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  1. Oh dang, two of mine. Here It Goes Again is, like, *the* viral music video but you just gotta love Christopher Walken Dancen. I wouldn't begrudge anyone voting the other way, though.
  2. As soon as Melissa got home, she tried to go to sleep. Like, really really tried. It didn’t take, though; her heart was beating too fast. Between every breath, she replayed moments of the night one after the other like a highlight reel, and when she ran out of moments they just started back at the beginning of the day and played all over again. Actually getting ready for bed -- taking off the dress and the makeup and putting her corsage bracelet away and even taking a shower -- didn’t help much either. Her heart was beating too fast. One breath, she was standing before Student Council President Ashley Rendleman as she chatted away at her before casually dismissing her the moment someone more interesting came along, the next, Elizabeth was leaning on a bathroom wall telling Melissa how Ashley wouldn’t even hurt a fly. With every loop, though, Melissa found more and more comfort in reminiscing. While some of the individual events had been concerning, hadn’t she succeeded in her goal? She’d been asked out on a date, asked to handle all the specifics that she could manage -- which turned out to be quite a few! -- and to show her date as nice a time as she could. And she had! Sure, there were hiccups, but of all the plans in all the world, how many didn’t go wrong at some point? One breath, she had her hand outstretched, offering her wrist to her kickoff date in anticipation of wearing a bracelet she’d picked out herself, the next Gabby was calling her “little lamb” in a way Melissa had never heard her say it before. Gabby… The nickname pinged around in Melissa’s mind, searching for a bell to ring. Jun had said it before, but she shortened everybody’s name, right? Meanwhile, when Melissa had said it right before they’d danced in each other’s arms, well, she’d used it because it seemed like the right name to use just before something so intimate. It wasn’t like she’d been specifically asked not to- Oh. Oh no. Melissa rolled out of bed and crawled over to her phone like a girl possessed. Fumbling around for it didn’t take long at all only because of how swiftly she swept it up into her hands and started scrolling through old messages. “Please don’t please don’t please don’t,” Melissa muttered over and over. She wasn’t sure if she was going to wake anyone up or not, but at the moment, she didn’t really care. And then she found it. Because of course she did. It was only a few days old, after all, and failing that, it was right at the top of the message chain, before anything else had been said between them: Greetings! I am sending this missive as I had said I would. It would be best if you responded post-haste. The first message read like the calm before the storm. This is gabby Gabriela Not gabby Dont call me gabby A DOOM sound rolled throughout the room. Melissa was the only one there to hear it, but its vibrations could be felt in the floor just beneath her knees and while that could also have been only her imagination, it still managed to crawl its way up into her legs until they were shaking as well. Crawling back into bed was a much more difficult task once that had taken hold, not to mention that Melissa’s eyes refused to move from those four ruinous messages. No, that phrasing didn’t give her enough agency in the whole affair. “She refused to take her eyes away from her phone” was better, not to mention truer. When she pulled her covers over her head, she did so with one hand so she could keep eye-contact with her screen. And there she wallowed for quite a while. It had been such a simple request, but at the same time, it had been simple enough that it had somehow slipped through the cracks. She’d ruined the moment, probably. Actually, she hadn’t only done that, she’d probably ruined everything. Everything! It sounded so dramatic in Melissa’s head but wasn’t it the truth? One breath, and she was all the way back at Elizabeth and Hitomu’s duel. “My name’s Gabriela,” Gabby (no!) said. “Gab-ri-el-a.” The next Melissa was just outside Gabby’s (why‽) dorm room and she was leaning in to… Melissa was lifted her non-phone hand up to her cheek. The moment she touched the spot she felt a wave of relief wash over her. It meant so many things to her, some of which she hadn’t realized at that moment, but the feelings were just as strong now as they were then. And the timeline of it all, it meant that her dreadful, horrid mistake had either gone unnoticed or had been wiped clean after that single act. She turned her phone off and poked her head out from under the covers, though she didn’t take her hand from her cheek just yet. No, she liked holding onto that memory for as long as possible. And even when Melissa closed her eyes and her consciousness drifted away, she dreamed of herself and Gabby, dancing under the stars.Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, a sinner Wipe away my transgressions, and let me be reborn anew in your glory Help me turn away from sin and move towards your eternal light. Oh Lord, how loving you are! You give and you forgive in equal measure though I always feel like I am asking for too much Even now, I dare not ask for anything for myself out of fear of being too wanting when all I have is because of you Instead, I thank you, again, for all you have given me and pray that you continue to be my guide. In the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit, Amen September 25, 909 PD Feast of Saint Ceolfrid “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” -John 15:12 (NIV)Monday arrived, and with it the lack of Kickoff magic that Melissa had never thought she’d ever experience, yet somehow had. She even took a longer route to class, just to walk by her spot again. As she suspected, it was different in the morning light, and not just because, well, not just because it was morning. It was that little extra indescribable something, too, that could have only come from that night. She still could smile remembering it. But she couldn’t linger for too long. Her first class was sooner than she’d like to admit, and the alternative path she’d taken was already longer than her normal one by a not-insignificant amount. Melissa allowed herself one final look at her perfectly-normal-yet-secretly-wondrous surroundings before she adjusted her backpack on her back and hurried off down the path. She opened up her phone along the way and scrolled through the Community Service Club group chat, as was her wont. All they did really was share unfunny image macros and only the occasional meaningless club update, though. In one instance, there was a picture of someone Melissa didn’t recognize shunning the words “Community Service Club Group Chat” while in another frame they were smiling and pointing to “Community Service Power Hour”, and that was when Melissa realized someone -- probably Connor -- had changed the name of the group chat. The other group chat -- the Entertainment Duelist’s Club -- seemed to have the opposite problem. Not much had happened since before Kickoff, and some of the participants, especially Akari, didn’t seem to post much at all. Still, rereading messages that involved her directly not only felt better than whatever was going on in the other group chat but also was probably a good idea in general. Especially when it caused her to remember she hadn’t actually met up with any of them like she’d told Gabby she would. It probably wouldn’t hurt to send out a message now, would it? It took a few rewrites, but she ended up with: To: Souji, Sai, Kyouko, Hoshiko, Akari From: Melissa Sorry! I meant to look for all of you at Kickoff but it slipped my mind. Hope you all had a great time. After that, well, there wasn’t much else worth looking at on her phone, so she put it away and kept going. She had History first thing, and unless she wanted to be history, she had to get a move - Oh? Sitting on a bench just off the pathway was someone that Melissa a) had never seen before, on-campus or off, and b) was looking rather sullen, or sullen enough for her to notice while simply walking by (though that was something she liked to think she was good at). And now she was already approaching him. It was an instinct, she realized, and she was more than willing to let it take its course. The first few minutes of class were probably just going to be attendance, anyway. “Excuse me,” Melissa said once she was sure she was in earshot. “I don’t mean to presume, but, um, you look like you need someone to talk to? I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but um…” And just like that, she sat down next to him. “I’m not the best talker, but I like to think I’m a good listener, at least.”
  3. Congratulations to all! Just like the RP Awards, all the little award badges look great! Re:Born was not something I thought I was going to win, but I guess it's hard for me to observe my own change sometimes. I know the awards are anonymous, but I'd be interested in hearing people's reasoning (if only to boost my own ego) (if you want to stay anonymous you can just send a pm or something, idk).
  4. not trying to troll. i guess i don't notice the intro thing as much
  5. The first thing Christopher noticed when he followed Leo outside was how bright everything seemed to be, like, the contrast between the dimmer Drooling Dragon bar and the outside world was more than he expected. The second thing was how weird that was, you know, because of how that same sunlight had been what had woken him up in the first place. The third thing was Leo, who really wasn’t taking things as seriously as Chris had hoped. What was with this waving stuff? What was with not paying attention to the one person who was most likely to do him harm if he wasn’t careful? Even when he was talking to Chris, he kept doing it with that devil-may-care attitude that was one of the reasons Chris had brought them both outside in the first place. “I don’t intend to fight fair,” Leo said. Chris stared at Leo’s weapon like he didn’t understand how it functioned, which was a good look, he figured, because he really didn’t. Like, it had a hole at the end, so maybe something came out of it and that was probably bad, but the thing paled in size to a shortsword or even some daggers. And it was still at Leo’s hip. That was just bad practice for someone who said they didn’t fight clean, because neither did Christopher, and he wasn’t about to start now. Leo had shown a weapon, and even if Chris didn't understand it, it meant he had to act fast. His perception of time slowed as he started his rush forward. One second, maybe two, and he’d closed the distance between them. Three, four, and before Leo had even fully drawn his weapon, Chris had landed a punch right to his stomach. And when Leo doubled over (five, six) Chris met his chest with a knee. Leo grunted as the attacks made contact. He seemed shocked that Christopher had charged in. Despite his threat before he didn’t draw his weapon. Instead, he hooked an arm under Chris’s knee and pulled back, attempting to throw the younger man off balance. “Scrappy one aren’t you?” Leo muttered with a small grin. “Yeah,” Chris grunted. His first impulse was to resist Leo’s tug, and he tried to pull the other way, but if Leo wanted to go on the ground, who was Chris going to disagree? He hopped on his one leg, shifted his weight, and down he went. All he had to do now was make sure Leo came with him. It was easier said than done, of course. He’d accepted the fall, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t off-balance because of it. Leo -- who’d been more prepared, of course -- seized the opportunity and twisted around, throwing Chris onto his back. The move very nearly knocked the wind out of him, but he wasn’t out of it just yet. Leo still had a hold of one of his legs, but with his other one he sent a kick aimed straight at Leo’s groin.
  6. Peter gaped at the board state Charlie had just created. He’d comprehended the entire thing, of course -- he figured such a sequence might have been possible -- but it did cause him to realize some earlier mistakes on his part. These were the consequences, after all, and even with Twin Burst’s two attacks, he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to punch through unless he - “Why don’t you draw your card first?” His father’s voice interrupted his train of thought. “Your hand’s probably a whole lot different with an extra card in it.” Ah, well. His father hadn’t been wrong, of course. Peter could actually think of a bunch of different cards that could help in his particular situation. One of which could even probably… He took a deep breath. One thing at a time. “I draw,” Peter said, and he looked at the card. It wasn’t perfect -- it wasn’t the card -- but it would do. He forwent shuffling it into his hand, instead slotting it right into his duel disk. “I'll summon Maiden with Eyes of Blue!” Maiden with Eyes of Blue, as an effect monster, didn’t have any flavor text to enhance its description like his trusty Blue-Eyes did, but that didn’t matter. Its name was descriptive enough. A woman -- about the same size as the Sage, maybe shorter -- with silver hair and notably azure eyes materialized herself on the field. She wasn’t on the field for long, though. Peter was already moving to the next step in his plan. He’d forgone his usual playing speed for it, too; he’d sped up significantly as soon as he’d seen the line. “If you’ll remember,” Peter said, “I discarded Master with Eyes of Blue last turn, so it’s in the Graveyard. Now, when it’s in the graveyard, I can send something else -- the Maiden I just summoned, I mean -- to the Graveyard and Master back to the deck to bring back a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.” An image of an older man with the same defining hair and eyes of Peter’s other (humanoid) monsters appeared, though it was significantly more transparent than the other monsters on the field. Behind him was a swirling portal. He offered his hand to the Maiden, who took it, and together they stepped through the threshold before disappearing. The portal remained, though. In fact, it started to grow, larger and larger until it matched Peter’s Twin Burst Dragon, and once it reached its maximum size, out came Blue-Eyes White Dragon again, no worse for wear after having been sent to the graveyard twice already. “You really don’t like to attack, do you?” some audience/club member said. Surely it was directed at Charlie, but Peter felt the need to snark anyway. “Just one more thing, and then I’ll be making some attacks. I activate the card Burst Stream of Destruction! As for what that does, well, I’ll let you see for yourself.” His newly-re-summoned Blue-Eyes started generating a new breath attack. This one was not pure white like the other times Peter had attacked, no, this one was a ball of humming, pulsating energy, and, when it could no longer fit inside the dragon’s mouth, it shot forward towards Charlie’s field, and exploded on impact with the ground, blowing away all of Charlie’s monsters. Peter couldn’t help but grin. “Burst Stream keeps my Blue-Eyes from attacking this turn, but my Twin Burst Dragon over here, well, I can’t help but notice you have a pretty empty board now. “Battle! Twin Burst Dragon, make a direct attack!” The two heads roared and fired up their own beams of energy. Their beams, now that they were only making one attack, looped around each other in a double helix before crashing up against Charlie (Charlie 6200->3200). “That’s it,” Peter said, quite a bit more satisfied than he had been a turn ago. “Your turn.”
  7. “Your majesty,” Leo said. Chris liked the sound of that. It did mean playing dumb to Leo’s sarcasm, though, and he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to pull that off without cracking a smile -- something he wasn’t sure he wanted to do at the moment. The slight was still there, after all, and try as Leo might, Christopher Ellwood wasn’t about to let such things be forgotten. Hector, meanwhile, had moved on. A fair enough action, all things considered, though Chris did note his occasional side-eye like he didn’t trust either Leo or Chris to handle this skirmish like adults (The audacity! He could understand Leo, but himself? Loyal patron Christopher Ellwood?). Still, appealing to him to come back didn’t seem like the right move here. Not with his constantly-dented-yet-still-intact pride on the line. Chris put both hands on the bar and pushed, sliding himself right off of his stool before turning to face his agitator. “Alright, listen,” he said. “I’m not really the type to let this slide? But also I don’t want to ruin the bar this early in the morning, does that make sense? We’re probably not leaving here without a fight, I’m just saying we should probably go outside first.” He looked back at Hector and said, “Hey, I’ll be right back. One of us, at least, knows to pay for their food.”
  8. Elsie’s imagined her eyes lighting right up when she heard Alexandre’s answer. How many people had followed her? Even better, how many people had done so because she had suggested it? It wasn’t even that she’d be able to demonstrate her clear superiority to more of her compatriots -- though once she’d rested up, there was no doubt in her mind that she’d be able to do just that -- it was more that they’d seemed to have acceded to her will in the first place. “The Dragon Slayer,” as Alexandre had called that particular Jaeger (had he introduced himself? She really ought to have kept track…) coming at Elsie’s suggestion especially interested her. Tricky, meanwhile, had come right off the aftermath of his and Elsie’s little skirmish and challenged Alexandre? To kill time? Elsie couldn’t help but gawk, though whether that was because she was impressed at Tricky’s stamina (he was floating, right? So maybe their fight just cost him zero effort?) or his bullheadedness (what was he going to do, shove Alexandre into submission? Looking like that?) she was unsure. Either way, Elsie figured her next course of action was the same. She brought her arms over her head, stretched them out, and tried to get as much air in her lungs with each breath as she could. A few breaths like that, and, well, that was much better, wasn’t it? She didn’t feel like gasping for air at random intervals, at least, so that was nice. She even felt ready, as she picked up and mounted her broom again, to fly up and take in the current and possibly future spars that way. “Are you sure?” Corbin said. “I mean, you’re still coming off throwing a lot of energy around. Flying around at this point definitely isn’t going to help. And if you have to come down or, Hecate-forbid, fall…” “It’ll be fine,” Elsie said. “I’ll be fine, I mean. It’s just up and down and hovering, anyway, which is nothing, and what are the odds the down part’s going to be above something worth avoiding?” She lifted herself up into the air. “Call it a victory lap, at the very least. Allow me that much.” Corbin sighed. “I can’t stop you,” he said. Down below, Prince Alexandre had taken out his claws, and Elsie widened her eyes, eager to see everything from her bird’s eye view.
  9. I know the section can be pretty dead but I'm pretty sure you've all listened to at least one (1) music this year. Pop in and share! I promise not to judge.

     

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