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Eto

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  1. [ hikaru ; gateway ]  -- human form! ] from the mountains to the sky ; we walk -- Everything happened so fast. One moment they had been in their apartment, him abruptly mourning the loss of his fries to the impact of Add's strict regulations, and the second they were suddenly flung through space and time, hurling towards a world neither of them had previously visited before. In the mixture of excitement and adrenaline created by this sudden change of location, Hikaru abruptly forgets the convenient factor of having brought a certain ghoulish visitor with them to the X-Dreamer's home base, and promptly reinvents their mission with his own added flair. He takes a second to recover from having been both thrown on the ground and attacked a second prior -- as if any damage he sustained could injure him, truly -- and rolls out onto his back, missing most of the ensuring chaos with his attempts to self-regulate. Brief moment of calm done -- at least, as well as he could manage with his tails twitching in excitement, Add's taunts only moment earlier burning a fire in his stomach, the sounds of battle and panic echoing across the plains -- Hikaru's eyes snap open and he jumps up with newfound energy. "I love it!" he declares, too loudly, and grins happily to himself. The ensuring scene is nearly identical to when they would raid human villages and eat the ensuring villagers, only now with an added bonus -- he was not at fault for the human distress caused in the atmosphere! It was like a dream come true: to enjoy the human panic without having to pay for the consequences. He would have to thank the scary, blond-haired stranger sometime. This was great! He wished the younger boy at the beginning hadn't run off so quickly. Why would he leave such an exciting scene? And now there were strange, metal-like constructs joining them as well -- yokai of this world, perhaps? "Yokaiiii!" he cheers when two members of the X-Dreamers -- he's assuming -- abruptly turn into something else, one in the shape of a giant wolf and another with tails fawning out behind him. But this is strange -- they do not behave the way that he is used to, and the tailed man does not eat his female companion next to him. Why not? She would be an excellent power boost. Maybe he was full? But how could you be full from eating? Hikaru's brain takes a second to process this possibility, but he quickly denies it -- there's no way someone would want to not do something as wonderful as eating, constantly. That was the reason Add got so mad when he munched on snacks at 3AM, after all. Speaking of the mechanic, Hikaru's tails abruptly drop and his energy disappears for a second when Starfall gives a distressed beep, crushed in the invading ghoul's kagune. The drone stirs for a second, attempting escape, before giving in to the tight hold and fading entirely, the purple lines powering its white body shutting down instantly. Why would he attack the drones? They weren't good to eat, or anything. Maybe it had been a mistake? That's okay -- he'll get the correct one next time! "Aim for the people!" he shouts instead, gesturing wildly to the X-Dreamers. The ghoul only had one eye -- maybe he had confused Starfall for a tiny human! Hikaru hasn't seen many human babies in his time, mostly because they were so easily digestible, but he would assume the drone looked like one from far away. Or if you happened to be half blind. "They're edible! And tasty!" Too caught up in the excitement of the moment, Hikaru resigns himself to cheering on the sidelines, although it is not quite clear which side he roots for. [ vaccaria ; gateway ]  -- no spells in use. ] a tiny flame, planted carefully wilts elegantly to the frost a tiny herb, grown peacefully welcomes the coming dawn. -- Something had appeared at the Gateway, and for a second Vaccaria rolls his eyes and crosses his arms, pulling the brim of his hat over his eyes to hide his annoyance. More visitors? What did this organization happen to do -- accept every stray and every orphan that came knocking at their door? It was a terrible way to run a Guild -- one would accept all of the stragglers that held no particular talents, without any vetting process. However, the chaos that breaks out abruptly lifts him from his thoughts, and Vaccaria has barely enough time to collect himself before the Gateway breaks out in utter chaos. The newcomer -- three of them, actually -- attacks instantly, and in the mess it is hard to tell who is on which side. Are there sides? He is not even sure where he belongs. He has not consented to joining this group yet -- yet? -- and already the limitations of his patience is being tested. If this was some test they gave to newcomers ... Actually, that would be remarkably clever, Vaccaria muses. Should this happen to be a setup, it would be an instant win for this organization, the X-Dreamers -- what a silly name -- to win his respect. A perfect vetting process, despite his earlier criticisms. Perhaps he is a competitive man -- after all, in his trade, one almost has to be -- but he has no intention of allow the other newcomers to upstage him. However, it seems he is rather slow on the uptake; everyone else has already sprung into action, from running away to transforming into ... something. He has to briefly remind himself that these are not, in fact, monsters, as he watches two robotic machines come rushing in from seemingly nowhere. Huh. Monsters or not, he will consider that later. It seems everyone is ganging up on the blond newcomer now, and that is hardly a fair fight. "Lootstealers," he says to himself, a casual observation. No tact, either -- they have hardly had time to even discuss before a raid. Would this have been Glory, he would have been sighing on a judge's panel right about now. But he is not home, Vaccaria reminds himself, and with that thought he mounts Stardust Extermination. The broom reacts instantly to his touch, and he shoots upwards into the sky, well above everyone else. A well-calculated vantage point -- from here, he can see the battlefield. No HP or MP bars, unfortunately. "Magic Missile," he says, pointing downwards. A ray of bright something forms at the movement of his fingers and he directs the magic downwards, intending to test the newcomer's resistance. So far he has proven to be completely unaffected by physical attacks -- if the type of gun that Lara used had been the same as the ones in Glory -- but perhaps a magical hit will do some kind of damage. Curiously, Vaccaria stalls himself in place, prepared to fly quickly away if needed, and waits for the results of his actions.
  2. [ add / hikaru status: working / hungry location: tokyo, japan ] Add was going to punch God. Actually, no, that would be too simple. Add was going to punch every incarnation of gods and goddesses within the multiverse. Gods were supposed to guide the creations for the betterment of the world by giving them the means to pursue greater goals or whatever, right? They were supposed to be helpful and not send their subjects to some backwater world populated half by normal humans and half by cannibalistic humans with weird glowing appendages. Well, Add would have liked to call them cannibalistic since according to every news article he read they were only capable of eating the normal humans, but that was obviously a lie. Of course it was a lie, it had to be! If they only ate people then surely Add wouldn’t have to be fixing his teleporter drone for the sixth time that month because some stupid, worthless ghoul decided to take a bite out of it like the animal it was. Slamming his wrench onto the bed, Add sighed in frustration. He had locked himself in the bedroom for the past three hours trying to fix the damaged drone in his lap to no avail. Drone repair was something he was used to considering how often he took them out for battle or exploration into the unknown. He normally didn’t mind repairing his drones; it gave him something to do, something to keep his hands busy while his mind drifted elsewhere. He wouldn’t be nearly as frustrated if the damaged drone in question wasn’t the sole key to hopping between multiverses. The longer it was broken the more desperate Add grew to leave the cannibal infested world and get back to his mission. Exhaling loudly from his nose, Add fell backwards onto the bed. He dragged his hand down his face, moaning in exhaustion before pulling out the flip phone in his pocket. Add wasn’t sure why Hikaru wanted phones that “looked cool when you opened and closed it” when they had perfectly good communicators, but he stopped trying to argue when Hikaru threw himself on the floor and began wailing for forty minutes straight. Add pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, wiping down the screen and keyboard of the phone. He opened up his texts with Hikaru and began typing a new message. > Are you coming back yet? I need your help with the drone. Several blocks away from the apartment Add was staying at, HIkaru was happily waiting at the counter inside of a fast food restaurant. The city was still asleep; most businesses were still closed save for those who kept themselves open into the wee hours in the morning. Hikaru, the sole customer in the restaurant, hummed to himself as the cashier approached him with a brown bag in their hand. “Thank you!” Hikaru chirped to the McDonalds worker, who handed him the bag of takeout with a wary, confused smile at the strange tongue. Whoops! He’d forgotten that those who lived in this strange, new place -- ‘Tokyo’, it was called -- spoke an unfamiliar language. Not that any language barrier had bothered him before in the past -- he found that a smile and a wave went a long way, no matter where he was. Clutching the bag tightly to his chest, Hikaru rushed from the store and out onto the streets of the bustling city. ‘Tokyo’, despite the warnings of danger everywhere he looked -- news sites reporting on recent activity, warning posters put up to remind people to avoid certain alleyways and dark nights -- was still busier and livier than the areas he was used to, and the atmosphere gave the young fox time to pause and smile happily to himself. He loved this -- when the place was busy and he was able to blend in as an oddity, ears tucked beneath a large beanie and tails carefully and masterfully stuffed into the oversized backpack on his bag. It had been a struggle at first to hide his more animalistic features, but eventually Add figured out an efficient way of doing so. Add -- ! Remembering the mechanic brought a smile to the fox yokai’s face, and Hikaru beamed to himself -- scaring quite a few passersbys as he did so -- and quickened his pace. He needed to get back to their shared apartment before the fries grew cold! Suddenly, Hikaru felt something vibrate in his pocket. Momentarily confused, the yokai shifted his shopping to one arm and dug around in his pockets, puzzled, before his fingers touched on a familiari item and Hikaru pulled out the little flip phone he had worked so hard to obtain. Humming to himself, Hikaru analysed the item for a quick second. The phone was so fun to use -- he could flip it up and down and up and down, but quite troublesome to carry around; the rounded shape of the phone with the delicate screen meant that he would most likely snap the thing in two if he tried to hold it while in fox form, but certain sacrifices had to be made, right? He had nothing against not transforming for a bit in order to be able to use his new toy. Opening Add’s message, he scanned it quickly before typing back a one-handed response. > Onw my way !!!!!!!!!! : DD !!!! ((( : Now he needed to hurry -- if Add required his aid with something, he couldn’t miss a single minute! Even if he didn’t quite understand the complexities of the drones the mechanic was so familiar with, he loved being around Add when he worked and watching the other man’s face change ever so slightly in accordance with what he was trying to figure out. Quickening his pace, Hikaru shoved his way through the crowd, trying not to wag his tails as he did so. -- Unbeknownst to Hikaru, he was being watched. From an alleyway, a young man watched Hikaru skip down the road gleefully. He’d seen the boy -- from far away at first, and then more often as he’d gotten closer and closer, every step taking the bouncing beanie closer to his grasp. Then, he paused suddenly -- digging around in his pockets, and he’d watched curiously as the white-haired boy pulled a flip phone -- truly, a relic from older times -- from his pockets and scanned the contents. A poorer citizen, then? That would make it easier. To -- He wet his lips, feeling chapped skin and iron under the taste of his tongue. The boy headed in the opposite direction, and he followed -- slowly, at first, and then quicker and quicker, getting closer as the white-haired one didn’t seem to notice any of his surroundings, much less someone following him. Yes -- this would be an easy meal. -- Back in their shared apartment, Add squinted at Hikaru’s reply. He wasn’t sure if he was having trouble reading the text because of how harsh the blinding, white light of the phone was in the dark room or it was because of the excessive use of exclamation points and the ridiculous “smiling faces” HIkaru insisted on using. Add stared at the message for a moment longer, all the while contemplating adding another hour in his and Hik’s daily reading session, before sighing in defeat. “Cataclysm,” Add said as he leaned his head upside and off the side of the bed. On top of the dresser a small cube suddenly lit up with purple light. The ears on top of the cube twitched curiously as two white eyes on the front of the cube sleepily blinked open. The cube floated up into the air, its new tiny mouth appearing just in time for it to yawn. “Good afternoon, Creator!” Cataclysm chirped happily. It flew towards Add, ears perked up in interest. “Is there something I can do for you today?” Add rolled over onto his side before presenting Hikaru’s text to the cube. “Could you translate this?” Add asked. Cataclysm floated closer to the phone. Cataclysm hummed thoughtfully, whiskers twitching. “Oh I know what that says!” Cataclysm said proudly. “It says: O. N. W—” “This was a mistake,” Add said. He sighed before lifting himself up by his elbow, tossing his phone onto the comforter. Even as he stood up from the bed and headed towards the shower, Cataclysm continued to translate. “Exclamation point. Exclamation point. Colon. Deeeee.” “Cataclysm!” Add yelled from the bathroom. He stuck his head through the door to find the cube floating just a mere inches away from his face. “You,” Add said, pointing his finger at the cube’s face. “Should go watch the door and tell me when Hikaru arrives.” The cube bobbed itself forward vigorously in an attempt to nod like a human would. “‘Kay!” the cube said happily before floating off towards the entrance of the apartment. Add watched Cataclysm wander off until it turned the corner. He closed his eyes, rubbing his temples in frustration. Whatever, Add thought as he returned to the bathroom, shrugging his jacket off. He would reprogram Cataclysm later if needed. On the outside, their shared apartment looked perfectly ordinary. Having lived with Add for what seemed like forever now, Hikaru was familiar with the white-haired man’s likes and dislikes, and exactly how he wanted to keep a home. Though Hikaru himself didn’t really have any preferences for specific table settings and how to make the bed in the morning, he enjoyed those moments where it seemed the small things brought Add joy. With this in mind, Hikaru shifted the bag from his arms to rest slightly on his hip, freeing up his hand to dig around in the large jacket for his keys. He pulled them out, the metal intertwined with bits of lint and candy wrappers, and shook the mess off before shoving the key into the keyhole, sheer luck ensuring that he unlocked the door after only one attempt. It was still strange to the young fox yokai that human living required certain intricacies, when before he would have simply knocked down the door and left it to be fixed later. Before he debate internally with himself any more on the strange manners of human living, Hikaru’s attention was drawn by a small cube to his left, one that fluttered around him for a split second before calling back. “He’s here!” So Add had awakened Cataclysm, and still required his aid? This was curious, and Hikaru tilted his head before he removed the beanie on his head with a hand, shrugging off the backpack. Flickering his ears to rid them of the stiffness obtained from lying still for all of his trip, Hikaru was just about to set down his bag and undo his outer jacket when Add’s voice sounded from the hallway before him. “Took you long enough!” Add huffed. He had hastily put on a pair of clean clothes before heading out of the shower to great his companion. Add folded his arms across his chest as he entered the living room. “Add!” Hikaru called immediately, perking up at the sight of the mechanic, dressed immaculately and with his arms folded across his chest. Although Add’s figure was slim, he still radiated control over the ensuring room, and the young demon broke out in a wide smile at the sight of Add’s sudden imposing form. How endearing! He loved it when Add was serious. “I got McDonalds,” he chirped, completely ignoring the other man’s words as he bound up to him, opening the bag as he did so. “The lady was super nice when taking my order; all I had to do was point! And they gave me one extra ketchup too! Look!” He pulled the packet from the bag, waving it around to accentuate his story. Add opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly frowned when he saw a familiar brown bag in Hikaru’s hands. “What did I tell you about bringing that garbage into the house?” Add asked, staring pointedly at the offending bag. “Last time you brought it home you got grease all over Starfall.” Add could remember the last time Hikaru offered him fries from a similar brown bag. When he pinched the fry between his fingers a disgusting grease had oozed out onto his glove, staining any fabric it touched. Add’s fingers twitched irritably at the memory. “I hope you aren’t planning on bringing that food into the bedroom,” Add said disapprovingly. Hikaru cocked his head, seemingly confused by Add’s hostility. He shook his head, emptying his mind of his worries as he smiled brightly. Knowing Add doesn’t like mess -- and remembering the last time he’d tried to enjoy his fries by wandering around the house and touching everything that drew his fancy, Hikaru leaned up to give Add a quick peck on the cheek, his tails twitching with affection, before drawing back. Add turned his head away when Hikaru kissed his cheek only because he didn’t want to get grease his lips and not for any reason. “I’m gonna eat these on the balcony!” Hikaru declared, proud. “I want to watch the cars! Maybe I can hit one if I throw these down.” Add subconsciously rubbed his cheek, mumbling to himself under his breath before suddenly remembering where Hikaru was going. “Oh, no you don’t!” Add yelled as he rushed after Hikaru. The yokai had already opened the balcony doors when Add grabbed his wrist. “We are this close to getting out of here for good,” Add hissing, raising his hand and then pressing two of his fingers close together. “We’ve already wasted enough time in this dimension as it is. Besides,” Add snatched the bag from Hikaru, shivering as he spotted the grease stains pooling at the bottom. “You’ve eaten nothing but these fries for the past 3 days. I know you’re new to human cuisine, but that’s no excuse to eat nothing but fried potatoes and nothing else.” Add, realizing he was still holding Hikaru’s wrist, let go of Hikaru before clearing his throat. “I need your help with repairing the device, but once that’s over I’ll order something better for you or cook something you like, alright?” Hikaru blinked back in confusion as Add spoke quickly. But -- his fries! It’ll only take a second … Hikaru mewled in protest, a sound at the back of his throat when Add grabbed the bag from his hold easily and inspected the stained brown paper bag with a slight shiver. “But they’re tasty,” Hikaru whined back as a response, and he had half a mind to grab the bag from Add’s hold and swallow it whole, but was stopped when Add lets go of his wrist and seemingly readjusts himself. The promise of food -- other food, new things to try -- and Add potentially cooking is too good to pass up, and Hikaru quickly forgot the McDonalds he had been so desperately striving for only a second before. “Okay!” he chirped eagerly, ears perking up as he waits for further instructions. He can do this -- be good, obey Add for now, and he will get food as a reward! Add lead Hikaru into the living room and towards their shared bedroom. Once inside, Add flopped down on the bed and gestrued for Hikaru to get closer. “Do you see these two panels?” Add asked as he gestured towards the middle of the drone in front of him. “I need you to hold them open so I can work inside of it. It shouldn’t take too long; I know what I need to do, but I can’t hold the panels open and work at the same time.” Hikaru nodded in response to Add’s words -- that seemed easy enough! Admittedly, he was not quite the best person to work with his hands, much more used to brute-forcing his way through most things, but he did not want to disappoint Add as of right now. Not when there was delicious food on the line. He took the two panels into his hands, adjusting his grip. They are pried easily open, Add’s drones consistently well-oiled and checked for regular maintenance, and peered at the mechanic curiously. “Oh! While I was walking today I saw a curious man. He had hair, except not on his head! The middle of his head was bald, and his hair was all around it! But no one else seemed to think it was weird, so I tried to pretend, but I really wanted to touch his head …” Add hummed noncommittally as he reached for his needle nose pliers. He already learned early on that Hikaru didn’t expect Add to engage with him while he went on his rambles which was more than fine by Add. It was nice to hear Hikaru gush about his experiences out in the world however mundane they might be. Add nodded along to Hikaru’s raving as he twisted a red wire inside of the drone. From the kitchen Add heard a distinct wet squelching sound. He visibly cringed, a disgusted noise emitting from the back of his throat. Did the bag fall off the counter? Even if Add didn’t plan on staying at the apartment for much longer, he knew he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to leave until he scrubbed the grease off the floor. “Ultimate Fury,” Add said as he twisted a wire. From the other side of the room, the aforementioned drone came to life. Its front screen blinked on as it floated up into the air. It turned towards Add expectantly. “Get rid of the brown bag in the kitchen,” Add said, vaguely pointed towards the door the bedroom. Ultimate Fury made an upbeat, robotic chime in response before floating out the door. Satisfied with his handiwork, Add removed his pliers from the drone and wiped a bead of sweat off his forehead. “That should do it!” Add said. He threw his pliers back into the tool box he acquired them from. Rubbing the back of his neck and sighing with exhaustion, Add glanced over at Hikaru. “I know I said I’d cook something for you, but if you wanted to go somewhere else to eat, maybe somewhere we’ve already been, we can do that too. Either way, as soon as you’ve eaten we should move on to that organization’s headquarters. I’d rather not waste more time than we’ve already have.” Hikaru barely noticed the noise from the kitchen, too wrapped up in explaining the exact details of his day to the other man. He wanted Add to be able to experience what he was not there for, considering it was so interesting to the yokai at the time. Determined to express exactly why the day’s events had brought him joy, Hikaru did not pause in his speech even as Ultimate Fury whirled to life and disappeared into the next room. Add’s drones were nothing if not efficient, and there was no need to worry about them messing up, ever. Instead, he turned his attention back to Add and returns to the present when the mechanic leaned back with a smile, his voice suddenly filled with triumph at the results of his handiwork. He perked up immediately at Add’s words, ears flickering as he considered his options quickly in his mind. He loved it when Add cooked, true, but -- the temptation of going out to eat is too strong. “McDo--” he began to say, but was abruptly interrupted by a sudden crash in the kitchen. What was that? -- From the balcony, a shadowy figure rose. He came in through the window, slowly, pacing his footsteps even as the hunger burned a warm pit deep in his stomach. He had to be patient -- that is one of the lessons they were taught, but day by day that passed he found himself remembering only the face of a man he had once trusted so much, and none of the lessons passed down. Perhaps this was not what he would have wanted, but he was not here, and instead there was only the scent of stale air and the desire for blood. He reached a room that he took a second to realise as the kitchen; the stovetops are only vaguely familiar as part of human living, something he barely remembered as a tool humans use to cook their meals. The lingering smell of previously cooked food made his stomach turn and he covered his mouth with a hand, brushing past the old eyepatch as he does so. He had to move away, closer to the two -- The shift of his heavy clothes knocked down the bag on the counter, and out spilt something disgusting -- yellow sticks coated in grease and oil, and a smell that wafted up to be entirely unpleasant to his nostrils. He paused for a second, to see if anyone had heard his movements, but when minutes passed and no movement occurred he relaxed once more. Before he can take a step forward, break from this room into the next, however, a small beep sounded and a white item fluttered into the room. He reacted almost immediately, drawing back in surprise. An attack? But no -- the item did not strike towards him immediately, almost seemed to not notice him for a second, and that pause is all he needed. Immediately, he attacked; a glistening, glowing blue kagune waved from underneath his cloak and curled tight around the white machine. The drone beeped furiously, the previously clear light on its interface now a flashing, urgent red, but he did not give it any time to pause or sound an alarm. He tightened his kagune, feeling the tentacle echo in his blood as it curled tighter and tighter around the drone. More appendages slowly emerged from the darkness under his large hoodie, brushing the fur against his chin as he drew himself to his full height and ripped the finely-decorated parts of the drone into pieces brutally, not hesitating in his actions. He wanted it to stop -- the beeping, the flashing lights, the sudden, jerking movements reminding him of a past he longed to forget, and then -- Silence. -- “Someone’s here,” Add said. He stood up from the bed, hands clenched into fists as he cursed under his breath. He should have known that the sudden noise was from an intruder, but how did they possibly get in? The front door was rigged with a security system; if anyone unauthorized tried to enter the room they would be blasted to smithereens. Add bit his thumb anxiously. He rushed to the door and slammed it shut, quickly latching the bolt lock just in case. Add’s drones were technologically superior to everything in the garbage pit of a planet he landed in so he doubted someone could break into the system without him noticing. If that was the case, how did someone manage to— The balcony. Hikaru didn’t close the door behind him. Not only that, someone must have been watching the apartment to see Hikaru leave the door open. Knowing exactly what inhabited the world, Add only knew one kind of person that would try to sneak into someone’s apartment when its occupants were clearly awake. “We’re going now,” Add hissed. Add didn’t doubt that he and Hikaru could chase the ghoul out of the apartment given time, but even the slightest chance of the teleporter getting broken again was too much. Add would rather let the monster take him then sit around in the creature’s disgusting world for another half year. Add’s sudden shift in mood was enough to warn Hikaru that something had changed -- the fox yokai’s ears straightened, the calm, casual air abruptly broken with the sudden sound from the kitchen echoing in the way Add’s eyes narrowed. The mechanic stood up sharply, thinking to himself, just as Hikaru gently let the sides of the machine close, freeing his hands. Add marched over to the bed his eyes burning with fury. With a flick of his wrist, the dynamos laying on top of the dresser came to life. They floated towards their creator as the other drones in the room all slowly came to life. Add reached for the teleporter. He pressed a button on its side. There was a soft hiss as the panels on top opened, revealing what appeared to be a rotating blade. The cracked screen on the side of the teleported blinked on. Glancing down at the screen, Add could see the last coordinates he had entered: the coordinates for the so called X-Dreamer’s home base. Someone began pounding at the door fiercely. The wooden door splintered on each impact, causing shards of wood to fly off the door and scatter upon the ground. Instinctually, Add grabbed Hikaru’s arm and pulled him closer least he get hurt or try to approach the intruder. The yokai let out a yelp, suddenly interrupted from bounding forward and engaging the mysterious attacker -- a ghoul, for certain -- Add turned back to the teleporter and, without hesitating pressed the ‘travel’ button. The blades inside of the device began to spin increasingly fast. A purple light began to emit from the device just as the pounding on the door grew louder. Add turned towards the door, fists clenched as the teleporter began to make an audible whirring noise. The door suddenly flew off its hinges. Add could see a glimpse red pupils surrounded by black sclera just as the room was bathed in violet light and— --- Stars hung overhead. The air was cool and crisp, the grass a verdant green, and there was a door launched straight at Add’s head. Add ducked down, the door sailing straight over his head. His dynamos flew down to catch him, creating a small platform to break his fall. He gulped in the air. His fingers shook as he tried to stand up. The dynamos shifted their position until he was standing up and they were completely under his feet. Add looked down at his hands, touching his fingers together as he opened and closed his fists. He seemed alright so far. He pressed his fingers urgently to his neck. He could feel a steady, if not somewhat quick, heartbeat pulse under his fingertips. The teleporting didn’t cause any heart problems—unlike that one time—but he’d need to check his vitals later. Taking in his surroundings, Add manage to spend a good 4 seconds looking for his companion before a bright, blue appendage suddenly blocked his view. He reared back, his dynamos keeping him in the air. He raised up his leg and kicked towards the appendage. The dynamos pointed towards the enemy, purple electricity bouncing off the surface as they shot a purple laser directly at the enemy. The attacker howled with pain as its appendage was signed. It jumped away just as Add floated backwards. Now with a distance between them, Add could properly assess the intruder. It was a young man, around his age perhaps, with matted blond hair and deathly pale skin. He had the signature black and red eyes that all ghouls had, although, it would be more proper to say signature eye considering that he had a large, black eyepatch over one eye. The man appeared to be poorly groomed. His hair looked greasy like he had dumped it straight into a frier. His attire, which was just a ratty hoodie, pants, and boots, were stained with unknown substances, and his hands were twitching irritably. Add shivered with disgust once he realized how much dirt and filth the stranger probably dragged into the apartment. The most obvious of the man’s features were the eight long appendages—kagune they were called—sprouting from his back. If Add recalled correctly, kagune were designed specifically to hunt humans which probably wasn’t good for the nearby group of humans the man was staring at. The man looked confused for the most part, glancing to and fro while he licked his lips nervously, but once he got sight of the nearby group of people, he perked up. He blinked at them, taking a step back as though he was uncertain what to do. Add followed his gaze. His eyes landed on a familiar white haired man near the group and he sighed with relief. “Hikaru!” Add called, startling the ghoul out of his stupor. “Get off the ground! The garbage man came with us!” Add eyed the group warily. Now that he thought about it, they should have arrived at X-Dreamer’s homebase, right? If Add was being honest with himself it didn’t look like much. He’d have expect a multiversal organization to have more resources than just a small planet, but now wasn’t the time to worry about that. Hikaru groaned in response, sitting up as he felt soft grass brush his fingertips. Momentary dazed from their rather unconventional teleportation into the new world, the yokai took longer than usual to gather himself before the events of only moments earlier snapped back to him and he instantly shot up, alert. A ghoul! A mixture of delight and fear combined in his stomach, excitement at the prospect of battle and the quick realisation that they had dragged an unknown creature into an unfamiliar land with them fusing together. Growling low in his throat, Hikaru watched the exchange still halfway on the ground. “You should really knock before you enter someone’s home,” Add said to the ghoul who quickly turned to glare at him. “If you’re going to try and eat someone, you should at least be polite about it.” “I don’t need advice from food,” the man hissed. His voice was low and raspy as though he hadn’t spoken in a long while. “Nothing you say will matter when I have my hands around your throat.” “Very scary,” Add said, faking a yawn. “I’m positively petrified.” With a nod of his head, Starfall floated up to his side. “Listen, if you so much as think about touching me with those grimy hands of yours—” Starfall snapped open, sparks dancing off the crystal inside of it. “—I will personally punt you out of orbit and into the sun.” The ghoul bared his teeth. He glowered at Add before he took two steps forward “Oh? Are you approaching me?” Add sneered. “Well come on, you gremlin.” Electricity sparked in the palm of Add’s outstretched hand. “I’ll put you into the ground!” The ghoul let out an inhumane snarl. at the insult, his kakugan snapping awake with furious red veins. His kagune fiercely pounded onto the ground as he braced himself to attack, sparkling blue electricity up and down the ghoul’s form as the appendages howled into the air, splitting the fluffy white clouds and covering the sun’s rays. There was a brief pause, and then his kagune shot forward -- drumming against the ground and slicing through the grass, towards the small group of gathered humans. -- Food -- ! -- [ boss encounter ] [ dimitri alexandre blaiddyd classification: ghoul kagune type: rinkaku power level: ?? ]
  3. [ vaccaria ; -- add. 0 ; for. h. t. l. u. g. ]  -- no spells in use. ] a tiny flame, planted carefully wilts elegantly to the frost a tiny herb, grown peacefully welcomes the coming dawn. -- It is a lot of information to take in at one time, and the sheer amount gives Vaccaria pause. Admittedly, he does not have any valid reason for disbelieving the woman's explanation -- he was, after all, the one that had attacked without thinking -- but it still seems hard to believe. Lara. That is her name, yes, and he will do well to remember it. It is a strange one, a single word, nothing like the titles and glory he is used to, and he squints at her from behind the safety of the brim of his hat for a second. What truth lay in her words? It was impossible to tell, but regardless ... A multiverse, in which it was their mission to stop further destruction. Vaccaria sighs heavily. He has nothing to do with this, and it is not the kind of mission he used to -- he has one goal and only one: to protect the members of his guild that he holds dear. To suddenly be dragged into unfamiliar land by a higher hand, and given a humanitarian mission ... though it seems hard to believe as a prank, he is half inclined to feign ignorance and do so anyway. But that is not him, and not who he aspires to be. Briefly closing his eyes, Vaccaria takes time to think. Before he can think of a suitable response, however, his attention is drawn by the sound of water, and he opens his eyes just in time to see a wave of water crash down on Lara. Slightly concerned, Vaccaria moves his fingers along the edge of Stardust Exterminator, shifting his mount upwards to avoid his cloak from being splattered with water. Was the man not her ally? Utakata. That is his name, from his introduction, and he accompanies it with a quick tease in her general direction. Confused, the Witch looks between the two of them -- are they friends, or foe? "I am Vaccaria," he introduces. "The First Witch." A hand comes up to the brim of his hat, and he tips it slightly in the direction of the two as a hello. So, was everyone in the organization familiar with one another, then? He spares a quick glance backwards, wondering where the cat girl that had previously launched herself at him had gone. Was she an ally, too? And what of the two that had been here previous, spirited away by the young girl that had transformed? This guild really is strange, he thinks to himself, musing on this for a brief second. Ah, right -- "What is the EXP gain," he asks, "for saving the multiverse?" Blinking, Vaccaria waits for a response. There must be a reason why they do what they do, right?
  4. [ vaccaria ; -- add. 0 ; for. h. t. l. u. g. ]  -- 树倒猢狲散. ] a tiny flame, planted carefully wilts elegantly to the frost a tiny herb, grown peacefully welcomes the coming dawn. -- Surprisingly, the mobs move. In a completely unpredictable fashion, actually, and Vaccaria pauses just slightly to gaze down with a curious expression. The strange metal construct -- capable of speech, in a language he could understand? -- unfolds himself, blades glittering as they catch the sun's strong rays, and speaks up at him with a harsh tongue. That in itself is enough to give Vaccaria room to pause, even as his flames lick the edge of his cloak draping down. Shifting so he hovers slightly closer, the witch takes a second to consider his circumstances. "The Republic?" he repeats, addressing the creature, with a confused, wary glance. "I'm afraid I have no idea what you mean." This wasn't included in any storyline, was it? Before he can elaborate, or his opponent explain, their conversation is abruptly broken by a brown-haired woman dressed in interesting clothes. A launcher? Her manner of dress somewhat resembled Dancing Rain's, but it was still much too revealing to possibly add any stat benefits. He could see no armour on her either. A newbie? If this was Troubling Rain's attempt to get him to recruit more adventurers to his guild ... Vaccaria sighs, world-weary, before he realises he should be listening. Snapping back to attention, he watches carefully as the woman interacts with the man next to him -- dressed in loose clothing befitting that of a Warlock, but again, too exposed to possibly aid in battle -- before speaking up once more. A misunderstanding -- one not of his world? Instantly suspicious, Vaccaria pauses and does not respond, not saying a word as he tucks his chin into the folds of his clothes, uncertain. If this was not his world -- could he have possibly attacked wrongfully? But how could that be -- if not in his world, then where was he?! The afterlife? No -- he would have respawned by now. Unless Swoksaar blocked it, somehow? He doesn't know what he could have possibly done to the other Guild Master for him to block him permanently. Suddenly feeling an urge to hide himself completely -- he is not built for this, and he simply wants to return to headquarters and go back to analysing the EXP gain per dungeon per level -- Vaccaria glances up, intending to speak, when -- Danger! His eyes widen just as he sees someone rushing at him -- really now, he drew aggro from so far away? But no, perhaps there is no aggro -- and he manages to sidestep just in time, boosting the edge of his boom with a sudden gust of wind to blow himself off the course of the attacking girl, taking a sharp turn that causes the edges of his cloak to fly up as a hand raises to hold onto his hat. This is ridiculous. He is confused, slightly embarrassed, and would very much like to discuss certain issues. The woman who had spoken up initially seems to be the most in charge -- after the girl that had attacked him and the other one, who had grabbed two others and bounced off -- and he sets his sight on her. He lands gracefully, if not a little forcefully; slicing through the flames that part at his sudden entrance, Vaccaria pulls back his broom and takes a few steps onto the ground at first, testing it. Satisfied, he draws himself up and enchants one end of the broom with an ice elemental murmured quickly from his lips, touching the end of Stardust Extermination onto the ground. The flames, already loosened from the water earlier -- so the young man was a Warlock after all, or a Battle Mage? -- extinguish easily as small pillars of ice sprout from the layer of frost spreading around him. Satisfied with his handiwork, Vaccaria draws his broom back and stares at the two before him. Placing the item horizontally, Vaccaria sits on the floating item -- his ankles were already beginning to tire from the effort -- and draws his cloak up around him, crossing his legs. "Please explain," he says, watching them carefully.
  5. [ vaccaria ; -- add. 0 ; for. h. t. l. u. ]  -- 树倒猢狲散. ] a tiny flame, planted carefully wilts elegantly to the frost a tiny herb, grown peacefully welcomes the coming dawn. -- The battlefield is alive with the sounds of cheers. Vaccaria makes a sharp left on his broomstick, the wind rustling against his cloak, as the pillar he had been flying past only moments ago explodes in a shower of rocks and a tumble of roaring noise. The Witch grips the edge of his hat, analysing the situation with a calm eye, as he draws to a stop for a mere second to lock eyes with his opponent. Swoksaar's black flames lapped at the ground of the field, making it impossible to land safely anywhere; Vaccaria pitied the opponents of the Warlock that were mostly land-based in their abilities. The Warlock himself was seemingly unbothered by the status of their current battleground, remaining steadfast in one place as he raised a slender hand forward, the curved staff following the shift of fabric as the red eye of his staff glittered with forbidden magic. Not fast enough. He would have to displace Swoksaar if he had any hope of uprooting the other God-Tier User, and for that -- he needed to be fast. He draws himself forwards, pulling the cloak inwards as he rushes in the Warlock's direction, a fast hand enchanting his broomstick with magic as he does so. His growth of ice cuts through the Warlock's black flames, bright pillars rising from the dirt ground, and he sees the other man's eyes widen just slightly at his actions. Vaccaria blinks behind the brim of his hat, a brief moment of self-reflection as he realises -- this is the Magician, his true ability in battle, set free without the hindrance of a partner to adapt to. To challenge another Guild Master in battle ... it was the highest honour, and he intended to take it seriously. He had to -- knowing Lord Grim was out there. He can still remember the clang of metal when he had battled the Glory Champion, realised the other man was merely playing with him even though Vaccaria had given it his all. It wasn't insulting -- no, of course not -- but rather eye-opening. He is just about to leap off his broom -- to use the momentum of his flight to rush forwards and seize victory -- when there is a large burst of light, and he is momentarily blinded. A disruption?! In the arena? What could have happened? When the light dies down, Vaccaria blinks, stunned. Before him is not the heavily draped appearance of his opponent, but rather a bright field -- not unlike the beginner's farming areas the guild uses to train in. How could he possibly be here? He had assumed such areas beneath him -- he is not a vain man, but even he has his standards ... This could not possibly be a prank, could it? Someone altering the battlefield arena to taunt the two of them? If so, he is quite aware of who it could be. With that thought in mind, Vaccaria scowls under his breath and turns his attention to the gathered figures in the arena. His eyes wash over them; some people, potentially NPCs pulled from around the towns, and a couple monsters -- Vaccaria briefly rolls through his head the list of useful enemies, and, not being able to match any of the strange creatures before him to the names, decides they are ultimately not worth his time. He is a Champion, a Guild Master, an important figure -- and there is too much on the line. He does not appreciate this joke, in terrible taste. "I fold," he says, gathering himself; with a sweep of his hand he gathers his cloak to cover himself, raising Stardust Extermination up with the other. He tilts his head up to the sky, addressing no one in particular. "Troubling Rain, if this is your idea of a joke ... let me assure you, it is not very funny." He frowns, taking a sweep at the gathered crowd. They seem to be talking, interestingly enough -- how had Troubling Rain managed that? What connections did he have? Suddenly self-conscious -- why, they were just Quest Aides -- at the thought of other people, Vaccaria clears his throat and stands up even straighter, his posture tight. "Please undo the changes you made to the arena," he continues, speaking at the sky. "I don't want to break my way out of here, but I will. I have a dungeon to run at midday, Rain." Utter silence. How could anyone possibly find this funny? Vaccaria tugs on the brim of his hat, feeling the familiar material to calm himself, before he sighs heavily. With a swift movement of his broom, he raises his weapon up at the sky. "Star Ray," he murmurs, the spell lighting up the end of his weapon before shooting a star-like construct of light forwards into the air above him. Squinting, Vaccaria is briefly surprised when the spell does not seem to rebound -- it continues forwards, not hitting any hidden barriers from the arena, before exploding in a ball of bright light. An extended area? How could that be -- unless -- Was this a challenge? A new dungeon, unlocked through the arena? That was creative -- he'll give it that. Shame, too. The mobs looked so human. And one -- fell down? A glitch, perhaps? So ... a terribly designed dungeon with mobs that glitched, interrupting him in the middle of a battle in which both of their guilds had been watching very closely. "Rain," Vaccaria sighs, the name spoken softly between his lips. "I am going to set your bedsheets on fire." Then, the Witch takes a step forward, towards the group gathered together. His abilities are wide enough and this is easy enough; the area seems to be a beginner's land -- most likely the easiest thing to glitch into a new area -- and he hasn't drawn any aggro. Another step, and he sweeps open the folds of his cloak with one hand, the other hand reaching forward. He mounts Stardust Extermination easily, taking flight into the air, and then in a heartbeat he draws the red bottled flask from his belt and tosses it into the air. "Lava Flask," he says, instinctively calling out his spells regardless of if there were teammates around to hear or not, and the glass bottle cracks near immediately upon being thrown, exploding into a bright ball of crimson as he swerves to avoid the explosion scattering mounds of lava onto the ground below. Vaccaria waits, pulling to a stop as he watches the effects of his spell. Briefly, he wonders if the mobs would drop any good loot -- he would forgive Rain slightly for this silly little prank if the blond had hidden any rare drops within the NPCs' code drop files.
  6. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- "Luthadel," Theo repeats, the word foreign on his tongue. It was good to finally put a name to the place they had been in for quite some time; while he would never admit this outright to any of the fellow agents in his immediate vicinity, there is a certain sense of unrest in his chest now calmed by the information. Being unaware of any place reminds him of how he had been when he'd first woken up, after that battle -- completely unaware of how the world had changed and left him behind. He doesn't intend to feel nor think about that again, and so Theo crosses his arms and nods in response. "That blond guy," he says, remembering back to the debriefing meeting and what had happened before he'd seen fit to spear Duke alive, "he said we were returning, right? To help with his efforts. In that case, do you want to gather more information on this 'Lord Ruler'?" He means it mostly as a question to Arch, but he notes how fascinated his husband currently looks with the two humans caught in their discussion. Realising he would get nowhere with this -- and of course, Arch would sacrifice their mission details for a human's comfort anyday -- Theo simply sighs. "Or we can investigate your world," he says to Towa, turning to her. "If you want to know more, or how to get back." [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke splutters in response to the sudden jet of cold water that runs down his front, realising his plan to look cool has abruptly been shattered into a million pieces. As if it was ever there to start with, Vylcan comments, without any particular emotion, but Duke gets what the fairy is trying to say. Desperately trying to claw back the fragments of his dignity, Duke hangs his head as he loosens his grip on the facet, allowing it to hang sadly in his grasp. He realises soon after that Jowan is laughing, and -- well. While he would have liked Jowan's attention -- really, he'd taken off his shirt with absolutely no reaction? Why did he even do his morning exercises in the first place? -- more than this embarrassing outlier, Duke blinks and realises that he doesn't mind the sound of the other man's voice. If anything, it is pleasant to hear and a delight upon his ears, and -- he wants to hear the mage laugh more, always. So he grins, accepting his mistake. Nothing to do about it now than laugh, he thinks, and so he holds up the facet threateningly for just a second. "I'll wash yours too," he says, with a wink, before he retreats to show that it is a joke. Setting the facet back into the sink -- and being careful not to press any buttons -- he turns to Jowan and the two girls with a rueful smile. "Sorry," he says, shrugging haplessly. "Made a mistake." Then, he reaches up and pulls off his tank easily, folding the wet piece of clothing between his hands. Striding over to the chair he had previously been sitting in, Duke intends to slip on his jacket. It wasn't ideal, and he usually doesn't directly wear his jacket for fear of dirtying it, but he couldn't exactly walk around shirtless either -- could he?
  7. [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Did they not know there was a debriefing? Duke stares at the two girls, momentarily incredulous, and then sighs as he runs a hand through his hair. They really need better beginner's introduction courses. although he is not personally very fond of meetings, it would be bad for any newcomer to the X-Dreamers to miss a briefing meeting and therefore crucial information. "It's fine," he says, giving Chikako a quick smile to relieve her worries; it seems they had been momentarily arguing over this new information only a second earlier, and he wants them to understand that it's nothing major. "Usually debriefings are important to go to, but take it from me -- nothing really happens. Regardless, try not to miss anything in the future, alright? Just ask a senior agent if there's anything going on. Don't wanna miss anything super important to your meeting or something." Why was he playing the role of information terminal, now? He's quite possibly the worst person for this job, Duke jokes internally to himself, and laughs out loud at the thought. "Really, it's fine. Just be a little more attentive next time." He turns immediately at the sound of Jowan's voice, wondering if the other man has noticed ... anything, but to his disappointment Jowan skims over the room with an impassive face and turns to Evonna, asking for instructions. "Of course," he responds, rather loudly, and exaggeratedly pulls the facet from the sink; he peeks over his shoulder, wondering if Jowan is perhaps watching as he very slowly, with his bare arms, pulls the facet towards himself. "Can start by washing your hands," he says, holding the facet in his hands. He points the nozzle towards his palms, one hand on top, except he has forgotten that the sink facet happens to have a switch on the top to turn on the water once it's been stretched out. The only thing he succeeds in doing is giving Jowan an abrupt demonstration on how not to wash your hands, as he switches the water on suddenly and sprays his entire front with cold water.
  8. [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke nods in confirmation to Evonna's question. He's baked before ... kind of. He has watched enough people do it, anyways, from spending his free time in the kitchen to following other agents around in hopes of stealing some of their food for later. Plus, how hard could it be? You put ingredients into a bowl and waited for some time. He's done that before, countless times, on the road. Acknowledging the command -- it seems Evonna is careful in the kitchen, an act he respects but doesn't understand -- Duke quickly washes his hands in the sink, rolling his shoulders back as he does so with a wince. He had hit the ground rather hard earlier, and while there was no permanent damage done he still exhales with a ringing finality, working the stress from his muscles. Afterwards, he turns to the oven. Admittedly, he has never used this machine before. Meals in X-Dreamers were usually prepared en mass by the luma or whichever agent had a certain knack for cooking, and while he is not completely oblivious to the inner workings of their kitchen, his talents extend only so far as to making some drinks. "Sure," he says anyways, breaking in the silence of the room with a comfortable word, and pokes at the buttons on the oven. The machine instantly lights up, blinking at him, and Duke stares at the numbers displayed on the screen as he presses the arrow keys up and down. What was a Celsius? Probably some unknown kitchen slang, he reasons to himself, and continues to fiddle with the oven until the display number reads: 176. Satisfied, Duke leaves the oven alone and turns back, curiously staring at what the others were doing. "How was the marketplace?" he asks, completely curious as to how the situation had played out. "Shouldn't you two be at the mission debriefing meeting?" Still, he couldn't blame them for skipping it. His own report aside, he had completely tuned out of his own meeting, with the exception of Kelsier's sensational speech.
  9. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- New agents? Duke blinks at the two girls before him, surprised by the sudden explanation. The dark-haired one -- Chikako, he remembers -- is surprisingly eloquent with her words, explaining the situation and defusing what little tension had momentarily arisen very easily. Well, that was good. They needed more peacekeepers in the organization, anyways, and he is always willing to meet new people. "The marketplace has returned?" he asks, more as a way to gather his thoughts than anything -- if this was true, he suspected the other agents may be debriefing already. In that case, he could potentially ask Pascal about opening a way back to Kelsier's world very soon, and the thought only strengthens his resolve to do better this time -- to win a victory for everyone, now. Realising the room is silent, awaiting his response, Duke loosens his posture. "Well, looks like you've already met everyone higher ranked than me, if you're bringing up Stan and Xander," he says, with a shrug. "Feel free; the kitchen is communal anyways." As if to accentuate his words, he gestures by sweeping an arm grandly towards the counter, winking. "The room is your oyster, as they say. If you're baking for everyone, though, at least let me give you a hand." As he speaks, he takes off his jacket to avoid dirtying the sleeves; he drapes the finery over the back of the chair he had been sitting in only a moment before, unclasping his cape to fold it clumsily and stack it on top of his jacket. Left with only the white tank, he stares for a second. "Probably shouldn't have worn white," he analyses, amused, before offering a handshake to both girls. "Duke Lefevre. You can call me Commander, Duke, or a devil-worshipper; I've heard all three. That's Jowan," he adds, tilting his head over to the silent mage.
  10. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke blinks, smiling as he nods in agreement with Jowan's words. Whatever he can contribute to a fight -- he will do so gladly, and it is encouraging to hear that his abilities are useful. He falters, however, when the mage continues speaking and lets it slip that his explanation was ... less than stellar. He pauses, taking a drink of his cocoa before he can think to respond. It is not so much the criticism that offends him, only the implications. He -- would have assumed he was over it, by now. "Sorry," he says softly, giving the other man a half-smile. "I want to explain more, but it's ... there are some things I don't want to think about." An understatement, and Jowan deserves much more than what he is giving him -- the other man is so patient and understanding, but the blond shakes his head and clears his mind of memories. "Fairies," he says, lifting his mug in a toast. "If we ever go back to my place, I can show better than explain. I'm not exactly good with words." In response to Jowan's words, the blond nods eagerly. "Please," he says, almost as soon as the other man finishes his sentence. "I want to know." He leans forward, intending to place a hand on the other man's forearm -- his uninjured one -- but springs apart just as there is movement in the corner of his eye, and he turns to find two unfamiliar girls standing nearby. Before he can say anything, the brunette -- with curly hair, and an imposing air -- gives a quick greeting before shouldering her way into the kitchen. Duke stares at Jowan, bewildered, before the blond remembers that, technically speaking, he is the one in authority here. Watching as the girl sets down ingredients on the table and looks around for ... something, he sighs before emptying his mug and standing up. He makes his way to the sink, looping around Jowan's back as he does so, and he pats the other man on the shoulder, leaning down. "Raincheck," he murmurs, before straightening. Placing his empty mug into the sink, he turns around to face the brunette girl. "You know," he says, crossing his arms, though his voice remains friendly. "Usually people ask before barging in. What are you looking for? Or actually, who are you?" Did the gateway have an accident again? Empress, he does not want to have to be the one to deal with that. Hopefully there weren't a bunch of new people roaming the base without supervision now. He sees the black-haired girl wave from her place a little further, and -- well, at least she's not moving around as if she owns the area. He gives her a nod back, sliding his attention to the other girl.
  11. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke looks over his shoulder, nodding clarification when Jowan indeed picks up the correct shaker, full of cinnamon. How had he missed that? At the question, he blinks. "Go for it," he says. "You don't have to ask me for permission, everything here's communal. You could eat the entire thing if you wanted to," he adds, shrugging. He turns his attention back to the mugs when the kettle flips up, slow steam rising into the air as the water has finished boiling. Pouring the water into the two drinks, he collects the mugs and easily slides one of them over to Jowan, relaxed. Before he can think to say something, or even consider an alternate topic of conversation, the mage has beaten him to the punch. He opens his mouth to say something in response, but stops; there is a certain method by which Jowan recalls the battle, as if he had been analysing things all along. And he had noticed the slightest change in the ability of his barriers -- something Duke is sure he would have missed, had their situations been switched. It is endearing, to say the very least, and the blond smiles and takes a sip first. "You're not misremembering," he clarifies, before laughing. "But you are very attentive. My barriers work differently here compared to my world, to an ally and to an enemy. Your bolt passed through since I was able to allow it to do so; we were directly fighting alongside one another. But with Kelsier, your bolt came as a surprise and would've been counted as an attack, so I didn't have time to register it to let it through. I guess in battle you should always tell me before you want to do something." However, something Jowan had said earlier has Duke lean forward, confused. "I thought we had the magic discussion already," the blond says, puzzled. "Didn't I explain everything with Kelsier? What more is there?" Vylcan sighs in response as soon as the question leaves his lips, and Duke tilts his head, wondering.
  12. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke's gaze flutters from Jowan's as the other man talks, the blond comprehending his words. "You adapt as you can," he says. "It's not a weakness to dream of better times. Of safety and peace. I'm sure that's something all men have wished for before." Duke hums, drumming his fingers along the table. "Better a blind man than a paranoid man, some would think," he muses. "If you hold yourself back from aiding others because you're too afraid to hurt them instead, you'll only hurt yourself in the process." He stands, collecting their mugs; he sweeps both and brings them over to the counter, setting them down. "I've found some people work better under command, and others are better giving such commands. There's no shame to either. It depends on you to find those who you feel you can trust and work alongside with, and those who you believe will have your back. When that happens -- your mistakes are that of our own, and your healing as well." The blond looks over his shoulder, quirking his lips into a smile. "A man by himself cannot succeed in much -- if anything. He will work himself to death, or be labelled a criminal. But many men, gathered together -- that is when you have a mission, and a message. I've had the honour of leading many armies into battle, and I have never regretted one." He pauses then. Never? Perhaps -- but Elias is not here, and the past is behind him. He talks -- of subjective justice and allied positions, but he cannot keep the image of Elias' dark magic uncurling across the battlefield, suffocating men into the ground below, sweeping a dark wave of plague across the land from his mind. Justice may be blind, but surely even she would smell the stench of death rising from the fields. "We all fight for some cause." To prevent Elias' madness from reaching this planet. "And none of us have walked through life free of mistakes. It is simply a question of how you adapt." And how you take your vengeance -- whether it be through cruelty or forgiveness. In response to Jowan's words, he simply smiles. "Don't thank me. Just sharing a couple things I've found on the field. All things considered, I'm still quite the amateur compared to some of the people here." He opens the cupboard, drawing the can of hot chocolate out once more. "I'm sure some of them think my role on the battlefield is just theatrical, but I've learnt not to question the underdogs." He winks at the mage, bringing the mood back. "Another cup? I'm going to make myself a proper one, this time. Do you see the cinnamon anywhere, actually?"
  13. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke sulks when Jowan teases him; he wraps his fingers around the glass of water in his hands and fills it up once more, taking a sip. He can still taste it, and is just about to complain about the bitterness when -- Jowan's next words bring him back to the present, and Duke blinks at the other man for a second, eyes wide. Then, he sets the glass down and sighs: a noise that expels the air from his lungs and collects his thoughts. "When I was young," he says slowly, "I watched my parents burn alive in the war." A pause. "I thought it was unfair. There were things I couldn't understand: why them? What had they done? And then I was adopted by a man -- my brother, Ace." He holds out a hand; between his fingers, thin flickers of blue dance along his palm. "I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest. Vylcan chose me, and I carry his abilities within me, but his counterpart rejected me. Without her -- without Victoria, I have no claim to any throne. A murder I commit is a crime; a murder someone with both commits is for justice." He breaks the barrier in his hand, resting his palms on the counter as he leans back, relaxed. "Vylcan and fairies the fairies of my world are kingsmakers, shapers of the world, ambassadors of the Empress herself. But a shield is nothing with a sword, and a sword is nothing without a shield. You cannot only protect people. You must strike, too, to prevent them from being hurt. My parents hid themselves from the war, and they died. Ace killed a prince, and he won." "Did the prince deserve it?" Duke tilts his head. "Probably not. He was young, and issuing commands to win the war. I am a commander now, and I too give commands. The war continued, and I was the right hand of my liege. I lead good soldiers to their deaths, and killed my enemies. And then I turned my back on my liege, and went my own way." Duke smiles. "If you're looking for good people, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. X-Dre is full of murderers, tyrants, rebels. We have absolute kings and radical terrorists. The only thing that unites everyone here is an internal urge to protect what you think of as right -- and I haven't doubted a single person in this organization thus far." He drums his fingers along the counter. "I've come to realise that you eventually have to make your own judgement about people. Justice is subjective. Victory is for those who claim it. A prince will save his failing kingdom, even when it is riddled with slavery and dark magic, because it is the security he desires. A revolutionary will throw royal children from the rooftops, burn lineages to the ground, so that oppression may never rise again. But you," Duke gestures, with the glass still in his fingers, to Jowan. "Have obvious doubts about your own actions. Keep that." He sets the glass in the sink, done with his drink. "The only danger in committing a crime is when you are blinded to your own actions. A man who beheads a king and feels nothing but pride is a dangerous one. Feel regret, and pity, but never falter in your actions moving forward." He sits down, folding his hands and smiling. "So no, I don't have a problem with any of your actions. The pleasure of your company isn't unfair to me; I've spent my entire life -- and time in this organization -- around murderers and turncoats. It's just a matter of how you present yourself."
  14. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- Theo hears the protest of the princess as he raises his arm up; he pauses just slightly, seconds away from slamming a metal gauntlet down onto the mysterious object. Technically speaking, he was a knight no longer -- he had no inhibitions to follow commands. So why -- did he pause? It seems that question is answered for him a second later, when he feels a familiar hand slot into place of his own, Arch guiding his arm down as the angel speaks in soft, hushed tones. The angel's light blue eyes are bright in the faint light filtering in from the library windows, and Theo holds his gaze for a second. Witnessing the other man's reaction to Towa's words, Theo lowers his arm. Then, he shrugs and sidesteps to allow Towa to step forward. "Worth a shot," he says, as he concedes to the princess and allows her to go onwards. Perhaps his method was not the best in regards to how to operate the machine, but it had been the first thing to come to mind -- but they are not alone anymore, and there were people from other worlds with different sources of knowledge. Perhaps it was better to leave the dealings of foreign objects to them, considering the princess seemed to have recognised the strange machine. Despite his internal monologue, Theo finds himself staring at Sorey warily as the brown-haired boy steps up in response to Arch's words. He had called out as well, when Theo had lifted his hand -- why did it seem they were so opposed to his actions? -- and now, he was speaking. To the air, apparently. Theo tenses instinctively, but the other members of his group seem to be perfectly fine -- too preoccupied with the interaction, it seemed. Before he can take any objection to the brown-haired boy's strange actions, Sorey turns back to them with a smile on his features, and an explanation. The handheld thing? Theo blinks past Sorey to stare at the strange, round device. It seemed it would perfectly fit a palm, but how would he know that? Unless he had analysed the object seriously in a matter of seconds, and made a conclusion -- but there was no way this Sorey's brains were on par with that of Annette, to figure out technomagi so quickly. "What does the box do, though?" he asks, staring at the screen. Information Terminal? What kind of information could it give, with only a flat screen? [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Jowan speaks quickly. Too quickly, in fact, and the mage's words come out in a spill of information that Duke nearly misses. His thoughts are clouded, tripping around one another, as he processes the information the other man had just relayed to him. He blinks, staring at the other man's quickly reddening face, and feels the tips of his ears grow hot. "Oh," he says, in response. "I -- cool. Thank you. You ... you too have eyes." Pull it together, Lefevre, he thinks. This revelation ... it had completely screwed over the soft letdown he was preparing himself for. Completely sidestepped his plans. Wait -- was Jowan implying what he thought? "No, wait," Duke says, a little too forcefully, determined to get his words out before the other man could speak. He needs to be smooth, suave -- spill out all his thoughts so there are no more misunderstandings. "You really think I'm pretty?" he asks instead, but before Jowan can either confirm or deny the statement, Duke's thoughts catch up to him -- as if all at once, and it is breathtaking. "Oh Empress, me too." He doesn't think to clarify that he is talking about Jowan, not himself. Duke, Vylcan says. What are you doing? He didn't reject me, Duke thinks back, his voice filled with shock. The first time ... had worked? But it never works -- at least, not in his experience. In response to Jowan's latter words, Duke straightens in the chair, leaning slightly forward as a more serious expression overtakes his features. "No," he says finally. "I ... despite everything, I trust Kelsier. I think he's just trying to do the best for his people, in the way that he knows -- and well, if someone acts with good intentions and the outcome is bad, I don't really think you can fault him, everything considered." A pause. "Right and wrong is hard to distinguish sometimes. My world -- and the many worlds out there -- are filled with injustices, some more than others. I won't ever fault anyone for doing what he has to do to survive. That saved my life when I was younger." His eyes drift upwards, thinking. "But I don't think you were wrong to react that way, either. We're on safe territory; he should have warned you before doing anything, especially considering you're a part of the X-Dreamers now, and he's just a guest. Never heard of a guest purposefully attacking the hosts, and I'm sure Twilight wouldn't be too happy to receive that report, either." His perfectly planned, oft-rehearsed speech for a content rejection deleted ("thank you, let's just be friends then, you have a glorious figure worth that of a God -- did that still not work?"), Duke throws caution to the wind. "Well." He leans back in his chair, hands drumming the side of his mug, his heart beating too fast to take a proper sip, "I have those emotions, too -- as in, I like you. A lot. So this," he says, motioning with a finger between the two of them. "We can work on." He gives the other man a smile, and then raises the mug to his lips and finally takes a sip of the hot chocolate. His drink is significantly cooled down by now, but still radiating some heat and smelling of rich chocolate, and Duke takes a large sip. Seconds later, he spits it entirely back into his mug and breaks into a cough, straightening up as he tries to calm himself from the sudden shock. He immediately stands up, near-running to the sink, and fills up a glass with water and throws it back. "Wrong condiment," he finally says, wiping the side of his mouth. "Erugh, I can still taste it."
  15. i cant format properly i’m on mobile yes hello this is duke — Duke smiles encouragingly as Jowan repeats the word, his pronunciation slightly more formal this time around. Was the other man really unaware of such a thing, to the extent that even the word would be so mysterious to him? He wonders what other things the other man does not know, perhaps — and if he could have the honour of showing them to him. Jowan’s reaction to the drink is wonderful to see — his eyes widen as he first tastes the beverage, and he gazes at it with an almost childlike wonder, as if he can’t quite believe what he’s drinking. In response, Duke smiles softly, following the rim of his cup with his fingertips. “Slow down,” he says, but without any real ill intent. “I’ll make some more if you want, gotta get through that tin somehow.” He sets aside the shaker, gazing at Jowan curiously. “Really,” he says, more a placeholder than anything. “I’m not one for too many sweets, but there’s a lot around the castle; I think we can probably nab a couple chocolate bars from somewhere. I have some candies too, we can ...” He breaks off just as he realises he was about to invite Jowan back to his room. A lifetime ago, that would have been easy; he would have suggested it with a wink perhaps, but Jowan’s frozen expression only minutes before is still burned into his mind. Swallowing, Duke smiles. “I’ll bring them out sometime. You can try them.” Then, he raises his mug, about to take a sip of his own drink, but before he can Jowan speaks. Duke pauses, setting down his drink — the sweet cinnamon would have to wait another time — and clasps his hands together, sighing. “You didn’t make me uncomfortable,” he explains. “I like ... talking to you. Touching you. I like” — here, he gestures with a loose hand, to all of Jowan. “You.” “But I saw what happened,” he says further, before the other man could interject. “How horrified you looked at Kelsier. You’re my friend first and foremost, and I would never wish anything that makes you uncomfortable happen.” Then, he cups his hands around the mug, and smiles softly. “I was really happy when you complimented me,” he confesses, “before that happened. Guess I hoped it was true.”
  16. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Hearing Jowan's laugh is reassuring, even if it breaks the silence in the otherwise quiet room and is a little too loud. Privately, Duke thanks whatever spirits lie above that most of the agents are still elsewhere; many are preoccupied on another mission, and the rest of their scattered group seems to have wandered off for their own amusements. Briefly, he wonders what they are up to. Have Stan and Lara finally resolved their tension and gotten together? No, he'd eat his entire shoe if that would happen in the span of only an hour or so. Jowan talks about Vylcan, and it is strange; the mage seems uneasy, and Duke remembers that sharing minds is something that people from other universes seem to find strange. It is weird, considering it is the highest honour on his world. "Yes," he confirms. "But he's friendly, and never intrudes. More of a mentor, than anything -- just a dead man who can't take physical form, but that's a story for another day. He quite likes you, actually." I have no particular feelings towards this man, Vylcan says. But you seem rather fond of him. Waving it off, Duke sets the mugs down on the counter and tips the small switch of the kettle, boiling water. Huh. Was there water in the object before he started it? Well, he'll find out if it starts steaming and shrieking eventually. Having water or not isn't the big concern -- the issue is, Jowan doesn't seem to know ... chocolate? "Chocolate," he repeats, staring at the other man with a raised eyebrow. Huh. That is a ... first. Most of the time, food from other worlds are relatively the same, and once more Duke wonders exactly what kind of place Jowan sprung from. For what it was worth, it didn't sound like a very nice area. Well, he doesn't have to return now, or ever. Humming to himself, Duke folds his arms and waits for the water to boil, explaining as he does so. "It's a sort of ... delicacy, I suppose. Lots of people eat it as a bar, it's sweet and melts in your mouth. But for our purposes, we're just going to be drinking this" -- and here, he smacks the top of the tin of hot chocolate powder, stored away from stormy nights and a mission well done. "Because Xander doesn't allow large blocks of chocolate in the kitchen anymore after someone tried to boil whiskey and pour it on top of the chocolate bars to make alcoholic hot chocolate." Who could've done such a thing, Vylcan asks, amused. "Anyways, he's not here, so I can't go pester him to make something for us. Plus, I feel like getting him to come would be awkward right now; he permanently moves in his armour and I always have the temptation to stick a knife in there and see if I can flip it, like a lobster. That aside -- it's delicious, trust me." While he was speaking, the water -- so there was water inside after all! He wonders who could have filled it -- boils and screeches to a halt, and he casually dumps the powder into the mugs and pours the water over top of it. Then, Duke pauses. You should probably let him decide his own condiments, Vylcan says carefully. "Here," Duke says, passing one of the mugs to Jowan. "Careful, it's hot; blow on it." Then, he slides the stools until they are facing one another, and sits down as well. Grabbing his own mug, Duke takes one of the small bottles on the table -- he hopes it's the cinnamon and not the salt ---- and lightly sprinkles his drink, watching Jowan the entire time. "Do you like it?" he questions, staring at Jowan with bright eyes.
  17. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Inside the kitchen, things are awkward, at best. Jowan perches on one of the tall barstools, fidgeting with his hands, and Duke sighs. The silence between them is long and heavy, almost suffocating in the air, and the blond drums his fingers on the island's countertop, marveling at the feel of the cool marble underneath his fingertips. X-Dreamers headquarters ... it doesn't compare to some of the beauties of the world he has seen in his adventures, but he can always appreciate a well-kept kitchen. Whether or not the kitchen appreciated some of his more eccentric creations, well -- the jury was still out on that one. With nothing to do, Duke busies himself; he preoccupies himself with pulling two mugs and two plates from the shelves, familiar with where everything is now. He would rather prepare something, than -- is he deflecting? No, that won't do. You'll have to talk to him eventually, Vylcan says, more prominent now that things have settled down and it is just the two of them. I still remember how long you pinned after that other boy. "Don't bring up my embarrassing sexual history," Duke says aloud, louder than he expected; perhaps the quietness of the kitchen had lured him into a false sense of security, one where he had forgotten Jowan is nearby entirely. Staring at the mage with a caught-in-headlights look, Duke gives a faint laugh and taps on the edge of his head. "Sorry. He's telling me to actually talk to you. I suppose he's right sometimes." Then, he holds up the two mugs and smiles. "Want something to drink? I'll make hot chocolate."
  18. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke turns, feeling the sway of his cape brush his boots as he does so. He can't quite place what he is feeling right now -- it is not disappointment as he would have expected, because a certain part of him still holds onto faith. He remembers the talk on the bridge, the way Jowan's hands had felt in his own, sliding his gloved fingers down the other man's arms. The faint trace of his veins, lining the part where his wrist spills into his palms -- and his skin, not quite as rough as Duke had expected, warm and alive underneath his own. He has half a mind to turn back, bring Kelsier forward on his challenge -- the older man was ready to fight at any time, after all, but the blond stops. That is not him -- at least, he doesn't think so. He has spent his life in service to the cause instead of declaring outright war, and he intends to make good on his promises to liberate Dynarst's land. Challenging Kelsier right now, in the heat of the moment -- that would not do, not when his abilities would be helpful to the organization at large. The act of compromise. It leaves neither side satisfied, but it is the best alternative to crushing everyone in the immediate vicinity under his barriers. He has seen that once, and the results were ... effective, but less than desired, all things considered. Instead, he makes his way forward, surging towards the castle with full intentions to sulk in Stan's room, perhaps, but stops when he realises Jowan is following. The other man is quiet, sullen, every step called forth with hesitation, and Duke nearly gives in and says something when Jowan speaks first. His words are careful, hesitant, choppy. Duke sighs internally, rolling his shoulders back. And then, still with his back turned to Jowan, the blond man raises his arms up and stretches, feeling the tension in his shoulders loosen as he rolls his arms back. Not just a spell? Which portion, entirely -- did they make the same assumptions? Then, he turns to Jowan. "I think we should talk," he says. "Kitchen?"
  19. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Dynarst approached with the bots, and Duke straightened; he prepared to speak to the brown-shelled one, to ask or perhaps offer a jest at its expense, but before he can even confirm Typheus' acceptance of his tour proposal, Duke is drawn away by Jowan's touch. He turns, smiling -- he is always ready to embrace the other man, and it lightens his heart to know the mage is so willing to touch him now, only to stop dead in his tracks. Jowan -- called him pretty? There is a certain spark in the other man's gaze, a roaring awe that lights something within Duke's chest and makes him smile. He had ... his doubts about beginning something. His track record is not exactly the best, and there are things better left unsaid between the emerging friendship between Jowan and him, but this confirms -- ! He is just about to respond, to jest alongside the other man, confident and secure in the air between them, before the expression on Jowan's face abruptly twists and the other man's expression changes. Jowan's voice is not loud: it is quiet, just like the mage -- small, quiet, hushed, a desperate whisper in the dead of night, a shot into a blank nothingness. His grip on Duke's arm tightens, and the blond turns in response; he places a hand over the other man's as without really thinking. It is instinctive, as he sweeps himself in front of Jowan, planting himself between Kelsier and the mage. What happened? It had all been so fast -- one second he had been preparing to return the other man's compliment, and the other he was -- here. What happened? But this is not the time. He is jolted into action as Jowan drops his arm; the darker man steps back as if burnt, his eyes focused on nothing in particular, and he breaks off his sentence mid-speech. Immediately, Duke grabs onto the other's arm -- his uninjured one, this time -- "Look at me," he says, his voice steady, as he reaches up and places his hands onto Jowan's shoulders, bringing the space between them closer. "It's alright. Look at me." He presses their foreheads together, taking a breath -- sharing in the space between them. This is not new. He has seen this before -- a kind of battlefield aliment, a haunt of memories long past that he has seen in those who have seen the worst of humanity. He is no fool -- only an idealistic stranger raised in the best place on earth, in his world. There are those who are not so fortunate. He pulls himself from Jowan, although he still holds the other man with one hand. He slips his hand into the other's, turning to Kelsier with fire in his eyes. "I challenged the Inquisitor without hesitation. I will fight the Lord Ruler with that same fire. You have my loyalty, but should you harm the people I consider allies -- make no mistake, I will do the same to you." The area surrounding them grows cold, a secret challenge issued in the moment before them, before Duke takes a breath and closes his eyes. He is a senior agent. One of low standing here, true, but he has reigned before -- as Guard Commander, as Lord, as Elias' right hand. One does not survive all those encounters not understanding which battles to pick. And he has survived -- where others have died. Where kings have fallen and had their heads held on spikes. He is not his brother, nor Elias -- he is calmer, quieter, more forgiving, but he has been raised among wolves. He doesn't understand what bewitchment Kelsier must have used on the other man, but -- to play with emotions, when his heart, raw and beating and roaring in his ears, is already so vulnerable -- He considered it, Jowan returning his feelings, but perhaps he is too quick to draw his card. The other man -- what they have said can be easily jousts between friends. To think that Kelsier would do such a thing -- He swallows. Perhaps another time he would have given anything for a manipulator of thoughts, back when Chevire had been tall and standing, when Elias had been a spark in the night with his hungry eyes and large hands. And Cas -- "I'm exercising my right as senior agent," Duke announces. "This conversation is over." He turns to Jowan, dropping the mage's hand, giving the other man a tight smile. He remembers -- how quickly the other man had dropped his arm upon realising what happened, how quickly his expression had turned. It is telling enough. "Don't worry," he says. "Just a spell. It happens. No hard feelings." Then, he turns and begins to walk back to the building.
  20. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke jumps in surprise when Jowan jerks himself away, startled, and a second later the blond realises his mistake. Right -- Jowan's arm. He'd completely forgotten, and and in the panic the blond looks at the other man, distressed. He drops the man's other arm, face concerned. "Sorry, sorry," he immediately says. "Are you okay?" Jowan's words are reassuring, but not enough, and Duke blinks at him guiltily. He hadn't intended to hurt the other man -- he'd just been so caught up in the moment. Stunned, the blond nods in response to the other man's next words, completely disregarding the correct spelling; he wanted to ask Jowan exactly what the mage meant by the 'guh sound', but it is not the correct time to do so. Dynarst's response breaks him out of his thoughts, and Duke turns immediately, his attention caught by the skaa. The other man's movements are endearing, as Dynarst makes a wide gesture with his arms to emphasize the hug. And -- he had spelt it as Duke had, too. The blond turns, wondering if Jowan had heard, but the mage seems preoccupied with Kelsier's explanation. Not wanting to interrupt, Duke turns his attention back to Dynarst. Common sense tells him he should walk up and close the gap between the two of them to continue their conversation, but he doesn't want to leave Kelsier's side -- and Jowan's. "H-U-G," he yells back, repeating what Jowan had said even though it held no real meaning, and giving the skaa a thumbs up. "We can practise sometime. It'll be great!" Then, he glances at the robot that Dynarst had pointed to. Well -- that hadn't been the one the stabbed him, at least, although he holds no ill-will towards Fiddlesticks either. "I'll show you the rooms sometime too; they have showers! You can bring your friend!" Briefly, he wonders if the robots wash. Perhaps? Their shells looked awfully clean, glistening as they moved. With a hand, he beckons them closer; he wants to introduce Kelsier to Dynarst, but at the same time -- he is entirely unsure what they are doing now. The fight was over, it seemed, and the place worse off for it -- but he is not too concerned with how the scenery of this world appears to outsiders, and so Duke smiles and straightens his posture. Perhaps you should let Twilight know the outside grass has been set on fire, Vylcan says. Duke nods in response, but does not move from his position.
  21. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- Of course. He should have expected this -- Arch's patience in dealing with humans was endless, after all. In response, Theo only gives a slight growl, nodding his head to concede to the angel's point. Perhaps some humans are okay, but species aside, Theo is fully aware that enemies exist no matter the creature involved. As far as he was concerned, the blond with the face tattoo was an enemy and nothing more. He is sure he can find some time when Arch is not looking to teach the blond a lesson in mocking a ... wrong audience. He is caught up in his own thoughts, and only comes back to attention when Arch speaks -- huh, that's weird. He must have misread the situation, for only a minute earlier his husband had been staring rather intensely at the empty corner of the room. Well, it was Arch. Perhaps he was momentarily caught up in thinking about how much he hated demons again. Theo still remembers the time he almost fell off a cliff because he had been so preoccupied. He comes up beside Arch, arms crossed as he stares at the curious device the angel is pointing to. "Looks like something Annette would know," he replies. "Maybe if you hit it hard enough it'll activate. Here, let me try." He makes a move to smash the delicate small boxes below the larger metal box, inscribed with various letters. A spell, maybe? No matter -- he can hit through anything. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke cocks his head he separates from Jowan, staring inquisitively at the other's response. The other man hadn't hugged him back, and now he said this -- could it be? "No," the blond replies slowly. "It's called a hug. H-U-F-H." As if to emphasize his point, he squeezes the other man's forearms, his hands having slid down to rest on Jowan's arms. "You usually hug the other person back. We can practise," Duke suggests, almost too quickly -- because he likes touching Jowan, feeling the other man's form against his own, and although they have only known each other for a short while the mage's presence by his side is comforting, after all they have been through. But he is perhaps too quick to push -- he doesn't want Jowan to feel uncomfortable, after all, and the other man is an almost violent shade of red. Was it the unfamiliarity of the situation? "That's okay," Duke says, grinning. "When I got here, I had no idea what rulers did. Stan had to tell me they were used to measure things, and then he caught me measuring my --" He is cut off by Kelsier's voice, and Duke trails into nothing as he watches the older man step out of the water, completely unbothered. Starstruck, Duke barely notices the spoons suddenly hitting his shins. Fantastic! Kelsier had called their match fantastic. Duke feels himself unable to keep the smile off his face, a silly grin having established itself permanently on his features as he nods in response to the blond man's further words, hearing none of them, until he followed the movement of Kelsier's head with his eyes and noticed they were not alone. Dynarst -- when had he gotten here? And the strange robots, as well, and Duke instinctively brushes the edge of his arm almost self-consciously. That had been ... interesting. Well, no matter. Accidents happened all the time, and he's not dead. That is the most important note, all other things aside. "Dynarst!" Duke calls, giving the other man a wave. He hoped the skaa was enjoying their world so far -- perhaps he had to show the other man a room, just as he had done with Jowan. What interesting things had he seen? Come to think of it, he had left immediately after the briefing was over, uncertain what had happened to the skaa otherwise. "What have you been up?" he says to the skaa, although it is more a loud yell than anything -- he is unwilling to leave Jowan's side, but the mage seems perfectly entrenched in Kelsier's description of the levels of magic in his world. "Did you see the mess hall? The hallway? I got stabbed there, it was fantastic, I think there's still a broken railing. What friends have you made? Are they my friends? Have you ever hugged?"
  22. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Jowan, to his surprise, starts running within the fire. Duke almost skids to a halt then, too shocked at what he was seeing -- why didn't the other man just avoid it, like a rational human being, or shoot straight up from it, like Kelsier? -- but he regains his thoughts and continues running, only stopping when he reaches the beginning of the maze a short while from Jowan. The mage is smiling despite his actions, and Duke swallows, hard, at the look of pride on the other man's face. It suits him -- lights up his features, makes him look younger, in a way, and Duke takes a step forward without thinking. Is this a bad idea? Perhaps, and Duke falters sightly, a hum rising in the back of his throat. He should -- clear his throat, crack a joke, turn away -- And then Jowan speaks once more, lamenting his handiwork, and the other man turns away briefly to look at the patches in the grass behind him, the slowly dying flames vanishing as they licked up what fuel they could find on the ground. He rubs his cheek with one hand, wondering to himself, and, well ... He was never too in control of his own actions, anyways. He closes the gap between them easy, only a short distance between their shoes, and throws his arms around the other's neck, pressing him close. Jowan smells of soot and faint burning, but his form is warm. Duke smiles despite himself, aware the other man can't see his face -- he presses his nose into Jowan's shoulder, unable to contain his grin. The other man's breath is heavy, perhaps from his earlier run. "Just a bit," he agrees. He decides against telling Jowan his win is forfeit -- he had put down his barriers already, after all -- but he will take doing some paperwork over letting go of the other man. Whether or not Jowan is ready to redo his reports after they've been rejected -- well, that's another thought for another day.
  23. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Everything next happens so fast. One second he is laughing at the stunned expression on Jowan's face as the other man falls backwards, very clearly betrayed by his barriers, and then next -- something hits his barriers and he winces almost instinctively, even if it does not hurt per se. He is still not used to the heightened senstivity of his barriers in worlds apart from his own, even though he has been here for so long -- it should be something he knows by now. His momentarily halt in thought is replaced by shock when he realises -- the ground has caught fire, and the bright blue flames lap at the edges of his barriers, consuming the dry grass below. Was that -- Jowan? Well, that was one day to figure out the interior of his maze. It is not a detailed plan, something he constructed all too quickly in response to Kelsier's actions, but regardless; he debates dropping his barriers to allow the two men free passage out, considering time is of the essence. Before he can act on his thought, Duke is stunned for the second time. Kelsier shoots up into the sky, straight as an arrow, and the older man is a dark blot in the sky, his clothing ablaze and illuminating the midday sun. Against the clear blue sky of their beautiful planet, Kelsier stands out -- in an impressive, terrifying way, as a harbinger of news beyond what anyone's mind could comprehend. Then the Survivor turns sharply, and Duke takes an instinctive step back; Kelsier enters their mortal atmosphere once more by crashing into the pond in a grandiose display of power, a spray of waves that laps up the grass surrounding the pond and quenches the flames licking at the small strands. Duke stands, stunned and a mixture of awed and terrified. The older man grins at him, face calm and hair slicked back by the impact, water running down his face and neck in rivets. Duke feels his heart jump in his chest, amazed at this sheer display of dominance, and for a second he is tempted to start clapping, questioning -- anything to have Kelsier's eyes focus on him once more. But then he remembers the maze, and with it -- Jowan! The other man is alone now, within his barriers, and Duke would make a joke about continuing to box him in until he finally could figure a way out, if the mage was not currently stuck within his constructs while the ground was on fire. Duke swallows, tearing his gaze away from Kelsier, and almost immediately begins to run towards the maze, breaking down his barriers as he does so. He skids, avoiding the fire consuming the grass in a linear path as a result of his ministrations, and subsequently the barriers he'd set up harden to blue for a second before scattering into harmless pieces, disappearing from existence too quickly. His path cleared, he runs towards Jowan.
  24. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Kelsier's reserved air momentarily changes; the older man stumbles briefly and Duke falters in his pacing, distracted by Kelsier's actions. Then, a second later, the blond turns around and barely manages a step forward before he smacks into the other wall before him, and Duke gives a wince of sympathy. What happened? Kelsier's condition is concerning, and for a second the blond almost wants to give up on the play, call the situation off. However, he takes a wary glance around him, just now noticing the various spoons scattered around their feet, and instantly his suspicions are heighhted -- very obviously he had just played them with a ruse, and Kelsier is smart enough to return the favour to him. For the moment, as they were practising anyways, he sees no reason to be too concerned over medical issues. Jowan's voice draws him away from Kelsier's plight, and the blond blinks. The other man's offer is tempting, and he would give anything to have a nice, enjoyable chat with Jowan while they watch Kelsier bump into things, but his dinner is at stake here. He greatly values every meal of the day -- it was important, after all. "Sure," he yells back instead, pretending to think hard for a second. "But only because I looooove you." He exaggerates the word greatly, dragging it out with a smile on his features. Then, he watches with absolute delight as the other man makes a move to get out and ends up smacking headfirst onto the barrier Duke had erected there for that specific reason. "But I believe in you more," Duke grins. "And we were interrupted last time. Do your best! I'll do your paperwork for an entire month if you get out. It won't be great, and you'll probably have to redo it and get a scolding, but I'll do it."
  25. hello its me and my headcanons qzgs fans look away replacing vincent please and thank you! i’ll bring him in with the 4ths rather than mission 2, since i think that mission's not really in a place to accept new people rn (??) Name: Vaccaria [ 王不留行 ] Origin: The King’s Avatar Info: A legendary witch known only as ‘The Magician’ in his homeworld, Vaccaria brings devastating elements down on his foes with calm mastery. Although he has a reputation for being ruthless against his enemies, he is fiercely loyal to those who win his trust. Likes birds better than people. Abilities: Witch [ class ] - The Witch class is a magical user with high attack and speed, specialising in casting spells and creating elements to rain from the sky. The main weapons of this class are the broom and various potion bottles. Flight: Vaccaria is capable of flying through the area on his broom, to quite a large distance and range. This is his preferred method of transportation when on the battlefield. Potions: Vaccaria is capable of creating elements through the various potions and bottles tucked away within his cloak; how exactly he gets these is a mystery. Usually, this is used by throwing the potion into the air or on the ground, shattering it. Spells: Vaccaria’s various spells have different casting times and mana costs. A full list can be found on Discord. Enchantment: Vaccaria is capable of enchanting the end of his broom with fire or ice in order to rain down that element on the ground where he flies over; as a result, environments when he is fighting can get messy very quickly. Link to wiki: x Extra: Vaccaria is technically pulled from Glory itself so he doesn’t have a player per se, but his personality and interactions are based on Wang Jiexi. His class, Witch, has high attack and low defense -- I’m translating this as him being light and agile, but physically weak. Vaccaria is known as The First Witch. His second nickname, the Magician, comes from his unexpected and erratic playstyle on the battlefield; in fact, his actions are so unexpected that even his allies have a hard time adapting to his shifts. As a result, Vaccaria has had to restrain and change his method when working with the guild, but he has a secret fondness for one on one battles in which he doesn’t have to worry about others. His broom’s name is Stardust Extermination this is very important please address it properly