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Everything posted by TehUltimateMage

  1. [ Location: Sector six, Dracula's Laharl's Castle ] Laharl praised himself for his excellent plan. While personally beating down intruders was fun, sometimes and Overlord had to practice letting his minions whittle a challenger down bit by bit. He didn't really expect any of his weak vassals to actually be of any use, but it sure was a good source of exercise for the otherwise lazy Prinny Squad. ...Actually, this was a terrible plan. Not even three minutes had passed, and he found himself incredibly bored. (How did his old man even deal with sitting on his butt all day long? Letting other people do his dirty work?) The zombie parrot began struggling again in his hand. Because it was disrupting his sulking, Laharl looked around his room and zeroed in on the drawers under the vanity mirror. Cut in quite a classic ornamental style, in sturdy mahogany, the piece of furniture seemed like it belonged to a very distinguished demon with twenty thousand years under their belt. Well, no matter who was the previous owner, Laharl had now claimed it as his own. He pulled open a drawer, tossed the bird in, then hurriedly slammed it shut. ~~~~~ Success! One of the bombs hit their target head-on! (though the other bomb was dodged through an elaborate series of impressive, super-cool combos which the pirate performed just as planned! Wow!) Though of course, the victory was extremely short-lived. "Uh-oh." The prinny attempted to shield itself from the blast with its flippers but the pink-horned devil was so fast! Before the penguin demon could even move an inch, the point-blank shot had already launched it back the way it came. Amazingly, the black prinny bounced a few times up the next set of stairs before rolling to a halt, clearly knocked out cold for the next five hours. At the top, on the next floor, another demon was standing in the way. This one appeared to be an older teen girl with her red hair in short pigtails, paired with almost fake-looking demon wings and a skimpy leather outfit decorated with skull accessories. With the heel of her boot, she unceremoniously kicked the fainted prinny out of her sight. "What's the Prince up to now?" The girl rolled her eyes, shouting down at the commotion below. "Having a dance party? This stupid music's stopping me from getting my beauty sleep. I can feel the bass through the rooms of this dingy cardboard castle." Her spade-tipped tail was raised and whipped from side to side, actively expressing her annoyance. "M-Master Etna!" one of the remaining prinnies stuttered just as it began running away from the two castle-intruders after the fall of their commander. The other prinny, knowing that they were sandwiched between two terrible options, looked as if it was about to fall over like a scared rabbit. "O-Overlord Laharl told us to get rid of these doods, dood!" Etna pretended to think about those words, then immediately glossed over them. She narrowed her eyes, smiling like a pleased cat. "...I'll let him know what a terrible job you're all doing. Meanwhile..." Out of seemingly nowhere the demon pulled out a handgun and, without aiming at anything at all, continuously fired a barrage of bullets at the people and monsters below until she emptied her magazine. She then threw her now useless gun at one of the purple prinnies on the ground, who had fallen down from 'friendly' fire. The weapon bounced off the creature and clattered to the ground. "I'll need you all to shut up! For the next thirty-six hours! So I can get some damn sleep!" With a back kick, Etna knocked a spear off its display rack on the wall and caught it in her hands, stepping into a readied fighting stance. "Don't forget about meeee!" roared the stone dragon. "I'm still relevant!" Wings spread and teeth bared, it rushed at Matt with its claws flexed, aiming to slash at the pirate and pin him to a pillar. ~~~ [ battle summary : floor 1 / floor 1.5 ] Prinny General knocked out point blank! Laharl's """loyal""" vassal, Etna, appears! Etna disregards gun safety and fires on everyone! Prinnies knocked out. Stone dragon slashes at Matt!
  2. Repede - Malefor's Throne Room - Sector 2 [ Slash!! ] - [ Saving Swift and Glail ] ~ 5 minutes ago ~ Repede rested with paws crossed, high up on the small ledge formed by the decorative molding between the wall and the roof. His dark fur hid him well in the shadows formed in the ceiling by the glow of the firelight below as he watched Malefor's minions scramble about the throne room under Malefor's direct orders. It was unsurprising that the fearsome Dark Master, as spoken of by the residents of Sector 2, would rule through fear alone. And, Repede concluded, as it would be the case for most tyrants, an army controlled through intimidation was an army with an exploitable weakness. In a sense, he was only asked to scout the area, but disposing of the dragon itself would net a hefty bonus and restore justice to the region. The dog had already snuck through some of the fortress, memorizing its layout and the patterns of the guards. Now, he was waiting to see if Malefor himself would be so kind to lend him an opportunity to strike, given the reputed ego he was known for. He seemed to be toying with a puzzle like some sort of old man, but the guards were-- "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT-" Repede nearly fell off his ledge at Malefor's sudden outburst. While the dog scrambled to regain his footing, Malefor spit out a few orders and soon enough, one girl and her dog were brought into the room with an entourage of Orcs barring their escape. This wasn't quite the distraction that he had anticipated. Sitting up and tilting his ears in an attempt to hear better, he could catch parts of the conversation, including the girl's attitude fueling the dragon's growing annoyance. This definitely wasn't the time to smart-mouth now that they had been caught, but to be fair, Master Yuri did so all the time. Some people just had witty comebacks that couldn't be contained and predictably, it caused Malefor to simply shut down the conversation with an order to attack. Repede padded around the perimiter of the room, looking to get a literal drop on the dragon's back, but the cries from the fight caused him to reconsider. He didn't think he could reliably defeat Malefor quick enough for the attack to be called off, and he couldn't in good conscience leave that girl and that wolf to be massacred by a dozen orcs -- even if they themselves decided to pick a fight. Master Yuri would have had the same thought to save them, risks be damned. With a sigh, Repede repositioned himself and leapt down from his spot near the ceiling, knife in his teeth. He landed lightly on all for paws and used that energy to spring forward, hackles raised; leaving only enough of an impression for the Orcs in front of him to recoil in surprise before he was already cutting through the nearest one that looked the most injured. In the center of the chaos, the stench of the orcs' foul body odor assaulted his nose, but the two girls smelled distinctly different to both each other and the rest of the world... a hint of both human and animal. "GET THE DAMN DOG!!" yelled the lead Orc. ... Hold on, a second girl? Repede whipped around to cover his blindside, noting the Orcs aiming their crossbows at him as he peered at the girl heading his way. She had the same aura as the wolf earlier -- a creature that had both human and a monster form? Woah. He knew that this world was distinctly different from Terca Lumireis. Yuri would have been amazed (and Flynn would likely be incredibly flustered by the thought that any human, monster, or animal he had ever met could have been a shifter). It was then that something punctured the throne room's roof like a knife stabbed through a can of tuna. Once, twice, five times, before mechanical-looking tentacles pried the stone off... This was probably how bugs felt when kids rolled over heavy rocks to examine what's underneath. All of the Orcs seemed to be distracted by the sudden, huge event. The blue-haired-formerly-wolf girl let out a joyful squeal -- loud, piercing, and unexpected -- which snapped Repede out of his own stupefaction. After shaking himself from head to tail, he rushed and and plunged his knife into one of the orcs barring the way to the throne room's exit. Repede barked a command, then kicked off the orc he tumbled into, pulling out his dagger and raced towards the door. Even if two girls didn't speak dog, the order was obvious: "Run!"
  3. Twilight -- Blixer's Asteroid [ blissfully unaware ] - [ of round 2's imminent punching ] "The name's Blixer by the way... and color me impressed - I haven't seen dodging like that since I saw this big-shot hero back home two years ago." Twilight practically blushed through her fur at the compliment, and really had no time to answer before an impressed Rayla asked her where she learned to fly like that. "Oh, uh, a good friend named Rainbow Dash taught me a few tricks or two when I first got my wings...! Really, it was nothing too impressive compared to her, haha." A new song began to play, this time with twinkling high notes befitting of an upbeat interstellar adventure. While Twilight could understand Tsuki's suspicions, it was too early to assume that Blixer was queuing up more lasers... right? Maybe he just liked having background music surround him, which surprisingly isn't completely unheard of in the multiverse. Some people just had their own musical themes playing around them, constantly. "We're on a patrol around our base right now," the Alicorn explained. "Did you find yourself here by accident?" ~ Sorey - Jin's Asteroid [ oh my god is your face ok ] - [ we should have a tea party and all become friends ] - [ no seraphs active ] Ouch, that's gotta hurt. "Are you alright?" Sorey called out. Jin was, from the looks of it, obviously still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed despite getting a face full of space-dirt three seconds prior. Swimming over with a little more grace than the other young man, the Shepherd tumbled gently through the air and rolled onto the same asteroid. Finally, solid ground! If they were in for lasers again, at least this would be more of a fair fight since most everyone was new at flying. "Well, depends on your definition of fun..." Sorey followed up. That black-and pink person -- Blixer -- seemed to be having quite a good time right now already with his power. Not that the implied offer of a friendly scuffle with Jin didn't sound fun, but usually you'd make friends before beating them up, right? Unless, of course, they're too fired up to be reasoned with -- which didn't seem like the case at the moment. "So he has the ability to make music out of thin air, along with the ability to weaponize his projectiles to match the rhythm. That's probably the coolest power anyone has had so far." "I know, right?" Sorey answered Mikleo out loud. "Playing any music, anywhere? You won't even need a band to follow you around when you're traveling!"
  4. Stan -- Lara's Shadow World [ VS Amanda ] - [ Master of Shadows ] Stan nodded, humming in satisfaction at Lara successfully disarming her own shadow self. It made him swell with pride when she reminded everyone from the XDRS how much they had supported her and vice-versa. Sure, sometimes they weren't that great at their job and sometimes the X-tra Dimensional Restoration Squad did more harm than good, but looking back, Stan wouldn't trade this time of his life for anything. At least that was one thing his younger self got right: it's not about the result, but about the fun they had along the way. He didn't even have the time to run up to Lara, catch her in his arms and say a few words -- I'm proud of you -- before the party was again unceremoniously interrupted by a certain familiar face. Stan could have sworn she became uglier every time he saw her, and that's not including the times where she transformed into a literal monster. He was too late when it came to closing the distance between them, but her attempt to swipe at Lara missed. Even if he was distracted by the beauty of Lara's flip and landing, Stan's body acted on reflex when Amanda turned her attention to him. His arm grabbed and tossed the heavy fabric of his cape in front of him like a shield just as a speeding magical projectile struck it and dispersed along its surface in a trickle of electric energy. The force of the blast tossed up a blanket of smoke and in the momentary chaos Stan reached to his belt and drew Lara's revolver -- congratulating himself on having the foresight to reload it -- firing a blind shot in the monster's general direction. If they weren't in such a dire situation at the moment, Lara would have definitely chastised him for wasting a bullet, to which Stan would admit that he was never a good shot, only a good enough kind of guy. The others probably sensed that this was to be the ultimate showdown, so to speak, and Stan definitely felt that energy in the air both literally and metaphorically. Xander's demon boyfriend morphed into a more beastly version of himself. Both their own agents and those masked strangers had called upon their mysterious power called Persona, proof of mastery over the self, and proceeded to go all-out against Amanda. Amanda would have won had each of them succumbed to the darkness in their own hearts, but, as cheesy at it sounded, it was their bonds with their friends that helped the Squad turn the tides of this world. Following Xander's lead, Stan stepped back into a defensive position. His work was considered done -- he'd let Lara have her own moment of awesome. He held his cape open like an accomplished matador, ready to intercept any more attacks, as he backed away from the flurry of projectiles flying towards the Force Monster. He looked downwards towards Utakata's crumpled form on the ground and frowned. The mechanic was sure that the man in the red kimono wasn't shot fatally -- even if it was hard to tell under the color of his clothing -- but it was a problem that should probably be tended to sooner than later. "Sorry bro," Stan shrugged, impassively watching the other man suffer, but at least standing close enough to shield him from further harm. "I ain't got no healing magic. Minos says he's here to enjoy and destroy, not to parade and give aid." A pause. "You'll probably survive though."
  5. Eren -- Zone 6 [ hunting: rathalos ] - [ link(?): evonna ] "Evonna, your--" Eren trailed off. He struggled to find his words at that very moment -- the girl's civilian attire had let out a flash of light, drawing his attention, and her clothing had now been replaced by leather and steel armor and a delicate metal faceplate. She was holding her face while snapping at him, but quickly calmed down. Eren furrowed his brow. Had he accidentally knocked her off in his rush to catch the Rathalos? ...Oh, he had. Taking a beat too long to react, he sheepishly scratched the back of his head and apologized. "I... Sorry. " Eren reached out a hand to help Evonna get back onto her feet. There was no use pissing off new friends, especially since their quarry (not to mention one of the XDRS' Palicos...) was getting farther by the second. Strangely, grabbing her hand gave him a sense of renewed strength. It seemed to have something to do with her power...? In the multiverse, he knew even less than he did when he was in his homeworld, and that ignorance really frustrated him. Well, that and how Mr. High and Mighty on his white horse had already began prancing away. It shouldn't be too hard to catch up to him. Eren had a feeling that the Rathalos would be returning to its nesting grounds. He clenched his fist and replied. "Yeah, a whole-ass dragon. And we're going to kick its tail for taking Ser Ocelot!" ~ Adolin -- Zone 6 > Zone 7 [ hunting: rathalos ] - [ together we ride ] This woman, if her claims were to be believed, had already survived on her own for whoever knows how long. But seeing her flying fabrials in action, Adolin didn't doubt her veracity. Reasonable, confident, and at home in her skin, Hornet didn't seem to be bothered at all by her... immodesty. And, once Adolin got used to the sight (not that she was in his field of vision now that they were riding off), he didn't seem to mind too much either. Given that no one else found it odd that she looked like she was ready to go swimming in the Reshi Isles, Adolin could only assume that this, too, was an otherworldly quirk just as much as the completely different flora and fauna. Still, he felt a little tension in his shoulders when she grabbed onto his armor for balance. Adolin almost assumed that she was going to attempt to flirt with him with her touch, so accustomed he was to catching the attention of lighteyed girls in the warcamps -- but to his relief she seemed wholly focused on seeking out the Rathalos. (If only he himself could stay as focused...) Hornet's second update jostled him out of his thoughts. "It's landed on some a' them cliffs!" she said. "Up top, so we're gonna have ta get up 'em too." "Troubling. We'll have to dismount, but a little cliff should not prove to be such an obstacle." Adolin audibly cracked his knuckles -- an impressive feat considering that his bulky gauntlets were in the way -- and eyed the cliff face. It wasn't too different from the shattered plains, minus the ever-present lazy grass clinging to its face. With the power of his shardplate, it wouldn't be hard to scale at all.
  6. [ Location: Sector six, Dracula's Laharl's Castle ] [ if we don't stop them laharl will cut our salaries, dood! ] [ BGM: Termination Shock ] 💥 The music's bass almost felt like it was vibrating the foundations of the castle. On cue, the red and pink man uttered an impossibly cool one-liner before unleashing a blast right on the beat, striking the Prinny square in the chest! "Not fair, dood!" The attack sent it flying straight out the window with a loud crash. The dragon let out a roaring laugh -- of course those peons were useless! In time for the pirate-looking dude to join the fray, three more penguins marched out, one of them painted black where it would normally be purple. That black one pointed forth at the assailants. "Prinny Bomb, dood!" Both the regular-colored ones under its command each pulled from their pouches a lit bomb -- impossibly large -- and threw them down the stairs at Blixer and Matt.
  7. [ Location: Sector six, Dracula's Laharl's Castle ] [ what do you mean you didn't get the memo?! ] [ BGM: Termination Shock ] When Blixer burst in through the front doors, the demons there hadn't even gotten the memo yet. The only monster there -- a literal stone-faced dragon standing eight feet tall -- was carrying a broom and seemed to be in the middle of sweeping the entrance hall. Over the grand staircase behind the dragon hung a magnificent lifelike painting of a distinguished cravat-wearing gentleman, but otherwise the rich-looking interior seemed empty of any sign of life. "Can we... help you?" it asked, entirely confused. They didn't often get visitors that charged in straight through the front door. In fact, they hadn't had visitors at all since establishing in this new world! It was at that time that a Prinny rushed out of a side door and tripped, tumbling down the stairs but thankfully did not explode when it bounced off the ground. The poor bird appeared to be sweating and it scrambled to its feet while drawing out a pair of knives from its pouch. "Dood! Master Laharl's told us to stop this guy at all cost!" "Well, why didn't anyone say so earlier?" the dragon replied before throwing the broom aside. He began to gather fire in his mouth, then leaned back and spit a fireball at the intruder. "I've been itching for a fight for ages!"
  8. Twilight -- In Space [because of the extreme amount of bass] - [listeners' discretion is advised] Sorey was hit a second time by a beam, but Twilight deftly swooped up and down to avoid both beams and bullets, tucking her wings in at the last second to avoid being blasted on several occasions. No time to look back and worry about the others! She could only trust them to hold their ground against the headache-inducing attacks. She could feel the slow but aggressive beat in her body the closer she got to its source, and only when she spotted a pink and black figure on a deserted space-rock did the music coincidentally begin to fade out and draw to a close. The person she saw didn't seem out of place at all in this world: while he had a body, his head was a perfect black circle with a pink outline, a crown, and protruding pink horns. Twilight was quick to notice that he was the same color as the projectiles sent their way. Was he the cause of the song? The alicorn stopped in midair, hovering near the rock but not landing on it just yet. "Hello! We're the eXtra-Dimensional Rescue Squad and we're here to help! It's wonderful music, but would you cease firing at us? Thank you!" ~ Further along, Sorey was still trying to shake out the static buzzer noise out of his head and when he finally regained enough of his senses to regain control of his flight, the song had begun to fade away (thankfully). Sorey, can you finally hear us? asked Mikleo. Sorey scoffed, pressed his fingertips into his forehead, then nodded. "Yeah." All he needed to do now was catch up to Twilight. This patrol was already so eventful, and they've barely left the planet!
  9. Adolin Kholin -- Zone 6 [ at the watering hole ] - [ THERE IT IS ] "Hornet," Adolin repeated, committing the word to his memory. He refrained from listing his titles since it seemed like the girl wasn't interested in those kinds of formalities. Even if he still had some trouble looking at her directly, he could at least attempt to not appear any more rude by answering her questions. "I'm Adolin Kholin, from Alethkar, and this is my Rhyshadium, Sureblood. Our mission here is to... replenish our coffers by hunting a dragon for its bounty. " "Hornet, like a big bee, right?" Eren thought out loud. "The colors match up." A glance from Adolin prompted Eren to introduce himself, as well. "I'm Eren. Myrrh did mention that sometimes people could suddenly get thrown into other worlds, including this one..." He placed a hand to his cheek, thinking. "And she did say that it would be a good idea to rescue and bring back 'any such person we find'." He looked at the bones scattered about the area. "Though it looks like you've been holding out fine on your own so far." Adolin was about to add more, but his Rhyshadium yanked its head to the side to command his attention just as a dark shadow passed over the area. Both of the group's horses scampered out of the way just in time for a huge winged monster to crash in and lift off like a bird of prey. Having unfortunately missed the bigger prizes, the dragon chose to retreat amidst the sudden rain of gunfire from the relatively tiny flying machines, carrying away the XDRS' little feline companion. "That's the one!" Eren yelled. Trying -- and intensely failing -- not to accidentally knee Evonna in the face, he climbed to his feet on the back of his horse and jumped, launching the hooks from his ODM gear into the air in an attempt to latch onto the Rathalos before it escaped. He missed and landed in a crouch onto the ground, cursing how fast the monster was despite its size. For whatever reason, it had never occurred to Adolin that the target they were after was to be a flying greatshell, which complicated things a bit. On the other hand, this seemed much more exciting than the simple slaughtering that usually passed as hunting nowadays. He found himself smirking. "Can you follow it with one of your... Planes?" he asked. "We will have to take the long way around, but it shouldn't be too difficult to chase after it on horseback if you ride with me."
  10. Stan -- Lara's Shadow World [ do you hear those voices? ] - [ they're all here for you ] Stan had squat down with his back to the fire in an attempt to dry his cape, staying close to Lara but trying not to make her even colder with his damp clothes. Watching her silently, he reckoned that she must have been beating herself up over Amanda's actions... despite the fact that her instincts were entirely on the money for this mission. They had just underestimated the extent of her power. And the masked kid and his weird cat, too... He seemed to be the most in his element, in this world -- but it didn't seem like he had anything to do with that bony blond woman. At least he knew that Amanda herself knew little about these places, their shadow residents, and persona... but that fact only made the situation even more dangerous to everyone involved. Could he have prepared more insurance? Probably not. It wasn't in his style to regret his choices. When Lara suddenly rose to her feet and called out for her mother, Stan himself snapped back to attention. "Love?" he asked. She didn't appear to hear him as she looked around, almost like a possessed woman, before breaking out into a run further into the cavern. "Lara!" Stan called after her, swearing under his breath as he scrambled to his feet like everyone else. Knowing this world, it could be one of two things, and neither option was particularly good. ~ The tunnel ended in the arched stone vaults of an old monastery. The ancient appearance -- at least to him -- was entirely befitting of someone from Lara's line of profession. Maybe under different circumstances he would have found it impressive, but his eyes were trained ahead while he ran to catch up. Well versed in this tango, now, the group had been attempting to talk Lara down from her metaphorical ledge. Walking up to where she was confronting her shadow and its little speech, Stan placed one hand on the handle of his gun and the other on the card over his heart. His own shadow was an expert in seeking out his insecurities and if this world was able to pick apart someone as great as himself, then it didn't hurt to brace himself for a fight. Just a little insurance. Like she was there for him, he was damn ready to be there for her. "Besides, are you going to let something petty enough to use the faces of your exes to get under your skin? Nobody makes good decisions when pressured. " Stan added to the chorus of people giving encouragement. "We both think we're destined to be lone wolves, but you can't push everyone away because some people are *******s who have caused you to internalize your worthlessness or some bull like that. Now let's kick your insecurity's ass, find the woman who ruined your birthday, and go home together." "And," Stan added, pleading. "You've spoken to my shadow. If these illusions really come from truth, then you know I won't abandon you."
  11. [ Location: Sector six, Dracula's Laharl's Castle ] [ 'taking care' of Blixer ] That person... asked for place to stay?! Who did he think he was talking to? Demons were never known for their hospitality. Oh the other hand... A DJ would be incredibly entertaining in this increasingly boring castle. When the options for 'something fun' boiled down to conquest and tormenting his vassals, things got real boring real fast. He estimated that the zombie bird would be fun to watch for five minutes, at most. Laharl narrowed his eyes and considered his situation. Usually, any visitors to his castle -- Netherworld or this knockoff -- were there to assassinate him. (Who wouldn't?) While the DJ seemed harmless enough, the possibility that he, the Demon Lord, could be victim to a murder attempt was a very exciting prospect. Laharl made a note to himself: Frequently pretend to fall asleep to bait and punish any assassination attempts. "Sure, do whatever, Blixer. If you can get up to the top of the castle without getting defeated, I'll give you the honor of staying the night and performing for my entourage. If not, I'll take you prisoner and make you DJ anyway!" The illusion of choice! What a classic tactic! Laharl retreated from the window, his practiced evil laugh echoing through the building. "Haaaahahahahha!"
  12. [ Location: Sector six ] "Oh, the bird's not yours?" Laharl answered the person below. He shrugged. "That's too bad. I guess it's mine now. Finders keepers." Well, even if it did belong to the pink man, Laharl would have probably kept it anyway. Not that he really wanted to care for the mangy zombie chicken all that much... it was just in a proper demon's nature to take and hoard everything. He'd throw it into the dungeon later, once he was done with the visitor. "Anyway, Pinkie," Laharl continued, addressing Blixer from the tower window. "If you ain't bird-watching, why are you here? This is my house and you're on my lawn." "Well, technically--" Laharl turned and shot a glare at the Prinny, who knew better than to continue. The castle was only claimed by him because it was abandoned when they got here, though the Demon King didn't doubt that he could win the rights should the old owner ever return.
  13. Twilight Sparkle -- Space [ dubwoofer substep ] - [ go go twilight! ] After the initial barrage, it seemed like the attacker had changed tactics. Twilight was alarmed when Ray and her pokemon were struck by a second attack, but like the first, the laser beam didn't do much other than stun. Still... Rayla confirmed that the pink projectiles had an incredibly unpleasant dizzying effect. "I'm glad you and Tsuki aren't physically injured. All we'll have to do now is get to the bottom of this!" Other than Tsuki, Twilight was the only one who was really adept at flying... but at the same time, it seemed that avoiding the beams and bullets was only a matter of sheet luck. Twilight steeled her nerves, focusing on the patterns and giving her wings a stretch before darting forward. The quicker they could get the source of the attacks, the quicker they could stop who or whatever was launching them. That way, no one else would have to be subjected to the headache-inducing barrage. She didn't doubt that even Rainbow Dash would be impressed when she banked to the left, barrel-rolling over an incoming laser beam and swooping under another. She was sure it was the right direction, and, seeing a group of asteroids clustered in the distance, she felt that she was getting close! Sorey - Space [ ouch! ] - [ no seraphs active ] He warned Jin a little too late! But a change in attack patterns stopped Sorey from going to check in on the red-haired man and instead forced him to focus on his own safety first. The beams were harder to avoid than they initially looked, and carelessly he found himself in the path of one and was knocked back! Dazed, with static in his head and a ringing in his ears, he couldn't even hear his seraphim trying to yell at him to regain his senses.
  14. Adolin Kholin -- Zone 6 [ at the watering hole ] - [ hotter than a flamespren ] "Air...plane?" Adolin repeated the foreign word, noting how the sounds felt in his mouth. 'Air' was self-explanatory, but plane... Maybe land-planes were land-travelling machines, then. It was strange to think that on other words, fabrials would have become advanced enough to carry people through the sky. He gave the airplane another look, watching it double back and head towards the mountains. "My aunt Navani works with machines, but I don't think any of them have the power to soar like that," he replied, pride welling in his chest. "Renarin mentioned something about an anti-gravity fabrial that would allow archers to levitate over the plains and get a better vantage point, but airplanes could change the entire tide of the battle on the Shattered Plains..." Adolin continued on, speaking about the possibility of aircraft in warfare, totally in his own world and unaware of whether or not Evonna was losing interest. Eren had already tuned him out after briefly considering that walls would be inconsequential to titans if these airplanes could air-drop them, and refused to think any more about the flying machines. It wasn't long before they reached a small dead-end area in a valley between mountains. Water had pooled between the rocks and created a sizable spring -- though he would have expected a few more creatures taking advantage of the watering hole based on the bones littering the ground. Did their approach scare them away? Adolin shifted his weight to signal his horse to stop and Sureblood slowed before halting and shaking his head. The sharbearer glanced back at the two younger children, watching without comment as Eren jerked the reins in a rather inexperienced manner to get his own horse to stop. What was most of note, though, which Adolin did not acknowledge at first, was a young woman -- with hair as golden as his own -- who had more skin exposed than she had covered. He felt his own face heat up and put a hand over his mouth to discreetly hide his blushing. Peeking over the fingers of his gauntlet, he noticed that she stood beside some sort of long, tall weapon that felt like it matched the airplane they saw. "It ain't that uncommon to see other hunters on the field sometimes," Eren commented to everyone, totally unfazed by the woman's appearance. "If you don't get in our way, we won't get in yours."
  15. Twilight Sparkle -- In space [let the bass drop] "Step one, we made it to space, check." With the few... distractions that had occurred, it ended up taking much longer to get the patrol going than Twilight had anticipated, but at least now they were in space! The gateway galaxy wasn't that large, so everything that came next would be relative smooth sailing. Based on the positions of the stars, the next major space body should just be a relative hop away. "No, this universe doesn't usually have music," Twilight replied to Jin, tilting her ears to better hear what they were talking about. "Some plants sing when you bump into them, but for the most part space is wonderfully silent." Not soon after she had finished was the group suddenly under fire. Trouble always seemed to find its way towards the XDRS. Twilight beat her wings in a flutter of panic and managed to dodge one of the bullets while letting out a startled yell. From the corner of her sight she saw Ray and Tsuki get hit, stunning the bat pokemon for half a second. "Rayla!" Making her way to the pokemon trainer, Twilight had to make sure that she or her pokemon weren't gravely wounded. After all, she was supposed to be responsible for this expedition! "I can heal--" she began, then noticed that neither of the two were burned or had any bullet wounds. "Huh? What's going on?" "Talk about hopping out of the pan and into the fire," Sorey commented. He had finally managed to clear his mind and gain a hang of controlling his movements in the weightlessness. The magic granted by Twilight still persisted and seemed to give him a magic ability to move forward without needing anything else to propel him. Unlike some of the others, he managed to avoid getting knocked back by the pellets heading their way -- though a cursory glance showed that the projectiles weren't as lethal as they looked. Still, better to avoid them than to get it. It looked like an unpleasant experience, and he had to warn his friend. "Jin, watch out!"
  16. [ Hello Twisted My Old Friend ] [ Location: Sector One ] [ Form: Weapon ] Rude thought he had blacked out for a second. All his senses went dark except for a high pitched ringing in his ears and a flash of pain through his nerves. He cursed and gripped his face with a hand, though no one was there to hear him. Where was the enemy? Maybe this was a failed operation from the start, but at least he himself could remain safe and out of the way in this form, provided the corrupted spirits from those creatures didn't chose the steel in his blade as their next host. He didn't even have the time to wallow in despair before he felt someone pick him up. The first contact was like getting power suddenly restored to a building after a storm and for a few fractions of a second Rude felt immense relief over finally finding a new match -- until he noticed the soul signature was undeniably Renarin's. Out of all the improbable things that had happened so far, this was the first thing that truly surprised him since he was plucked from the manor, though the prince's repeated attempts at trying something entirely hopeless over and over again did come a close second. He thrust his hands forward and snapped his eyes open. His sword body responded by sliding back the protective cover of the gem on its crossguard, revealing a glassy yellow eye with a slit pupil. “You were talking about compatibility...is this what it feels like to be--be compatible?” "Mmmmm.... Yes..." he replied to Renarin, humming his satisfaction. Whatever it was that clicked into place, Rude didn't want to question it too much until they were done. "Normally compatibility shouldn't fluctuate on a whim like this, so it's much more efficient and reliable to simply find someone who..." Rudolph trailed off. Oh, he wasn't listening anymore -- or was the question rethorical to begin with? Either way, much like how Rude ended up withholding his questions, he also chose to withhold his explanations for a later date. Their allies seemed to be gaining the upper hand at the moment. It wouldn't be long until they could catch a breather. Earlier, Renarin's fighting style bothered Rudolph more than he cared to admit. Now that his head had cleared he noticed that there was a certain logic to it. The prince's way of handling a blade, from his stance to his movements, implied that he was used to handling something bigger... but not necessarily heavier. There was little Rude could do for him at the moment as he was cutting through wood, but it was food for thought if they were to continue to collaborate. With all his attention focused outwards he almost didn't notice the corruption seeping into his own soul. Seeping was the wrong word -- it probed with purpose, trying to find a weak point to enter much like how it had crawled itself into Renarin's wound. One impression hit Rudolph like an incoming storm wall, heavy as a sheet of falling water that crashed into his front side all at once. Home. Specifically, a home of darkness and of swirling black and red clouds, where any living things were stripped bare until nothing but their skeletons remained. A place, where mixed amalgamations of things similar to these twisted goats roamed -- no, prowled -- around with a direction, but no real will of their own. And yet... Rudolph regarded the impression with an irrational fondness. As if he had lived there his entire life and wanted nothing but to return... A part of him screamed that there was magical manipulation making him succumb to madness, and that voice only grew louder until it finally broke through -- leaving him to wonder what the hell that was. That twisted fragment had been forcefully purged out of the already crowded soulspace in quite a literal fashion, though Rude still felt on edge from having it put pressure on his wavelength. Even if he didn't have a heart at the moment, Rude could feel his pulse thumping in his chest in the aftermath. He could still sense the fragmented soul that was pushed out, falling to the ground and percolating through the dirt just like all the other bits they had defeated. No... Again, percolating was too passive of a word. These things filtered downwards, then headed towards the mountain range with a sense of purpose. Rude kept track of them until they were out of the range of his Soul Perception. If they were heading somewhere specific, like had guessed, it was unlikely that they would have changed direction if they could travel uninhibited underground. It was just a guess, but they were probably heading to that... home. Dammit, this was how madness began, wasn't it? An irresistible pull towards power that eventually ate away at its user, all while infecting everyone around them. He could only hope to whatever God that was out there that his brother wouldn't have fallen into those deadlands of red clouds and bare trees where these twisted things were from. "I do not sense any more of those corrupt fragments," Rudolph announced after steadying his voice. "The ones we defeated are all fleeing toward the same direction underground, heading left and burrowing underneath the mountain range." That, of course, was too odd of a behavior to be a product of chance. "I'll be returning to human form now, if I may have your permission? I think everyone would be interested to hear my theory that someone might be messing with us."
  17. [ another new guest? ] [ Location: Sector six ] The prinny screamed when it was attacked in a flurry of wingbeats. Laharl pointed and laughed, until both birds apparently exhausted each other. For a split second, Larahl considered simply crushing the intruder's skull underfoot, but it seemed like that zombie would be a fresh source of entertainment in the otherwise quiet halls of this castle. Like the traces of the animals composing it -- pigeon, crab, garbage -- it appeared to be quite stupid and harmless. And if anything-- his vassal Etna might get a kick out of it. It was probably some wayward wildlife, but if it did belong to another sector villain... Then they'd have to come to Laharl's own territory and take it back by force. Earlier, despite his laughter, he had the antenna-raising feeling that they were being watched, somehow, so he didn't discount the possibility just yet. Pinning one of the bird's wings to the ground with the sole of his boot, Laharl fearlessly made a grab for its throat and closed his fingers around its neck, holding it tightly much like one might hold a freshly killed duck. "Overlord Laharl, sir, dood!" a second prinny interrupted, stepping around the one that had been assaulted. "There's someone approaching the castle!" Laharl peered out the window. Sure enough, there was a bright pink, almost glowing speck making its way slowly towards his base of operations. He looked at the bird in his grip, then at the figure. The sector had been so boring lately that it was hard to think that two visitors in a day was pure coincidence... He frowned. "Hey!" Laharl stuck his head out and yelled down from the window at the pink man, who was now close enough for the Overlord to make out as what he could best describe as a person with a completely circular head. Some sort of prince, maybe? With a crown and a glowing white triangle on their head. The Overlord did approve of those clothes, though. Spikes and capes are always in fashion. He held the Twisted bird out the window and waved it around roughly. "Is this your pet?!"
  18. Sorey -- In Space [ hellion...? ] - [ oh no ] - [ Armatization deactivated ] There was little he could do except witness in abject horror as the demon was torn to shreds again and again. Not even Zaveid, the wayward wind seraph, had been so brutal with his unnecessary bloodshed, and seeing the man look so joyful in his task made the Shepherd a little sick to his stomach. He clenched his teeth, biting back the water beginning to well in his eyes. If only I were a little faster, a little stronger... There was nothing to say that Sorey might have succeeded with restoring the demon's previous form, but at the same time... The opportunity was robbed from him before he could even attempt it. He had broken the promise he made to Jin mere moments ago. The Shepherd closed his eyes. Jin. He was confronting the so-called Lord of Cyclones about his acts, and Sorey was half torn between wanting to join him and fearing that Jin himself would be pulverized, next -- for he could sense the aura of divinity about this newcomer. His boasts were true. The Shepherd could only add one word: "Why?" Defeated, Sorey let his armatus fade away. His red and white clothing dissolved into a shower of sparks, cast back into the stars. His head had cleared, but he still felt a weight in his body, even though he was floating through the air, weightless. He didn't know if he was hallucinating it at the time, but he thought he could hear some distant... piano... notes?
  19. Hello! I'm Mage and I'm a RP Approver! I enjoy the premise of your hatchling RP, but unfortunately it is still quite barebones to be put through the approval process. For that, you would need some extra sections, such as rules, a character sheet, and more description about the world or the starting area (not to mention fixing grammar!). Are these DC dragons or are all dragons allowed? The RP creation guide is a good start to help you think about these things (even if the guide is a bit old): Alternatively, you may skip this entire process and start RPing immediately by posting to Freeform Roleplays! Here: https://forums.dragcave.net/forum/36-freeform-role-plays/
  20. Adolin Kholin -- Zone 3 -> Zone 6 [ moving along ] - [ what is that? ] - [ it's like a flying creature] The mink-creature had been keeping up pretty well with the horses, considering how incredibly tiny it was. Adolin didn't want to go too fast in case he accidentally left the others behind or burnt out the poor beast that kid rode. Not only was it carrying both the boy and the girl, but the boy was maneuvering his horse so aggressively, deliberately, to keep in step with the Shardbearer. Sureblood flicked his ears in annoyance, and Adolin responded in a low voice, "I know, I know, you want to leave them behind and run, but we've got to be more considerate." So far they hadn't encountered any monsters over the plains other than slow herbivores. Their little mink seemed to be alert, but hadn't signaled any points of interest. Adolin ordered it to mention anything related to their little quest sheet of glyphs he couldn't -- wouldn't -- read, and he was beginning to have doubts if Sir Ocelot (the 2nd) was secretly messing with them. He spotted something in the sky, though. Well, he heard it before seeing it: a descending hornlike, stuttering sound that sounded too regular to belong to a giant creature of some sort. It came from some sort of glistening, metallic and winged monster in the sky that looked absolutely nothing like anything he had ever seen in the air before. Too stiff to be a sky-eel, and the sound it made... Curious, Adolin followed the flying object, first with his eyes, then on horseback. Eren tilted his head and followed, less wondering about the flying thing, more focused on not letting the blond-haired man out of his sight. "I think he's trying to see what that is," Eren mentioned to Evonna, "But personally I don't give much of a damn. Stuff doesn't fly in my world."
  21. Kelsier and co. and co. -- Club's Shop, Kitchen [ with dockson, breeze, clubs, ham, marsh (and spook) ] - [ refueled and ready ] "Yeah, me and the Pistols are ready to catch any ball that comes our way!" Mista declares in response to both Duke and Giorno. As soon as he uttered their name, Mista's stand materializes in a halo around his head. "Mistaaa--" Number Seven whines, floating towards his eye level. "We're splitting up already? We just regrouped with the agents!" Dynarst's heart sinks. He was called upon by Duke -- to come along? It was a terribly high honor but also a terribly high request. He looks to the side, not committing -- but not objecting, either. Feeling a presence behind her, Raine did not flinch or acknowledge Giorno's message outwardly, but she makes a note of it. The youth had the uncanny ability to throw his voice, using his stand abilities. His suggestion was sound and the half-elf was planning to stay and listen even if Giorno never suggested it. She sensed that there was little trust to go around at the moment between the two parties. Staying would be the most rational choice. Ultimately, she trusts her fellow agent to tail both Duke and Kelsier, and, in turn, she wouldn't let him down with her information-gathering (and hopefully, diplomacy). "We'll take your offer for shelter tonight, Dockson," Raine agrees. "I will remain here instead of following them. Goddess knows we've been having a long day. Thank you again for your hospitality." Marsh's intense eyes dart around the room, from Raine and Natsuki, then to each of the other agents in turn before settling towards Raine and Natsuki again. He looks pensive, but he does not say anything. The stomping of boots down the stairs over the tense silence causes half of the gathered people to look towards the doorway, where Kelsier re-emerged, looking rather refreshed. He had a fresh set of clothes under his mistcloak and his lorikeet perched on an outstretched hand, but also appeared to stand a little straighter and looked less tired overall. Full of reserves, Raine guesses. Refilled and ready to go. "Has everyone rubbed shoulders I was upstairs?" Kelsier jests. "Come on, be a little friendlier! We're not some cold professionals." "I feel a chill. I'm a cold professional and I take offense to that," Breeze clarifies. "Professional pain in the ass," Ham retorts. This gets their youngest member, Spook, to attempt to and fail at holding back an embarrassingly loud snicker. "Looks like you have an escort party tonight," Dockson says, bringing them back to business. If Kelsier was disappointed, he does not show it. For the people who knew him well, it was certain that he expected to have the opportunity to show Duke the city at night -- else he would have jumped out the window and disappeared into the night as soon as he was ready. "A number of these agents want to tag along." Kelsier shrugs, entirely unaware of Mista's Pistols swarming towards his face, trying to get a better look. "Shouldn't be too troublesome." Turning to Duke, he adds, "We'll need to stay out of sight so we might not get into the party proper, though your uniform might be somewhat passable for the current men's fashion." He heads towards the steps leading up to the back door. "Hold on," Marsh interrupts. "Since you're travelling by foot anyway, allow me to come along for some air." Kelsier pauses on the stairway. He looks down at his brother for an intense second, understanding that Marsh wanted to say something to him -- preferably in private. He doesn't really want to give his brother the satisfaction of doing so at the moment, so, he turns away and continues climbing. "Suit yourself." ~~ Out in the mists, everything is eerily quiet. The fog was heavy enough to reduce visibility but not completely mask where they were going, and the limelights that Keep Hastings pointed towards the sky beamed signals into the air. Hastings was the second greatest of the Ten Houses of Luthadel. The fact that they were still doing an event despite the worries of contracting Mistblight was definitely a show of their strength... But then again, most nobles thought that they were above catching the diseases of the common people. Even surrounded by people much more powerful than him, Dynarst feels incredibly uneasy... or were the powerful people part of the problem? With nothing to hold onto, he sort of just wrings his hands together nervously. Not only were the mists supposedly supernatural, but they also could hide much more mundane threats in the shadows. "Stop." Marsh was so sudden that it actually catches Kelsier off guard. The steel-eyed man is still -- too still, among the mists shifting around him. Dynarst would have mistaken him for a devil, if he hadn't met the man before. "There is something amiss." Despite the warning, Kelsier proceeds, but with a new sense of caution in his steps. He sneaks toward the front gates of the Hastings, his back against the wall protecting the compound as to hide himself within the shadows it cast. The iron-piked gates were open to let carriages in, but his tin-sight pierced through the fog and saw that the front yard was empty. It was well into the night that everyone would have arrived and had their coaches and horses tended to in the stables, but it was unusual to see no one milling about on the front court. That would have been an excellent farce: Hastings hosting a ball, and no one showing up because they feared the mistblight. A trap? With no one on the front yard, there goes his first plan to show Duke the wicked colors of the nobility. Under the veneer of bright lights and pleasantries, they were exceptionally cruel. Sometimes beggars made their way onto the lawn, and sometimes, those self-righteous sootbags would order them executed on the spot. Thinking about it makes Kelsier reach to claw at his concealed scars, but he refrains from doing so.
  22. [ Everything's going to Hell ] [ Location: Sector One ] [ Form: Weapon ] It was was probably cliché to compare the performance of one partner to another. Rude couldn't help it. If Grip was like the waves of the ocean both wild and predictable, and Tanner was like the cold silence broken by the sound of a wind chime, then Renarin was like a horse taking a shortcut through a glass shop. In other words, this man was out of his regular mind. Yes, Rudolph quickly realized that the Prince could heal himself with magic, and that explained away his propensity to break all his bones. And yes, the Prince was not as shy and quiet as he initially appeared, once Rudolph experienced him on an intimate level. But having rational explanations didn't change the fact that, in this very moment, they had to improvise something despite the number of surprising and alarming revelations he had over the span of a few seconds. Renarin was not malevolent, he repeated to himself, only justifiably reckless... but knowing it and working with it were two vastly different things. Rude was much more trained in the former than the latter. The prince's healing magic was, as expected, something completely foreign to him: Rude could detect an external power source that his partner's soul (and the... creature filling in its cracks) was drawing upon. Letting the unstable resonance fade into the background, the weapon mentally pictured his human self preparing a soundboard. Turning the dials. Watching this new light travel up and through his equipment. Working upon it as if were a more familiar soul wavelength. He let that hold steady, too, this time focusing again on the outside, taking notes of the positions of everyone present. New boy, six-o-clock, who smelled faintly of spiders but was harmless. An attack that he tried to warn his wielder about, but just a beat too late. If it wasn't clear from his earlier survey that the monsters were of a pestilent nature, the Weapon could feel the encroaching corruption caught in Renarin's wound long before he had spoken of it through the bond. Rude wasn't too sure that they could heal around it like that other voice claimed -- so far, even with their combined efforts, it hadn't been purged by the healing light. "We'll deal with it later." And still, with all this, the prince charged forward. His headstrong determination was equal parts admirable and terrifying and Rude had a hard time figuring out what to say. They didn't have time to get to get to know each other a little better. Take a second to think. His form was off, his attacks unrefined. They were falling out of step as he swung-- Rude focused his sharpness, but instead hit the monster with a dull twang that shook him to the very core and tossed him out of Renarin's hands. Even with his eyes closed, flashes of red sliced through his field of view, blinding him and tearing away at his focus as if someone had struck him in the head. No! His sword form bounced once and landed in the grass with a thud, blade sparking dangerously. He wasn't in direct contact anymore but he still felt the pain tearing at his soul, and when Renarin tried to grab him again, his subconscious reaction was to release his built up energy in a single, un-aimed blast of lightning. ~~~ [ not the kid you ordered ] [ Location: Sector six ] "What was that?!" a child's voice bounced off the stone walls of the castle, shortly after he heard the window broke. When no one answered him, Laharl descended the spiral stairs of the tower, but he was not in much of a hurry. "I hope it's another scouting attempt by Malefor, because I'm just itching for a reason to piss on that dragon again!" At the bottom of the next landing, the single candle lighting the way had been snuffed and ripped from the wall, but the eternal moonlight through the window illuminated the shape of some sort of bird monster. This thing looked like a zombie but definitely not as well put together as the ones Laharl had seen in the past (but then again, the only zombies he'd seen in the past were put together by true artisans, or at least people who knew what they were doing...). Laharl nudged one of his two Prinnies forward with the sole of his boot. "Dood..." the penguin objected, visibly nervous as it was be pushed into the way of the potential threat. "I got a bad feeling about this...."
  23. Twilight Sparkle (and co.) -- Gateway [we're finally in space] Something exploded behind Twilight. She turned to look at the fight that had been escalating, but now most of the involved parties had been blasted into the air. The skirmish had broken up and quote-unquote 'resolved' itself without needing to call upon Nata, so this was as good time as any to gather everyone and regroup. Twilight nodded, acknowledging Rayla's worries. "Take care of our new friend here," Twilight told the Lumas. "I'll be off collecting everyone else. Let's go!" With a powerful beat of her wings, Twilight Sparkle took off into the stars. Her horn shone with pink magic as she approached each dazed floating person in turn and lit them aglow with the power to propel themselves through space. Sorey was relieved that Twilight was coming towards him, but something about his movements and vision was strange, almost as if his spirit was too dizzy to stay in his body. Twilight's magic made him glow pink for half a second before the light migrated entirely to the palms of his hands. He found that by moving them in certain ways, he could direct and push himself through the air, but he was too disoriented and borderline nauseous to do anything but clench his fist on something, anything, in an attempt to stop drifting. He didn't feel like throwing up the last time he brushed against space. Was it something about the explosion itself? The explosion. Right! The hellion! Sorey tried to focus on that many-armed thing, but was forced to squeeze his eyes shut because he couldn't tell if the world was spinning or if he was the one who was doing the spinning in a zero-gravity situation. 'Oh... feels like we've been drinking too much...' Lailah herself slurred her words. It sounded like the dizziness was affecting her too. ~~~ On the ground, the orange Luma floated towards Ace's head level and gave a wave to get xer attention. "Don't worry, we'll help you fly, too!" The star creatures all looked to one of the pink Lumas, who momentarily puffed up like an angry bird. "Oh, why do I have to do it?" "Cause you're the best at doing your Launch Star impression," said the blue one. "I can only do Pull Stars..." "Fine, but you owe me star bits later!" Floating a few paces away, the Luma performed a little backflip and disappeared into a puff of pink smoke. "Trans---FORM!" When the smoke cleared, the Luma had been replaced with a lazily turning star-shaped ring about the size of a hula-hoop. "I'm not a red star, but I can still lend you my magic for flying," continued the orange Luma, who had now latched onto Ace's jacket, anchoring itself on xer shoulder. "Jump into the Launch Star!"
  24. "Xander!" Stan gasped. For a moment he thought the knight on his horse was just another shadow world apparition, from the monstrous dark presence of Sieghorse and the horns on his head. Was this a theme of the area of some sort? He doesn't need to be told twice to stumble back almost as far as the door. The shadow swings its massive head from side to side, tearing into the walls with its horns as if it were paper. Moving impressively quick for its size -- though with little finesse -- it slams its face into the floor in an attempt to crush Utakata's annoying red aura. The ninja manages to get out of the way in time, and all the shadow does is manage to rip up a bunch of the hardwood flooring. The shadow quickly forgets about him. Its attention is pulled towards one of the bold newcomers, the biggest one in its sight. The minotaur charges Xander, twisting its head to be able flip the man and his horse with its horns, aiming to use the momentum to trample the others too. But-- Like a dart -- a massive, purple, winged dart -- a shape flew forward and pierced the bull right between the eyes. Illidan stabs right through it, appearing on the other side. Everything is silent for a second, then the bull-creature stumbles forward and crashes to the ground, leaking red and black smoke from its wound while it shrank like a deflating balloon. Stan blinks a couple times at the anti-climatic resolution. He was actually, honestly, completely stunned at how easy that was, and in the awkward moment he lets out a laugh. It seemed like the shadow was like himself after all -- putting on an intimidating face but having little substance to back up that bravado. Its bluff called, the shadow lays still on the ground. It was in human form once again, yellow eyes fixed on the mechanic. Stan didn't know what compelled him to approach, only that he instinctively knew he had to. He knew, on some level, that if he turned his back on the shadow, it would only grow more powerful. Sure, he was afraid (for many reasons, even, including pain both physical and psychological), but, it felt like everyone -- pictures included -- was looking at him, expecting him to do something. His footsteps on the creaking floor are incredibly loud as he closed the distance and once he is close enough, he crouches down. "Do you love her?" his double mutters to him. "Yes," Stan admits, voice soft. "I do love her, from the depths of my heart." "Damn cuck," the mostly naked man spits, although he was wearing a smile. "We're not even talking about the same person, are we?" Stan snorts, then chuckles. "You're me, and so of course you see through my bull. There's people I care about, a lot, in this new world we're living in. Even though I try to keep my space, it doesn't change the fact that there really are people who care about me, too. Chanel taught me that it was possible for me to care, and Lara taught me to remember how it feels to be cared for." The shadow closes his eyes and begins to breathe peacefully, satisfied with the answer. "Nice horns, by the way," he adds, which prompts the shadow to snap its eyes open. Stan flinches back a little from the action. "Thanks. You want 'em?" "I think I'm good." "Too bad. I'm you -- they're yours." The last thing Stan sees is his own smug smile (a spitting image of what he sees in the mirror every morning) as his shadow self dissolves into light and leaps towards his heart. He cups a hand over the spark and soon he too is enveloped in a light almost too bright to look at. When it fades, Stan finds the shadow's furry cloak over his shoulders and a... card on his chest where his hand had been. He gingerly touches the protrusions on his head, then, in a panic, pats down his clothing to make sure the shadow didn't give him the... less tasteful gear as well. The yellow of his eyes quickly fades back to a familiar green just as he turns to Lara. "I don't know how much of that you heard, but thank you."