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Thanks in some part to Morgan's hasty contributions, the day was saved. The woman was defeated. Only for her to fall into a strange hole. Definitely not something she could do herself, if her reaction was anything to go by. The plot thickened. More than she had expected when she first showed up in this world, Morgan truly was treading into unknown territory with her impromptu "vacation" from her Lemurian adventures. Speaking of treading, there was still the small matter of being out a leg. Improvised replacements probably wouldn't cut it for the future. Which brought up the other matter of how to go about getting new parts. A logistical and legal nightmare even in her home world. It had gotten so bad that at one point Morgan decided to just hire somebody else to do the paperwork for her, paying their salary out of her Hunter rewards.

I- Sandalphon -- that’s the ophan -- can help heal if either of you need it, just say the word. Or if you need anything else, too. Besides that, I guess, thank you, both of you.

"We're  teammates  now;  it's  what  we  do." Despite the maiming, Morgan did not need healing, fortunately. One of the problems with not being alive was that healing... didn't really have much effect. She could regenerate on her own fairly well, but it was something she had to take care of personally. "I  don't  think  you'll  be  able  to  heal  me,  but  if  you  could  help  me  find  some  sort  of  crutch,  that  would  be  helpful."

It would be nice to still be able to move without crawling around on the ground.

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As the large ape beast started to charge some sort of energy in its mouth, Fen knew that there was nothing good waiting for her if it had finished and fired it off. With its attention focused on her she was unlikely able to dodge, and with the magnitude of power being gathered a simple wall of ice would do nothing either. So, her last and only option was to call out, "uhhhh, guys?" Thankfully, not long after did a burst of water, in the form of what was practically a waterfall, crashed down on and continued to engulf the beast. Relief washing over her face as she was no longer in prime laser range, Fen shouted, "thank you!" 

With the water now imprisoning the beast, Fen took a deep breath as she started to focus. Under normal circumstances it would be impossible for Fen to freeze a creature of this size and strength, and even if it were just wet it would still require a considerable deal of effort on her part; too much to be considered practical. But, with the amount of water that was around him, the water was now her target rather than the beast itself. "Alright, my time."

Conjuring a lance in her hand, the girl charged towards the pillar of water, spearing into it as she got close enough to. With magic flowing from her hand into the lance, the water around the spear point started to crystalize and freeze. As she continued to push the spear deeper in, the ice spread further and further until her palm was resting against the frozen part of the pillar. With a pulse of magic flowing through it, the ice began to expand even faster as the girl started to run around the edge of the pillar, her palm dragging across it as the ice continued to spread faster and faster. And once she had made a full circle, the girl took a step back before conjuring a bow. Channeling ice into the arrow, she fired it high into the air, before it arced downward and stabbed into the top of the water pillar. With one last pulse of magic from the arrow as it struck, the ice completed forming around the water and the ape beast had been completely frozen over. 

Wiping her brow and dismissing her bow, the girl looked to the other two and smiled. Pointing to the pillar she said, "well, it's frozen. So uh, now what?" 

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The battle ended with another vortex sucking away their enemy, leaving Devin brushing themselves off as they stood back up and looked to the other two.

I- Sandalphon -- that’s the ophan -- can help heal if either of you need it, just say the word. Or if you need anything else, too. Besides that, I guess, thank you, both of you.

"We're  teammates  now;  it's  what  we  do. I don't  think  you'll  be  able  to  heal  me,  but  if  you  could  help  me  find  some  sort  of  crutch,  that  would  be  helpful."

"Y-yeah... besides, I didn't do too much of anything." They replied, before realizing they were still in the battle body. Their form quickly shifted back to the hoodie over their fact, form shrinking down to be a bit less tall and lanky as they shrunk away, before speaking in a softer voice, "I can help you walk back if you need... I'm not advanced enough to be able to make something, s-sadly."

Awkward. They still barely knew Morgan, and they hadn't really done a lot beyond taking hits... and taking more hits. They tripped the woman up at the end, but that didn't really account for much, did it?

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"well, it's frozen. So uh, now what?"

"Not quite...look." Trevor huffed, looking at the beast in the frozen cube. At first, nothing happened, but one would notice it starting to shake now and again...but then stop...and then it would repeat this. "Fen, Aduain...you did good...but I'll add the finishing touches to this plan...I'll put as much of my Magic Power into this..." he glanced at his blue gemmed ring and the now open grimoire. "Now or never..."

He moved up to the icy prison and with one hand holding the Cabanomicon and the other with the blue ring outstretched towards it, Trevor looked sternly at it. "Offensive Spell...3rd Level...BLIZZAGA!!!" With this declared, he unleashed a powerful blast of ice that began to reinforce the already icy prison that held this strange beast. Trevor was putting his all into this attack, making sure this plan worked and allow their mission to be fulfilled.

As he does, the creature began to move more violently. Small cracks started to appear in the cube, but thankfully Trevor's magic covered those cracks, and the cube gained a spherical form due to the added ice. C'mon...C'MON!!! he thought, biting his lip slightly. The creature rested a moment, gave one, two, three shakes....and then stopped moving. A long moment passed and then a portal like from the other day appeared and the creature, ice and all, was pulled inside before it closed up suddenly.

Trevor slowly lowered his hand, closing the grimoire before falling back on his rear end and exhaling heavily. "...t-there we go...m-m-mission...accomplished..."

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The sight of all of his nen freezing in two stages and ultimately capturing the giant monkey before it all disappeared should have had Aduain hopping up and down with excitement. And the hunter certainly did feel that way as he watched it all unfold but his body no longer had the energy to realize what he felt. The current priority was scrambling to reestablish a normal flow of nen but that effort was proving difficult. Things did tend to flow better when you had a lot of it after all.

"Guess that was more than I intended." Aduain muttered to himself as he diagnosed the situation. It was all he could do to avoid mirroring Trevor and falling to the ground. "Great job guys!" he tried to muster his usual excitement but soon went reaching for his planted trident for support. Gripping it firmly he kept himself standing for the moment, the gills along his sides were clearly labored in their nen-aided breathing. That was until the left set flared out and began contracting and relaxing out of rhythm with his breathing which quickly sent the boy to his knees. "Yeah okay, definitely too much" he gasped out. Trying to meditate and more completely control the flow of what nen he had left to salvage his gills was going to prove difficult under the circumstances. But at least he had a team here.

"Hey not to worry you guys or nothing..." the fish started, wincing as his right set of gills struggled to pick up the slack. He looked to Trevor then Fen. "But I'm not gonna be able to breathe outside water in a minute here- no more like right now." As he finished his thought his right gills also gave out. While his hands held their grip on his trident for the moment Aduain was going limp fast and sliding to the ground. This fish out of water needed back in and quick.

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In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.
-Psalm 4:8 (NIV)


Debriefing went about as well as could be expected. Melissa tried to mention her teammates’ achievements as much as possible, not because she thought she hadn’t done anything (though both of them not needing healing despite their appearances to the contrary certainly made it feel that way, plus now she felt foolish for even asking), but because, honestly, she was worried they wouldn’t. She wanted to at least give them that. Any potential debriefing done between just the three of them, though, would have to be put off until later, as, despite having been in an angel-induced state of unconsciousness for most of the fight, the moment Melissa was even remotely comfortable, a wave of exhaustion overwhelmed her and she immediately nodded off.

A dream came soon after. It was the same dream the angels had given her each other time she’d dreamt under their care. Zadkiel and Sandalphon had not even moved from their positions. “Did you pull me into this or am I just that tired?” she said, though neither answered her, not that she was expecting an answer anyway. “I need to thank you both as well. I don’t know how I would do any of this without you.

We know you would think of something, the angels said. Though perhaps you might do less flying headfirst into things without us to facilitate that.

Even in a dream, Melissa found herself blushing. Wonderful, the voices in her head were learning how to snark. “In my defense, the first time wasn’t my fault,” she said. “The second time, yeah, I don’t know. I thought maybe, like, the theory was good, in the end, since that was basically how the fight ended, just with not me doing the flying headfirst. Directly, anyway.

The angels stirred but didn’t say anything, seemingly accepting that answer. Despite the embarrassment, it was nice to know that they were both comfortable enough with her and cared enough to make such a comment in the first place. She could imagine the response if she commented on that, like, ”Of course. You are our vessel, and we are harmed as you are. It is only natural to have a sense of self-preservation,” or something of that nature, but it still felt like more to her.

I don’t want it to happen again either, though,” Melissa said, after a few more moments. “For my part, I’ll try to keep myself out of danger, and I appreciate being able to hide within Zadkiel’s wings, but it’s still difficult when I’m just a spark of consciousness behind my own body most of the time. Is that… something that can be changed?

She knew that there were no literal servos in her head, but she could still almost hear the little things whirring around for a good two seconds. Perhaps, was the answer. We will certainly try our best for you, at any rate.

Okay,” Melissa said. “And, um, hopefully, this won’t come up again, but when you threw me, was that a range threshold I passed partway through?

We cannot stray too far from our source. If you desire that to change, just know it will be a harder task than your first request.

So definitely not throwing myself headfirst into things.” Now it was Melissa’s turn to allow herself a brief snark in the comfort of her own dream. It was also at her expense, which made it doubly okay.

She felt the car coming to a stop and sensed that there was a finality to this one, that they’d arrived. This was given even more evidence when her dream world echoed with the sound of car doors opening. At the very least, she probably needed to be awake. “One more thing, though,” she said. “I’ve noticed Trevor’s book talk to him sometimes, even about unimportant stuff. I know I don’t like to talk much outside of a dream or just checking in, but I could probably put some mental energy aside for my own guests.

Overall, her nap did not feel like it had gone long enough to actually refresh her, and yet, well, it had. She’d entered the cab ready to collapse into bed and now she was more willing to just hang out until her appointment time. Like, she had to shower, still, and she certainly felt bad for whoever had to clean up all the sand left behind in the car, but yes, overall, she was already feeling much better.

Before the shower, though, her attention drifted over towards the door to the empty room on the side of the first floor. First, it was the sound, which was the sound of, well, it was hard to describe outside of maybe “hairballs shuffling around.” The second was a sign hanging on the doorknob.

“CAUTION:” it read in large, friendly letters. “SLAKOTH SLACKING OFF.”

Melissa knew what those words meant individually, and could even put together a sort of context for them, and yet opening the door still got a small yelp out of her. There was a Slakoth in there (not like a human-shaped one like Dora, like, an actual, honest-to-goodness Slakoth) just napping in the middle of the room. She’d caught it in the middle of a stretch.

She closed the door, re-read the sign, and said, “Well, I don’t know what I expected.

If they had a pet Slakoth now, it probably needed food and a better bed than the creepy floor of an out-of-the-way room, but if it was sleeping peacefully, she could put that off for the moment and focus on her own needs. She went upstairs, grabbed a fresh set of clothes and her toiletries out of her room, and turned the water on nice and hot.

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Fen took a step backward as the ice prison she had made had started to shake and crack. Getting ready to step forward and try apply more ice to it, the girl instead left it to Trevor as he put on the finishing ice to the sculpture. After it shook a few times and stopped, Fen looked over to the versatile mage saying, "oh, well. Good catch," she complimented. As she was getting ready to depart, though unsure what to do about the giant ice cage on the top of the enormous building. And given they were all exhausted she didn't know what to do about the sloth monsters that would be on the lower floors too. As she thought more about it, the girl then looked to see Aduain suddenly collapse. "Eh?" 

She hadn't known that he was actually only able to breathe on land as a function of the magic that he used, though since he was a fish she didn't know why she didn't think more about this originally. But what she didn't know before wasn't important. What was that her friend was drowning on dry land. "Eh? Uhhhh..." Fen muttered aloud as she didn't know what to do. They were on top of an enormous building with no way to quickly get down. And if he was suffocating then that meant he didn't have much time to get down. Her own powers were generally useless here, after all you couldn't breathe ice..."Wait..."As the girl's mind was racing for solutions she had figured something out. 

Acting fast, the girl pressed her hand against the ground as her ice started to form into a small box. Looking over to Aduain she said, "um, sorry that this is going to be a bit cold but uh well. Yeah." The girl looked towards Trevor saying, "so like, I don't know if you have water magic but I've still got power to spare and all. So like, if you could make fire then I can keep making ice and we can, well, fill that." She pointed to the box. "And put him in there. We can uh, figure out the rest after." 

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"Y-yeah... besides, I didn't do too much of anything. I can help you walk back if you need... I'm not advanced enough to be able to make something, s-sadly."

"Thank  you," Morgan smiled, graciously taking up the offer. The ride back home was rather uneventful. A fact for which Morgan was thankful, as it gave her some time to unwind and think back on the battle that had just taken place. Their opponent, her stone and sand-related abilities that were clearly not tied to nen in some way, and that mysterious hole she fell into at the very end. That last one was a point of particular interest. Where did it come from? Where does it lead? Who created it? The urge to know was very strong, but Morgan doubted she would be able to find anything on the subject.

There was, of course, one other matter that concerned her. The need for a new limb. Something she'd have to ask Mauvache about. Where she could get replacement parts after battle wasn't much of an issue back home; normally she'd just borrow from whatever villain or monster she was targeting on that day's adventure. But here, the rules were vastly different, not least of all because nen seemed to be a foreign concept.

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"Hey not to worry you guys or nothing...But I'm not gonna be able to breathe outside water in a minute here- no more like right now."

"That...might be an issue..." Trevor said, now looking at Aduain who was currently going into a physical shock now that his gills were practically closing up on him. Luckily Fen was there to assist with some icy magic to make sure he could survive.

"um, sorry that this is going to be a bit cold but uh well. Yeah. so like, I don't know if you have water magic but I've still got power to spare and all. So like, if you could make fire then I can keep making ice and we can, well, fill that." She pointed to the box. "And put him in there. We can uh, figure out the rest after."

"R-Resourceful, Fen..." he said, nodding slightly before sighing. "There is a Water spell that I could use, but unfortunately the Cabanomicon hasn't given me access to it yet." He held up the grimoire with a slight look on his face. "In short, while I do have some magic available to me...it isn't all of it. If I had all, I'd become a full-fledged sorcerer at that point, but alas...I'm not to that level yet."

Truly a crying shame, but keep this up and you should make it to Balthazar's level within...perhaps a millennia?

Trevor rolled his eyes before immediately taking his index finger and firing off a simple Fire spell to which Fen could melt her ice. "Hilarious...ya damn book..." he muttered, before finally standing up. "At the same time, we don't even know if I was in the Ever for a millennia or not, so perhaps I've already gotten to your little hypothetical level..."

Perhaps not...still wet behind the ears, ol' boy.

There were some days this book truly got on his last nerve...this was one of those days.

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With some help from his friends Aduain managed to not only let go of his weapon but fall over into the water box so kindly provided to him. The shock of being able to breathe again but also in fairly cold water due to being held in ice stirred the hunter immediately. The fish gasped as much as one could underwater, and several surges of bubbles erupted from the gills along his sides before his breathing calmed back into a normal rhythm. It took another moment still for Aduain to register where he was, that he was in fact still where he'd been fighting the monkey and that his friends and cooked up a solution to his inability to breathe in impressive time. He tried speaking before realizing that wouldn't make much sense outside the water. His head soon peaked up over the water's surface to allow him to talk while his gills lower down kept breathing.

"Wow you guys sure cooked up a unique solution!" Aduain cheered with his usual enthusiasm quickly returning now that oxygen was circulating his system again. "You mighta guessed but my gills only work in air cuz of my nen and I maaaaay have used most of it up on the plan." the fish continued, still a bit on edge from the whole situation. That couldn't stand though as he focused on the positives. "But hey it worked! It'll be a bit 'til I get enough nen back to leave but you don't gotta wait up for me if you wanna head back. Don't see any wheels on the box here but that'd be pretty crazy if it did have 'em. Oh and spikes!" At this point Aduain was getting distracted by his own imagination but what mattered was he wasn't going to suffocate for doing his job. Fen-nen-that-wasn't-nen and a still-to-be-devised-clever-nen-name-for-trevor sure could do a lot of cool stuff. A little too cool maybe as the boy shook off some slight shivers.

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After helping Morgan back to the car, the shifter's form reverted ever back into its more reclusive appearance. They seemed to be getting a better grasp on their shifting than even back home, with how they had been able to move in that last battle... But what if they did more? Would they lose control again? Would those other personalities in their memories take hold? Were they... even Devin? They still didn't know. The answer was beyond them, but their body certainly seemed to think so. Well, if not for borrowing power from their memories for that last fight.

With a nearly silent sigh, they leaned back in their seat, their gaze drifting over to Melissa, who had dozed off instantly. Or maybe she was just communing with those stands of hers again? In that case, did she know they... Their eyes shot to the side instantly, occasionally peeking back, but never holding a solid stare. Last thing they needed was for Melissa to think of them as an even bigger creep. Not that they were staring at her for that reason, just... She didn't seem suited to this. Was she from a world where fighting didn't happen? No, that wouldn't make sense with her power... But then, why was she so unadjusted to it? It was strange... But thy still owed her. They couldn't turn their back on her after what they put her through. After what she had tried to do for them.

Looking over to make sure their other companion was alright, Devin let their own eyes close, not losing consciousness, but detaching a bit, until the ride was over.

-----

Upon arriving back, the shifter swiftly slithered back to their room like normal, but... unlike normal, they looked about the plain room. With a lack of materials to work with they sighed, their form dropping to a bare form, humanoid as they extended a hand. As it became like a canvas, their other hand producing a pen, still attached, they began to write, sky-blue hair falling around their head. Get comfortable. Think clearly. Find a way to show appreciation... The mall, maybe? Would a gift do? Buying things was kinda cheap, but in a world where they were far from home, maybe, just maybe...

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Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
-Revelation 22:14


As with most every other time Melissa entered the bathroom, she came back out feeling better, in this case, simply because she was clean. She even had a fresh change of clothes -- themselves purchased just the day before, so they were especially fresh -- all laid out and ready to go. So between that and her newly established relationship with the angelic voices in her head, while she was still a little bruised up (though maybe Sandalphon could help take care of that tonight), she walked back downstairs feeling pretty good about herself.

The other group wasn’t back yet, Melissa noticed. She hoped they were doing alright, though each of them seemed more experienced with fighting in their world than she was, so they were probably alright. Then again, Morgan had been literally dismembered (it was self-inflicted, but still), so perhaps- No, Melissa wasn’t about to ruin her good feeling by worrying about things that probably weren’t happening. If something happened to Trevor, Aduain, and Fen, surely they’d find out about it.

She decided to distract herself by worrying about the Slakoth in the empty room just off to the side. The sign was still there, so she assumed it had gone undisturbed besides her back in her pre-shower daze. It was less shocking to see the second time; perhaps the most surprising thing about the Slakoth now was that it was awake now, though it was still with that same tired-but-content expression. It was even looking at Melissa as she entered the empty room to accompany it for a moment.

Do you know what I’m supposed to do with this?” she said aloud to the angels.

That depends, are you thinking of keeping it as a pet?

I don’t know,” Melissa said. “Like, it arrived pretty suddenly, it stands to reason it could go away just as suddenly, right? And it’s not just my house anyway -- we’ll have to see what everyone else thinks too.” She let the Slakoth sniff the back of her hand (not that it really reacted it, nor did its disposition change at all), and added, “At the very least, it probably doesn’t have to wait around to disappear on the hard floor.

She picked up the Slakoth and held it up in front of her. It reacted just as much as it did to all the other interactions she’d had with it or around it, which was to say, not at all. In fact, the way its limbs fell off her main hold reminded her much like a cat. “I think there are some cushions in the rec rooms,” she said. “Let’s get you over to one of those, at least.

On the way there, though, Fen, Trevor, and Aduain arrived back, the first two appearing just as they had left and the third, Aduain, only changed by most of his body appearing distorted, having been submerged in a floating ice bath, his head just sticking out of the water, though even through this he appeared no worse for wear either. “We have a visitor,” she said, showing them all the Slakoth. “Just getting them settled.” She looked down, first at the Slakoth again, then up along her arms and noticed that it was already starting to shed on her. It wasn’t, like, a huge amount, but she did have an appointment with Mauvache soon-ish, didn’t she?

Melissa looked back up. “Also, do any of you happen to have, like, a lint roller or anything like that?

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Fen put a hand to her chin as Aduain had explained his situation to them, thinking how unfortunate it must've been to have to constantly focus on your magic just to keep alive. Yet, still, he seemed no worse for wear at present so she didn't dwell on it that much. Instead, as Aduain had mentioned both wheels and a spike the girl continued to have a pensive expression on her face. She didn't want to just leave the boy at the top of this incredibly high building and either wait for him to get better in an ice bath or wait for someone else to foist him down. So instead she said, "well, I wouldn't just want to...so..." The girl placed her hand on the box, channeling her magic through it again and now causing handles to appear at either end and small legs on the corners to help prop the box up. And also spikes on the other faces of the box. "It might take a bit but, well, we should be able to lift you down. Slowly." Looking at Trevor, the girl grabbed one side of the box getting ready to lift it before saying, "oh uh, sorry if it's, you know, cold." 


The group had managed to return in one piece to their homestead, only to see Melissa in the foyer there first. As it had appeared, their group seemed to have dealt with whatever problem they had as well. As Fen gave a wave, greeting the girl, she instantly took a backstep and recoiled at the sight of the visitor that Melissa showed them. "Oh, that, uh..." The girl stammered out as she looked at the small lazy creature. She had never seen it before but she couldn't help but feel something hauntingly familiar about it. "It's...cute...What is it?" The girl said as she seemed to have gotten over her initial shock at seeing it, before recollecting herself. 

"I don't think I have anything like that," the girl answered Melissa's question. "And I uh, can't make anything like that either. But, well, if it needs a place to go or something uh..." The girl looked over to Aduain. "I could make a box for it?" 

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For a moment it seemed like Fen was creating spikes for the box after all. But Aduain's heart sank a little bit to see it was just handles for her and Trevor to hoist the ice box up by. Still, seeing she could tweak her creations after the fact was cool in its own way. Another shiver rushed down his spine as another rush of cold water entered his gills. If his friends were insistent on taking him home with them he wouldn't deny the kindness. And being carried in a unique way like this was something of its own adventure. Aduain alternated fully submerging himself and poking his head out to speak with his teammates or others as needed. Seeing the world through the water and ice was clearly entertaining him as surges of bubbles indicating various giggles, oohs and ahhs from whatever he observed.

Eventually the trio had arrived back at the new home front. It seemed the others had beat them back as Melissa was there to address them when they arrived. In something of a panic Aduain began looking around for Morgan, thinking he'd lost the race if the other team was back. But his eyes locked onto what the girl was holding. Similarly to Fen, something primal told him not to trust the cute little critter. But the fish was able to brush that aside cuz it was indeed actually pretty cute. And this whole lint roller business sounded familiar too.

"Hmmmm..." he thought out loud, his teeth chattering some as he was pretty thoroughly chilled throughout now from his icy vessel. "Well he's probably got the fur to stay warm in an ice box. You might be on to something Fen!" Aduain cheered. Then a realization struck him. "Oh yeah, lint rollers! I remember those. Heather had one and used it a bunch on that school uniform she tried to get me to wear when I was trying to go to school. Haven't seen one in a loooong while though so sorry about that." Aduain said, moving back to thinking. If she needed to get hairs off her clothes he might have a solution.

"Oh yeah! I could give ya a rinse that might get it off. Your stuff would just be wet for a little bit until my nen dissipa-" he started to say while beginning to push himself up out of the box some. He'd recovered some nen by this point of course but not nearly enough and his gills immediately had him gasping for air. Or water in this case as he sat back down into the bath. "Okay so that's not on the table. But uhhh, maybe you can buy one on those little TVs in the rooms? I still gotta play with em some more but seemed like they had some cool stuff you could order."

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It was the arduous task to lug the ice box with a chilling fish person back to the apartment, but luckily Fen and Trevor were up to the task...though it didn't help that it was actually freezing in every sense of the word as the lugged the box. Oh how he wished to try and attempt to turn the heat up on his side, but alas, if he did all that hard work would be for naught...

Once they arrived...however..

“CAUTION: SLAKOTH SLACKING OFF.”

The young sorcerer simply stared at the door's new sign along with the newest..."addition" to the rooms...a creature with some features resembling those they fought today, but even still, this one seemed to be even MORE lazy than the one they obtained. "Curiouser and curiouser...what a strange creature..." he muttered, finally finding a place with Fen to put the ice box down. The moment he did, he started regulating his Magic Power into the red gemmed ring in order to get some heat coming his direction. A sorcerer is nothing without his rings...and a sorcerer must be able to adapt to any situation... he thought, smirking at the reminiscing of old memories.

"In any case, I have no strong feelings in regards to this..." Trevor paused to look at said creature, before sighing. "What did the sign say...a Slakoth? I truly have no strong feelings in regards to the status and the happenings of this strange creature."

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Posted (edited)

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind
-James 3:7 (NIV)


Melissa instinctively pulled the Slakoth back into her arms the moment Aduain added to Fen’s suggestion. “We’re not putting this Pokémon into a literal icebox,” she said. “I don’t even remember where you catch these things but I know it’s not the frozen tundra.” Its fur coat was soft but not that sort of soft.

Aduain’s other two suggestions, though, were rather reasonable. Like, she still wasn’t sure what “nen” was but she was pretty sure Aduain knew what it was, so she was willing to trust him on that, even if it didn’t end up taking in the end. And the ordering one was obvious in retrospect. They’d need one eventually anyway if the Slakoth was going to be cohabitating with them long-term. Besides, if she ordered enough stuff, maybe they’d get it all in one big box rather than multiple smaller boxes, and that could solve two problems with one action. “I was just going to put it in the rec room, maybe cushion it on one of the pool tables, and then, yeah, I guess I need to order a lint roller then.

She did exactly as described, first placing the Slakoth on a center couch cushion, then clearing the sixteen balls off the table before moving both the Slakoth and its newly shed-on bedding to its new place. The Slakoth reacted to exactly none of that, its only movement being to shift when it was placed down to make sure all its limbs were properly splayed out. She noticed she kept thinking, “The Slakoth,” and said aloud, “You’ll also need a name at some point, I guess, though that should probably be a group decision. So that’ll be another thing to ask everyone, besides ‘Are we keeping you around at all?’

If the Slakoth already had a name, it wasn’t very forthcoming with it. Melissa sighed and moved on to the other issue: navigating a new ordering system. Back home, there were multiple and they all seemed to have their quirks, and when Melissa got back to her room, she found that Prana’s was no different. Some things were the same, like how if you crossed a certain threshold you got free shipping, but other things, like how the threshold seemed to care about both price and cumulative square footage in equal measure, took a few rereads and consulting with her angels to parse. Still, she managed, adding a few things she’d forgotten at the mall like a backup pair of shoes, some more personable toiletries to replace the defaults they’d all been given, and a few other things to round out what space she had left before the thresholds changed.

When Melissa went to pay, she noticed that there weren’t various shipping options, which surprised her, especially since shipping had definitely been mentioned on the previous screens. But she still went through with her purchase. It probably just meant there was just the one option. She was surprised, then, when a small aperture she’d barely noticed just off to the side of the screen started projecting a cube on her floor, with a prompt on the screen warning her to leave the projected arrival point before continuing. She was, so she did, and thus, before her eyes, did a box containing everything she just purchased materialize there in her room.

This certainly warrants further examination, an angel said, though Melissa was all examinationed out at the moment, so she just made a mental note to come back to the machine on the wall later.

For now, she extricated all the small boxes from the one big box, gave herself a good lint-rolling, and went back downstairs with the big box to present to the others. “What about this, do you think this will work? If we pad it or something? Maybe cut a hole in the box so it can see out?

Edited by radio414

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Fen was surprised that Melissa seemed to be incredibly familiar not just with what the strange yet familiar creature was, but also its natural habitat. Or at least where it didn't live to begin with. She also wondered for a brief moment what she meant by "catching it," thinking that perhaps such animals were common pets where the young girl was from. If that were the case then perhaps her tension wasn't all that warranted to begin with and they had something of an expert on their side, or at the very least someone who knew anything about the "Pokemon." It was then that Melissa mentioned the "lint roller" again and after setting the creature on the green table, left to go order something. She was certain that that was the direction of her room though, so perhaps she just needed to get something first before going out? 

Fen didn't follow after Melissa and instead looked at the creature on the table. It didn't seem all that keen on, well, moving and simply laid splayed out all over the table. She wondered if the creature was sleeping or just incredibly comfortable, and given that its eyes were still open she didn't think it was the former. Though the extent to which it was comfortable made her wonder if it had a long day prior to this and was extremely warn out which is why it didn't seem make much in way of motion. For that matter, she wondered where it had come from. Though Melissa seemed to be comfortable and familiar with the "Pokemon" she didn't seem like its original owner. As examined the furry creature, boggled by the ever increasing mysteries, more came to show themselves as Melissa had appeared with a large box. Blinking for a moment, she wondered where Melissa had gotten it, or if she just had brought a big box from home with her. Maybe it was a gift from whoever it was they saved on their mission earlier?

Looking at the creature, then back to the box, as Melissa asked her question Fen answered, "it looks like he'd be fine just about anywhere. But well, yeah. Looks like a good uh, container? Bed? Box, uh, for him. I can't uh, make any lining or anything because well," the girl conjured an ice dagger and presented it before adding, "yeah. Oh, but I can cut the holes in it." Her tone was matter of fact. "Maybe we can just put it in a corner where it won't bother anyone and uh, so nobody accidentally just hits the box or something." Looking back to the table she placed her hand on the surface saying, "we could try finding more of whatever this cloth is. And then put that in the box."

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In the middle of the group working out what to do with the Slakoth something happened. The lights all suddenly dimmed. Even the light coming from the windows seemed to darken somewhat. A chilling breeze passed through the halls and for a moment they would catch glimpse of...something. A vague impression of a billowing cloak which lasted only an instant and then was gone.

The lights went back to normal and the chill faded away. All was at it had been.

However on the second floor something was moving and came to a stop in front of Morgan's room. She would hear a series of slow knocks and, when she opened the door, she would see darkness.

A tall figure, nine feet in height, was in front of her. It wore a pitch black cloak which seemed to billow at the bottom. Despite that they were so high up if Morgan tried to look at their face the hood of the cloak would be inexplicably covering it.

In their hands, or what would be assumed to be hands as these too were covered, was the handle to a trolley. And on the trolley was an insulated foam container. Atop it seemed to be an envelope taped to the lid. The person, or thing, handed Morgan a tablet with a stylus attached.

Sign here

x___________

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morgan.png

Once she had returned to the house, the first thing Morgan had done was try to find Mauvache's office. To her, it just made sense that the boss lady's office would be somewhere in or near this building. But, after much hobbling and hopping around, and consulting a map several times, Morgan was forced to admit that she was wrong. The office was nowhere to be found, and Morgan had simply wasted a bunch of time. So, she did what she'd do back in Lemuria when she realized her course of action was terribly flawed; retreat to her room, think it over more in-depth, and come up with a better idea.

Only to have her replanning interrupted by a knock at her door. It would be rude not to answer! So, Morgan rolled back out of bed, and hobbled along to the door, opening it up to be met with... a black void of a person. How ominous. Morgan had seen some interesting things in her previous adventures, but very few things that could be compared to this encounter. Except in this case, it felt way more surreal since the void person was just casually here at her room, with a delivery of some sort, requiring her signature. This... was certainly an experience.

Sign here

xMorgan Underhill

No time to waste! What was in the box? Retrieving her delivery and leaving the suspicious-looking giant void person to their own devices, Morgan brought the box about as far into her room as she could manage with only one leg, before setting it down, sitting down beside it, and opening the thing up. Inside was... a bone! A big ol' bone, fashioned into some sort of prosthetic! It seemed pretty old, too. The living would probably wonder where this thing had come from, but not Morgan. She didn't hesitate for even a moment to stick the thing against the spot where her own leg used to be. Before long, she could feel her nen envelop the bone leg, and not long after she could feel the leg itself as well as if it were a part of her own body. Because, simply put, it was a part of her body now.

Now bipedal once more, Morgan cheerily left her room, and did some exploring. It was probably good to see what everyone else was up to. Her chance encounter of the day featured Melissa from earlier! As well as Fen and Trevor. And a box! Among other things. Today sure was weird.

"Hello." Glancing around, it wasn't terribly difficult to piece together what was probably happening. Box for creature. All the same, it only felt polite to ask. "So,  what's  with  the  box?"

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As the others spoke of what to do with the team's new furry friend, Aduain found himself quickly growing both bored and frustrated at his having to sit in the ice bath provided to him. There was so little to do and most any exciting thing he could think to do required getting out of the box. How long did it take nen to recharge anyway? No matter how many times he found himself in this situation his own impatience was his own worst enemy. And so he found himself idly slapping at the water or quickly closing his submerged hands to squirt small streams from the surface up in the air. It helped stave of the shivers anyway but it wasn't a good solution. But then a familiar nen caught his attention as before long Morgan had entered the room.

"Hey!" He cheered at the sight of his fellow hunter, who had beaten him back after all. "Someone left us a pet or something. They're just figuring out where to put it." he offered in explanation to her question. "Buuuut more importantly, looks like I lost our race huh?" the fish chuckled nervously at the state he was in after the kind of bravado he'd challenged her with. "What'd you guys fight though?! We had to mess with a buncha giant monkeys!" Aduain offered excitedly, splashing all around the edges of his box at the movements he made.

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God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
-Genesis 1:28 (NIV)


I don’t think this Slakoth is a pet,” Melissa said. “At least, not yet it isn’t. If it is, we’ll probably have to have a whole building meeting and set up schedules and certainly pick a name.” She wasn’t sure why she was getting all into this. Well, she knew why, but the thought still surprised her. A long time ago, back in her own universe, Melissa had lost a pet goldfish (named Jonah, because of course it was) and been inconsolable for weeks, even after being assured of the existence of fish heaven and everything. Her family collectively decided afterwards to wait on further pets until Melissa said she was ready, and though she probably could have handled even a dog by the time she enrolled in Blue Yonder and moved out, the topic never came back up again.

She turned to acknowledge the new entrant. “Anyway, um, hi, Morgan. Glad to see you’re back in one piece. Did you order those off those tablets too?” But Aduain had more conversation to offer, and, when Melissa looked at her watch, she realized she probably couldn’t be pushing back pushing off for much longer. “I can probably ask about the Slakoth at my appointment, too,” she said. “We can see what Mauvache has to say about it.” Or at least, she thought, she would try. She added it to the long, long list of other things she had to think about ahead of this, in any case.

“Speaking of, can you help me remember all this?” she thought.

The reply was immediate. Of course.

“Okay, well, we’ll work on a list as we head over.” Melissa returned to the group, but only for a moment. “Speaking of, I need to get going. If you need me for anything, I think you can text me on this.” She held up her watch and really, really tried to suppress the fear that none of them knew what she was talking about. “I’ll try to be back as soon as I can,” she said, and hurried outside to try and find a cab.

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Unlike Trevor before her, Melissa found herself inside of the Arena without much hassle. No one tried to stop her on the way. However when she did arrive she found it was busier than when they had come here before. Evidentially there was some sort of event going on later and so people were arriving early so they can beat the rush. Thankfully it looked like this was just the first wave and so Melissa could get to the reception desk fairly quickly despite being at the back of the line.

Though as she approached the desk she noticed a couple people glancing her way. Talking among each other. It seemed that some of them felt like they recognized her from somewhere but couldn't be quite sure where. This didn't stop them from rather unabashedly staring at her even when she looked their way.

When she reached the desk, and saw the bunny-eared receptionist, she noticed that he wasn't paying much attention. He looked to be typing a message into his watch, a device which was notably less advanced-looking than the one Melissa and her allies had, with a worried expression on his face. She'd have to get his attention some way and, when she did, the young man's eyes would dart up to her and he'd hastily stop messing with his watch.

He sat up straighter, and Melissa could see the bags under his eyes, and he stammered out a frantic "Oh! Hello! I didn't notice, um, sorry!" He took a deep breath and then smiled at her. "How may I help you? The ticket counter is over on that end and the bathrooms are that way." He gestured to the right and left respectively, clearly expecting that to be what she was looking for.

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Since the events with Morgan and Melissa, Devin had never managed to leave their room. No reason in particular, beyond fixating on their desire to find something. Aside form thanking Melissa for putting up with them, they also wanted to contribute... something to the communal spaces. But with half their budget so far burned on food, they couldn't think of anything that would be cheap enough for that...

Sighing, Devin left their room, walking down the dorm hallways to look for inspiration, before their search took them downstairs. They didn't really see anybody as they wandered around, taking it in. Come to think of it... they hadn't really seen much at all, had they? They cuddled up in the corner, ran upstairs... twice, and otherwise had not looked around. How did they think they were going to manage ordering a gift for the living space that they had never even paid any mind to?

Looking at the device they had been given, then back to the walls and floorspace, a frown formed on their hooded face. Nothing seemed to fit what they wanted, least of all a gift.,, then they saw the sign.

"CAUTION: SLAKOTH SLACKING OFF"

... Slakoth? Like, the Pokémon? Their face flattened as memories of the creature rushed back, both those believing it a game... and a small set of others telling them it was a real creature. The former seemed to be right, if the sign was anything to go by, yet it was the only one that said such. The memories of a faker musician... That could be correct, all things considered.

Peeking inside, there was, indeed, the slothful Pokémon. Doing exactly what the sign said. With some of the others pestering it. They closed the door gently before stepping away, pulling out the device again. Why, if these memories were to believe, they may be able to to garner some good will tout suite! It didn't fulfill the Melissa idea, but at least it solved one of the two problems, expensive though it would be. With the first idea in their cart, they scrolled through, absentmindedly taking a seat in one of the rec room armchairs, absently humming a tune to themself.

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As Fen wondered what next to do with their curious guest, her attention was directed towards the staircase as Morgan made her way downstairs. As the zombie girl had asked about the box, Melissa and Aduain had both informed her about the specifics of it, Fen just adding, "yeah we're just trying to figure out what to do with it. I don't think this is, well, the best place." She gestured to the pool table. Granted, as far as she knew no one was actually using the table at present, but a table was no place for a pet all the same. Or a monstrous guest as it would happen. As Melissa left to go take care of something else, Fen gave her a wave saying,  "I'll uh, try to put him in the box and stuff while you're out." 

As Aduain was conversing with Morgan, Fen looked to the box trying to figure out the best way to cut it open. With an ice knife in hand, the girl wasn't sure where the best part to put the hole was, or even how big to make it but it was probably better to start smaller then larger. After all one could always just make the hole bigger at a later date. As the girl bended towards the box, she raised her knife ready to cut into it only to have her attention taken by something else. Looking back, she caught the door closing, wondering what that was about before turning back to the box. 

Looking at her knife, the girl looked between the box and her weapon thinking about it for a moment longer. The box was made of cardboard, which would be hard for her to puncture but it wasn't as though her knife was sharp enough to cut through it like butter. Ergo, the process was more likely to end with a much more imprecise hole if she tried to do it like that. And so instead, she backed up from the container for a moment. Reshaping her weapon into a much thicker and longer lance, the girl smiled to herself, "perfect." A hole very easily formed in both ends of the box as she ran her lance through it and pulling it out she was very satisfied with how circular it ended up. Much more then if she had stuck to a knife. 

With a job well done, the girl dismissed her weapon before looking to the other two. "Oh, right. It's been a bit and we came back here so um, I'm going to go to the kitchen and get some food. Do you all - well, I don't really think there's much in there but, do you both want something." She briefly looked to the Slakoth, wondering if it too wanted food but she hadn't the faintest idea what to even feed it to begin with. And it never really seemed to be in much of a hurry. 

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Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
-Proverbs 30:8-9 NIV


Oh, this wasn’t good.

Melissa had dealt with crowds before, obviously, and she realized as soon as she stepped out of the cab that if she’d been thinking about it a little bit harder, she probably could have expected something like this -- the place was an arena and looked the part, of course people would be all grouped up at such a grand point of interest. It was a problem, but it wasn’t that much of a problem anymore. The problem was that she was now, somehow, a point of interest. As Melissa waded through the halls trying to find anything that looked familiar from her previous and only other visit, she couldn’t help but notice the constant stares pointed in her direction.

The fact that they were stares made it even worse. If she had been, say, just dressed slightly oddly, out of place in a new environment, they probably would have been just glances, things she would just catch out of the corner of her eye before they saw her looking back and quickly looking away. Then, she could chalk it up as just that. It would still hurt; it would still place the experience on the miserable side, but she would have been able to manage better than the outright social hostility she was currently facing. She was pretty sure one person was even recording her on their watch, or at least taking a picture. They didn’t stop when she looked over either.

Really, the only comforts she took were that firstly, she was here for a reason, and could go and have a good long stay in one of the arena’s many facilities as soon as that reason had been accomplished (or back home if she managed to be brave enough), secondly, that she wasn’t alone in this endeavor, even if she looked it, and thirdly, the occasional whisper emanating out from the crowd that reached her ears: “Who is that, anyway?” Despite her nominal importance, enough to be treated as she was, they didn’t recognize her. That, at least, brought back that sense of vagary she so desired. Maybe the people of Prana just had different cultural norms about this sort of thing.

It was one more thing to ask about, at any rate.

She found a receptionist and decided to ask them for help, ringing the small bell on the desk to get his attention off of his watch. Thankfully, the receptionist didn’t seem to know who she was either, even if that did make it a bit awkward when she said, “Um, actually I have an appointment with Mauvache,” and she had to watch him scramble.

“Didn’t you already… No, that was someone else. R-right, sorry!” He hastily checked something on a screen and said “Ah, um, yes. I see now. Sorry! You can just take that elevator there.” The receptionist pointed in a direction that was neither the right towards the ticket counter nor left towards the bathrooms (though it was, of course, nice to know where those were), and Melissa followed the point.

Really, she wasn’t sure how she missed the elevator in the first place. Even without its ornate design, it had a big sign right next to it saying exactly where it led, exactly who should be using it, and exactly what would happen to those who didn’t heed that second one. It was almost worrisome. “Is Mauvache going to kill me if I ask the wrong question?” she wondered.

If she’s not going to smite you down for hurling obscenities at her, it stands to reason she’ll likely just not answer any wrong questions, the angels responded, though if that was supposed to comfort her -- even discounting the sarcasm embedded in the answer, something they were picking up with disturbing regularity -- it still made her worry about which questions were the wrong ones in the first place.

Still, she’d made it this far. Even if she turned back now, the crowd was still there, right behind her. Her limbs were shaking a little, sure, but she didn’t hesitate as the elevator doors opened and she rode the thing all the way to Mauvache’s office.

I guess the first thing I have to say is an apology,” Melissa said as she entered. Skipping the pleasantries was probably a faux pas of its own, but this was important. “The last time I was here, I lost my temper. It’s something that won’t happen again, certainly not this time.

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