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  1. 3 likes
    THE VOID A PLAY IN ONE ACT CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY Z. C-ko Moderators of Yanma’s Custom Monsters forum Girls of the Chorus THE VOID was originally performed at the Kashira Shadow Playhouse as part of the PMDUOS event on the evening of June 2, 2023. SCENE Z. is alone on an empty stage. Z.: Oh, what fresh hell is this? Is this even allowed? Fuck, you would think I’d have been granted the decency of being free from extra bullshit at this point. Okay, no, I would have accepted one of two things happening when I fell asleep: The dungeon bullshit would have been all a dream and I’d just wake up to a normal life, or my subconscious would pull from memories my conscious mind could not, and I could get desperate flashes of another me that doesn’t exist anymore. But this is neither. I’m still a Zorua, though. Fuck me. [They move to the front of the stage] Hey, anyone watching this? No? Typical. Stage lights dim, save a lone spotlight center stage, where Z. was just standing. Z. (turning around): No. [The spotlight reluctantly moves to where Z. is now. Z. turns back around] (Sound Cue #1) Z.: I guess I do remember some things. It’s dumb forum drama, because of course it is, but a forum update made YCM’s mod forum available to the general user base. It got fixed, but basically, any sort of gossip anyone could get their hands on got posted to the miscellaneous forum. The posters got banned and the threads were deleted pretty quickly, but some people’s download buttons were even faster. The voices of the YCM MODERATORS recount their posts from offstage Moderator 1: Oh my God would Zeta just shut up? Moderator 2: Decides they're a they now and makes it their whole personality lmao Moderator 1: Not even that just like... I’ll dock them for calling Summer a bitch ass-cunt or whatever and that’ll put them on their best behavior for a bit but then the warning points go away and they’re back on their bullshit again. Moderator 3: Summer is a bitch ass-cunt to be fair Moderator 1: That’s besides the point.[trails off] Z.: That was a fun two weeks. It all got derailed into some bullshit about mod transparency that went nowhere, and I never got an apology or anything, but I wasn’t really asking for one. The point was, for a hot second there, everyone was on my side. And the thing about people being on your side, they tend to question you a lot less. (Sound Cue #2) The spotlight dims to a barely-noticeable circle on the floor and the back wall of the stage is illuminated. Z.: What now? (Sound Cue #3) The shadow of C-KO appears crossing the back wall from right to left and back again. She is carrying a gramophone. C-ko: Extra! Extra! The CHORUS is represented by more shadows cast on the back wall in the shape of accusatory finger-pointing. C-KO no longer has her gramophone, and her clothing shifts as the accusations continue. This would make sense in, like, a shooting script instead of a stageplay but technically this is neither -- it’s a dream sequence -- so you figure it out. Chorus Girl 1: Aha! You’ve got fox paws for hands. You’re not human, you’re a foxgirl! C-ko: Nope! I’m a human! These are just gloves -- it’s getting kind of cold. Chorus Girl 2: Aha! You’ve got hooves for feet. You’re not human, you’re a horsegirl! C-ko: I see why you’d think that, but these are just very fashionable shoes. They’re all the rage in Paris. Chorus Girl 3: Aha! You’ve got rabbit ears. You’re not human, you’re a bunnygirl! C-ko: No! No! These are just, uh, wearable antennae for my phone so I can get better reception. I promise I’m human! Z: Why do you want to be human so badly? C-ko: [screams] CURTAIN After a dream that felt like it could have lasted either five minutes or nine months, Z. woke up in an entirely new place with no sign of the conflict that had rendered them comatose in the first place. On the one hand, they were glad to not be fighting anymore, especially with the embarrassing showing that had gotten them put to sleep in the first place, but, on the other hand, that Cleffa had something coming to them, and Z. wanted to be the one to do it. There was a zero percent chance that they were ever going to see that particular Cleffa ever again, so their frustration was entirely empty, which really made it all even worse. Their Oran Berry was missing too, a crime that had too many mundane explanations (it fell out somewhere, someone needed it in an emergency, that fucking Cleffa took it) to really blame anyone currently present, so that only compounded everything. “Fuck,” Z. said for want of anything else to say. Almost everyone else was crowding some other Pokémon that was sleeping nearby. Z. couldn’t remember the exact specifics, but they were pretty sure that most anyone would be mad if they woke up to a sudden horde of people clamoring for attention, especially if one of those people looked like he was six people. It was a Jirachi too, so it had the power to back that anger up. Even Es the Rotom had gone over to pester the thing, and Z. had been pretty sure that if any of them were going to wait for them to wake up and cheer when it happened, it was her. Z. huffed and pulled themself to their feet. It felt incredibly natural to do that downward-facing dog to upward-facing dog yoga stretch thing, but it felt weird that it felt natural, if that made sense. Like, it made sense that it felt normal, but- “It doesn’t really matter,” Z. said. It was kind of to that and the previous thought wrapped all into one. Of all the humans-turned-Pokémon, Ears the Noibat had the right idea. If the Jirachi was going to be helpful, it was going to be helpful regardless of whether it was being pestered with an extra meaningless question. Of course, Ears was better at getting a view from higher up, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t do the same thing, but on the ground. “I’m going this way,” Z. said, pointing in the opposite direction the Noibat was looking.
  2. 3 likes
    Chester had Hi'd his last "yah" as he successfully punched the Cleffa, only to be immediately be interrupted by something of an incredible wind storm. The phenomena defied all forms of logic that the Chespin was aware of, and to make matters worse he felt an incredible sense of dread as he was picked up by the wind. Not the regular kind that any normal person would feel being violently rag dolled by a spontaneous raging gale. No this was something more instinctual. Something akin to his very genes telling him that anything to do with wind would be a time for his species. Though, of course, he definitely felt the first kind of dread too. He had his own wind knocked out of him as his back slammed against the wall. Then, being picked up again he was tossed into an entirely different wall, slamming his arm against that. Then a third gale picked up and tossed him once more. He could see his own demise coming as he knew he was going headfirst into a wall, and that typically slamming one's head into something was considered fatal. However, as his head smashed against the rocky surface he felt...nothing? His head felt fully intact and he wasn't even suffering from a headache of some kind. If anything, he felt more sorry for the wall, though these feelings were interrupted once more as the wind continued toss him about like a chew toy. Chester's body ached all over as he awoke to the sound of a gentle wind blowing through the area. Pushing himself off the ground, Chester muttered, "what happened?" Looking around and taking note of the scenery, the boy said, "where...this certainly isn't a cave." The Chespin was shocked by the sudden six voices shouting at him, essentially expressing his own thoughts. Albeit louder. Looking to Hector the Chespin cleared his throat saying, "that is certainly the question of the hour." Everyone's attention was then drawn to the pokemon that, as Marv - someone who had most assuredly always been a Froakie - had pointed out, was the Mythical Pokemon Jirachi. "That would certainly not be the thing I'd have expected to meet here. But," Chester looked back to the rest of the group, taking stock of them and making sure they were alright. As the moderator it was his job to ensure the safety of everyone in the group. Though, as the de facto leader as a result, it was also his job to take charge in the conversation of getting info from the wish granting pokemon. Though it seemed to be asleep and two people were already asking it questions, and as such it would be rude of Chester to interject. Though also the first set of pokemon they met that weren't them were also immediately hostile so Chester wasn't sure if conversing was even in the cards with this pokemon. Though it was also a mythical pokemon and they were not in a cave so perhaps such a thing wasn't a worry he should've been having. Though every time they had come across something new or dangerous thus far that one sided voice would warn them about it, and it certainly wasn't doing such a thing now. The Chespin was lost in thought and decision paralysis for a moment before saying, "alright everyone make sure you aren't injured and keep your hostilities in check until this pokemon wakes up. One question at a time too!" The moderator had almost told everyone to form a single file line to ensure that they each went in a proper order, but stopped himself short before looking at the Jirachi.
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    For the second time today Noibat felt herself abruptly coming to consciousness in a place she didn't recognize. For a moment she let hope fill her chest that everything she'd experienced had simply been a nightmare. After all, how could she have possibly turned into a Pokemon and woken up in a cave surrounded by other people that had also turned into Pokemon and also just so happened to frequent the same cringe Pokemon custom card making forum she'd wasted most of her life on? Well unfortunately for her she was still very much a Noibat and surrounded by other people-turned-Pokemon. This time outside at least, but that still didnt change the absurdity of the situation. Adding to all this the confusion surrounding their exit of the cave: flashes of seeing a human figure, the feeling they were missing someone and yet not missing someone, and the fact someone was a frog now who maybe hadn't always been one but that felt weird and wrong. All she could really do in this moment was ping the surroundings with her ears as if trying to cool the processor that was her overwhelmed brain. "Huh?" She mumbled. Hearing outside was a fair bit different. For a moment it almost felt like she was hearing normal again and not instantly perceiving the shape of things around her with her ears. But the sensation didn't last long. Though less pronounced than in the cave, soundwaves still bounced back and she could tell the number of Pokemon directly around her before she finished turning herself about. "Oh great another one..." she complained at the sight of the new, apparently sleeping, arrival. As long as this one didn't want to fight she wasn't going to immediately interact with it. All the more reason not to as the others who had been stirring began talking, to each other and it. A bit too much noise for her taste all at once after waking up with super hearing. Though at least Marv had identified the new Pokemon as Jirachi. Noibat knew that, totally hadn't forgotten it. Still, she instead focused on the sound of gently crashing waves to ground herself and more fully realized what kind of place they were in. "Looks like y'all got things well in hand here." She commented to the queue Chester was trying to form. "If you need anything just shout... no wait don't, just talk I'll hear you anyway. But I'll be up there looking around." Noibat tried pointing to the top of the nearest palm tree with the finger like claws on her right wing, and looked a little annoyed that her entire wing had moved with the motion. Still a bat. Still trying to figure that out. At least she'd mostly gotten a hang of flying in the cave as she took to the air again with little trouble.
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    It was a blur, in more ways than one. Marv heard the howling wind, felt it…it was intense, like he was experiencing a massive tornado or even a hurricane. It came out of nowhere but practically ravaged them all like a wild animal, feral and bloodthirsty. To say Marv's heart was beating miles a minute was an understatement…he honestly felt like he was going to collapse from a heart-attack. Everything else was fuzzy, as his vision played tricks on him…or did it? He could've swore he saw a portal open and…a Pokémon of some sort…and a human? He reached out for it, didn't he? Cause that was -----...he did want to at least make sure that ----- was alright... But was that what he was doing? Then…it all went black for Marv. The wind was the thing that caused Marv to stir, though it was a calm awakening versus the monstrous beast that whisked them from their previous location. No, this seemed more like a parent's tender touch to wake their child. It was something Marv did not mind, as he stirred himself awake. The surroundings seemed more colorful than the stone dungeon that had been their first awakening experience. The hot sun, the soft grass, the cool breeze, a blue sky and a few palm trees stretching above them. It was a beautiful picture that lay before them, at least, from what Marv could see. There wasn't any urban noise, which meant civilization wasn't around much…which was both a plus and a negative. The plus being, it was more peaceful and quiet. The negative being, they didn't know how far civilization was…and they needed that at least, especially if they wanted food. Marv finally began to sit up, no longer wishing to stare up at the blue sky, as he rubbed a hand over his face. He paused, looking at his hand. It was a white hand with blue…that…was right, right? He shuffled himself upward and began to hop…wait…hop? Regardless, he hopped until he found himself a small spot where water was. Looking down, he saw his reflection: a Froakie. He recognized the Kalosian starter, but was he always a-... His eyes went blank, his thoughts began to mist over. It was like he went into a sort of trance-like state. It lasted a bit before finally snapping out of it, though Marv then ended up wondering just one thing. …what…was I just thinking about? Once he got himself situated, he noticed Hector, Es and the aptly named Clobber (he at least remembered the little brawling octopus requested to be named that) looking at a… "Wait…is that…?" Marv muttered, tilting his head, looking at the white and yellow Pokémon. There wasn't any mistake. Once again, he hopped in the direction of the others, trying to make sense of the strange thing. “Hello? Are you awake? Did you bring us here?” “If so! Watch it, b-b-b-buddy! Unlike some of my friends here, I’ve got a br-brain, and can only t-t-t-take so many blows to the noggin!" "Oh yeah? Really coulda fooled me. Surprised you don't think they're dead, too." "Seemed like a bit of an insult…but maybe was meant as a compliment?" Marv shrugged. He looked at the three, before looking at the sleeping Pokémon. "And I'm not sure this little guy did it…unless they wished us out." The Froakie looked at the others, before explaining. "...they did a whole Poll back on the forum. Was a popularity contest…I think…but this little guy popped up. It's Jirachi. Soooo the odds of meeting a Mythical are…kinda high." He glanced at Clobber, seeing his face basically still covered in dirt. "By the way…yooooou want me to clean you up? Got something…right about here…" Marv motioned with his hand over his whole face, showing Clobber where the dirt happened to be.
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    "By the way…yooooou want me to clean you up? Got something…right about here…" "No, no I do not. I don't want your weird frog bubbles anywhere near me actually." Clobber said, waving one arm, clump of dirt clinging onto it, at the Froakie. Froakie? Yeah, he was a Froakie, why would that give him pause? Besides the obvious weirdness of a talking Froakie who supposedly used to be a person. Eventually he'd have to get over that wouldn't he? "I'd be more worried bout what those guys are up to. What do they think they're doin' over there?" "alright everyone make sure you aren't injured and keep your hostilities in check until this pokemon wakes up. One question at a time too!" Clobber laughed when he realized that no one was listening. Two of the others had just...fucked off somewhere. And then the other two were still crowding around the sleeping Pokemon who.... "Aw, heck." He hadn't been paying attention but it looked like the Jirachi had attacked the annoying ghost, probably cause they were being annoying, which made the former mod soldier-boy...boys get all uppity and decide that this meant that the fight was on. "What a damn idiot, frickin' white knighting dumbass." He grumbled. "Well I ain't gonna save your butt...butts from a freaking legendary Pokemon got that!" He shouted and threw his arms up in the air before moving away from the fighting. His heart thumped as an uncomfortably familiar fear crept in which caused him to quicken his pace away from the battle. He wasn't about to fight for no reason, he had every reason to assume that thing was a lot stronger than them, and he really didn't feel like getting beat up first thing on waking up again. That wasn't his fight ain't no way no how. He noticed the Noibat nearby where he had wandered and awkwardly asked, "See any uh, berries or somethin' up there?"
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    Hector stared at the Jirachi. His initial hope was dashed; if it had already used its wish, then if he remembered right it would not be able to wish them back to their home. The memory was fuzzy but he swore there was some kind of rule about ‘every 10,000 years’ or something. “You can get back to napping soon. Despite what some of us said, we don’t mean any harm. We were just wondering if—wait, what did you say?” Hector had barely processed what the Jirachi had said before the battle instincts of his new body took over. All six tiny orb-shaped soldiers rushed forward and locked their shields together, but it was unnecessary as it turned out. The attack sailed over his head and crashed into the zealous Ghost-type that had threatened it. "Es! Hey, leave them alone!" If he were still a human he would have shoved Jirachi. His new body took that information and ran with it. The troopers surrounded the Brass and he pushed off of their shields with his stout little legs, sailing higher into the air than he had any right to. Hector’s stomach flipped but he did his best to keep focused on the brass. His kaleidoscope visioned faded until he was seeing out of only one pair of eyes—the eyes of the Brass who was currently several feet in the air. Then gravity kicked in and he started to fall. Hector brought both his shields down onto the head of the Jirachi as he did, using all his strength and velocity to try and smash the mythical Pokémon into the ground. It lost maybe an inch of height. Otherwise, it remained asleep. The Brass hit the ground behind Jirachi and bounced. Hector dug his shields into the ground to bring himself to a stop and summoned the rest of the troop to his side. Instantly, his kaleidoscope vision returned. "If you wanna fight, fight me!" That was the best choice. Jirachi was a steel-type. Fighting trumped Steel. Except… wait… in the games, had Jirachi had a second type?
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    Reinaan had been caught in a dream for what felt like an eternity and yet also a fleeting moment. The images were incoherent and usually featured trees. He'd been around a lot of trees lately so that much made sense. But little else escaped to his conscious mind with him when a sound awoke him. Something like wind rushing past yet also distinct footsteps. A person. Yet as the sleep-addled Draken came to his senses and gathered his surroundings he found very little in the immediate room with him beyond the sapling by which he'd rested. No sign of the other Chosen or their companions. Not even the mounts. But then they'd left them outside hadn't they and this was inside their destination. Cautiously, Reinaan first exited the building altogether where Kloqah and the mule were stationed. They seemed nervous or on edge but of what the boy couldn't be sure. There was no sign of the others out so they must have gone further in. So in the fire chosen returned, careful to steer clear of the sapling this time. He didn't have time to understand if it was what had caused his sudden dreariness or not but now was not the time for a repeat performance. As Reinaan continued deeper inside he heard voices echoing, some familiar and others not. The unfamiliar naturally set him on edge yet as he approached Ryia's voice was what he heard most of. Before long the boy emerged into the room the other chosen and the two elves were having their meeting in. Reinaan had arrived just in time to hear the elven woman reply to Ryia's last question of what they had stolen. "Uh, that's a bit more complicated." the strange woman said, clearly a bit nervous about giving the answer. Reinaan had entered onto the side of the room his allies had been standing, with the two new elves deeper in. His eyes danced quickly from caution to a more relaxed state, keeping him from raising his weapon. The others hadn't seen fit to fight yet and they knew a bit more of what had been going on so he would follow. The elven girl took note of the draken's entrance but wasn't concerned enough to acknowledge him, choosing rather to stick closer to the boy. Said elven boy seemed not to be as immediately present in the conversation as the others but a look of curiosity took over him as he saw Reinaan. He moved to approach but the girl stopped him which elicited a small snort of a chuckle from the draken. "Think I heard enough on the way in to get what's going on but..." Reinaan started, making his presence known if anyone hadn't caught on yet. "What's complicated about stealing something? Either you have it or you know where you put it." He stated as a matter of fact while looking over the group. Still no Damien but everyone else seemed accounted for and mostly in one piece. He looked a bit embarrassed to have fallen asleep as he did and wasn't going to draw attention to his lagging behind himself nor address it if it wasn't brought up. Best to act like he knew what was going on. His only saving grace was Ziiyol hadn't yet chosen to manifest by his side to tease him for it.
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    While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” -Luke 20:45-47 (NIV)Melissa found herself awash with nostalgia. There were many such stores back home on Ambrosia, most of them more Duel-Monsters focused than this one seemed to be what with its figurines and comics and such, but the aesthetic was still all the same. Everything was just a bit cramped and the light was just a bit too artificial. She inhaled through her nose, though, and immediately regretted it. That was a difference. In a world where just about everyone had to visit a store like this at one point in their life or another, everyone at least had the decency to shower first. Not so here. If she had to describe it (and she really didn’t want to think about the smell for longer than it took to get it out of her system), it was like sweat, peaches, and onions. Somehow, the combination of those three things was worse than any of them individually. It was the sort of thing that immediately made Melissa want to turn around and find another store, but something told her that all stores would be like this. This was just how it was here. Also, she was with Fen, and she didn’t want to drag her friend and squad leader around searching for some imagined ideal. This was just something she would have to deal with. Anyway, Fen had asked her a question. “I guess we go to the counter?” Melissa said. “It looks like there are cards there, we can get a closer look at them, or maybe they have packs or starter decks behind the counter.” There was a little rustling from some faraway shelf which Melissa heard but tried to ignore. Talking with whoever was running the shop about recommendations was going to be a hard enough challenge as it was. Misplaced nostalgia, breathing, talking, being a good friend… The obstacles had increased dramatically since Melissa had stepped into the store. Much of that went away, though, when she got a good look at the cards in question. “Oh, this is Duel Monsters,” she said. The way she said it the first time was in a way like she didn’t really believe it, like she hadn’t quite processed what that meant. It took a second utterance for it to actually take hold. “Oh,” she said. “This is Duel Monsters.” “Fen, this is the game I was telling you about,” Melissa said. Even though she was crouched down in front of the case she was visibly bouncing up and down with excitement. All these cards with font sizes that made words barely legible, she could read them. It was like a whole extra language class was unlocked. And this was for a game she barely played! Just being born and raised in a culture that sorted itself primarily through card play was enough. So it was nostalgia again, but it was of a different kind. “Yeah, I can definitely show you how to play this.” Her eyes finally noticed the price tags attached to the singles. “Wait, Graceful Charity costs how much here?” “Excuuuse me.” Melissa shot straight up. It was the same sort of feeling she’d had when Julian surprised her, only this time she’d just managed to keep Zadkiel from appearing and wrecking the store with its size alone. She almost dared not turn around, eventually only doing so out of a sense of politeness. Describing the speaker required processing him for longer than Melissa could stand. He had a hat Melissa couldn’t describe, a sweatshirt with faces on it she definitely didn’t want to think about, a voice that had already had a negative effect on her, and, as he got even closer, she noticed that the store’s pungent odor had gotten even stronger. And yet, he persisted. Worse, he persisted by mangling a perfectly good poem. “And what should my wandering ear but a-hear,” he said, “but the voice of a lovely, female dear,” A snort. He actually snorted. “Or two dears, as the case may be.” He took one final step forward, and Melissa pressed her back against the counter as if it would give her any extra distance between herself and the stench. “I don’t mean any trouble, but did I hear you call the greatest card game of all time ‘Duel Monsters?’” “Um,” Melissa said. She wasn’t sure what else she could say to that. “I’m a nice person by nature,” he said with a leering smile that was anything but nice, “so when I hear a grossly unfactual statement such as that, I can’t help but correct it. It’s only called ‘Duel Monsters’ in the show, you see. All real fans know that in real life it is named after the show itself: ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’” Melissa. Of all the times for the angels to speak up, this was not a great one. We cannot help but notice your heart rate has spiked dramatically. Do you need us to- “No,” Melissa muttered. “I know.” It was unfortunate that she said it out loud because it meant he heard it too. “You know? Well, if you know the objective truth, why would you say otherwise? People might think you’re talking about some other game, like ‘Duel Masters,’ which, as we all know, had to be renamed because of this exact problem. Here:” He pulled a pen and a piece of paper from the pocket of his sweatshirt and scribbled on it. “If you ever want to know more about the greatest game in teh world that is Yu-Gi-Oh! give me a call. We can talk about it among… other things.” “Hey!” It was another voice, this one coming from behind her, and it was mercifully normal-sounding. Another benefit to the new voice, as soon as the man heard it, whatever color his face had instantly disappeared. He flicked the paper Melissa’s way and didn’t even watch to see if she stopped it from fluttering to the ground (she didn’t) as he awkwardly shuffled out of the store and disappeared into the crowd. Melissa exhaled, partly to release all that wound-up tension and un-contort her body and partly because, well, again, that smell. She’d been holding her breath as much as she could. The rescuing voice spoke again, “He’s banned from the store and he knows it. I wasn’t paying attention, sorry.” She turned around to see the speaker behind the counter, a perfectly normal man in his thirties whose most notable features were some particularly wild hair and a name tag that said “Nelson” attached to a black shirt that said COACH in block white letters. “Are you alright?” he said. “Um,” Melissa said. Her heart was still racing, and measured breaths weren’t helping. It was all she could do to manage a “Thank you.” She bent down to pick up the paper now that the guy wasn’t around to see her do it, mostly out of a sense of cleanliness, and she noted the scribble on it. “bradley l braderson” the card read. Then, in brackets, “(the l stands for leigh).” There was a phone number below that. “If you want my advice, you should get rid of that,” Nelson said. “You don’t know where that paper’s been. Hell, give it to me and I’ll burn it for you.” “Thank you,” Melissa said again. “Um, actually, do you know where the restroom on this floor is?”It had been a while since Melissa had had a good scream. As the world came crashing down on her, all she could really do was let it all out. Every so often, she’d hear sounds from outside her stall -- from the rest of the restroom. Most of the time, it was people trying their best to not pay attention, but occasionally she got a knock on her stall asking questions like “Are you alright?” or “Is there anything I can do to help?” Those people were met with a meek “No, thank you.” On one occasion, a woman was like “Hell yeah, let it all out, sister,” which got a half-laugh from Melissa, though it quickly turned into a coughing fit. “You know, I actually thought I was past this,” Melissa said as she finally exited her stall. “I don’t- I guess that I thought I handled being taken from my home okay, and that was the worst thing that could happen to me. Plus, with all the fighting…” The angels, at least, were sympathetic. You have been focused on other things. they said. But after spending time creating a new normal for yourself, it is only natural that old issues would come back to the fore. “I guess,” Melissa said. She turned on the sink and started washing her hands. “Now that I’m thinking about it more, Mauvache did summon us while I was in a restroom, and that wasn’t that long ago.” Also included in her hand-washing procedure was splashing water on her face a few times. You were also in a highly emotional state, having just discovered another thing reminding you of your home. Anyone might have been affected by someone or something disrupting that. “Mm.” Melissa moved on to drying her hands, opting for the automatic towel dispenser over the high-tech air drying machine. “Also, you don’t have to warn me about my heart rate or other things that happen when I’m stressed, you know. I know when it happens. I think being reminded just makes it worse.” You have our apologies. “It’s alright. We’re still working things out.” The last step of this restroom trip was a few deep breaths. Speaking of her heart rate, Melissa had a hand on her heart as she inhaled so she could feel herself returning to normal. “I left Fen alone there,” she said. “I hope she’s okay.”The game store still had a stench to it, but it was the residual kind, where all the clutter made it impossible to aerate properly. It probably wasn’t just Bradley Leigh Braderson that made it smell like that, Melissa realized. It was probably a bunch of different people who either didn’t know their own personal hygiene or didn’t care. It was a little judgemental of her to think that way, she realized, and she made a mental note to remember it in case she ever did find a proper capital C Catholic priest on Prana, but in the moment, she felt like she deserved to feel a little scorn. She shuffled back into the store with a mumbled apology, but she realized she probably should give a proper one not just for herself but for the hobby she was supposed to be introducing. “I’m sorry, Fen,” she said. “My world has people like that too, but everyone plays this game so they’re more of an outlier. I wasn’t really expecting it.” “You’re guardians?” Nelson asked. “Actually, no, I recognize you now that I think about it. I just read a bunch of interviews with Mauvache’s latest crop, and you were in there, I think.” He pointed at Melissa. “I think I’ve seen your picture floating around the mall too. Some amateur photographer is selling prints?” Melissa winced, but she still managed to make a snark. “I think if you tell me that I might have to go hide in the bathroom again,” she said. “I’m especially glad Bradley didn’t recognize us, then.” Nelson laughed. “Well, I’m certainly not going to tell him,” he said. “Honored to have you in the store all the same, though. What can I get for you?” Melissa scanned the wall behind the counter, full of various packs and decks that she didn’t recognize and a few that she did. “I’ll take, uh, that one,” she said, pointing to one of the starter decks. It had a picture of a young woman and a fairy on it, back to back and striking a dramatic pose. “Fen? I’m sure they’re all fine so does any of the key art strike your fancy?”
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    It was strange. The clarity provided by the blood loss, by the adrenaline, it was… A lot for Marshall to take in, as she steadied herself. Her skull pounded from a lack of fluids; her limbs ached as she willed herself to stay standing, and the massive portions of missing or damaged intestines couldn’t have helped either. And yet, despite everything, she saw the world as clear as ever. Even as her vision hazed, even as her grip on the lance sagged, she remained standing, eyes locked on her opponent, as Abby spoke. In truth, Marshall couldn’t help but oblige Abby; even if she wanted to take the next hit, the target had already been selected. Which made now the perfect time to move. The lance faded from her hands in an instant as their enemy finished its wind-up; and she broke out into a sprint towards it. Her vision blurred into a haze with each labored sprint; each step sending a shockwave of pain through her body as the two abdominal wounds threatened to leak further with each step-- But she kept moving. Even as her balance flickered for an instant, her hearing dimming to fill only with the pounding of her heart-- She kept steady in her sprint. The lance had kept her grounded, but… She couldn’t let it slow her down. She needed to move fast-- And move now. The distance was simultaneously longer than she could have ever expected, and shorter than she thought it would be. Like a blur across the field, she shot forwards with a single-minded goal, and brought both hands to her right side as she closed her eyes; the distance was crossed in a moment, with the armor still recoiling from the throw of the lance in her vision as she opened her eyes. The lance appeared in her hands at just the last moment, and in an instant, she felt the last of the supernatural strength that accompanied an art leave her. It plunged into the armor’s chest with less impact than before, but still enough to stagger the armor; as well as her. Marshall’s grip tightened on the lance as she came to a sudden stop as well; the wind knocked out of her as she struggled still to smile, staring up into the helm of the knight. Her mind slowed for that moment, adrenaline fading as the pain began to catch up to her; just in time for the fist of the armor to do so as well, slamming into the crater the lance had formed previously. An unpleasant squelching accompanied it (and whether that had come from her or the Armor, she couldn’t say) as her grip tightened involuntarily on the lance; lightning surging through her body as every muscle seized. She could hardly feel anything anymore. She used what strength she could muster to slam the lance further in, her legs growing weaker as the lance edged slightly further into the liquid form of the knight; water beginning to spill out all around the lance’s widening base even as she pushed the lance further in. “...Let’s just hope…” she’d smile, as she watched the lance raise its other hand; lightning sparking across its knuckles as it tightened it into a fist, and she closed her eyes. “...They make sure this is only your final stop,” she muttered, throwing her full weight onto the lance, thrashing it around inside of the knight, as--- Everything went dark.
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    Alois had done one of the few things he did very well. Stare dumbfounded for a brief moment, both as both Citron and Edrick had partook in self defenestration and that Gaston seemed to be far more competent at fighting then he did speaking. He supposed that everyone had to compensate for their incompetence somewhere else he just wished it was in less combat oriented endeavors. All the same, this dumbfoundedness lasted for only a few moments as the situation was most certainly not under control, least of all as knives seemed to fly out towards Link, and he had opted to be a little stupid himself. Paying no heed to the dangers of jumping out a third story window nor any of the group's poor prior experiences with such things, he leaped out of the third story window on the roof of the floor below. Alois paused, again, locking eyes with the assailant that had attacked Link moments ago. "Really?" The boy couldn't help but voice his thoughts seeing the otherwise innocuous maid who, as it turned out, seemed to be something of a trained killer. Before Alois could say anything more about this the woman, in quite the acrobatic feat, had leaped from the roof to the floor down below. Letting out a sigh the boy said, "of course, why wouldn't she be able to do that. Can't just be good at cooking and cleaning no." Alois had never seen the maid before, so for all he knew she was actually terrible at maid duties and was compensating with assassin skills. Shaking his head, the boy then ran over to the edge of the roof, looking down to see that the window that the woman had jump into was already closed. "Tsk." Clicking his tongue at the woman's exceptional speed, while he would've been inclined to go help everyone else he thought a knife tossing maid was something of a hazard to everyone involved. Drawing his axe - pausing for a bit as he heard an unfamiliar yell that belonged to a familiar voice, and seeing a wyvern on the ground when he was pretty sure it was charging when last he looked - Alois decided that his life of crime in this town was phar from over. Bringing the axe down, Alois committed an increasingly familiar act of breaking to then do the usual follow up of entering, clumsily going from the roof through the window below into the room. When he looked up, he saw that there was no maid to be seen. In fact, "oh, for the love of- " The sound of cooing that seemed to be more akin to screeching, followed by wings flapping and the chaos of feathers surrounding the boy. "Who has this many birds?!" Tsetseg had continued following along the members of the militia, feeling a sense of restlessness as she wanted to be sure that they were able to bring the bad man that would push people into a hole were brought to justice. Eventually, though, it had seemed the wait had finally come to an end. While Phai was currently not with them, based on nothing at all Tsetseg had every bit of confidence that the Phar Patrol girl would be able to catch up with them. While both Cora and Acantha had horses they were getting on, Tsetseg was getting ready to take off into a full blown sprint - she thought herself quick on her feet at least. However, at the idea of being able to get a ride on a horse was brought up, both due to a mixture of common sense and the thrill of being on horseback brought Tsetseg to believe that that was the much better idea. "Yeah, yeah! Let's go catch that bad guy!" Tsetseg scrambled onto Cora's horse, a determined look on her face that seemed to be slightly mismatched with the excitement in her voice.
  11. 1 like
    “Ah, there’s that light failure again,” Brian said into his phone. He was glad he kept the flashlight on so he didn’t have to fumble around in the dark. “But I’m still here. I’m alive.” He scanned the area again with the light taking note of his surroundings. Yeah, it was still the same room he was just in, no mystic fakery there. There were urinals and a sink and a - “Jesus Christ.” Where the toilet had been was a ghost. It was the kind of ghost with wet hair that covered her face and stretched all the way to the ground where it mangled together into a heap. It was a sorry wretch of a ghost, all things considered, Brian thought. Still, its sudden appearance had given him a little jump, “I’m not going to say I didn’t believe you before, Carmen, but I found the ghost,” he said. To the ghost, but still with the phone listening in, he said, “Excuse me, can I just…” He extended his arm out with one of the seals in hand and kept going forward, ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of his mind that whatever it was it really ought not to be. If the ghost disappeared again, he’d just stick the seal on the toilet. If it stayed dormant, he’d stick it on its forehead and figure out something from there. He didn’t actually know how the seals were supposed to work. The ghost, though, did neither of those things. It grabbed Brian’s arm with a speed he wasn’t ready for, and its hand was clammy to the touch. “Excuse me, that’s-” Brian grunted. He tried to push forward, just, like, slide down the grip so he could stick the seal on something, but the ghost’s grip was firm enough there to make it kind of a struggle. And it had one free hand too, but it didn’t try to grab Brian with that one. Instead, it reached up to its head area and parted its hair, revealing itself to not only not have a face, but had a void instead of a face, a gaping hole that was impossibly deep for its place in the ghost’s body. It was directing the seal -- and Brian’s arm -- towards that. “Nope. Nope nope nope. No thanks,” Brian said. He yanked his arm back, but it took a few tries before he could get his wrist free. For the second time that night, Brian found himself sprinting for the bathroom door. He spotted Carmen as he came out, hung up the phone, and ran back over. “Okay, new plan. Let’s go back to the van and, uh, see what other stuff Shiki might have left for us.”
  12. 1 like
    It was an ominous and foreboding feeling...the feeling of being watched. He had experienced in his life, sure...especially during his adventures within the Ever, those Undecided always did have a funny way of just appearing out of nowhere. Nevertheless, he kept a vigilant eye on his surroundings for the time being as he made his way to the Arena. However, once he arrived there, he would simply be met with a holographic sign... ARENA TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE "Hmmm, well that's troublesome..." Trevor sighed, seeing the grimoire rising up next to him. "Our third trip to this location and suddenly it's needing maintenance." Quite a mystery. Mayhaps what miss Nabudis said about Mauvache just simply knowing may be the case? "It's a thought...but one that we don't know for sure." he shrugged slightly, preparing to turn immediately on his heel, but he froze. Something caught his eye, something glistening in the sunlight. It was a rainstorm...of...knives. "What in the...?" Trevor clicked his tongue slightly, immediately casting Aerora as a quick wind swept around him and immediately defended him against quite a few of the knives. "And here I was afraid to not get a workout in." he muttered, immediately backing away from his original standing spot. Unfortunately, more knives continued to fall...more accurately, directly at him. Trevor began to grit his teeth somewhat, before having an idea. "Well...I had been wanting to test this one out specifically...MAGNET!" He shouted and threw his hand to the side as a small set of constantly rotating orbs of magic appeared directly to his right and with it, the knives began to gravitate direction towards it. "Perfect! It works like a charm...now, if I were the source of this knife-storm...where would I be?" Trevor began to immediately survey his surroundings. At first he didn't see anything, then he would hear something above. If he looked, which he obviously did, there would be a woman dropping down towards him from the sky. She seemed to be jumping from small round objects that appear right before she landed on them. Each time she landed she'd kick off, they'd break, and she'd land on another a bit further down. The young sorcerer raised an eyebrow, seeing this woman approaching him in quite the flashy display. It was obvious she was a potential user of magic, so this would be interesting. "Impressive trick you've displayed..." Trevor spoke, still staying on the defensive. "I suppose an introduction is in order...miss...?" "Oh, don't you know me? No why would you, we've never met. Isn't that funny? Because for some reason." She jumped from the next disk, vaulting overhead and twirling. "Looking at you makes me kind of upset, like you did something really, really, mean to me in a past life." Before landing a few more knives suddenly appeared in front of her and were shot towards Trevor. "Magnet!" Trevor cast the spell right in the area between him and this mystery woman, attempting to halt the knives. "Perhaps a case of mistaken identity?" he asked, walking away from the Magnet area to look at the woman. "Nevertheless, I suppose I'll introduce myself then. Trevor Masters, apprentice to Balthazar B-..." "Lacie! That's my name! Almost forgot it! But I don't remember the last name right now, maybe it's time to change it again." She tapped a finger to her chin. "Hm. What was I doing...Oh!" More knives, quite charming. Trevor frowned at being interrupted like that, but the name was now out there: Lacie. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly ring a bell... "Well, miss Lacie, whatever you believe me to have done, I can assure you I haven't." he said, nonchalantly firing off a Fira spell to stop the next wave of knives. "Oh, I know. I'm already past that part. I'm just greeting you. What's the saying...'knives to meet you'!" She then began to cackle. "Charming." Trevor sighed. "With the knives present like this, my dear, I feel like you may be trying to end my life. This seems all so sudden...I hardly know you." he said with a sly smirk, as he tipped his hat. "You could at least buy me a drink first." "Well I WAS trying to, but now I'm not! Oh, I've got tea!" She then is holding a cup, and a teapot, and began to pour some liquid into the cup. What even was she? Trevor had to ponder this. Never before, at least not in his recollection, had he ever met a woman of this caliber to the point where she seemed...almost absent minded. Ditzy even, but then again, it was rude to even make such a judgment call on that. "Well then." he said, remaining defensive, but was somewhat more relaxed about the situation. "So pray tell, my dear, why attempt to attack me...meet me...whatever you wish to call this?" "I told you didn't I? I wasn't lying, I'm a lot of things but not a liar!" She takes a sip of the tea, then seemed to remember something. "Oh yeah you wanted some didn't you?" She offered the cup. "I still feel kind of mad when I look at you, but the best people are a little mad I always say." Trevor snapped his fingers and had the cup float his direction, taking it in his hand. "My apologies, never once intended to insinuate you as a 'liar'. But perhaps, like I mentioned earlier, it's a case of mistaken identity. I seem to resemble someone you've met, perhaps" "Nope! I remember all the faces I've seen, especially mine!" She held up a mirror and gasped, "wait, I'm gorgeous!" Trevor blinked a few times, seeing the Cabanomicon rising up once more and writing the following for him to see: Seems you attract all the loons, Masters. He sighed and closed the book. "Thank you for your riveting insight, my leatherbound friend. Not exactly helping." he muttered.
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