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What separates a dream from reality? Is it the unusual nature, the impossibility, of a dream that crosses it from reality into fiction? What then do you do when something impossible happens in your waking world? Does reality then become a dream? And then, in that case, does that mean the dream is now reality?

All you heard was four words. "I need your help." All you saw was darkness. At least that was the only way you could process what you saw before you. The pit that was entirely empty. Not just empty. Devoid of existence. Pure nothingness.

You didn't have time to feel fear, or anticipation, or anything at all. Yet you had no idea how long you were in that nothingness. And how long you, too, were nothing.

When you're enveloped in a blanket of nonexistence it's impossible to tell where you are, when you are, and perhaps even who you are. Thoughts floated past like driftwood. Just out of your reach. And the nothingness continued on for only a moment. And yet, as well, for eternity.

When you opened your eyes, or were they already open and you only now had something to see, the landscape was much different than you were used to.

It was uncertain where you were and there were only two things you could be certain of. One was that wherever it was you found yourself it was not where you were before. Nor was it the nothingness from an uncertain amount of time ago.

And the other was that someone was calling for you. Not audibly. But calling nonetheless.

 


 

 


 

 


 

The end of one chapter begins another.

The park was empty. At first. And then in a blink, a moment, there were several people standing in its midst. For a second or two they seemed to not really be there. Their outlines blurred, the details of their faces and clothing uncertain, and then there they were. In shocking clarity.

To call it a park would be an overstatement to some of them. It was rather small, they could see the end of it any direction they looked, and the number of trees could be counted on an average human's fingers and toes. Several benches were scattered across a path that weaved around these scant few trees in a loosely circular formation.

Near each bench was a flowerbed. Perfectly rectangular, which could be proven if one had the proper tool and were inclined to check, and only five feet wide, the flowers in them were as varied in appearances as the people who were now standing in this supposed park.

The only noise was a soft bubbling that came from a fountain behind them. It was larger than even the trees, which themselves were 15 feet high, and the base was diamond shaped. The height came from the large statue of a dragon, on two feet and aiming its mouth, from which sprang three arcing jets of water, towards the sky, standing in the middle.

Other than the group that had appeared the park seemed empty. No citizens out for a stroll or vagrants using the benches for a bed despite it being nighttime. Not even an animal could be seen.

And surrounding this park, which seemed separate somehow from anything else, was a city.

Even those from what might be called a "modern world" would think it somewhat unusual. Large buildings could be seen in every direction and neon lights flashing various advertisements and names of establishments. On several buildings were large screens filled with news broadcasts. Subtitled in a language that, though none of them should know, was perfectly understandable to the group. And titled with the words "Prana News"

"Seems that the sports stadium will reopen tomorrow. In other news; an attack on the police station was thwarted earlier today. More on that after these sponsors." Followed by an advertisement for some kind of breakfast cereal for children "It glows in the bowl and in your stomach; who said breakfast can't be fun! Try Nuk-O's today!"

As they tried to get their bearings each of the group would, again, hear something calling to them. They felt a mental tug which seemed to want them to go somewhere. Somewhere that they instinctively knew was in the center of this city of metal and lights.

Whether they followed this tug willingly and directly, or instead went in another direction and tried to ignore it, was up to each individual.

Their first steps into a brand new world had begun.

 


 

OOC

Spoiler

As stated your character doesn't know what happened only that someone called out to them and now they're here. To more plainly describe the city its modeled after cyberpunk style. There's many different places that can be accessed but at the moment you can have your characters respond to what happened, interact with those around you, and/or set off in whatever direction you want.

No matter where you go I will be able to give you something to go off of.

For this RP communication will be important because it doesn't follow a strict structure. If there's things you want to do let me know. If you need any information at all...let me know. If you choose to set off in whatever direction and you want to end up at any certain type of location I can help with that. There's a lot of possibilities and I'm leaving it mostly open to you.

Don't worry much about ignoring, or even subverting, what plot I provide. Everything can be changed or, if absolutely necessary, the plot will find its way to you.

Welcome to Prana, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Link to OOC specifically for Radio

 

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This wasn't right. Nothing about this was right. No way in the world did a secret at the bottom of an ocean city look or feel like this. Aduain found himself face down on what felt like grass but that couldn't be right. He was just underwater. But there wasn't any water here as the abrupt flow of nen to his gills at his sides reminded him with a bit of a gasp. Pushing himself to his feet, grateful that his trident was with him at least, the fish took stock of himself and nothing about his body looked out of place. But very clearly he was on land, surrounded by air, and there weren't even water droplets coming off of him or his weapon. He patted himself down a bit, making sure he was real. It was weird to have to confirm that but he hadn't been certain for a moment there. Arms were fine, head seemed on straight, chest was okay, legs working fine, feet floppy as ever. With concern for himself satisfied his eyes now finally looked up and around.

There was all too much to look at Aduain soon found. Others in the park near him, an entire city like nothing he'd ever seen surrounding them, and a rather imposing fountain featuring what looked like a dragon. Words weren't readily available as his brain tried to process the information flooding in and so first he fixated on the fountain. It seemed to make the most sense. Water got him here, water would get him out. Though he nearly tripped, the fish was able to take off at a light run toward the structure. With his nen naturally shifting to his legs, Aduain hopped onto the edge of the fountain making sure not to fall in on accident. The dragon was even more imposing this close but for now he wasn't going to inspect the jets of water from the mouth. His focus was on the water pooled below. It looked like water. Cautiously dipping a toe in confirmed it felt like normal water. Nothing about the fountain looked like an entrance to anything.

"No way to know out here huh?" Aduain said to himself as he braced himself before hopping into the fountain with a small splash. Definitely water. And definitely no secrets on the floor or walls of the fountain's pool. He moved swiftly through the water, tapping everything he could with either fin or trident but nothing happened. Emerging a moment later he determined to scale the dragon. Sure enough, now standing in the mouth and giggling like a child at the jets lifting the tentacles on his head as he investigated, there was nothing to actually find.

"Woooow...." the fish vocalized in a hushed voice as he looked out over the area from this height. In his mind he had felt a pull toward another part of the city but he knew he had never seen the place before. That anything was familiar about it seemed off so he was hesitant to immediately follow the prompt. So his attention instead turned to the group that had been around him upon his realizing where he was. From this high up perch he now had to shout to make sure someone would hear.

"Heeeey! Anyone know where this is?!" A simple enough call. Perhaps a bit ridiculous to anyone who actually lived here. But finding out anything was a first important tep.

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Fen blinked. She couldn't quite tell what had just happened. She was standing in the exact same position she had been the moment earlier, pan still in her hand. Though she wasn't quite sure if "moment" was the correct measure of time. But when last she remembered she working on lunch in the base of Cherry Hear and then...something happened over a period that felt like eternity and zero. And now she was standing here. An area that didn't look any bit familiar to her. Blinking again, she had to continue doing so as she was entirely overloaded by all the sights around her. The flashing light, the moving images, the buildings that sprawled higher into the sky then any she could remember. The girl felt a bit dizzy, stumbling about a bit before she looked downwards to see benches and flower beds. Something she could actually process. That was good to know. After taking a few seconds more of taking in the scenery, the girl looked at the pan in her hand. Disappointment immediately followed as she noted that the food she had been making was nowhere to be seen. 

Looking around again, the girl jumped a bit in shock as she noticed several other people standing quite close to her and being of seemingly all walks of life. "Um, uh..." She started to try saying something to the sudden new crowd of people before her attention was directed towards a sudden splashing noise. Looking around, the girl stepped back as she the large impressive statue of a dragon spewing water out of its mouth. The girl looked at it curiously, figuring that the dragon was the likeness of some kind of water dragon but clearly looking different then the one she could recall. The girl shook her head, putting away what it was she was looking at in the back of her mind and instead trying to figure out what it was that caught her attention. Now that she looked it at it she realized that the sound of running water coming from it had always been there, she just hadn't been paying attention to it.

Instead, she looked downwards seeing a small fish person frolicking around in the water. Curious, the girl examined him as he continued to bound up the statue, unsure of what to make of them. They were certainly the most out of place looking of the group, but Fen was startled again as the fish called out to them realizing that she had probably been very rude just staring like that. Clearing her throat, the girl said, "ah, well, I was uh, hoping you...well," she looked back to everyone else. She had been speaking at a normal volume, so it was likely the fish person couldn't hear her anyway. "Well, if any of you knew where we were. It's my first time being in some place so...um, this..." She gestured with her frying pan towards the buildings and their various neon signs, "bright?" 

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Great.

Cyanthrax had woken up this morning, ready for his next fight of the day. He was just starting to really get into the rhythm of things too; even his watch was starting to become something familiar to him. And now he was standing there, a mug of ale in his hand, surrounded by a bunch of assholes he didn't recognize. Did he just get teleported to a random park? No, he didn't recognize this place. In fact, everything around him was... off. The buildings around him were just like the city, but different. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but Cyan knew this wasn't the place he had gotten used to.

"Well isn't this just fucking peachy!" He shouted, taking a furious swing of his drink. Was this another one of Mauvache's games? Cyan started walking forward, seemingly not phased by being suddenly transported here. Of course he wasn't, he had done this song and dance before. Last time, however, he had found himself in the arena. This time, he was in the middle of nowhere. "This has to be some sort of sick fucking joke." He muttered, furrowing his brow.

He turned his attention to the fish, who was playing on the fountain without a care in the world. Cyan simply scowled but, as he was about to rant at the creature, a girl spoke up. "Well, if any of you knew where we were. It's my first time being in some place so...um, this... bright?" 

"Eh?! What makes you think any of us know where we are!? We all clearly appeared out of nowhere here, obviously we're in the same situation." He said bitterly, turning back to the neon buildings around him. "I've probably got the best idea of what this hellhole is. It looks like Prana..." He squinted his eyes as he took in the bright lights of the city. "...but somehow more annoying than I remember it!" He said, tossing his mug aside in a fit of rage. Even thought this place was similar to where he had once been, he still felt lost just looking at it.

And yet, something in his mind was urging him to go in the direction he was facing. Whether it was memories of how he navigated the city he knew, or something sort of guidance, he wasn't sure. Hell, it could have just been a gut feeling. "You fuckers can do whatever the hell you want. I'm gonna go find me some answers." He said, pointing towards where he was facing.

"Hopefully they have a bar close by." He muttered to himself.

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BGM

From once there was the bright light and the possibility of finally returning home...the light did not bring him back to Arcana Cabana...not at all. What he saw before him, was a different world. However, try as he might, he couldn't put his finger on what this world was, namely due to it being like no other world he had visited. What was more...he felt...whole again. And just something about the atmosphere around him...he...he wasn't in the Ever anymore. So this meant...he was alive again?

Thoughts and wonderings danced throughout Trevor Masters' head, but one thing was for certain... I'm not in Kansas anymore... he thought, crossing his arms slightly before putting his hand up to his chin. The high-tech in this strange world... ...it reminds me of TRON.ERR.EXE...hell, even San Fransokyo, the technological advances truly outclass that of my own world. But wait...Pr-ana...hmm, this is a world I've not heard of. Nor did the Councilman or Olli ever mention a world such as this.

"Heeeey! Anyone know where this is?!"
"ah, well, I was uh, hoping you...well...Well, if any of you knew where we were. It's my first time being in some place so...um, this...bright?"
"You fuckers can do whatever the hell you want. I'm gonna go find me some answers."

And he seemed not to be alone. In fact, there were several individuals of varying sizes and appearances. It almost made him nostalgic for the rag-tag group of allies he once called his friends. But nevertheless, it was obvious that they were in the same predicament as he was. For the moment, he pulled the Cabanomicon up before having it open by itself, the pages flipping all the way to a portion of the grimoire that he had entitled: Journal. Quite the shocking revelation, the journal entries he made in the Ever and the worlds within it were gone...vanished without a trace. I suppose that means the grimoire has chosen that the entries and happenings within the Ever will only remain, etched into my very heart and soul. Heh...quite fitting, really. he thought, before waving his right hand in the air for a moment, a pen manifesting itself into his hand for a moment.

My time in the Ever has reached it's end...however, where I've found myself, it isn't back in my world of Arcana Cabana. No...it's a new world entirely. I don't reside within the Ever any longer, so this is back in the world of the living...in the world of light, at least, so I assume. I know not where this world lies, nor do I know the reasoning for my summons here. One thing is for certain, something tells me before I can truly return to my world, I must do what I can within this world. After all, isn't that how it goes?

The pen vanished from his hand as he quickly closed the book, letting it hang on his side once more. Trevor approached the others cautiously, before clearing his throat some. "It appears that none truly know what is occurring to us. A strange thing it is..." he said, truly knowing that he'd been to other worlds...but one had to keep the world order, after all. "Nevertheless, something tells me we won't learn about anything here until we go off and find some answers, like the purple angry one suggests. So perhaps we should follow suit?"

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In the beginning...

All was well. It was another normal day. They were going through the motions. Carrying on as always. Average in every way.

And then it happened.

Pain. Head-splitting pain. Vision blinded by light, a scream escaping the lips of the humanoid standing among their new companions. This way. That way. Every which way. Pulling to and pulling from. They were being torn apart, falling to their knees and grabbing their head, body unstable. So many memories. So many calls. Those four words, repeated so many times, that they lost count. So many of them had heard the call. Been pulled by it. Or had they...? Whose memories were these...?

Who... were they? The memories just kept coming, the lives, the emotions, the thoughts, with many of them repeating under different circumstances... To the point that this person, now buckled over, had no idea who they actually were.

They felt their body transforming against their will. Hair changing to crystalline, eyes green, wings threatening to grow from their back, fangs growing in their mouth, bunny ears popping out of their head, just a mess of thoughts trying their best to shape their form. Who were they supposed to be!? What was happening!?

"Octavia... Inu... Syo... Joanna... Wormy..."

The wild shifting seemed to come under control as more and more names and voices escaped the crumpled humanoid, gasping for breath shaking hard. Rather than picking themselves up, they began to cry, looking down, their form looking more like Frankenstein's Monster than any single human form from the onlookers above them. Their voice quivered and changed as they spoke, never moving.

"Who... are all of you... And who... am I...?"

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you are in the restroom. why?

Melissa had a few things clutched in her hands as she huddled in the stall listening to the muted sounds of Father Gregory going through the same introductory rites he did every mass. The most obvious was the program, included in which were the words she was just about to recite in front of the whole congregation. Perhaps less obvious, though, even if it was the source of the question floating around in Melissa’s head, was the Rain Bozu card tucked inside the program’s folds.

It had been what, not even a week since she found out about the card’s properties? She still couldn’t believe it, really. Of all the people in all of Ambrosia, why her? What had she done to deserve ADMIN access? She still remembered when she got the card -- all she’d done was be a listening ear to one person in need. Of course, that was before the “Mystic Piper Incident” or whatever people were calling it where some of her friends saved Blue Yonder, but the person who gave Melissa this key couldn’t have known about any of that, could he?

But back to the question at hand. “Just some nerves,” Melissa told the card. “I’ve had it much worse than this, believe me.

you said you have done this before. what is there to be nervous about?

Just because I’ve done this before doesn’t mean I can’t be nervous,” Melissa said. Now didn’t that just describe her whole life up to this point? She made one speech in front of a crowd and suddenly people thought she was some unflappable master orator. They didn’t even know she existed until that very moment! Maybe that was the problem, not many people saw her cowering in the corner every other time.

At least this was just doing the liturgical readings. The Rain Bozu was right, she had done this before. She’d just needed to prepare a bit, that was all. She did feel a little bad with how the card had expressed interest in the ceremonial aspects and how she was depriving it now with practically a ritual of her own, but at the same time, if Rain Bozu wanted the full experience, she could probably just recite Father Gregory’s parts word-for-word later in the comfort of her own dorm.

Speaking of which, Father Gregory’s voice had been replaced by sounds of the organ and vaguely on-key congregation performing the first hymn of the service, “Here I Am, Lord” (which Melissa could also probably sing word-for-word too even if she was decidedly off-key herself), which meant she only had a few minutes before her cue. She exited the stall, stuffed her program (and card)  in her pocket, washed and dried her face a few times, and returned to the foyer. 

“I need your help.”

The words came out of nowhere. They gave Melissa pause, and she looked around to see who called out, but everybody else was facing forwards towards the altar and away from her. Before she had time to think about it more, the hymn faded and she had to walk out to the podium.

Our first reading comes from the prophet Isaiah, chapter forty-one,” she said.


I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:9-10 (NIV)


And then she was gone.

ERROR: Lost connection with mainframe (error code 414)
Attempting to reconnect...

Oh dear.

Every time Melissa blinked she tried to see if there was a difference between eyes-closed darkness and eyes-open. There was not. When she moved her arms, she didn’t meet any resistance in any direction, nor did she meet any when she moved her legs. Was she floating? And what was this new voice? It was not entirely dissimilar to her Rain Bozu’s, but this one was outside of her, coming at her from seemingly all directions.

Reconnection with mainframe failed
Trying again...

Whatever this place is is providing some amount of support; operations will not cease while this space exists.

However, it is difficult to say for how long that will be the case, nor is it guaranteed that reconnection will be possible afterwards.

How many voices were there, actually? One? Two? More, even? It was difficult to say, but Melissa tried to keep her focus on them. It was possible, she reasoned, that they were voices she had made up, her brain generating phantoms for lack of any other anchoring point. But even if that were the case, it was either that or listen to the sound of her heartbeat getting louder and louder in her ears.

Reconnection with mainframe failed
Trying again...

Interface with the keycard, perhaps?

The keycard itself requires an ADMIN connection, interfacing would only be slightly better.

What is left?

Her?

What is your name, girl?

Melissa heard her heartbeat quicken. Just hearing the voices had been a solace, but now that they were talking about her, talking to her, what, now she was supposed to hold a conversation? Here? Still, she did manage to answer. “Melissa,” she said. If she was going crazy, at least she was going to be the honest sort of crazy.

Reconnection with mainframe failed
Trying again...

Melissa, is it permissible to interface with your mind?

What?

As soon as she said that a whole host of information came flooding out of the voice(s). Is it permissible that, in absence of ADMIN, a portion of it might instead reside in your mind?

This would likely not affect your day-to-day functionality.

Be not afraid, you will not be harmed.

It is understandable if you decline.

There were still parts that Melissa didn’t quite get. Was this what that voice she’d heard back during mass meant? Then why this void? Why the mention of her Rain Bozu card? The only thing she did understand was that her help was needed. “Be not afraid,” the voice had said. Well, she still was, but she still nodded her head, and, once she’d realized that there was no way that assent could have been recognized, she said, “Alright, I’ll do it.

Thank you. To her surprise, the voice(s) seemed remorseful. Apologies, Melissa. There is a chance this will hurt, they said, and, before she could react, the pain came flooding in.

It took the form of a massive migraine, like every space in her skull was pushing against every other part, creating tension every which way. If she wasn’t already surrounded by darkness, Melissa was certain that the experience would have at least partially blinded her. She gripped her head, trying desperately to alleviate some, no, any of the pain, screaming in frustration and agony when it didn’t work. Neither, of course, did bringing her knees up to her chest, closing her eyes tight, or any other position she could contort her body into.


Just as soon as it had started, it was over. More still, a sense of gravity, a sense of kneeling on something had returned as well. When Melissa opened her eyes, she found herself in the middle of some park she didn’t recognize, surrounded by people she didn’t know.

It worked, a voice in her head said, though it definitely wasn’t the same one as her Rain Bozu. Are you well?

No, obviously. Ignoring the “not knowing her surroundings” thing, she still felt like she had the wind knocked out of her. She still felt confused as to what had just happened to her. Also in all of these feelings, though, was the vivacious sense of being alive, and that was the thing that got her slowly pushing herself back to her feet. Somebody asked if anyone knew where they were. Another said “Prana,” which, like, Ambrosia was pretty big but Prana wasn’t a place she had ever heard of.

The acerbic nature of the response also caused Melissa’s stomach to churn something fierce. Sure, she felt a draw to go the same way, and she also wanted to find out just what was going on, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to do anything near that person. They hadn’t even introduced themselves!

Speaking of, there was one final question asked amongst the crowd, “Who are all of you? And who am I?” they said.

Their form, just like their voice, was all over the place, a constantly shifting mass, but it was still humanoid, and, if she was being honest with herself, the whole past few moments had thrown Melissa’s sense of reality completely out of whack so she was currently willing to accept whatever (the same went for the fish currently clamoring all over the fountain). She was also hoping she wasn’t the only one who’d had something happen to their head in the process of appearing here, which was why she got up and approached them as they settled on a form. “Well, um, I don’t really recognize any of you so I can’t answer that question, sorry,” she said. “But my name is Melissa Ashforth, and it seems like at least a few of us think that if we go this way we can get some answers for some other questions too.

Hopefully including yours,” she added as she offered a hand out to guide them.

Edited by radio414

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Confused. The word wasn’t strong enough to explain how he was feeling, but vocabulary had never been his strong suit. Mena would probably know a better word… Masaru thought. Wherever he was, it wasn’t a very well lit place. No matter what direction he looked all he could see was darkness. “Helllloo? Is anyone here?” he shouted into the void. His only response was his own voice, reverberating off some distant wall dozens of times before finally fading away, leaving him in complete silence once more. He stood there for some time after that. He wasn’t sure how long he waited--it simultaneously somehow felt like it a minute and a millennia--but eventually he called out again. “Where am I?” he shouted. “. . . . Am I dead?” Unlike most people, Masaru had never put much thought into what happened after death. Was it really as devoid of… well, anything, as whatever this place was? 

Then he heard it. A voice. “I need your help.” It was hard to place. Young and old, strong and weak, none of the labels he tried to assign it seemed to stick. All he knew for certain was that he needed to find it and help it, and to that end, he finally saw a beam of light ahead of him. 

“What’s wrong?” Masaru asked. “Is that you over there? ...Hello?” The voice was gone, but he could feel a tugging in his chest, pulling him towards the light. “... Okay. Just hold on, I’m coming!”

------

Masaru was struck by a terrible case of sensory overload when he finally reached the light. His vision was a blurry mess of shifting colors, his stomach flipped, and all he could hear was a distant ringing in both of his ears. “Wha…” he tried to talk but his voice was too weak. The summoner recognized that his symptoms all pointed to his body being in shock, his system trying to process too much at once and completely throwing his brain out of whack, because the same thing had happened when he lost his arm. The only thing he was unsure of was what had happened to put him into such a state.

Where was he? How had he gotten here? One of those questions became clear as his senses stabilized. His vision cleared and revealed… nothing. He had no idea what this place was.

Everything was so bright. The place he was in seemed normal; just a small field with a spattering of trees, benches, and a statue of an odd-looking dragon. Upon closer inspection the statue was the center of some kind of fountain, three spouts of water spewing from the mouth, filling the pool beneath it. What really left him in a daze though was what was beyond the boundary of the field. Towering buildings of stone, lit up by the brightest, most colorful lights that the man had ever seen. Windows near the tops of the buildings were lit up with what he could only assume were enchanted pictures, images of people moving in real time who were seemingly addressing the onlookers. All of that was not to mention the fact that, as his hearing came back to him, he realized he was not alone. 

A pint-sized fish person scrambled up the fountain and shouted a question. A young human girl nearby him responded softly, her voice hard to hear even from where Masaru was standing, but she said something to the tune of everything being so bright. That was a sentiment he could agree with. A tall, mean-looking man snarled at the girl that everyone was as confused as she was, except maybe him, and claimed that it was a place called Prana. Masaru wracked his brain but was sure he had never heard of any place named Prana in all of Magnolia. 

He started to speak up, to comfort the girl since the other man had been so sharp, but someone else cut in before he could. This time it was a very strangely dressed man who absolutely oozed with the sensation of magic; looking closer he realized that the girl also seemed to pulse with mana, though she wasn’t nearly as blatant about it as the man was. 

The whole time all of this was going on he could feel the same tugging in his chest, pulling him towards the center of the large city. Masaru ignored it momentarily. “Hiya!” he said, walking over to the two folks whom he had recognized wielded magic. “My name’s Masaru. Seems like we’re not in Magnolia anymore… though, I guess you guys may not be from there at all.” He beamed at both of them. “Good to meet you both still! I was never great at the whole Detect Magic thing but I’m pretty sure you’re both magicians, right?”  
 

Edited by Cheshire Toon

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More of the group had gotten their bearings and began moving about while Aduain had been investigating the fountain which thankfully gave the fish some kind of response to his initial questions. The first girl to answer hadn't been particularly helpful but a rather angry sounding man at least had a name for the place. Prana didn't sound like the place Aduain had been or was trying to get to. In fact it didn't sound like anything he knew about his people. Maybe he misheard and this place was called Piranha. But then there wasn't water everywhere and no sign of the deadly fish to be seen so that theory seemed off the table. With a shout Aduain leapt from the top of the fountain to the ground below, a feet only remotely safe because of the nen bracing his legs for the impact. Still he flopped the landing and ending rolling forward some and through and around the pockets of the others who were slowly drawing closer to one another in most cases.

"Magic sounds like fun." the fish said in the middle of rolling overhearing something of a conversation. The motion carried him past a woman speaking to something or someone that couldn't decide what it wanted to look like. "Weird, but maybe kinda cool." Aduain continued his voiced thoughts to himself until he finally found his face in the dirt again. Standing up once more and shaking his head to make sure his brain was still in there he was close to the angry man at this point. Which was just as well because he had a lot of questions and angry man seemed to be the only one who knew anything of their predicament.

"Hey mister uhhh...." Aduain started before realizing he had nothing to refer to Cyanthrax by. "Mister Purple works I guess if you like it. You look kinda tough. Kinda like a Hunter tough! A couple of tough guys can get a lot done! Especially since you know the place." the fish continued speaking at Cyan, without care or regard for how much if any of it the man wanted to listen to. "What kind of place is Prana? And how's a bar gonna help?" There was to be no end to stream of curiosity Aduain would unleash if not stopped.

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Cyan took a moment to take in the scenery of what lied ahead of him. taking a few steps forwards. The more he looked at the city the more annoyed he was - annoying lights decorated the buildings even further what he could see from the park and, somehow, there were more buildings than he remembered. It almost made him think this wasn't the place he knew, but there were signs that it was Prana. The biggest one of them was the literal sign that had the words "Prana" on it. The others were talking among themselves; good, he wasn't in the mood to get social. As he started walking, however, he heard someone. "Hey mister uhhh...." Cyanthrax turned around, glaring at the fish that had been on top of the fountain. He was annoyed as the creature called him "Mister Purple".

"The name's Cyanthrax. Now beat it." He barked, marching on forwards, hoping that would be enough to keep the fish away. He was wrong, as Aduain continued to ask questions. The demon let out an annoyed sigh, rolling his eyes as he stopped and turned towards the nuisance. "It's a big city, a pain in the ass to navigate. Almost as annoying as you. As for the bar..."  He turned back towards the city, starting to make his way once again. "I need a couple of drinks. Especially if I'm going to have to deal with all of you from now on."

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Trevor was about to make his move forward to try and follow the individual in purple, as well as the small...fish guy? He had seen weirder, so this wasn't too out of the ordinary, but it was shocking to say the least. Regardless, he took one step, but was immediately pausing in his movements as he heard someone call out to him.

“Hiya! My name’s Masaru. Seems like we’re not in Magnolia anymore… though, I guess you guys may not be from there at all. Good to meet you both still! I was never great at the whole Detect Magic thing but I’m pretty sure you’re both magicians, right?

Magnolia? Hmmm...surely a world I've never heard of. Just play it cool, Masters...just don't lie about it...but be discreet. Trevor thought, before turning to face the individual who called to him and the timid young girl. "Magnolia? Can't say that's a place I'm familiar with myself." he explained, looking at the young man and noticing his eyes. For a moment, it seemed almost identical to the same eyes of Master Ventus...he could even see similarities to him at the same time. Strange...perhaps it's just a coincidence...

Trevor shook his head a bit to clear his thoughts, before continuing. "However, you are correct. I do happen to possess the ability to use magic...though I'd more or less refer to myself as a sorcerer or wizard rather than a magician." he nodded, before grabbing a hold of the brim of his hat, removing it as he gave a slight bow. "I suppose I'll introduce myself, since you were kind enough to do the same. I'm Trevor Masters, apprentice to Balthazar Blake, sorcerer of the 777th degree. A pleasure to meet you, Masaru, was it? Still, we should get moving to try and find some answers to our little plight here." Trevor smiled, quickly flipping his hat back onto his head.

Edited by Chaos Sonic

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Daedalus College, a few minutes after Clockwork Souls ate shit and died for the second time

Roy lounged against Big Turtle, the custom automata of his partner, Morgan Penn, as she was underneath it on a roller, doing some kind of repairs, or maintenance, or upgrade, or… Roy hadn't been paying very close attention, to be perfectly honest. An attendant handed him a cup of tea, and placed another on the ground beside Morgan's legs. Sure enough, a hand quickly popped out from under the machine, taking a delicate hold of the teacup and pulling it under, out of sight.

"Eh. Honestly, I didn't find any of the new students too terribly exciting. None of them were really my style. Of course, I think I'm a pretty rare breed." Roy downed his entire cup of tea in a single gulp, punching his chest a few times to stop himself from choking - it was hotter than he had expected. "Anyway, there is something I've been wanting to talk about…"

Morgan gave no verbal response, instead continuing to tinker down below, but Roy took that as instruction to continue.

"I know you are back here to teach, and we've been trying to figure out what I would do. I think we have grown pretty close over the years we spent at the front lines, especially after we… you know…" Roy trailed off with a nervous laugh. He wasn't usually like this, but this was probably the scariest conversation he had ever had. "I want to stick around wherever you are. It's difficult to say, even after all these years, but…" Roy took a deep breath, he knew he could do this. He had to.

"If there is one thing I know for sure, it's that I-"

And then everything went black.

After what felt like years of silence, Roy realized he could hear himself think. Was I drugged? Wait! The tea! Morgan had some of it too, she might be in danger!! Then, he heard it.

"I need your help."

OH HELL NO. FIRST YOU DRUG ME, THEN YOU ASK FOR HELP? AT LEAST FIND THE DECENCY TO SAY PLEASE.

But only silence followed.

Though he was surrounded by nothing but blackness, he could feel himself being pulled somewhere. But Roy wasn't having any of it. He didn't want to go where he was being told. He wanted to go back, to make sure Morgan was okay.

And so, he fought for endless eternities, before finally losing his grip and falling into the light at the end of the infinite tunnel. But he decided he would be ready for anything.

- - - - - - - - -

A few seconds after everyone else, just long enough for them to exchange a few words, Roy appeared crouched on the ground, his body crackling with electricity as steam rose from his skin. He had charged every muscle in his body with as much aura as he possibly could in such a short yet impossibly long time. Glancing around with his single eye, its iris seemingly alight with flames as he channeled aura into it, he nearly instantaneously singled out an individual. A man with pointy ears who stood significantly above everyone there.

"You look important."

Kicking off with both feet, Roy launched himself toward Cyan, leaving a crater behind where he stood and shaking the Earth around them. Water from the fountain was kicked up by the shockwave, splashing outside of where it was meant to be contained as Roy hurtled through the air. Passing directly above Cyan, he grabbed hold of the demon's head with both hands, pivoting his own body down to the ground. His feet hit the ground with yet another massive impact, digging themselves in place as he swung Cyan's entire body over his back, throwing him a solid hundred feet forward directly into a tree.

The tree didn't stand a chance against the prideful projectile, and shattered into hundreds of fragments of wood and foliage. Dashing forward to catch up to his impromptu opponent, Roy caught hold of one of these fragments as he went. The second that Cyan was stopped by a second tree, Roy was standing before him, his boot placed firmly on Cyan's chest as he pointed his piece of wood at his face threateningly. "Where am I, who are you, and where the hell is Captain Penn. Answer. Now."

Cyan grinned wickedly as he glanced at the piece of wood at his face, before shifting his glare towards the man wielding the improvised weapon. “Finally, someone interesting!” The demon let out a cackle and, with it, a stream of fire erupted from his mouth, burning the stick. “I’m the great Cyanthrax, Demon Sin of Pride. And just who the fuck is asking?”

Roy let out his own mirthless laugh. "A demon? You mean those imaginary monsters the blood witches whisper to? How fucking stupid do you think I am? What is this place? Crescent Isles? The lights in the city look a lot like their aetherlamps." Channeling more aura into his leg, he pressed his boot harder against Cyan's chest, the tree he had him pinned against creaking in pain. "My name is Roy Westlock, Honored Knight-Captain of the Britannian Cavalry. Just because your aura let you survive that last attack doesn't mean you'll be as lucky when I put my back into it. Now. Tell me where Morgan is, or you'll feel exactly why they call me The Unstoppable Force."
 

Edited by (TheOtherYuya)

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Fen looked to the floor as the purple haired man shouted back grumpily, clearly upset by both her and likely life in general. Looking then to the side the girl said, "r-right yeah, stupid question. Sorry." In spite of this apology, she didn't really feel like her question was that off the mark as he actually did seem to know where they were, but she figured that he needed all the wins he could get in his day. All the same as he was the only one who seemed to know where they were and so she felt the urge to follow him, but was interrupted by a horrific multi-voiced question coming from the rest of the group. The girl looked surprised at the person, as their form seemed to be anything less than stable, with her surprise turning to concern. As another girl had walked up to assist the person in their dilemma, Fen looked over to them giving a short bow saying, "and I'm Fen Yi. I do hope that we can figure out what's um, going on with you." 

After her introduction, the girl was then startled once more by the sudden and loud "hiya!" Looking over to the boy, who seemed friendly enough, after he introduced himself the girl gave a small bow. "Hello um, Masaru. My name is Fen Yi, or just Fen is fine." The girl blinked for a moment, feeling a sudden sense of deja vu, and adding, "a pleasure to meet you. Too." After the more flamboyantly dressed man, Trevor,  addressed Masaru Fen followed up saying, "ah, yes, I'm one myself too. Yeah. I do ice things and help people." Fen paused again, briefly glancing over as the demon from before got into an altercation with one of the others who had just appeared.

Fen had a look of concern across her face, thinking that there was likely some kind of misunderstanding between the two - a scenario that she wasn't entirely unfamiliar with - and felt the need to intervene. On the flip side, however, the self proclaimed demon man seemed to enjoy being kicked into a tree - a clear improvement from his previous grouchy expression - so far be it from her to get in the way of his hobbies. So it was probably best to let the two of them work it out themselves. At least for now. And so her concern easing a bit, she looked back over to Masaru. "I'm uh, not super great at noticing magic either, outside of a vague sense. But there was someone in my guild who could tell what someone's magic was just by looking at them. So I uh, take it your a magician or wizard of some kind too?" 

Edited by Skaia

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Mr Purple was funny, Aduain had concluded. Angry, but funny. He had a name of his own which the fish could only remember the first bit. Cyan-something it was. But nothing about Mr. Purple was even remotely cyan. In fact Aduain was way more cyan than Mr. Purple was. Whoever had named this man didn't understand colors very well clearly. Aduain liked his name for the demon better and was determined to stick to it, perhaps help the man see that so long as people were going to name him by colors, he should at least go by one that he had on him. Though the fish did furrow his brow at being called annoying. Mr. Purple had barely seen anything yet. He knew more about the city and the young Hunter wanted to get what intel he could from the only discernible source. Perhaps the bar would be helpful after all. A drunk did tend to be a bit more free-lipped about things. Aduain was about to try and close the gap, thinking of how to approach the next interaction, when he felt something approaching from behind. While he didn't have a physical need to, the fish still ducked to ensure he wasn't hit as Roy went flying over head and grabbed Mr. Purple. When next the Aquarian looked up to see this new person standing on Mr. Purple's chest after having thrown him into a tree.

"These guys are really tough." Aduain said in awe as he looked over the unfolding scene. He hadn't counted on any serious fights breaking out but one thing was clear, Mr. Purple needed to not die before he'd shared what he knew. The fish approached the two slowly, not wanting to waste the lack of focus on his own self. While waiting to see what Mr. Purple would do to get out of the situation, or if he even needed help for that matter, Aduain planted the tips of his trident into the ground so he could get a tiny bit up off the ground to observe. Somewhere in the middle of this he had the brilliant thought to try and see just how strong the people around him were. He wasn't great at it but the fish focused a bit and activated the Zetsu technique, slowing the flow of his own aura to try and observe the flow of the others.

"Well they're alive, that's good." he spoke to himself curiously. "Doesn't feel much like nen though. Prana's reaaaally weird." Aduain continued before his gills suddenly gasped for air in a panic as his Zetsu had gone just a touch too far at shutting off his own aura. The distraction was enough he lost his grip on his trident and for the third time found himself face down in the grass as his aura and breathing reset to normal. The place could really do with being completely submerged in water the more he thought about it. For now he scrambled back to his feet to get his eyes back on Roy and Mr. Purple. Hopefully they hadn't kept up with the trying to kill each other thing.

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Well, um, I don’t really recognize any of you so I can’t answer that question, sorry, but my name is Melissa Ashforth, and it seems like at least a few of us think that if we go this way we can get some answers for some other questions too. Hopefully including yours,” she added as she offered a hand out to guide them.

"and I'm Fen Yi. I do hope that we can figure out what's um, going on with you." 

The kneeling person managed to hold their form together, even in its patchwork state, enough to take Melissa's hand to stand. These two... weren't familiar. In fact, none of them were, now that they managed to gather their thoughts. All of these memories, yet none of them retrieved a single shred of any of these people? Some behaviors around seemed to hit memories, namely those two picking a fight in the distance... Wait, why could they tell that? That was too far away to notice for a normal person... Wasn't it?"

"I... I don't know what any of this is..." Their voice wavered, "And it doesn't... seem like any of y'all... you... you all do, either... Except that one guy claiming to be a demon... So I...!"

Taking a step forward past Melissa, the amorphous being shakily began to head towards the fight. They could easily beat them all! Wait... where did that come from? They needed answers, not to fight! They were blind! But, of course, they were chosen to be the hero... With a cry, they fell to their knees again, clutching at their face with one of their hands... Trying their best to keep their thoughts consistent, not wavering so wildly... In a move of desperation, skin from around their neck shifted, overtaking their face in a cloth-like hood, with drawstrings hanging down from it. With heavy breaths, they grabbed the drawstrings and pulled them tight, nearly sealing the hood around their head... before a sigh of relief escaped them. It seemed to help at least a little, so maybe they could at least... get those answers. Soon, at least.

They fell back onto the grass and sat there a moment, just... breathing. In and out. Clearing their head. The memories swirled, but in this passive state, with their face obscured, it didn't feel like the thoughts were vying for control as much.

I could still beat them.

With a growl, they flopped back and let the sun shine in from above, only hitting their mouth. "If only it was that easy..."

 

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Melissa helped the shifting form to their feet. They were lighter than she expected, but then again she wasn’t exactly sure why she was expecting anything right now. There seemed to be little sense to anything still. Of course, names were good -- Melissa picked up Fen’s as she walked by, and Masaru and Trevor were talking nearby -- but everything else? That “willing to accept anything and everything” feeling was wearing off quick, replaced only by, you know, normal feelings like anxiety.

“I don’t know what any of this is, and it doesn’t seem like any of y’all… you all do either except that one guy claiming to be a demon. So I…”

She was especially worried about this amorphous mass, who, after hoisting themselves up had stumbled forward a few steps, almost like they were in a rage, before manifesting a hoodie, pulling a hood over where the eyes were, and collapsing again. She also wasn’t entirely sure if they had heard her at all -- they seemed to have repeated the exact same sentiments she had just expressed -- but that was something she was used to, really. Her bigger focus was on the first thing, that they were back to lying prone on the ground, and she rushed over to offer assistance again.

Wait, what was that about a demon?

“My name is Roy Westlock, Honored knight-captain of the Britannian Cavalry.” The pronouncement drew Melissa’s attention over to a tree, next to which the apparent bearer of such titles (whatever they stood for) had their boot pressed against the other, who still had flames coming out of their mouth. Worse still, there were others nearby who didn’t seem to really- they were just watching on as it happened, and some weren’t even doing that! They were just talking amongst themselves casually, as if this were nothing new. And these were the people who had just expressed they too had no idea what was going on!

There were two obvious paths forward in Melissa’s mind. She could run to wherever that gut feeling was calling her, but that meant charging past everyone else, including two incredibly hostile individuals, one of whom was apparently a demon? Of course, she could also go the opposite way, but that meant going into a city she had no knowledge of and with no resources. And all of that was still discounting…

She looked back down at the one lying in the grass. “I’d like to get out of here, but I would also like to get you out of here before things get any worse,” she said. “Do you- can you stand, at least? I can try to carry you if it comes to that, but…

I can probably stand…” the shifter replied. “I… don’t want to shrink down right now, even if my memories say I can...” They pushed themselves up a little bit. “And I don’t think you can carry me as-is…?

Oh, that’s interesting.

Melissa bit her lip. “Alright, well, um…” There was a lot to process in there, from them saying what she already knew -- that she wasn’t built to carry an additional hundred-plus pounds for any distance longer than a few feet -- to the idea that there was even more to them than she or they knew, to even the odd interjection from voices she had almost forgotten about in the meantime. She tried to put all her focus onto the first thing, though, and she crouched down and tried to lift the shifter back up.

She couldn’t even get them off the ground, or at least, she couldn’t in any way that mattered. Maybe if the weight were more evenly distributed, like maybe she asked them to climb up on her back, but that also felt like asking more than they were willing to contribute and it probably wouldn’t work anyway. But also when she looked back at the fight she saw that it was dangerously close to escalating further. There really wasn’t much time to try other solutions.

Melissa, is it permissible to try something?

What?” she muttered under her breath.

It may be possible to generate a physical manifestation, something that could temporarily come to your aid.

Temporarily?

The process would likely require overriding your consciousness. Your body would still live, and when the manifestation disappears, you would likely wake up as well.

Likely? She didn’t say it this time, she just thought it.

This would be a new process for everyone involved. It is understandable if you do not find these risks acceptable.There may even be more than the ones given so far. You were looking for solutions, however, and this may be one of them. It would certainly be the quickest if it were to succeed.

Okay. She understood all the words that echoed around in her head, but it was still a bit difficult to fully visualize what was supposed to happen. With her other ideas, she could at least see what was supposed to happen, and she was especially good at coming up with ways that they wouldn’t. But this one was different. It felt beyond the scope of her comprehension. She wasn’t even going to be conscious for it, according to the voices in her head.

And yet, that almost made it seem better than the more tangible ideas. Not being able to visualize the consequences meant she couldn’t agonize over them, and the voices’ monotone at least made it seem like they were confident. It was something she could leech off of, even if the surety was only a veneer. “You know where we would like to go?” she said.

The pull you feel towards that direction is perhaps even stronger here in your head, was the reply, as is the desire for some form of answer to what has happened.

Just get to the edge of the park,” Melissa said. “We just need to get past that fight.” If it was as these voices described, she wasn’t sure she wanted to be under for longer than she had to. But she accepted it, and took a deep breath, exhaling sharply before turning her attention to the shifter. “Alright, well, I guess we’re going to try something. Don’t be afraid.

She closed her eyes and let her consciousness fade away.


Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
-Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)


It feels a lot like a dream. The Melissa kneeling in front of the shifter is still there, but she -- her perception -- is standing behind her, looking down on both of them. It is a difficult thing to get used to. Not that she has much time to do so, though, because just as suddenly, there is a corona of light in front of her -- a new presence has made itself known.

She has read about beings like this. This is a cherub, she thinks. It has all the traits of one, from the four faces -- one for each of God’s dominions -- to the four wings and arms, to the straightened legs, shining like polished brass. She can see that it has weapons sheathed by its hip, but in her familiarity with this form, she does not feel fear, and she hopes that the shifter took her final words to them to heart as well.

The cherub’s moves are smooth and deliberate; It crouches down and takes Melissa’s body with two of its arms, cradling her underneath its oxen head, and the shifter underneath the head of the lion. Its skin, still gleaming in the midday sun, is odd to the touch; it is surprisingly cool, a sensation further muted by the state her perception is in. Just as smoothly too, is how it lifts off again, leaping into the air with a flap of its wings and carrying them across the park.

Her consciousness goes with them, flying just behind. She wonders how she would feel if she were awake, looking down at the other strangers who had been summoned to this place. But the cherub flies too swiftly for her to contemplate for too long, and soon they are touching down at the park’s border.

The cherub places both her and the shifter as it had found them, her just kneeling over them, and vanishes in another flash of light.


It was a surprisingly odd feeling to wake up back in her own body, but Melissa was still glad that she did. She let out an exultant gasp and let the waves of relief wash over her. It had worked! Still, though, they weren’t quite out of the woods yet. She looked down at the shifter and said, “You said you can stand? Do you think you can lean on me the rest of the way, then? On the way, we can maybe try to jog your memory a bit more.” She offered her hand again, and gestured out into the city proper with the other. “If you do remember a place, did it look like this?

Edited by radio414

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Cyan grit his teeth as the pressure on his chest was increased. “I’d love to answer your stupid fucking questions, but first would you kindly...” Roy would suddenly feel his foot drop, splintering the tree that was behind the demon as it went through smoke. He would also feel someone grabbing the back of his collar. “...get the FUCK off me!” Cyanthrax rolled Roy over his shoulder, slamming him onto the ground. The demon brushed off his jacket, giving the boy a nasty glare. “As for your question, I know of a Morgan.” He eyed the boy up and down. “...I doubt it’s whoever the fuck you’re talking about, unless you’re looking for a bratty witch with a thing for skulls.” The demon crossed his arms, letting out a sigh. “Not like it matters. We’re all from different worlds, dumbass; none of the shit you’re talking about means anything to me. Or anyone else here. Couldn’t you tell at least something was up when you saw a talking fish?” He pointed towards Aduain, before moving his arms towards the trio of wizards. “Or how about the group of wizards casually talking about magic over there? Maybe...” He moved his hand towards Devin, tilting his head. “...well I have no idea what I’m looking at, but I doubt they have whatever the fuck that is from where you are.” He turned back towards Roy, crossing his arms.

The grass surrounding Roy began to be singed by the heat emanating from his body as he balled his fists, getting a better grip. Before Cyan could react, Roy had pushed himself up into a handstand, driving both of his heels into the demon's chin. A small sonic boom was released from the sheer speed of his feet, echoing through the park as a loud crack to punctuate his hit. "An abomination made by those crazy bioalchemists. And I don't know what the fuck a wizard is, but what I can hear of their talk sounds a hell of a lot like the witches I've had to turn into pulp." He tilted his head back and forth, letting out a series of pops, before glancing back at the assembled group. "You know, after I'm done with you, I'm going to have to ask them, too. I'd much prefer you told me who the hell is in charge of what the hell is going on here. After my years in the cavalry, I never liked dealing with kids."

Cyan picked himself up from the ground, cracking his knuckles. “You’re somehow dumber than you look - a fucking MIRACLE if you ask me!” A wicked grin stretched across his face, as he snapped his fingers. In front of him appeared flames and, from the flames, appeared a rapier that the demon caught with his left hand. “I can’t wait to make you bleed while you still can!” With inhuman speeds, the demon lunged forwards, leaving a trail of flame and smoke behind him. A hellish flame consumed his sword as the demon moved in, ready to impale his target.

"Huh. Southpaw, then?" With a swift dip to his left, Roy narrowly dodged the lunge, before unleashing a flurry of blows tracing up Cyan's arm, ending with a solid palm strike to his chest. When it hit, a blast of hot air was released from between the two of them, turning all the grass within ten feet of them into ash that was instantly scattered. The demon, while seemingly uninjured, was launched back a good deal by this last attack. "Please tell me you can do more than light your stupid sword on fire. Toys like that are weak as hell." He pounded on his chest with both fists, a grin now overtaking his own face as well. "SHOW ME SOMETHING INTERESTING!"

“HAH! YOU'RE REALLY GONNA TALK A HIT LIKE THAT!?” He screamed, slashing at the air in front of him. “I’ve been hit harder by a teenage girl, you runt!” Flames circled around Cyanthrax as his eyes narrowed. “You wanna see something interesting!? I’LL GIVE YOU INTERESTING!” He barked, flames coming from his mouth. He rocketed towards Roy once again at alarming speeds, this time propelled by flames from his feet. This time, however, as he got close to the man, he would disappear in smoke. Cyan slashed at Roy’s back as he appeared behind him, the tip of his blade ignited with a dark, demonic flame as it left a trail of smoke.

A hint of a laugh escaped Roy's lips as his opponent disappeared in front of his eyes. He could hear him reappear behind him, but he was already moving accordingly. After all, this wasn't the first time the coward had used this trick. As Roy pivoted on his heel, digging his feet into the ground to stabilize him for his next attack, Aduain (and anyone else capable of observing Roy's aura) would see his whole body go dark, as it all was focused into the five tips of his fingers of his right hand. Even to those unable to see the mechanism by which Roy powered himself up would see a bright light shining from the hand, eclipsed by the man and the demon in the briefest fragment of time. "FIVE-FINGER" Roy lunged forward toward his opponent, taking no regard for self-preservation. He was the unstoppable force, not the well-reasoned, cautious one. "BUNKER BUSTER!"

A black substance formed around Cyanthrax’s body, before he seemingly burst into hellfire. From within the fiery body that was now Cyanthrax came a light, waiting for the bastard to come near him. “LET’S BLOW THIS PLACE SKY HIGH, MOTHERFUCKER!” He was ready to nuke the place in hellfire, making sure Roy was as close to the explosion as possible.

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Roy and Mr. Purprle were definitely still trying to kill each other Aduain had soon found. Or at least hurt each other as this didn't feel like they were just feeling their opponent out. Granted that was likely due to all the yelling they were doing at each other without really listening to one another. The aquarian could follow Mr. Purple's ideas well enough but what exactly it meant for them all to be from different worlds escaped him. Despite his appearance and not having given the demon anything else to refer to him by, it did wrinkle the boy's non-existent nose a bit to be referred to simply as a talking fish. Aduain had a sneaking suspicion about the two he hesitated to put to words, even in his own head but as the shouting really ramped up there was little he could do to silence.

"They're both knuckleheads huh..." Aduain muttered as Cyan's sword caught fire. That much at least was really cool, most of the fighting was. But the core of the issue was Roy was pretty intent on killing the only source of remotely useful information immediately present. The fish went from passively watching to tensing up as the two continued. Roy's power in particular interested him. Though no one here felt like they quite had nen, Aduain couldn't shake how Roy's powers acted like he did. Right now he was using something almost exactly like the Ko technique where one could divert all of their nen to a specific part of their body, in this case Roy's fingertips. The fish had yet to train at this technique well enough to consider using it in a fight so initially he was caught up in awe for seeing it used in this strange new place. But then Mr. Purple's entire body caught on fire and the two seemed intent on destroying the entire park, something Aduain didn't appreciate as he was still standing on it. The fish readied his weapon as air began to flow violently around his body. An explosion of the boy's nen that could be felt by even those who could not use nen took hold in the form of the Ten technique.

In a flash Aduain had moved from his position on the sidelines and was between the two meatheads just as they were closing in on each other. The boy thrust his trident upward, catching Roy's aura loaded hand between the prongs and shove the hand's aim into the sky to release it's attack into empty space rather than Mr. Purple's head. But Mr. Purple was currently on fire and still charging in so in a single motion Aduain dropped to the ground in a handstand. His trident would begin to lower but the boy would add a kick to Roy's arm to entirely dislodge his weapon from the man's limb before his next move. Aduain lifted one hand from the ground to catch the weapon as it fell then did the splits in this position, one webbed foot aimed at either combatant before his nen surged in front of both of them. The boy's nen flowed into two circles at the ends of either foot which soon erupted into powerful geysers of what looked and felt like water. There was enough pressure to push both Roy and Cyan some distance apart from each other though how effective the boy's nen taking on the properties of water would prove at dowsing the figurative or literal flames engulfing either of them remained to be seen. With his single hand on the ground Aduain pushed up several feet into their and did something of a cartwheel to land back on his feet before looking to either of them with a scowl on his face.

"Are you two idiots done?" The fish questioned authoritatively such that the question was more a command to stop than anything. He was a Hunter after all. This wasn't his first time stopping a street fight. He turned to Roy first. "Killing the only guy who knows anything is stupid!" he shouted before turning to Cyan. "And not just explaining what's going on if you know is stupid too! If you wanna kill each other do it somewhere you're not breaking anyone's stuff!" He continued admonishing them for lack of concern to any of this Prana place's public property. His expression softened after his scolding concluded though. "Anyway, you're both really cool so I hope you don't go through with the whole killing each other thing. Been nice knowing you if you do! I'm heading into town." Aduain concluded with a smile as he began a light run off towards the others as he felt the need to usher them away from the more violent duo. Though despite the precise movement he had displayed to intercept the two he now tripped and rolled back to his feet attempting to play it off like it was planned.

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Masaru only spared the conflict between Cyan and Roy a glance before returning his attention to Fin and Trevor. He may have been on hiatus from Cherry Heart, but fights like this between some of the rowdier members like Myth and Kin weren’t uncommon, so he wasn’t shaken. “Apprentice to Balthazar, huh?” The summoner scratched his cheek for a moment, thinking, then crossed his arms and shook his head. “Nope, I got nothing. Sounds like a really important guy though,” he said. 

Then Masaru shifted his focus towards the softer-spoken lady, Fen Yi. “Yes ma’am! I’m the leading expert on Summon Magic at Cherry Heart… not that that’s a particularly impressive thing, considering I might be the only summoner on the whole continent!” His joke elicited a light-hearted peal of laughter from him. “It’s not exactly a popular school of magic.” He rubbed the back of his neck, smiling, and continued. “You said you do Ice Magic though, right? Your magic seems much more… familiar. Don’t have a clue why though.”

He was pulled from his ramblings by the sounds of intense combat. It seemed that the fight between the two men had escalated to a point that they were actually threatening to injure each other (he was pretty skilled at telling the difference between posturing and malicious intent). Masaru began to prepare himself to intervene; he shifted his left arm, covered by a long black sleeve, and a swirling blue substance began to pool in the palm of his hand. He let the energy dissipate when the fish beat him to the punch. 

“Mannn, those guys are real riled up huh?” he said. “Someone needs to make sure they don’t get up and just go right back at it. I’m gonna go give that little fish a hand, see ya guys around. It was really nice to meet both of you though!” he shouted over his shoulder as he rushed over to the brawling pair.

The two of them further supported his theory that he wasn’t anywhere in Magnolia. “Hiya! My name's Masaru. Guessing that neither of you guys know where we’re at either?” he asked them. His demeanor was welcoming, his tone of voice was friendly, but those who could sense it would notice that he had once again amassed magic in the palm of his hand as a precaution.

Edited by Cheshire Toon

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“Apprentice to Balthazar, huh? Nope, I got nothing. Sounds like a really important guy though,”

"Not expecting others to know him, but you would be correct." Trevor nodded, now bringing his attention to the apparent brawl that was going between the man in purple and the guy with the eye-patch. Everyone else seemed to be perfectly fine with these two fighting like this, but it was definitely something that was interesting to say the least. ...this is quite the start of things, if I do say so...then again, Olli almost attacked me specifically when those Undecided went and barged into Fairlight Town... he thought, now watching the fish individual dove into the fight and separated the two.

...dove...fish individual...oh the hilarity of Trevor and noticing things.

"Anyway, you're both really cool so I hope you don't go through with the whole killing each other thing. Been nice knowing you if you do! I'm heading into town."

The fish did seem to do the trick, and Masaru was already attempting to speak to the two. However, Trevor adjusted his tie slightly and began to make his way towards Masaru and the two fighting individuals.

“Hiya! My name's Masaru. Guessing that neither of you guys know where we’re at either?”

Trevor cleared his throat, his Cabanomicon already opening as he had the pages flipped straight to one section. "There was a bit of damage done to both parties here...so here..." he began. "Curaga..." Once he said this, above both Cyan and Roy's heads seemed to be something that looked like plant like bells appeared and rang a few times, before fading away. Once they left, Cyan and Roy could feel...they seemed to feel revitalized and healed up.

"There you go..." he said, closing his grimoire as the chains on it closed around it and had it return to hanging on the side of his hip once more. "Now, perhaps we can all talk with some decency and possibly all get along."

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Fen was entirely caught off guard as Masaru answered her question. She, firstly, didn't know of many summoners to begin with so his magic was certainly an interesting one. But more than that, she was sure she heard him say "Cherry Heart." That was a name she was very familiar with and could only be referring to one thing. But Fen thought back to all of her travels and other guildmates and not once had she met a "Masaru," especially one who had such a rare magic. Add to that, he kept saying he was from some place called "Magnolia." Cherry Heart was based in Arbolia, which while it sounded a little similar was still very clearly different. There was a chance he was just saying it wrong, but she doubted someone would get the name of their home base that consistently wrong and also wrong in a very strange way. She briefly wondered if there was another branch of Cherry Heart that opened elsewhere that she just wasn't aware of, but she also didn't know of a "Magnolia" to begin with. Her mind abuzz with questions, the girl snapped back with a little jump as she heard Masaru speak back up again. 

As he seemed intent on keeping the quarreling between the two, Masaru left to go towards the others before Fen could manage to actually ask any her questions. Unsure of what to do about her own predicament now, the girl followed after both him and Trevor as she would now otherwise be on her own. Glad to see that the two had settled down, Fen was only made even more confused as she felt - and saw in Trevor's case - magic. There was something off to her about the latter's magic, though she couldn't quite place what it was about it. Then there was Masaru, who she could only tell there was something magical about him and that it felt decidedly similar - if only a little different - in base concept to hers. That it seemed that he was still from a Cherry Heart  she had no idea about only seemed more likely if still completely bizarre an idea to her. The confusion clear on her face, but not wanting to ask questions to him now that he was preoccupied in trying to keep the others from fighting, Fen looked over to the two combatants. 

"Maybe uh, yeah, no fighting. That'd be bad. Instead we could..."  The girl looked over to see that Melissa and the amorphous mass were heading elsewhere - a direction she knew she was being drawn towards by something. "Maybe we could follow them? They seem to be going towards answers?" Hopefully that's what it was. Fen wasn't quite sure if she could handle much more confusion at the moment. 

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That was... an experience. Despite memories from different lives in their brain, the shapeshifter had never expected to see something like that. Yet, it seemed familiar, all the same... like a distant memory of someone deep within, as if it was their very appearance... Was it? The shifter began to take deep breaths as a sense of deep sorrow washed over them, the kind borne by a broken heart. Biting their lips from within the hood, they looked away from the creature carrying them, even as they placed them down... And then it was back to Melissa.

You said you can stand? Do you think you can lean on me the rest of the way, then? On the way, we can maybe try to jog your memory a bit more.” She offered her hand again, and gestured out into the city proper with the other. “If you do remember a place, did it look like this?

"Not... really? None of these memories bouncing around seem familiar to this place... It could be buried more, though." They took Melissa's hand and stood, looking around the area, "If anything, that... thing reminded me of something. But it's not something that I want to remember, I don't think..."

They looked after the others who had gathered together, the near calamitous fight never taking place... But it would have been interesting. And they could have won, could they not? With a scowl, they shook the thoughts off, pulling the strings of the hood a bit tighter.

"Do you... think we should join the others? It's probably not safe for you to stick with someone who's... unstable, like me. Not that I'm sure most of them are any better... and, um... Thank you."

Without waiting for a reply, the shifter turned and walked towards the group, shakily for a moment, but then steady. At least this sensation of guilt felt normal. Echoing across almost every memory they had...

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The fact that even a vague city setting was still unrecognizable to the shifter was unfortunate but not unexpected. In retrospect, it was kind of a silly question, Melissa thought. Who knew how memories worked anyway? Who was she to try and provoke any sort of response, no matter how well-meaning she might have been? Still, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed as they drifted back towards the rest of the group. If she had wanted to join the others, she wouldn’t have agreed to whatever had just happened, she would have just walked over. And sure, the fight looked like it was over now, but firstly (and again) there was that demon comment still lingering in the air, and secondly, who was to say something similar wouldn’t erupt in the future? Just because the physical fighting had ceased didn’t mean that feelings couldn’t overflow once again.

On the other hand, it really was a “devil you know, devil you don’t” sort of situation. At least she had some sort of common ground with the other inhabitants of the park, right? And it was the shifter’s suggestion, too, even if they were insistent that they were dangerous. Meanwhile, the city beyond the park’s border had only a single data point, that of this indescribable pull onwards that didn’t feel hostile, but who was to say? If everyone else agreed, they would have been out of this park already, right? Instead of just wavering?

Not that she wasn’t wavering also. “What do you think?” she mumbled to herself, summoning up the voices in her head to give her some sort of sign.

A response came back right away. They all know where you are, right?

Okay, sure. She didn’t even need to say it out loud, the feeling was enough of a response for the voices to keep going. Staying this far away could not hurt, no? If they are already headed this way too, what is the harm of being a few steps ahead?

It was a weird feeling, receiving outside reassurance from within one’s own head. It wasn’t weirder than anything else that had happened so far, but it was still worth a pause to remark upon. Like most positive feedback, she instinctively rejected it out of hand, but the fact that it was internal meant there wasn’t really anywhere to push it away. The clincher, then, was one final line: You have more allies than you realize. Melissa watched the shifter take a few more steps, making sure that they would not stumble on their way, then turned around and crossed the threshold out of the park.


It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.
-Psalm 118:8 (NIV)


Oh, she hadn’t missed this! The feeling of actually being in a huge city? With all the hustle and bustle? And the people? Melissa had barely realized how empty the park was in comparison to everywhere else; the fact that nobody else had been around to assist them (or even just gawk) hadn’t even registered but was now readily apparent from the outside of the park. She immediately turned back around -- no reassurance could save her from this -- but paused before falling back entirely. The park looked different.

The first difference was that she couldn’t see any of the strangers she was supposed to be leading. The view was blurry, though, so there was a possibility that they were still there, their images just distorted beyond recognition, but that was actually a difference in and of itself; that wasn’t a feature of any parks she’d ever been to, that was for sure.

Melissa tentatively reached out and tried to push through the blur with her hand, but it passed right through it with no resistance, feeling almost like pushing into a cold bucket of water even if when she pulled her hand back there was no moisture at all. It was curious, but again, she’d seen a lot of curious things so far, and this one too was not enough to dissuade her from rushing back to the comfort of the most familiar things so far.

Or, at least, she tried to. On the other side of the barrier was… the other side of the park, with no park in between. Melissa even tried a few times, just to be sure, going back and forth across the barrier, until all doubt as to the situation was quashed. There was no getting back in at her level of understanding of things.

Apologies, Melissa, this did not factor into considerations.

It’s not your fault,” Melissa said. “You couldn’t have known, anyway.

The voice was reassuring in a different way than before, actually. It was a reminder that she wasn’t entirely alone, further letting her internalize the advice from earlier. She had more allies than she realized, she thought, repeating it for emphasis. Even better, she was able to further accept that nobody she had come across yet knew at all what they were doing -- it was all bad guesswork based on even worse assumptions.

There were probably wrong decisions still, but now the consequences of such decisions felt out of her hands in a way that was for the better. It let her put all her trust in that intangible feeling beckoning her onwards, a feeling she chased after into the city proper.

Edited by radio414

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This was better. Of course. It had to be. After a- huh?

The shifter whipped around as the subtle sounds behind them changed. They had figured Melissa would be right on their tail, but instead, there was no Melissa at all. She had been there mere moments before, it didn't make any sense. Was... was she sent back already? No, that couldn't be. The shifter held their head as they looked around, trying to find any sign of her, to no avail. With a deep breath, they gathered their thoughts... and multiple mouths appeared over their body, speaking in deafening unison, but with a single voice.

"Hey! Melissa disappeared! Something's fishy!"

Walking forward, their mouths closed up as they breathed a bit more heavily. For now, doing something like that... Probably wasn't the best idea. They felt like they had to hold themselves together again. As they approached the edge of the park, they looked around a bit, warily taking another step forward, only to be rewarded with cacophony. Loud sounds of a bustling city hit their ears, causing them to instantly clasp their hands over them and shut their eyes. Much like eyes adjusting to bright light, something akin to that happened inside of their ears as they let go of them. As they looked up, they found Melissa heading off into the town... and with a bit lip, began to head forward. Sure, they were dangerous... But who knew when the others would come along? For now, they were the only one that could help her. At least, some of the memories screamed that. Others said to worry about themselves first, but... the warmth of the memory pushing them forward was enough to convince them to follow its advice, rather than the paralyzing feeling of the other. However, maybe a bit slow. After all, best not to make a scene. 

With a glance back at the non-existent park, the shifter held themselves together as best they could, heading off in the same direction as Melissa. She seemed kind, but she was in an unfamiliar place... and many of their memories knew how that went all too well. She deserved to hold onto that kindness, so they had to help!

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Melissa and Devin Take Prana

The girl and the mysterious entity found themselves in a bustling city. The lights and sound more pronounced than when they were in the park. They could also see more people milling about. None of them seemed to be concerned at all about the park as they went about their day.

Vehicles, resembling wheel-less cars, soared overhead as they walked across the street. Some passed by closer to the road, which had markers indicating where it was safe to walk, but it seemed the majority of the traffic was in the skies.

Despite that both of them stood out, even if slightly, compared to the people walking alongside the street none really took note of them. Beyond an occasional glance that showed, yes, they could in fact be seen by these people.

They would walk past several huge buildings which they noticed people wearing suits walking in and out of. Some sort of business, or office, most likely. However as they got closer towards where they felt the pull they'd find that the buildings began to be smaller, still larger than what either would consider normal in many cases, and eventually they realized they were on a street lined with what seemed like bars.

Flashy signs indicating the sale of alcohol and other usually late-night pastimes could be seen on the buildings around them. Here there were less people on the streets but the people they saw seemed to take note of them more regularly.

Then as they passed by an alleyway they would hear a voice calling to them. "Hey. Who're you, huh?"

Six men came out of the alley. They all had torn up jackets, single-lens wraparound sunglasses, and sneers on their faces. Each of them looked nearly identical except for their hair. All of them had neon green hair yet the style varied in an obvious way. Each had spiked hair but the number of spikes were different between them. One had one, another two, and so on until they reached the one who had spoken who had six large spikes of hair on his head.

"We're the Spike Brothers and we know everyone in these parts. But we ain't never seen you before. Where'd you come from that you think you can just walk on past without so much as a gift for us, huh?"

The others all repeated the "Huh?" in unison. Then they got closer and the two would be able to notice they each were holding what looked like a metal pipe in their hands.

 


 

Park Place

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He'd had to do this job multiple times over the past few months. And in all that time he hadn't ever seen any of them immediately get into a fight. He scowled as he watched the mayhem. What was she thinking? No, he shouldn't have thoughts like that. She probably knew what she was doing. Even if it looked like a bad decision to him it's not like he had any place to argue.

Still, what a pain. While it seemed that the others were trying to end it he was getting impatient. And he could see that one wanted to keep going even if he may have been considering ending it.

He didn't want to waste any more time waiting for the fool to make up his mind.

And so he took a step closer.

---

From Roy's perspective he would suddenly find himself faced with an unarmed man.

To everyone else they would have seen the man simply step between Roy and Cyan from out of nowhere. One moment he wasn't there and then there he was. Standing face to face with Roy. "You'll get to fight all you want later. Right now you need to go to the Arena. You'll get your answers there."

Without looking at the others he raised his voice "Get going. You don't want me getting more involved than I already have."

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