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  1. 11 likes
    @Members @VIP - Just an FYI we've removed the necro bumping rule from the site (please let me know if there are still remnants anywhere!) We no longer feel the rule is necessary across the site, spam rules will still apply though.
  2. 10 likes
    NCM (nearly) a Year On I think I speak for everyone in saying that it’s certainly been an interesting year, from what feels like unending down time to what now feels like a new lease of life, communities are born and bred by people alone and you can’t force something to stick together when the cracks have already shown, and I think we’ve showcased that now more than ever, you’ll just continue to stick things back together as best you can in hopes that it will remain but, sometimes in life you need to move on and build something new up and that’s OK, nothing lasts forever but everything worthwhile only lasts for a period of time, and whenever this comes to an end I can only hope it inspires someone to pick up the mantle where it left off. That got a little… philosophical didn’t it? My fault, apologies, I just wanted to open a document and write down my thoughts and feelings with you all – bare bones you know how that stuff goes anyhow I think it’s important to reflect on how we’re doing and where we can go from here. So, how are we doing? That’s a great question and thanks for asking Torm! Fundamentally the site is stable, and activity is at an appropriate level, people are posting, RPs are… RPing? I guess you do roleplay in a roleplay so… ANYWAY things are good! There are some sections that have very little to no activity and I guess that’s something for me and the staff team to figure out together. I imagine it’ll be along the lines of consolidating “deader” sections together and making posts simpler to post but we’ll work on that. In fact, at the time of writing this we are roughly averaging 20 registrations per month, which are healthy numbers! It’s also probably a little more but I’m terrible at Math so… 20 sounds like a good enough number. There has been some considerable content committed to the site by many of our great users. I won’t go through all of them because honestly, I’ll be here all day and I think a couple of the staff team have ideas on events of their own accord for celebrating good content but stuff like .:Alive:. by Dad in the creative writing section, the NeoCardMaker Holy Grail War by Yui (whilst young, is a very creative take on the forum game genre) and RPs like Fire Emblem Curse of the Goddess which is so intrinsically Fire Emblem it’s great. So where can we go from here? Well personally I think I need to take on the leadership role a bit more, I just need to understand where the line is drawn with that and the like as we have a nice status quo going on and rocking the boat too much might cause us to get water on board when it isn’t necessary but I have ideas and thoughts for the site that I think will be healthy for the place. I would like to see a member of staff or two added to team at some point to help develop certain areas of the site, and perhaps cultivate new life and ideas into parts of the site but again it’s all about balance and that’s down to me to find that middle of the line, so please bear with me and provide criticism as and where it’s needed. I’ve yet to explore these ideas with Yemachu but getting the card maker more built into the site rather than relying on GitHub might allow for us to provide a better user experience for those of us who use the card maker on the regular, of course again I’m just vocalizing my internal thoughts so don’t take this as a “IT’S HAPPENING” (Yui please insert the appropriate gif in a reply thank you). It also seems the site is still struggling to send activation emails to gmail accounts… It’s something for me to look at as we are potentially missing out on active users, I’d rather publicly state this is an issue than it not be forgotten about (although I have mentioned it in the past). As for you guys? Keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe revive showcase for me I don’t have anything negative to say about the lot of you really, you’re all cute – except Cow, he’s a cow I mean they ain’t that cute maybe calves but like they don’t last very long in that state. So, thank you, for making this place what it is, and I wish you a fantastic Christmas, here’s to 2020 (we all legally have perfect vision now) ? @Members @VIP
  3. 9 likes
    Music So, it's been a while since we've really had a big statement put out or anything. We're almost at 2 years of NCM, and that's incredible! For a splinter community, that really stands out. All because people chose to take a chance and break away from simple numbers and the past itself. A sense of community that is more one of togetherness than obligation. I'm proud of us. Our little community. Sure, it's a quiet little corner of the internet, but it's far from dead. I'd almost go so far as to say that it's just right. Not too big, not too small, not too soft, not too hard. I just... really wanted to take the time, as a member of the staff and the community at large, to thank all of you. I know not everything is perfect. People have fights. Petty feelings can get in the way and blind us. Life gets in the way. People say things they don't mean. People don't say things that they mean to. Even so, there is a sense of community. Grudges don't seem to hold for long. Workarounds are found. Careless words are fixed, and overthought words eventually find their way to where they need to go. Our little home away from home isn't perfect, but it's a damn sight better than what it could have become if we hadn't had stood together. It's so different from what I remember, in general. I feel like I'm an old person looking at the forums and servers, even among people I actually talk to. So much history. So much time. But here you all are. People have come. People have gone. But the community is still here. And while I feel like a fossil, I still look forward to seeing you "younguns" a lot. So, thank you, NCM. For nothing other than being yourselves. Your kindness, your creativity, your intelligence, your humor, all of it. This quiet community means the absolute world to me. I can't speak for the team, in and of itself, but I can at least let you know how much all of you matter to me. And, as an absolutely personal note, I just want to say... if anyone is suffering. If anyone needs a shoulder to cry on. If anyone just needs to express something they don't feel safe to other places... I'm here. I'll listen. I'll give you my Discord if you want it. After all, life isn't easy. 2020 showed us that, if absolutely nothing else. But that doesn't mean you have to be alone. I see you. I'm with you. I'm sure a couple of you know who you are, and I hope you take this to heart... Yet I also hope anyone else who needs this right now sees it as well, and takes it as an opportunity. I love this place. And I love you guys. Thanks for two years, and I hope the third is great, too.
  4. 9 likes
    U.A. High. It had been a long time coming but Yasha was ready. He'd worked hard to get here, and now he had the privilege of attending Japan's most prestigious hero school. He adjusted his tie and collar, slapped his faceplate where cheeks would be on a regular head, and cleared his throat-- a sound like a stalling lawnmower-- as he approached. "Let's see here, are you--" "Yasha Yokuna, present SIR!" He said, standing rather stiffly at-attention. "I'm honored to be here-- and prepared to do my best!" "I... see. So, why is it that you want to be a hero?" Yasha grinned in response, showing off his teeth. Despite being abnormally sharp, they were also the only part of his head that looked even marginally human. The whole engine-block for a head thing wasn't going to earn him any points for beauty, that was for sure. "Because being a hero is hard work, and I LOVE HARD WORK!" His throat made a revving sound as his voice went up, and he covered his mouth with his hand. "Ah, sorry. I got excited there." "I never really got your type, kid. But go ahead and head on in. You'll probably make more sense to Ruby Heart." "THANK YOU, MISTER GLORY SIR!" The door to the classroom slid open and the sound of engines revving filled the air as Yasha entered, waving a pair of screaming chainsaw blades over his head. "HELP! MY HANDS ARE CHAINSA-HA-HAAAAWS!" He broke into laughter on the word 'chainsaws' and doubled over, the tools shrinking away. He straightened up and smiled, showing off his fanged grin, and waved his, now regular hands. "Nah, I'm fine-- 's just my Quirk. Hi!"
  5. 8 likes
    I think I might actually have a shot at getting my work published. This is crazy!
  6. 8 likes
    Inu wasn't happy. The field trip sucked, and while he was thankful it ended early, it seemed it didn't end for good reasons. The exact reason why, he actually didn't know though, he was hoping he'd find out in school today. Grumbling to himself, he popped a sunflower seed into his mouth as he walked into the classroom, hoping that it would distract him from a need to smoke. He walked in, scanning the room, looking to see if anything looked off or if people had some sort of gossip going on. Nothing really stuck at to him at the moment, and it was pissing him off. Did no one know what was going on? He sat down in his seat, sighing as slumped down. As if to signal that today wasn't going to get much better, it seemed a substitute teacher was here today. "So uh… I'm not Epicenter. You guys know that. I'm aaah… I'm the Destructive Hero - Dreadbolt. I'm a friend of Glory's, he asked me to sub for a bit while some of the staff is investigating some shi- errr, while the staff is investigating some bad stuff that happened yesterday…" Inu's eyes narrowed at that. So something did happen. He waited for some sort of explanation of what exactly the bad thing was, but instead, Dreadbolt moved on. "Fuck, why did I agree to this… Tomoaki you son of a bitch…"Quickly bringing himself to attention, he straightened his back and turned to address the class once again, "A-anyway, I'm sorry to inform you all that uhhh… Kikuchi Emi has dropped out of UA, for personal reasons. But there is good news, too! She will be replaced by the next runner-up in the entrance exam! Hoshinoooooo Rika!" With an unhealthy dose of melodrama, Dreadbolt pointed toward the classroom door with both hands… standing perfectly still in perfect silence for several seconds, before slouching in disappointment, "Is it too much to ask students to be punctual??? Can't I get one damn break???" "Don't worry about cussing, we're not kindergartners, we can taking some goddamn cussing without sullying our ears," Inu stated. "We'll probably hear worse out on the field," The new girl then went and made a fool of herself in front of everyone, but Inu wasn't going to hold that against her. At least she wasn't some joker that didn't take this whole thing seriously. Sun looked at the new girl with a sense of curiosity. She had a familiar look to her... well, kinda. It was more like she reminded him of lizards from back home. Now he was feeling nostalgic. But the poor girl seemed really scared, and that made Sun upset. He'd have to find some way to cheer her up... but, it seemed he wasn't alone in that endeavor. "Hi. I'm Hideyo," the happy sun man said happily. "And I think your quirk is the coolest thing I've seen. Ever!" "Aw, geez, I dunno about that really. Uh... I think if it was the coolest thing ever, I would've gotten in without having to get a little lucky." The chameleon laughed gently, her other hand rubbing at the back of her neck as she glanced up at the ceiling. "It's not, like... Terrible, at least! My dad had it bad, he didn't get any of the stuff mine can do. He was pretty nervous when I was born." She then began to look around the room. her eyes soon falling on the monkey king, who smiled at her. "Hello, I am Sun!" He greeted as he waved. "I like your quirk! It reminds me of home!" He hoped that despite his large size, she wouldn't be scared of him. "If you ever feel scared, just come find me! I'll protect you! You and Takehiko!" Before he could say anything else, the wolfman in the back raised his voice. "So... you gonna tell us what the fuck happened back at the beach?" Inu demanded at the sub. "Or are you really going to try to sweep some situation that was apparently so dangerous we had to leave right away, despite having three Pro Heroes there, under the rug?" Sun leaned over to Rika, whispering loudly. "Don't make the dog man angry. He looks very pettable, but he lights on fire, and fire is bad," "Shut the fuck up, monkey man," Inu snapped, causing Sun's eyes to narrow. That seemed like a direct challenge, and as king, he wasn't one to turn down challenges. However, it could have just been made in the heat of the moment, something that happened a lot back home. He'd wait for a second challenge from Inu before he showed him exactly why he was king of his home.
  7. 8 likes
    NEO is the best, most-well designed, efficient, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing yugioh card maker on the planet. In all seriousness, though... this has become a nice alternative hub for most active members of the community, and I commend your willingness and dedication to maintaining it as our beloved and reliable admin.
  8. 8 likes
    neocardmaker.com is still the best, most-well designed, efficient, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing yugioh card maker on the planet.
  9. 8 likes
    No longer unemployed, bois! Just got a job offer for designing custom pools. I'm so happy!
  10. 8 likes
    Yeah I cheated and gave u two Yeah yours is pretty sick so hard to beat tbh but here There abouts although I've seen @BGMキャノンs moustache and that thing is pretty stylish. I'm going to cheat and give you Fate stuff because hey, cheating is fine in moderation Finding art with just Kazooie is actually harder than I anticipated but this feels appropriate.
  11. 7 likes
    I hope you all like this (especially Dae) as I have poured countless painful hours into making this as perfect as the real Dae is.
  12. 7 likes
    I am non-binary. I am not he. I am not she. I am they. I am not Josh. I am not Black. I am Blake. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I want people to know how scary being different is, and how hard it is to just... say something like this. Cause someone out there could have poor designs. Or just be a dick. So fuck the haters. Thanks for a community where I can be me, NCM.
  13. 7 likes
    Well friends, I'm officially a homeowner.
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    Figured I'd post the cardless images I've drawn so far just in case anyone wants to use them for cards of their own. Canyon Battleguard Sword Slasher Mass-Production Model Malice Doll of Despair Gemini Metal Elf Identity Theft! Hopping Vampires Toon Swordmistress this one of Hungry Burger and the Bistro Butcher I don't actually have a card in mind for, but feel free to use it for something. The Snake Hairstyles Dark Scorpion Motivator Time Lizard I'll try to remember to add any more images here as I go along
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    A fic or series of mini-fics set in the Neo community based on superhero comics/cinema. The characters are the members, each having their own superpower (or not, depending on what they want.) This used to be in Misc, but I decided to make an official interest check thread in the writing section for more credibility. Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? Let me know.
  17. 6 likes
    Hey, Tormey. Why haven't you given a public statement on the coronavirus? What're you doing to ensure the health and safety of the community? Where're the hand sanitzers in the threads?!
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    Good morning/afternoon/evening all, Im happy to announce Yemachu accepted a position of administrator for the site! He'll be focusing on development of the card maker within the site itself please keep all site requests and support queries in mine and the other members of staffs direction (unless of course it relates to the card maker) I think I speak for everyone in saying that the work Yemachu has done for this community and the last up until this point has been nothing more then incredible. We look forward to working with him moving forward. Please use this thread for any questions you might have for Yemachu. @Members @VIP @Yemachu
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    Time Lizard | LIGHT | Reptile/Effect ATK 500 | DEF 400 You can tribute 1 Reptile monster you control: Toss a coin and call it. If you call it right, Special Summon 1 Reptile or Dinosaur monster from your hand or GY. If you call it wrong, take damage equal to the ATK of the tributed monster. A quickie I drew up because of a pun. Juggled a few different effect ideas so I hope the one I went with wouldn't be overpowered, but I'm always open to suggestions.
  21. 5 likes
    So, I wanted to build off of the depression entry. To a degree, at least. I want to talk about abuse. And I'll start with personal experience. You can skip to the second divider, if you don't wish to read this section. --- My dad was abusive. He never got to hit me, beyond a belt on my rear, thanks to my mom... but he was extremely emotionally abusive. He looked for any and all opportunities to belittle me or scold me, and then took them out on my mother instead if she objected, only to redouble on me. To make sure I wasn't an embarrassment to him. That I never even considered crossing him. He was the MAN of the house. What he said went. His wife was to be a stay-at-home mother who cooked and cleaned. His son was to be a clone of him who would exist only to make him look better. The Bible "said" he was to be the head of the household and in charge. So, of course, having a woman who didn't simply bow to him bothered him. Having a child be a child was unacceptable. Even my cousins were given similar treatment, especially before I was born. Like attempting to beat my older cousin with a brush for touching his bag when he had just returned from a trip. Where he cheated on my mother. But that's another story. Or how about instilling his young child with fear so great that a 6 year old was scared of burning in hell for not being perfect? Scared that the rapture would take place and leave them behind? My mother's parents as well. There's a laundry list that's come from my mother and her siblings about their childhoods, but the present is more pressing. Treating everyone around them like slaves. Gma pitting every single family member against each other, if given a chance. Resenting anyone that doesn't follow the plan she's set up. My gpa hit my mother recently for disagreeing with him. He threatened to call the cops on me if I ever disagreed with him. Told me we never made a deal for me to drive, and that I was a lying thief. Threatened to shoot us for not serving a meal he wanted, and gma only replied "you'd shoot me!?". Trying to kick us out, with nowhere to go, because mom was too sick to prepare a meal for their very able-bodied selves. All the while, these people play the victim. They're just suffering because of everyone else. My dad is a martyr, a God-fearing man who goes to church every week and beyond. He's a father figure to some people. An upstanding deacon. Any grievances that could be expressed could only be done so by a member of the church, as opposed to an outsider who KNOWS him. And he has sooo many illnesses, needs so many surgeries, and so on. Gparents are even worse for the latter. Trying to call social services because we weren't being proper caretakers, when they were more than able-bodied and we never agreed. Gma has been faking a cough almost my entire life, as she's admitted. Uses any appointment as a guilt to get people to spend money on her. And so many more fake things, always something to guilt someone into spending money and rendering service, all while playing up how cruel everyone is to them... when they both left their own parents to rot as they got into old age. Even before then. But they're owed it, because they were 'good' parents. Kids are for taking care of them, after all! --- ... and that's just people I, unfortunately, share blood with. But why do I bring up all this anecdotal evidence, when I'm doing what is normally philosophical or purely stream of consciousness? Well... that's because of the relationship that abusers tend to have to abuse's after effects, as I see it. As I experience it. I am so, so scared of calling myself an abuse victim. I never thought of myself as one for most of my life, just assuming that... everyone went through those things. And, even after that, I still just assumed I had to push on. It was just a hurdle. Just a scar that would one day shine. I wasn't a victim. Victims were people that the world hated, shunned, ignored. People that used it as a crutch. Sure, there were exceptions that I had met, but... by and large, people like my abusers portrayed themselves entirely as victims, never taking any accountability for their actions. Turning around anything they did to me back on to me as a source. Yet here I am. The moment I hear hushed voices, I go still and try to hear if they're going to be about me, if I fucked up, if they hate me. Loud noises cause me to shut down. I am oftentimes scared to even leave my room, to the point that I earned the nickname "Bernie-Bear" from Mel's friends for just how shy and bad I was with people. Which, coincidentally... was the moment that me being a victim of abuse began to set in. And I tried so hard to look away from it! I was strong! I had to be strong! I just had some hang ups, that's all! There was no way I was a victim! It is so, so, so hard to call myself a victim. I think it is for most people, really. I don't want to be like those in my life who I was abused by. I don't want to be perceived like them. I don't want to be pitied or looked at like I'm weak. If I'm weak, then I've failed. I'm letting them control me. I'm letting my abusers control my present, as they did my past. That's letting them win... BUT THAT'S WRONG! That isn't true at all! It is not wrong to hurt! It is not wrong to have been hurt by people who DON'T have power over you, much less those that do! You are not weak for being abused! You do NOT deserve that abuse! And those people that fake? Those people that use it to chase clout? Fuck them! They're more likely than not abusers themselves, and you shouldn't worry about them! You shouldn't have to be inhibited about your pain, you shouldn't have to shove it down so that you don't "let them win"! Shoving it down IS how they win, because you leave the trauma inside to fester and bubble, allowing it to consume you whole! You have a right to be angry! You have a right to be sad! You have a right to FEEL! ... It's okay to be a victim. You didn't make the choice to be one. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging what happened to you, be it sexual, physical, emotional, or any combination thereof. People can be monstrous. I do struggle with admitting to myself that I'm an abuse victim. I almost cried talking to my mother tonight, because we both are so close to being able to say and accept how we've been abused, but the people we know are so fake and wicked that we fear association with their behaviors. It's admitting that you aren't fully in control to admit to being abused, and it takes a LOT of courage to do so. So, to abuse victims... You are stronger than you think. That abuse isn't who you are. You did not deserve it. Cruel people inflicted it on you for a multitude of reasons, but none of them were your fault. It was not a result of your choices, but the result of others taking your choice away from you. This world has so much potential for love. So many people truly wishing to help heal a broken heart, soul, spirit. Sure, there are more abusers out there... But I sincerely hope that anyone this applies to finds someone they can truly depend on. Someone who will not treat them as you may have become accustomed to being treated. I see you. I hurt for you. I'm here for you. And, if given the chance, I will open my heart and love you. Stay determined, everyone.
  22. 5 likes
    Made about a week ago for the sake of having something of the season in time xD I had no idea how to go about the background once I had the character made, so I kept adding violets, purples, blues, vaguely resembling a cave-like pattern and after enough time I grabbed a pen and have what you see here.... I think the green is a bit too light and lime-y but that's what you get when you YOLO it and hope it ends up well hahaha....
  23. 5 likes
    "Ah what's the matter Dog Breath. Someone need a scratch behind the ear?" At this point, Inu growled, baring his teeth at the cat. "Go get high off some catnip, Cat Bitch," he snapped. Before it could go any further though, the teacher went off, ignoring Inu completely as he began to talk about everything else. "Fuckin' bastard's ignoring me...," Inu growled under his breath, but deciding to let it drop for now. He'd just grill Epicenter when she came back. She didn't look like she could keep a secret. However, before he could even fully calm down... "And finally, Kagarashi Hideyo, Konpaku Rei, Sogin Hakaro, and Sasaki Inu, you will all be against the number 5 hero, your history teacher Ruby Heart!" "Wait, Sasaki? Is there any chance you know the pro hero Howl?" "Fuck," Inu muttered as he gritted his teeth. "Yeah, I know the indecisive bitch. What a-fuckin'-bout it?" He took a handful of sunflower seeds and chomped on them with an angry crunching sound, just as Spidey O'Bitch came up to him. After their pleasant little exchange, the hellhound found himself standing in a corner of the room, chew on sunflower seeds as he watched two of his teammates at each other throats. Maybe they'd injure each other and Inu could transfer to a new group. That wasn't how it worked, and he knew it. With a sigh, he walked over, plopping his butt on the desk's top next to Hideyo. "So... you think we should stop them from fighting, or just wait it out?" He asked, chewing on yet another sunflower seed. Sun was ecstatic. He made a new friend in RIka, and Takehiko was trying to be friends with Rika to! Now he had two friends! There was only one problem though. "Sun Sun, Kaenbyou Tsubasa, Ohara Ben, and the new student Hoshino Rika, you will all be up against your JET teacher, Xionglauhu!" So Takehiko was on a different team, meaning Sun couldn't defend them. He had just had to believe in the guy. It wasn't like this was life or death anyways, so he should be fine, right? Sun wasn't convinced, but he couldn't let the others know that. For now, his team had gathered to make a plan. Sun could make plans, very good plans in fact! He bet his friends would be blown away with his great plans! "Ah... Does the sheet say anything about whether we're expected to actually win? With a numbers advantage, I get the idea of us holding up at least a bit, but... Winning seems like a long shot any way I look at it." Rika asked. Sun blinked as he looked at her. Why wouldn't they be expected to win? That was the law of the jungle, win or lose, kill or be killed. It was the same here... except without the killing. Most people weren't animals, they'd stop before that. "Hey Tsubasa, Sun...and you said your name is Rika, right?" The man with the many spiders approached them, causing Sun to subconsciously scratch himself. "Ahem...sorry I didn't probably make a good impression when you walked in. I'm Benjamin O'Hara, but I usually go by Ben. Nice to meet you. So...I guess it's going to be us four as a team." "A team huh?" the mini jaguar girl suddenly spoke up, "well, then alternate winning or otherwise, you have nothing to work about Iroko. After all, you've got three people with you, and most importantly I'm here with you. So, as long as those things are true, we're definitely a sure win." Smiling more excitedly she said, "and besides, haven't you always wanted to fight a bear?" "I dunno what a bear is, but it sounds fun," Sun admitted. "Nothing... To worry about? I dunno, I think we've got plenty to worry about. We don't know what our actual task is gonna be, aside from trying to overpower someone with more practice and experience than us. ...Fight a bear? I can't say it really ever crossed my mind. Generally you're supposed to, like... Play dead against them, right? Maybe we can do that against the bear then. I'd say we should come up with a plan, but... What can we plan for when we don't know the specifics? Hopefully we can get some actual time before the exam to plot a bit." "Oh, oh, do not worry!" Sun said excitedly. "I, Sun, have a great plan!" He cleared his throat before he started to explain. "So, we're gonna have you all stand behind me so I can protect you all, and then, I'm going to throw a rock at the bear!" He paused, waiting for a response, before adding as an afterthought. "It's going to be a very big rock,"
  24. 5 likes
    As he stepped onto the bus, Yasha was confident he had everything he needed. He was a bit over-packed, even for the beach-- a beach umbrella, a tarp/blanket, a couple gallons of water in a cooler bag, enough sunscreen to give the sun cancer, spare batteries for his phone-- but he was comfortable with carrying all of it, as long as it meant he could do what he came here to do. "Oi, oi, oi. You coming, O'Hara?" He stopped in the doorway to look back at the lagging American on his phone. "Hm? ...o-oh...uh...were we just supposed to enter the bus? I thought...jeez...gotta remember I'm not in America anymore. Uh, yeah I'm coming..." The two ended up sitting together on the bus, and Yasha was practically vibrating the seat-- which was notable since, at this proximity, it nearly drowned out the engine of the bus. Benjamin noticed Yasha's general noises and shrugged some. "I take it you're excited for the beach, huh Yasha?" Yasha looked up. "Oh, uh." He cleared his throat. "No, not really. Saltwater gums up my tool hands, I'm at a greater risk of heatstroke than most, and of course there's... sand..." He shuddered, then shifted back to his usual cheerful tone. "Pretty much everything about the beach is a horrible experience for me!" He smiled toothily. "Yikes..." Benjamin shook his head slightly. "Annnnd you're still okay with going? Despite the threats and risks that it brings you?" Yasha nodded emphatically. "Oh, totally. It's all worth it." "Uh-huh...alright, I'll bite...why is it worth it to you?" Yasha's expression, to the extend he had one, became suddenly serious. He glanced around, as though there were someone listening, though of course, nobody was. "Alright, don't tell anybody, but..." He leaned in and whispered. "I really just came to see the girls in their swimsuits. Think about it: Seigi, Konpaku, Ukemei-- all of them. In swimsuits." Yasha's faceplate was already red, and he had no skin above the neck so of course he couldn't blush, but there was an actual puff of steam from roughly where his nostrils would be as he straightened back up. Benjamin was surprised by this sudden turn of events as Yasha confided this information to him. The general thought of it, actually caused him to blush some. He looked around, before putting a hand on the chair, having a spider crawl out from his hand to sit on the chair, just as a lookout. "...that's why you were gung-ho about this? ...also do we need to even add Rei into this category?" Benjamin whispered back to Yasha. No going back with this conversation. Yasha nodded and huffed again, producing more little puffs of steam and folding his arms. "Even a cold girl like Konpaku can look good in a swimsuit, O'Hara. Heck, even a plain-looking girl like Sanada looks good in a swimsuit. It's science." Benjamin was still silent for a bit, before raising an eyebrow. "...uh, isn't Ren a guy...?" Yasha's eye twitched. "Not again..." he wheezed.
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    Yay I got my first reputation point!
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    This is the NCM drawing resources, here you can learn to draw, see videos, programs, and etc that could help you. request drawings, learn to draw, get told how to draw, get critique, and etc. Only hand drawn things(from any program) are allowed, so no copy + pasting anything, but you can edit them however you like(warp them, put them in layers, overlay them, blur them, whatever you feel like doing), just not transplanting stuff from the internet. Some graphics programs you could use: Also, link your mobile phone to your PC to draw with it, if you feel like it. Use Chrome Remote Desktop or Teamviewer. A few throwaway tips of mine: Videos: A few of my drawings: Have fun!
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    pre-test jitters It was barely sunrise when Shoshiki arrived at the testing grounds. He would have left sooner, but decided that walking alone in the dark would be a bit too much for him. It wasn't a big deal, his hotel was only a few blocks away, but Shoshiki decided to play it on the safe side. He was simply being reasonable, nothing more. As far as he could tell, only one girl had arrived before him. She looked distracted, yet determined. Shoshiki figured she was probably friendly enough, but decided not to risk it. Who knows what kind of person could be here, she could have a quirk even grislier than his own. And so Shoshiki Kojin stood almost completely still at the edge of the waiting area, as the rest of the hopefuls arrived. It wasn't long before the gates opened, allowing Shoshiki and the rest of the applicants to make their way in. It seemed the testing ground had both a forest and a cityscape, two environments Shoshiki could only hope he would be able to use to his advantage. As a man in some kind of antique-styled armor explained the test, Shoshiki couldn't help but be distracted by the rest of the entrants, "To get this far…” was that a giant beetle? Did beetles eat meat? One of this size was probably very hungry... “forest type area, and a city type area…” a guy with blue hair and headphones was watching the samurai explain, but looked like he would rather be literally anywhere else... “your objectives will all be the same.” With this, Shoshiki perked up. He should probably pay attention to this part. “In each area are a limited amount of badges that resemble the U.A. logo. To complete the practical, one must obtain five badges and return to the gate before sundown. It doesn't matter how you get your badges. Just so long as you're here, you'll be permitted to attend U.A." Using wording like that is going to make people think we are supposed to fight over these. "So if I beat the snot out of some dude with three badges, and take 'em, I get in?" The question came from an angry-looking, muscular girl, who seemed to be about as tall as Shoshiki himself. Despite her apparent confusion over how many badges she needed, her strategy concerned Shoshiki. He had never really fought before, let alone with someone who had been training their quirk for that purpose for what could be ten years. He felt a terrible sinking feeling inside him as the people surrounding him changed from unknown entities to threats. “...our very BEST!" A loud screech interrupted his thoughts, as Shoshiki quickly pivoted to find its source. As best as he could tell, she had some kind of bat quirk. Wait. Wouldn't that make her a vampire? Was she going to murder Shoshiki and drink his blood as sustenance? The samurai/teacher hybrid had said that they weren't supposed to kill each other, but this was a vampire, do the rules even matter at this point? Even as the vampire was scolded by another scary girl with red hair, Shoshiki still found himself feeling like prey. Even if not literally, everyone around him was determined to get into this school, and Shoshiki standing in their way wasn't going to make them change their minds. He could feel the threads of nerve tissue moving just beneath his skin, his flight or flight response coming on in full force. Should he team up with someone so as to have strength in numbers should they be attacked? Or would that just put him at risk of being betrayed once they had found a total of five badges? As the rest of the would-be students were beginning to socialize, Shoshiki was overcome with fear. Even as he could feel himself shaking from head to toe, he forced himself to take a few deep breaths, before making his way to the least terrifying person he could see, a small girl with silver hair. He reached up to tap her shoulder, but hesitated before he could. She might have acid skin or something, I should be more careful. Averting his vision, he awkwardly scratched at the back of his neck, speaking in such a subdued tone that he was hardly audible, "So, if people are planning to take the badges by force, it might be a better bet to stick together... I don't know you, but, you seemed a bit more pleasant and a bit less violent than the others I see here..."
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    Getting up in the morning had hardly been a problem for Yuuka. She had merely figured what time would be the best to wake up to get through her morning routine and set an alarm for then. Having gotten up just when she should, the girl had made her way to school, and arrived with some time to spare before their exam had actually begun. As such, it did her good to see that there were those even more ready and on time then her, and so she simply smiled brightly and contentedly, awaiting their exam time to start. Standing around, the girl simply looked and studied the two instructors before her, head to toe while listening to the directions they provided. "Oh, this might be some trouble," the girl merely muttered to herself. While she had her own concerns as to how to approach this test, to her great pleasure it had seemed that there were a large majority of other heroes to be that did not. Though there was some to be desired she glanced from student to student as they talked to each other, stretching herself out as she was instructed to do so all the while. Two girls who definitely had the confidence and physicality to be a hero, though definitely lack in the tact of one. One girl who - Yuuka winced - definitely had the energy levels of one. A boy, Shiba Yuudai, who seemed to have proper manners. And then there were two other girls in particular that managed to catch her attention. Both being full of spirit and a certain righteous quality that set them apart from the others so far. The girl merely smiled in glee, wondering just what the test had in store for them, while also looking forward to seeing more of her classmates. Turning her attention to the blonde haired girl, she merely raised her own fist into the air with a smile on her face echoing, "<justice>" in a much more subdued tone than the girl's, but still in English all the same.
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    A while back I made a custom archetype named "Abystella" (stars of the abyss) consisting on marine life with patterns of glowing yellow stars. Here's the art I drew for it: Whale Narwal Jellyfish Squid Mantaray Sea Dragon/Sea Horse Isopod Marlin Fisher Nautilus Sea Serpent Mermaid Art for Spells or Traps
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    OOC TUESDAY NOVEMBER 01 180 DAYS REMAIN “This is an imaginary story… Aren’t they all?” -Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (written by Alan Moore) Do All Words Can Do “Fuck!” The events of the last few hours had taken their toll on Director Sekelsky. The reports of rioting were finally dying down, people were returning to their homes, and heroes were permitted to stand down, but that just meant it was time for the casualty numbers. Multiple people had been trampled in the initial panic, and several more were injured in what ensued afterward, including one of their own, a cape who went by the name of Spotlight. It was worth another few expletives. “Fucking goddamn piece of horseshit! Cass goes off the grid for who knows how long and then decides to pull this fucking stunt. Did they know? They must have known. Surely they realized what would happen next, right? So they just left everyone else to clean up their mess, huh?” There were four other people in the room, and each of them was in costume, so Director Sekelsky mentally adopted the standard name protocols. Cape names when dressed as capes. Easy. At the opposite end of the sweatbox of a meeting room (how could it be this fucking hot in here in fucking November?) were Override, Ember, and Aeon. They were the main recipients of this briefing, chosen for a number of reasons but there was really one big one: availability. None of them had been at Hallowmas or taken the holiday standby shift (and who could blame them? It was Halloween. Even Director Sekelsky had hoped to spend the night with his husband and daughter until whatever this shit was), which meant they were actually around this morning. The fact they all had some sort of criminal record was concerning but not work scrapping and waiting for someone else. Bard was there too, seated alone on the near end of the sweatbox next to the projection screen. His costume was positively ancient, and his mask one of those tacky theater masks that only covered half of his face, but he refused to change it, always citing more pressing issues of the time. The Director couldn’t fault him for that this time. He was taking this even harder than Director Sekelksy was; he had a pair of white-knuckled fists pushed as far into the table as he could manage, and he was shaking and muttering something under his breath. It was probably something to do with his Thinker powers, Director Sekelsky thought. It wasn't something he understood, but Bard had also been instrumental in G3’s response the last few hours and he’d been a wreck then too. As long as he was functional and managed to check in with one of G3’s counselors later, he’d be alright, right? He sighed. Thinking things through like this helped get the anger out of his system. The only emotion that remained now was a quiet determination. From an egotistical point of view, it was his best feature. He didn’t have any superpowers, but he wasn’t powerless. “First thing’s first, where’s DEUS?” “Helping with the riots,” Bard said. He eased up a little too now that the meeting had started. “He was spotted in Graceland a little before midnight so he actually wasn’t too far away when it started.” “For once,” Director Sekelsky said. “For once.” “But that means don’t count on it happening again. Not that we should ever count on him.” “Especially now that it’s daytime,” Bard said. “He’ll probably be too busy rescuing cats from trees or helping old women cross the street.” “Or rescuing old women from trees,” the Director snarked. “So Plan A, then. Alright.” Bard handed him a trio of folders and he turned his attention to the three capes in the back. One for each of them. “As you are no doubt aware, the Renegade Cape Cassandra predicted the end of the world at Hallowmas last night,” he said. “This is so obviously S-Class, it’s practically the definition of the term. Unfortunately, the actual words on the truces don’t agree here. They were written more for singular, concrete threats. A tornado, some supervillain who’s gotten too big for their britches, a bio-Tinker’s experiment run amok. Not something as nebulous and off in the distance as this. If we try to litigate this through the normal channels, that’s precious time lost we could have spent dealing with whatever the fuck this actually is, so we’re hoping to avoid that.” He tossed the folders down the table, one at a time. Landing them neatly at the edge right in front of his target without anything spilling out was something that had taken countless briefings just like these to perfect, but it was worth it every time. “We do have some language in our favor, however. We just need the leaders of each of the three main gangs to agree with us, and sign a document saying as much. You three will be facilitating that.” “In those folders are our profiles on the three gangs and the leaders,” Bard said, standing up as well. “Gibbons’ Caesar” -- he pronounced it “ˈsi zər” -- “The Zodiac’s Ophiuchus, and, of course, the Moray Clan’s three Fates. Most of it’s common knowledge, but make sure you’re up to date on it. It also has my best guesses as to how the negotiations are going to play out. Unfortunately, it is probably going to be a negotiation. Six months is a lot of time for Scarlet City’s underworld to play nice.” “We’re going to have to play nice in return,” Director Sekelsky said. “We were the ones with the most cape activity last night. Again, the extenuating circumstances favor us, and obviously so, but they’ll be looking for any concession they can get. Also included in those folders is a copy of a temporary S-Class agreement. It won’t last until April, but it’s something we can use when the Peacekeepers get their act together, so as long as you don’t do anything stupid like make a legally binding agreement without our negotiators present -” “Or start a fight,” Bard said. “- or start a fight, we’re giving you a lot of leeway on this. We need those signatures, you understand? The meetings are already set up. Catty Key buzzed everyone earlier, so be sure to thank her when you get the chance. Your first meeting is with the Fates in Echo Park, the other places and times are in there as well.” His eyes met Ember’s “Ember, you’re not going to that last one as per our existing agreement regarding Gibbons, report back here after The Zodiac meeting instead for a different assignment.” The last moment lingered a bit longer than Director Sekelsky intended, which mattered in the face of all the time pressure, but was still recoverable. “You have a few minutes to finish your reading, ask any questions, you might have, and then get going. Leave through the back while the sixes don’t have the building completely surrounded yet.” Hidden World Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos Lanthimos, the Moray Clan’s three Fates, arranged themselves in various positions about their lair’s (for lack of a better word) throne room searching for something that might fit the correct vibe. It was the new costumes that were the problem here. They’d just gotten three matching dresses from Rajawongse made out of Clotho’s fibers -- and they were the kind of dresses that came with pockets! -- but the room had been put together with their old aesthetic in mind. They’d started out so stereotypical, even getting one of those prop replica thrones from that one show, but the dresses were some kind of postmodern art. They had a flow to them that looked especially nice when they all stood together and the blotches of color started to blur. It was a total clash. The only pieces of fabric left from their old costumes were their blindfolds. “Blindfolds” was another one of those words that was technically true but not really. They were a solid black, but The Fates could all see through them just fine. Part of the magic of Clotho’s string was that its properties could be whatever she wanted it to be. That was one of the reasons Rajawongse had been so inspired in the first place -- a practically infinite amount of new materials, right there at his fingertips, who wouldn’t? But phrasing it that way would also sell the Renegade clothier short. He was a master of his craft even without his power. Rajawongse had created dresses that were identical down to the tiniest stitch. With them, the only way to identify which Fate was which was their distinctive manner of speech. “Maybe it’s the room that needs to change, not us,” Clotho said. “Sure,” Lachesis said. “But that doesn’t change the fact we need to figure out what we’re doing right now,” Atropos said. She was also identifiable by the butterfly knife she carried with her, a helpful outlet for not just her power, but idle hands in general. The swish-clack sound of its handles seemed to punctuate everything that particular Fate said, and frequently some of her sisters’. They settled on one of their standard formations -- Lachesis lounging on the throne flanked on either by her two sisters -- just as three of their underlings entered the room. Vi, Sibyl, and Demiurge were their names. The Fates gave them some time to get situated and even offered them some fruit in case they hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. It was still early in the morning, after all. It also gave them an excuse to get everyone up to speed on the previous night's events, the prophecy, the riots, everything. “The Stadium isn’t our territory, though it’s close enough that it might as well be,” Lachesis said. “And we’re going to have to deal with the smashed windows that are in our territory. Some of our people are already on it.” “It won’t be finished until later, though. Right now, G3 --” “-- The Generic Good Guys --” “-- The Group of Giant Goobers --” “-- is going to be pushing us for some kind of temporary truce until they can get their act together, and we don’t have any reason not to accept.” “But we also have reason to believe the Gibbons aren’t going to take the deal,” Lachesis said. “There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that, like, it’s Gibbons. There’s no way Caesar” -- she pronounced it “ˈsi zər” -- “is going to let a land grab opportunity slip through his fingers, no matter how bad of an opportunity it is.” “That’s what happens when most of your territory is crap,” Atropos said. Swish. Clack. “Even when you have the most of any gang in all of Skitty.” “So it’s in character for him,” Clotho said. “But perhaps more damningly, he laid out his plans this morning while Worm still had one of his walls bugged, and later we hear some Gibbons capes are on the way to our territory. So we just- we know it’s going to happen. ” “Sorry to bury the lede like that.” “Our people cleaning up Nola Street already know this,” Clotho said. “There are some pretty hefty capes helping out there, both ours and otherwise, and DEUS is still in the area for at least a little bit longer.” “We’ll fight too if we goddamn have to.” The swish-clack of Atropos’ knife was especially forceful that time. “The point is, there’s a little time before anything goes down. There are still a few preparations to make, though. More thorough battle plans, making sure complementary powers are together, that sort of thing. Your job this morning is to keep Caesar distracted, and the way we’d like you to do it is to wreck some of his shit first.” “The target is a warehouse eleven point five nine kilometers that way.” Lachesis pointed in a direction she knew to be Northeast. This was her showing off her Thinker power and she relished the opportunity. “Pretty close to The Shimmer without getting up and personal with it, about as far as possible away from what’s going to be happening here.” “We think it’s a lab for a Tinker on Caesar’s payroll, which means it’ll have a skeleton crew of just that one Tinker and an assistant or two.” “The point is to get them calling for help. We’re not killing them or anything. Just roughing them up a bit to get Caesar’s attention, you know?” Clotho winked. “Of course, if they do go running to the hills leaving a trove of Tinker tech behind, you might as well take any of the interesting shit, right?” “At the same time,” Lachesis was quick to add, “if help does show up, that’s your cue to get out of there. Remember The Stanley Principle. You’re not invincible no matter how far ahead you might seem.” The Fates finally went silent as the invocation of that nearly-sacred rule brought a little extra weight to the proceedings. Both Clotho and Atropos shifted uncomfortably where they stood, and Lachesis had to stop lounging and actually sit in her chair. “Oh, that was a lot, wasn’t it?” Clotho eventually said. “Sorry about that.” “Anyway, the actual meat and potatoes planning of this mission, that’s up to you,” Atropos said. “We’ve given you the place and the goal, kinda want to just see what you come up with,” Lachesis said. “Call it a test, you know? Show us what you can do.” OOC
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    The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die Alright, Nil said. Now, let me tell you what happens next. These things you have told me, your hopes for the future, both immediate and far-reaching, are not going to come to pass because you merely said them aloud. I would not grant you that even if I could. What you are asking for, above all else, is a better world than this one, and those do not come cheap. I will grant you the time to do so. I will grant you this as well: The words spoken here, are yours and yours alone until your death. It would not be fair for me to simply let someone else end the world in your stead, and you are correct in that I would like to be entertained. But also remember that we are still opposed. I grant you these things and nothing more. Nil’s form started to fade away; each passing word turned her more and more transparent. She spoke with the same even tone she had through her entire conversation with the watchdogs, though now, perhaps, there was a hint of wry amusement. It’s easy to defy me when I’m right in front of you, when there’s someone here explaining the stakes. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts out there facing the rest of the world. I am not alleviating the work required of you at all. If anything, knowledge of me surely only piles on more difficulty. After all, I only need you to slip up once. I only need one single moment of weakness. If anyone can avoid it, I suppose it would be you two, but even so, you had best stick together. Her last words before she disappeared entirely were, I’m leaving you the fire. Take good care of it. And indeed, while the form she had taken had disappeared, the flickering lighthouse flame remained, as did the lighthouse, the island, and the rest of the world. The sounds of life returned to the island. There were crickets chirping in the grasses below. Even with their small size and distance, they were still present against the towering lighthouse mirrors and the crackle of the bonfire, carried by the breeze to those who needed to hear it. Carried, too, was Captain Helmsley’s voice. “Oi! You alright up there? Had a bit of a scare with all the shaking and I think the ship’s a little banged up, but we can make do if you have something that needs doing!” After a moment’s pause, he added, “Take your time, though! Whatever you need!” The sun peeked over the eastern horizon, and the rest of the morning started to blot out the night, ushering forth a new day. As Kitt and Olive looked out to the west, though, to the edge of the world where Naviim met the sky, they could still, for the moment, see an innumerable number of stars. THE END OOC
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    Citron’s heart sunk as she watched the scene unfold. Even as Peaches arrived to help, something had seemed off; most cowered at a wyvern of any size before a bone-chilling roar, and yet… The ‘lord’ below had stayed strong. She felt her frozen blood begin to flow with the need for action however, as her suspicions were proven right, and he dropped the sack to heft a hunting bow. “Peaches!” she shouted, eyes going wide as she found herself moving without thinking-- And climbing out the window. It started with one leg, and then both as she began to slide out from the window, using her good arm to catch the window-sill and hang for a moment, getting her bearings before releasing. The roof below was close enough that her legs only rattled a bit, wincing as she took a deep breath and used the momentum from the fall to slide downward from the sloped roof. At the last moment, she found herself jumping and bracing herself as she hurtled towards the ground, using her good shoulder to tuck into a roll rather than force the full brunt of this fall onto her leg, even if it triggered another array of pain from her sling-bound shoulder. Still, she had to move. While her first reaction would have been to run the man down as soon as she came to her feet, she was caught off guard as the sickening piercing noise of an arrow, lodging itself in its prey echoed out - followed by a pained screech that she knew all too well. “Peaches!” She found herself repeating, heart sinking as she rose to glance towards Wyvern, staggering from the arrow in its chest-- And fear took hold, as she glanced at the man who hefted the bag with little care began to move again. He was much stronger than she had thought. Glancing around, she looked for something-- Any way to be of use, as a thrashing noise brought her attention towards the cellar door. “C’mon, c’mon, please--” she murmured to herself, voice stricken with panic as she rushed towards the Cellar-door. It was jammed shut with a wooden board as a familiar voice, Lincoln’s, she thought, struggled to escape. With a quick grab, and heavy pull, she yanked the door open as she pulled herself quickly to the side, panting as she looked up towards the Soldier who had come practically flying out. “Y-You! You gotta help-- You have to stop him! He-He shot Peaches! She’s hurt and he’s--! I can’t--” she’d point, tears forming at the corner of her eyes as the futility of her own actions came crashing down around her. “Please,” she paused, voice stammering as she glanced up towards the soldier again, even as he seemed nothing like she had known him to be prior. Up until now, she had regarded Lincoln as a a clean, proper soldier, someone who was… Controlled, neutral. It reminded her of her grandfather, in a way, that he never seemed angry or annoyed. Worried maybe, like in the house, but not angry, seething; something he… Most certainly was here. A ‘mess’ only really began to describe what she saw, eyes flickering from the blood on his forehead, to the splinters in his shoulder. All signs of neutrality had flaked away too, as a sword had flicked away from its sheathe in an instant, and was pointed at… Her. But still, this was her only hope, and so she stared down the blade with tears beginning to fall from her eyes. “Please-- Stop him,” she pleaded, panicked eyes for an instant meeting his own violent eyes, before he took off-- A single set of words being the only hope she had to cling to, at this point. "I'll handle it." --- Of all the stupid things humans did, Peaches had seen… Well, more than her fair-share, since she had fought alongside Citron’s Grandfather. And yet, every time, the wyvern found herself surprised as humans continually pushed their luck against creatures magnitudes larger than themselves. Still, the knowledge of how stupid an idea it was to test her did nothing to absolve the pain her chest as an arrow parted scales, wrenching a pained screech from her as she staggered back, and the portly man made for some comment she couldn’t understand. His bull-rush however, she understood perfectly. Angered by the blow, she once again opened her jaws even as blood leaked from around the arrow in her chest, lumbering forward as she lunged towards the rushing man with her jaws splayed wide in an attempt to bite him… Only to fail, as the top of his skull met the bottom of her jaw, snapping her jaws shut with a crack of teeth on teeth as she was sent stumbling backwards. The wyvern’s head buzzed with pain, and yet as her vision focused she watched as he attempted to move on unbothered, attempting to run past even now. Sic ‘Em! The command echoed again in her mind as she turned her neck to glance towards the fiend, entire body shaking with a mixture of pain and rage… As she swung her entire body to the side in a heavy motion, a single wing flapping with a heavy-beat as she threw her entire body towards him like a battering ram in a single, sobering moment, as she ever tried to fulfill the command she was given.
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    The end of the Chicken Fight round and the immediate aftermath that followed was a blur to Risa. She barely remembered much, other than a hazy reply to Ben as the two separated. Regardless, she eventually found herself out in the lower reaches of the arena, below the stands, her Stabilizing Soles held over her shoulder by the metal frames near the opening for the leg, her heartbeat finally slowing enough to fully comprehend what had just happened. “I’m in the last round of the Sports Festival,” she said softly to herself. She was hardly able to believe it. How the hell was she here, among the other students of the Hero Course? To think this all started just because I was able to drag Sasaki out of that debris, she thought to herself. The thought was shocking to her, and she suddenly had a desire to find Sasaki and make sure he was alright. After all, I maybe jogged him real hard in midair… I’m sure I can just see if he’s going to make a quick recovery, right? “Hey, is that the Kawashima girl?” Risa very suddenly felt the need to accelerate this plan, a flush of color coming to her cheeks as she hurried down the corridor back into the stadium proper, not looking back despite calls of her name from behind her. It’s fine, it’s fine, they’ll just assume it’s somebody else, she told herself. It wasn’t until she was just around the corner from the infirmary that she realized there were likely precious few other small girls in UA uniforms loaded down with various pieces of metal and carrying foot cages over her shoulder. Oh. Oh no. Oh god. She silently berated herself as she stopped her forward momentum to pace back and forth, back and forth. Was that rude? I mean… They want to talk to the Hero students more, surely- “Kawashima? Kawashima Risa?” She jumped about a mile, whipping around to see, wide-eyed, a full on camera crew and a microphone pushed in her face. “Um… Yes? Hi?” she squeaked helplessly. The reporter, undaunted by Risa looking like a startled deer, smiled widely. “Young Miss Kawashima, we’re just looking to interview some of the heroes who have made it this far in the Festival!” “Student, just a-” she began a meek correction, but the reporter was already forging on. "Kawashima, it looks like you have been doing a spectacular job upholding the family legacy!" Risa couldn’t put her finger on why, but that question felt like a knife blade to the gut in her current mood. Regardless, she tried to smile as she answered. The result was less than convincing, but the embarrassed reaction to the interview was days away, when it was inevitably recycled on TV and she would have the misfortune to see it. "Ummmm, I don't know about that! My big sis Fumiko is the one you'd want to talk to about that… The hero Prestige? O'Hara-sama is really where a lot of the credit for today so far has to go. I really was just very very lucky to have him put up with me as a partner!” "Funny thing, he said the same about you. Did you two know each other before all this? You've made quite the pair." "No, I've never met any of the Hero Course before toda- EEEEEH?!? He said what? He's just being nice, he's very encouraging. But ummmmm... No, I hadn't met him, I'd only heard about his Quirk in class a few times and thought it was interesting because, well... It is, isn't it, he's learned to use such a fascinating Quirk so well, even in round two where he had to carry me around and wasn't able to crawl on walls he was-" Risa now began a long and detailed ramble about Spider Colony what she had been able to infer about it, her brain having finally latched onto something she could talk about with confidence. She failed to interpret the reporter’s peeved expression as a desire for her to stop, thinking maybe she hadn’t clarified a point correctly. “And like I was saying, I think he has some degree of ability to direct them, or they’re way smarter than spiders usually are, and they’re actually very smart insects, I mean arachnids-” "I... See…” The reporter managed to finally cut her off by cutting around behind her, weaving an arm around Risa’s shoulders and leaning in conspiratorially to ask the next question. “We heard early on that whichever non-hero course student gets the farthest will be inducted into it. How do you feel, now that you have accomplished that goal and outlasted the two general course students from the previous round?" All thoughts of Spider Colony left Risa’s head. Her brain screeched to a halt at this question. All she was able to say was: "... Atsushi-san and Karada-san didn't advance?" “... Well, no. Didn’t you see on the board? You’re the sole student not from Class A or Class B.” "... I don't remember much after I saw I had advanced... I don't think I even saw the other teams that went forward..." "Well then it's a good thing the path into the hero course isn't a memory exam, isn't it?" The attempt on humor was lost completely on Risa’s mounting tide of panic. "Wait, WAIT, I'M the highest non-Hero course member in the Sports Festival?!?!?" "Congratulations, Kawashima," was the simple reply, as the cameraman started frowning at the reporter, making very clear ‘finish it’ looks with his eyes. Risa was only able to offer a very small “thank you” in reply. "With a legacy like yours, there will be a lot of eyes on you. Let's see how far you can go!" The reporter slapped a hand with forced cheerfulness on Risa’s shoulder before they turned to walk away, huffing out a breath. "Yeah... We'll um…” Risa cleared her throat, not even processing that the microphone wasn’t being shoved into her face anymore. “...have to see, right? How far..." “Why would you want to be a hero?” The memory of a question Risa had asked herself over and over again for years rebounded inside her head. She resumed her slow walk down the hallway, frowning as one of her hands absently fiddled with a strap on one of her Soles. Why indeed? She was smaller than most people her age, scared more easily than people her age, dumber too if her Support grades were any indication; She didn’t even have a Quirk that could make up for it. If I didn’t get to bring these in just for being in the Support Class I wouldn’t even be here, she thought to herself, rubbing at one of the weights on her belt. There was no sense in denying that. All the rest of the top eight had gotten here on the results of the Quirks and their skill at using them. Hers did literally nothing without something to work with from the start. I’m not like Fumiko, who can just make metal from her skin… And I’m certainly not the former Glory. So why do people keep acting like I am? She realized two things with horror. One was that clearly the interview crew had gone the same direction as her, and she hadn’t even noticed. She could hear the reporter’s voice around the corner even now, just outside the infirmary. The second was that her eyes were wet. She hurriedly reached up to wipe at them, almost dropping her Stabilizing Sole as she did so. She certainly didn’t want a bunch of strangers to see her crying, though she couldn’t quite put a good reason to why. "It appeared to be quite advanced, the only other one allowed to bring tech in is the student who designed her equipment herself, in class. How did you manage to receive this special treatment?" A stab of guilt, that. Even the casual onlookers knew that fact of the matter. "It's weaker than I am. [Significantly]. It's a registered support item that I need to get through day to day life." Risa very dimly recognized Diana’s voice. She and the American had never met, but this wasn’t the first time Risa had heard her speak. And after all, who else could they be talking to? "It looked plenty strong on camera. The boy you hit was awfully bloodied just from that strike. Is he on the other side of this door?" Risa frowned. That wasn’t exactly fair, at least not to her. Diana was right, her arm was literally missing. Only now did she think back to when she had walked by Diana in the stadium. There HAD been a small tingle, that sense she had that alerted her to any metal close enough for her Quirk to pick up on it. She hadn’t even noticed in her gut-wrenching worry about the next round. She had never seen the specs on Diana’s arm, had truthfully not even known she had a prosthetic, but it clearly hadn’t been designed to be used as a weapon first. Even she knew that, there was no way it would have broken that easily. She wondered if she should say something. She may not be a Hero Course student, but perhaps as a Support student her word might have some weight? Sure, she had the worst grades in her class, but they didn’t know that. Probably. But for all she knew Diana’s arm HAD been made as a weapon and there had just been some fluke, some aspect of her Quirk or Syo’s Quirk or Ayane’s Quirk or just a fluke of physics that had caused it to explode like that, though she really rather doubted it, perhaps she could ask Deerc-sensei about- And then Shannon’s cool voice cut in from around the corner. Risa flattened herself against the wall instinctually. She had seen the variety of holy terror that Shannon was capable of. Deerc-sensei still sometimes groused about her decking his Thunderjaw by herself. She couldn’t give a good reason for why Shannon scared her. She had been terrified of her the entire Festival, trying her best to avoid her the entire time. But now at least she could get behind Shannon’s actions as she did what Risa hadn’t been brave enough to do herself and tell the reporters off. It reminded her of something her sister might do, and Risa wasn’t entirely sure why that was concerning to her rather than a cause for relief. Or maybe it was both. At that thought, Risa had to take a mental step back and make up her mind that the pressures of the day had officially made her thought processes, convoluted and frantic at the best of times, officially made no damn sense. "I am powerful. Society dictates that means that I am and will always be a good hero, due to such.” Shannon’s voice, filtering around the corner again. Another frown from Risa. Being powerful… There was something to that. After all, she was weak, and not a Hero Course student. But for some reason when Shannon said that she couldn’t help but think of Ben. Think of Kawashima Fumiko. Think of Kawashima Yozo. And she still couldn’t say exactly why. But there was one thing she knew she did want to do. “Siegi-sama?” Risa had followed Diana away from the infirmary, waiting until Shannon had left in the other direction. She waved a hand as she rushed to catch up on her shorter legs, Stabilizing Soles held over her shoulder. “I um, was going to the infirmary to see if Sasaki-sama, make sure he’s alright… if he’s in there, I don’t know if you saw him. Kawashima, by the way,” she said hurriedly, waving a hand. “I was O’Hara-sama’s partner? Um…” There was an awkward moment while she gathered her words before blurting out: “I overheard the reporters. Talking to you, I’m sorry. They talked to me too and I… really didn’t like it either.” She looked down at the ground, embarrassed to talk about it. “But I… I think the question about your arm was really unfair. I’m not the best Support student but… Icouldmaybetryand… fix it?” She bit her lip. It sounded daft when she said it that way. Surely Siegi thought she was trying to sabotage her now, she was so unbelievably awkward. But she both could and wanted to offer. The desire to want to help.
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    Moments Before the Duel "Team Wilding is making their first appearance today, led by their captain, Action Duelist Honey Froswald! Some of you in the audience may recognize her as the younger sister of Major League Champion Elliot Dritte! Cam she live up!?” “Her opponent is Daichi Raimu from Team Genesis! Not much is known about them, but perhaps we’ll learn some today! Can he measure up to the sister of a champion!?” Daichi looked at himself in the mirror of the locker room, as he just finished changing into his outfit, looking at the hat he'd be wearing. "Win or lose..." he smiled before nodding, putting the hat on. "It's showtime!" The Duel The lights in the arena cut off for a moment, until a series of spotlights started coming on one by one, moving in quite the rhythmic fashion...finally something cut through the hushed tones of the crowds. “Ladies and gentlemen!! If you would please turn your attention this way to the center field and you’ll see our illustrious challenger...miss Honey!” the voice boomed as the spotlights pointed at the Duelist on the field. But all but one suddenly left the Duelist in a swift fashion. “...and who comes to take the stage to meet this challenger? Why...none other than I...” The remaining spotlights converged on one fixed location and suddenly an explosion of purple smoke erupted in where the spotlights stood...and once it settled… “Ladies and gentlemen, the Moonlit Magician has arrived.” Daichi smirked, bowing slightly and facing towards the opponent, the lights immediately coming back on afterwards. “I’m Honey Froswald! I don’t have any special epithet, but I want to give everyone an entertaining experience, all the same!” “3… 2… 1… Duel!” LET THE SHOW BEGIN!!! Action Field - Grand Adventure...he was cool with this. It was something he'd spent some time on before, so he was in his element somewhat. "If you don’t mind, I believe I’ll take the first move.” Daichi drew his five cards and looked at them, nodding slowly. “I shall set the Pendulum Scale, using my Dragonpit and Dragonpulse Magicians!” Soon two magicians appeared at either side of Daichi before rising into the air above him, being surrounded by a pillar of light. “The scales of 1 and 8, meaning monsters Level 2 through 7 are fair game!” Taking another look at his hand, he nodded. “And now, I’ll use this moment to do just that! Using Dragonpit and Dragonpulse...time for the real show to begin!” Daichi watched as now a dowsing pendulum appeared between the two magicians and slowly began to sway back and forth. “Metronomic Pendulum, swing and sway to mesmerize the audience! Give way for the magicians to take the stage! PENDULUM SUMMON!!! Now, put your hands together!!!” Soon one light came from where the Pendulum swayed and in quite the light show and flair, one magician exploded in a bright colorful array of light and descended near Daichi. "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the star of my performance: Oafdragon Magician!" Daichi proudly introduced as the magician took a slight bow. "Alas, it's the first turn and I cannot attack. So instead, I’ll set one card face down and relinquish my t-...” he said, simply placing one card face down just as he said, preparing to pass his turn...however, Honey didn’t seem to let him just yet. “Not so fast! I activate the effect of my Ursarctic Micbilis from my hand! By tributing another Level 7 or higher monster from my hand or field during either player’s Main Phases, I can Special Summon it! I tribute Ursarctic Mictanus! I then activate its effect! It allows me to summon another Ursarctic monster from my hand! Come down, Megapolar! When this one is summoned, I can destroy one spell or trap… and I choose your set card!” Ursarctic...that was something he wasn't expecting exactly. “Well well, now that is an impressive start from you!” he said with a smile, immediately flipping his face-down up: Pendulum Area. It did indeed shatter in front of him, but in quite the beautiful display. “I suppose my bait of Pendulum Area worked. Well, if that’s the case...then I shall now relinquish my turn...provided you have no other interruptions. Now go on, let’s see what we can do to entertain the masses!” “Then you’ll love what comes next! I use Megabilis as a tuner, with Polari as the non-Tuner…” She motioned to them as their forms became green rings for Megabilis, and a single black star for Polari, “to summon...Ursarctic Grand Chariot! When it’s summoned, it destroys two cards you control… So I’ll destroy Dragonpit and Dragonpulse!” The massive mech reared the scythe back as Honey hopped onto the mech’s shoulder before shooting forward, swinging the mech through the pendulums set as scales and shattering them, leaving Daichi with just one card in hand and Oafdragon. “Taking out Dragonpulse and Dragonpit...an impressive thing to do as of now...” Daichi nodded, before moving quickly towards an Action Card...however...he didn't get it whatsoever. Honey seemed to beat him to the punch as she was practically launched by Grand Chariot to grab it. “Now, Grand Chariot! Destroy Oafdragon!” As Daichi recovered from missing the grab, he shielded himself with his cape, only for his monster to be destroyed! His life fell to 3400 from the battle damage, as Honey walked back up beside her ace, panting. The crowd cheered for the display it saw, only a bit louder than Daichi earlier. “I’ll set one, then it’s your turn. Let’s see you beat that!” Surprisingly, Daichi was applauding Honey right now, the sounds of him clapping could be heard. “Impressive display...truly! But, we magicians don’t go down as easily...not when we still have so much to display and dazzle our audiences with! I draw!!” he said, drawing his next card. “From my hand, I activate Amazing Pendulum! Seeing as I no longer have any cards in my Pendulum Zone, I can add two Magician Pendulum Monsters with different names from my Extra Deck to my hand. I’m selecting Dragonpulse and Dragonpit!” Quickly removing the two cards from his Extra Deck, Daichi added them to his hand before swiftly placing them on his Duel Disk. “Time for a repeat performance, you two! Dragonpulse and Dragonpit now set my Pendulum Scale! Once more, metronomic pendulum! Swing and sway! Pendulum Summon! From the Extra Deck and from my hand!!” Two lights appeared from the swaying Pendulum as two monsters appeared in a kneeling position. “Oafdragon Magician returns and joining him is Rapid-Fire Magician in Defense Mode!” “In response, I activate the Micpolar in my hand!” She revealed the polar bear card, Mictanus in grave popping out to be moved to banish, “Summoning it in defense! And when I do, it searches for another Megapola!” As the polar bear mech surfed onto the field, Honey’s set card also rose up, shining as it activated. Her LP fell to 3300 as the name Ursarctic Quint Charge became clear. “Then I activate the first effect of Quint Charge! I add Megabilis back from Grave to hand, only to tribute it immediately for Megapolar!” The humanoid polar bear mech from earlier appeared once more, brandishing its hammer! It took aim at Dragonpit Magician, pulling the hammer back for a swing, and…! “Heh, truly trying to silence my performance with that. However, not this time!” Daichi ran off, giving a whistle to Oafdragon and Rapid-Fire to quickly follow him. He then found what he needed...an Action Card just hanging near one of the little ship fins. Running off the side, he held his hand out and immediately Oafdragon Magician caught it, flying him over towards it. In an instant, the ivory magician grabbed the card and added it to his hand. Once they were back on the ship, he immediately played it. “Action Card - Starry Night! This turn, all face-up Spells and Traps cannot be destroyed.” Once he played it, a shimmering set of stars seemed to shoot across where Dragonpulse Magician remained, protecting it from Megapola. “A valiant effort, but I believe that’s as much as you’ll be able to do there...and now, since I activated a Spell...to be accurate, a Normal Spell in the form of an Action Card, Rapid-Fire Magician’s skill activates.” The magician holding two scepters moved slightly for a moment, having various amounts of colored fiery orbs floating around him and the scepters. “Whenever I activate a Normal Spell, with him, I can inflict 400 points of damage to my opponent! Now, do your thing, Rapid-Fire!!” Rapid-Fire Magician nodded and began to wave the scepters in his hands, the fiery orbs dancing around him before being launched towards Honey, colliding and taking the damage out. Honey: 3300 -> 2900 LP “And with that, I shall end my turn!” Daichi declared with a nod. “Ahh, so that’s your strategy. I was wondering, but that’s pretty neat. Guess I have to take that out first!” Honey grinned as she drew for turn, looking over the board. “I Special Summon the Megatanus I drew from my hand, banishing Megabilis from grave for it!” As she placed the card on the disk, a black mech, not unlike Grand Chariot, appeared, though it stood not much taller than Micpolar and brandished a bow. It took aim at Rapid-Fire Magician, pulling the string back… and letting its arrow shoot true, flipping the monster to face-down defense! “When it enters, we’ll turn that burn off for now! On to battle! Megatanus, destroy the set Rapid-Fire Magician!” With a slight grit of his teeth, Daichi watched as Rapid-Fire Magician was attacked and destroyed by Megatanus. Luckily he didn't lose Life Points from that attack, but even still, that was an impressive move. He looked around for a moment, before finding another Action Card nearby. “Bingo!” he said, rushing towards the card. “Next up, Megapolar is going to destroy Oafdragon! Arctic Crusher!” “I don’t think so!” Daichi shouted, playing the Action Card he just picked up. “Action Card - Debris Shield! This prevents the destruction of one monster I control only once!” Soon a small shield of falling debris appeared before Oafdragon Magician and protected him from the incoming attack of Megapola. Or so he thought... “Useless! I activate Action Spell - Eclipse Event! During this battle phase, all action spells have their effects negated! Finish it off, Megapolar!” "W-What?! That's a trick I wasn't expecting!" he exclaimed, basically watching the shield of falling debris immediately vanish from in front of Oafdragon Magician. Daichi slightly gritted his teeth again, before attempting to outrun the incoming attack. Unfortunately, this put him at a huge disadvantage...now that he couldn't use any Action Cards during the Battle Phase. The attack struck true and it blew Daichi back quite a bit in the process. “Now, finish it off, Micpolar, Grand Chariot!” The two mechs mobilized at her command, Honey riding the synchro straight toward Daichi! The polar bear rammed him, then Grand Chariot’s scythe grazed him, knocking him down, and ending the duel. The area filled with the sound of clapping, and a bit of cheers. Nothing like a fully packed stadium, but enough to give Honey a little bit of warmth. As Daichi’s LP fell to 0, the area had lights appear around Honey as she rode Grand Chariot, showcasing her as the winner. The screens that showed their duel showcased such as well, while she stepped down to the ground, the duel fading away. Walking over to Daichi, she extended her hand and smiled softly. “Sorry if that was a bit… brutal. I actually thought you were really entertaining, good game!” The ivory magician simply was dusting himself off before extending his hand in response, a wide smile on his face. "Alas, my first Duel was one setting in loss...but, against someone like you, who was able to entertain and showcase to the audience in such a manner, I happily accept it. A truly entertaining game, miss Honey." Daichi smiled before holding her hand up high, practically doing a curtain call bow with her. "Ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for your victor in this Duel: Honey Froswald!" To this the audience began to cheer about this and once it was time for Daichi to take his leave, he exited the Duel field and made it to the locker room in order to change...taking the hat off, he simply looked at it. The smile on his face showed he had a fun time, to show that he enjoyed such an amazing Action Duel...but what laid underneath that smile? Was it...a bit of frustration? Sadness? No one but Daichi would know the answer to this.
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    Interview 2 - Christina Yates by Comrade Duck
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    It appeared the commotion had indeed attracted attention, though thankfully most of it was in the form of people she’d already seen, with both Fen and the fish person bounding up from behind, the latter significantly more energetic than the former to the point that he very nearly knocked Melissa off her feet as he skittered up, his “heads up!” coming just moments too late for her to react in any way other than just accepting the inevitable. Fen, for her part, immediately ran up afterwards. “Are you guys okay?” she said. Physically she was as fine as she could be after having been run into by a fish person. The Spike Brothers, for all their bluster, hadn’t made things worse on that front. Actually, even mentally she was mostly okay, which surprised her. Her fearful adrenaline had been put towards something useful -- moving forwards towards wherever they had been called -- and some of what was left felt like it had dissipated along with the ophan, like one had caused the other. Or maybe it was that there was no longer a tangible threat; there was that too. But at the same time, that lingering “not knowing where she was” feeling was still a stressor, especially when there were three other people apparently following her. That the Spike Brothers could come back, that was a stressor also. And the existence of a demon somewhere in the city. And… So the answer was no, not really, not that she could say that out loud. Melissa opted for “I’m alright,” instead, and tried to push the focus of the conversation somewhere else. She turned to the fish person and knelt down to help him back to his feet. “Sorry, I should have been paying more attention.” “No, that was all me,” he said. “Fins weren’t really made for sidewalks. Just glad we were able to catch up after you two disappeared.” “Well, we got into a bit of a spikey situation,” Melissa said, “Um, but there’s safety in numbers, right? Do you know if anyone else is coming too?” It was Fen who answered that one, looking back in the direction they came from and saying, “Ah well, um, I don't think so? They seemed pretty wrapped up in… well, they didn't seem wrapped up anymore because of the other new guy who told us to move but. Ah, well, I think we're all that’s going. For now. Hopefully.” Melissa bit her lip. “Well, I’m sure they’ll catch up. I don’t really want to wait around here any longer.” The addition of a “new guy” was weird to Melissa. Obviously, if someone had put the pull feeling in everyone it stood to reason that they had the capacity to watch them too, but that didn’t mean knowing she was probably still being watched wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling. Hopefully, there was an answer for that too.How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, -Psalm 13:2-3 (NIV)Oh. Oh. When Melissa had gone looking for answers, she had kind of been hoping that the answers would still match up with some version of the worldview she already had. Like, yeah, the fish and the shifter were anomalous to any of that, but that was what revisions were for, and the fact that they existed -- that they were physical things that she had touched -- meant that they weren’t about to be ignored. But on other matters, on things like, say, location, she had been hoping that she’d just been launched outside Ambrosia somehow. Sure, that would have meant a whole dome-wide coverup as to the state of the exterior world, but that was easier to swallow than this. Others were taking it a bit easier. One of the wizards, seemingly not bothered at all, introduced himself as Trevor and immediately started pressing on the exact nature of the monsters they were supposed to be fighting. Admittedly, Melissa didn’t quite follow everything that was said in that exchange, but the mention again of fighting back the darkness did lead her to focus back on one specific word that was mentioned. “Warriors,” Mauvache said she wanted. That only prompted the immediate follow-up question. “Okay, but if you were searching for warriors, why me? Why am I here?” But Mauvache just smiled and said, “I found exactly what I was searching for, do not worry about that, young Melissa.” Which didn’t even answer anything, but the tone had just enough authority to cause Melissa to reflexively shrink back. What did that even mean, anyway? There wasn’t some intrinsic quality to her that nobody else possessed. And if it was a collection of qualities, like Mauvache was looking (for some reason) for the intersection of shy, God-fearing, and high-school-aged, that was not just her, especially not in all possible universes. The only part of her that stood out had happened in the last week (or last week for her, maybe time worked differently here), which, one: that was still just Duel Monsters and solved by doing Duel Monsters things, two: despite everyone claiming otherwise, it was not just her, and three: even ignoring those, from what she understood after the fact, the problem could have been solved by anyone with a computer science degree. Perhaps she knew all that she was getting when she did the summoning, the voice(s) chimed in. And, okay, but the angels thing was an accident, right? It felt like it had so many factors that all had to work out just right. She had to have one of six special Duel Monsters cards on her person, she had to linger in that formless void for long enough for the voices to realize what was going on and formulate a plan, the plan had to actually work, something the voices hadn’t seemed so sure of at the time… Or maybe that was the point and it wasn’t an accident. After all, if she found a pocket watch lying on the ground, intricate and unique in design, with so many moving parts that she dared not describe what any individual gear did, wouldn’t she assume there was a watchmaker responsible? That the gears didn’t just fall into place by chance? But that would mean… “What the fuck did you do to me?”
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    So I got one of those job things. Will see how it goes.
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    Team Adarid - Arceus' Chamber Attack after attack, the gijinka in the room really laid into the Godslayer before them, using every last ounce of their strength to really grind him into the ground. Somehow, even after all the punishment he had taken thus far, Kura was still able to get to his own two feet to stand before them once again. However, even his strength seemed to faulter, as his entire body was wreathed in the dark flames, consuming him until he was nothing but a pile of ash on the floor. With a hand held over her shoulder that seeped with blood, Taiga could only crack a wide toothy smile. "Serves you right, ya jerk!" Soon after, the main event began, and Arceus herself almost seemed to come back to life. After a short daze, and some tears, Arceus explained to them why she had been so neglectful all these years. "Save it for someone who cares, damnit..." Taiga groaned, Getting to her feet, and trudging over to where the others stood in her presence. She had to admit, this chick really did radiate the energy of something benevolent. It made her wanna spit. Nonetheless, she smiled. "Glad you're alright, ya damn good for nothin' god! Fufufu!" "You've done so much despite me abandoning you. Nothing I can do will ever make up for my mistakes. But I wish to try. I shall rejoin the world and look after its people. Not as an apathetic observer, nor as a ruling God, but instead I promise to work alongside all the inhabitants of this world and do my best to correct the wrongs that happened over these many years." After some others presented their own wishes, Taiga stepped up next. "First off, would ya mind patching me up a bit? That ain't my wish, but I'd be happier if ya did me a solid." The girl smiled, before nodding her head. A green aura radiated around Taiga, and all of her major injuries faded away. With a sigh of relief, Taiga's body crumbled to the floor. "Sheesh...you're a life saver." Taiga cleared her throat. "Tch, not like you didn't owe me that anyway!" She rolled her eyes, only to have them shoot towards Arceus. "As for my wish, I want a big ship! One that can sail across this whole dang world. I'm gonna scoop up as many lost little ones as I can, so that no one in this world has to grow up alone, like I did!" Taiga blushed, as she gave away too much of her idea in that last bit. "W-w-w-what I mean to say is, I'm gonna turn them all into Treasure Hunters, so we can go exploring the world for all the rarest items that this planet has to offer!" "An adventurer's soul and a kind heart. I am glad the world is in hands such as yours." "K-k-kind!?" Taiga was becoming more and more flustered. "I'm Taiga the Terrible Tyrant! I ain't kind in the slightest! One more word outta you and I might just take up Kura's position." She crossed her arms, and stuck out her tongue. "As if...I'm done fightin' for a while. Count your blessings." Before making her way out of the room, she walked to Scarlet. "Thanks for keepin up with me...you were a real pal, all the way to the end. If you're in trouble, don't hesitate to come find me. You'll always have a place in my crew." Taiga slugged the Scizor in the shoulder, before looking away from her. "And..." Taiga embraced her metallic friend, with a tear in her eye. "Don't forget...you were my first friend...please stay in touch." Wiping a tear away, she smiled, waving to all the others as she left the room. With a loud yawn, Taiga woke up in her rather luxurious bed. She stretched her arms up as far as they could go, while unleashing a massive yawn that anyone on the ship would be able to hear, if they were awake. The gentle rocking of the ship was something she had gotten used to over the past couple of years, and now it was enough to make her sleep like a rock-type. She made her way throughout her cabin, getting dressed for the day, and putting on her captain's best, before setting foot out onto the deck. Another beautiful day on the open sea. Taiga made her way to the railing, looking at the name plastered against the side of the ship, the S.S. Little League. Taiga laughed to herself. Every time she thought of those words, it reminded her of Isole and Scarlet, and that damn Captain. "If I see that bird brain Captain again...I oughta" Her brow was twitching at the mere thought. That guy was really holding out on some serious treasure, she just knew it. She kicked off the railing, only to travel a short distance towards the middle of the deck. With a large breath in, Taiga let out a huge roar. "Alright you scallywags! Get your butts out here, and start the dang day already! It's gonna be as busy as ever, so wake the hell up!" With a zip, and a zoom, three small Gijinka made their way in a hurry topside. Each one saluted before her, sounding off as they had the day they arrived on the ship. "M-Mavis, reporting in as ordered!" A zubat nervously stammered. "Trixie, reporting in as ordered!" A skitty proudly said. The other small gijinka had turned her saluting into that of making an invisible wall in front of her. Taiga tapped her finger against her arm, waiting for their newest recruit to sound off. After a few more seconds of watching the display, Taiga snapped. "HEY! Sound off, you little punk, or I'll throw you to the fishes!" She'd never do it, but she had to whip these sea urchins into shape, as proper treasure hunters. The Gijinka acted like it couldn't hear Taiga, as it was trapped in some sort of invisible box. "Oho...so the fishes it is then." Taiga ominously mumbled, as she started approaching the Mime Jr. The other two looked to the last Gijinka, almost in a panic. "Come on Ez! She's seriously gonna toss you off! Do roll call!" Trixie whispered. "E-Ez! Stop messing around, or else you'll die!" Mavis chimed in. The Mime Jr smugly looked at the two, before shrugging, and saluting once again. "Esmerelda, reporting in as ordered, Mime mime!" She finally got out, with a huge smile on her face. It was a cute enough display, but not so cute as to quell Taiga's wrath, as a fist was hammered down on top of the Mime Jr.'s head. She had to put more force into it, as her hand had crashed through the invisible barrier Esmerelda had placed above her head, full well knowing she was gonna get bopped. Rubbing her head, Esmerelda looked to the others as they all nodded their heads. In unison, they saluted once more, and chanted in unison. "Good morning, Captain Taiga!" Taiga placed her hands on her hips, and shook her head from side to side. She saluted the Little Leaguers with a smile. "And good morning to you too! What a fine day it is to sail the seas, and look for treasure, huh!?" All three of the Little Leaguers cheered. "Well, today's agenda is the same as yesterday. Look for some more lost kids, and explore the unknown! Now, I remember a friend of mine telling me about his home in Alola...apparently there's been a lot of chaos going on there as of late, and I'm sure a lot of young Gijinka are looking for a place to call home..." Taiga pointed a finger towards the horizon. "Why don't we go lookin' for them!?" With another cheer, the S.S. Little League sailed into the day, and towards a new world.
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    After Mac finished speaking, a small Litleo scurried forward. "You always beat me to the punch," he complained, but his jovial tone took the bite away from his words. Turning to look up at Arceus, the smile slid from his face as he remembered her earlier statement. His chest had tightened upon seeing the blue-haired girl get her mother to live, but that was just saving an existing life. Once they were dead... "I understand," Ari said solemnly in a continuation of what the legendary had said earlier. "To bring back the dead would be going against the Circle of Life. I was taught that much at home." His father, especially, as the God of Life's Disciple, had made sure that stuck, but it didn't make the fact any less painful. The mere memory was enough to bring on a wave of emotion that he could only hold back with some difficulty. Regaining his composure--because he was a prince, and that was what princes did--the Litleo blinked, straightening his shoulders. "What I wish for is..." before, he would've wished to be strong enough to make everybody proud of him, and he still wanted that, but he didn't think it right to get that through a wish. In the end, he was only as strong as he made himself. "That everybody in Pride Rock may live in peace," his words grew uncharacteristically formal as he drew himself up with rare dignity. "That the divide that stands between lion and non-lion goes away. But I don't think that's something you can wish for either." He smiled sadly. "That kind of result can only be brought about by gijinka working together to achieve it. At least, that's what I believe." His smile brightened, and he was the normal Ari again. "So in the end, I guess I wish for nothing. I guess I just came here and wasted your time, huh?" But as he walked back, he paused, turning around. "Oh wait! I did think of something! If you could repair the damage done to Pride Rock, that'd be great. Mom said they're still trying to repair it." His smile widened. "So I guess I do have a wish, after all." -- No bringing back the dead, then? I expected as much, but still... If Easter had a choice, that would have been his wish. To bring back the Eevee child...but perhaps it was for the best this way. They had been dead for years, after all. He was glad that Dora got her wish granted, though. He had been worried about how she would react once her mother died. At least Brooke is here and would've been there for her. And me too. Denku as well, perhaps. The Sylveon hung back till most of the others had been granted their wishes. Because he didn't know what he wanted. That was the problem. To be granted a wish...it felt so cheap. He had always done things through his own power, if one left aside the fact that most of his moves relied on the power of the cosmos, so technically... And I'm stalling. I honestly...don't know. Eventually, he knew he had to do something, so he stepped forward. "My wish...I don't know," he said plainly. "I still don't know where I'm going, or what I'm going to do." This was the most honest he had been in a long time. "But I don't think I want to just waste a wish either." He tilted his head, thinking. That Litleo had a nice idea. Repairing his home. For a second, he thought about asking that for Deku, but, remembering the proud tilt to the heads of the town survivors, he changed his mind. No, rebuilding is the work of ordinary gijinka. We take pride in producing results with our own power. Which meant that was out. So then something that would aid his goals? But he didn't even know what those were anymore. For the longest time, he had wanted to grow stronger, no, to be the strongest. But now that didn't seem to matter anymore. Protection, that's what mattered. But he still wasn't good enough for that yet either. If he wanted to be able to protect others, he had to train further. These last battles had shown him that much. So perhaps, going off of that, he didn't need to amend his initial goals that much. He had to become stronger so he could protect others. In which case, he could continue on the path he had set himself on all those years ago. "I think I know what I want now. I thought that I had been wrong before, in wanting to gain strength, but I wasn't. I just wanted it for the wrong reasons." He smiled gratefully at Dora, Brooke, and Denku, who had helped him to reconcile himself with that notion. And that last conversation with Nine had been enlightening as well. "So I will be stronger, but that's not my wish. Instead," his blue eyes lit up with mischief. "My wish is that you set aside some time in the future for a match. One of the best ways to grow stronger is to fight strong opponents, and I can think of no one stronger than you." He winked. Afterward, the Sylveon swaggered back to his place, grinning like the Delcatty that got the cream. Until he realized what he could've wished for, and his face turned as long as a Rapidash. Damn, I could've wished for a year's supply of sweets, or even better...limitless sweets! It was too late now though. Oh well. Getting to fight Arceus was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. He could get sweets anytime, so he had to just stay strong. No matter how tempting they sounded. -- Keanu knew right away what he wanted to wish for, and he didn't waste any time when he came up for his turn. "I want help," he said flatly. "Help to bring us," he nodded at Randy, Marie, and Nani, "back to our home, and help to fight off the Beasts that took it from us." He looked back up at Arceus. "Maybe it's too big a wish for one gijinka to make, but that's what I want. Other than that...well, I can't think of any other kind of wish." Maybe a girlfriend? But no, that wasn't really a priority. Though, speaking of wahine... "Actually, I thought of something. I'd like it if you could repair the damage done to Kalia's mind, though I don't know if you can..." But if the god could repair physical damage, then couldn't she repair emotional or mental damage as well? "I know it's probably hard to forgive her for joining in with the Godslayers, but I don't think she was in her right mind." Keanu turned to the other Alolans. "Kalia...you've heard of her, right? She was quite famous back on Alola. Well, she managed to arrive in Adarid as well, but unlike us, she was alone... And so she decided to follow that evil Houndoom, believing it was the only way to go back to Alola. I wasn't able to convince her otherwise, but I can't just leave her alone either. She's an Alolan, like us. It feels wrong to leave her like this." Had it been him who had washed up on Adarid alone, he was sure he would've turned out similarly. And so, he couldn't really blame the Sandslash for what she had done, even though she had almost killed him. Yes. They were going to go home to Alola. All of them. Nobody would be left behind. Epilogues ==== Ariel: The Wise ==== "Hey, um...Jabari?" Ari approached the Zebstrika nervously, hands clasped together. "I, uh, need your help with something. I know it's probably not right for me to ask you of this, after everything we've done to your people, but..." he took a deep breath, and then looked the former Godslayer in the eye. "I don't think I can do this without you." -- "Your Highness! I've been looking everywhere for you!" Zago panted. "I had thought the worst, but I'm glad that isn't the case." "Yeah, I'm glad to be back too, Zago," the Litleo smiled before his expression turned serious. He turned to the Zebstrika behind him with a nod. "Because there's a lot to be done." -- "They won't approve, you know," his mother said, eyes sad as she watched her son go through paperwork. He was far too young to be tackling such a serious issue. "I know they won't. But I don't care. They won't approve because it takes away their privilege," Ariel, formerly known as Ari, snorted. "Well, we all saw where that lead us. If you tell somebody he's not as good as somebody else because he wasn't born a lion, well, you're just lying to them. And I know this much: lying is bad. Because of that lie, my uncle got my father killed, and himself as well. The God of Life almost died too." He shook his head. "Jabari's working hard on his end. I have to uphold my end as well." "I understand," the queen smiled. "I'm proud of you, Ariel." "I know. Thanks, Mom." -- "We did it," Ariel turned to Jabari with tears in his eyes. "We did it." He held up the stone slate, admiring the writing on it as he turned it this way and that. "It's set in stone now. This is the new law of the jungle." "They're waiting for you," Jabari nodded. The scarred warrior's countenance had changed; the ice had thawed from his blue eyes and his stance had relaxed. To the side, his younger sister Dalia stood, staring proudly at the two who had just made history. "No..." Ariel shook his head. "They're waiting for us. All of us. I couldn't have done this without you, Jabari." He smiled sadly. "I know this cannot make up for years of oppression, but I'd like to think it's a step in the right direction." "You did what I couldn't do before...for Dalia," the Zebstrika said. "You're a true hero." "I don't know about that. I think if anybody here is the hero, it's you," Ariel said honestly as he turned to the former Godslayer. "Your suffering pushed you into the abyss, but you crawled your way back out of that, protecting me and the other children from that Lucario. Not just anybody could do that." "Yeah, accept it, big brother. You're a hero, and not just to me anymore, but to everybody." "Me, a hero?" Jabari looked disbelieving for a second, face turning serious as he mulled it over. Eventually, he nodded, mouth quirking into a small, genuine smile. "I think...I can start believing that now." -- The Pyroar stood at the tip of the rock that gave Pride Rock its name. Next to him stood Jabari, and to the side, Zago, Dalia, and his mother the former Queen Leah. On the ground below stood a multitude of gijinka. Lions rubbed shoulders with zebras, and giraffes stood at attention next to hyenas. While there were still some who kept to their own kind, they were the minority and not the majority. The lion's chest swelled up in pride at the sight. "Thank you, everybody, for being here," he smiled. "This day is an auspicious one. Not just for me as king but for you all as well. Today marks the first year anniversary since we implemented the Gijinka Rights Act. As you all know, this act marked a change in our history. A change for the better. Before, we were divided, but now, we are one. Lions do not stand above zebras, and hyenas are no longer considered outcast." He paused as the crowd cheered below him. "When this Act was first made, many of you were skeptical. Many of you thought that it couldn't be done, that centuries of hatred and prejudice could not be wiped out overnight. And you were right," his expression turned sober. "This is not the work of a single year, but a lifetime...no, many lifetimes. When this day has passed, the fanfare has died, and you return to your homes, you must keep what you have heard here in mind. Because equality is not made in glamorous speeches, but in the actions that we make each and every day." "When I was younger, I never dreamed that I would set my mind to this issue. For me, it wasn't an issue because it was normal. Well, that 'normal' is no longer normal. I say this: the new normal is equality!" another cheer. "And though I never dreamed that I would do this as king, now that it has been done, I couldn't be prouder. I say here and now, I cannot think of anything nobler, or more important, than what we all worked together to achieve one year past. What has been achieved is bigger than what a mere king could do. Because it is through all of your efforts that this has been made possible." As the crowd cheered once more, he smiled. "And though this day is equally small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I believe it should be celebrated. Because this day was when things started to move in a new direction for this land. Henceforth, this day shall be known as the Day of Equality." The people cheered, and the Pyroar's smile widened when he noticed a couple of familiar faces in particular among the crowd. They came. I'm so glad that they're here to see this. I wonder if Dad is watching from above as well? I can't help but think that he'd be proud of me, and what I've done here. And to think it had all started when he ran away from home. Though that choice had brought its share of sorrows, he couldn't bring himself to regret it, or the friends and family he made along the way. ==== Easter: The Guardian ==== "It's good to see you again, Dora. Sorry, Brooke couldn't be here. She's busy getting her shop set up right now. I'm here on her behalf though!" "Easter! Did you bring any candy? No, wait, I should get YOU candy!" "I brought some, you little scamp," Easter pinched her cheek--ignoring the nearby guard's look of shock--before bringing out a wrapped candy and presenting it to the Quagsire to take. "This is a Rare Candy. It's supposed to be super tasty and help you grow big and strong." "Yay! But we already saved the world do I need to get even stronger?" "Well, there's nothing wrong with being strong. And I heard it tastes pretty good too!" "Then I'll take it! Hey, hey, do you want to meet my mama?" "I think I've already met her, but sure," the fairy type replied with some amusement. When he saw the queen, he almost didn't recognize her, so different was she than the bedridden woman from before. Now, the woman appeared the very picture of health, with a regal bearing befitting her status as she smiled down at the Sylveon. "Easter! It's been a while. Thank you for coming to visit Dora. She's been a little lonely." Easter smiled back, the smile widening when he heard the Quagsire's confused sounds in the background. "I'm always happy to see Dora. And I'm pleased to see you're doing well, too." "Yes, I have much to be thankful to Arceus for. And to Dora, for thinking of me. I couldn't ask for a better daughter." "And she couldn't ask for a better mother," the Sylveon replied, tone slightly wistful. -- "Do you think...this is a good idea?" Morgan asked the gijinka next to her. Her big brother, who had, for her sake, decided to visit their parents in Northshore. "No, I think it's a terrible one," Easter replied flatly. "But I said I'd visit, and I'm not one to break my promises." He stared at the front door of the house he had grown up in as he shifted from foot to foot. "Oh, look, Lewis dear, the prodigal son has returned," a Flareon sniffed. Though she had aged much since the last time he had seen her, Easter knew her right away. There was no mistaking that disdainful expression. "Son? I have no son, Catherine," the Espeon at her side replied. "Just a disgrace for a daughter." The Eevee shrunk beneath his gaze. "Stop that," Easter snapped, moving forward. "You should be ashamed of yourselves. I don't care what you think about me, but Morgan loves you both and works hard for your sake. Can't you two see that?" "All I see is a disgraceful girl who chooses to associate with riffraff and ruffians. Not to mention," the man stared at Easter's clothes in disgust, "homosexuals." "Just because somebody dresses like this, doesn't mean they're homosexual," the Sylveon snapped. "I happen to be so, yes, but that has nothing to do with my fashion choices." "Regardless, you're not welcome here in Northshore. Leave, before I call the militia on you!" Easter stared at the man in disbelief. "It's been years, and you won't change your mind? At all?" "Of course not! It's obvious you haven't changed one bit since you left!" his mother cut in fiercely. The Sylveon shook his head. "No, you're the ones who haven't changed." He sighed. "I did expect this, though." He turned around, looking back. "All right, I'll go. But you should listen to what I said before about Morgan." "Get out of here. Now." The Espeon glared at the fairy type. "Come now, Morgan, let's get you inside. I cannot believe you. I knew we should've stopped you from associating with those Alolan savages from before. Ever since you met them, you've become so willful." The Eevee stared up at her mother for a few long seconds before shaking her head. "No." "I beg your pardon?" "No, I'm not going inside. I've had enough." Her lip wobbled. "I love Northshore, and the people here, but I want to explore the world too! I know that there's so much more beyond this town, and I want to see it! I'll come back when I'm done, though. Promise!" "You don't know what you're saying!" "She knows exactly what she's saying," Easter corrected. "So it's your fault!" Lewis snapped, whipping around. "I should've known you'd have put her up to this!" "No, this decision was all Morgan's. And it's your own fault for not realizing what your own daughter wants." Easter turned away from the pair, unable to bear looking at them any longer. "Come on, Morgan. Let's go." -- "You're sure of this then?" Easter asked, gazing at his newly-evolved kid sister. "Yeah," Morgan nodded. "I'm sure. I've grown stronger traveling with you and helping you fight legendaries--even if I usually get knocked out right away--but I can't rely on you forever. I want to strike out on my own. Maybe see if I can find Marie! You'd like her, she's super cool and awesome and--!" "I'm sure I would," the Sylveon interrupted. "Do you want me to accompany you until you find her then?" The Flareon beamed up at him. "Nah, that's fine. I told ya, I've gotta grow stronger by myself. And you don't have time to be getting off track anyway. Don't you have that delivery to make for Brooke?" "Ah, you're right," Easter frowned. "And I don't think she'd be too happy if it were late either." "See? Don't worry about me. You've got enough to worry about on your end." The Flareon nudged his shoulder. "Go on then. I'll see you sometime, big bro!" "Fine, fine, take care of yourself, all right?" -- Easter stared at the children running down the streets of the newly rebuilt Deku. Barefoot, and in ragged clothes that barely covered their skeletal frames, they looked as if one good gust would blow them right over. "Kinda sad, huh?" Brooke said, walking up behind him. "You'd think it's Thundurus's fault, but Deku's always been this way. A lot of kids get thrown out 'cause nobody wants 'em." She sighed. "It's not the worst. They'll band together, join a good gang if they're lucky. That's really the only way they'll survive around here." The Sylveon didn't reply for a long time. He couldn't help but see the faces of the children he knew superimposed over theirs. Dora, Fawkes, Morgan...if they had been forced to live like that... "The only way, huh...?" he clenched his fists. "I don't want to believe that. These children deserve better than that." -- Easter stared out at the waves from the crow's nest. Being back on the S.S. Showdown again with the old crew, even if just for a reunion, felt bittersweet. "I heard you turned down becoming a Disciple." A familiar voice called out from behind. Easter twitched, turning to the gijinka he had once thought of as his one and only. "News gets around." "Of course. It's not every day a gijinka completes the Chaser challenge, and then turns around and denies an offer like that. Why'd you do it?" "Because, I don't want to be the strongest anymore, John," the Sylveon said softly. "I have a different goal now. I want to protect others. And I think I found out how I'm going to do that." -- There it was. Easter stared at the finished building with pride. It had taken a lot of effort and money, but it was finally complete. The first orphanage of Deku, and perhaps Adarid as a whole. With this, those kids wouldn't have to grow up on the streets. They could hopefully live normal lives with people who cared about them. "Thanks for helping with this, Brooke," Easter said, turning to the Emboar beside him. "I don't think I'd have gotten this thing built and funded without you." Brooke wouldn't hear of it. "If anything I should be thanking you. The least I can do for those kids is throw some poke at someone who actually wants to HELP them." She gave him a friendly nudge. "I wish I'd had someone like you around when I was growing up. Kids shouldn't have to raise themselves." The Sylveon chuckled bashfully. "Ahh, well, I'm glad to help. I know this won't solve all their problems, and I can't help all the kids of the world, but, I want to help those I can." It didn't matter that he wasn't related to them. The blood of the covenant was thicker than the water of the womb, after all. He had seen that firsthand with his own parents. Hopefully, he could do better with these kids than his parents had with him. -- "Hey, ya 'aven't paid yer taxes. There's a fee t'own a buildin' in this area, see?" a thuggish-looking Arbok sneered at a young Teddiursa gijinka standing outside the orphanage. The child backed up, his eyes tearing at the corners, but he found he couldn't go any further, since the rest of the kids that had snuck out to play were huddled behind him. "Yeah, yeah, what bro said," a Weezing gijinka agreed as he flexed his muscles. "An' if ya can't pay, well, ya can just work the debt off!" "Or they can go back to what they were doing, and you can go back to what you were doing before you so rudely threatened my young charges," a soft, feminine-sounding voice said. The thugs turned toward the sound. The Weezing sneered. "Oh yeah? An' yer gonna make us? Yer nuthin' more than a--wow!" his eyes almost bugged out of his head when he saw who had spoken. "Woman, whaddaya say to leavin' this dump an' comin' with me an' my bro here?" The speaker, a pretty Sylveon, smiled at him. "Sorry, but I'm not interested. Unless, of course," she cracked her knuckles, "that outing involves my fist meeting your gut. Then I'll gladly agree," her smile turned even more angelic. As the two paled, she continued speaking. "Think of it this way. You're lucky Brooke wasn't the one that caught you two, or you'd be even worse off. Then again, I'd like to think I'm pretty merciless as well," she giggled. "By the way, I'm a boy. Idiots," the last word dripped with contempt. He turned back toward the children, a gentler smile on his face. "Go inside and wash up for dinner now, kids. This won't take long at all." -- "When I grow up, I want to be a princess like Cousin Dora!" "When I grow up, I want to run a shop like Auntie Brooke!" "Well, when I grow up, I want to beat up bad guys while wearing a dress like Papa does!" "Copycat!" "No, you are!" "No, you!" "All right, settle down, everybody. You're all copycats," Easter snickered. "No, we aren't!" "Get him!" "Papa, I'll show you how strong I can be!" The Sylveon chuckled as the kids stopped their squabbling, working together to dogpile him. His path had taken many turns, some he had never expected, but he didn't regret a single bit of it. He had finally found it--a purpose in life. His reason to live. ==== Keanu: The Wave ==== Keanu stared out across the ocean from his position on the banks of Northshore, singing softly to himself. "Somewhere, beyond the sea, somewhere waitin' for me...Alola stands on golden sands, and watches the ships...that go sailin'." "Are you thinking of home?" a familiar voice caused him to turn, the song cut off. Standing there was Lunala, expression wistful. The Raichu was certain his expression matched hers. "Ae," he affirmed. "I can't help but miss it, after all. I know Arceus said she'd help, but..." "It's normal to doubt, and normal to hope," the legendary replied. "I too, worry that we might not be able to return." "Well, if we do return, then home will be a sight for sore eyes, that's for sure." He had grown fond of Adarid, even with its strange culture of fighting, but it wasn't home. Home was where the heart was, and his still lay in Alola. -- "There it is," Keanu whispered to himself from his position on the bow of the boat. "Home." His eyes began to water, but he blinked away the tears before they could form. It wouldn't do for the others to think he'd gone soft or something. Not when he'd already proven to be one of the weakest of them all. Passing out not just once, but twice in that battle against the Godslayers did not do good things for his rep. "I didn't think I'd get to see it again," he said, turning to the others on the boat. "Alola, in all its glory." It looked almost like a cloudbank resting atop the waves, but Keanu knew that was no cloud, but an island, and one of many. But just because he could see it, didn't mean he could return there. Not permanently, anyway. They had to first fight to reclaim the land from the Beasts that had taken over. His expression turned pained. I have to be ready to fight and face the Beasts that killed my family. Honestly, he wasn't sure he could do it, but it was too late for second thoughts now. -- The fighting was harsh. Keanu dove out of the way of a blast of energy, turning and firing back with a Thunderbolt. Panting for breath, he ducked behind a crumbled building. This is hard. Harder even than the Godslayer fights. At least then I only had to fight one enemy at a time. And I had others with me. He had gotten separated in the melee. A rookie mistake, but nobody ever said Keanu was skilled at fighting. He was no Randy, that was for sure. And there's another attack. Great. His position revealed, the Raichu jumped, using his psychic powers as extra leverage, and narrowly avoiding getting toasted in the process. He leaped onto a wave, toward the Beast that had just attacked him. Thankfully, he managed to hit, and he jumped down, kicking off of his opponent in the process. Just then, he froze, a prickle of fear running through him. What did I miss? A flash of light at the corner of his eyes caused him to turn, seeing a beam headed straight toward him. It was too close to avoid and too powerful to survive without major injuries. And then a storm of Swift stars arrived, redirecting the attack so it sailed past him instead. "This is not the first time I have had to save you," a blue-haired Sandslash hummed with some amusement as she landed at his side. "And it won't be the last time either," Keanu quipped. "Indeed," the woman nodded, holding her hand up as long claws grew out from it. "Shall we?" her face twisted into one of aggressive glee as she let out a manic laugh. "Those fools will rue the day they thought to challenge our might!" "Er...ae. Exactly," the Raichu agreed with less enthusiasm. "I'd really hoped Arceus would be able to cure you entirely, but I guess that was expecting too much," he muttered under his breath. "What was that?" the former Godslayer asked, distracted. "Nothing." "Good. Now let's tear these Beasts apart!" she giggled, the sound giving Keanu chicken skin. And not the pleasant kind either. How was it his luck that every single wahine he met since fleeing Alola was frigging terrifying? Even Marie had gotten scarier than when he last saw her. "Ae. Let's. Go, team." Once again, he couldn't help but thank Arceus, both literally and figuratively, that Kalia was on their side this time. -- "Guess my good looks are ruined," Keanu said as he glanced down at the bloody wound on his chest. "Won't be able to go around shirtless anymore. Minamina nō hoʻi. Too bad." He popped a Sitrus Berry in his mouth, ignoring the throbbing from his injury. He had grown used to that by now. At least his fighting skills had improved. Though there was no way they wouldn't, with the amount of fighting he had had to do. It was a nonstop battle for the most part once they reached Alola. And then, when they grew tired, they retreated back to Northshore. It was a pattern that the electric type had long adjusted to. Gone was the handsome youth with a lazy smile. In his place stood a man and warrior, body crisscrossed with scars and hair cropped close to his head. He'd had no choice but to cut it like that after it had caught on fire from one of the Beasts' attacks. His eyes were piercing and oftentimes glowing an unearthly blue through the usage of his psychic powers. But this was the choice he had made back then, that day when the four of them first fought the Lucario. To stand and fight, choosing to risk injury and death over safety and running away. For the longest time, he couldn't understand why his family had decided to give up their lives as they had, but now, he could. He had learned that some things, such as ohana, were worth more than one's own life. "Mom, Dad, Kai, I hope you're proud of me," he muttered. "One day, we'll win Alola back. And when that happens, I'll mark a gravestone for you all. I don't think I'll be able to find your bones, sadly, but I can at least hope you all made it to the other side safely." Keanu blinked, sending a Thunderbolt to the side where a Beast had been attempting to sneak up on him. Sighing, he backflipped to avoid an attack, touching down with one arm, balancing precariously for a second before flipping back to land adroitly on the ground. "Break time's over," he said as he summoned a large wave of water with practiced skill. "Time to fight again." And he would keep fighting. Again and again, as many times as it took to take back his homeland. The Raichu's expression softened as he turned to where the others were. The only reason he had made it this far was because of them. His ohana. Without them, he'd probably have given up. But because they were here, he could take heart and keep going. Ae. I chose to ride this wave, and I'll keep on riding it till the end.
  43. 4 likes
    Interview 1 - Thomasin Farros by Radio414
  44. 4 likes
    Inu sighed to himself as he rolled his shoulder. He should have known that they weren't going to the beach just to have a good time. Honestly, that was fine by him, just playing around would have been a waste of time. Still, this was a lot of garbage... like a lot. The smell was particularly bad, he had to just plug his nose shut in an vain attempt to keep the smell out. He didn't want to do this for long, and there was really only one fast way to go about this. With a sigh, he walked over to a place away from the others, and began to use his hands to scoop out handfuls of sand, making a small pit. It didn't take very long, and he went to his next task: grabbing small stones and seashells, placing them down in a circle around the pit itself. With that done, he walked around the beach, looking for anything that looked flammable and not entirely dangerous to light on fire, throwing them into the pit he had made, doing his best to not smell anything he was carrying. This was the fastest and most efficient way he could think to clean this beach up. Soon, he had a small pile about as tall as he was, all placed into a small pile and looking ready to burn. He rubbed with hands together like he was warming them up on a cold winter night, before inhaling and letting out a breath of fire. However, right when he did, he felt a tentacle slap him on the wrist. "So you think ashes are clean?" Anemonesan reprimanded. "It would probably be more harmful burnt than otherwise," "Seriously?" Inu asked as he rubbed his wrist before muttering. "Of fuckin' course," Of course what he thought was a good thing would only make things worse. He didn't think about the aftermath, just what was easiest at the moment. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Wasn't that exactly what he hated from other heroes? Still, this wasn't the end, he could fix this, he could be better... why was he smelling more smoke than usual? The wolfman's eyes widened as he realized that despite being slapped and having his breath interrupted, some embers had escaped and lit the pile he made on fire, the flames small, but threatening to soon consume the whole pile. "Shit, shit, shit," Inu cursed as he scooped up sand in his hand, throwing it into the fire in an attempt to put it out before it got too big, but some of the sand he threw flew into his own face. "Fuck fuck fuck!" He howled as he tried to rub the sand out of his eyes. It was official. This was the worst field trip he had ever been on. Sun's mood from riding on the bus had fallen when he saw the state of the beach. He had a beach back home on his island, and he spent many days there playing in its waters or bathing in the sun. To see people had let this beach get so... filthy, it made the monkey man angry, but mostly just sad. Still, he would help clean this place up, and it would look like new! The very first thing he did was take off his shirt. After all, from what he could gather, the beach was a place where people could less clothes than usual! In fact, there were beaches where he didn't have to wear clothes at all... but he could tell this wasn't the place to do that. Next came off his shoes. While that would be dangerous to a normal person, Sun had a brilliant idea. He used a pair of gloves and slipped them over his hand-like feet. Now he had three limbs to pick up garbage with instead of two! And used them he did. Hopping on one foot to get around, Sun used his three limbs to pick up the trash and put it into his bag. He found some interesting things buried in the trash though, things like old toys and a few books. Some of the books really caught his attention though. One looked to be some novel about the romance of a giant gorilla and a human girl, which intrigued the monkey man. The cover even showed the gorilla climbing a tall tower for the human. The one that interested him the most however was a book called "Colors of a Hero". A quick flip through the book revealed that it seemed to be the autobiography of someone important, even if Sun didn't know who this "Gin" was. He placed those books in a separate bag, determined to keep them for himself. However, despite how interesting all those were, he found something that caught his interest even more. It was a sort of vehicle, something he believed was called a pickup truck. The paint was completely rusted over, some parts were missing, the hood was completely gone, and the windows were cracked, but the most important thing was intact. It still had four wheels, even if they were flat. This was perfect! He took his full bag of garbage, tossing it into the back of the truck, and then went running off, looking for some rope. After about five minutes of looking, he found a long enough piece of rope, one perfect for this idea. Going back to the truck, he tied the rope inside the hood tightly. After giving it a experimental tug, Sun pulled the rope, dragging the truck behind him. It took some effort, but he was able to do it. Looking around, he saw that of his classmates, Ren and Ben, working on a huge mountain of garbage. With a grin, he tugged his truck over, stopping in front of the two. "Hello, I am Sun!" Sun greeted as he waved to the two. "And this is my truck," He said as he slapped a hand on it. "It can fit so much garbage into itself. Do you wanna put the trash in the back, and I can drag it away?"
  45. 4 likes
    neocardmaker.com is still the best, most-well designed, efficient, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing yugioh card maker on the planet.
  46. 4 likes
    OP: HIDEKI NAGANUMA – FEEL the POWER in YOUR SOUL ED: MasakoX - 「70cm四方の窓辺」 -A Saikazo RP- -Cohosted by Skaia and Yui- -Logo by Yui- -Special thanks to Yui for helping with World Building- Rules Setting Database Very Basic Plot Application Available Dragons
  47. 4 likes
    Bog Frog WATER ✪✪ (Level 2) [Aqua/Effect] ATK/ 1400 DEF/ 800 (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand or your the field to the GY; take 1 "Wetlands" from your Deck, and either activate it or add it to your hand. While this card is banished, Aqua monsters you control gain 300 ATK and DEF. Support To: Referenced Field Spell (Wetlands):
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  49. 4 likes
    Same seven regions. Riolu Muy bien. Jirachi I hate how the 3DS games removed his fire quills. Cyndaquill This, but don't forget to evolve her. Buneary Well now that you said it, not here. Celebi The anticipation Lilligant Tyranitar Slowking
  50. 4 likes
    With the end of YCM's Year of Stars, we find ourselves on a new forum... and at the beginning of the Year of Rebirth! Hopefully, we can begin events in the near future, so that we can celebrate our new home! PM me with your ideas, and we can see what we can do! And never you fear, we have one lined up already!
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