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  1. 4 likes
    Hunger. Pain. Hunger is pain. Pain bad. Pain bad. Pain is hunger. Pain... hunger, pain pain pain--!!! Karna woke up with a gasp, sweat dripping down his face. Where was he? He didn't remember where he was or how he got there. That was never a good sign. He looked over his body. No wounds, no signs of any obvious damage. The most unusual thing was that he was full, but that didn't mean much. Looking around, he was in a rundown room, presumably inside of an apartment. It seemed he was back in one of his home bases. That was good, at least he wasn't stranded on the top of a building again. His attention was drawn to his small, broken table. On top of the dilapidated furniture was some food, probably enough for the whole day. The delicious looking food, something most people in his situation would considered a gift from the gods themselves, only filled Karna's stomach with despair. There was no doubt about it. That food was not there yesterday. That food was not his. An incident happened. Running over to the dry board (that was also stolen, from where, he had no idea), Karna quickly erased away the large 13 on the board, scribbling in a big 0 in its place. The transformations weren't following a pattern he could discern. It was probably just emotion based. Still, just seeing the number get bigger made him feel better. Even if his good feelings went away as soon as he had to scribble in that 0. He sat at the table, nibbling away at the food. He always felt guilty, but he had to eat. Still, he could only hope that whoever he stole from could forgive him. When he had his fill, the boy threw on his tattered jacket, walking outside. The sunlight caused him to squint. Seeing as his last memory was at dusk, at least a night had passed. Now he had to retrace his steps, and hope he could figure out what exactly happen last night. He quietly walked through the streets of District 13, keeping his head low. He made sure to stay out of people's sights, out of their attention. He soon figured out he was on the Southern Border of the 13th District, right next to District 1. That worked out perfectly, as information traveled fast in District 1. However, he wasn't even in the district for long before he realized something horrible had happened. The capital building was gone! All around was a trail of destruction, one carving its way into the distance. The damage was immeasurable, the path of destruction was wide. Karna stared at it, only one thought came to his mind. "Did... D-Did I do that?" He muttered fearfully. His stomach felt like it would expel all its contents. He knew he was dangerous, he knew that he needed to stay away from others, but this. This was destruction on a scale even his own paranoia wasn't ready for. He needed to know what happened. And so he followed the path of destruction. All the way up to District 11, the path snaked. Karna could see homes ruined, businesses destroyed, lives in shambles. He could could only feel the guilt of it all crushing him, like the entire weight of the world was on his shoulders. The path suddenly turned, headed back down towards District 6. As he walked for hours, taking in all the destruction around him, his steps felt heavier and heavier. Freedom was a gift he didn't deserve. Not after all this. After what felt like an eternity, he found the end of the path. The capital building, transformed into some sort of... mech, laid in ruins. It crushed everything around it, including Karna's own conscious. What had he done? What did they have to do to stop him? It was terrifying. Laying low wasn't on the table any more. Something like this would make him hunted for the rest of his life. He looked down at his hands. They didn't stop shaking. His life, it wasn't much. It wasn't worth trading for all these people. All these lives he ruined. It hit him suddenly. A buzzing in his skull, the itching of his skin. A Fount was near. The buzzing, the itching, it was more intense than anything he felt before. There must have been so many Founts here. He looked over, his eyes focusing on a bar. The roof of it was torn off... something a Fount could easily do. How many where there? Where they all after him now? What should he even do in this situation? He decided to inch closer to the bar, looking in through one of the broken windows. There were so many people gathered there. Were they all Founts? His eyes scanned the room. Oh. Oh shit. That was Sei. This had to be about him. There was no way she just came here for some sort of social interaction. It had to be about what he did. There was nothing else it could be. So what did he do? They weren't the police. They couldn't arrest him. Turning himself in wouldn't actually do anything. But at the same time, turning himself in to actual cops? There was no guarantee the monster within wouldn't break free to preserve itself. And far more people would get hurt. He made his choice. He opened the door slowly, his steps shaky. It felt as if even a stiff breeze would topple him. "I... I surrender..." He managed to get out, his voice barely a whisper. It felt as if vomit threatened to escape with every word that he spoke. His hands refused to stop shaking, his guilt refused to leave. "I-I'm sorry..." he could feel tears going down his face. How many people were gone? How many lives were destroyed? He was a monster. But he made the right choice, in the end.
  2. 4 likes
    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
  3. 4 likes
    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.
  4. 4 likes
    RIP Kazuki Takahashi, an actual legend
  5. 4 likes
    My Legion cosplay for Fanboy and Soda City
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Zero and One: "It was The Road to Hell. It was Hard Times..." You will arrive along The Old Road. It winds with a troubling, serpent-like suggestion through the corrupted countryside, leading only, I fear, to ever more tenebrous places. There is a sickness in the ancient, pitted cobbles of The Old Road, and on its writhing path, you will face viciousness, violence, and perhaps other, damnably transcendent terrors. So steel yourself, and remember: there can be no bravery without madness. The Old Road will take you to hell, but in that gaping abyss, we will find our redemption. The initial introduction to the campaign is a series of tutorial fights with the Crusader and Highwayman, but I’m going to jump ahead a little here and just go through our new adventurers, describe all the quirks that they’ve just gotten, and, when necessary give some brief commentary on how I expect them to improve. In a normal game of Darkest Dungeon, I wouldn’t take half of you. I’d just find the ones I liked and dismiss the rest. But, to be really corny about it, this isn’t a five-card draw, it’s a twenty-four-person stud, so studs you shall become or die trying. You’re gonna do great. With that out of the way, let’s actually go down The Old Road to find our redemption or whatever Wayne June was talking about. The tutorial’s not over yet, though. The Hamlet is still mostly boarded up so I’ll cover that when it becomes more open, but the first foray into the ruins is scripted as well, so let’s go there. You’re supposed to run with a Crusader, Highwayman, Vestal, Plague Doctor party, but we have significantly more options available to us. I chose this party for a few reasons. The first is, well, I feel incentivized to use the adventurers with forum names. Besides, I don’t have a better solution to Skaia and Hakima being Antsy yet, and it’s not like they have zero synergies when paired up. Arbalest’s Big Crossbow, then, was an easy choice since the Arbalest also deals with marks, and then I needed a healer, so Junia it was. You’ll notice the name the game gave this party. That only occasionally shows up and is a sign the developers at Red Hook anticipated this party might be put together. Again, this will be a scripted map, so I know what I need to take to save on gold. The dog biscuits and the bandage come from choosing the Houndmaster and the Arbalest with me, and the rest, in order, are as follows: Torches so I can see, keys for chests, food for healing (and, you know, to eat), shovels for blockages, and holy water mostly for a curio but it can also boost resistances to debuffs. I suppose I can go through the remaining items too. Dog treats are a Houndmaster-specific buff when consumed, and bandages stop bleeding. To the right of the shovels is antivenom, which cures blight, and in-between the bandages and the keys are medicinal herbs, which cure miscellaneous debuffs. In the bottom-left is ladanum, which is useless I mean, it cures the stress-over-time effect called “horror” which is a little rare, even after Marvin’s mods, and on the other side is Shard Dust, which we don’t need to worry about until at least mid-game and will be explained then. This is an important screen, though. Once you hit that “Embark” button at the bottom, there is no turning back. We’re ready, though, so into the ruins we go. That’s all I have for you today. Sorry I couldn’t introduce everyone, but this post has gone over 3500 words. I don’t know how the next few weeks will go, but there hasn’t been a reason for me to complain just yet. Let me know if you have any questions, either about your character or about the game at large. Next time, we’ll open up the wider estate for exploring, go through some of the slowly-reopening buildings of the Hamlet, and, as a special treat, a trip to the circus! ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
  7. 4 likes
    25 years later, I've finally completed Crash 1.
  8. 4 likes
    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.
  9. 4 likes
    So, that job I mentioned before? I got it. I now make 6 figs working remotely. My girlfriend and I are planning on moving to Columbia, SC soon.
  10. 4 likes
    The last of my Christmas gifts for my family: This is Jordy, my mom and dad's chocolate lab, wearing the jersey of his namesake!
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    (discord invite link) So much to do, and so little time... Rules The Story So Far Setting FAQ Application Accepted Apps changelog: (AM 11/18/2022): Discord invite link added (PM 11/18/2022): Full OOC is now live!
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    If you've got me friended on Discord or Steam, you've probably seen that I've spent an awful lot of time in RPG Maker MV lately. Well, this thread is about what I've been doing in there. It all started a bit under a month ago, with this DM to @Saikazo Later that night in a call I had with him, I explained the idea of an RPG where the protagonist's class changes over the course of the game based on the actions you take, and how I wanted to set the system up. Then I started putting in some groundwork, and with almost a month since this initial DM and thirty bucks thrown at a certain plugin developer, I've got a game that's got the groundworks of playability set up in a way I'm pleased with (for now), and a wee bit of actual content to play through. This blog is here mostly so I can talk about game dev stuff that I either don't know who to DM about it, or is too wordy for me to want to send it in a DM in the first place, but it's also here to track the actual development of the game (which still needs a title) and show off what I've been up to lately. And just to get some crediting stuff out of the way in advance since people deserve to be credited for their work, terms of use from a few parties compel me to mention the following: RPG Maker MV is developed by Gotcha Gotcha Games, a subsidiary of KADOKAWA If you see any sort of battle screen or pictures of an enemy, the enemy was designed by Aekashics unless otherwise specified Any mentions of plugins (there will be lots of this) refer to plugins created by Yanfly, unless otherwise specified I wanna lead off these blog posts with music, and any music I post here will be music that's also in the game, all taken from PeriTune's copyright-free music library Table of contents
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    Number 65: The Fount of Refreshment Number 128: The Fount of Poison WIP Number 62: The Fount of Rage WIP
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    Tempest took a deep breath as he let go of the shadows holding one of the now-defunct serpents down, stumbling to a knee as he did. The ongoing chaos and the restraints on the snake’s movement had tired him out, the boy struggling to push himself standing as he stumbled slightly. He glanced up towards the remaining snake that had sprouted wings, the storm of debris rushing towards him being met with the combined efforts of Ibuz's winds and his own shadows rising up in front of them, only to fall almost immediately as the debris was shoved to the sides. He stumbled, taking a few steps as he glanced up at the snake. The others were coming up with ideas, but it was Kiyoko who seemed to have a solid plan. He listened to the brief conversation between the sudden hero and Kiyoko... "Perfectly understandable. Anyone else? I can't write and cash the check, so to speak, and while I've got a backup plan I'd rather it not come to that." He took a breath as he glanced towards the speaker, his brow raising as he thought it over for all of five seconds. His hand clenched as he darted a bit closer to her, raising his hand, “Let’s do it. Better to lose a few years than lose them all, right?” He made his way towards the book, he didn’t like doing this, but he placed his bandaged hand down on it anyway, getting a sense of anxiety as he did. It was probably better, at least he had to hope that his initial assumption was right, “Take it away, just hope it isn’t too painful.” “Oh, I certainly hope it isn’t painful. I’ve never done this before, so I wouldn’t know. Now, just take a deep breath and leave the rest to me.” As Tempest placed his hand on the book, Kiyoko nudged it here and there to get it into just the right position. And then… “♠♣☺‼¶” From within the pages of the book, small, fleshy, finger-like tendrils sprung up, gripping Tempest’s hand to lock it in place. To any onlookers, however, it would just look as if he was incredibly good at keeping his hand in that one spot. Then, from beneath the boy’s palm, a pair of jaws unhinged, clamping themselves around the hand and giving the feeling of sucking something out of him, though calling it a feeling was the best he’d be able to manage. After a brief moment, the tendrils and teeth retracted, and Tempest’s hand looked none the worse for wear. “And there we have it,” Kiyoko smiled. “Quick and relatively painless, like getting a shot.” Tempest drew his hand back once that sensation finally ended, a little mumble escaping him as he brought his hand up. He didn't know how to describe that, it was uncomfortable at the very least, and he was glad that it was over. He unwrapped the bandages around it to get a better look at it, flexing his fingers as he did, “...Seems fine, I can use them alright. That’s all that matters right now, you got what you need to take care of the snake?” “Absolutely. Observe.” “☼☻‼♣↕▬♣” From the pages of the Necronomicon came a distinct red glow. The book, empowered by her fellow Fount’s payment of a part of their own lifespan, would for the moment be capable of greater feats than normal. In various points around the serpent, the ever-familiar rips in the air itself appeared, a large eye emerging from each one. Each trained on Stratford’s newest creation, and each unblinking in its presence. “☺♫♦☼☻♀○¶♣∟☺¶♣” With no further prompting, each of the eyes surrounding the airborne serpent began to glow, seeming to take the red light away from the book Kiyoko had used to call upon them. After only a brief moment to absorb the power Tempest had offered, each eye unleashed a powerful beam of energy, aimed at the serpent that had warranted their attention. It squirmed in the air, apparently in pain, as pieces of it were burned and cut off, falling to the ground. For a moment, it wrapped itself in its wings, before bursting then open once again. A golden glow was now visible from within its toothy maw, and with a sweeping arc it fired an enormous beam of light, hitting each of the eyes that had made themselves present around it. With otherworldly screeches, the portals closed, leaving behind only tar like blood that fell from where they once were. “Oh, my. It may be time for Plan B after all.” “Guess it’s tougher than the first two were…” the heroine muttered as she rubbed her chin, before turning to Tempest, “Hey, I owe you one. Thanks for covering for me.” Tempest took a deep breath, nodding his head towards the newcomer as he did, "I just wish it worked a bit better. I guess that was a waste of time." He brought his hands up as he looked around the battlefield, "Whatever! I'm not ready to die, so let's go." His fingers came together as shadows around the fallen rubble began to rise upwards into the air, tips sharpening into fine points as he lashed them towards the airborne serpent. Any that hit splintered inside of it, followed by him dropping to one knee as the shadows began to pull the creature downwards... Or at the very least, providing some resistance to it trying to climb further into the air. "...I can't do much more, hopefully this helps..."
  15. 3 likes
    <OOC> BGM: Personality Quiz - Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Listen. Can you hear the voice carried by the winds of time? "You...you can hear me, right?" You cannot ignore it. Only those with willing hearts can hear the call across the boundary of space. "Could you be a human? If you are, then that means...I finally found you!" After all, you are one of those extraordinary beings we call humans. "This world...needs your help. Please come...and lend your strength!" O you have undergone the test of the soul. You who have proven yourself worthy. I await your arrival in the world of Pokémon. "Be strong! Stay smart! And be victorious!" And remember. Wherever there is light, there must also be shadow. In the belly of an ancient ruin, several people woke up at the same time. Now, they could have woken from the steady trickle of nearby water, or the jagged blue edges of the broken cobblestone beneath, or the damp chill that clung to their forms, or even something else. Regardless, they were awake. Surrounding them were sandstone walls webbed with cracks thick with moss. Water dripped from a ceiling that had previously held a honeycomb pattern, but now showed a broken mosaic. Here and there, once mighty cylindrical pillars lay collapsed into piles of stone, while others still stood proudly over crumbling foundations. To the side, a clear spring-fed pool wore away at the sharp edges of its confines, spilling out into a canal that ran underneath one of the brick walls. Though one could not call the atmosphere cozy by any means, it carried a certain serenity to it. The air was still and heavy with moisture. Shadows smudged the sharp edges of the room in the dusky light from the cracks above. Even the cries of distant creatures were but a faint echo. Despite this peace, the people gathered there would find their minds clouded by confusion and uncertainty. Their names and experiences in a certain forum shone clearly, as if lit by a spotlight, yet beyond that there was nothing. No history, no semblance of who they were beyond their life on that forum. In addition, a strange feeling of wrongness lingered in the backs of their consciousnesses. Something about them had changed. Map OOC
  16. 3 likes
    "Now would be the perfect time for your questions." The invitation wasn't met with an immediate answer. Not because Raki's interest in questioning the man had wanted. Quite the contrary, in fact. Simply, the boy was paying so little attention to the conversation, that it took a few seconds for the meaning of the girl's words to cause a reaction. In the meantime, Raki had been met with a disappointingly vague answer from the new arrival, who did not seem to share his archer companion propensity for long, perhaps exceedingly so, explanations. And before he could ask for clarifications, he had already called the armor knight to talk in private, while the improvised tourist trip made to proceed in another room. He hesitated for a moment, but then his priorities prevailed. He cared more about the reason he had come here, than to intrude in someone else's private conversation. Not to mention, it would have been quite rude. Thus, as he followed into the dining hall, his goal was on his mind, but not the possibility of a chance coming so soon. It was a... nice dining hall, he guessed? As gaudy as the rest of the place, sure, but outside of the questionable bust it was almost restrained. Then again, Raki hardly had any experience in judging this kind of things. 'That bust however', Raki thought as he focused on that particular detail, 'How does it manage to be so unsettling'. While so focused, as Penelope's invitation came, Raki did not react for a few seconds. Perhaps for the best, as it gave Gunther time to reappear in the door frame, sparing Raki the need to do it himself. He gave the two a grateful look before turning towards Hanikap. What to start with? A problem to the unexpected start of the interrogation was the Raki suddenly found himself without a plan on how to approach things, nor did he have Penelope's seemingly hypnotic ability to drag the man into a conversation. "Right, so." He approached the man. If nothing else, he wanted to make sure he had his attention. "I have a couple of things that I really need you to tell me." Hanikap turned to Raki hesitantly. He broke into a nervous grin. "Er, questions, good sir? What sort of, uhh, questions?" "Well, first" Raki opened "I'd like to know what business you have in the forest near the village." Perhaps, someone more skilled with words would have been taken a subtler approach, but Raki wasn't that someone. Besides, he didn't want to lose time when he didn't know how much he had, and he didn't intend to play games when he had seen him with his own eyes there. "B-B-Business, sir? I d-don't know what you mean." As one could expect, the man was even less enthused about the situation, than he had been about his capabilities as a tour guide, moments before. His eyes were shifting between the three, staring nervously as he saw that any escape route was blocked. Hanikap began to gnaw on his lip. Raki did not appreciate the answer. This... this person, was lying to his very face. He... he had to know that Raki knew he was lying... right? He had to, why did he think Raki would be asking such a thing otherwise? Did Hanikap think he was bluffing? Did he hope to convince Raki he was wrong, somehow? Or, more simply, he was just doing his best to lose time? "I saw you. I was there and I saw you with my own eyes." Whatever was the reason, the heart of the matter was that Hanikap wasn't answering. Someone he owed his life to had been, quite literally, thrown into a ditch, and the one who did it refused to even talk about it. Raki closed the distance, speaking again with a note of rage in his voice, before the man could try to answer again. "I found Timmy trapped in a pit, and you threw him in." Now Hanikap was well and truly panicking. "Y-you sure it was me?" Raki had enough. "Yes!" he clawed at the man, grabbing Hanikap and dragging each other as close as the size of the servant allowed, hands clenched in rage on the fabric. "Yes, I'm sure!" Hanikap's eyes widened, expressing every ounce of panic the man felt in an instant. For a moment, it looked as if he was going to tear himself away from Raki's clutches by fright alone. Then, he slumped, looking down. Perhaps it was the sudden bout of aggression, perhaps not, but as the man spoke again, he appeared to have given up on trying to play ignorant. "Sorry. Yer right, ah did--I mean, I did shove poor Timmy down the pit." Hanikap looked back up with a beseeching expression. "But, but it were the only choice. You gotta believe me! Honest!" Admission, at last. "And in what world throwing a boy into a hole is your only choice?" Still incensed, Raki lessened his grip, but still maintained a less than comfortable distance from the man. "I panicked. Wasn't thinking straight. Lord Gaston was fixing to hurt the boy otherwise! Said he didn't want no word to be getting back on what he had--!" Hankap's own hand raised to shut his mouth, cutting short his panicked rumbling. His eyes somehow even wider than before. Raki could've sworn he was able to see his reflection head to toe in those. "Lord Gaston?" 'Oh, that's much easier than Plaia-something' "Of what did he want no word? And were would he be now?" As far as Raki knew, Hanikap could've been still lying. Timmy had told him that If had been Hanikap that had found him,making no mention of the other... but it was true that the owner of this house had been there too. He should have asked Timmy. That didn't change that fact that this... this individual had thrown him into the quarry but... "I shouldn't say, shouldn't say." The momentum of the interrogation had stopped. Hanikap was shaking his head, seemingly more worried about talking than anything else. Raki made a step back, looking at Penelope and Gunther. Exhausted the direct approach, he didn't really know how, and had not been able, to get more answers from the man, if that was even possible.
  17. 3 likes
    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Sixteen and Seventeen -- The Cove Is Going To Be The Death Of Me I ended up deciding to do the latter this week, pushing up the Weald and Cove levels a bit so I can introduce the boss fights for those a bit sooner. Technically I succeeded, in that, by the end of this post, the Wizened Hag is unlocked, but, well, we’ll see about the other one. It will be a lot easier to deal with the Prophet eventually when our Plague Doctor isn’t begging for food, so Paracelsus is sent to the medical ward to deal with that. Meanwhile, the Weald mission has a trinket that will be rather helpful for her, so let’s look at the lineup to go for that: This is definitely not a party composition I would have used earlier in the run (or maybe I would have -- remember that post where I just messed up a bunch?) but with the addition of some trinkets, Yui and The Goliath have enough accuracy to deal with most anything, and besides that, we’re taking Sethera along as well to boost it even further, completely negating their drawbacks. ABC is serving double-duty, as both a healer and another decently heavy hitter in the lineup. I expect the fights to be quick. No, the day ruining comes with this next run, Let’s just get right into it, then. Since the header image is what precedes doom, I guess I can explain exactly why I touched/torched the Shambler Altar knowing exactly what would happen to me. The Shambler is a powerful miniboss, perhaps the most powerful miniboss in the game. The Clapperclaws that the Shambler summons every turn are like little snowballs -- they’re fast and they get out of hand quickly, so you need to keep them in check in addition to all the bleed and blight you need to handle from the Shambler itself. It also guarantees the fight will take place in darkness, and it always surprises the adventurers, so you start with a shuffled party every time. It is beatable, though. It always attacks every hero, so the Highwayman’s riposte ability helps out a lot, and the Shieldbreaker can pierce through the Clapperclaws’ slowly-rising PROT. The Vestal keeps things alive, and the Plague Doctor’s blight also gets through the Clapperclaws pretty hard. But you have to be on your game, and your adventurers have to not miss every other attack, because then, well, this happens: Basically, everything that could go wrong did. Misses, failed stuns (mostly caused by me not reading the Shambler’s resistances -- its one high resistance is to stuns), and an ill-timed shuffle put heroes on Death’s Door real quick. I’m actually fortunate Junia didn’t get killed here, and I think Amani took a deathblow check as well. So yeah, we got the heck out of there real quick. I don’t even like the Cove all that much. It smells like fish and there are ghosts in there. On the other hand, it was definitely a bout of overconfidence, but it’s a lesson learned with minimal consequences, so I’ll probably be overconfident again. I can already feel it brewing with what I’ve got planned for the upcoming week, but I can still be hopeful. I just hope it isn’t all I have. -r ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
  18. 3 likes
    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Week Fifteen -- The Swine Prince The ways and rituals of blood sacrifice are difficult to master. Those from beyond require a physical vessel if they are to make the crossing into our reality. The timing of the chants is imperative: without the proper utterances at precise intervals, the process can fail spectacularly. In terms of gimmicks, the Necromancer chain is probably the least gimmicky of all of them. I mean, it had the “summons undead every turn” thing, but it still was mostly a “deal damage and deal stress damage” sort of fight, just with a bunch more health. Make no mistake, it’s an effective gimmick, enough that several other bosses and minibosses do something similar, but it’s not all the game can offer. We’ll get to the Swine Prince’s in just a moment, but first, there are a few things I would like to do around town. Now that we have gold and can expect to get more, we can start to purge some of the particularly unmanageable negative quirks. The “extra food consumed” ones will have to go eventually, but for now can be mitigated just by, you know, remembering to pack extras. This “worse at scouting” stuff, though, has to go sooner rather than later. Secret rooms are just going to keep showing up, and I don’t want to miss any of them. Euryale and Boudica, meanwhile, are recovering from their bouts of illness they got in the last run. There’s an upgrade to the sanitarium that gives them a chance to cure two diseases at once, but, just like real life, I want Boudica to be rabid for as long as possible. Speaking of troublesome, Junjeong and Nammo still have a torn rotator and are themselves ravenous, but I sent them on this mission regardless because it’s a bleed-weak area, so that’s how I expect them to do their damage. Ren inflicts bleeds as well, and can serve to follow up on Junjeong and Margaret’s marks. Speaking of Margaret, she and Thar are surprise tools that will help us later. Margaret more than Thar, hopefully, but it’s not like Thar isn’t versatile enough on his own. He also has a quirk that gives him a bonus chance to scout here, and look at that percentage! That’s even before the bonuses that light gives, which, since I like to keep the light on Radiant at all times, adds an extra 15% chance on top of that. We’re now more likely to scout ahead than not. So yeah, it’s only natural that we find another secret room. In this case, the room has two more of those incredibly valuable gems and another “head” trinket: Junia’s Head. Like with Dismas, don’t think too hard about where it came from while our Junia is still alive. It’s probably just another healer named Junia, right? Anyway, it’s one of the more powerful healing buffs in the game, certainly more than the vial Margaret’s got on her for this run, so those get swapped. There’s only one fight between us and the boss, and it’s not particularly interesting, so I’m just going to skip past it. This is one of those playing with percentages situations. Once the boss is defeated, the quest is complete, which means anything done afterward in the run is just a bonus. You’ll notice that this fight is not just against that three-space-big Swine Prince, but also that thing in the back, a pig named Wilbur. Here’s where we’ll talk about the fight’s gimmick. Left alone, the Prince will simply use a move called “Wild Flailing” which, all other things being equal, isn’t that hard to race. It only targets a single adventurer and besides a decent amount of damage, doesn’t have any other adverse effects. But Wilbur has “End This One” and “End These Two”, which will mark one or two members of the party, enabling the Prince to use “Obliterate Body”, and suddenly that damage isn’t just “decent” anymore. “Okay,” you might say. “I’ll just target Wilbur first then, that way he can’t flag any adventurers.” Yeah, that’s the trap they’ve set. If Wilbur is harmed, or worse, if he dies, then the Swine Prince unlocks one final move in his arsenal: “Enraged Destruction,” which not only does damage to the entire party, it also has a chance to stun them. That’s the trap the developers have set for you, though they only really expect you to fall for it once. There’s a little dialog trigger if you do make that mistake. Oh, also Wilbur pointing at you does damage somehow. There’s an achievement for dying to him (I do actually have this one) and a subreddit called r/fuckwilbur, which I think you can imagine what kind of posts go there. The trick to making this fight easier, then (I almost said “easy” but there are still chunks of damage flying around, so you do still have to be on your toes), is to make Wilbur useless. Classes like Man-at-Arms Thar can guard the marked adventurers, which is one way to take care of it, but what works the best is one of the Arbalest classes, Margaret the Musketeer, in this case, using their flare ability to clear the marks altogether. Between that and Thar/Ren stunning the Prince every other turn and inflicting damage over time on the other, the beast goes down pretty quickly. He even dies unexpectedly to some bleeding, so I don’t even get a good screengrab of it. Wilbur’s activity also changes after his Prince dies. He also has a multi-target stun attack, but it does much less damage and hopefully is more an annoyance than a threat (though, again, r/fuckwilbur). What’s important here, though, is that his life isn’t directly tied to the other, so I can get a good grab of the kill. The rest of the dungeon is just more fights and curios, digging for more loot, but I won’t show you much of those either, since you’ve seen all these enemies before, and only one of them had any actual pigs in them which is, like, the whole point of the Warrens. I could show you my intricate inventory management (sarcasm) or how Margaret got addicted to weird pig wine, but- okay actually that is probably interesting. That’s what you get for drinking it without cleaning it with herbs first! Now you only want to drink more of it! but yeah that’s really all there is to this run of the Warrens. Next week, I’ll probably tackle the other available boss, the Sonorous Prophet, but I might do some runs in the Weald or Cove first, depending on the rewards offered, so be sure to check back in for that. Until then, as always, thanks for reading! -r ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
  19. 3 likes
    Confrontation Within The Titan!! It wasn't long before the pair had made their way to an enormous pair of mahogany doors, only seeming a bit worse for wear due to Sei's protective abilities and Elita's method of pacifying the animated objects. It was more than clear that this room was the source of the feelings of terror that the Fount of Devotion was picking up on, and the wood had warped to form an enormous pair of faces, contorted in agony. Elita shivered for a moment, taking a look around the twisted floor as she collected herself, "...This is hideous. Whatever power caused this... Do not take it lightly. I don't know what to expect here." She turned her head to Sei briefly, before entering the room. The door creaked open, revealing the office of Mayor Richard Stratford. It was in absolute disarray, probably as could be expected, with spikes jutting out of the ceiling, walls, and floor in every which direction. At the center of the room, suspended by dozens of the spikes stretched out to pierce him in several spots, was Stratford. He raised an arm toward the two intruders, and the spikes rose to attention like the heads of adders. "Why... Are you here..?" "By the authority of the kami, and in accordance with my pact with Byakko, Guardian Beast of the East, I've come to arrest you," Sei replied, preemptively raising a barrier between the girls and the mayor before them. "I would like it if we could settle this peacefully, but I won't lose any sleep over direct combat with the city's mayor if it comes to that." Elita frowned as Sei immediately began to speak, before taking a small breath. She brought her hands in front of her, "...I simply wished to ask why the tower was rampaging. It did not strike me as something you would do." Her face was devoid of emotion, though there was a bit of a rise in her voice as she spoke, "I can clearly see there is something... Very wrong, if you would like to talk about it." Stratford's eyes were bloodshot, and upon closer inspection it was clear that multiple tufts of hair had been pulled out from his scalp, "Peace..? No... peace. You two here are assassins... Sent from another district to kill me, to take control of the city..." Blood dripped down from his body, striking the floor of the otherwise silent room. He began laughing quietly, but it was clear that it was labored, there was no telling how compromised his body was by what he had done to himself, "you all thought you could surprise me, but I knew. I knew!" Tiny golden particles began to glow in the air around him, as the room stirred to life, poised to attack. "What are your last words, traitors?" With a small step forward, Elita set her bag on the ground as she looked towards Stratford. Fear pulsated around her as she took a deep breath, imagining her own emotions projecting outwards. It had taken everything in her to not succumb to the pressure from everything around her, the calmness likely unable to bring Stratford down fully from his frenzied state... But perhaps it could do something, "Please, calm down, Mr. Stratford. I am unarmed, and I will ensure she won't harm you while I am here. You knew there was... An assassination attempt, I presume?" He scowled down at her, blood leaking from the downturned corners of his mouth. "We both know that being unarmed in this city is meaningless, child. No. I managed to mobilize my tower before you assassins arrived, as you can see. I knew this was coming." "With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, if we had come here to kill you, I don't believe we would have stopped to have this conversation in the first place. While I'm honestly really impressed by the power at your disposal, my only job is to stop the tower's apparent rampage and the path of collateral damage it's carving through the city you're in charge of. I would very much like to do that without using violence. May I suggest a ceasefire, at least in this office? You disarm these spikes, and I'll lower my barrier." With a crash, the heavy doors shut behind the pair. "You seek to fool me, to make me lower my guard. Your masters taught you subterfuge, but I refuse to fall prey to it. Your treacherous lives end now!" With a roar, the mayor brought forward both of his hands, and the enormous spikes hurtled toward his guests. "Life saved," The occult girl seemed unreasonably cheery, given her extra violent surroundings. "Not many people get to experience that, either! Lucky you." While he didn't feel particularly lucky, Leo struggled to argue with the results. With a subtle glow, the eldritch saliva that now coated his body crackled and fizzled away. "Not quite what I had in mind, but it works. You see if the girl got in?" "Yes, she was able to break in through a window with the help of another girl." Leo looked back and forth, stretching his shoulders as he bounced on his toes, "How about the red haired one with the sparks? Don't see her makin a mess out here no more." "Her too, yes. You left an excellent path for her to break in through, you and that friend of hers." "What you bet she's up to in there?" "Nothing peaceful, I'd imagine. It doesn't seem like her sort of approach, based on the way she carries herself. I do hope her methods don't conflict too hard with the other girl's, what with them being very much in the belly of the beast. For a generous definition of beast." "Yeah," Leo's focus turned his focus up to the titan, a glow appearing where his feet met the pavement, "think you can watch out fi the people down here? Things looking like they gonna get extra bad." "Certainly." Already opening the Necronomicon once again, Kiyoko smiled "I wish you the best of luck in there. Should things go wrong, just jump out of a window and I'll be sure to catch you again." "Don't hold your breath." With a flash of light, Leo launched himself into the air, away from Kiyoko. Incoming! The titanic metal snake barreled through the streets of the sixth district, seemingly unaware of the captive passenger dangling atop it. The monstrous locomotive slithered back toward the rest of the animated objects, and the group that had congregated among them. Turning from one last rescue, there the knightly Sarashina turned to behold out of the serpent’s metal maw cushions of grey smog and dust, screeching and vomiting a wicked bile of steel and flesh into ugly monstrous shapes which provoked her sense of justice. She charged toward the razed ground at the sight of a helpless Lady attached to one of the viper’s small children, grey as ash, and evaded its smoldering spawn which obstructed the train with seeming easy, commanding Braichmor to leap onto the train. Tenacious through the many weak stings of the snakes’ cumbersome breath, landed finally besides the girl, and descended to cut the strap from the bag that captured her, carrying with shocking gentleness the two of them up onto her steed, and spoke to her, “This hateful monster, treacherous to men, we fly from now! Hold tight, weary sprite.” Picking up much of the burdensome bag, Braichmor coursed down the monster’s length with uncompromised steadiness, and jumped onto the ground besides, escaping its whipping tail and storming gibbet of plastics, metals, and leathers by the nearest bend back to the safe route she created earlier, stepping off of her horse and offering her hand to the girl should she need it, and letting her speak first should she desire to, to give her the mental room to process everything going on. Kaede blinked woozily, shaking her head to clear it of all the noise that had filled it over the last minute and not entirely succeeding. She looked up with bleary, dust-clouded eyes to the one who had yanked her from the train. "Whoozat?" she asked dumbly, moving her mouth and spitting weakly to clear it of all the particles it had picked up. However, before Kaede could fully orient herself, the snake was upon them, coiling and raising its head to loom above the group of founts. The ground rumbled, and two more matching serpents erupted from beneath the street, shaking enormous metal rattles at the ends of their tails. Stretching out to demonstrate their enormous length, the serpent's moved to surround the group of founts, forcing them all back to back, before the first one made its attack, diving into the center of the fray. Confrontation Within The Titan?! Kess was making short work of the inner workings of the Samsara Titan. While she was vastly outnumbered, her martial prowess and overwhelming speed made the blind furniture no match against her. She had no real way of knowing where she was going, but what she did know was that she was going there fast. She would sprint through every hall of this building if it meant she could find the fight she was promised. Suddenly, she felt the floor beneath her shake as she heard a blast behind her. Whipping around on her heel, she saw a cloud of dust, and through it, sunlight. The Fount of Blitzkrieg steeled herself, and approached. Electricity crackled along her skin as her muscles tensed up, and the lightbulb above her flickered, increasing in brightness until it burst. “I’m your huckleberry.” Emerging from the dust cloud was the guy with the bat whom Kess had seen earlier. “Dunno what it was about em, but Mum always loved those old cowboy flicks. Guess something about them rebel heroes lit a fire in me, ya know?” Leo tilted his neck back and forth, eliciting a series of pops. “If Mum knew I was here, she’d go mad.” Tossing his bat up into the air, he let it spin a few times before catching it, the entire length of aluminum letting off a subtle pink glow. “What I’m getting at is, this is one of them scenes where you think you’re in for one fight, but instead you’re facing off against a wasteman like me.” Kess immediately relaxed, raising an eyebrow as she appraised Leo, hands on her hips. "You're a Brit? Was hard to tell when you were shouting like that. Nice work distracting this glorified DMV earlier, saved me the trouble of relying on the useless lesbian with the peashooters outside to be good at anything." "In another life I was." His eyes narrowed, the bat falling slack at his side, "How do you know she swings that way..?" Kess rolled her eyes. "We go back a ways, unfortunately. Hey are you here to kick Stratford's ass too or shoot shit, I'm kinda busy." She turned to let out a scything kick that knocked away a sneaking telephone that had been trying to unobtrusively loop its cord around her neck. It slammed into the wall, shattering into dozens of pieces. "This is my kinda Disney flick," she chuckled, grinning. Bending down, Leo picked up a small fragment of the wall that he had busted through. It began to glow with power as he straightened back up, tossing it a few times in this hand. "See, I met an extra peng girl out there a few minutes ago, she's got some crazy plan to take care of this without any ass-kicking." His attention turned toward Kess as he dug his heel into the ground, "As much as I'd love a good fisticuffs with him, I'd hate to make the bird cry. So now I'm making sure nobody gets in the way while she's singing kumbaya." Leo flicked at the edge of his wall fragment, sending a piece rocketing past Kess's head, "So like I said, I'm your huckleberry." Kess's eyes narrowed, and a sneer crept into her expression and her voice. "Ooooh... is that how it is, then?" Already she was slowly turning sideways, into a fighter's pose that exposed less of her body to Leo. "'Fraid ass-kicking is the only way I take care of anything." Several long, arching sparks lanced off of her, reaching out to play along the walls. "I was gonna take on Peashooter today after I took care of Stratford... but if you don't get the hell out my way I can stand to move you up the list." Leo grinned, crushing the piece of wall in his hand and raising the bat up to point at his opponent. "Sounds like an extra-fun list to be on. Let's see what you can do, sparky!" Kess surged forward, pulling a fist back for a haymaker. "And what the FUCK is a huckleberry?!?" she screamed.
  20. 3 likes
    Penelope, Gunther, Link, and Raki Hanikap jumped at seeing Link and Rohns. "Eek, izzat wolfydog! Gettim away!" in his panic, his voice shifted to a rural accent that matched the rest of the villagers. At Link's comment on his lack of training, his mouth soured. "So's I heard. It bit Lord Gaston on the leg! A right little terror is what it is." When the mercenary asked about accompanying them, he sighed and slumped. "Well, so long as ya-you keep that thing from biting me, then you can come along." The man kept sending nervous glances over his shoulder at Rohns, but stopped once he reached the left-side door. Turning away from the wolf, he opened the door and bowed low with a clumsy flourish. "This here is the kitchen! Where food's made. And drink. And more food. Oh, and there's a lavatory in the back." He scratched his cheek. The kitchen was both smaller and less lavish than the parlor. The floor was cobblestone instead of wood. Sunlight poured in from the windows and blended with the hearth's warm glow to gild the room in red and gold. Copper kettles nudged sides with earthenware bowls on tables of polished walnut. From soot-blackened rafters hung hams, bundles of dried herbs, and nets of various vegetables that gave off fragrant aromas. There was a door in the corner. Presumably, it led to the lavatory. Another door was against the right wall in the back. A woman with her hair tied up in a bonnet was deftly cutting onions. She gave the group a wide-eyed look before ducking her head. "That's Dille," Hanikap dismissed. "She's the kitchen help. Doesn't talk much." He stood there awkwardly for a second before coughing. "Yeah, guess the tour's not that interesting." — Alois, Edrick, and Citron a.k.a. "Team Country" After ascending the staircase, it was clear that both sets led to the same location—a large, square loft clean of dust. Large wooden pillars burst through the floor and crossed with the rafters above to form a gable over the middle of the attic. Large windows let in the dying sunlight, bouncing off stacks of crates to cast lumpy, elongated shadows against the angled walls. Wooden chests lined the sides, their metal bands gleaming gold. A few beds stood in the center, their pristine white sheets smelling faintly of lavender. But there were neither people nor doors to explore further. The only way out was back down the stairs. — Tsetseg At Tsetseg's words, the girls finally extricated themselves from Cora's leg. Their wide green eyes widened further when they met the Locrisian's. The bun girl pointed up at her rudely. "Yer the archer! You hit cuzzy Phai!" "Awcha," the braided girl echoed. "Ehehe, that was just because we attacked first," Phai laughed nervously, peeking out from behind her two companions. "Hello, Mara," she smiled at the girl with the bun. "Nara," she addressed the girl in braids. "It's cuzzy Phai!" Mara pointed at Phai next. "Fa." "Yeah, it's me," Phai waved them off before they could run at her. "Can you two see if Acantha is inside?" But the girls were not listening. Instead, they had turned their attention to Tsetseg. "Hey, hey, what wazzat about rock burns and bandits?" "Wazza twibe?" "And where's big armor guy? He played wiv us! Does that mean yer gonna play wiv us too?" "Pwease." Nara held up her arms. "Oh yeah! You two were there too! Why did you follow us to the river?!" the younger militia girl demanded. But instead of answering, the girls stuck their tongues out at her and hid behind Cora. "Cuzzy Phai's not as fun as before now that she's older." "No fun." "Ehhh?! Not as fun? I'm plenty fun!" Phai looked genuinely indignant at that statement. OOC
  21. 3 likes
    “Okaa-san!” Kaede cheerfully adjusted the large straw hat that sat over her violet hair as she ran across the street towards her mother, a small woman with hair a slightly darker shade than Kaede’s own, pulled into a small ponytail at the back of her head. Kaede held up her hands, grinning as she held up two calendars, one of which was labeled '12 Months of the Megalopolis Seas' and another that depicted 'The Wonders of Egypt.' “I got one for Oto-san too! I know he likes the ocean!” Kamegawa Midori smiled at this. “Thank you Kaede. Another Egypt one, though? You really are fully invested in that-” She stopped, looking around before lowering her voice to whisper “that little project of yours, aren’t you?” Her head bobbed up and down excitedly. “Mm-hmm! This one has Karnak in it, I think! It was a part of Thebes!” “I thought Thebes was one of the Greek ones?” “It’s both!” She let out a mischievous cackle. “They BOTH had one!” Midori shook her head as she started walking back towards the terminal. “I’m surprised you didn’t find ones you liked while we were in the fifth district,” she commented as she shifted the several bags of groceries she was holding. “Only the best!” Kaede dove in and grabbed two of the bags from her mother’s burden, slinging them over her shoulders. “Oh, Okaa-san, are you okay? Did you trip?” Her mother had faltered, stumbling to a stop as she looked up, perturbed. “Did… Did you feel that, Kaede?” “Eh?” Kaede looked around cluelessly, but it didn’t take long for the small girl to feel the ground juddering beneath her feet. “Wait, yeah, I do… What is it?” The screams reached them then. Thousands of screams of fear as a shadow appeared between the infrastructure of the trains. A great, looming presence that was at once recognizable. And moving. Kaede and her mother went white as they stared up at the great moving structure as it lumbered straight towards them. “Kaede! Run!” Her mother dropped the groceries, turning to shepherd Kaede away from the approaching tide of architecture, the girl stumbling to keep moving as she kept looking over her shoulder in horror. She tripped over a curb, falling to the ground. She looked up to see her mother stumbling, looking back towards her as she paused in her run towards an intersection. Thus not seeing the car that was now hurtling towards her. “Okaa-san!” A flash of rainbow light as Kaede reached into her pocket, a spray of rainbow runes flaring in front of her as the scroll of the Library of Alexandria rolled out before her. She selected a rune upon it, gabbling out the ancient Egyptian phrase. The mailbox on the curb next to Kaede suddenly sprang forward, rattling back and forth as it trundled out into the street and slammed into the car. The car veered out of the way, narrowly missing Midori as it slammed into a ticket terminal, Midori stepping back away from it with surprise. “Okaa-san!” Kaede ran out to her mother, grabbing her in a hug as she started breathing hard, tears welling at the corner of her eyes. Her mother’s shaking hands cradled her head. “It’s okay, it’s okay… Thank you, Kaede.” Kaede realized she was still holding one half of the Library in one hand, the rainbow runes hanging from it to the ground below. She looked around, biting her lip. “Okaa-san, I… I can use the Library, I can try and help us get away.” She sounded far more convinced than she felt, her heart thudding in her chest erratically. But what choice did she have? “Are you sure?” “Y… Yes. Let’s go, Okaa-san! We can go back the way it came, circle around behind it! We can get away!” Kaede seized her mother’s hand, turning and rushing off down the street, ready to yank the Library up to read from it at a second’s notice. Please, all the people who wrote this Library... Let what little I've got from you be enough for today! - - - - - - - The bus stop kiosk had been avoided the entire morning. The few who had ventured inside it had been sent running almost immediately, followed by angry, animal-like yowling. Only now as it was quite late in the day did somebody finally stir within. Kess squinted into the light of day as she leaned against the interior of the bus stop entrance. She ran a hand through her bright red hair, mangling it into something that resembled kempt. Her eyes had bags under them and were bloodshot, and the hand she held to her head to stave off her throbbing headache made her hangover evident to the naked eye. “Fuck am I? Sixth district? Christ.” She spat off to the side, scanning her eyes around the area to try and find a water fountain. “Last time I go to a party with Kirigaya. Kirigaya? Kirigaya!” She ducked around the bus stop, eyes narrowed in a glare as she searched for her companion. “Where the hell are ya, you stupid… Goddammit.” She kicked at the bus station’s base in anger. A long, trailing spark flicked off of her head, flashing in the daylight, and she pulled her foot back from the severely dented frame of the station. “Leavin’ me behind, you stupid dick?” She was shouting now, several pedestrians spooked away from the street. “Hell do you think I am? I hope you enjoy having working wrists, you jerkoff!” After a half hour that contained Kess finding water and angrily haggling with a food vendor that had eventually forked over three hotdogs, she was feeling much more like herself. She strolled through the streets of the northern Sixth district, finishing off the last hotdog as she looked down pensively at her phone. It was almost dead, and she had decided to use the last vestiges of its battery life to threaten Kirigaya’s various joints with grievous harm. It was the principle of the thing. “Happy friggin’ New Year to me, I guess,” she grumbled, scanning her eyes over a terminal board, trying to find something that was headed towards the Seventh district. Kess was cranky, and tired, and her head still hurt, so it took her a second to notice that there was a rumbling sound in the distance. But when a wave of lampposts and holophone booths started stampeding down the street, sending everyone scrambling around her, Kess began to take notice and turned to see the giant colossus rumbling towards her. Samsara Tower, large as life. “What the fuck…” she muttered, not processing at first what she was seeing. She was one of the few people at the board who wasn’t running away, and one of the holophone booths took advantage of that, scurrying towards her and trying to fall forward on top of her. “You’re fucking KIDDING ME,” she snarled, and with a jerk of the leg she sent the booth spiraling towards a nearby wall, impacting in a spray of glass and metal. Kess jumped forward, grabbing at one of the streetlights that had spontaneously gained movement and swinging it in a wide arc like a baseball bat, sparks leaking across her arms as she felt power surge through them. She squeezed the metal base so hard it crumpled like tinfoil in response to the lamppost’s struggling in her grip. “You goddamn stop it or I’ll shove you up that Tower’s ass!” she yelled at the somehow animate object. She tossed it up and over a nearby bridge, turning to look up at the bulk of Samsara Titan. “What the fuck have we here?” Her face twisted in a snarling, fierce grin as she started to slowly walk towards it. “No way in hell this ain’t a Fount… Let’s find out which one.” She left a spray of sparks behind as she broke out into a run, pavement cracking beneath her feet as she darted at far beyond human speed, pausing only long enough to bend her knees and leap up into the air, onto the roof of a train that had stopped on its track and running along it along its track, eyes fixed on the Titan. With Kess’ increased speed, it didn’t take her long to reach the block that the Titan had reached. Not that it could be called a block anymore. It resembled a battlefield more than anything else, and Kess splayed her eyes across a mess of moving bicycles and phone booths and cars and skittering motorcycles that all flocked around the feet of the Samsara Tower, an honest to god moving building. Kess let out one long, high whistle as she surveyed the scene. “Fuckin’ hell, this guy’s a goddamn terrorist or somethin’. Wonder if they’ll give me the key to the city when I knock it over.” A maudlin grin crossed her face as she backed up, bending down to take a runner’s pose as she set up her angle. “HEY YOU BIG GLORIFIED DMV, THE HELL YOU DOING?” She took off n a sprint, leaping from the rooftop she had scaled to fly through the air up towards the Titan. Almost as if it heard her, despite it not having ears, it slowly turned towards her, raising a hand. But Kess was smaller and faster, and she spun in midair as she flung her leg down in a brutal axe-kick towards the encroaching hand. She poured power into the leg and its speed rapidly increased, and leg met stone in a crash of rubble and debris. Kess winced as pain shot up through her leg, and she followed through with the kick, pushing off to fly past the titan once again. Her landing on the ledge of the billboard on the other side of her was rough, and she stumbled and thudded into the advertisement for a legal service, letting out a strangled gasp as she fell into an awkward sitting position on the billboard. Despite her awkward landing, a triumphant grin was plastered across her face. “Fuckin’ GOT YOU!” she shouted at the back of the Titan, which had paused as it held up the hand Kess had attacked. One of the fingers was nothing more than a dust-choked cloud, shattered into dozens of pieces. “You thought you could win cause you’re a goddamn BUILDING? I’m a goddamn wrecking crew!” Several pieces of masonry began to rise into the air. Kess’s boasts stopped as she saw the remnants of the finger begin to rush together, coalescing around the hand on a haze of concrete dust before the finger flexed upon the hand, reattached and whole once more. “God. FUCKING dammit!” She punched the billboard next to her, punching a hole in it like a toothpick through paper as several hexagon-shaped lines of light ran over her body. She used the hole to pull herself up, eyes on the Titan now with an appraising, critical look. With her free hand she pulled her phone from her pocket, flicking it open and hitting a contact before putting it up to her ear. All the while the Titan was slowly turning towards her. The line connected on the first ring. “What?” “The Samsara Tower’s sprouted legs. And arms. It’s in the Sixth District. Looks like it was headed towards you before it ran into me.” “Then stop it.” The no-nonsense female voice on the other end flippantly tossed that out to Kess before the dial tone blared in her ear. Kess yanked the phone away, glaring in maddened irritation at the screen. “Are you fucking for real?!” She yelled at it. “I tell you a building’s attacking the city and you hang up on me?! Are you SERIOUS?” She angrily started hammering in the call again, but the whooshing noise of a massive fist through the air forced her to drop the phone entirely, springing from the billboard as the titan’s fist cleanly sent it flying. Kess looked back over her shoulder to see her phone, visible for half a second, before it vanished into the dust of the collapsing building the billboard had been mounted on. “I swear to god,” she groused, as she landed atop the roof of a travel agency, grimacing as she looked up at the enormity of the Titan, fists raised, sparks flickering across her body.
  22. 3 likes
    Megalopolis 1st District: 5:40 AM "Tick tock..." Tempest stretched his arms out into the air as he dipped into an alleyway, hoping to avoid any prying eyes as he made his way through the 1st district. The fact of the matter was: He felt immensely unsafe being here. He obviously stood out, he didn't belong, but he needed to get away from District 12, and thanks to his poor planning, this was the best he could do at the moment. He could travel around the outskirts of the area, ducking into areas that seemed a bit safe to wait out anyone looking around... He would have to be extra careful as he skirted the outsides of that giant capitol building in the center, he didn't ever want to wind up on Stratford's radar. It was thankfully early enough to where there weren't many people he had to worry about dodging... But in the end, it was still hell on his nerves, being so close to what could likely be a very early death for him. He poked his head around the corner, taking a breath as he glanced from side to side... The sixth district seemed like a good bet. "Once I'm there, I can take a nap..." _ One of the things he appreciated most about the sixth district is that he rarely had to worry about anyone watching him. With the constant bustle of people coming and going, barely anyone had the time to register the fact that he had loitered about for a few hours now... And even if someone who did notice even cared, he would probably be gone by then. He'd just hitch a ride on a train when no one was watching. He let out a low sigh as he laid back on the bench he had taken over, it was out of the way enough that most people were getting seats closer to the trains, which meant he could just sit back and ponder life for a moment. What was he supposed to do at this point? Just keep scrounging for food when people aren't looking? Try and find a respectable job, even if it didn't cover everything, he could possibly find something... But there was still the issue of him not really having a solid place to stay. He sure as hell wasn't going back to district 13 without a good, good reason. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a zip lock bag with a few, assorted pieces of candy in it, fishing out a bit of chocolate to pop into his mouth as he watched people coming and going. Whether he had anything to do or not didn't matter, right now he had all the time in the world to rest a bit. After he'd caught a nap without being bothered too much, he wasn't sure he wanted to stay put. Eventually someone would probably get suspicious, a guard or an employee... Thud. Tempest jumped over the bench he was on, landing behind it as the shadows started to curl around him. He paused there, struggling to avoid breathing, before he slowly poked his head up over the back of it. It didn't seem like anyone else was reacting to it, but he swore there was a shaking. He stood up, noticing that a few eyes were glancing towards him now as he let out a sheepish laugh, rubbing at his neck gently. He took a step forward, turning to leave the station he had been camped out in to return above the ground. His eyes widened as he looked to the sky, the towering figure there was impossible to miss. His right hand clenched at his other wrist as he took a glance around, people were already starting to panic a bit, but he felt a rising dread in his throat as he recognized the castle. It was hard not to, but given that he had just passed by it earlier in the day... "What the... People, get out of here!" He screamed as he turned to the bystanders near him, "Get underground, in the station or something, don't stay here!" The tower may not have been facing him, but there was a rush of activity rushing towards the station all the same. Vehicles of all types were moving on their own, rushing around as people began to panic. Much further down, closer to the rush, there was a guy swinging a bat and screaming something incoherently at the tower, which Tempest had to admit was very tempting at the moment, but he didn't think it was going to help matters. He gulped for a moment, his hand gripping at his wrist again as he rushed forward, "Damn it, it's the middle of the day, there's only so much shadow to work with..." He was definitely starting to panic, but he brought his hand out at one of the charging vehicles, the mechanical monstrosity's own shadow latching around its legs as it tumbled over. There were others here now, they had reacted faster than he had, but he barely registered the strange hue of one of them before he called out, "I can't do jack to the Tower, but I can help cover you all with the smaller ones. If you need safety, call for Tempest and duck into shadows!" It wasn't much of an introduction, but it would have to do. He grabbed at the air again, this time focusing on the shadow from the tower itself. He wouldn't be able to stop it... But he could use it to slow down the smaller and hopefully weaker creations rushing from underneath it. Eventually, they would get free from the shadows he controlled... And he would just have to do it again and again. No pressure.
  23. 3 likes
    This wasn't the exact thing he was expecting to find today...not in the slightest...it was more like he was expecting a normal trip away from the store and home then just go back, but no. No such luck, especially for him. If he knew that earlier... EARLIER Jeremy Shelby stood at the terminal for the magtrain, casually sipping his morning mocha, earbud in one ear and his bag slung over his left shoulder. He had swung by the 6th District to pick up a few antique items from a couple near here that they were just really wanting to get rid of. Of course, he had no problem taking the items they gave him, after all he could just sell it once he cleaned them up. Taking a sip of his mocha, the rich taste of it gracing his lips and mouth...that was until he nearly choked on it after hearing something pop into his earbud. GOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING MEGAOPOLIIIIIIIIIIIS! Coming to live from within the backpack of Megaopolis' very own Jeremy Shelby...straight from the lamp...it's the Djinn Round-Up!!! Jeremy groaned, still coughing up some of his mocha as he forcefully rustled his bag, making sure something in there definitely was rustling and being thrown about. "...you do this right when I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, Ibuz...why?" he groaned, before hearing the voice again in his earbud laughing. "To keep you on your toes, m'boy!" the voice belonging to Jeremy's Djinn companion, Ibuz, simply chuckled. "Besides, right now it just makes it seem like your having a conversation with someone on your device and not outright to a magical entity. Plus: it was a perfect opportunity to cause a bit of mischief today." "Been quiet all day..." he grumbled, taking the last few sips of his mocha before disposing of the cup afterwards. "Fairly certain Kaede doesn't have something like this going on with her Library of Alexandria..." "Aw, master, you've hurt my feelings...my insides and outsides as well with your words. But alas, that would be the case. Especially since the library isn't as sentient as I...once again, you were the lucky one." Jeremy rolled his eyes some, adjusting his glasses slightly as he approached the area to wait for the train. "Regardless, next time give me a warning before you do something like that, alright?" he simply asked, tapping his foot while waiting for the train. However, the train would come and it wouldn't stop...and the young man wouldn't be remaining there standing for it. His gaze shot up from looking at his watch and began to survey the area around them. The ground was shaking...it seemed like the feeling of steps being taken. "...Ibuz, I assume you feel that?" "The constant, massive shaking like that of footsteps? If that, then yes...unless that's just you jostling the bag." "You would like that to be the case, wouldn't you..." Jeremy admitted, before moving away from the train platform to look outside. That's when he saw it, plain as day...Samsara Tower...and it was...moving...like a giant kaiju. "...of course it's a kaiju...Japanese built city...makes sense as anything else." he sighed, before moving his bag off his shoulder and digging into it. Before long he pulled out an antique lamp, clipping it onto his belt loops on his pants for a bit. "Guess we'll be heading home later then, Ibuz..." "HAHAHAHAHA!!! Excellent m'boy! Let's see if we can minimize some causalities out there, shall we?" the voice now emanated from the lamp on his side. "Like we got a choice?" Jeremy backed away from the railing, before taking a running leap over the side. He proceeded to fall over the side, but his fall was soon slowed down to the point of a simple feather floating in the air until his feet touched the ground. There was already a large amount of damage being done...and from what he could see, some yahoo with a baseball bat was doing something to...well it was obvious that he was Fount with the power set he was displaying, but it was also obvious he was not caring in the slightest about the situation going on around him. "The hell is that guy thinking?" "Seems like he's...attempting to...oh! He just used that motorcycle as a baseball, intriguing. Seems like one interesting fellow..." Jeremy knocked on the side of the lamp and grumbled. "Now isn't the time for us to be dazzled by the nutjob with the bat...who seems to be doing more harm than good." he said, moving in the direction of where most of the damage was. "Ibuz, c'mon out and make yourself useful. We need to make sure there's not any casualties and make sure everyone takes cover..." he quickly rubbed the side of the antique lamp, before watching smoke and wind pour out from it... The Djinn made his debut beside his master with a firm nod. "Naturally, master. Would this be a wish you request?" "No...I didn't say the words...you aren't getting me like that again." Jeremy shot a small smirk towards the blue creature, before summoning up quite a bit of wind to blow away the dust and debris out of the way in order for them to make sure people were safe.
  24. 3 likes
    "See she gets it," Alois gestured over to Citron as Edrick made his complaint on choice of team name. "And if I had to guess, throwing a shot in the dark here, the owner of this house wouldn't be forthcoming with that information. Besides it sounds like he's caught up in something right now and I oh so would not want to interrupt that." With that out of the way, the gang had walked alongside Link, briskly making their way past the stairs they had come up to ascend even further. Now at the new floor, Alois blinked in surprise as he was greeted with a hallway of horse paintings. "Strange...yeah that's...we'll go with that, that's the word for this." As he continued to survey the area, he listened to Citron, shrugging as she made her suggestion. "Well, there's only one way to find out, isn't there?" Walking over to the end of the hall, the boy looked to an ornately decorated wooden door barring his path. Grabbing the knob to push the door open he found it locked, causing the boy to raise his eyebrow. "Interesting. Well," the boy walked back the way he came to the other door in the hallway. "Let's try door number two." ... "Also locked. Great." Alois, couldn't help but feel something odd about this whole situation. He didn't really have much experience in living in a building that wasn't just one room that pretended to be three. As such, he wasn't sure if people would actually lock the doors of their own rooms, especially when all of two people lived here. And even if they had done it before Cat had come here in expectation of her company, but that would be the so called nobleman barring an actual princess from something she might want to see. Regardless it meant that the lord of the house either had something he didn't want outsiders to see or something that only he could see, even excluding his servant from that privilege. Letting out a sigh as he backed away from the door, the boy looked to his companions saying. "Well, we have two locked doors up here and no key. Well," took out his axe and waved it around, "but it makes a lot of noise so I'll save it for when we come back downstairs. So let's see what's behind door number three now." There was no actual door number three, and instead a parting in the walls that revealed yet more stairs. "Turns out theirs another layer to this guy's ego after all," he called back to the others as he ascended the stairs. Getting up the stairs he was met with a landing and...yet more stairs. A path to both the left and right. "First I went into an underground dungeon and now I'm going up to the spirits forsaken sky. This day just doesn't know when to end." As the trio ran into a pair of young girls, Tsetseg smiled brightly and waved to them as they had started talking with Cora. The duo seemed to want to play with Cora for the time being, but as they were in the middle of a job that had to wait. Tsetseg understood the pain of the young girls, knowing all too well the experience of having grown ups too busy with their job to play with her when she asked it of them. And yet, she could not side them. Walking over to them Tsetseg said, "hey hey girls. Nice to meet you, hi, I'm Tsetseg. And you girls seem like you're really cool, probably cooler than Acantha! But - but! Nothing is cooler then like, fighting for your tribe and protecting it from big old mean rock wyverns and big mean bandits and all that stuff and Cora does all of that!" Tsetseg emphatically declared this. "So she's like super cool but if she doesn't get Acantha then she'll be less cool! And that wouldn't be cool! Oh but, but! We're all still going to be in the village and walking around that where trouble's afoot and stuff, so what if we all played while we were walking!"
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Seven, Eight, and Nine -- Spoiler Alert: We’re Going To Make Bank There’s not a lot to say at the beginning of this post and there’s a decent amount of strategy-explaining at the end, so let’s just get into the first run, why don’t we? We still have a couple more level zeroes to get through and some troublesome quirks to cleanse, so I started by getting rid of LordCowCow’s Kleptomaniac tendencies and devised a way to get the adventurers of that failed run catching up without much stress (yes, even negating the “level zeroes are too inexperienced to go into a level one dungeon” stress). Both Euryale and Sethera have stress healing skills, and Ren’s Guillotine is guaranteed to crit under the right conditions, which will heal the party’s stress as well. As long as we prolong every fight we can to use these healing moves, it won’t be a problem. This is also a Medium dungeon I’ve selected as well, which brings one extra factor into the mix: camping. We’ve briefly touched on camping before the last time we ran a Medium dungeon, but the relevant information is this: Eating a bunch of food at a campfire reduces stress, Sethera has a few camping skills that reduce stress, and Boudica the Hellion has one big one called Revel that takes away a significant amount of stress at the cost of some heavy debuffs on the party (you were up past your bedtime drinking and partying, you see). It’s not difficult (not trivial, but not difficult) to go through a Medium dungeon without needing to use the campfire, so if we use it as soon as we can, that’ll take the edge off as well. The debuffs from Revel can be taken care of with Medicinal Herbs, which, I assume, are gothic horror hangover cures. It’s also why I pack so many. I chose the Warrens specifically, by the way, not because it was the Medium dungeon on offer, nor because of that tempting Chirurgeons Charm, but because Sethera, Ren, and Boudica all inflict bleed, and while the pig-meat of the Warrens is generally resistant to blight, being so dirty already, it bleeds all the same, so that’s another advantage we have going in. “I submit myself to your gnarled, warty hands,” Seth says. You’re lucky they take that as a compliment. It takes a lot of effort to look that witchy. Anyway, there are just a few more adventurers to get going and, as I had hoped, the Ruins had a nice Medium dungeon all ready for us. Quinn will be basically an Arbalest that doesn’t heal here, but that’s what Junia is here for. And it’s good for LordCowCow to join us as well, now that he’s no longer threatening to steal everything in sight. You’ll notice on the map that there’s a new icon at the Ruins. We’ve done enough missions there that we’ve unlocked our first Boss, the Apprentice Necromancer. I almost did it, too, but this Cove mission had a Swift Cloak on offer, and I wasn’t about to turn down a +2 Speed trinket with only a move resist debuff to counteract it. Also, it’ll be a better opener for next week, so look forward to that. The party is pretty straightforward, though. A lot of the Cove has PROT, or percentile damage reduction, which we tried to get through last time by just using adventurers that pierced through it. This time, we’re using Paracelsus’ blight and Yui’s massive damage to break through all that. Dismas is here as a secondary attacker and Euryale is our healer. I thought about packing less, actually, since, as mentioned, Euryale can heal Bleed and Blight just as well as she can HP, but didn’t want to chance it. I’d rather be overprepared and have to grind a bit more gold than under and be caught taking damage where I shouldn’t. Introduced in the Crimson Court DLC are these Districts, little extra buildings you can put in the Hamlet for little extra benefits. They all cost various amounts of Heirlooms, Money, and, as indicated by the event, rare items called Blueprints. This is a free one that comes with the DLC, the rest come from the upper difficulties of boss fight. We have been saving, though, because one of these buildings is going to help out immensely in the long run. This is why I’ve been going out of the way to collect portraits: compound interest. We can trade in some of these other heirlooms as well, giving us the remaining few we need to make sure that our money troubles are going to be a thing of the past. It’s not an immediate thing, of course. 5% is pretty slow, as anyone who uses NCM’s bank feature will tell you. But that’s where part two of my plan to make loads of sweet cash comes in. To find out more about that, tune in next week. Also, I plan to be fighting a boss next week, so tune in for that too. -r ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    With the crab declawed and Damien currently in a much more safe position then before, it seemed that the crab was running out of options to fight back with. But, they still needed to find a way to break through the hardened shell of it in order to actually finish off the dangerous water scorpion. Though Reinaan seemed to have an idea on how to attack it, actually attacking the underside of the swift scuttling creature was easier said than done. Though Keres seemed to have an idea on how to accomplish this, the idea itself seemed incomplete as she was the target of the creature's charge. Ryia's thoughts started to race as to how to accomplish this; she wasn't fast enough or dexterous enough to cleave off its legs and bring it to a halt. And she wasn't strong enough to bring it to a stop with a strike of her mace. Any direct confrontation she would certainly lose against the huge scorpion. All she could do was simply use her shield to defend against whatever it could bring. And that would be what she did. Rushing forward, the girl interposed herself between Keres and the monster, readying her shield as it started coming towards her. Her plan, in addition to preventing Keres from being trampled, would be to simply block the charge and keep the creature pushing against her in a clash. Yet, as she thought of this she realized that the beast was enormous and if they were to meet head on it would simply send her flying and it would still keep running unimpeded. With nothing but open air behind her, she wouldn't be able to do anything about the creature's momentum and she'd be face down in the dirt...Unless... "Uh, Madelyn!" The girl's eyes were wide as a sudden thought had come to her. "Barrier, behind me, please." "Excuse me? Don't you mean front?" "Behind!" "Fine, don't have to shout!" Madelyn shouts. "Don't blame me if anything breaks." Ryia didn't really have time to process her need for an apology and given how the water scorpion had interacted with magic before she wasn't even sure if it would hold. Yet all she could do, as the wall of light formed behind her, was dig her feet into the ground. And as the beast made its way towards her, she jabbed her shield forward to meet it head on. Thunk. "Gah-" Ryia's grunt was cut short as her body was being pressed against the wall behind her, flickering and struggling to keep its form. Yet still the wall held and Ryia, pinned against it, was grunting and pushing against the large beast as it attempted to crush her between the wall and itself. As the momentum of its charge had seemed to be expended, the creature backed up. As it did, Ryia herself fell back to the ground and slowly stood back up. Looking at the monster Ryia smashed her gauntleted fist against the shield, the clanging of metal against metal being used to further provoke the creature. he creature charged her again, once more smashing into her shield and body and pressing her against the wall. Though the wall seemed to be giving from the force of the charge, it still held as Ryia continued to occupy the creature and keep it in place.
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Four, Five, And Six -- I’d Say The Three Musketeers But Only One Of The Newcomers Is I’ve been alluding to a limit different from the strict one Darkest Dungeon imposes on its higher difficulties, and last week I said I would talk about it this week, l here it is: There are four levels of quest in a standard game: Apprentice (level 1), Veteran (level 3), Champion (level 5) and Darkest (level 6). The goal is simply to clear the Darkest Dungeon’s four quests, so you might expect to be able to simply grind Apprentice dungeons until all your heroes are maxed out since that will minimize the chance of failure. But adventurers can refuse to go into dungeons. If they’re two levels higher than the quest difficulty they scoff at your attempt to put them in a lineup. This isn’t the only way they’ll refuse, though. If they’ve managed to survive their venture into the Darkest Dungeon and emerge victorious, they will never go back in. We don’t need 4 heroes brave enough to face whatever horrors lay within, we need 16. You’ll notice we only have 24 slots, so we can afford 8 deaths total before the game starts getting really difficult to win. Like, sure, we could send less than a full team into the hardest quests in the game, but, you know, is it even comprehendible that we might win? Now, technically the mod removes this feature, so heroes will only take a massive Stress penalty for returning to the Darkest Dungeon, and if you do this challenge yourself and end up doing that, don’t let anyone call your achievement any lesser. I just don’t want to. So that’s the limit. These 24 adventurers are going to reach the level cap of 6 startlingly quickly, and we’re only going to be able to push back the inevitable by doing those Champion-level dungeons for so long. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s on the docket today. Cooperative: +5% Crit when Guarded Ravenous: Doubled food consumption Ah yes, the three DLC holdouts are going to be making their way into the game. Amani here probably shouldn’t have Ravenous for very long, but thanks to the newly unlocked Sanitarium, we can start to purge these undesired quirks. Everything else would fall under the purview of the Guild. All this is expensive, of course, hampered even further by the fact we failed to complete the mission last week, but rebuilding starts today. I do, in fact, have a plan. The first part of that plan is to get rid of the two Antsy quirks in the party. I’m planning to go to the Weald again -- this time, it offers a Warrior’s Cap that increases the accuracy of melee skills -- so Hakima and Elmer will come with this time, leaving Skaia behind for therapy. I should note also that you want to get rid of these quirks quickly for another reason: the longer they stay, the more ingrained they become, the more expensive they are to remove. The biggest question mark here is the Plague Doctor, given that she’s a blight-heavy class and the enemies in the Weald are generally resistant to blight. We have her in the third position, though, so her dagger can inflict some bleed, and really, I just want her as a secondary healer since Junjeong’s healing is over time rather than immediate. Really, the biggest thing that can go wrong is if we run into the Collector again, though what are the chances of that? (I’d say this is dangerously tempting fate, but I already know what happens this week, it’s not). Night Owl: +2 Speed when Torchlight is low Rotten: -25% Healing when Blighted Thin-Blooded: -10% Blight Resist I forgot to get this screenshot until the end of my time this week, so he didn’t start with Thin-Blooded but he sure has that now. I really don’t want this guy blighted, but the Flagellant is otherwise super cool, and nothing too debilitating has shown up on the one we get. I also dropped off Hakima and Elmer Fudd in the Sanitarium to get rid of his particular antsiness. Unfortunately, they don’t let you remove more than one thing at a time, but that one definitely has to go first. Running an Antiquarian and no healer into the Cove is a little risky, but I rationalized it by saying this: We need gold otherwise we’re just going to be floating in place until we start being able to manage Medium-length dungeons, and Josephine can still work to keep everyone off Death’s Door in a pinch. Besides, the Cove is known for being full of armored enemies (or scales that are like armor, anyway), and each of the other heroes can pierce through it. We should be able to speed through a few of these fights. Fairweather Fighter: +20% Damage at full health Profuse Bleeder: -25% Healing received while bleeding Dipsomania: Intense craving for alcohol Our last addition to the team, with a screenshot of her so new that I didn’t even change the name yet. Like I mentioned before, she’s another Arbalest, but another Arbalest is not a bad thing to have. In fact, she’s probably good enough to take with us into the final run of the week. Margaret probably could have been the healer by herself, especially for a Short-length mission and especially in the Warrens. Still, I wanted to be sure after the previous run, so Alhazred came with as well. We also get to see Damian in action, since the Flagellant shines here, and The Goliath’s main attack also inflicts bleed, so he’s a welcome addition as well. Speaking of, low accuracy fighters like The Thrall are why having accuracy trinkets are so important. The Warrior’s Cap went straight onto him. That’s it for this week. Next real-life week, we should be hitting Week 10, which will be when step one of my grand plan comes to fruition. I’ll give you a hint, it involves the truest eldritch horror of them all: Capitalism. -r ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Two and Three: Welcome to the Show I wouldn’t normally talk about The Butcher’s Circus this early. It’s clearly meant for people already familiar with Darkest Dungeon’s mechanics. But an event fires on Week Two that heals an extra 10 Stress if you play a round and I need as many edges as I can get, so here we are. I actually did a couple fights with a couple different teams just to confirm my feelings. I’m not going to go into the details of each fight, but here’s the gist of Darkest Dungeon’s PvP mode: Okay for starters, the mode is kinda hit or miss. I mean, it’s free and doesn’t detract from the rest of the experience, so, like, there’s no reason not to try it out for yourself, but the matchmaking isn’t great, the connections are likely buoyed by the game being turn-based and even then are prone to failure, and, well, the game just wasn’t balanced or even built for a competitive head-to-head environment. Changes have been made, still, in an attempt to try. The biggest one is that the “things that hit multiple targets do less damage” design choice has been pared back, so they’re much more viable now. Multi-target attacks are also the ones that tend to do stress damage to help that strategy become more viable as well -- not to mention a tuning of the afflictions. It’s also harder to kill enemy heroes, with the Death’s Door system (that I’ll explain in more detail later) applying to your opponent just as much as it does to you. It’s still a game of dice rolls, and sometimes your opponent is just going to win more dice rolls than you, but Darkest Dungeon in general is about weighing that risk versus the reward anyway, so it’s not all bad. That being said, some heroes are downright unusable. Here’s a tier list for you: S) Arbalest, Crusader, Houndmaster A) Man-at-Arms, Bounty Hunter, Abomination, Jester B) Flagellant, Vestal, Occultist, Antiquarian C) Shieldbreaker, Leper, Highwayman, Grave Robber D) Hellion, Plague Doctor Musketeer wasn’t on the tier list maker I found, but she’s actually different from the Arbalest in this mode, and I’d put her in C-tier because of that. Every single difference leaves the Arbalest in an advantageous position. The big pro-tip for your Butcher’s Circus experience is to be as disruptive as possible. If the opponent has to spend time fixing the problems you’ve created, that’s time they’re not enacting their game plan. That’s one way a hero can be high-tier: their disruptive potential, or ability to not be disrupted. The other is versatility, or “How many potential teams can this hero be a part of?” The Arbalest and Crusader both can act as pretty tanky healers while also serving to disrupt or straight kill the opponents, so that’s why they get the top slots, and the Houndmaster rounds out the S-tier by never getting caught out of position and doing whatever else you need in the meantime. I’m not going to go down the entire list because we’d be here all day. Instead, here are the teams I tend to work with: Stressed Out: What it says on the tin. Man-At-Arms’ Bellow inflicts stress and debuffs damage to keep the team alive while the Occultist pulls the enemy backline into Zealous Persecution and Grapeshot Blast range. Marked For Death: As much disruption as possible in one team. Pulls, pushes, stuns, marks… this team snowballs and snowballs hard. Jester could also be effective here since Dirk Stab is good at getting past Death’s Door checks and Finale just straight-up ignores them, but this is the combination I like the most. Caped Crusaders: All aboard the Leper train on this one. Battle Ballad buffs Accuracy, and the Leper’s Chop will mow everything down. Arbalest is to keep the stuns off and Crusader is to stun and keep everyone alive. Bleeding Me Dry: Exactly what it says on the tin. Three bleeders and a Vestal who can stun and keep everyone alive. Get Out of Dodge: The “cheese” comp. If your opponent doesn’t have a Jester, Man-at-Arms, or Musketeer (and those last two are going to require some upkeep), your opponent isn’t going to even be able to hit you. Eventually, your Graverobber’s poison darts will blight and/or stress everyone out. Have fun with those. Me, I’ve got some more Ruins to explore. I mean, first, we need to keep Hakima and Elmer Fudd busy somehow, so I’ve decided to have them pray away their sins. While I’m loathe to have a repeat adventurer so early into the run (we’ll get into why next week), Skaia doesn’t have any stress at all and one extra run isn’t going to ruin my plans. It does mean I had to agonize about who to put where, but I came up with a plan. You’ll notice the Caretaker hanging out in the Transept there. That’s just what he normally does when he’s not selling supplies, hanging out in the various stress-relief facilities, gumming up the operation just a little extra bit. There are a few new things on this page, so let me break it down real quick. The most noticeable is the firewood now joining the lineup. I chose a Medium dungeon this early in the game mostly because the heirloom reward was a couple of portraits. Portraits are probably the rarest of the four main heirlooms, and not only are they what most facilitates upgrading the adventurers' moves and gear, I would also like as close to 50 of them as I can by Week 10 for a surprise tool that will help us later. Medium dungeons are dangerous because, well, they’re longer than Short dungeons. There are also Long dungeons, and two other lengths that are spoilers to get into so I won’t right now. The longer the dungeon, the more opportunities for mistakes and bad luck there are. There is some respite, though. The firewood allows the adventurers to camp in any empty room, which can either provide buffs or help relieve stress as needed. Long dungeons give two such logs, for however much that helps. I should also talk about my selected party a bit. I already mentioned Skaia’s role in things, just keeping him busy for a bit, but Sethera is probably the odd one out here, given that the Jester, as mentioned, is a bleeder class and the skeletons in the ruins are very resistant to bleed. We’re not using Seth to bleed the skeletons, though. We’re going to make sure Yui can hit things. Alhazred can heal and help Skaia pull things into Yui’s blade as well, though, as we’ve discussed, taking an Occultist as the only healer is a little risky. Then again, Yui can heal himself, so maybe there’s less to worry about. In retrospect, I probably should have packed more bandages. There's another tip for you all: Always pack more bandages. Probably good life advice in general, really. The biggest help in Week Three is the Guild and Blacksmith buildings opening up. These are how we’re going to train you to be better units and get you better gear respectively. They’re costly endeavors, but they’re also one-time investments. Once a certain hero knows a move or has a better sword, they have it for as long as they’re alive. We can save a little money right now, then, by taking Doggo and Euryale on our next mission. As two of our three transforming classes, none of them need to learn new moves, simply upgrade them when the time comes. Boudica only really needs to learn If It Bleeds, and Ren just needs to learn Guillotine. So that’s the party I decided to take into the next dungeon. We’re moving a little bit. This time, we’re going into the Weald. I chose a short Weald mission because of the trinket offered as a reward: a Speed Stone. Trinkets are little charms you can add to the adventurers to give them little buffs. There are some drawbacks to many of them -- taking increased stress damage is a common one, for example -- but a Speed Stone just offers a generic +1 speed, so it’s worth fighting to get. That’s all for this week. I'm still reeling from that Collector encounter, but there’s no reason to panic. We’ve even, believe it or not, got a few more recruits coming in that should hopefully help us out. Plus, now that it’s Week 4, the Sanitarium is now open, and I can start making good on those threats promises to fix you into shape. Oh, and Thar, we’ll get you a turn in the dungeon too. ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    Z's suggestion of Wobbuffet made Noibat sheepishly retract some into herself. The idea seemed obvious with it pointed out like that. Still her assessment stood that a Wobbuffet didn't strike her as particularly dangerous. The Rotom arrived to exchange some words with the feisty Zorua before the latter took their leave to press on into the hopefully not much danger. That left Noibat back with the bundle of literal energy that was Es, uncertain how to address her fellow human-turned-pokemon. She had half a mind to simply continue following Z. But the immediate spirits to do that were soon dashed as she heard very plainly the Zorua calling back that whatever she had heard, the pokemon ahead did not match. As if aware off their new talents being doubted Noibat's ears drooped and she instinctively tried to stroke them as if they were long human hair. Something about it felt right. Did she have long hair normally? Thinking about that wasn't going to get her anywhere. Moving forward seemed to be the only real option as the procession of Falinks passing by the hallway soon reaffirmed. With the sounds of more shouting she turned to Es. "Guess we should get in there." Noibat said with something resembling confidence. Taking to the air once more Noibat flew a bit smoother this time through to the new room. The sight ahead of her was something to be sure. What she couldn't quite place. Z and Hector were in the middle of combat as the noises had indicated. But where was the Wobbuffet? Noibat's ears pinged the room, establishing its size firmly in her mind. And yet somehow there was the sound of two distinctly Wobboffet like shapes, exactly where the Staryu were. What's more the Cleffa Noibat could clearly see with her own eyes sounded like a little dinosaur plushie with a tail and everything. "Just my luck I'd get the hypersensitive ears that don't work right." the bat groaned as the cheery voice from earlier sounded again in her head. Something about being Team Beta didn't feel right. But the more pressing matter was the aggressive pokemon in the room, one of the Staryu was even already latched onto one of the six faces of the Falinks. A menu to tell her her moves would have been helpful but Noibat wasn't finding any luck there. She was just behind Hector now though being in the air she had a good look at the attacking Staryu. "Obviously a flying type what would I knoooow...." Noibat tried to wrack her brain for a knowledge of pokemon move pools. For her troubles her wings picked up in intensity. Something about this felt right, like her body knew what to do already. It felt like her wings moved in slow motion as they reeled back more dramatically than they usually would to sustain her flight. With a single mighty flap Gust erupted from Noibat's position in the air, squarely striking the Staryu off of Hector's face and back into the Cleffa and knocking it away. The Staryu was clearly dazed and missed a water attack at Z and the Cleffa seemed even more worried after what had happened. "D-did I do that?" Noibat started in disbelief. She was even still maintaining her position in the air and not crashing into a wall, or one of Hector's butts. This had to be her lucky day. Aside from the waking up as a Pokemon bit. "I mean hah! Take that! Totally planned!" she ultimately asserted, trying to convince herself more than anyone that this had always been her intention.
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    "Hey, did you read the paper today? Seems there was a freak accident a couple of days ago in the subway..." Quick and Dirty version of the Application (But please watch the video, it took a lot of work): Colored Character Images
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    Hello will put the app here when I can, probably tomorrow knowing myself, yo "Oh, great, now I'm a Pokemon...hey what're you looking at? Keep walkin if you don't wanna throw down!"
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    Hmmm, well...haven't been in a Pkmn RP since Fallen God...why the fuck not! Anthem of the Lonely
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    "I was just waiting on a print but... What was a print again? Can't seem to remember... But! -Bzzzzt!- I do remember that you should only use ABS Filaments if you have a fume hood!"
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    Tsetseg continued to eye the Isaurian boy cautiously, even despite the dogs seeming to have gone over to him as if to assure the group that he was fine. Tsetseg was not usually one to argue on the authority of something so fluffy, unless they could also turn into humans, but even still her fears hadn't let up. As Rocky and Timmy continued to exchange pleasantries with each other, Tsetseg took a startled step back and let out a yelp as the boy called out, "Phasia." Though it seemed to be something to help Timmy get out of the hole, she had no idea what it actually was that Rocky was doing, Tsetseg was still frightened that it had been some kind of strange dark magic word that the boy had been casting. Looking up to the sky, and then from the side to, then behind her, she determined that nothing had actually happened...yet. Still concerned, Tsetseg appeared as if she had some kind of twitch as she kept looking in a different direction then Rocky every few seconds. As Gunther had gone to ask him about his goings on here, the girl swiftly nodded along with it. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Did you do any like weird dark magicy magic stuff? Like making a a biiig flying rocky wyvern - " the girl gasped and cut herself off. Muttering to herself, "rock, Rocky, wyvern," the girl hid behind Gunther again as she continued to stare the Isaurian down. Alois shrugged as Edrick made his comment about the stone dragons, only for him to point at Citron and say, "see, both got lizard stuff in our hometown. They might be more common then you think." As Edrick and Ciela both started to make their way out of the room, Alois's mother had come back in. Frowning a bit as she chastised him, slightly embarrassed by it the boy quickly recovered his usual demeanor saying, "come on, Mom, me? Tease him? I never. I haven't teased Eddy once our whole journey, not a once." Then doing nothing to assuage their concerns about him, as Citron seemed to have similar concerns about Edrick's state he simply waved the concerns off. "I'm sure he just needs to walk it off, really. There's not a stab wound out there that could keep him down for long. And for all of her many, many..." the boy stopped himself for a moment before finishing, "eccentricities, that girl is one heck of a uh, doctor, we'll say. So even if anything bad happens I'm sure...he'll be fine..." The boy's words trailed off at the end as he could only imagine what kind of trouble they would actually get into. Flashing a smile to Citron and his mother he said, "there's nothing to worry about."
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    BGM: Fire Emblem: Three Houses - A Dark Sign Catriona stared down at her goblet moodily. It had been a long day. Too long of one. It was only yesterday that the group had fought off a horde of Awakened and the spirit of Abbot Jack of Alltrades appeared before them, granting them the ability to rewrite their destinies. He also had shown the others a vision of his past while she took a walk with Link. She had needed a break from that place and its strange atmosphere. After they all left that place behind, they traveled westward toward a town Licorice had mentioned. The challenge was getting there. They gave up on crossing the rain-swollen river for the night. The next day, today, they had crossed it, but were set upon by a group of beavers. After some struggle, they made it across, but Licorice had an issue causing her to separate, with some others following. Catriona and the rest reached the village, and headed further inward, guided by a beaver and the sound of roaring. At the village square, they found a wyvern rider passed out and her wyvern stuck under a stall. After getting them out, they found that the wyvern rider was named Citron and the wyvern Peaches, and they had stumbled upon the village just earlier that day. As for the village itself… Catriona took a cautious sip of the wine. She knew it was foolish, but wine had always been a weakness of hers. She took more sips, and then more. And then the goblet was almost drained. The village had been full of animals. Soon, a member of the militia, Cora, appeared, and after getting over her initial suspicion, guided them to her house. The animals’ strange behavior, and the naked people, led the group to conclude that the villagers had been ensorcelled into animals, and their livestock into people. Cora had escaped the curse as she had been out scouting. Eventually, Licorice and the others reunited with the main group, and it was decided that they needed to go to the mayor’s house and investigate. After some searching, and the mayor arriving himself, they found a secret passage underneath the house, which led them to the town hall. The group fought a stone statue there that looked like a wyvern, but was more majestic. After defeating the statue with the help of burning the flowers, the village’s curse was lifted. Afterward, most of the group followed Alois’s mother, Mene, to her house, though many of them had also split off to do their own thing. On Catriona's way to Pylauses’s house, she had heard villagers mention how a militia girl named Phaidra had taken Tsetseg fishing, that Sienna had helped Amas and then borrowed his dog Icleias, and that Gunther had followed them. The lord did not know their present situation. She herself had recently been accompanied by Link, Citron, and the unconscious Ciela, though she had sent them ahead after Link’s wolf Rohns had bitten Pylauses’s leg. Catriona had apologized and chosen to stay at his house in recompense. Which led to her current situation. “My benediction once again for your treatment of my leg. How do you exclaim the wine? It is most splendiferous, no?” Pylauses gestured grandly, dark hair gleaming like oil in the candlelight. Catriona tilted her head to the side, hair brushing over her dark eyes. “It’s…good.” Almost…too good. Good Galtean wine, something she would not expect to find out in this backwater Histian village. Her eyes narrowed on the person across from her in suspicion. “It should be. I remain, in hindmost, an aristocrat. Not at all alike to the hoi polloi.” “Interesting…pardon me…but I had thought Histia…to have done away with their nobility.” She spoke slowly. It was as if there were a dam between her thoughts and her mouth. Every word spoken took several times the effort it usually took to say. “You speak authentically…” the man’s muddy eyes never moved from hers. “You are, legitimately, a most sagacious ruler.” The room was spinning. Catriona shook her head. But that just made it worse. “Apologies. Can you repeat…” she cut off. The headache that had been plaguing her all day pounded at her temples with renewed vigor. “Oh, how barbarous of me! I had not cogitated your estate of lassitude! Permit me to navigate you upstairs to your suite!” The man hurried over to catch her as she slumped over in her chair. The woman stared up at him weakly, coughing as she inhaled his heavy perfume. “Yes…I seem to be…more…than I thought…apologies…” Though she had the will, she lacked the energy to keep her words from breaking up and slurring. Even now, she found exhaustion eroding away her will, and also her consciousness. “No lamentations are mandatory, my respected sovereign.” His shadowed face broke into a grin. “I am, postliminary, thy modest serf.” Catriona nodded and closed her eyes, letting sleep overtake her. — Alois, Penelope, Edrick, Link, Citron, and Abdul sat inside Alois’s mother Mene’s house. Ciela still lay unconscious outside atop Remy. Though most of them were comfortable with light conversation, Abdul found himself increasingly uneasy, especially since the mayor and Mene still hadn’t returned from their clandestine conversation outside. He knew he had to be setting out for Pylauses's house with Link soon, but a thought itched away at his brain. Some would call it paranoia, but he knew it as a justified concern. “Excuse me,” he spoke to the others politely, leaving the house to better listen to their talk. Unless accompanied, only he would be privy to the following conversation. “I still don’t think it wise, Mayor,” Mene shook her head. “They’re just kids, most o’ ‘em. What they don’t know won’t hurt ‘em, an’ gettin’ ‘em involved, well…” The mayor sighed. “Don’t you realize, Mene? They’re already involved. They’ve seen the statue, the town hall, and they’ve got their own suspicions. That younger princess, she has said little, but it’s quite obvious she suspects—” “‘An yer saying she’s a princess, an’ all? That sweet thing? Why, I still can’t believe it! My Alois, consortin’ with princesses?” The woman clicked her tongue. “Ye knows I want the best for ‘im, Mayor. We’re naught but humble village folk at heart, despite what we do. We’re not meant ta get involved with them nobles.” “Shh…” the mayor looked around furtively. “Don’t say that too loud. We don’t want anybody to hear.” “Ye worried about Pylauses?” “Him, and that man from Isauria. I don’t trust him. He’s got the stamp of magic on him. Just like that witch.” “Oh, you’re too much! Jes’ cuz summat’s from Isauria, don’t mean nuthin’.” While hearing Mene’s defense warmed Abdul’s shriveled heart, he could not help but concern himself with what the mayor had said. He knew it! He knew he was not welcome here. It would begin with whispers, then torches and pitchforks. And finally, he would be driven out. It had happened before, and it would happen again. When would he find people that would accept him and his withered appearance? Perhaps never. Regardless, he needed to leave before the situation reached a boiling point. Returning inside, he bowed to the others, especially Penelope. “My most humble apologies, but I must be going,” he rubbed his hands together nervously. “I have, ahem, noticed that my presence is unwelcome in this place, and would rather not risk getting thrown out. I would like to leave on my own terms.” Smiling at Penelope, he nodded. “May we meet again someday, Your Highness.” With that, he departed, taking his camel in hand. While he regretted parting from such a person of high standing so soon, especially since he hadn't turned around her negative view of him, it was that very thing that had him leaving. He could not rely on her, or the others, to defend him. Perhaps they would meet again, but for now, it was goodbye. — Gunther and Tsetseg had followed a dog named Lassie. It belonged to a boy named Timmy that had gotten stuck in the quarry pit. Sienna, Phaidra, and Icleias, after following Licorice’s trail and seeing she had crossed into Great Marsh, backtracked to the forest surrounding the village, and followed Icleias to the quarry pit as well. Now they stood, wondering how to get the boy out. “‘Ey there, Lassie, good girl!” Timmy shouted. “‘Ello, are the rest o’ ye ‘ere ta rescue me?” He looked around and whistled. “Whooee sure is one big pit I fell inter. But I bet mah good friend Raki can ‘ave me out in two shakes of a wyvern’s tail. ‘E shouldn't be far. I was talkin’ to ‘im shortly afore everythin’ ‘appened an’ all.” OOC
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    RIP to the legendary John Madden
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    I got hired by a company called Cognizant as an Oracle Developer. According to my onboarding documents, my official start day is January 3rd. I’ll be making $24 hourly. I’m still waiting on my placement at the moment. Hope to have that on Monday.
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    Lightning Runner Kess was kicking animated objects out of the way, swearing with each minor impact on her foot. “Goddamn Ryo. Shit. First time I’ve seen her in what? A year and a half? Goddammit. Thinks she can order ME around? BITCH,” With this Kess gave off a scything kick, sending a trash can spiraling off down the street. “Get real! You’re the LAST person gets to order me around!” Out of the corner of her eyes she observed Ryo getting into position, before activating her Fount. For a moment she actually considered not doing anything and just letting Ryo be squished. Fortunately for Ryo, a far better distraction came about as a result of the British boy who launched a bus at the Titan. Kess grinned, beginning a sprint along the pavement towards the arm Leo wasn’t racing up now, the one Leo had eviscerated with his unorthodox choice of improvised weapon. She streaked up the arm, ducking one way, then the other to avoid bits of the crenelations that jutted out to block her path. As she reached the elbow, she stopped for the briefest instant, bending her knees and then pushing off, flying through the air at the bulk of the monster. Her landing wasn’t so smooth. The windows were largely eliminated thanks to Ryo’s barrage of strikes, but Kess still felt several tearing sensations around her as she flew into the window, to smack into the wall on the other end sidelong. She let out a grunt of pain and effort, collapsing to the floor before slowly dragging herself back up. “Jeez,” she let out in a wheeze, standing and stretching, feeling and hearing several things pop. “Big lumbering bastard.” She heard a rumbling noise and looked to see the window closing up behind her in a wave of stone. She then felt the tile floor shifting beneath her feet. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me.” She took off down the hallway again, ducking and jumping to avoid sudden jolts in the wall that sent cascades of bricks lashing out in an attempt to crush her. She reached another bank of windows, mercifully lighting her way forward. She glanced out the windows and frowned on reflex at seeing Ryo outside, backing up to get distance from the behemoth. Kess reached out, ripping a metal box off the wall with a shriek of tearing steel and making a quick pirouette to sling the box out the window, streaking towards Ryo through the sky. The white-haired girl barely spared it a second of thought before tossing a small handful of her glowing bullets through the air to break it into many harmless pieces. Just before the windows were swallowed by the morphing architecture of the building, Kess was rewarded with the sight of the girl being covered in a hail of white foam from the fire extinguisher that had been inside it. She was almost caught by the collapsing hallway behind her, she was laughing so hard. - - - - - - - Rumbling Pursuit The mother and daughter pair had only had to deal with a small handful of rampaging pieces of the city, and most of them small ones. The majority had been pretty easily dispatched by Kaede, blown aside with gusts of wind, sundered by small bursts of flame, or broken on barriers of magical force. Both Kaede and Midori had taken a few minor knocks, a few cuts and bruises, but nothing all that serious just yet. “We might be out of the Sixth soon!” Kaede piped up, with somewhat forced cheerfulness. “If we get into the Fifth we might be able to hide in one of the shops until…” She trailed off. She had been about to say ‘Until this is over’ but she honestly couldn’t guess what that even began to entail. But she forced that thought away. Not consciously, she was experiencing what she would only later be told was shock, but now her brain was running on survival instinct. “Yes,” said Midori, brushing concrete dust from her eyes. “Kaede, thank you so much, I don’t think I could have done anything out here by myself.” Kaede turned back to give a stressed-out grin. “Yeah, happy to help, Okaa-san! Just stay behind me and I think I can-” They were interrupted by a great, whirring whistle. Kaede turned slowly to see a great trundling form rolling down the street towards them, far off several blocks away, but approaching fast. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw the form of a great speeding train, huge curtains of sparks blasting from either side as it grated across the tarmac, and with a front that had torn itself asunder into a great, chomping mouth. Kaede shrieked, pushing her mother into the next street. The train blasted behind them a second later, buffeting the two small women several feet further into the street as it shrieked by in a blast of sound. Just like that it was past them, shrieking off down the street once more. Kaede and Midori both hyperventilated in concert as they rushed down the short street, but were forced to backpedal as the train appeared again, shrieking past them again. Kaede looked up at the buildings on either side of them. Each time the train blasted by they shook intensely, bricks rattling off and visible cracks running through the walls. She took a deep breath, pulling out the Library in one hand and the single large cloth shopping bag Midori had kept an ironlike grip on the whole while. “Okaa-san, I’m going to need you to do exactly what I say,” she said shakily, trying to raise her voice above the shriek of the train, pulling the shopping bag open as far as it would go. She set it down on the ground in front of her. “Step inside, quick! The train is going to collapse these buildings and we’ll be buried, and if we try to run it’ll just…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. “Get in!” Midori stepped into the bag, shakily looking down at Kaede as she traced several rainbow-colored runes on the bag. Upon completion of the last rune she called out an Egyptian phrase, and the interior of the bag suddenly went black, and Midori fell downward, and out of sight within the bag. “Ten minutes,” Kaede whispered to herself, wrapping the cloth straps of the bag around her hands and setting off towards the end of the street. Even at half her mother’s weight and Midori not being a large woman, Kaede was even smaller, and the bag was heavy enough to where she had to drag it. “Just hold on for ten minutes, please, Okaa-san,” she whispered, before intoning the phrase for her Float spell. Both she and the bag lifted off, Kaede kicking off the ground to gently begin hovering up above the train as it streaked by. Kaede’s intent had been to jump over the train and land on the roof of the laundromat on the other side. But she had failed to account for the weight of the bag that contained her mother. She was immediately punished for it as the bag caught on a jagged torn piece of metal sticking from the train. The straps snapped taught, and Kaede, with her reduced weight from the spell, was immediately jerked along for the ride, shrieking as the train blasted down the street towards the melee about the Samsara Tower.
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    "AY LOVECRAFT, MIND SAVING THE ROAD CLEANERS SOME WORK AND SAVING MY LIFE??" Oh dear, someone was falling. From that height, that boy would certainly be a red splat on the ground if he just fell like that. Good thing Kiyoko was indeed capable of saving the day. Raising a hand up, palm pointed at the boy who would've soon become a victim of gravity, Kiyoko cast a simple spell. "♥☼♫‼§♪♣" Beneath Leo, a tear in the world similar to the ones that had unleashed those tentacles from before opened. Rather than those appendages, however, a sharp-toothed maw opened wide, shutting itself tight as Leo fell in. Then the hole disappeared. He wouldn't be able to see or hear it from inside a beast's maw, but for that brief moment, he had truly left this world, though whether he was simply riding a vessel currently between worlds, or if he had truly entered the realm of the gods, Kiyoko wasn't sure. Not a place suited for humans in either case, alas. If only Kiyoko were lucky enough to be there instead, with the ability to survive such a world. But in the interest of not accidentally killing the boy, and regrettably sparing him the chance of firsthand accounts of seeing anything that realm beyond realms had to offer, Kiyoko moved her hand, extending her arm out to her side. "↕♣•§↕•○¶☺¶♣" Beside her, another hole in the world appeared, with that same black maw pushing just past the threshold. And unceremoniously spitting Leo out on the street next to Kiyoko. None the worse for wear, and out of harm's way. "Life saved," Kiyoko smiled. "Not many people get to experience that, either! Lucky you." The duties of dealing with the tower and its minions seemed to be split fairly well. That just left the matter of one girl in the group that had assembled. "I need to get inside. If I can calm whatever is causing this, perhaps we can stop any more senseless destruction. Do any of you have any ideas on how we can get inside?" Get inside the tower? Sei could handle that fairly well. In fact, it made perfect sense! She'd been so focused on the outside, she never thought about just going in. To stop a horse, shoot the general! "I can get us in," Sei said, eyeing up the tower. "Not afraid of heights, are you?" Elita smiled for a brief moment, shaking her hand as she pulled her bag up her shoulder a bit. She curled her arm around it, holding it against her front as she turned to Sei, "...Thankfully no. If you can get me inside, consider any celebrations on me afterwards." "I like the sound of that. Name's Sei, and I'll be your personal pilot and security for this job." With that, Sei wrapped her arms tight around her passenger-to-be, and calling upon the power of Suzaku, sprouted a pair of red wings from her back. One powerful jump, and the pair took flight, soaring up above the action. Up above the rooftops around them. Up above the bulky shoulders of the Samsara Titan, a height from which Sei eyeballed the windows on the back of the beast. "Brace yourself for impact," Sei warned, before suddenly shooting further upward, then turning in an arc, suddenly diving downward through the air to one of the windows near what was once the base of the tower before its rampage. Like an arrow, the two shot through the window, breaking through the glass and skidding to a rough landing on the floor. Looking through their improvised entrance, Sei watched as the wall closed up behind them, like a mouth shutting once food had entered. Creepy. "Well. We're here. Let's get to the heart of the problem and see about settling things down."
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    Alois, Penelope, and Citron To look at Mene, one would think her earlier exhaustion a lie. She moved with the determined stomp of a mother on a mission, the back-and-forth flitter of a robin feathering her nest, removing what bits she found wanting, her veil fluttering behind her like a wing. "Alois! I cannot believe you would be so quick to send her away. We do not even know yet if Edrick will return to rest here. Do not tell me you are hoping to spend the night here with just me, are you?" The woman's frenzied dance came to a halt, a beat out of sync. She turned her head to stare at first Penelope, and then Alois. Her eyes revealed a flicker of wariness that was quickly extinguished by a tide of disapproval. "Now, Alois, if'n Miss Penelope's words be true, then I 'ave to say as I'm mightily disappointed in ye. I thought I'd raised ye better." She pursed her lips. "Still, mightn't be the worst idea to look around, maybe take a peek at the house down the road. Alois can show ye. Just be sure to either come back or bed down afore dark." Gunther, Tsetseg, and Raki Phai nodded along in a rare understanding of Tsetseg's impassioned litany. "Fluffy foxes that were growling? Where did you meet those? They sound a little scary…unless, of course, they were friendly, then that would be a different story." She straightened up at the archer's last sentence. "Baddies? In our village? How could that be?" The militia girl listened to Raki's explanation, expression stiffening further with every word. "Pylauses and Hanikap," she muttered in a quiet voice tinged with disbelief. The group followed a worn-down hunting trail that wound through the forest like a snake as they started the return journey back to the village. "Aye, t'was them," Timmy agreed, stretching his arms as he moved to the front of the pack, surefooted and confident. "I stayed t'listen longer, but ah didna hear much else. Hanikap caught me whiles I was still fixin' to do summat, shoved me down inter this 'ere hole, an' there ye 'ave it." His cheerful tone clashed with the heaviness of his words. The boy walked as if he were on a daytime stroll, hopping over rivulets of water and fallen logs. "That's unbelievable," Phai muttered, pushing a stray tree branch aside for the rest of the group to pass before taking up the rear. Unlike Timmy's jaunty skips, her steps sank into the ground, heavy with dread. "How could Hanikap push you down a well—quarry like that?" she corrected herself. "And what's this about a secret passage?" "Reminds me o' summat my papa said," Timmy replied. "Said the mayor must've been in high cotton wool cuz he 'ad some fancy schmancy secret passage. Course, he shut up when ah asked him 'bout that." He shook his head. "Haven't ye noticed it, Phai? There's somefing we ain't knowin', but the grown-ups do, an' they ain't tellin'." "I…" the girl's silver eyes glazed over in thought. "Yeah. You're right. But I don't know what it could be. I think Acantha does, but she won't tell me either." She glanced at the rest of the group. "S-Sorry, this must all sound so strange…" She laughed nervously. "U-Unless it's not. Maybe you've seen weirder on your travels?" Edrick and Ciela "Huh?" Hanikap scratched his head. "I thought I saw a wolfydog." He turned to look behind him, at Rohns climbing up the stairs. "I did, I did saw a wolfydog!" A pause, and then, "Oh, no! I can't let that thing get near Lord Pylauses." The man waddled after Rohns like an ungainly duck. He stumbled, almost tripping once more, but caught himself and resumed the chase with renewed vigor. Meanwhile, Edrick and Ciela stood alone at the front of the house. Through the open door, they would see what looked like a large parlor, all polished wood flooring and upholstered red velvet furniture. Patterned rugs created a bizarre mosaic, and paintings of various hunting scenes took up every spare inch of wall space. A door stood on each end of the opposite wall, an enormous staircase sandwiched between them. The same staircase Hanikap was currently scaling, huffing and puffing with every step. Link The birds approached Link like a troop of soldiers surrounding a single enemy. A few cocked their heads to the side and cooed curiously. Others just stared straight at him with empty eyes. Meanwhile, above the noise of the birds, the mercenary would hear footsteps approaching his room, along with a muttered voice. "Blasted avianators! They must be insatiated. I shall have to nourish them before dispatching my memorandum." Shortly after, he could hear the creak of the door opening. OOC
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    "So, Ed-boy, what do you think?" Well that was certainly one way for Ciela to close her plan as she expressed it to him, and truth be told it made a good amount of sense to him. He... vaguely remembered Catriona going off with someone who was not the Mayor which meant that she had probably gone with some other noble. Though... now that he thought about it he could very much see the Crown Princess being content to settle into something about as simple as one of these houses. If anything from what he had seen she seemed to want to escape all of the responsibilities placed on her head. But... well that was neither here nor there. Either way he was plenty sure that the person she had gone with was not the type to have one of these simpler houses. "First," he began as he turned to look at her, "don't call me 'Ed-boy.' I'm not a boy anymore, and when I was I beat up some of the other boys in town when they called me that." It really was a nickname he didn't like. "Second... well yeah that sounds like as good a plan as any. The guy she went with definitely...seemed like the noble type, fancy words and all that. So... yeah, fancy house seems like what to look for." And from there the pair set off. The boy was glad to see things apparently getting back to normal as buildings, stalls, and everything else were put back together after the chaos. Though... the way the villagers looked at him. Well it was depressingly familiar to him. He got it enough from a few of his own friends, the way they seemed guarded around him because of who he was. Like they expected him to turn on them after all they had gone through together. "Hey Ciel-" he had been just about to ask her opinion on the matter when the two of them came upon... well the incredibly garish house. Yeah... yeah this, "I think we found the place." That more or less distracted him from where his mind was going, so he went ahead and got himself down out of the saddle to get a look at the place. His eyes shot briefly to the stable and the horses in it, but he quickly realized that neither of them were Elba. No... no that would have been too easy. "May as well-" and then he caught something coming at them quickly. His immediate reaction was to ready his lance and then- "Rohns?" He relaxed as he noticed the tiny menace approaching them quickly with apparent intent, and he decided to squat himself down to get a better look at the creature. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be with Link?" When the little thing looked up towards the window, which Edrick now saw was broken, and began making a few little whining noises which reminded the boy of some of the dogs from his home town, he sighed. "Oh. I see. Alright let's go see if he got himself in any trouble." For his part he really didn't think that Catriona was in any real danger here, which was why where the last man to come to the house had apparently broken in he took a more civil approach. "Hello?" He called as he first tried to open the door, and upon finding it locked began heavily striking it with the base of his fist. "Hello there? We're Catriona's friends!"
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    I don't have a quote but here's the color, please don't hurt me Basic Information Nickname: Chester Gender: Male Personality: Pokémon Information Species: Chespin Appearance: Art by Nullma 1 and 1/6th Starly tall. Ability: Bulletproof. Starting Moves: Vinewhip Growl Syntehsis Power Up Punch Human Information Username: Sawsbuck76, ProdigyProfessor, Appletun Real Name: Chester Pinesly Appearance: Art by Keishin Forum Biography: Biography: Other Information I'm sure there's a theme for him out there.
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    Alois didn't meet his mother's gaze as she began to narrow her eyes at him, having something of an obviously guilty yet innocent expression on his face. Thankfully Penelope had managed to keep that situation from getting any sourer by souring the conversation in a different way. As the topic of his and the mayor's history came up, Alois's expression changed to an annoyed frown as he thought back on his time here in Phar. As his mother seemed to state the situation between him and his hoity toity lord of Phar the boy grimaced. "Yeah, well, that's the long and short of it. I've never been one much for stupid rules and he's never been one for reason, so this is just how things ended up between us. I couldn't tell you really when it all started. If anything, you could just say it's one of the town's charms its had for the past decade," the boy wryly joked. Though he had a sarcastic smile on his face it quickly broke away back to a somber look. He hadn't been certain of when all this started or what was the cause of it. But he had a good idea of why it happened, and how he was going to end all of this. "Well, I'm sure he has something to say himself," the boy added, before swiftly switching topics. "But I've had enough of that badger for one day already. So, how about you princess?" The boy smiled as he asked, "anyone you couldn't help but butt heads with back home?" Tsetseg had still stayed behind Gunther as Rocky had continued to explain himself. Given her current attitude, she gave an oddly understanding nod as he had mentioned not using dark magic but then felt bewildered by his next comment. It was true that it was stone and Tsetseg had never known stone to fly - at least in the literal sense. So it didn't make any sense to think that the stone statue was actually flying. But she had seen it with her own eyes and it was most certainly flying. Which is where the strange, presumably dark, magic had come in to play. Reorienting her thoughts, she nodded to herself, proud for not getting too confused by the Isaurian's double talk. She was snapped out of this kind of circular thinking, though, as the scaly terror of the skies had come down and looked at them. "Ah! Another another one!" The girl yelped out in surprise as, in addition to the third Isaurian, this had been the second - third? - wyvern that she had seen in one day. Her shocked expression gave one into wary annoyance as the wyvern growled at her and the others. And so Tsetseg growled back at them. Locked in a staring contest with the wyvern, Tsetseg stated, "it's a good thing you're not a goat Timmy, yup yup." She nodded to herself. Goats weren't that far off from horses after all.
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    Well, my bout with Covid was fairly short. Did a test today and came back negative. Still will have to check tomorrow and Monday since those are days 5 and 6 after I got my first Positive result. Still have a slight cough, but I've always had a cough, which is probably related to my less than great lifestyle choices.
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    Before Kio knew it, the buzzer rang off. The second round was over, and Kio sat atop Sun's shoulders, barely hanging on. With Kio's strategy, and Sun's surprising amount of intellect and speed, they were able to muster up a decent amount of points. His breathing was heavy, and his nerves hadn't stopped jittering after the intense chicken fights that happened across the stage. "What a challenge..." He panted, laying his arms across Sun's head, and flopping over them like a ragdoll. "I gotta admit, Sun, I thought this would've been a lot easier. But I'm glad you were my hair-clad chariot." He lost his balance, but was too exhausted to stop himself, as he fell over onto the ground in front of Sun with a thud. He held up an upward thumb towards the Monkey Boy. "Nice Fight! Let's meet in the finals!" "And that concludes the Chicken Fight portion of this year's Sports Festival," Orikami addressed the crowd and participants alike through the stadium's speakers, "if you will all direct your attention to the big screen, the bracket for the last phase will be visible, displaying our top eight." Kio smiled as he saw his face displayed on the screen, once again, for everyone to see. All of his hard work had been paying off! Maybe he could be a real hero after all. His eyes then made his way towards his bracket mate. Benjamin O'Hara. A pesk to be sure. The thought of a cascading wave of creepy crawlies heading his way sent shivers down his spine. "This final stage, as is tradition, will be single elimination sparring matches. While the previous rounds focused on adaptability, the eventual winner will be decided based on raw combat strength. The first rounds will all be conducted simultaneously, starting in one hour" "One hour to prepare myself, huh? I don't think enough mental imaging will get me ready for this..." Kio sighed. He decided to go limber himself up in the waiting rooms near the lockers. On his way, he stumbled upon O'Hara talking to what looked like the press. As they left his opponent, they noticed him in the hall as well, and made a mad dash towards him. Kio was no strange to the press, but most of his interviews came from middle school students and local small time newspapers. "Akagi Kio? What are your thoughts going into the 1v1 portion of the Festival?" "Well I'm totally pumped! I get to show Japan what I can really do! Maybe I'll even get scouted early by a top agency!!" Kio's grin was wide and shiny. "How does it feel for the whole country to know your quirk after that information got leaked? To be able to copy any quirk you see is incredible! How many memory cards do you have right now?" "Well I couldn't keep it secret forever, right?! Although it's kind of like I've already had my hero debut...a bummer it wasn't revealed in a battle with a villain." Kio pulled one of his memory cards out of his pocket, making sure to cover the label of the quirk named on it, and passed it along the middles of his fingers back and forth. "Now I cant be giving away all of my secrets! You never know who's watching a broadcast!" "Quirks that copy other quirks are exceedingly rare, one hasn't had this level of spotlight since the villain Wendigo went missing half a decade ago. How does it feel to be such a rarity even among the best?" 'Why bring that scum into this?' "Well I certainly don't think I'm anything special! A lot of my classmates have way more unique quirks than me! Trust me, I have half of them!" Kio laughed. "What I will say is that I have a rare drive to better myself! I hope I can get support from everyone!" "One last question: Who do you think will win it all? We have our own guesses, but we'd love to hear it from someone closer to it all!" "Well I've put a lot of thought into this myself...in terms of raw Quirk power, my money is on Almaz! But I think the biggest wildcard is Kanda! There's still so much more to his potential than I've seen!" Kio flashed a peace sign to the camera. "But don't count me out just yet! I'll make sure to do my best! I'm going to win this sports festival!" With the interview over, the cockroaches scurried away to find their next victim. Speaking of cockroaches, Kio's attention turned to O'Hara. The two hadn't had much interaction before now, but it looked like that would probably come to an end here. "Yo, Ben!" Kio said with a salute and smile. "Looks like we'll be duking it out soon, huh? Don't go easy on me, got it? Because I won't come at you with anything other than my best!" Kio was in no way underestimating Ben, but he had stepped over bigger stones in his time.
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    Team Iron Spider The planned worked...though the ending part of this improved plan was actually something neither competitor could've imagined happening. But regardless, it happened. On Benjamin's mark, Risa pulled a now fully bitten and webbed up Mayu's bola and down to the ground she went. What transpired next for Atsushi, well... “ATSUSHIIIIIIIIII!” "Wait...oh man that guy's gonna..." Benjamin started, watching this falling blue haired young man falling to his inevitable doom...until Atsushi was now grabbed by the falling student and having his descent being slowed down, almost to the point where the one individual's feet were at the ground. Of course, the one student was already on the ground safely...but now Benjamin looked at the one seeing him so close to the ground. "Risa...Risa the weight!" he said quickly. No sooner after saying that, the young woman began to pull the weight and it came at full speed, zooming towards Atsushi and clipping his legs in turn causing the young man to start spinning violently in the air. From what Benjamin also noticed, Risa pulling something else: the small target. Or at least she would be...if he didn't notice something else snagging it...a tongue...a lizard's tongue. Rika, no doubt about it... ...and without much of anything else...Atsushi fell onto the ground in the most comedic way possible, about the time the buzzer sounded. "And that concludes the Chicken Fight portion of this year's Sports Festival. If you will all direct your attention to the big screen, the bracket for the last phase will be visible, displaying our top eight." Benjamin was surprised...even at a loss for words. The top eight...Sun, Shannon, Rika, Takehiko, Diana, Kio...and then Risa and himself. He stood there in awe for a moment before looking at Risa with a smile. "Hey! Congrats! We did it!!" he said joyfully. Risa stared up at the scoreboard, her eyes wide and twitchy. "Did we live?" she asked hazily, sounding as if she were talking through a head injury. "Thanks to our combined efforts, we sure did!" he extended a fist towards Risa and smiled, the two bumping fists with each other. "We got each other to the Top 8...now we really get to show everyone what we can do." After this little exchange, Benjamin let Risa go meet up with her friends, figuring now was probably the best time for them to part ways for the time being. Would fate bring them together in a match? He wasn't sure...same time, he wasn't even expecting to arrive here, but now that he was...he-... "Benjamin O'Hara? Are you as surprised as we are to see you in the top 8?" He blinked for a moment, seeing himself now cornered in one of the hallways to the locker rooms. By whom, one may ask? Answer was simple: reporters for a TV station. It was...odd...to say the least. Out of no where these vultures descended...and this TV station was...basically one that dealt with gossip but at the same time, it spoke the truth and did actual journalism here and there when it was beneficial for them, if Benjamin was correct. Still, least it wasn't anything majorly incriminating. The question was asked once more, which released Benjamin from his stupor. "Oh...uh...honestly, I am. Don't get me wrong, I was fine just making it into the Top 16, but I wasn't expecting to make it to Top 8. Guess it just helps that I had a great partner that round." "It definitely helps to have someone with such a heroic legacy to ride along with. So what is an American doing at UA?" Intrusive, aren't they? he thought, but focused a bit on the beginning. Again with that... "Heroic legacy or not, Risa was a great partner." Benjamin dismissed this comment originally, cause it didn't matter who her father was...she was her own person. "As for the question at hand, well you know how it is, family moves due to a job opportunity for your parent and the local Heroes just ignited the spark to be a Hero and where else to learn from then the place that has given us so many great Heroes!" "The local heroes inspired you? Someone your age must have been a big fan of Omega Star growing up, right?" "She was alright...no disrespect, but..." he paused, before looking away for a moment. A slight sigh escaped his lips before looking back, deciding now was the time to just say it. "...Eight-Legged Hero: Silky was my Hero..." "Silky..? I can't say I'm familiar." This made Benjamin's heart sink at hearing such a revelation from these people. "I believe she was still a student at the time I met her...and she saved me that day..." he started explaining, he seemed lost in his thoughts at this point. "She was the one who ignited the spark in me...I owe everything to Hachimoto Sayaka." "It's not unheard of for hero students to dabble in heroics once they are licensed. Where-..." It seemed the reporter said something...but Benjamin heard the words begin to trail off. He closed his eyes, letting out a sigh as he thought upon the events of that day. The memories were still vivid...just as if it happened yesterday. BGM It was supposed to be a normal day in December at the mall...more specifically the newest mall that opened for business, Nev-Arro Central Mall. Of course, Benjamin was there with his mother off to do a bit of Christmas shopping, the young child wanting to find something special for his father for a gift. Unfortunately, it never panned out that direction… Benjamin's mother was talking to a friend she bumped into and he went off to look at a few windows with some new flashy toys and electronics, so he separated from her. That was when it happened...in a blur, what went from a nice, calm winter day became a hellish nightmare in an instant. Panic ensued as three villains took over the mall, but what was worse, Benjamin was now separated from his mother in this panic...the mall was currently on fire and he was trapped on the inside. The only thing he could do was having to hide away just to make sure he wasn't found. But with the smoke from the fire filling the mall...the sounds of coughs could be heard everywhere. What of his Quirk? His Spider Colony Quirk couldn't help much...but try as he might, he did work with his spiders to try and keep an eye on the situation. He didn't want to run into the villains...he didn't want to be found by them… I...I don't want to d-die… Benjamin thought, coughing some more. He prayed his spiders would catch the eye of some Pro Heroes...or the police...or someone. Tears started to well in his eyes, having every possible scenario play in his head. That's when his spiders caught sight of something. Or rather, someone. They caught sight of her. He looked up, seeing a young lady, the bottom half of a spider and the rest like a normal girl. Although she had soot and wasn't looking the best, Benjamin could see the pure sincerity in her eyes as she held out her hand. "Hey little guy." the young lady spoke, a small cough coming from her. She motioned with her eyes to her hand, the young boy now noticing there was a spider in her hand. "Guessing this is one of yours. Lucky he found me, and good on you with that Quirk of yours." The spider jumped from her hand back to Benjamin, who was sniffling slightly. "Go on, just take my hand. I'm Silky, I'm a Hero." A Hero? And she was a spider girl...and...she complimented his Quirk. Benjamin nodded, immediately taking the hand of Silky and he was whisked away. He covered his eyes, he didn't want to see anymore of this. But eventually, he felt the winter air hitting him and he finally looked to see that he was outside. Silky put him down and immediately his mother was rushing to him in a hug. Benjamin would immediately turn around to try and thank the Hero, but all he saw was the spider girl scurrying back inside the mall to rescue others. He stayed there near the mall, sitting in an ambulance as he was checked up on by some paramedics. That's when the mall finally collapsed...and of course, the Hero that saved his life, was gone. Benjamin couldn't believe this...he wouldn't believe it... It was however true, as Benjamin found himself at the funeral for the Hero a few days later. After hearing and reading about it, he begged his parents to let him go to it, to which they graciously accepted this for him. He was silent the whole time at the funeral for Silky...no...for Hachimoto Sayaka. He noticed that there were many different Heroes and students there to pay their respects, but he didn’t pay too much attention to who was there. As some were already expressing their condolences and best wishes to her family, Benjamin slowly approached the casket and just shook his head, keeping himself from crying. “...I...I didn’t even get...to say thank you...” he muttered, sniffling lightly before wiping a few stray tears. “...t-t-thank you...Silky.” He moved away, not before placing a rose made of webbing on the casket. “...y-you...were just like me. I...just wish I had met you...b-before...” As he left the funeral, Benjamin could hear something from his spiders: "She saved us...can...can we do that?" This was a question that Benjamin never had crossed his mind. He wasn't as strong as the Eight-Legged Hero, he couldn't make his own webs...he was simply a guy with a mental psychic link to his spiders in which he housed within him. But then again, it did beg the question...could he do that? Could he be a Hero like Silky? It was that day he decided...no, they all decided that this would be the spark to reignite his want and desire to become a Hero. "We've lost one spider hero...we need to be there to take up that position…" Benjamin thought, looking at a few of the spiders that were in his hand. "...we'll be a Hero that Silky would be proud of!!" "O'Hara?" Benjamin once again was snapped from his stupor as he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, could you repeat the question?" "Where is this hero operating these days?" "..." Silence fell over Benjamin, sighing heavily as he rubbed the back of his neck slightly. "She died...Nev-Arro Central Mall's burning building collapsed and she was lost in it..." "Oh. Well, uh, good luck." That was it...that was the end of the interview? Benjamin sighed, watching the group leave immediately as he just leaned back on the wall and let out a heavy sigh. ...never heard of her? ...she saved so many people that day...myself included...h-how...how could no one even have heard of her? he thought, shaking his head slowly. Same time, he figured one person would've known with the memory he had: Kio. Perhaps that would be a question for him later... Right now, however, he had an hour to kill...he needed to mentally and physically prepare himself.
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    Somehow, for once, a plan went exactly as it was laid out all the way to fruition. The only downside was Lana using up her blast powder as well, but really that was just a problem of underbudgeting. They could keep that in the back of their heads for the next time they came across a minotaur and also had two or more sacks of magic-dungeon-provided blast powder – they’d definitely need as much as possible. Again, though, they had done it! “Good, uh, good job, everyone,” Chris said. Any more than that was interrupted by the lava beginning to rise out of the pit, so instead he just added, “Now let’s get out of here.” Of course, the dungeon wasn’t about to let them go without claiming their prize (not that Chris minded the free stuff!) and when they wrenched open the treasure chest, Chris’ eyes immediately drifted to the odd thing out: the spool of thread, something glowing even while the gold and flasks of whatever, given the fading light, could not. His hands soon followed, immediately snatching up the spool and starting to fiddle with it. He found the first magically odd property rather quickly. If he held the string in a certain way, it would stay there even if he let go. Chris’ mind whirred at the possibilities of such a tool, and when he gave the spool a tug to try to start winding it back up, he found himself standing a few inches away from where he had just been – right where he had placed the string. “Oh, dibs!” Chris said, his eyes surely gleaming just as much as his new toy was. “Uh, you can take it out of my share of the gold if you want, but I’m definitely taking this, yeah.” Now all pleased with himself, he took one of the bottles out of the chest as well and turned towards the portal, ready to exit the dungeon.
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