with cleaning, eventually leaving the house and shutting the door behind her to let the trio talk amongst themselves. Until the others arrived. Gunther, Tsetseg, and Raki "Oh, yes, that. You know them well?" "By hecky I do—weel, nae really." Timmy scratched his head. "They're, uhh, whaddaya call it, infamous." He glanced around, as if fearing the trees and bushes would carry away his words. "A'body in town knows o' em. Pylauses is as highfalutin' as ye can get, thinks the sun comes up jest to 'ear him crow. An' Hanikap jest does whate'er Pylauses asks o' him." He then moved on to his explanation of how he ended up in the quarry pit. — Phai's expression, which had sunk further into a hangdog frown, lifted slightly as she listened to Tsetseg. "Oh, so that's where you must have met the fluffy foxes then. Where was that again?" However, Gunther's words brought her back to painful reality. "I still can't believe they would do that. How could anybody do such a thing? When we're all suffering, trying to work together… Why would they do something like this?!" "'Cause they're grown-ups, and sometimes grown-ups are bad'uns," Timmy explained with the simple wisdom of a child. After Raki asked his question, were the others to expand upon what happened, both Phai and Timmy would listen, though Phai would seem much more interested. Timmy, in contrast to Phai's rising panic, beamed like nothing was wrong when they passed his father Paulos, giving a giant wave. The man waved back, unsurprised to see the group he has sent after Timmy had grown from Gunther, Tsetseg, and Lassie to include Sienna, Raki, Phai, and Icleias. Or he just didn't care. It was hard to tell. Alois, Penelope, Gunther, Tsetseg, Citron, and Raki Eventually, the crowd reached Mene's house, with the woman outside sweeping away stray debris with a broom. Every so often she would lean over to pat a nearby peach-colored wyvern who was sleeping nearby. "Heyo Mene, it's Timmy! Ah've got some news fer ya." The boy's shout was loud enough to be heard even from inside the house. "Timmy." Mene set the broom aside, wiping her hands off on her apron as she approached. "What can I do ye for?" Her smile widened when she noticed the wyvern rider with him. "And Raki too! What a surprise. Not that I'm complainin', mind." She winked. "Hopefully, with everythin' going on, the mayor won't mind an extra face or two." Timmy pointed at Raki. "Me an' Raki, we were oot in the woods, an' 'eard some real nasty business." He explained what the Isaurian had gone over earlier to the group. "Ah reckon they're fixin' to pull off some grand ol' scheme o' sorts. Ah knows fer sure it's bad, cuz when Hanikap saw me, he pushed me inter the quarry pit all apanicked, so's at least it's summat ah wasnae supposed t'hear." Mene clucked her tongue in worry. "That Edrick boy an' the girl with the horse jest left recently fer Pylauses's house. Tweren't long afore that an' they were mightily injured." She frowned. "Come t'think of it, that young man in green headed out afore them. An' that young lady too… methinks 'er name was Cat somethin'." She paled. "Dear Dragon… Mayhap the mayor was right 'bout Pylauses. He never did trust 'im. But I never paid him much mind. Fact is, he could do with a little more trustin'." Timmy nodded. "Ah always thought they were strangelike, though I ain't never was 'spectin' them to go pushin' me inter holes an' such." Phai paled, before firming her expression. "I'm…I'm gonna go grab Acantha. And maybe Cora, if I can find her. We need to get this straightened out, especially if they're up to no good! I-If it's nothing though…" she trailed off. "We can just…apologize. Yeah! …Hopefully that'll work." She glanced at Tsetseg. "D-Do you wanna come with? Or not… Whichever you decide, I'm fine with." Edrick and Ciela Hanikap sputtered out some protests when Edrick slipped past him. "Oi, I mean, hey, wait! Please, uhh, stay in the parlor, good sir!" When nothing happened, the man sighed, but continued to climb the stairs, chasing after the others with exhausted desperation. "Oh, rats, Lord Gaston is going to kill me," he muttered. Link The door opened, only for Pylauses to slam it shut immediately. "What in the azure blazes?!" he shouted. "Demned animals!" The door swung open again. This time, the man marched inside in high dudgeon, shooing the pigeons back to their holes. During all of this, he neither noticed Link nor was he paying attention to the doorway. OOC
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    With the effort of most of the Pokemon forum members, the group had successfully managed to shove the pillar from its original resting place to across the water. As they started, Chester heard a thought in his head that was most certainly not his own yet one that he assumed was common amongst the general forum. Muttering, "well perhaps if they did we'd have much less problems." Then, as they had continued to do so it had seemed that physics had caught up with them; gravity deciding to be their foe as it shoved the pillar into the water. As this disaster was starting to take place, Chester started to do all he could to yank the pillar backwards and with the combined effort of just about everyone they had managed to keep the worst happening. For now. Startled as a Falinx had fallen from the sky right next to him, the thud it landed it with making Chester rub his head in discomfort at the thought of it landing on top of him, the Chespin looked at their surroundings. Chester, for his own part, found neither the pun spoken nor the one that had somehow found its way into his head - the same voice that was not his own still - amusing. In fact, as he took stock of everything he emphatically pointed to Z. saying, "NG-Plus is correct." The Chespin paused briefly as he said the name of the Falinks. He was certain that he had referred to the man as nothing but that for most of the time that he knew him but saying it aloud seemed to not have the same ease or flow he had remembered it having. New Game Plus was far too much of a mouthful to say easily though. New Game? Plus? New? None of these seemed like a proper name to actually call someone either. Nick or otherwise. Continuing his thought, he added, "now is not the time to berate one another with vicious and petty sarcasm. Not when Clobber proved himself quite immaculately in our efforts!" The Chespin furrowed his brow and said, "that being said, this was not a worthless endeavor!" Looking between Clobber, Es, and Z. he added, "even if this path ultimately leads to a dead end, we learned many valuable things about our bodies and capabilities thus far in this exercise. Furthermore!" He looked over to the Treecko. "We have learned what we are able to accomplish when we all - mostly - work together! See, we were able to create a path across this stream. That's something to take pride in of itself, and something to keep in mind for later. Good work all the same on the plan Shadow!" Clearing his throat he added, "but well, yes, if Z.'s excursion truly proved to be nothing but a dead end then we should probably head elsewhere. As a group!"
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    Alois, Penelope, and Citron To look at Mene, one would think her earlier exhaustion a lie. She moved with the determined stomp of a mother on a mission, the back-and-forth flitter of a robin feathering her nest, removing what bits she found wanting, her veil fluttering behind her like a wing. "Alois! I cannot believe you would be so quick to send her away. We do not even know yet if Edrick will return to rest here. Do not tell me you are hoping to spend the night here with just me, are you?" The woman's frenzied dance came to a halt, a beat out of sync. She turned her head to stare at first Penelope, and then Alois. Her eyes revealed a flicker of wariness that was quickly extinguished by a tide of disapproval. "Now, Alois, if'n Miss Penelope's words be true, then I 'ave to say as I'm mightily disappointed in ye. I thought I'd raised ye better." She pursed her lips. "Still, mightn't be the worst idea to look around, maybe take a peek at the house down the road. Alois can show ye. Just be sure to either come back or bed down afore dark." Gunther, Tsetseg, and Raki Phai nodded along in a rare understanding of Tsetseg's impassioned litany. "Fluffy foxes that were growling? Where did you meet those? They sound a little scary…unless, of course, they were friendly, then that would be a different story." She straightened up at the archer's last sentence. "Baddies? In our village? How could that be?" The militia girl listened to Raki's explanation, expression stiffening further with every word. "Pylauses and Hanikap," she muttered in a quiet voice tinged with disbelief. The group followed a worn-down hunting trail that wound through the forest like a snake as they started the return journey back to the village. "Aye, t'was them," Timmy agreed, stretching his arms as he moved to the front of the pack, surefooted and confident. "I stayed t'listen longer, but ah didna hear much else. Hanikap caught me whiles I was still fixin' to do summat, shoved me down inter this 'ere hole, an' there ye 'ave it." His cheerful tone clashed with the heaviness of his words. The boy walked as if he were on a daytime stroll, hopping over rivulets of water and fallen logs. "That's unbelievable," Phai muttered, pushing a stray tree branch aside for the rest of the group to pass before taking up the rear. Unlike Timmy's jaunty skips, her steps sank into the ground, heavy with dread. "How could Hanikap push you down a well—quarry like that?" she corrected herself. "And what's this about a secret passage?" "Reminds me o' summat my papa said," Timmy replied. "Said the mayor must've been in high cotton wool cuz he 'ad some fancy schmancy secret passage. Course, he shut up when ah asked him 'bout that." He shook his head. "Haven't ye noticed it, Phai? There's somefing we ain't knowin', but the grown-ups do, an' they ain't tellin'." "I…" the girl's silver eyes glazed over in thought. "Yeah. You're right. But I don't know what it could be. I think Acantha does, but she won't tell me either." She glanced at the rest of the group. "S-Sorry, this must all sound so strange…" She laughed nervously. "U-Unless it's not. Maybe you've seen weirder on your travels?" Edrick and Ciela "Huh?" Hanikap scratched his head. "I thought I saw a wolfydog." He turned to look behind him, at Rohns climbing up the stairs. "I did, I did saw a wolfydog!" A pause, and then, "Oh, no! I can't let that thing get near Lord Pylauses." The man waddled after Rohns like an ungainly duck. He stumbled, almost tripping once more, but caught himself and resumed the chase with renewed vigor. Meanwhile, Edrick and Ciela stood alone at the front of the house. Through the open door, they would see what looked like a large parlor, all polished wood flooring and upholstered red velvet furniture. Patterned rugs created a bizarre mosaic, and paintings of various hunting scenes took up every spare inch of wall space. A door stood on each end of the opposite wall, an enormous staircase sandwiched between them. The same staircase Hanikap was currently scaling, huffing and puffing with every step. Link The birds approached Link like a troop of soldiers surrounding a single enemy. A few cocked their heads to the side and cooed curiously. Others just stared straight at him with empty eyes. Meanwhile, above the noise of the birds, the mercenary would hear footsteps approaching his room, along with a muttered voice. "Blasted avianators! They must be insatiated. I shall have to nourish them before dispatching my memorandum." Shortly after, he could hear the creak of the door opening. OOC
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    Though Ryia was aware that magic could affect the forest she hadn't been expecting the degree or manner in which it had already done so. She couldn't help but feel like she had stepped into some kind of old folk story of a realm of pure magic and whimsical creatures with how oddly shaped and bent the trees were and how the colors shifted all around where they were. The forest itself seemed to be alive at that, with the spinning mushrooms and the arcs of water coming out from the water seemingly on their own. Taken aback by the whole wondrous sight of it, the girl stood still for a moment as Reinaan had begun his own investigation. Ryia didn't have much of an idea as to what would be considered strange or out of place in an area already so foreign as this, so she decided to go to the biggest point of interest. The lake. Walking over to the edge, the girl looked down into the water, noting that it the surface of it was incredibly clear and could see deeper into the bottom. But that was where the clarity ended. The bottom of the lake had an everchanging cloud of colors formed that she couldn't make much sense of. And further away from them, the girl had also noticed some kind of dark patch in the water as well as more water arcing off the surface. Without much knowledge to go on, Ryia turned to the people she believed to be the two more learned individuals and asked, "would, um, well, either of you know what's up with uh, that?" She gestured to the body of water. Madelyn refused to get too close to the water, though when she squinted at where Ryia gestured she waved her off. "Those clouds are just excess magic." Keres added, having gotten closer, about the dark spot "It's something large." "Do uh, you think it's dangerous?" She'll ask Keres. Keres shrugged. Then, a moment later, said "Sorry..." "Oh, no, there's nothing to be sorry about or anything. I uh, I don't really know where to start with it but...hmmm...maybe..." Ryia didn't really know what to make of the dark spot. It could've been a creature of some kind. It could've been some kind of amalgam of magic quite like cloud below, but dark instead of rainbowy. It could even be some kind of large object that was just hiding beneath the water. She wanted to figure out what it was but, jumping into the water to go directly to it seemed like a terrible idea to her. Next, she had the thought of having Keres pull it closer to them via magic, but given how the forest already was with magic she didn't want to warp the area any more then it already had been. And she didn't know if there would be any other consequences of it as well. So it finally brought her to her final idea. The girl pulled out her bow, and drew an arrow. Worried about whether the elves would mind an arrow littering this lake or not, the girl said, "I uh, I hope they don't mind this," and shot the arrow towards the dark spot. Her arrow sank into the water, and whether she actually hit her mark or not was unclear to her. What was clear, however, was that she had certainly gotten its attention. "Oh..." The girl said as the dark spot began moving towards the shore, and realizing she hadn't actually thought that far ahead in her plan. Thinking that it would be dangerou to stay, and worried about the water itself at that, Ryia looked to the others saying, "we should uh, probably back away now."
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    Raki shrugged with a smile "Wouldn't be here if you hadn't rescued us before. And yes." He placed a hand on Garinphasia's neck as she received Gunther and Timmy's praise. He supposed that the comment on not having eaten Timmy also counted as a compliment? Kind of? "Yes she is." Especially since she appeared to have been satisfied with her staring contest. And on the other group's side, the girl had ceased her challenge as well. 'And thank the Goddess they have.' In exchange, she soon began to stare at him. Oh well, can't win 'em all. "Naow… whaddaya says to us all gittin' back to the village? Ah gots sum things to tell Missus Mene. You too, Raki. Ahm thinkin' ye shoold come along this time. I donts want tae leave ye oot 'ere by yerself if'n one of those pair o'baddies comes back." "Oh, oh well let's take you - escort you! there. Especially if there are baddies out. Baddies are no good but we're really good at fighting baddies, mhm, mhm." "Yeah, I suppose..." The boy turned in the direction of the village. He had sneaked around to not be seen until a moment ago, but he had just revealed himself to a bunch more people, there wasn't much point in continuing to hide. "Wait a moment. You mentioned a pair of, er, baddies? What is that all about? Is there someone else out here we should be worried about?" "Uh, yeah." He turned towards Timmy, meaning to ask him... though, thinking about it, the whole reason he sneaked into the village was to find someone whom he could tell what happened. Phai wasn't Amas, but Timmy just told him he could trust her, and if these people were the ones that managed to break the transformation, maybe they could have found it useful. "We can explain while we return, I think? Phasia, follow us, but remain hidden unless I call for you, I don't want to cause panic." The wyvern showed no immediate reaction to his words, but as he turned towards the village, she didn't move to follow, limiting herself to keeping her gaze on his back. "So, me and Timmy were there at the quarry, back to being humans and all." He pointed roughly to the place near the quarry where they were hiding. "And we heard those two guys discussing, I think their names are Hanikap and... Platelets? Pilates? Er... how was the name?" "Anyway, It was mostly Hanikap telling stuff that happened in a secret passage or something to... to that other one. He answered, I think, but I couldn't for my life repeat you what he was saying, something about moving forward plans... probably." He turned towards the others "Anyway, Polases then went away, and I tried to sneak into the village to find someone to tell about it. I, ahem, didn't manage to, so I was coming back when I found you all there."
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    With Noibat's help, some semi-hearty cheering and encouragement without moving, the team was able to start moving the pillar across the stream. The path for the less water-worthy Pokemon among them was becoming clear. That was until they had almost reached their goal. The pillar proved short enough to start dipping down into the stream before it finished bridging the gap. A dip of her toes into the cold water was enough to prompt some movement on Noibat's part, primarily scooting up some on the pillar before her lower half got submerged with it. The other side of the pillar was raising into the air with the Clobbopus who had decided to help too still stuck to it. If she wasn't about to take a freezing bath she might have laughed at the situation. The feeling almost left with Zeta's arrival back on the scene after being so adamant about leaving everyone behind. But go figure no one could be that heartless and here the Zorua was looking to help. They addressed Noibat directly though, telling her to move her butt out of the way which prompted Noibat to finally stand up and maybe start moving. Weighing down the end that was tipping up was certainly an idea, one that made enough sense. Noibat wasn't sure how much weight she had to offer to the situation but in the worst case scenario she could just get off the pillar and cheer the gang on again. That'd do it for sure. But first Zeta started a slew of puns about the Clobbopus' situation. Noibat snorted, trying to stifle a laugh but failing miserably. "No, come on." She started berating herself mentally. "Puns are stupid, don't laugh at that." she thought again while her body clearly disagreed. She raised a wing to her lips as if trying to stop herself from saying something. "He looks a little octopied." Noibat thought again against her own attempt at better judgement. This pun however did not stay in her own mind. Like her mod comment before it she unknowingly broadcast it into the minds of everyone nearby. Still oblivious to this new power the bat couldn't stop herself from actually laughing now that she had joined in mentally with Zeta. "God I needed that." Noibat managed to say as she calmed down and continued walking toward the other end of the pillar to aid in the effort of weighing it down. Of course she soon cleared her throat briefly as if to say that was over now and she had regained her composure. "Not that it's cool to laugh at his misfortune" she started saying to Z. while trying to keep a straight face. She was a bit uncertain which side of this she landed on despite how good laughing like that had felt for her nerves. She was trying to garner favor with the Zorua but not alienate herself from anyone who may have disapproved. A losing battle no doubt but nothing a little extra good faith couldn't aid with. "Hang on, we'll get ya down! Or the pillar at least, sorta on you to let go of it." she called to the dangling Clobbopus before having to stifle another chuckle at the absurdity of the situation she found herself in. It was almost enough to forget the dread of being ripped away from her proper life as a human and turned into a bat. At least for a little bit. OOC
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    "This tastes weird." It wasn't all that great as final thoughts went. Of course many people don't have the luxury of choosing what they'd last think before the end but Sabrina would have hoped for something a bit better than that. Then again, was that her last thought? After all wasn't she thinking right now? Sabrina hadn't really considered much about any sort of afterlife. Honestly she avoided giving it too much thought. Especially as, if there was one, a heaven and hell and all that, she had a terrible thought she knew which one she'd go to. Especially given... But, really, what was happening? It all felt...hazy. And the there was a noise. A bell? Alarm? She hadn't been dreaming, she knew that, but this sure felt similar to waking up. Sabrina looked around at the...church? It kind of seemed like one but not exactly. The floors were in disrepair, bits of grass sticking from it in clumps, and there wasn't any sort of entrance nor exit. She heard voices and soon realized she wasn't alone in the...building. Several others, some of them rather huge men, and one...in a deer costume, were also there with her. She considered the moments that led up to this, that odd feeling from before, as her eye scanned the room again. This time seeing the rather specific and unusual images that were on the windows. Finally her gaze stopped at the most prominent one. Some strange fantastic beast curled around an orb. All of it hit her in a rush. The death. The nothingness. Waking up here in this strange, almost otherworldly feeling, place. A single word came to mind and she let out a soft gasp. "Isekai" Sabrina jolted to her feet then while her heart began to rapidly pound and she gave a couple excited hops as her emotions overflowed. She overheard one of the men saying something, "...so does this make this heaven then?" Before she knew it she was hurrying up in front of everyone. Shaking her head Sabrina spoke up, or rather laughed, "Fufufu...That's not it at all." She said. Then, turning to the others, she raised an arm to put one hand up over her face and outstretched her other arm. "I know exactly what this is! For it was prophesied since my birth! We were sent to save this world from a great evil. Specially chosen to fulfill a grand destiny!" As she looked at the group she grew nervous, and a slight blush appeared on her face, realizing just how many there were. "I...wouldn't have thought there to be so many but that doesn't change the truth! And the truth is, all of us," her eye looked towards the deer and she hesitated a moment before continuing, "a-all of us, were brought here. Brought here to be...heroes!"
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    Hector resisted the urge to roll his eyes at Zee. He was fairly sure of at least two things; one, they were being an immature brat, and two, the presence of a stream that all signs indicated was man-made was not really a clue on their location. Arguing with them won’t solve anything though. The saying ‘don’t feed the trolls’ sprang to mind. He remembered telling people that all the time on YCM and NCM. They’ll drag you down to their level and then they’ll beat you with experience, so the only way to win is to not take the bait. That probably meant it was time for him to sink-or-swim, in the literal sense. "That guy's really mean..." Cross said. Hector was happy to see that his tears had dried. "What's his deal anyway? Is he a toddler?" “Not he. They,” Hector corrected the Cubone softly. He was very gradually starting to get a handle on talking. “Z. goes by they, okay?” Hector had no idea why he felt the need to correct such a mistake. He could remember them informing the forum, and there being a certain degree of controversy, but he had not been personally informed. There’s gotta be some kinda social connotation I don’t remember. I just know it’s important to get it right. “I’m sure they’re just stressed. We all are. Don’t take anything anyone says right now all that personally.” It was the second time he had told Cross that, but that was because the fact remained they were all probably various degrees of panicked and none of them (him included) were in their right minds. It wasn then that Marv—should I use real names or usernames?—had an excellent idea. They could take a fallen pillar and push it over to make a bridge. The moderator, Chester the Chespin, was quick to endorse the idea. “Good catch Marv.” Hector waddled over to the Treecko. Walking still proved to be a real battle, a tiresome endeavor that required him to try and keep six pairs of legs in-sync so that no one got stepped on. At the moment his most effective strategy was to envision a clumsy Scolipede. Move the six right legs forward, then the six left legs forward, all while accounting for the fact that the Big Guy had slightly longer stubs-for-legs so his gait was different than the troopers. He was more than relieved to stop when he made it to Marv. "High-five my man," he said, raising a polished golden shield into the air. The five troopers behind him did the same. "Uh, thanks...you guys? Guy? Jeez this is a little much..." Marv chuckled nervously, high-fiving the golden shield Hector rose up. Hector moved the shield forward to meet the high-five. “Heh, don’t sweat it. If you have a—ow! Ow ow ow… ow!” The five troopers mimicked the motion; each one hit the other in the back of the helmet with their shield, filling the cavern with the sounds of clanging metal and soft shouts of pain. “. . .” Hector’s ears were ringing. His head hurt, and also he probably seemed like a huge idiot. Oh well. Learned something at least. Apparently I feel every bit of pain all six of… well, all six of ME do. Also that he needed to be sure to only act as the Big Guy and not all six of them. God, he had his work cut out for him. He brushed it off and precariously waddled over to the pillar the others were pushing. It took some very careful finagling, but he managed to get in position to help by switching from a straight line to a horizontal line where they were shoulder-to-shoulder. “We won’t get very far if we don’t work together,” he said, being very deliberate with his focus. “On three, push as hard as you can for a few seconds and then stop. That okay with you all? Alright. One… two… thre—whoa!” Suddenly there was a voice inside of his head. With his mind already such a mess, it cut through all the weaker thoughts like butter. “Since when do we listen to mo--did… did you just talk in my head? Did anyone else hear that? Did you mean to do that?” Hector fired off questions rapid fire, almost all of them probably hard to understand in the jumble of his voices. Hector calmed himself down after the surprise. “You get mind powers and I turn into a team of uncoordinated toddlers in helmets? And you can fly too! Could you be any cooler?” “Sorry. Sorry. I can ask later. We gotta get moving right now, before we get left behind.” Hector braced his stubby little feet on the ground and pressed his shields flat against the pillar. “On three! One… two… three!” He pushed with all his might, as did—hopefully—the others. The pillar groaned before it began to roll, loose chips of stone flaking off and falling to the floor. “Woo! We got this! One… two… three!” It rolled further. Hector enjoyed the physical labor and teamwork. It grounded him and made it easier to focus than when he had just been standing around; the Brass seemed to naturally draw most of his attention when it came to working together. Though he swore that second trooper was a few seconds out of sync. What was going on with that?
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    A lot happened next, to be honest; a Zorua jumping into the water, a Chespin running after them to call out… It seemed everyone else was awake; that was what Es had picked up on as she idly floated in circles, still trying to focus on moving. It was so weird, it wasn’t anything like walking, instead it was more like instinct than anything else. Even as she had told herself she wasn’t going to think about it, even that seemed easier said than done, but this moving thing was even stranger. She had thought about trying to turn her ‘wings’, though they seemed to be made for decoration at best, into feet, but… Why was she so sure walking would be easier? Had she ever walked before? She sure couldn’t remember walking. Though, walking wasn’t the only thing she couldn’t remember. In fact, she couldn’t come up with any reason why she should know how to walk; even if she distinctly remembered being a human before, she didn’t remember anything about what being a ‘human’ meant, or was. Did humans walk? If so, how did they walk? Two feet? Three? Four? Two seemed the easiest, but was that just because she only had two wings now? There was just so much to think about. And even then, it wasn’t so much that she was bothered by it all, that she was curious; just what did she know, that she didn’t know? What secrets were locked within her mind? What- Oh, hey, she had made it to the edge of the river. When had that happened? “Wo-a--a-a-h ho! Stop right there!” Es cried out to herself as she came to a stop just at the edge; voice ringing out as the Rotom tilted backwards, plasma flickering with each syllable of her ‘woah’. It was only after she stopped speaking that she came to listen to everything everyone had to say, rotating in place to face the majority of the group. Or at least, pretending to as the Falinks began to speak. He said a lot, an awful lot, but from what she was able to tune into, he brought up some good points. Primarily, that it would be easier for the most of them to go the way that wasn’t covered in water; a predicament that she might have thought more about had the Zorua, Zed, Es thought their name was? Fired back. By now, the Zorua had made it over to the other side of the river, and so- Oh, she was crossing the river, or stream now, herself, wasn’t she? And at a good clip too, huh? It was so weird, floating in place wherever one thought she should go, even if there was no… Physical component to it. It was made worse by the fact that it seemed subconscious at best, given that she wasn’t consciously trying to move over the river. Yet, still, the Rotom jittered seemingly along the river towards the Zorua, all while still facing the others, doing her best to pay attention to at least their plan as she subconsciously moved to follow the one furthest along. It was about then that the Treecko (Marge?) among them, came to suggest that they use the broken pillars to cross, though, they expected that it would take most of them working together to do that. And it was because she came to rest beside the now-dry Zorua as she heard this, that she came to a simple conclusion. “N-N-N-Nope, sorry! Looks l-l-l-ike I won’t be able to help you with that one, gang!” She called out to the other side, voice jittering as she, in a triangle position, zipped in a circle with each repeated syllable, an almost comical grinning mouth appearing as the Rotom seemed to laugh in place. “Mostly because if I stop moving, I might die like a Sharpedo!” She joked, before coming to a rather sudden stop, even plasma halting and pausing in the air for a moment as her eyes came to stare at the group. “That means that since I still have so much to learn about my body, you guys probably do too! So it’s probably best that you all work this one out on your own, to practice, right?” She asked, her tone dropping a bit more than was intentional, as the plasma began to flow around her again, rather than stagnantly pause around her. “Don’t you agree?” She’d turn to face the Zorua, as she tried to cover for the fact that she likely wouldn’t have been any help to begin with, as weak as this body felt.
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    It took Hector a few moments to recover from the most extreme roller coaster ride of his life. He had only just managed to suppress the urge to throw up and climb back onto his feet—with some help from Chester that he was very thankful for—before they were all on the move once again. “Just call me Hector. Feels weird to go by a username when we can see each other,” he told the Chespin. Then, he organized himself into what was becoming standard marching formation, a tight-knit straight line headed by the Brass. “Right. Better hurry before they all kill each other or something.” So far he really felt like one of the only level-headed people in a room full of extreme impulse and hot tempers. He waddled forward into the next room. Cross met him at some point and took hold of a spike on the trooper bringing up the rear of the line. Hector had no idea how old the boy actually was, but it was apparent that he had probably lied about his age to get onto the forums. “Look, stairs. Just like Z. said,” he said to the Cubone. “Bet whatever’s up there is a step up from what we saw down here. Get it?” The soft metallic sound of the troop laughing filled the staircase as Hector guided Cross up. The next room was more of the same. Smaller, with a pool in front of them, but still very much a ruinous area with dim lightning. Nothing that different from what he had come to expect. What was strange was that he had expected to have to hustle to catch up to the others. Z. and Clobber had both made it known they weren’t going to wait up for anyone, yet when he glanced around, they were still studying the room the same as he was. The change of heart was nice to see. He was going to speak up and thank the two when his mind was once again filled with someone else’s voice. Hello? Are you there? Can you hear me? The voice was cheerful and young. It reminded Hector of… of someone. He thought they might be important to him. He wasn’t sure. If you can hear me, I should tell you, you're in a mystery dungeon right now! A mystery dungeon is a strange and dangerous place filled with Pokémon who won't hesitate to attack you! You could say it's a side effect of the dungeon's power. You might have trouble adapting, but with your numbers, I think you'll be fine. I'll try to give you tips from my end as well, so good luck! If you can reach the end, there'll be a prize...maybe. ♪ They were inside a mystery dungeon. Apparently said dungeon was full of angry monsters that would attack them without hesitation, which was frightening, but at least they apparently had a guide watching over them. Can you hear me? …Who are you? Where are you? Did you bring us here? Hector fired a verbal onslaught of questions at the voice in his head. There was no response; either the voice couldn’t hear him or it chose not to answer him. That was frustrating but the implication that there was someone out there trying to help them still gave him renewed hope. Finally, they had a clue. All that he needed to do was keep pressing forward. “You heard the voice. There’s Pokémon in here that are going to attack us. I don’t have a reason to think they would lie about something like that so I’m just gonna take their word for it.” Hector glanced around at the others. “I’m not your boss here. I’m just another one of you guys, but I still think it’s important we stick together. None of us are gonna be that good at fighting right now, but we have an idea of our strengths and weaknesses. We’ve all played the games, right?” Hector A (the Brass) knocked his shield against his armor to prove his point. “I have armor and shields. I should be able to tank a few hits, just in case we get caught off guard, so I’m gonna take point. Not fully in control of all these, uh, bodies yet, but I can stand in front of things while you guys take them down.” Hector shuffled toward the front and started towards the bottom of the room. As he did, some of the troopers glanced at Z. and Clobber in particular, though they addressed everyone. “I trust you all to have my back.” Then they all fell back into formation and marched forward, the Brass having lowered his shields to guard his face with some difficulty. Hector immediately bumped into a wall and stumbled backwards. "Good news. No bad guys this way," he said, backing up and steadying his balance. "Watch out for the wall though." Then he turned right and headed into the tunnel.
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    The first to reach the stairs was the Zorua, bounding up with surprising agility. Coming after, a Clobbopus, as clumsy as the Zorua was graceful, limbs sticking to the floor with every awkward step. Third, a Rotom, floated over, every so often pausing with a static shiver before whizzing in a zigzag pattern. The fourth, a Chespin, walked on two legs, tail dragging behind him. Finally, the others approached the steps in single file, save for a Cubone clutching a spike from a Falinks trooper. Yet, strangely, it seemed they all arrived at the next floor at the same time. Each Pokémon, upon reaching the top, would notice the rest of the group with them as soon as they surveyed their surroundings. BGM: Tiny Woods | Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red and Blue Rescue Team The party found themselves in a smaller room than the previous one. Walls hemmed them in from three sides, the remaining side being mostly open, with multiple corridors branching off like spindly legs into the shadows. A small pool of water lay calm and still nearby. A cheerful voice rang in each of their heads, breaking the silence while they regained their bearings. Hello? Are you there? Can you hear me? There was a pause. If you can hear me, I should tell you, you're in a mystery dungeon right now! A mystery dungeon is a strange and dangerous place filled with Pokémon who won't hesitate to attack you. You could say it's a side effect of the dungeon's powers. You might have trouble adapting, but with your numbers, I think you'll be fine. I'll try to give you tips from my end as well, so good luck! If you can reach the end, there'll be a prize…maybe. ♪ OOC
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    Dragon Sign OOC Thread It had been the end in one way or another. Stabbed. Smashed. Poisoned. Burned. Shot. Though it had come in all shapes and forms the end had come to you in one way or another. And there was little waiting for you on the other side. Simply the ever present sensation of floating. Drifting. Sinking. You try to hear. You try to feel. You try to think. But there is little to make sense of, little to understand, and nothing that you can fully comprehend. Time presses on but you can not figure out how long this goes on for. An eternity? An instant? As you drift in this oblivion a voice speaks to you. Perhaps you speak back to it. But you cannot decipher its words nor meaning, and thus any reply you might have made can be equally as understood. Yet, the voice continues. And it finishes. You begin moving. Rushing. Rising. And then - BGM Bong. Bong. Bong The ringing of loud bells echoed throughout the ancient church, signaling that it was time to awaken to all those who had found themselves in it. Those individuals found themselves resting, sitting, in a wooden pew. The seats were all scattered about the floor, not lined up in any particular order though all facing forward. Once they opened their eyes they would be able to take note of several features of the building. One, the floor. Old, dark and wooden, same as the pews, with clumps of large, thick grass scattered about. Second the walls, shimmering as the light reflected off of the multicolored agate stone that made them up. Third, the stained glass window ahead of them. The window ahead of them looked as if sunlight were flooding through it, shining downward into the room. And bizarrely so too did the other six windows, three on either side, in the room. Each had a blue background to it and each depicted some sort of creature or object. To the left; a white bird with the edges of its wings shining like a prism, a gray wolf with arcs of yellow on and around it, and a purple orca with black where one would expect white. To the right; a tree with brown trunk and green leaves, a silver gear with lines of green converging onto its center, and a black stone with cracks of red. In the center at the head of the room it depicted a serpentine creature with antlers protruding from its head, coiled around a golden orb with a black center. The final thing to note was there were no other rooms in this small building. And were they to look backward, they would see no door they could've entered from. OOC
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    Sabrina wasn't used to adults responding to her like this. Asking more questions, albeit in what looked to be a mocking manner, about the things she said. It was made even more awkward to her by the height of the man. She wasn't that much shorter than many men but the doctor was much taller than she was used to. It felt like literally being talked down to and she was torn between wanting to explain more and feeling ashamed of what she had said. "I, uhh...." What could she say to that anyway? Still, she gave it a shot. "I, well, felt it...in...my blood." she said, voice trailing off as she realized what that must sound like to a trained doctor. "Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with all of you!?" "Eep!" The girl in the animal costume finally seemed to respond and it was clear that she was angry. "Stop with the fucking destiny bullshit! I don't care how much weebshit you watched, we're not special, no one chose us, none of that shit! That asshole shot himself," As she specifically targeted Sabrina the girl found herself shutting down. Staring at a spot on the floor as she trembled, memories of times before washing over her. The unexpected vitriol completely overwriting the excitement she had felt. "No...not here, not here too!" She wanted to shout but couldn't find herself saying the words. She didn't even notice if anyone said anything else until suddenly the bells sounded and forced her attention elsewhere. Darkness took over and her gasp was drowned out by...whatever it was that had come with the bells. She didn't have enough time to process what was happening before it was gone. The room had changed, if only slightly, and there was yet another person in the room. Person might not be exactly right. Or at least they certainly weren't human. Sabrina stared with mouth agape at the figure who was resting in a chair. The girl sitting there took all of Sabrina's attention. The door, the mark, even the person who had been yelling at her, none of these registered in her mind. In fact she barely even thought about the others in the room until... "Haven't you heard of a little thing called, 'Sleeping Dragon'?! I'm pretty sure we'd be toast if this thing woke up." Which was when Sabrina let out a half-gasp half-garbled exclamation as her previous wonder hit her full force again. Sabrina moved forward and spoke up to the two who had approached the girl. "Fufufu, it is as I thought. M-my dragon b-blood tells me I have n-nothing to fear, f-for this being b-before you surely is, uh, kindred...a kindred spirit! No, I mean a....s-she's probably important somehow!" Sabrina was stammering. Voice shaking not from nerves but from pure excitement. The strange, horned, girl stirred for a moment before finally opening her eyes. Sleepiness still present in her expression, the girl's half closed eyes looked at the two in front of her. Then after a second turned her head to look around the whole room. Then after a second longer she opened her eyes fully and smiled, “oh, hello there. Good morning.” Sabrina rushed over, hesitating partway, before stumbling over herself to stand in front of the girl. "Um. Hi. Uh. Yeah. So...a-are you, er...well...areyouagoddesswhobroughtusheretogiveussupermagic powersandfighttheforcesofevil?" The girl stared at Sabrina for a moment with a blank expression on her face. Then as if she were hit a revelation to the meaning of Sabrina's words, her expression brightened again. “Oh, no. I am no goddess myself, that would be my lady, Ocean. I am merely her envoy. Who might you be?” Sabrina couldn't contain herself as she jumped up and down and let out a high pitched "squeeing" noise. She knew it! She knew it she knew it she knew it! This was it! This was her true destiny sitting right before her in the form of a cute and strange dragon girl! "I-I'm Sabrina Eve...Dracona Evert! Dracona! Well...I-I guess Sabrina is fine. And, um! I'm...w-wait shouldn't you know who we are?" The girl looked up as if thinking on it for a moment and shook her head. Then, leaning in to inspect Sabrina's hand and arm (which made Sabrina notice, and gawk at, the mark for the first time) the girl said, “sadly my Lady didn’t see fit to give me any specifics. I merely know what it is you are and what you are meant to do.” Sabrina moved closer, vibrating with excitement, her eye shimmering as she said, "a-and what's that? Heroes, right? W-we're heroes?" “I believe the term she used was ‘Exalted.’”
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    File 6 - A Dewford Trip Pt. 2 ~ The Long Awaited
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    Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Super Mario Galaxy 2 Mario Kart Wii The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
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    Mercury Meltdown Revolution Wario Land: Shake It! Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's: Wheelie Breakers Castle of Shikigami III
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    You could say she's a sweetheart
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    Super Smash Bros Brawl (Someone had to nominate it) Marvel Ultimate Alliance WarioWare: Smooth Moves Just Dance 2020 (I needed at least one "shitpost"y nomination)
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    "I'm sorry about that everyone, it was an idea at least..." Shawn would have rolled his eyes if he knew HOW to roll his eyes in this form. As it was he just gave him a Look that would hopefully show he thought he was being an idiot. This Treecko (what was his name again? Barf?) wasn't going to get pity from him that's for sure. If he was going to get all mopey when his idea didn't work out then he shouldn't give them in the first place. And anyway he was still feeling on edge due to Z. "Whatever, don't have to be so damn defensive." Shawn grumbled in response to the Zorua's response. They really just couldn't simply let themselves be wrong, could they? He never liked that sort of attitude but Shawn supposed he wasn't one to talk. Rubbing in that the mods, or at least mod, agreed ticked Shawn off though. "And so what? Just cause some fancy fake-internet cop thinks you're right doesn't make your argument any better. God, as if there wasn't enough of that back..." He stopped himself. He was close to complaining about similar situations back on the forum. Where a moderator would side with one person in an argument and that person would lord it over him like it meant they won. But that might give too much information and Shawn still didn't want these people knowing who he was. "Oh to hell with this let's just keep going." He was frustrated at how much faster, easier, Z. could move as a Zorua than he could. Therefore they made it to the next room first and...the hell are they talking about? Shawn looked at the stairs trying to figure out what was 'f' about them but they looked like normal stairs to him. "Well, whatever, I'm going up there then anyone got a problem with it can shove it."
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    "Hello, hello, welcome to Lord Gaston's most uh—what was that word—humdrum house, dear guests!" Well Edrick wouldn't have used the word "humdrum" here, but at least this somewhat portly man seemed reasonably friendly! And... maybe a little familiar, where had he seen him before? Well that could wait for later. "What can I do you for—I mean, do for you?" "Well, like I was sayin' when I was knockin'-" And before Edrick could actually get the rest of his explanation out, a familiar menace presented himself and bolted up into the house. The boy swore under his breath in his native tongue, and a little after the portly man turned around to try and pursue the wolf pup. But... he was briefly distracted by the way the enormous parlor was decorated. All polished wood, rugs in confusing patterns, hunting scenes. It wasn't quite the same, the subject matter was different for one, but it brought him back to the few times in his life he'd accompanied his father to one of the capitals. Thankfully he kept himself going in spite of the nostalgia, and without bothering to try and do much figuring out as to the meaning of any of these designs throughout the room he went after Rohns. "Scuzati-ma!" He called out as he went ahead and took advantage of the fact that he was considerably thinner than this portly fellow and got to bolting his way up the stairs and weaved around him. The faster he caught that tiny menace, the faster they could get back to actually catching up with Catriona. And ideally not making an enemy out of someone in this town.
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    As Alois was getting ready to leave the house, in search of other lodgings, he stopped as Penelope started to speak up. As she insinuated that he was trying to kick the wyvern rider out of his house, the boy raised an eyebrow. She wasn't wrong, per se; he did want to kick her out of the house and Edrick's status of lodging wasn't something he was really considering in that regard. If anything, he wanted all of them out of his house. Heck, he wanted himself out of his house too but it seemed that they were staying in the village for the night so it was more just a matter of course then anything else. "Sure but - " the boy was cut off as the princess continued speaking before making her final accusation against his behavior. "Wait, wait. Wait." The boy was trying to keep the situation under control as he could see the situation devolving against him, trying to clear up any misunderstanding that was going on. The boy's defense however came to a screeching halt. He didn't quite understand why, but it took him a moment to process the words that she had said, Something he didn't quite understand that made him pause. It wasn't the words themselves or even the intent behind them, but something about it definitely stuck out to him. As a result, he seemed to more contemplating this then actively trying to defend himself, which left him staring into space only to then return to see that his mother had seemed to have to want a word with him now. Uncharacteristically, in spite of his generally flippant behavior, Alois seemed to shrink back from his mother's stern disapproving gaze. "I mean yeah, that's all I was doing. Trying to, you know, show them all the places around town." Letting out a resigned sigh, Alois opened the door and said, "I'll just sleep outside tonight." Though Tsetseg kept up her conflicted glare towards Rocky it soon broke way to curiosity as the boy explained what he had overheard between the two town villagers. The girl didn't really recognize the names given, but she almost certainly remembered a secret passage. She hadn't been in many secret passages in her life, but was caught wondering if there was more than one passage in this village. As she thought about it more, the girl then looked to Phai and assured her with a smile. "I haven't been to many places since I left Locris but this seems just as normal as the last place we went to. Mhm, mhm. People that become lovable fluffy animals and secret passages. All normal, yup!" The girl nodded and smiled before looking lost in thought, "oh, hm, hm. Maybe all Histian villages have secret passages?" As she mused about this, Gunther then spoke up as well, causing the girl to nod with a more serious look on her face. "We can't just sit by if there are still more baddies around the town. Even if the big rocky wyvern - " the girl paused again, glancing over to the Isaurian again before back to Gunther, "was defeated, that's no reason for a patrol member to stop until all the baddies are taken care of!" The girl emphatically declared, puffing her chest out with pride. "So, let's go meet up with the others."
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    With most of the group pushing against the pillar, it finally fell! Cross could feel that he put in his fair share of muscle into the endeavor, surprised at his own strength when doing so! However, he could tell that Hector and The Sassopuss had put in the most. Sadly, things didn't seem to go as plan, as their bridge was now dead in the water. With no bridge, and no way to get across, it looked like it was all over. “...Though, it’s not like that would matter, given that there’s nnnnowhere to go in that direction.” nowhere to go? Was there nothing in the room at all? So were they all stuck in here with nowhere to go? He was about to ask the question, when the scary cephalopod spoke up. "Anyone else think we should just go the way that doesn't make us do a buncha pointless crap?" He raised an eyebrow, and put a finger to his chin. There was another way? He turned around completely, realizing there was another way out of this part of the cavern. Cross could almost cry out in relief. His field of vision was so small with this helmet on that he hadn't taken in his surroundings fully. He plopped onto the ground and began to tear up. "I thought we were goners!" Sniffling, he looked to Marv, who agreed with the Clobbopus. Cross nodded at the Treecko with a smile. "You know, in my head it was a really good idea! Don't worry too much!" "but well, yes, if Z.'s excursion truly proved to be nothing but a dead end then we should probably head elsewhere. As a group!" Cross nodded, as he picked himself up and waddled over to one of Hector's smaller Phalinx. He grabbed a hold to a spike, and waited to move on into the other area.
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    Hector had no way of knowing that he was an expert at juggling multiple tasks. He could not remember that he had captained a soccer team since he was a boy, or that he was a former drum major in his high school marching band. He couldn’t even recall that he had made his living as the head chef of an extremely busy California restaurant; that cooking six or seven dishes at once in the hundred-plus-degree heat of the kitchen was a normal Tuesday for him. All of that knowledge had been snatched from him by some mysterious unseen force that had decided to turn him into a Pokémon. The instinct and ability sharpened by those experiences, however, remained. A fragment of who he had been that stood in steadfast defiance of that unseen force. Hector was very grateful for that tiny fragment of self. The marching and the cadence he shouted to the others, the flame-hardened focus that allowed him to brute force his way through his inability to control his body, everything that he was relying on to forge ahead and keep going. All of it came from that little fragment that remained of his forgotten life. The only problem is… it doesn’t feel like me. Objectively Hector knew that made no sense at all. Those skills, that muscle-memory, all of it was his own. He had obviously trained all of it up at some point. And yet… it didn’t feel that way. “One… Two… Three!” Hector spoke only as the bulkier Falinks known as the Brass, but all six of the armored blobs pushed into the pillar. They were close to the edge of the stream now. “Spin it first,” he called. “We wanna push it straight across!” Hector realized as they rotated the pillar that he and the Clobbopus known as Clobber (he had no recollection of someone with that name) were probably the majority of the muscle behind the movement. Does our typing give us some type of advantage? He was far from an authority on the stats of the video games. He knew Fighting-types typically had a high attack stat, but was it their typing or the stat itself that granted them their strength? That doesn’t really matter, he realized, pushing the question to the back of his mind. He had to focus on the task at hand. Said task took a turn for the worst at that moment. The front end of the pillar dipped into the stream before it could reach the other side. The current was too weak to drag it away, but there was still the threat of it completely falling in. Plus Clobber had somehow gotten stuck to it and was dangling helplessly in the air. “Language,” Hector scolded. “Hang on! We’ll find a way to get you down!” That was easier said than done. Hector lunged into action but once again bumped into himself. Two of the troopers tumbled onto the ground from the impact. “Grr… Stupid…” Every moment that he struggled to do something as basic as walk added onto his frustration. Hector was a rather patient man but even he had his limit, and he was fast approaching it. Z. didn’t do a whole lot to alleviate the situation on their return either… though Hector had to give them credit, the puns were good. He caught himself when he realized he was chuckling. All six of the helmet-clad Pokémon shuddered softly, feathered plumes shaking with tiny bouts of laughter. “Not the time you two,” he scolded Z. and Noibat, but his voices lacked any weight. It took all his control to force himself to stop giggling. He supposed he ought to thank Z. for that when he got the chance. Just wish the laughs weren’t always at someone’s expense. Hector couldn’t stand a bully, and Z. had toed the line between mischievous and mean-spirited basically as long as he had known them. Hector had an easier time focusing than before. His head was clear of the small mountain of frustration that he had amassed since waking up. The Brass stepped forward while the troopers jolted to attention. “I’m gonna try to get up there. Watch out, ‘cause I don’t have a clue how this will work out!” he warned the others. Then Hector focused. He visualized what he wanted to do; he just wanted all six of him to jump at once. Six brows scrunched; six sets of eyes squeezed shut. Six pairs of very stout, stubby legs dug into the cobblestone, and then… six Falinks flew into the air with a gravity defying leap that shot them far above the pillar. “Whoa!” Hector’s shields swung wildly looking for purchase. Through sheer dumb luck, five of him landed on top of the pillar—the Brass and four troopers, though none of them were grouped and two of the troopers had landed helmet down, legs flailing in the air searching for ground that wasn’t there. The sixth and final trooper (which Hector had begun to refer to as Hector C) missed by the tiniest margin and landed in a heap beside Chester. His eyes had been replaced by swirling blue vortexes synonymous with being dizzy. Hector was completely disoriented. His head spun and it took everything he had in him just to keep the rest from falling off the pillar. "Urgh... everyone okay?"
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    Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, a sinner Wipe away my transgressions, and let me be reborn anew in your glory Help me turn away from sin and move towards your eternal light. Lord, perhaps I am weak of faith, but I need some reassurance that your light shines here as well. I am asking for your help tomorrow The tasks I am meant to perform are slowly becoming clear to me. Zadkiel and Sandalphon were quiet even after Melissa left Mauvache’s room and returned to the apartment. It was only that night in her dreams that they even spoke again. They did not bother to manifest. Instead, Melissa found herself alone on a beach, kneeling on the shore doodling in the sand with her finger, and the conversation was punctuated by the waves crashing in. “Did you get to hear anything in there?” Melissa asked. No, was the reply. We did not spend our time idly, however. We have been working on the task you assigned to us, and we found new questions to explore in future meetings -- if Mauvache permits such things. “I- okay,” Melissa stopped drawing and watched as a wave came in to take all her progress away. The answer shouldn’t have surprised her, but she had still been hoping for something, like… Well, “coherent” was the wrong word. Especially after coming back from Mauvache, the angels’ response was direct and comprehensible. It was so to the point, actually, that Melissa was pretty sure there was a deeper meaning they were hiding behind it all the same, though instead of trying to dig in, she instead followed the path of least resistance. “What else did you want to ask her?” We wanted to ask if there was something similar to ADMIN on Prana. The response physically knocked Melissa back and she just managed to catch herself, ending up in some sort of reclined position, propped up by her hands, arms rigid. “Do you want to be rid of me?” Far from it. There are several reasons why we do not, even putting aside your initial kindness to us. We desire to know because it simply interested us. If something like that existed, it would be interesting to study. We similarly wanted to know if there was a way to access the assembly code of your watch or any other sort of documentation. It is true that we dismissed it as primitive, but that does not mean it is not interesting. Melissa nodded, but the answer still wasn’t quite satisfying to her. The angels hadn’t provided any actual reasons, for example, save the one that they were already disregarding. Worse still, the source of her discomfort was coming into clear focus. With all these conversations they’d had over the past few days, it was weird that she hadn’t noticed it already, really, but maybe her mind had been elsewhere, or maybe her encounter with Mauvache, as she thought earlier, really put things into sharp focus. “Am I anthropomorphizing you too much?” she said. “Or… angelicizing? I don’t know if that’s a word. But is that a problem I’m having? That I keep thinking you’re something you’re not? It’s only been a few days and ‘the voices in my head’ and ‘my angels’ got interchangeable real quick.” We chose these forms based on forms already in your mind. “Sure, but I have expectations of what angels are like also,” Melissa said, “and while you’ve been my glorious protectors on more than one occasion, you don’t always act the part. I’m just saying I don’t think you have to change that. I’m wondering if that’s a me problem.” Another wave swept the shore, and while Melissa pulled her hands back in front of her and returned to a neutral posture, the voices said, We have endeavored to be courteous guests. “And I want to be a courteous host!” Melissa shot back. “I mean, I guess that was why I wanted you to talk more outside of these dreams you’ve been giving me. You’re just as lost as I am, after all. I don’t know if Mauvache is going to want to see us again anytime soon after I talked her ear off about the sacraments I can’t do, but I can try to find you the things you need. I can try to make you more comfortable.” She reached out with a finger and drew an arc in the sand. “I don’t know if you’ve probed my memories enough to find this, but this is an old shibboleth of my faith. If the person you’re meeting with sees this and does the same, it means they’re among friends. It was necessary when it was created -- it’s just symbolic now -- but I would like to put it to you as well.” Slowly, the image of Zadkiel materialized before her, and, with its leg, added a mirror of Melissa’s arc, completing the ichthys fish. As soon as it was completed, a wave came in and wiped it away, though Melissa could still see a faint outline where it had once been. “Tomorrow, if we have time, we can start looking for these things you want,” she said. “Or anything else.” Thank you, the voices said, and Melissa’s dream slowly faded away into the void of sleep.“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” -2 Timothy 2:15-16 (NIV)Melissa went downstairs still in pyjamas and immediately wished she hadn’t. Fen had gotten their first (that wasn’t the worrisome part) and had let in whoever had been ringing the doorbell waking everyone up. From the look of the new occupant’s demeanor and classic notebook that was drier than the rest of her person, it was clear they were some sort of reporter and, if she got her way, was bound to try and interview every occupant of the building, even probably the Slakoth if she thought it could talk (that was). She nearly threw herself into the laundry room to stay out of sight, but just managed to avoid such theatrics, and walked in instead. You seemed to do okay with that photographer, is this any different? “I didn’t have to talk to the photographer, and they also got me about as far away as you could get from whatever was happening in that clothing store,” Melissa hissed. “And did you see how close she got to Fen? I don’t want that, especially this early in the morning.” Would you rather us speak to the reporter in your stead? A wave of realization hit Melissa as she realized that it wasn’t so different from the photographer at all. That was right, she wasn’t in this alone anymore. “Only if you’re willing,” she said. “And maybe she’ll leave after talking to Fen. So I’ll call on you if she approaches?” With that sorted, Melissa came back out of the laundry room and made her way over to the rec room to check on the Slakoth. Breakfast would be after that. Or maybe someone else was already making it. If that were true, Melissa just hoped it wouldn’t be spicy.
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    Thanks to the Voting Gauntlet, my 5th 5* exclusive and favourite Blue Lion is now done. Am tempted to try and get a copy of Fallen Lilith when the new banner drops because Spd Smoke 4 granting Dodge is really nice. Now time decide which of my +9 5* exclusive will become number 6: B!Eirika, (has the advantage of currently being on a banner), Adrift F!Corrin (will appear on a weekly banner in August), or Naga (probably any where from July to September depending on whether they keep the Remix banners to 1 Legendary/Mythic per month or swap back to 2).
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    It seemed more people were waking up. That was what Marshall could tell as she held her hat’s brim close to her eyes, and her eyes trained upon the ground, simply… Listening, as they began to talk amongst themselves. One person seemed concerned about one of their friends, and then seemed to be… Disappointed, with their location; a feeling she figured that many of them were beginning to echo. This first figure then came to the same conclusion she had, given this wasn’t a dream. He wasn’t the only one, either. As he asked if they had all died as well, another replied almost immediately asking if that meant this was heaven. Another still replied, going off on their own tangent as they determined this to be some alternative world they were supposed to save. This is when she would have spoken up, under normal circumstances; maybe suggesting that they lower their expectations, however, given that the speaker appeared to be a child, or at least young-spirited, that didn’t seem the… Kindest, response. Especially given the fact that, as they went on, they seemed to grow less and less sure of their surroundings. They were clearly stressed; the kind of rider that she might have asked a staff-member to keep an eye on, or to make sure they got to their destination safely. After all, it was of the utmost priority that subway rules and safety be prioritized at all costs during a shift. But this isn't a shift. She had to remind herself that, as she continued listening to the group speak. Or perhaps, this was just the beginning of another kind of shift. The longest shift of my life, if you will. After all, there was no telling why they had been brought here together. It wasn’t out of the question that, in her after-life, she had been potentially brought along to act as a sort of guiding hand, or Charon-esque figure to make sure these souls pass along safely… Though, she doubted that was the case. Either way, it stood firm in her mind that she needed to remain focused and vigilant, as if this was a shift. It was then that the strangest of the voices she heard came to speak. He was calm. Deathly so, she might add. It was an odd comment he made, murmuring something about becoming a born-again Christian; though, it wasn’t so much the content that made it odd, so much as his delivery. The actual content of it was amusing, even if a smile was the furthest thing from the expression on her face. No, it was the dry, detached way with which he approached the comment that made him stick out. His next comment was the one that worked doubly so to mark him as strange, his tone shifting to one a bit more analytical, more involved, more alive, even as he explained that he was dead; that he was the one to have offed himself. It was a strange comment, yet stranger still was it a way to phrase a question; especially as an introduction. Truly, Marshall may have found the only person less adept at dealing with people than she herself was. She wasn’t the only one to come to this conclusion, as first the man who wondered if this was heaven spoke up, followed by one of the others, who she hadn’t heard speak yet, called out; exclaiming with a bit of distress for the previous speaker, who, judging by her address, was a doctor’s, own mental health. Marshall carefully raised the brim of her hat for a moment, catching a glimpse of the strange, scraggly, giant of a man who had shot himself, so as to confirm the newest speaker’s assessment: which was, of course, correct. She was then reminded why she had held the hat against her eyes to begin with, as her eyes once again expressed their disdain for the light, prompting her to tug the hat back into place as she returned to thinking. The two speakers - the newest stranger and the man who wondered if this was heaven - spoke up again, each one giving their own causes of death. They also gave themselves names: Abby, who had been hit by a truck, and Gene, who had been stabbed to death by a mugger. Neither one of those deaths seemed glamourous, though one seemed a bit faster than the other; at least, on paper. She had to hope that, in either case, neither one of them suffered too terrible long. It was then that a short silence followed. Normally, a silence such as this wouldn’t have bothered Marshall. After all, silences like these came all the time while she was working, namely when things were going well. But the Doctor, who hadn’t introduced himself, had asked a question; and judging by the other’s reactions, they were all expected to reply. “Marshall Wilton. I died… Doing my duty, I suppose.” She slowly lifted her hat, doing her best to work through the light as she came to stare towards the Doctor. “An older woman began to fall from the platform in the subway station as I was resting after a shift. A train was arriving, so I moved to catch her. I succeeded in doing so, but fell in myself, and arrived at this station as a result.” She explained, as if giving a report to the Good Doctor.
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    ←Previous Post Movie Four -- Paprika Or: I Dreamt Of A Butterfly Who Dreamt It Was Me Content Warning: Aside from the obvious feeling of doubting one's own reality that permeates the movie, there is one moment I would like to point out specifically. There is a massive sexual-assault warning after Paprika gets captured by butterflies. Also, one of the main characters is overweight and spends a good portion of the movie dealing with fatphobia. I have seen people get (reasonably!) turned off of stories for less, so fair warning there as well. This is obviously not Satoshi Kon’s first foray into dream logic -- again, quite the opposite, unfortunately, as this would be his last -- but it is the first time it is dealt with so directly as to actually be dreams causing the surreality. Instead, Kon takes advantage of the decade of cultural change since Perfect Blue’s release in 1997 to go back to the well his first movie introduced and dig a little deeper. In this way, Paprika asks its questions: “How do we see ourselves? Through what lens?” Even without the characters spelling it out in the middle of the story, the fact that the movie brings them into such close contrast would be evidence enough. On the internet of 2006, you can be anyone you like, just as people often become other things in their dreams. But in both cases, that doesn’t make these creations “not you,” merely another facet. And this is true even when you try to deny it. To put in the perspective of a modern (at time of writing) meme trend, it would be like reading something you posted in some other character and being like, “This is nothing like me!” “My friend in Christ,” comes the reply, “You typed the words.” Or, for those who’ve played those games, I guess it’s like the Persona series. This is all probably getting a little complex, though, to be fair, we’ve dabbled in Jungian topics such as these before. Even still, it’s possible to pull back a bit and just enjoy the movie for what it is: a murder mystery straight out of Ghost in the Shell combined with a psychologist double-life story with a healthy dose of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut thrown in there for good measure. That still makes it sound more complicated than it is, and, to be fair, I was being a little smarmy coming up with that combination, but really there are only three key themes at play here and we’ve already started talking about one of them. The murder mystery turns out to be part of a philosophical battle. The chairman is introduced with a long-winded monolog about how science is intruding on something sacred, with the culprit taking their own stand against what they perceive to be the natural order of things. This is especially apparent when it’s revealed that the machine in question, the DC Mini, was designed by genius inventor Kousaku Tokita for function first and safety… never. Given that this is a Japanese movie and similar circumstances led to the creation of the atomic bomb, well, I’ll leave the viewer to draw their own conclusions on the ending there. Suffice it to say, the nature of dreams and reality is the second key theme. To match the question motif I’ve been asking, this question would be “How do we see the world?” Finally, then, is “How do others see us?” The initial motive suggested is that the culprit was jealous of Tokita’s genius, which Tokita himself seems difficult to see, but, then again, he doesn’t fare well in social relationships anyway. Meanwhile, Doctor Osanai outright says that he’s jealous of our lead, Atsuko Chiba, but she doesn’t think anything of it until much later in the movie. I’m trying not to spoil this one because it is a mystery worth solving. Like with the Perfect Blue post, I’d like to just ask the questions to keep the viewer thinking throughout the movie. I will also add that the movie’s dream logic means it uses recurring motifs to draw the connections. When Detective Konakawa comes through that door or turns that hallway, he always moves the same way, for example, or how the parade always introduces itself with the same appliances at the front. Again, you can tune out and enjoy the gorgeous animation -- Kon and Madhouse were once again at the top of their game for this one -- but I would encourage you to keep thinking. In terms of a finale, I don’t have much for this one because I spent most of that at the end of Paranoia Agent. I don’t even have a happier ending besides enjoying myself much more in these movies than I did with the show. I don’t have a happy ending in real-life, either; Kon remains dead, his final unfinished work remains in development hell, and, to tell the truth, these movies did not make that much money in the theater anyway. They were successful, sure, and obviously they’re good or I wouldn’t be talking about them, but not to the degree that investors might have hoped. And yet, we remember them. Maybe that’s a happy ending enough. -r I don’t know what’s going on next. I’m definitely taking a month-long break again, but after that, I don’t know if I have something in mind or if I’ll throw up another poll. If anyone has suggestions, I may as well listen, but otherwise, keep on the lookout for any of that. ←Previous Post
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    Her first reaction was simply, to nod along, which looked an awful lot like the Orb was simply floating there, suspended, but there was the added intricacy of the fact that the orange ball in the center was, in fact, moving up and down along to the Zorua’s words. “Mh-hm!” She agreed with them, jittering slightly with the noise as they absentmindedly floated alongside them as she opened her eyes back up, intent to listen to their philosophy as they looked for something else in the ruins. It wasn’t until they finished, having stated that it was time for them to get moving, that Es felt the need to open her mouth again. It was an interesting discussion to hold, given that it was proving to be true. The more she tried to force herself to focus on it, to learn how to move around, to float, the more she felt it was… Difficult. It wasn’t right. She couldn’t get herself to figure it out by simply trying to practice moving, focusing on it every inch of the way. No; while that got results, it wasn’t right. That was clear, given the fact that as soon as she began to focus on it she came to a sudden start. Meanwhile, when she let it slip from her mind, it was… Easy. She could follow, she could move, and she was fast. Erratic, spastic, maybe. But she moved, and it was right. She wasn’t sure how she knew, but she clearly saw it in her mind's-eye, so to speak. She moved the way she was supposed to, when she wasn’t paying attention. “Ex-----” She paused, jumping forwards with a sudden line of plasma, before seemingly being pulled backwards. “-Actly! Practice does nothing if rushed, y’know? Felt like a better idea t-t-t-to leave them to figure it out at their own pace so they figured it out right, y’know?” She explained, thinking out loud as she repeated the same question, her actual movement turning to a sudden jump forwards in a “Z” pattern, before returning to her position beside the Zorua, as she got caught on the voiceless alveolar stop. “...Though, I hope I figure out how to stop that gl-gl-gl-glitch sooner, rather than later.” She’d make a joke at her own expense, the plasma coming to a sudden stop, no longer halting, as she repeated the [gl] sounds. Oh, they had made it. The darkness hadn’t stretched on near as long as she expected it to; though, that solved any problems of having to potentially hold any further idle-conversation while she needed to figure out the source of her new vocal-tic. This left her standing… Or… Floating beside the Zorua, as they came to the new room. What looked to her like a little keep, a little castle with a moat - though she wasn’t sure where this description had come to her from - was nestled perfectly in the center of the room. The only really exciting part of the formation was the center of it, a door with a large-keyhole. The rest of it, while interesting in its own way, didn’t seem to be… Really useful for progress. “You said it.” Was the Rotom’s only response to their fast-friend’s frustration, as they both approached the door. The door was large, as was the keyhole, though the first thought that came to her mind wasn’t exactly the smartest solution, given that she had no idea if she could actually fit in the keyhole. The Zorua had come to a similar conclusion. “...Nnnope. I think I’m the… Uh…” She paused, plasma coming to a sudden halt as the two, translucent wings bent unnaturally to point inwards towards herself, before returning to their normal ‘flapping’ idle-state. “Orb. And it’s, unfortunately, quite tangible, if what I felt when I woke up is anything to go by. Sorry,” she’d give a slight ‘shrug’, as the Zorua began walking back; trailing behind them all the while, dutifully taking up the rear. They got back to the group faster than they had left, at least, she thought; that’s what it felt like, at least, to her. It was a reasonable amount of time, at least. That much she could tell easily, as they reached the river, across the pond from where everyone had woken up. It was only as she came to this conclusion though, that she also came to the conclusion that… Her grasp of time was… Off, wasn’t it? It had to be. After all, she had no idea how long they had been walking before they reached here the first time, nor this time. Shouldn’t she have had some frame of reference? Had it been minutes? Hours? Days? Yet nothing really came to mind. Why was that? That didn’t make a lick of sense. Yet it also felt natural, like… It’s what she was used to. Why did she feel like she was used to wasting her time? Like wasting her time was the only way she got through everything before? “Geez…How much freetime do you have, anyways? You seem almost omnipresent anytime your field is brought up here, Matter_Shaper…” Why did that thought, or rather question, keep coming to as she tried to figure out why she felt this way about time? It was only then, as the Zorua leapt to the pillar, and went about berating someone on the other side, that her own introspection was brought to a sudden end. “Ah! Right, we’re here.” She murmured as she once again took stock of her location; above the water, watching the scene unfold from the side of the pillar falling into the water. Though she knew she would be useless to actually moving the Pillar, she couldn’t help but feel like the others weren’t exactly doing their best job at helping, as she came to float to the side of the Pillar, finally able to see the full picture; including the person hanging off the side of the Pillar that was in the air. “...You know, when I said you needed t-t-t-t-to practice, strength-training isn’t exactly what I had in mind.” Es called out, plasma suddenly stopping-and-starting with each repeated consonant. “But hey, if you wait to let go until it’s got more momentum, it could fling you over!” She continued, not even bothering to go over the mental-math to see if the physics of that would even actually work out. “...Though, it’s not like that would matter, given that there’s nnnnowhere to go in that direction.” She explained with a bit of an exasperated sigh.
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    Whether Tis Nobler in the Mind "The island of Galatea had a similar problem. Worshiping Nothing. It got a lot of people killed. Kitt and I spoke with our patrons. We believe the effects of worshiping Nothing is plaguing even the gods themselves. Dia's waters dried up because of it. Blasphemous prayers turned people to stone. It's something you shouldn't be meddling with. I'm hoping that you'll listen to reason and drop this charade. It may be a bandage for your people but you aren't actually solving anything. As real as these... what to even call them? Perhaps illusions fits best. As real as these illusions may seem, Joy, they are just that. In the end, this will do more harm than good. And I have no desire to harm you. I would much rather persuade you. Please, Joy. This has to end. For all our sakes." Kitt was genuinely surprised at Olivander taking the lead here in trying to advocate for the peaceful route. Perhaps a bit of his desire for peaceful diplomacy had rubbed off on the thief...then again...perhaps the same could be said for the bloodthirsty nature of a killer...that could've rubbed off on him too. Nevertheless, Kitt stared at Joy, hoping to hear something. Joy did not immediately react to Olive's plea. Her light did not fade and her face did not change. Eventually, though, she turned around. "Just because I am not aware of your escapades does not mean I don't know the consequences of my actions," she said. "There is no way to keep a populace energized for the perpetual state of celebration I'd envisioned. The ceremony has become more and more central to these things because that's all these parties have become. Not to mention I am keenly aware of the diminishing reality of the island. Some day, as we cast more and more into the fire, the... 'illusions' as you call them will be all that's left. I force myself to remember these things every night. But there are other reasons, too, why I chose the arena I did. Come with me." With that, she started to walk away. Kitt glanced at Olivander before watching Joy begin to move forward, and he began to follow her. "So you know what you happen to be doing...and you know the consequences of your actions, yet...you still continue? Why is that?" "Do you tend to only know one or the other?" Joy asked, but she did not wait for an answer. "Ah, well. Did I tell you this story before? When I arrived here on Andalou, the only building still standing was the temple, and only just. I believe you've seen this, otherwise you wouldn't have questioned the ceremony as you did last night. I'm a watchdog of Laeta, but even I could not find the joy in a place such as that, so I deigned to create some." "...you created this?" Kitt pondered, nodding some. It made sense, somewhat. If the temple was the only thing that was here on the island, considering it had seen better days from what he saw, it being the crux of where it all started would also make sense. "Do the others know of this? ...the facade of the island, I mean." "Of course they do. Do you think I would lie to everyone else and not you?" "Truthfully speaking...if it was to preserve the island's integrity you made...then yes." he sighed. "I feel that was too harsh of an assumption, I apologize." "Well," Joy said, her expression changing at last to something a bit more wry. "It's good to get that off your conscience before one of us ends up brutally murdering the other." That comment made Kitt feel a chill run up and down his spine. "Jumping to conclusions...if at all possible, if we could get through this without bloodshed, it would benefit us all...." he looked at Joy, before shaking his head. "Unless you believe peace is not an option for this." Joy's expression turned further into a grimace. "I believe I presented a perfectly adequate peaceful alternative. It's not like the Swallow Tail has disembarked since I last spoke, has it?" "You simply suggest we leave and let you continue this...that's an ultimatum, not a peaceful alternative solution." Kitt explained. "If this is what the gods have brought us here to deal with, then we cannot just allow ourselves to leave. That would put us out of line with the mission we were given." Joy seemed to not speak a word nor even hatch a response to what Kitt had said, which didn't bode well. His hand rested upon the hilt of his blade at his side. He prayed a fight would not break out...but in the event it did...
  33. 1 like
    Percy was rather interested in finding out that no one had been right about death. There was no God that judged him for his poor bedside manner (the many upset patients who had assured him there was would be so disappointed), no dog-headed scale-toting man to weigh his heart, and certainly no skeletal ferryman to carry him down into the land of the dead. He was still fully conscious and in possession of his mental faculties as well, so his own personal theory of oblivion had also been disproven. Of course there was also a chance that he was stuck in some form of purgatory. Perhaps the particular vehicle Percy had chosen to deliver himself to the afterlife had—as some religions believed—prevented him gaining access to whatever could be found beyond. Or maybe it was all bullshit. Percy wasn’t particularly bothered either way. The only thing that annoyed him was the fact that he was unable to share his findings and further delve into the matter, considering his formless state. A few hours passed. Or possibly a few hundred years. Percy was extremely bored by the time a voice finally broke through the monotony. It was a language he did not recognize. Which was strange considering he spoke four languages conversationally, four more that he could speak well enough to get by, and a dozen more that he could recognize just by the sound. Perhaps it was Papua New Guinea? His linguistic skills had always been a bit unpolished in that region, but still, it didn’t seem right. Maybe it was some kind of angel language. Something a human was never meant to understand; that would explain why he wasn’t able to find even a dipthong that he could recognize. “Hello? Are you capable of understanding me? You aren’t, are you? Unsurprising.” Percy felt motion for the first time in years. He was rising, up, up, and then… Bong. Bong. Bong. Percy woke up with a start. He was feeling things again. Stiffness in his fingers and toes; pins and needles prickling in his right temple. A lingering scent of blood and gunpowder that faded from existence almost as fast as he recognized it. “Interesting,” he murmured. “But just because you revived me in a Church does not mean I will consent to being one of those born again Christians.” He looked down at himself. He was wearing what he had died in: his lab coat and badge, a crumpled blue dress shirt with a loose yellow tie, and jeans and loafers. All the pockets he had were empty. That meant no cigarette, no lighter, and no cellphone. His hand wandered up to his temple and… his skin was completely smooth. No signs of a wound that could be attributed to an acne scar, much less the entry wound from a bullet. Percy pushed himself out of his seat. He noted that there were other people in the room. A tall man that looked like a body-builder with a smile that would keep an optometrist in business. Someone in a fursuit (he had once had to pull something out of the rectum of a man who had come into the ER wearing a fursuit so he knew the term), as well as a young woman in what looked to be the outfit of a civil servant of some kind. Then there was a relatively normal looking young-man being shouted at by a hyper little girl who had a very interesting take on the situation they were all in. Percy ignored their conversation to approach the stained glass window that displayed the serpent. He wondered what kind of symbolism was involved with the image. Percy had no recollection of any kind of horned serpent with a golden orb in theology, though he would be the first to admit that had never been his favorite subject. He turned to face the others. “I find it improbable that this is Heaven. More likely to be a form of Purgatory. Note the lack of doors and anyone to greet us.” Percy reached a hand into his lab coat pocket for a pack of cigarettes that wasn’t there. Drats. “Hmm… I wonder if there is a common thread between our deaths.” He pointed a finger at the person closest to him, the person in the fursuit. “I shot myself. How did you die?”
  34. 1 like
    Having used most of his mental faculties to produce the ceremonial site suggestion, Reinaan was relieved that the others in the group had additional ideas to add to the mix. Damien of all people ended up the most insightful for the situation. It was almost strange to hear him speak so much at once but the draken was more focused on the potential places to investigate to ask how the man knew this much about elven territory. A shrine and former tomb, a lake with changing magical energy, and a Dinosaur Graveyard were discussed in succession. For the fiery hunter, the idea of the graveyard was a strong pull. But much like the idea of chasing the wolf pack, Reinaan yielded to a more logical approach. Changing magical energy certainly sounded like something someone who stole a relic could exploit, or even just be the Demon Gate itself. With the lake decided, the boy readied his things to leave. The trip to the lake was more of the same grass, bushes and trees as far as the eye could see that the group had been confronted with since setting foot in this land. What caught Reinaan's attention was the shift in the fauna as they approached the lake. The trees had become thinner and began emitting various colors of light. If he didn't know the forest was potentially dangerous he would have been caught up in the moment simply staring. But the draken remained vigilant in his watch as the group progressed. Now a clearing and the lake itself presented themselves and the strangeness of the area only continued. Small huts covered in color changing grass, random spouts on the water's surface, moving mushrooms; none of this seemed natural. So naturally the changing magical energy had to be the cause which Madelyn soon confirmed. Damien could only laugh while Reinaan for his part was more confused than anything. "Doesn't magic normally have a purpose?" Reinaan tried to ask Ziiyol who had materialized at his side. But the fire spirit for her part was rambling to herself about the potential for the colors of fire she could make by burning things here. A bit of a lost cause there. But the boy was sure to remind her not to set anything on fire given the more explosive nature of some of her spells. For his part the draken wanted to investigate the small huts. There would be a lot to search through but that just made them the ideal hiding spots surely. Leaving Kloqah and Ziiyol to their respective business idling, the Fire Chosen readied his halberd and made his way over to the nearest grass hut. The openings were small as were the huts themselves. Not so small that a person couldn't use them as shelter. But they were small enough that Reinaan, still not fully grasping how much taller he'd gotten on this journey, didn't think it wise to try and step all the way in. His head would do for now to see what was inside. This first hut held something of a surprise. A two foot long fish partially obscured by moss was just lying there. It moved its head up in response to the draken's head and spat a stream of water at the boy's face. "What the-" Reinaan shouted before the water garbled his speech into nonsense. The shock of it all had him back up from the entrance and falling back onto the ground behind him. while not entirely mud, it was still enough to dirty his back side generally and it served as a reminder he needed to polish his scales again if they were ever allowed into the elven city. But the draken wasn't going to take this sitting down. With a huff Reinaan returned to the fish's hiding hole and this time thrust his halberd in, piercing the thing's side. Vengeance and dinner, quite the combo. The fish wriggled on the end of his weapon for a time as it died and Reinaan returned it to Kloqah's back to prepare later. Or just eat raw, it all depended on how mad he was still feeling. Still, this was not enough to discourage his search, but the hunter's halberd led most of the inquiries going forward. The other huts Reinaan checked did not contain rude fish he had to murder but they did contain other things. One had the cores of apples in them, not that the carnivore knew the name of the fruit he simply recognized it as a fruit. Quelling his gag reflex he reached in and touched one of the cores and pulled it out of the hut to examine it. The bite marks on it didn't look normal. But normal to Reinaan was predator-style pointed fangs and the like. These more matched the flatter teeth he'd seen in humans, halflings, and presumably elves as well. They seemed a few days old which was definitely something to go off. Another hut had bones in it, clean of meat but not themselves eaten like a predator would. Someone had been cooking something, maybe a rabbit. Again several days old at least. With these two discoveries, Reinaan shifted his attention to the ground around the huts. Ignoring any footprints he himself had made, he did notice impressions that could have matched a shoe. Of course there were animal footprints as well, and it looked like something had been dragged over the ground from the way certain prints were blurred and obscured. "Dammit, not fresh enough." He muttered upon concluding someone had definitely been here some days ago, but he couldn't speak to where they were now. Still it was worth reporting. "Someone was here a couple days ago!" Reinaan shouted back to the others caught up in their own investigations or discussion. "No clue where they went but they stayed here for a bit."
  35. 1 like
    Z. was about to say something actually rather nice to Es the Rotom as she made observations about the virtues of practice (or rather, they would have if they didn’t have that mental note still lingering to yell at her for not shutting up when asked), but they were interrupted by more antics from the other side of the stream before they could. The most pressing was the Cubone, whose insults were rather tame except for the part where they thought Z. was male for some reason. Z. flinched at that thought, and the only reason they didn’t leap back into the water to give Cross the lecture/beating they deserved was Hector managing to get there first (It did mean they got to store up some good licks for the next time, though). “Yeah -” Z. said. This time, they were cut short by a powerful voice in their head, Since when does this community listen to mods? It didn’t feel like their thought, but they sure did agree with it, and they very nearly freaked out again, but stopped just short remembering how cold the water was the first time around. Like, they would, obviously, if they had to, but at least they could wait until the Cubone or anyone else dared try again. Speaking of trying again, “Yeah,” Z. said as they turned back around to head onwards into the rest of the dungeon. “Practice is hard, though. You can’t just do the thing, ‘cause if you do it wrong, even if your results are good, you’re just going to keep doing it wrong. Not ‘practice makes perfect,’ but ‘perfect needs perfect practice,’ right? “I mean, I hope they do well. It sucks to see ruined potential.” Z. paused, almost like they were done speaking, but then added, “So let’s get the hell out of here,” and walked into the misty darkness concealing whatever else the dungeon had in store for them. “It sucks to see ruined potential.” That was one of the first headers for their fic review series. It had cycled through a few throughout the years, generally in keeping with whatever their most recent entry had contained (other highlights included “Sturgeon’s Law is bunk -- it’s all garbage” and “Putting the ‘fix’ in ‘fix fic’”). That particular header was in response to “La Rose De L’Academie // The Rose of The Academy,” a crossover between two-decades-old anime that, while technically proficient (aside from a clear overuse of em-dashes), demonstrated pretty clearly that the author had no understanding of the themes of either work they were ficcing from. Z. remembered that it sprung out into a whole argument, about death of the author and the subversion of expectations, none of which was very interesting. Z.’s final message before moving on was, “Listen, you can go buy a style guide, you can memorize all the rules, do all the homework like a good little yuppie fuck, but that’s all skin. And you know what else has really good skin? Fucking red delicious apples. You know what else the red delicious is known for? Not living up to its fucking appearance.” Why did they remember that, aside from the word association? Maybe it was the lack of other memories? That because there were just vacant holes where their real life should have gone, all they had were forum experience? The last time this had happened, there was all that hubbub, but now, away from most everyone else, the reality of what they were and what they were doing started to set in. “If I stop moving, I might die like a Sharpedo,” Es had said. Maybe that was the same for Z. Further introspection was ruined by the corridor they and Es were walking/floating respectively widening out to another room, this one about as big as the one they had just escaped from. It also had water, though it encircled an area walled off on all sides save for one opening, which was simply blocked off by a door with a large keyhole. The rest of it wasn’t featureless, but none of it helped with the both literal and figurative central mystery of the room (or the ruins as a whole, for that matter). “Well, piss,” Z. said, walking up to the door and giving it a good shake. Either it was way too heavy or simply locked like the keyhole implied. Worse, though, was having to go back and tell everyone else, as even though they’d hoped their “if we’re not supposed to go this way first” speech had prepared everyone for this, they still expected an earful for just facing everyone again, and while they could deal with that, obviously, it wasn’t about to be a fun experience. “Well, unless you can ghost through that or something, I guess,” Z. said, but they started heading back all the same. They came back to the most scene of all time. Apparently, someone had had the bright idea that, instead of swimming, they should roll one of the pillars over to make a makeshift bridge, not considering that at some point enough of the pillar would be hanging over the edge that it would just tip right over. The Noibat on top certainly wasn’t doing them any favors either. Even worse, it appeared to have taken the Clobbopus with them, and he was now dangling off the front while Hector the Falinks and the rest could only watch on. “Jesus Christ, I leave you alone for like five minutes and now look what you’ve done.” There were small things they didn’t want to admit, like how the trip back was made much easier by just jumping onto the fallen pillar and avoiding the water entirely, but they still couldn’t help but chuckle at everyone’s misfortune. Z. only just managed to calm down enough to talk to the Noibat again, “Hey, scootch your butt, we’re gonna see if we can’t push this thing back down,” but getting up close to the helpless Clobbopus just opened the floodgates back up again. “How’s it hanging?” Z. cackled. “Bet you feel like a sucker, don’t you? You pull a mussel or something?”
  36. 1 like
    The water was freezing. It felt as if Z. had dipped themselves into an icy midwinter stream, liquid only because of its swift current. The chill seeped through their fur, past their meat, into their bones, stealing their breath away, and only after they climbed over the sharp edge of the canal and shook off the droplets did it loosen its chokehold. But now the Zorua was cold and damp in a cold and damp place, and that was never pleasant. Bearable at the moment, but uncomfortable. Across the canal, the other Pokémon pushed against the fallen pillar. Even with Noibat's added weight, the column shifted with a slow, grinding sound. Each brush against a cobblestone caused it to shiver like a landed fish, making for a bumpy ride. With every judder, it threatened to leap out of their hands, but the combined strength of the group, especially that of the fighting types, kept it moving. When the Pokémon finally reached the canal and pushed, everything went well at first. Shortly before the pillar settled into place, it swayed ominously before sliding down. Unless the group moved fast or somebody lifted it from underneath, their bridge would tip into the canal. Meanwhile, Z., and whoever followed them, could see into the passage up top after advancing. The corridor widened into a circular room, inside which another canal ringed a brick column. At the front, across a land bridge, a single marble stone block bulged out from the brick. Cut into the center was a large keyhole. OOC
  37. 1 like
    As the rest of the circus that was her fellow Class 2s began filing into the room, Letty paid them little mind. She wasn't too keen on small talk right now; she'd been called away from her own busywork just to attend some sort of emergency meeting, and she wanted to give Saint Peter nothing but her undivided attention over what could have been so urgent that this meeting couldn't have been an e-mail or something. Even receiving and accepting her orders via carrier pigeon would have been better than this. Luckily, the good Saint wasn't one to dilly-dally, and got right down to business. "As I'm sure you're all aware, S.Y.S. has been losing countless amounts of Lost Souls to Hell these days, and our number of Class 2 Soulders hasn't been this low since the foundation. Class 1 Soulders. They're mainly pencil pushers, but they can handle Lost Souls well enough to escort them to the afterlife. Class 2 Soulders are the ones capable of recruiting stronger lost souls to S.Y.S.. This has been your main goal since you were contracted. Class 3 Soulders are used to fight off Hell itself." Maybe not right down to business. Rattling off some details everyone already knew seemed tedious and redundant, but it was probably for the sake of pacing or something. Still. A refresher never hurt though; some people in the room had probably forgotten what their job was with how little some Class 2s actually worked. "You Class 2's haven't been pulling your weight, and I'm getting pressure from the higher ups to run you ragged. But I don't want to do that. I know you all work hard in your own ways, but S.Y.S. needs to step it up. From here on out, Class 2 Soulders shall be assigned a team of 5, and are to meet a quota of recruiting 1 Lost Soul per week. Now, before I have to do it myself, I suggest you find some people you like and make a team yourself. After reporting to me, I'll assign you your first mission by the end of the day. DISMISSED!" Oh. Only one per week? Well, this was awkward. Letty had already been doing a few more than that per week to try and shorten her contract. Ironically, the pressure to run Class 2s ragged was now telling Letty on an official level that she could get away with less work, and in a bigger team to boot! Then it was just a matter of assembling a team... "We got five here...instead of lollygaggin' around with us tryin' to find a team of five, just have us here be the team of five and cut yer losses. Just thinkin' it could be a lot easier that way. But I'm just speakin' out loud and most likely out of turn and order, but I'm just bein' honest." And the cowboy had a brilliant idea! Just grab whoever was nearby and hope for the best! "Alright. Alright, no pussyfooting around. Virgil said we have five, so there's no reason to keep looking. Why don't we just get this shit-show over with?" "A wonderful idea. I look forward to working with you all." It's the easy afterlife from now on! More team, less work! And if I can work these suckers until they're blue in the face and rake in a ton of souls, surely I'll get a few years shaved off my contract! With the team assembled, there was only the matter of actually doing the work. Though, getting to know the team was probably a good idea too. "So, to our lovely teammates who I haven't met yet, I'm Letty. My Soulverdrive lets me track any target I make eye contact with, no matter how far they run or where they choose to hide. It also lets me destroy anything between me and them. If we're going to be a team, we should at least know that much about each other, don't you think?"
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    A familiar voice rang up from the bottom floor, though Link heard it most clearly from the broken window. He froze mid-step, stock-still. "Hello?" A few solid thumps. "Hello there? We're Catriona's friends!" Link swallowed a groan. Why is he here? How is he here? Edrick had still been asleep when he had left—in fact, he had been delirious from blood loss and bedridden by his chest injury. There was no conceivable way Edrick had managed to recover enough to make the journey over. Unless… Link risked peeking out the window to see a familiar blue-haired headache. Ciela was awake. And outside. “Spirits,” he hissed under his breath. Any soldier who was worth their salt knew that stealth relied on knowledge. Knowledge of the enemy, knowledge of their patterns, knowledge of the location you were planning to infiltrate. It required gathering as much intel as possible and then using it all to weigh the chance of success against the risk of getting caught. When it was done right, a man could temporarily become a ghost. When it was done wrong? When a dumb soldier with a half-baked plan broke into a house with no prior knowledge? When two impulsive, headstrong kids who definitely should not have been there alerted the owners to the fact that there was company? The outcome was all but assured. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Link berated himself as he scrambled for cover. Movement was already coming from the room at the far end of the hall. Catriona is probably in one of these rooms relaxing, and I’m running around like a moron hoping I don’t get caught by some stuffy noble. Some elite soldier I am. Link slid into the room near the balcony and quietly closed the door. He ducked into the corner, positioning himself in a way that meant that, if someone were to open the door, he would be hidden behind it. Then he took stock of the room he was hiding in. It was empty but the walls were filled with recesses; evenly spaced, round holes, each the size of his head. There was a large pedestal of some kind in the center of the room, and the ceiling rose up in the shape of a hatch, with a hole in the center that sunlight poured through. Link had absolutely no idea what he was looking at. But there was the lingering smell of animal feces. Not strong enough to be compared to a stable or a pig pen, but just enough to cause him to crinkle his nose a bit. And… was that a bird? Link was almost certain he heard the faint croon of some kind of bird. Sure enough, a moment later, a bird head popped out of one of the holes in the wall. The bird was unlike any Link had ever seen. It was small with a gray head and traces of green and red around the neck. Bright, orange eyes landed on him immediately, shining with an uncanny glint. It hopped out of the hole and onto the ground when it saw him. Link tried to melt into the wall. The bird hobbled forward and cooed again. Another few heads poked out of their holes at the sound, and then several more birds started to squeeze out of their hovels. Link sucked in a deep breath and didn’t release it. It was a waiting game. ~~~~~~~~~ Angry Wolf pounded on the door until a big juicy looking human opened it. Yes! Nice one Angry Wolf! Rohns cheered, rolling around and yipping. Now they could go inside the big, ugly cave that Green Wolf had run off alone into. Granted Green Wolf had told him not to do that… but Green Wolf was being a bad wolf. Rohns darted between the legs of the fat man and started to run up the stairs. He wasn’t sure where Green Wolf was, but he could smell him, and that meant he could find him!
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    It was odd, to be honest. Throughout Marshall’s life, she had always heard people discussing and arguing over what ‘death’ meant for each person. Some believed you were placed in purgatory, awaiting judgment. Others believed you saw life yet again. Others still believed everyone would be placed in paradise, for having dared to work through this life. And yet, as someone who was very clearly dead - the pain and agony of feeling her bones rent from her body, piercing skin and organ alike as the uncaring iron steed marched forwards upon its destination - she wasn’t expecting nothing. See, the way she figured it, when she died it would be extremely painful; and she certainly got that part right, the very mode of operation that she swore by being the death of her, it was ironic, really. She just expected the pain to last… Longer, as every cell, as every system in her body came to an end, each one slower than the last, as she was tortured in her last moment; every second stretching longer and longer as she died…. It wasn’t a bad thing to have been spared that, no, in all actuality she was quite thankful for it; that sort of pain and agony for a millisecond was more than she felt she could handle under normal circumstances, but this? This… Nothing? It wasn’t anything like she had expected. Instead it was peaceful. Quiet, time to relax and reflect on everything. It reminded her of her job at times, during long stretches underground. Even if her job was stressful at times, forcing her to be alert and ready for anything - and everything - to go wrong… It still had its peaceful moments, when everything went right. This reminded her of that peace, yet… More so. There was no dull drum of the train-tracks. There was nothing to go wrong suddenly. It was just… Peaceful. There was nothing to bother her, save a slight incessant voice in her ear that she couldn’t understand, but was that really new? New York City was a rather diverse place, Marshall was used to hearing languages she couldn’t even begin to fathom in the background. Why should that disturb her peace? Her quiet, her rest? No, that honor was reserved for the bells ringing outwards, prompting her to jolt forwards as she stretched her left arm towards whatever lay before her, grasping for nothing in particular as she took in a sudden breath. She could breathe again…! That was the first thing Marshall noticed, as her eyes burst open, right hand instinctively moving to pull her hat down so as to shield her eyes from the sudden light. Despite previously being dead, and as far as she could tell, formless, her eyes still hadn’t ample time to adjust from the void of nothing to this expanse of something. For a moment even, she briefly thought everything else had been a dream. After all, it wouldn’t have been the first, or last time that she was so exhausted from a shift that she had fallen asleep on a bench, only… This wasn’t at all what she remembered the subway system being like, if she did, in fact, fall asleep. No, instead, as she stood up and glanced around, she was inside what appeared to be a church of some-sort, though, if it were one, it was certainly lacking in a few of the more important things for a church to be in possession of. After all, there was no podium, no preacher, and no door. Wasn’t that an issue for the church, given that at least where she was from, all they cared about was converts, converts, converts? How was the televangelist supposed to prey upon the unsuspecting if they hadn’t a door to come in with? They might as well- She cut the thought off with a quick tug of her hat downwards, taking a deep breath as she forced her eyes shut once again. That’s not a fair assessment. She reminded herself, as she opened her eyes once again, taking a moment to analyze her surroundings for real this time, rather than through the lens of her biases. The first, and most obvious thing the church had going on, was the stained glass. In a normal church, one might expect to find something biblical, or relating to the religion at hand. But this wasn’t any religion that Marshall recognized, the iconography being foreign to her at best. The focal point, however, was clearly the serpentine figure around the orb; that much she could make out even with her limited knowledge. The next thing of interest were the others in the room. At first, she thought she might have been the only one awake, until her eyes came to the figure in what had to be the strangest of the outfits who was speaking to… No one in particular, as they stared aloft at the stained-glass. Though Marshall was used to seeing all manners of life, she had to admit this was the first time she had seen someone in such a lovingly crafted… Mascot suit? Yes, that had to be it, a mascot suit. Eyes trained on the figure who continued to stare at the window, Marshall began at first to open her mouth to speak, maybe to ask a question, before she simply… Closed it, without a suit. She wasn’t sure how to approach them first of all, given the stillness of the suit, and the fact that it - at least appeared - to be admiring the windows. There was also the fact that, if she woke up confused after a near death experience, and the other person had mentioned being dead, there was a good chance they were just as confused as she was. Both of these things combined to remind her that it was probably best if another, more charismatic individual, were to speak up first. That would make things easier for her, as she tried to piece everything around her together, and while she tried to keep her eyes hidden from the light; hand locking the hat in place.
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    Whatever confidence Noibat had built up for herself was quickly crumbling as none of the others seemed to take much notice of her. She had effectively said nothing thinking on it and it's not like 'go into the cave after the Zorua' wasn't going to be the literal next thing out of her mouth so in effect everyone was still following the plan. Still, it seemed better to keep to herself for the moment. This was immediately challenged by Cross, who was now a Cubone, crying. The sound alone registered so clearly in her ears it nearly drove her mad with how bad she wanted to help the kid. But helping kids was definitely outside of her skillset and some of the others seemed a lot more up to the task. For now, making sure everyone could out seemed to involve bringing a pillar down for the less swimming oriented Pokemon in the room to manage their way across the stream. Playing leader hadn't gotten her anywhere so follower seemed just as good for the time being. Only as she tried to walk after them Noibat immediately took stock of how ineffective walking was proving to be as a mode of transportation for her. "Right... Noibat now..." she muttered to herself as she flapped her wings limply a couple times. At this rate she was just going to fall behind so putting her doubts behind her for the moment she took to more vigorously flapping again. The more she flapped the more she could hear own heart racing. Incredibly fast at that. There was no way that was healthy but just something else to ignore since it wasn't exploding yet. With a bit more exertion she found herself hovering somewhat stable in the air. Awkwardly leaning forward in the air started moving her off toward the others. Attempts at corrections quickly became overcorrections and she had very little control of her speed or height. The next thing Noibat knew she was about to ram face-first an upright pillar near the group that was trying to push one on the ground. With a panicked extra flaps she rammed the top of the pillar with the side of her body rather than her face and was soon tumbling through the air and down onto the broken pillar. Happy to be not in the air for a moment she didn't immediately register where she was or that she was sort of in the way. "Flying always looked so much easier in..." Noibat trailed off through her own heavy breathing. The idea of several different shows were coming to mind but only in the form of things she'd seen discussed on the YCM or NCM forums. For the life of her she couldn't remember what the things actually looked like. What kind of cruel god would flood her mind with her own descriptions of all these awesome things and not the things themselves? With a groan she pushed her head up to get a better look at the others. She looked at the Chespin in particular who if her brain was serving her right had introduced himself as a current mod of NCM. Several of the others sure had rallied to his call after he approved of the Treecko's idea. "Since when does this community listen to mods?" Noibat chuckled as she thought to herself. Except this thought was not actually to herself. It had been sent directly to the minds of those aiding the in pillar effort, not that she knew. "Here to help gang." she said, still clearly jumbled from the fall. She raised a wing up for a moment like she was trying to wave with a human hand. Eventually it was going to register she was on top of the thing they wanted to move and only making things more difficult but now was not that moment.
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    "And how're we supposed to know? Doesn't seem like any of us know anything does it?" Cross recoiled at the Clobbopus' response, worried that he would get more than just a tongue lashing. However, the Pokemon backed off. “Hey! Don’t talk to him like that,” Hector berated the quicktoangerpus. Cross sniffled a bit before waddling over to the group of Falinx. “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by that, Cross. None of us have any more answers than you do, sorry to say, but we’re gonna figure it out, alright? Just stick close to us.” Cross nodded, and came walked closer to him, eventually grabbing ahold of one of the smaller Hector's spikes. "Thanks NewGamePlus..." He said through some more tears, snot, and sniffles. “Come on, lets go catch up with the others. Maybe we can use me and the crew here to make a land bridge across the river, eh? Heheheh.” Cross followed closely behind the stumbling gaggle of soldiers. It was kinda funny watching them all clumsily walk about, it was starting to take his mind off the situation. But he made sure not to laugh too hardly. It must've been really hard for your original human body to be split up among all those little armored orbs. When he could, he made sure to help the one he held onto as it stumbled. As they came to the water, it was obvious that they needed a plan. Being a Cubone, that meant he was probably going to be weighed down by his helmet and club...practically a death sentence. With some more discussion, it was confirmed that somehow they had all been involved with NCM at some point in their lives, and now they were Pokemon. Rudely, across the river, Z began to hound some more. “And the ‘don’t go alone’ thing, that’s for you to solve. You don’t want me by myself? Better learn how to swim.” "That guy's really mean..." Cross noted. He had since stopped with the waterworks, and his voice was back to normal. "What's his deal anyway? Is he a toddler?" What did it matter now. He rolled the dice, and got a lucky pick of Pokemon...one that could actually traverse water. If he felt like the group wasn't needed, than phooey to him. Order of Shadow...or Marv, was the first one to come up with a plan "I think I have an idea! Though, it's probably going to take us all to do it..." He walked over to a pillar of stone in the cave, "If we can push this to the stream...it should be able to cover it and we use it as a bridge!" Nobody objected, so it sounded like a good enough plan. Cross' only idea was to have Hector float as some sort of bridge for everyone to ride on, but that would risk his life in that new couple of bodies of his. A no go indeed. "It's the only thing I can think of to make sure we all get over there..." The Treeko walked towards Cross, knelt down and gave him a thumbs up. "Cause I won't leave anyone behind." Cross smiled, and nodded. "Mhm!" Was all he could muster. Between Hector and Marv, he felt really safe! Chester the Chespin seconded the plan. "Let's get pushing everyone!" "Yeah! I'm in this with y'all!" Cross made his way to the pillar, before pushing with all of his might. "Together!"
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    “After all, it wouldn’t do for me not to repay you somehow for letting me rest here.” It was somewhat amusing seeing the girl so intent on repaying Mene given her condition. Perhaps she should have Ciela take a look at her too once she's determined her stance on healing magic. Mene was quick to deny Citron's help and Penelope felt the need to point something out to the girl. "You know, we did essentially save this town, you even got hurt during it, I think that's enough payment wouldn't you say?" She didn't raise any objections to Mene insisting on doing things herself. After all it was her own home so it wouldn't be proper to help without being asked. However, she couldn't extend such kindness to Alois as he went to the door intent on finding Citron another place to go for the night. She gasped and brought a hand to her mouth. "Alois! I cannot believe you would be so quick to send her away. We do not even know yet if Edrick will return to rest here." Her eyes darted over to Mene and then back to Alois with faux-concern on her face. "Do not tell me you are hoping to spend the night here with just me, are you?" Penelope moved over to Citron and put a hand on the other girl's shoulder. "I didn't expect this so suddenly, Alois." she said. The princess was unable to keep the amused smile from her face so she didn't move her other hand from in front of her mouth to cover it from Mene and Alois. "Don't worry Citron I won't let him toss you out like that." Gunther was relieved that things seemed to be settling down. It was still awkward, with Tsetseg on edge, but at least there was no worry about conflict. It was rather amusing, perhaps a bit frustrating, how easily the wyvern got the boy, who they had been struggling to think how to help, out from his situation. Gunther made sure to tell the wyvern "Good job!" for fulfilling this duty. "whaddaya says to us all gittin' back to the village? Ah gots sum things to tell Missus Mene. You too, Raki. Ahm thinkin' ye shoold come along this time. I donts want tae leave ye oot 'ere by yerself if'n one of those pair o'baddies comes back." Mene...ah, right, that was Alois's mother. Well that suited them fine he could report to Penelope all that he had seen while he was away. Though he also remembered he was meant to spend the night elsewhere so it felt slightly awkward going back. Gunther smiled, despite himself, at Tsetseg's antics. Even if she was worried she still kept her bright energy. Though the smile slipped a moment later. "Oh, oh well let's take you - escort you! there. Especially if there are baddies out. Baddies are no good but we're really good at fighting baddies, mhm, mhm." "Wait a moment." He said, face screwing up in thought, and looked towards Timmy and Raki. He knew there was the one who cursed the village but, as far as he knew, it was only one person. So then.... "You mentioned a pair of, er, baddies? What is that all about? Is there someone else out here we should be worried about?"
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    I feel like I should deny this on principle but alas I am a man bereft of them. As such once more if I have liked your posts then you're accepted and if you were already accepted before this post then congratulations you're on double secret acceptance. So yeah, with this app submissions are closed and the RP will start proper later this week. So look forward to that. Before this post ends though gonna go clear some things up and add new mechanical nonsense into this RP. First MP is an abstraction and a poor explanation as to what your casting limit, flavorfully is. In universe it would more so be referred to as "Focus" and is a more a measure of mental stamina then it is a pool of magic that you pull from. Therefore, when you run out of Focus nothing is physically wrong with you, your mind just can't focus on doing complex things (IE arts and magic) and so it just fails at them. This will re-explained in the opening post. Next up, I saw on two of these apps the notion of spending more MP on an art to make it better on cast. And rather than just keep it in total abstract I'm a man of rules and guidelines. And so I've decided to add in the "Overcharge" mechanic. Essentially this is useable on any Art or spell in the game. When used it doubles the Focus used when cast and increase the potency of the attack by 1.75x, essentially trading cost for time efficiency. When used, Overcharge will also make the attack look visually stronger. Arts can be upgraded to grant additional levels of Overcharge up to a max of Overcharge 4, increasing by +1,+.75 for each additional level. (Ie Overcharge 2 would be 3 times the cost and 2.5 times the effectiveness.) This will also be added to the opening at some point. Along with other gameplay nonsense you have to look forward to. So yeah.
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    Sensory overload was already a recurring phenomenon to Hector in his new body. Seven scattered introductions followed his own, most of the names sounding weirdly familiar to him, though the one that stood out the most was the Zorua who shouted at him to “shut up, shut up, shut up!” at the top of their lungs. The memories associated with the name they provided—Zeta, better known as Channel Zeta—were both very clear and very, very tiresome. I lost count of how many times they got brought up in the mod forum. I guess they stir the pot just as much in person. It was strange. His memories of Zeta’s forum shenanigans were perfectly clear, but when he tried to recall anything unrelated to the forum his brain was blanketed by a dense fog that blotted out his mind. "What do we do now? Is there a way out across that water?" "And how're we supposed to know? Doesn't seem like any of us know anything does it?" Some protective paternal instinct possessed Hector. The Brass puffed up to his full height and the five troopers around him snapped to attention; six sets of blue eyes narrowed to ice chips, all fixed on Clobber. “Hey! Don’t talk to him like that,” he said, but Clobber had already turned to leave. Hector sighed and turned his attention to the Cubone. “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by that, Cross. None of us have any more answers than you do, sorry to say, but we’re gonna figure it out, alright? Just stick close to us.” Hector wished that he could offer him more reassurance. Cross sounded young, scared, and desperate for the guidance of an adult. It struck a chord in him for some reason. …Do I have kids? Younger cousins? Siblings? It was infuriating not knowing who he was. He shook his head softly to rattle the troubled thoughts away, but the fact that six heads shook instead of one was a grim reminder of where he was. “Come on, lets go catch up with the others. Maybe we can use me and the crew here to make a land bridge across the river, eh? Heheheh.” Walking turned out to be a struggle that Hector had not anticipated. When he started to move forward, all six of him stepped toward the same spot at once, causing them to hit each other head on and tumble to the ground. “Sorry. Just gimme one second to get the hang of this and we’ll head over Cross.” How hard can walking possibly be? I do it all the time… I think. It took him a few more tries and another headache, but Hector eventually figured out that the best manner to walk was in a single file line with the Brass standing in front of the troopers. “Sorry about that. To the river, take two, lets go.” Things went smoother that time. Marching felt natural and came easily to him; he wasn’t sure if he had experience marching as a human or if it was natural instinct as a Fanks. It was exactly what he did though, waddling over to the river where a small crowd was just starting to gather. Zeta was paddling across the river in spite of Chester’s valiant attempt to nag them back to the ledge, and Clobber had found his way over as well. Hector took a deep breath before he spoke. Focus on the big guy. Just… focus on the big guy. “Hey! Hold off a minute Zeta. Hear me out before you run off on your own,” he said, the troopers fanning out behind him as he did. “Man… you’re as much of a hurricane as I remember. Good to know some stuff never changes,” his voice softened and the troopers at his back sagged and started to fade. The Brass seemed to grow more animated as the rest stilled; little blue dots grew to blazing blue orbs that scanned the room. “Is everyone awake now? Got some foggy memory? Good. We only know a couple of things right now. First is that we’re somehow all Pokémon. Second is that we were all members of NCM or YCM—at least from what I’ve heard so far. Third is kinda shaky, ‘cause I can only go off of my own knowledge, but… I can only remember stuff directly related to the forums.” Hector broke off, panting. His shiny helmet was beaded with sweat. “Sorry. Taking a lot longer than you would think to adjust to the new body. Anyways, like I said, I barely know anything not related to NCM. I know my name. I know I’m a human. Aside from all of that… nothing. Any of you guys doing any better?” He paused and waited for people to respond before continuing. “Right. So we’re all in about the same boat. For now we really should stick together, but sitting around won’t do us any good. Sorry Chester but Zeta has the right idea. We need to start trying to get moving and figure out where we are. I suggest we take the path of least resistance though… which doesn’t involve crossing the river. I can barely walk in this body as is.” He shuddered. All five troopers suddenly came to life and stood back at attention. “I don’t wanna risk swimming.” He forced himself to focus. “Anyways, any objections?”
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    Alois, Penelope, and Citron Mene smiled at the kind words of both of the girls, eyes drooping slightly with exhaustion. "Nay, I couldn't possibly fall asleep afore my guests. T'wouldn't be right." She covered a yawn. "Though I reckon I'll sit down fer a spell, just to git off these legs." The woman sank down on the bed, sagging like an empty waterskin. After a few seconds, she looked up. "Ye should rest as well. I knows Edrick's after getting the bed, an' Alois and—" she shot a quick glance at Penelope, "ye are gonna sleep here, but," she turned to Citron, "ye should's find a place as well. I won't 'ear another word about workin' wiv that arm of yours naow. Maybe we can fit ye here if'n we make some room." The woman rose, tawny eyes fierce as the wind filled her sails once more. She busied herself with fluffing the blankets and lifting various small items to place outside. Would anybody offer to help her, she would refuse. Eventually she paused, hands hovering over a wooden storage chest, before picking that up as well to bring outside. Gunther and Tsetseg Phai peered at Tsetseg in worry, waving a hand in front of the archer's face. "Um… A-Are you all right? You're not, uh, turning into an animal as well, are you?" Her own face whitened in fear. "Oh no! I really hope not. I don't know what to do at all if that curse comes back…" The militia girl held her breath when Timmy was carried back up by Garinphasia, though the boy himself seemed much more carefree. "Whoee! Bet nae e'en Alois can says as 'e's ridden a whyburn afore!" The boy cheered after reaching the top, jumping up and down with his arms raised over his head like palm fronds. "Finally, ootta there! Ah reckon ah woulda started growin' roots afore long." He turned to Garinphasia. "Yer a good'un Miss Faceya!" He then turned to Raki. "Thankee kindly, Raki." "Naow…" Timmy faced the others, "whaddaya says to us all gittin' back to the village? Ah gots sum things to tell Missus Mene. You too, Raki. Ahm thinkin' ye shoold come along this time. I donts want tae leave ye oot 'ere by yerself if'n one of those pair o'baddies comes back." Link A familiar voice rang up from the bottom floor, though Link heard it most clearly from the broken window. "Hello?" A few solid thumps. "Hello there? We're Catriona's friends!" The bickering stopped before the whispers began anew, followed by stamping feet before a door creaked open and footsteps were heard…and grew quieter. The corridor where Link stood was undisturbed. However, it wasn’t long before Link heard the scrape of the door leading into the hallway from somebody pulling it open. From the mercenary’s position around the corner, they wouldn’t see him, but he would have to act fast to remain undetected. Edrick and Ciela There was silence until there was not. A sudden thump was shortly followed by several more in succession, as if somebody was sliding down multiple stairs. "Ow…" a voice whined. Silence reigned once more until the thumping resumed, approaching the door. The voice muttered a curse. Finally, a click, and then a pause before the door swung open suddenly, narrowly avoiding bashing Edrick in the face. "Hello, hello, welcome to Lord Gaston's most uh—what was that word—humdrum house, dear guests!" The man who stood there possessed a feminine face striped by sideburns and framed by soft brown curls. His belly strained at the polished metal buttons of a maroon vest while he waddled forward on legs that were both too wide and too short for his pants, if the scrapes over his form and the redness of his nose were any indication. He gave the two a wide, buck-toothed smile. "What can I do you for—I mean, do for you?" Most of the others would recognize the doorman as Hanikap Lefou. However, to Edrick and Ciela, who had been heavily injured or passed out earlier, he was a complete stranger. OOC
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    Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. -Proverbs 30:8-9 NIVOh, this wasn’t good. Melissa had dealt with crowds before, obviously, and she realized as soon as she stepped out of the cab that if she’d been thinking about it a little bit harder, she probably could have expected something like this -- the place was an arena and looked the part, of course people would be all grouped up at such a grand point of interest. It was a problem, but it wasn’t that much of a problem anymore. The problem was that she was now, somehow, a point of interest. As Melissa waded through the halls trying to find anything that looked familiar from her previous and only other visit, she couldn’t help but notice the constant stares pointed in her direction. The fact that they were stares made it even worse. If she had been, say, just dressed slightly oddly, out of place in a new environment, they probably would have been just glances, things she would just catch out of the corner of her eye before they saw her looking back and quickly looking away. Then, she could chalk it up as just that. It would still hurt; it would still place the experience on the miserable side, but she would have been able to manage better than the outright social hostility she was currently facing. She was pretty sure one person was even recording her on their watch, or at least taking a picture. They didn’t stop when she looked over either. Really, the only comforts she took were that firstly, she was here for a reason, and could go and have a good long stay in one of the arena’s many facilities as soon as that reason had been accomplished (or back home if she managed to be brave enough), secondly, that she wasn’t alone in this endeavor, even if she looked it, and thirdly, the occasional whisper emanating out from the crowd that reached her ears: “Who is that, anyway?” Despite her nominal importance, enough to be treated as she was, they didn’t recognize her. That, at least, brought back that sense of vagary she so desired. Maybe the people of Prana just had different cultural norms about this sort of thing. It was one more thing to ask about, at any rate. She found a receptionist and decided to ask them for help, ringing the small bell on the desk to get his attention off of his watch. Thankfully, the receptionist didn’t seem to know who she was either, even if that did make it a bit awkward when she said, “Um, actually I have an appointment with Mauvache,” and she had to watch him scramble. “Didn’t you already… No, that was someone else. R-right, sorry!” He hastily checked something on a screen and said “Ah, um, yes. I see now. Sorry! You can just take that elevator there.” The receptionist pointed in a direction that was neither the right towards the ticket counter nor left towards the bathrooms (though it was, of course, nice to know where those were), and Melissa followed the point. Really, she wasn’t sure how she missed the elevator in the first place. Even without its ornate design, it had a big sign right next to it saying exactly where it led, exactly who should be using it, and exactly what would happen to those who didn’t heed that second one. It was almost worrisome. “Is Mauvache going to kill me if I ask the wrong question?” she wondered. If she’s not going to smite you down for hurling obscenities at her, it stands to reason she’ll likely just not answer any wrong questions, the angels responded, though if that was supposed to comfort her -- even discounting the sarcasm embedded in the answer, something they were picking up with disturbing regularity -- it still made her worry about which questions were the wrong ones in the first place. Still, she’d made it this far. Even if she turned back now, the crowd was still there, right behind her. Her limbs were shaking a little, sure, but she didn’t hesitate as the elevator doors opened and she rode the thing all the way to Mauvache’s office. “I guess the first thing I have to say is an apology,” Melissa said as she entered. Skipping the pleasantries was probably a faux pas of its own, but this was important. “The last time I was here, I lost my temper. It’s something that won’t happen again, certainly not this time.”
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    His dream was fading. It wasn't as if he remembered most of his dreams, but he could feel the warmth coming from the voice. It gave him faint words of encouragement, but he could barely make it all out. Soon, the voice was drowned out entirely by repetitious dripping. Had someone forgotten to turn the bathroom sink off? How incosiderate. His thoughts were interrupted when a droplet splashed on top of his head. Had he fallen asleep underneath the sink!? That would be a first! He had been up all night the evening before, trying to get some splice orders done, maybe he passed out while brushing his teeth. Jamie sat up straight. He went to brush the water out of his hair, but was met with a smooth, and hard surface. Had he gone bald!? He groggily opened his eyes, finding he could only see out of two holes, as if he were wearing a Halloween mask. He blinked a couple of times. This was the weirdest way he had ever woken up. Maybe he was still in a dream! Where was that voice coming from, from before? His limited field of vision caused him to turn his head from side to side. He finally got a good scan of the room. The walls were rocky, and the area was filled with a pool of water. Water? Cave?! Where the heck was he!? Jamie looked around some more, and found a group of.....POKEMON!? And they were all talking with each other!? AND HE COULD UNDERSTAND THEM!? He was getting dizzy. He was getting light-headed. This was all so much to take in. He would've fallen over, if he hadn't caught himself with the bone club he held in his hand. BONE CLUB!? The shock almost caused him to drop it, but it felt glued to his hand. It was then that he realized what he was....what he had become. "I'M A CUBONE!?!" He shouted out loud, almost drowning out the arguing that was happening now amongst the others. This dream was crazy. He had heard of lucid dreaming before, but he'd never tried his hand at it before. Why would he be so good at it now. Another drop of water tapped against his head...well...the skull covering his head. It travelled down his forehead, and into one of the eye holes of the skull. The water was so cold it sent a shiver down his spine...and so did the realization that he had felt the water itself. This wasn't a dream...this was happening for real! Jamie plopped down on the ground, as his eyes began to well with tears. "This isn't home....I wanna go home..." He said, as he began to sob. Through the tears, he could see the other Pokemon of the cave had already gotten themselves together. What would his brother do in this situation? With tears still soaking his cheeks, Jamie walked over to the group with his Bone Club trailing behind him on the ground. He hiccupped, his voice still shaky. They were all offering introductions now. And they all seemed to be using their usernames from that forum. At least he was somewhat familiar with these people. Sniffling, he was able to get out a sentence. "I...I'm Hera....HeraX....pronounced Hera....Heracross. But I'm obviously not a Heracross...so call me Cross...I guess...." He was still wiping the tears from underneath his helmet. This was so embarrassing. "What do we do now? Is there a way out across that water?"
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    Going to avoid spoilers for everybody else's sake, but I absolutely loved this movie. I had high expectations going into this, and it blew them out of the water. This movie was a treat for a lifelong Spider-Man fan, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they could go from here.
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