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Edward shrugged and opened one of the cupboards, looking for the best sweets he could. He sighed when he saw that they were on a shelf he couldn’t reach because he was... he was... The cupboard was just too damned tall. So, swallowing his pride for a second, he hopped on the counter. He took a couple of boxes, hopped off the counter, and left. Edward made his way upstairs, deciding to take a scope of his surroundings. It was a vast place, and in spite of the damage that just seemed to happen, it was nice. Maybe he could make a home here.


But when he thought of home, he remembered his little brother. Was Alphonse okay? What was he up to at this hour? Was it late at home? Early? All these questions popped into his head. Still, Edward wandered.





“Talk with me?” Evonna stepped back a little at the creature that approached her and Sora. She looked at him, unsure what to ask or how to respond. Then she looked at the thing. It had a scarf… That was the best Evonna could register. She looked at it with nothing but awe. She blinked several times, not sure what she was supposed to think about this thing that approached.


Uh…. What… Are you?” A simple response, but it did the job. It summed up the thoughts in her mind— because damn that thing was weird!

Edited by Mikasa361
Y’all still picky hhhhhhhhhh

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[ persevere though you may be wearing thin : jowan & duke -- ; ] 


He could feel arms handling him, maneuvering him around the hallways, and Duke closes his eyes with the firm confidence of a man completely secure in the people around him. He knows Xander’s words by heart, can feel the pounding of his heart against his chest, but -- he is okay. He is among allies, and he will be okay.


It is not until he feels himself meet the comforting pressure of a bed beneath him and a familiar voice by his side that Duke cracks open an eye -- just as his arm is lifted and he winces, feeling the wound aggravate his entire side.


“M’fine,” he murmurs, and almost unconsciously shifts away from Natsuki, not wanting them to be worried -- they worried too much, anyways.


“I’ll live,” he reaffirms, voice tight, and winces as he feels a jolt of pain flash down his arm as the gauze is applied with tighter pressure, but before he can say much more --


There seems to be someone else, and he would crane his neck to welcome the newcomer, but he is tired, so very tired from the day’s events. Instead, Duke sighs internally to himself, rolling back his bitten shoulder just briefly, and closes his eyes as he hears the distinct, calm mutter of Natsuki’s voice addressing someone else. It didn’t apply to him, right? The conversation? So he should pay it no mind.


That is, until his name is called, and Duke takes a second to compose himself and regulate his breathing -- really, his heart is beating too fast, and he isn’t sure if he blames the rapid blood loss or the adrenaline from being tackled by a giant robot -- and opens his eyes.




“Hi Jowan,” Duke says, and suddenly realises he must have left the other in his bedroom. Whoops.


“Did you … take a stab at the shower?” he asks weakly, attempting to divert attention from his bleeding arm and shoulder. Puns. Puns were always good.


Good indeed. Duke gives a nervous laugh, and then stares at Jowan, before deciding it was too much effort to tilt his head upwards to stare at the other constantly.


“Duke!?” Jowan is unsure of what to do; his feeble attempts at stemming the flow of blood feels like too little, too late.


The stranger must feel the same way, and they push Jowan’s hands out of the way to apply more gauze. He hadn’t noticed his grip loosening, but now he is able to see how much steadier and sure the stranger is. “Fill that cup at the water fountain,” they say, not taking their eyes off of Duke but briefly lifting a hand to point.


Jowan considers protesting -- he needs to know how Duke was hurt, how bad it was -- but he complies, the desire to help being too compelling to ignore. The fountain is strange, but he has gained enough experience with the world’s plumbing to find the button to activate it. When returns with the full cup, the stranger is speaking.

“Duke. Are you awake?”


Natsuki’s return is all too soon, but entirely welcome -- and Duke sighs to himself, momentarily taking a moment to collect his bearings. It’s okay, this is okay -- it’s not as if he hasn’t been injured in battle before, and now that the shock of suddenly being assaulted was wearing off, he was able to think much more clearly.


You should have reacted faster, and Vylcan’s voice was back to being its usual unasked-for sarcasm now that Duke was not in any life threatening danger.


He opens his eyes, steadily it on the person before him. It takes a bit, but he is able to focus his vision -- and as soon as his sight clears, so do his thoughts.


“Yeah,” he confirms, and makes a feeble attempt to pull his arm away from Natsuki -- really, he’s fine, this has happened before -- “I’m fine, honestly,” he restates, wanting to drive the point home. “The … robot, whatever it was, just took me by surprise. This’ll heal -- in time for the mission. Promise.” He reaches his free hand up to his forehead to brush away his bangs, and winces as he feels the delicate bruise forming across his skin, a memoir from where the robot had repeatedly slammed him into his own created barrier. Oh, how much of a fool he had been.


“The mission is in half an hour.” Natsuki’s voice is flat, and they tighten their grip on his arm. It’s possible that Duke is right, and that it isn’t that bad of a wound. It certainly appears bad, but they admit to themself that they should expect that. Natsuki bleeds slower than most people, and this gauze is cheap and soaks through quickly. Despite this, they are unwilling to allow him to assess it himself and are scared to even lift the gauze to check the wound. Sveta would have done better.


Jowan returns with the water and offers it to Duke, worry clear on his face. “I’m sorry for taking your clothes,” he blurts out, then shrinks back in embarrassment. Why is that the first thing that he says? He hates this -- hates how he can feel the power seeping from Duke’s body, how easy it would be to just take it. The thought is pushed far into the back of his mind, beaten back, and he loathes himself for it ever existing.


Duke is not going to die, and he is grateful to be able to at least know this. The bleeding is slowing, but it is still too much for him to be “fine” in time for the mission. With a spirit healer he would be, but they don’t have one and gauze can only go so far.


Still the allure of the magic in Duke’s blood draws at him, but this time he realizes. The bleeding is the problem, but what if he just stopped it? It’s never something that he’s done before, but there is no reason for it to be impossible. Some blood mages control their enemies by manipulating their blood, and all he has to do is stop it from escaping until it clots.


He does not want to reveal his plan and he is not about to use an ally’s blood without their consent, so he twists the wrist of his injured arm just far enough for fresh blood to spot out. Little is needed for such a small task. The stranger, too focused on glaring at Duke, doesn’t notice his wince of pain. Carefully, he focuses on Duke’s arm. It is an unfamiliar feeling, but he can tell that the wound is deep at ragged. He lets the power in his own blood allow him to manipulate Duke’s and gently stops any more from escaping. It is a relief to feel it work -- he had been unsure.


Fair point. Duke is about to say something on his outstanding abilities to heal in just 15 minutes and convince Natsuki to let him out of their grasp and onto the mission, but before Duke can put his master plan in work Jowan returns, holding out a cup of water.


He is surprised -- and delighted to see the other again. So he didn’t die in the shower -- which was always a bonus. in the back of his mind, Duke feels slightly guilty for completely forgetting about the other in everything that happened; certainly he knows he would hate to be left behind in an entirely strange room. He is about to speak, to reassure him and wipe that expression of worry from his features, but Jowan, to Duke’s surprise, talks first.


Duke blinks, his eyes fluttering downwards to scan Jowan’s face -- he hadn’t even noticed. Despite the situation, Duke smiles as he takes the cup from Jowan with his free hand, dipping it upwards. “Thank you,” he says politely, and then laughs, a sideways chuckle from the side of his mouth.


“That’s fine,” he says, “don’t apologise. I would have offered my clothes anyway.” Then, he pauses; Jowan is still reserved, and there is still an aura of suspicion about him that Duke desperately wants to dissipate. He wants Jowan to trust him -- or at least, to feel secure here.


“Are you okay?” he figures he might as well ask, considering he did promise to return and then failed a la giant robot. “How was the water?” He doesn’t think the shuffling would have slammed into any pipes, but if it did -- then Xander would certainly have another headache on his hands.


He can still feel Natsuki’s eyes boring into the back of his head, and with a slightly sheepish expression Duke turns towards them. It is clear that they are worried, and he hates that -- hates making others worry when they should be regarding themselves. He is fine -- physical wounds will heal, will scar, and he will move on.


“It’ll be fine,” he says. “I’m supposed to go on the mission, anyways. It’s been a while. Xander probably thinks --”


He cuts off abruptly, because it is strange -- there is a strange twinge in his arm that he does not recognise, cannot quite place, and Duke shudders internally when he feels the blood against his arm -- is he imagining it, or is it … shifting?


Perhaps he is weary, but somehow the steady flow of blood from his stab wound seems to be … lessening. At an extremely fast rate, in fact, and Duke does not -- he does not remember ever possessing any superhealing powers. A confused, mystified expression settles on his features, and he stares at Natsuki, wondering if perhaps they have an answer. He finishes his sentence, but it is clear his mind is not in it: “Xander probably thinks I should get out of my room more.”


Despite Jowan's earlier rationalization that that Duke wouldn't care if he borrowed his clothes it is still a relief to hear it said so lightly. The dread that he will be punished somehow does not fade entirely -- years in the Circle and weeks in a cell are not wiped away so easily -- but he feels some of the tension in his shoulders dissipate. "That's- that's good. Thank you."


"I'm not the one sitting on an infirmary bed," he replies dryly, but he is touched that Duke asked. "The water was fine." He chooses not to explain his difficulties with the temperature. Maybe he would have were the situation different, but it is too embarrassing with the stranger there and he doesn't want Duke to think that he didn't explain the shower well enough.


Natsuki is irritated that Duke still wants to go on the mission -- does he not worry about becoming a liability? -- but they are beginning to think that they are fighting a losing battle. Duke's tenacity would have been admirable in another context, but why the sudden desire to go on the mission? They have no authority over whether he goes on not, but prepares to argue regardless when a strange look comes over Duke's face.


Natsuki's eyes narrow. "I'm sure that Xander will understand if you sit this one out," they say slowly. "Is something wrong?" They slide their gaze over to the newcomer. He is not someone that they had ever seen before, but they had been too rushed to consider him a threat before Duke had awoken. Afterwards, they had assumed that Duke had trusted him. Had they made a mistake?


For his part, newcomer seems alarmed by the attention. This means little; many suspects are, regardless of their guilt. With the way the newcomer had apologized unprompted they wouldn't have been surprised if he were the anxious sort.


The strange feeling is slightly unnerving, to say the least, but Vylcan has not commented, and Duke absolutely does not want to be held off from the mission on account of a ‘feeling’. At Natsuki’s question, Duke swallows and meets their gaze, putting on his best smile.


“Not at all,” he says lightly, “just feeling a bit from earlier. But like I said,” and here, he turns his head to assess his arm -- as expected, there is blood splattered across the torn sleeve of his uniform, and internally Duke groans: this will take forever to mend. He is rather attached to this outfit, after all, and to see it damaged is as if he is spitting on Ace’s grave.


Maybe the feeling is because he has an infection. Maybe he’ll just kneel over and die tomorrow. But that hasn’t happened yet, and as with all things in life: he’ll deal with it when it comes to it.


“I’ll be just fine. Xander will understand, I’m sure, but my heart won’t,” he says jokingly, eyeing Natsuki. “It’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere I’m starting to feel a little restless. You won’t deny my sense for adventure, would you?”


He shifts so that his vision isn’t obscured by Natsuki, and meets Jowan’s eyes. It is nice to hear that the other had what was -- assumingly -- a nice shower, and he looks much better now that he is not bloodied and in dirty clothes. Internally, Duke makes a mental note of distaste when he notices how his clothes seem to almost hang off the other’s form, and, well -- that just wouldn’t do. Anyone who stayed here long term -- as he certainly hoped Jowan would -- would be given their own closet, and he would see to that immediately.


Barring any giant robot attacks or sudden missions, of course. He winks, as if to say: watch this.


“Just think of it this way, Natsuki,” Duke says, “if I get hurt now, I won’t get hurt later in the mission. It’s karma. Or something like that.” He attempts to gesture with his hands, but winces as he pulls slightly on his wounded arm and feels the resulting resistance.


Natsuki is unsure, but decides to let it go. For all of his flaws, they trust Duke to tell them if there is a serious problem. Pursuing the matter wouldn’t help anyway -- trying to get information from Duke that he doesn’t want to give is like pulling teeth without a hammer.


“I suppose not,” they say, reluctant. Making Duke feel restrained will, after all, do nothing to make him trust them, and they need him to. XDRE wouldn’t have a chance of staying together without loyalty between members. “Let me finish patching this up before you go running off, unless you’re planning on finding an actual medic. You as well,” they say, seeing the spots of blood on the newcomer’s sleeve.


They gently lift the gauze and push the torn fabric away from the wound, prepared to push it back down at the sight of a renewed flow. To their surprise it’s barely even seeping anymore. Using a bit of clean gauze they carefully wipe the fluid from the edge of the wound, and no more takes its place. They frown. It’s what they would have expected were it their own injury, but Duke is only human and the wound is too deep for it to have already stopped without extra clotting agents. It should be a good thing, but they hate unknowns.  


His comment is senseless, but Natsuki knows that he won’t pay any mind if they outright refute it (not that he’s likely to pay any mind regardless). “If anything, you managed to pay off some of the negative karma you made with whatever stunt you pulled today. Care to explain what happened to the roof while we’re here?” Internally, they are troubled and they glance back at the newcomer. Bleeding should have resumed when Duke tugged at his arm (fool), but the site stayed as clear as before.


Jowan had hoped that his actions would remain unnoticed and a spike of fear jolts through them when he is, but he is relieved when Duke doesn’t tell the stranger. It’s silly, and he feels as though he is already failing at what he set out to do. Using blood magic on someone unwilling, someone that didn’t even know -- hadn’t he promised himself that he’d be more honest? Even if it’s to help, it leaves a pit in his stomach. Despite this, he still finds himself unable to explain, and only nods and unconsciously covers his arm with his hand when the stranger points it out. Pathetic.


Duke seems able to ignore the serious atmosphere at least. A laugh escapes from Jowan’s mouth at his ‘explanation’ for why he wouldn’t get hurt on the mission. It’s a bad idea for them to go and he would argue against it, but who was he to speak when he had suggested it with his own arm injury?


Despite his previous words, Duke is appreciative to have Natsuki around in this scenario. They are calm and entirely too worried about the world for their own good, but there is a certain presence the other carries that Duke only wants to explore further. Wholeheartedly, he does not wish to pick a fight with Natsuki, nor cause trouble for the other; simply to create a little bit of fun around headquarters. It was no good -- seeing the creases between Xander’s brows or how much the members worried to no end.


“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” he replies, “thank you, Natsuki.” Offering up his arm, he watches as they peel away the gauze and, well --


It’s not as if he knows anything about medicine in particular, but he is almost certain that he should be bleeding … well, a whole lot more than he currently was. The flow of blood from his wound seems to have stopped completely, a very strange occurrence considering how fresh the injury had been only moments before. By the way Natsuki’s face furrows just slightly, they realise it as well -- and Duke holds his breath, wondering if they will bring the issue up. Undoubtedly, if Duke knows them at all -- such a strange variance from the norm would not be easily forgiven.


However, it seems they have moved on, following the casual stream of conversation he had initiated, and Duke sighs to himself in relief. At the mention of his earlier actions, he laughs, and then gives Natsuki an apologetic glance.


“I didn’t quite know that would happen,” he says. “Just figured I would give the newcomers a … spicy welcome?” That sounded just as bad coming out as it had in his head.


“Ah, hell,” he says, brushing it off with a scoff and a smile. “Wouldn’t be the first time someone stabbed me for playing a prank. Did you know empire guards have no sense of humour? You say you killed the king like, once, and suddenly they’re out for your head.” Duke shakes his head, an overly-serious expression on his face, as he tries to analyze his earlier actions. “Wonder what I said this time.”


Jowan’s laugh is surprising to hear, but not unwelcome -- Duke, as with everyone, wishes the newcomer would relax, open up more, stop gazing around as if he expected the world to suddenly attack him. There is a certain way by which the other acts that makes Duke frown, and, well -- if he can lighten up the atmosphere in this room with only his words, he’ll certainly continue talking.


Natsuk is used to keeping quiet, but some days it becomes difficult, particularly when Duke is involved. They close their eyes, inhale, and exhale. How many times had he been told? They know that they can’t expect everyone to act as though they’d had police training, but the instinct to avoid spooking unknowns feels so ingrained. It’s a basic concept -- if a creature is unpredictable, do not agitate it -- and it applies here more than it did in their own world. The incident with Fiddlesticks showed that quite clearly. “Come to the sink, we need to wash that,” they say with forced calm.

“No one was hurt! There was really no reason for anyone to try to stab him,” the newcomer says. Natsuki isn’t sure why he is already so eager to defend Duke, but at least he has someone looking out for him now.

“I know,” they say, and it’s true. Duke wouldn’t do anything malicious to the newcomers, not on purpose. They remember the blood on the floor, but they trust Duke. “But that’s not the problem here.” They pull Duke’s arm over the sink and peel away the bloodied sleeve, but despite their anger they move slowly and are careful to avoid hurting him. After testing the temperature of the water and washing their own hands the begin flushing the wound, continuing to speak over the sound of the water. “We don’t know anything about the people that come through the Gateway,” -- at this they can’t help but think of the lack of bleeding and glance at the newcomer again -- “We don’t know what kinds of powers or magic they have. We don’t know what their personalities are like or what might set them off. A god with PTSD could walk through one day and we wouldn’t have any warning of it. And that,” they punctuate their words by turning off the tap. “Is why we are supposed to explain things, evaluate each group for any threats, and watch them until we can understand them. We did everything right with Nata, and people still got hurt. That could have been far worse, and it could have happened today.”


They’re calmer now. “Go sit down, I’ll get the ice.” After giving it to him and setting the suturing supplies on the bedside table they approach the newcomer. “May I see?” He seems somewhat shocked by their speech -- maybe he didn’t understand exactly what he was getting into -- but allows them to look at his arm after a moment of hesitation. The wound is more shallow than Duke’s, but it is ugly and jagged. A bit of fresh blood coats its surface, but it’s old enough to have mostly stopped. A few older scars, long, thin and deliberate, mar the skin below. “Wash that with soap and water. I’ll do yours after I’ve done Duke’s.” They pause, then remember something. “My name is Natsuki. Welcome to XDREs.”


“Jowan,” he says, not meeting their eyes.


Despite his earlier, joking tone, a certain sense of guilt settles over Duke at Natsuki’s words, and his face grows solemn. Ah. Well, that he knows -- he remembers what Nata had been like when he first came to the X-Dre, distrustful of the world and entirely hurt by it, and how difficult it had been to get him to tell them his name, much less trust them. He knows that there are certain things on this earth that are just not fair, simply not enough faith to change the way one has spent most of their life, and Duke wishes things were not so.


He appreciates Jowan’s words, slight as they may be, as he watches Natsuki peel back the ruined sleeve of his uniform, wet with blood, and wash the wound. It stings, but not nearly as much as he had thought it would, and the lack of blood is … interesting. It is a mystery for another time, Duke thinks, but first he wishes to sort out whatever was on Natsuki’s mind.


“It happens,” he assesses, too calm. “But Nata is with us now. Wounds heal, after all.” He smiles, simply, and dips his head to show he acknowledges the other’s words. “I’ve learnt my lesson -- I’ll consult you next time I plan to build any invisible death mazes. Or perhaps the robot itself?”


When Natsuki has finished cleaning his wound, Duke obeys instruction and perches himself on the side of the bed, still too heavily exhausted to fool around with Natsuki’s plans for this day in particular. He lets himself flop back, his good arm across his eyes to block out the bright light of the infirmary, as he listens to the sounds of Natsuki and Jowan interacting in the background -- beyond anything, they were a good agent -- and patiently waits for his turn.


Natsuki is unsure about whether Duke truly understands or not, but they’ve said their piece. It’s up to him whether he learns or not; such is the nature of teamwork. It’s true that Nata joined them , but that doesn’t erase the damage that was done. Resentment flares briefly within them; saying that wounds heal is easy for Duke. He is not the one that had to endure the pain and scent of one's own flesh burning, or the knowledge that there are no antibiotics available to save one from infection, or the angry red mark that still throbs late at night. But they are practiced in ignoring such feelings and allowing them to fade, and he is not wrong -- it will heal. Natsuki has never been one to complain about something so minor as their own health.


They retrieve a large chunk of ice from the freezer and hand it to Duke (after having to say his name to get his attention), then busy themself with preparing the suturing supplies. They had had to insist that the infirmary be stocked with the sterilized spool of silk, pair of needle holders, and set of curved needles, and are glad to have them now.


"This should only take a few minutes, so you can start numbing your injury now, Jowan -- Duke, please sit up, I can't do this while you're lying down," they say. As they speak, they pour some isopropyl onto a cotton ball and rub it on the skin surrounding Duke's injury. "Ice is in the freezer; sorry, but we don't have any anesthesia. I trust that that's okay."


Numbing herbs weren't much better than ice anyway so Jowan is unsure of why Natsuki apologized, but he nods anyway. He sits lightly on the edge of the bed, prepared to move if someone tells him to, then gathers some chilled air in his good hand. It only occurs to him halfway through numbing his flesh that he hadn't asked permission to use frost magic instead of using the likely non-magical ice that Natsuki had suggested. He nearly stops, but no one has told him too and the magic is easier to direct.


Natsuki looks to Duke for confirmation, take a deep breath, and push the needle into his skin. Having never touched a sewing needle nor had much reason to practice suturing, they feel clumsy wielding the needle holders. The stitches are unevenly placed and at times the thread pulls at Duke's flesh, but the knots are secure and the edges of the wound are held together. It's not pretty -- Sveta would have done far better in a quarter of the time -- but it's functional. "Don't tear those out, and watch it. Make sure that you know if there's anything strange happening." They are trusting him to interrogate Jowan, and hope that he gets the hint. The newcomer -- who is now sitting uncomfortably close to the edge of the bed and has his sleeve down again -- doesn't trust them. Maybe he'd be more willing to open up to Duke.


He always wonders what goes on in Natsuki’s head -- they are entirely an enigma, too private with their personal thoughts and wishes for Duke to realise anything that might spark their interest. He desires, sometimes, to know them better --  but he knows how intensely private people can be, how terrifying it can be to share one’s internal wishes and hopes with the world. He will not push, but even then -- sometimes Duke cannot help but wonder.


He obeys their command, sitting up in an exaggerated motion, and gives them a quick grin before presenting his arm to allow them to work. Despite any verbal disagreements he may have, Duke is not a bad patient -- he appreciates how hard people work for his benefit.


Just as Jowan takes a seat, Duke winces as he feels Natsuki push the needle into his skin. It’s definitely not the worst heal job he’s had -- war made things difficult, after all -- but it is still not pleasant, and Duke was never a master at concealing his pain through anything. If anything, he exaggerated the effects.


Bravely, he tries to calm his beating heart and wincing face, for Natsuki’s benefit -- they are already doing him such a huge favour that he does not want to show them their efforts are underappreciated, and feels the string tug at his wound. However, Natsuki’s words distract him, and --


Anything strange?


Well, why would they word it like that?


His eyes flicker momentarily over to Jowan, and then back at Natsuki -- their calm face gives nothing away, but there is a sight shine to their eyes that Duke … does not quite want to recognise. It has never occurred to him that Jowan might be dangerous, nor that the universe would ever bring a criminal into their realms -- even Nata, despite everything, had a good heart. For Natsuki to be so blatantly obvious with their suspicions felt … unnerving.


He opens his mouth to speak, just as he is distracted by the rumble of the skies outside. Thunder? At this time? His eyes flicker over to Natsuki as they finish up his stitches, silently asking their thoughts.


He nods in response to their warnings, and -- he will be careful. He does not want this to scar, at least not too badly, and Duke knows the dangers of being foolhardy around a recovering wound. He is not a stranger to infection, though nothing too serious, thankfully.


Natsuki frowns, unnerved, but begins preparing the second needle. “It sounded like it came from the Gateway.” It’s all that needs to be said; volatile newbies with lightning powers aren’t new. They only hope that the agents stationed there are able to handle the situation.


“So, Jowan,” he says, and his voice feels strange in the otherwise silent room. “What is that?” It is a forward question, but not unkindly, and Duke glances curiously at the newcomer, wanting his thoughts, his eyes directed on the strange mists that seem to be moving through the other’s fingers.


Startled, Jowan falters, and the mist disperses through his fingers. It takes him a moment to realize what Duke meant, and for a moment he fears that his interference has been discovered. He can tell that Duke meant no harm by the question, but he rests his hand on his lap instead of restarting the spell. Natsuki is already threading another need, and his skin is numb enough. “It’s, uh, sort of a modified version of Winter’s Grasp. It’s smaller and more sustained- it’s actually a bit more difficult to do than the basic version, because fluctuations in its strength are a lot more noticable.” His start is awkward, but as he continues he forgets his shame. It’s been too long since he’s been able to talk about magic, and the words flow from his mouth as if a dam has been burst. “Takes less mana, of course, but- oh. It doesn’t matter.” Natsuki holds up a ball of cotton that smells strongly of alcohol, and Jowan stops as if just realized that he’d been speaking. Duke probably didn’t care for the extended explanation anyway.


He pushes up his sleeve and turns his head, not wanting to watch. He’s been so careful to avoid letting his sleeves rise about his wrists for so long, and he hates the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable.


“The edges of your wound are jagged. I can’t keep it from scarring,” is all Natsuki says, and it’s almost unnerving that they don’t mention the existing ones.


“That’s fine,” Jowan says, throat dry.


What Jowan is saying is fascinating, even if he doesn’t understand it one bit.


Their system of magic, Vylcan abruptly says, and it seems -- it seems the spirit, too, is interested in the magic systems of different worlds. A spell-based system reliant on mana? That in itself was interesting.


Duke is slightly disappointed when Jowan dissipates the spell as soon as he had inquired about it -- and that had been the wrong move? But it is just so interesting, so fascinating, and Duke wishes to hear about these lands he has never visited, the systems of royalty that hold allegiance over each and their triumphs and failures. The abrupt way by which Jowan speaks makes him think that perhaps this is not a subject easily discussed, but Duke is not here to make assumptions -- certainly not of people he has just met, and not of people he wants to get to know better.


He ignores the pain in his aching arm, though newly treated, in lieu of prompting Jowan to talk more.


“I think it does,” Duke says lightly, and leans forward, sharp, royal-blue eyes suddenly filled with an inquiring light. “What’s mana? Or Winter’s Grasp, for that matter?”


The needle enters his skin and Jowan digs crescents into his free palm; it’s a distraction in more ways than one. He glances toward Natsuki, and sees that there’s a furrow in their brow and a light frown on their face. It’s a look of deep concentration, and he wonders if they’re even listening to the conversation. They hardly seem to care about anything but the job of running the needle through his skin, yet he can’t trust them. He knows too well how easily people can catch the wrong word. But the gleam of interest in Duke’s eyes -- it reassures him that it’s okay. He can speak.


“Mana, it’s- sort of like the fuel that you use to open a connection to the Fade.” Seeing a lack of recognition in Duke’s eyes, he elaborates. “The Fade’s where people go when they dream- or, I guess if there’s no Fade in your world you don’t dream. It’s sort of a world out-of-step with the real world. Spirits live there, and it’s in a state of constant flux because the will of beings can change it. That’s the simple version, anyway.” There were shelves of books debating the exact nature of the Fade; it would take him hours to explain properly. “So mages can use mana to, I guess you could say make the real world a bit more like the Fade, make it malleable enough for your will an imagination to change it. There’s other ways, but-” he cut himself off. “I mean, Winter’s Grasp is one of the simplest cold spells. It’s just a blast of cold air in its basic form, but the strong version is popular as a combat spell. Technically most versions have their own names, but half the time people don’t bother with that.”


There’s something nostalgic about being able to just talk like this. The subject matter is simple, more like when he was tutoring Conner, but he tries to focus on happier things. Late nights, lit by a flame, whispering and arguing about magical theories. Hours of feeling the quiet sense of being alive. “I had a friend who was good at that spell,” he finishes suddenly after a pause.


By this time Natsuki has clipped the tail of the last stitch; he’d forgotten about the pain. He sees it briefly before they wrap a clean bandage over it -- the skin looks almost as those it’s been puckered like a piece of cloth.


“You’re both free to go now, unless you have any other injuries to tell me about,” Natsuki says. They drop the needles into a makeshift sharps container, a glass jar with a scotch-tape label that says “To be Sterilized” in blue sharpie and careful letters. Below that is another piece of tape, and its rushed-looking words have been gone over in pen several times: “Alcohol does NOT count!!”.


Jowan’s explanation is interesting, even if it leaves him with a flood of questions in response. He wants to know more about the other’s world -- this Fade, whatever it was, seemed wholeheartedly omnipotent, and it was strange for Duke to think that something so important to the other would not exist in his own world. Or, at least, he doesn’t think so -- he doesn’t know the specifics of magic regarding Chevire and his own kingdom, having taken it at face value that some magical man in his brain would grant him the ability to mold the universe before him.


It was interesting how they seemed to name different spells, as well, and Duke briefly wonders if he should be naming each and every separate border he creates. Maybe scream it out, too, to let his enemies know he’s taking action.


Absolutely not, Vylcan tells him, and his fantasy ends there. In response to Jowan’s words, Duke hums goodnaturedly, for once wanting to listen rather than speak. At the mention of his friend, Duke perks up.


Well -- it isn’t as if he assumed automatically that Jowan had no friends, but at the same time it is strange to -- to realise the other more than likely had associations back home. Did he have friends he cared about? A lover, perhaps? Duke had abandoned his own place in favour of aiding the X-Dreamers, and the people he once knew were fragments of a past he no longer wanted to discuss, to be reminded of. A friend that was good at magic -- that reminds him an awful lot of someone he used to know, and Duke smiles, a faraway, slight gesture.


Natsuki’s voice breaks him from his thoughts. “That’s fascinating,” Duke says, as he slides off the bed in one smooth gesture and pulls his half-cloak over his arm with his good hand. “You’ll have to tell me more sometime. It’s entirely different from anything I’m used to.” Then, Duke takes a couple steps forward before stopping, half-turned back towards Jowan. He has a destination in mind, now -- after all, he was supposed to go on the mission, wasn’t he?


“I’m heading to the Gateway,” he announces, meeting Natsuki’s gaze as confirmation. Then, his eyes flicker to Jowan. “Coming?”


Duke looks almost sad for a moment, and Jowan wonders. Has Duke lost someone as well? He almost wishes that he could ask, that there was something he could do to take the melancholy out of Duke’s eyes.


But Natsuki speaks, and the moment passes.


He feels a slight flutter in his chest, and is surprised by how glad he is that Duke is interested in his magic system. “Maybe we can trade,” he says, a light smile tugging at his lips. “I’ll tell you about my magic system, you tell me about yours.”


He thanks Natsuki and hurries to follow Duke; unfamiliar with the halls, he trails slightly behind. As they walk he asks if they need to gather any supplies, but Duke explains that others will take care of that with a wave of his hand.


The Gateway almost seems more crowded than it was when they left, and one of the newcomers even had two large pairs of wings. How many people were going to show up in one day? This couldn’t be normal.

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Masala (outside)

Masala was insulted by the human before he turned and walked away. He was very rude by calling her a non-fairy and simply walking away. She wanted to tell him off but looked at the human in the shadows, that one looked highly nervous. Looking around even further, she spied more humans.

“Hi,” she said, marching up to them. “Can someone tell me where I'm at? More importantly, I think that human needs help.” She pointed her paw at the shadow human, craning her neck up to look at the rest of the humans and a strange looking Pokemon.


Ruby (by the garage)

Ruby heard a noise, moving to see what caused it. She didn't really understand what was going on, but owls were smart and she wanted to know what was going on. It felt weird talking to things she had never seen before, what were they? “Excuse me,” she said, stepping further into...what was it exactly? “But can you tell me what a mission is? I really didn't mean to eavesdrop but I heard some noises outside and thought to investigate.”


Edited by Dalek Raptor

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Moments after Reshiram shifted, the Blitzle-creature started talking to themself. Reshiram cocked their head a bit, glancing at Twilight before looking away again. Then Twilight asked a question. Reshiram was silent before the feeling came. It was indescribable, it was powerful, and it was a reminder. What they were.


"Ye... Yes, I suppose." The white dragon's element was compelling. Though they were still nervous, there wasn't an invisible trap right there any longer. Nevertheless, they still avoided looking at the pony's eyes - before hearing something. Footsteps. A human girl comes in - Reshiram scuttles back, wings flaring a bit, and eyes her, a nervous glint in their eye. Did she have any ... powers like the other humans out there? Like before, Reshiram avoids eye contact. What does this human want now...?


((OOC: Telepathy is italicized with quotation marks. Italics without quotation marks are normal thought.))

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Arch - Gateway



The single defiant word was the only warning Arch got before he felt something warm clasp upon his hand. His body was forcefully twisted back towards Theo eliciting his wings to flutter in surprise.
“S-Stop,” Arch hissed holding back a sob as he tried to pull himself away from the arms curling around him. “I don’t want—” What was it that he didn’t want? What was he supposed to say? Arch’s mouth clamped shut as Theo fervently whispered an apology into his shoulder, his entire body shivering against the angel's chest. Arch’s wings stilled as his resistance to Theo’s advances grew weaker and weaker. Arch derived no pleasure from seeing Theo’s face contort into a grimace nor did he enjoy hearing the whirlwind of pain that filled Theo’s voice. Instinctually, Arch wrapped his arms around Theo, one arm around Theo’s shoulders and the other down near the small of his back. Arch could feel the worryingly rapid beating of Theo’s heart emanating from his back and, as Theo reached up to cautiously run his fingers through Arch’s hair, Arch relaxed without conscious volition.


“That doesn’t make any sense,” Arch mumbled, resting his chin on Theo’s shoulder. “I heard something outside early in the morning and went to investigate. I found Viska trying to climb in through a window so I chased her off but then she—” Arch bit his lip, his fingers digging into the fabric of Theo’s jacket. What was he supposed to say? How could he tell Theo that he if he hadn’t been teleported to the circle of marigolds he would be settling nicely in Viska’s stomach when he was still processing the event himself? Worst of all, Arch was absolutely sure that he had almost died just mere minutes prior to Theo’s arrival. There was a possibility that Arch had been unconscious for several days, but a month? That didn't seem plausible; however, Arch, much to his discomfort, could not deny the sincerity of Theo’s pain, yet nothing that he spoke of made any sense. There was no reasonable explanation for Arch to have been absent for an entire month, but there was no denying Theo had lived an entire month frantically scouring the land for any hint of Arch accepting defeat and heading back home to an empty bed.


“I’m sorry,” Arch said after a silence had settled upon them. “I’m not ready to talk about what happened, but I swear to you that I was with Viska until just a few minutes ago. I would—” Arch’s arms tightened around Theo, his voice laced with emotion. “I would never leave you for a month without warning. To my knowledge I’ve only been gone for a few hours, I swear! I promise that I was going to come back. Please, I...I really was.” Arch allowed himself a moment to close his eyes and regain his composure. He sighed a shaky breath, his wings drooping as he began to slowly count in his mind to distract himself from the raging emotions in his chest.


“We need to figure out where we are,” Arch said, opening his eyes as he loosened his hold on Theo. Arch took a step back as he gently pried Theo’s arms from around him and, in exchange for pushing Theo’s arms away, Arch grabbed one of Theo’s hands in his own. He had learned from experience that both of them were easier to calm once they were anchored by physically touching something. It worked out well for the both of them in the past and Arch needed to calm both himself and Theo as soon as he could.


“I can’t say I understand the time discrepancy between us, but we’re both here now, right?” Arch gave Theo’s hand a gentle squeeze and an offered him a soft smile. “We’ve been through worse. I’m sure we’ll be fine. Besides,” Arch’s grin grew wider. “I still have a breakfast I promised to cook you. You're not wiggling your way out of eating my cooking by keeping us lost in some strange field." 

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Sora | This will take some getting used to...

"'France'?" Sora wondered. He tilted his head, the name unfamiliar to him. Maybe he could ask Donald, Goofy, or King Mickey about France and Heaven's Gate. Would they know anything about Evonna's world? It was possible that they wouldn't, if everyone here at the castle were taken from different universes. Sora wondered if Evonna's universe even had more than one world. Would she even know? 


A sound reached his ear.


Darkness shifted and spiraled into being.


The boy reacted instinctively, the Keyblade sparking into existence with the ring of light. He crouched just in front of Evonna, all of his weight balanced in his toes. He knew those Corridors, knew what came out of them - enemies. Eyes narrowing, he swung his blade forward -


A blue scarf.


Immediately, he jerked his arm upward, redirecting the Keyblade before it made contact with the Dusk and vanishing the same way it appeared. Pulling his hand back down, now empty of weapon, Sora stood straighter and folded his arms across his chest. The boy frowned. "Talk..." he repeated, keeping his attention on Hush even as Evonna questioned what the creature was. "That's a Dusk, a Lesser Nobody," Sora answered her. 


Unfolding his arms, he placed one hand on his hip and use the other to scratch the back of his head as he looked down at the tiled floor. Looking back up, he gave Hush a small, but goofy, grin. "Alright. Since we're in the same situation, why don't we at least be nice to each other?" he questioned. "What do ya wanna talk about?"

Edited by ValidEmotions

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Hush, Child of Void


So, the traitor had agreed to talk. As had his new friend.


Everyone needs friends.


But what to talk about.


"... Memories."


Taking a risk for its own safety, the Dusk floated a bit closer to the pair.


"Remember home?"


Surely Roxas hadn't entirely vanished. Every Nobody could recall their past with great detail, so no doubt the Keyblade bearer would also recall his time at Castle That Never Was.

Edited by Coryn02

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Stan -- Gateway


Lara let out a soft but tense chuckle. Seems like she had an encounter with the man who had kicked him, and that curly-eyebrow acted the same way to all women. Figured.


"What will make everything better is a kiss right here," he pointed coyly to his bottom lip, the corner of his mouth lifting into a smile, before failing to hold in a snort of laughter. Maybe a few years ago he could have said the line with a straight face, but it did sound a bit silly now that he was a little older. "Can't say I don't love my women either, but it's going to be a pain in the ass if he keeps running around and drop kicking me every time I open my mouth. " He lifted his shoulders in a mock shrug. "If anything, kicking me in the face is your job."


"Speaking of jobs," Stan continued, "This world I checked out was a lot more dangerous than I thought. They got some weird hocus pocus," he waved his hands mystically while he steadily got back to his feet, "where they have some kind of telekinesis to pull on metal and deflect bullets. I don't have my glock on my belt, see? It didn't go crap last time, so I don't know if guns will be useful this time around. But if we can find some way to neutralize their magic... Then guns might be the fastest way to take care of them."


"Some parts of that place just make me feel uneasy," the man added, "and I'm sure Xker felt it too. It's like a medieval city straight out of King Arthur, but all dark and dreary. Still want to tag along, knowing all this? Still not too late to stay behind with the dog. Could be a pretty dangerous place if you can't use your sharpshooting."

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Lara chuckled at Stan’s flirtatious comment. She tried not to let her thoughts wander- he certainly wasn’t a bad specimen indeed, but she had too many things to do. She swatted the swell on his face, but gently. Lord knew what kind of reflexes this man had, Lara would never wish to test those waters on anyone, even if she had the capacity to fight back.


Yes, I do suppose that I have something I’d like to put to those lips. I’m sure he won’t drop kick you like that, not if I’m around. He’s not taking my place, the wanker.” Lara shrugged. She had a strange feeling that she wouldn’t need to deal with that any longer- she knew that man wasn’t going to be a threat. Thus, she relaxed and leaned back on her heels. She frowned when Stan went through with the spiel about this world he had explored.


Stanley, are you implying that I’m incapable of combat?” She leaned forward and  pat Cicero on the head. Cicero knew from the vibes he got from his mama that that comment almost hurt. And like the good boy he was, he wanted to comfort his fren. Lara sighed.

I’d hope I could at the very least provide something, yes?” Lara pet Cicero again and leaned back.


I’ve gone weaponless before, Stan. I’ll manage.” She frowned at her gun holsters, carefully undoing them and letting them sink. She also slipped off her belt for good measure- there was no way she would need it with these shorts, anyway. They were probably her tightest pair- typically she wore the belt for a bit of style. This would not be needed. “If it’s no metal, so be it. But I ought to go.” She looked around at the newcomers. “Perhaps one of them could take Cicero and my things back to my room. It’s a distinct door so I won’t need to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to find it.” Lara took a second look when she saw something that looked small and squishy. It was almost like a teddy bear, but it was walking around. Lara felt her heart warm up when she saw it. She smiled and looked at it more. “Well hello there! Now what may you be?” Lara was not one to squeal, but the amused pitch in her voice was close enough. 


Cicero squirmed and yipped, slightly depressed that he lost his attention.




Evonna nodded when she heard what Sora said. She had no idea what a Nobody was, but she decided the less questions, the better. The “Dusk” had asked if they remembered home. Evonna nodded, but assumed that it was talking more to Sora. So she kept silent, not wishing to interrupt.

Edited by Mikasa361

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Anders [ Near the Gateway ]


The girl’s reaction was strange. True, Anders hadn’t spoken aggressively, but he was used to people doing more than tense when they were threatened with a staff. Despite her stutter, she almost seemed unsurprised by the situation. At the same time, she didn’t look like someone used to combat. 


He wasn’t keen on the idea of just blurting his name out again, but Keaton apparently had no such reservations. Still, Anders supposed that he had to follow the wolfskin’s example. He’d dug himself into a hole by asking Rayla for her name first; it’d be rude to not reciprocate. “I’m new here as well. Anders,” he said, cautious. 

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Stan -- Gateway


"No! No... I didn't mean to say that you can't fight!" It was a simple misunderstanding and she had seemed to take it the wrong way. Stan let out a long breath, reminding himself that she was more than capable of a close combat fighter who didn't need to be protected.


Hmph. That's what everyone said in the face of danger. Women, men... they're all equally as reckless and ready to protect those they cared for, himself included. As much as Stan wanted to do everything so that his friends could be kept safe and out of harm's way, he struggled with the concept that not everyone was helpless.


From time to time his regret paid him a visit, reminding him of moments where he could have turned the tide or made a decision to save someone. They came back when he had nothing else to occupy him. He thought about how things would have turned out different if she had been still alive, or what kind of ideal person he would have become if there were a different outcome. From what he had heard from Twilight, the instability of the multiverse also meant the instability of its timelines, and in one selfish part of his heart he wanted to be returned to a time where no one had to die for his mistakes. They might not even accept him in that ideal world, but perhaps seeing it with is own two eyes might finally put his worrying to rest. 


To distract his thoughts, Stan focused his gaze on the brown dog, Cicero, and watched the approach of a small creature about the same size as the puppy. Stan raised both eyebrows -- the thing looked like a candy-themed toy for children, but it was alive and had spoken to them directly. It looked relatively harmless, but then again, it was entirely hard to tell with all these different beings from different places.


He gave Lara a sideways, somewhat questioning glance, before looking down at the yellow lemon-flavored animal. He never expected her to like the conventional cute things, but it was good to know that she would be equally happy getting something cute for a present as she would be gifted with a new set of knives.


"Hi," he answered the pokemon, "We're at the Gateway to the Starry Skies." He looked up, where through the blue light of eternal dawn he could see the faint shimmering of foreign stars. "We're a group of people dedicated to protecting the multiverse and you probably got teleported here by accident. There are a lot of people just as confused as you. It's hard to get lost here so feel free to wander around."


On the other side of the ring of stones was a tall man who was pitch black. Stan craned his neck to get a better look, then glanced all around the horizon for Pascal or Cistina, but the former had run off and the latter had left to do some preparations. There was also a pair of young men whispering to each other as if they were good friends, and one of them had angel wings on his back.


Seemed like it was just him and Lara stuck on gateway duty. It was the worst.


"Hey," he approached the dark man cautiously, unsure what kind of abilities he had. Stan cleared his throat before continuing. "What's up? The plushie back there said you needed help? This is the Gateway to the Starry Skies, and you've been ripped from your world by a hiccup in the universe, as crazy as that sounds."




Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Lara relaxed when Stan clarified himself. She knew when Stan had made a mistake, and she knew by now when he was sincere. And it seemed that for a moment, he had something in the back of his eyes that bothered him. Lara almost wanted to ask if he was alright, but she knew that if he wanted to say something, he probably would. She smiled a bit when he started to pet Cicero, who happily wagged his tail. Lara looked back at the new creature and smiled at it as well. It really was quite cute, and she almost wanted to hug it. No Lara, personal space. It’s a thing. Instead she stood up, stretching her legs. While she was used to those sorts of squats, it always made her knees stiff after a while. Lara could’ve sworn she felt pops in the cartilage of her knees, and nearly cursed in annoyance. Still, her legs did recover. 


By then, Stan had begun to approach a figure on the other side of the field. She noticed that it was y’all and dark, and Lara was not sure if it was even remotely friendly. She instinctively crouched to grab her pistols, just in case it was hostile. One never knew, even in a place that summoned mostly heroic beings- give or take… Cicero whined, a little nervous himself. Lara reached down to pick him up, knowing he was probably scared because of the uncertainty of his two friends. This was an odd position, to say the least, but Lara hoped that if she needed her gun, she could use it...

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Yusei | Sentience

The silver machine never answered his question, choosing instead to warn the duelist as it started to wake its companion. The man continued working, moving away from the machines only to search for adequate pieces of metal to make a patch job. Yusei shifted through one supply chest, examining the various sections in his search. He never did find out if it was Pascal or Stan that beat him to organizing the supplies in the garage but, given what he knew of the two individuals, he always hazard it was likely Stan. He studied the sizes, sometimes tapping a piece of metal. Everything was random scrap that several agents had picked up from different worlds, himself included. They never knew what they might need in the foreseeable future.


He looked over his shoulder, catching sight of the silver machine as it shook its head but otherwise was undisturbed. Turning back to the supplies, he selected a few pieces he could meld together before moving to another chest. Again, he shifted through the arranged parts, testing one or two, before bringing the gathered items over. Setting the pieces down, Yusei moved away once more to retrieve the last set of tools he would need to meld the patch job. 


The duelist flicked his blue gaze over to the purple machine again. It still sat at the outer edge of the garage but its eyes were closed now. 


Maybe 'it' wasn't appropriate to use for these machines knowing that the bronze mech was, in fact, a 'she'. Yusei had no notion of what the purple machine could be, what the machine possibly identified with. But the being held as much sentience as the silver one - as much as Yusei did. It was either that or whoever created the purple machine had an art for making the eyes appear alive


The silver machine... "What do I call you?" Yusei asked, coming closer again, welding tool in hand. No. Calling these machines by 'it' was not appropriate at all. All sentient beings had identities. It didn't matter where the being's origins lay. The bronze mech was female, the silver... Well, he hazard the silver machine was male. That still left the purple machine, with no indications of what the identity might be.


He set dark glasses over his eyes, the best protection an agent could find for the time being, and started the blowtorch. He kept the flame small, avoiding as much risk of melting cables as best he could. The mech questioned him about missions and Yusei turned the blowtorch off, looking away from the welding. The bronze machine's eye was lit up. She was awake then.


"Missions start at the Gateway," he answered, a faint smirk tugging at the left corner of his lips. "Her repairs won't be finished in time to catch the team before they leave. You'll need an agent to show you and escort you through," he stated. An open invitation. 


Circuitraider | Inner Workings

She listened.


And she learned.


At first, she watched the human's motions, his organic body language. Yusei's face yielded nothing that she could use in analyzation. But then, she was trying to work him out as if he were a machine, a string of programming. That wouldn't work. So, instead, she began to focus on his silence, on what he responded to and how. Circuitraider was not versed in understanding humans. That was always Bumblebee's job while on Earth. She just stuck to the machines.


When did you stop thinking organically?


Shutting her optics, she rested further against the frame of the garage's opening, the threshold centered against her back. She could stretch out if she chose to. It wasn't like the hallways, cramped and enclosed. The Autobot could handle it though. One leg bent with her knee pointed at the ceiling, the other leg was tucked close underneath. Her arms rested on her legs. Such a human thing to do. She almost forgot why she adopted it. 


Yusei was intelligent, unafraid of the machines. Circuitraider wondered why he came to so readily accept their sentience. Humans... So conflicting by nature. The children were ready to accept the Autobots as they were as organic machines, almost from the moment of meeting. The adults were... a different story. They often needed the most convincing if secrecy was out of the question. 


Machines are simpler.


You know that's not who my sister is.


Circuitraider's optics opened abruptly at the invading thought. An undesired memory. Internally, she locked it away again. Externally, she shifted her gaze towards the other three again, watching as Yusei started welding. Typheus was asking about missions and Yusei's answer came easily. The further explanation, however, was not important to the question. Was it?


She looked over to Typheus, wondering if there was something Yusei picked up on that she failed to. Were the mechs planning to join the current mission Stan had debriefed? It seemed coincidental, and very likely. If Fiddlesticks was so volatile, then it was sensible to put her in a chaotic situation such as possible danger. But was it a wise decision at this time?


Should she even care? The mechs were their own individuals and she was not a babysitter.


A small voice caught her, and apparently Yusei's, attention. She blinked at the owl, uncertain if it really was the source of the voice. And then it continued talking. Circuitraider blinked again. Humans were confusing enough as organics. An owl?


"A mission," Yusei started speaking, seemingly not missing a beat as the Autobot hesitated. "is when an agent, or a team of agents, set out to accomplish one job or another," the man explained, watching the talking owl as if he saw such things on a daily basis. "Some of our missions are basic supply runs and information gathering. Others can be more dangerous, especially if we've located an anchor that needs to be returned to its home world."

Edited by ValidEmotions

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Angela Ziegler, Mercy, Dr. Ziegler


Another day, another life saved. Angela Ziegler, code-named Mercy, took a long sip of coffee from a white cup labeled "Self Healing". Currently stationed in the middle east, coffee was a luxury item that had been requested in the last supply drop. Medical supplies were getting tight, and soon she would run out of painkillers to heal her patients or give them a comfortable death. She looked out over the many refugee tents. War continued to tear apart the world she loved and called home. How quickly people forgot the terrors of the Omnic Crisis. How many countries were turned to ash as the robots rampaged through human civilization, destroying everything in sight. Angela knew first hand. She was on the original task force in London. Overwatch activity was already banned there, but Angela with the help of Tracer, Torbjorn, and Reinhart, saved the city from being turned to ash. Before the dust could settle from that war, new ones were springing up. Humans hurting other humans. There was no break, no chance for the peace Angela so desperately fought for.


She looked down at her computer, a freeze frame of Winston's face looked back at her. Bring back Overwatch? Despite the call, Angela, Mercy, had not yet answered. At the end, she had left overwatch due to their militaristic approach and the adaption of her biotic technology into biotic weapons against her wishes. Despite this, there were those who she had been close too. An open letter from Genji sat next to her laptop. She missed her friends dearly. If they were determined, if they were going to go into battle, she knew she had to be there with them. To watch over them, to heal them. If they died and she was not there, she knew she could never forgive herself.  Especially with the new terrorist group, Talon, on the rise.


"To heal is the highest calling." She mumbled her mantra groggily to herself, with more a sense of frustration then pride. It was time for her to once again don her Valkyrie swift response suit. She opened the trunk where she kept her Overwatch gear. The suit fit like a glove as if she had never taken it off. She tested her wings, her staff, her pistol, everything seemed to be intact. "Valkyrie Online," she said as she stepped out into the sun, a smile on her face.


No sooner had her eyes adjusted to the light as a bright flash consumed her vision. Stumbling, disoriented, her hand fell against something that felt like a cold rock. Shaking, she gripped onto the item until her vision adjusted. It seemed to be some kind of circle of stones. Quickly, she turned around to find nothing familiar behind her. Many methods of fast travel had been invented, but teleportation to this extreme was unheard of. Gripping her staff she looked around, trying to find a landmark or some other sort of identifying feature. She didn't have time to be lost, she was needed at home.   


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Sora | Too Close...



Tilting his head slightly, Sora studied the Dusk with a faintly confused expression. "Yeah, I remember the Destiny Islands. Do you 'remember home'?" he asked in turn. Maybe Hush was just curious to know about Sora as a person and, if it was wanting to talk about memories, it probably had a past too. Did Lesser Nobodies even retain memories? They certainly didn't retain any emotions... Right?


That's what Yen Sid explained anyway. 


He didn't like the Dusk being so close to him but he did his best to ignore the itching in his hands to call for the Keyblade. Still, he was at a disadvantage now if Hush suddenly decided to attack him or Evonna. Looking over at the girl, he tried to play it cool and clasped his hands behind his head once more. "Come on, let's move elsewhere. Maybe we can find a place that's out of the way and continue talking there. Or we can return to the bedrooms... Oh! Did you pick out a place, uh... Hush?" His hands fell back to his sides again as he stood straighter. Did Nobodies even sleep?

Edited by ValidEmotions

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~ Moira O'Deorain ~ Gateway ~ Our Guardian Angel ~


As she leaned against the rock and caught her breath, various questions had formed in Moira's mind. How did I get here? What happened? What were those things? Not that she could know.


Her curiosity soon got the better of her. She poked her head around the rock, and her gaze immediately feel on someone familiar, supporting herself with a staff.


Angela? Is she responsible? She couldn't, could she?


At least she's something familiar. Despite our disputes, it would likely be best to stay together, until I figure this out.


She quickly ran out from her hiding place, and grabbed Mercy's wrist with her right hand. Moira then pulled her back behind the stone.


"Calm yourself," she cooed.

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Angela Ziegler, Mercy, Dr. Ziegler


Before Mercy had a chance to make any determinations about her surrounds, she felt a tug on her wrist. Suddenly, her back was pressed against the stone. Pinned, she looked up to find a familiar face looking down at her. 


"Calm yourself," she cooed.


Hot blush found it's way onto Mercy's cheeks and a chill ran down her spin. Moria O'Deorain, Once a brilliant and highly respected scientist, she had fallen so far. A previous Overwatch agent, Moria was removed from her position after experimenting on others, and herself, as well as adapting Mercy's biotechnology into bio weapons, something she felt strongly about. Following that she began work for the Viscar, a cold and uncaring organization that only had time for the best the humanity could provide, and anything else was to be destroyed, until she finally disappeared.


Moira was a cold, calculating women with no ethics. A polar opposite to Mercy in every way. There was something electrifying in that difference, but even more so frightening. Talon. The thought made her blood run cold. The terrorist organization that had sworn to destroy every overwatch agent. Surely Moria was a member of their ranks, and now she had her alone, disoriented, and pinned to a rock. A bead of sweat ran down Mercy's face. She was a battle medical, and nothing more. Isn't there some kind of truce not to attack healers?


Mercy reached for her caduceus blaster, gripping the handle. "H....hero's never die..." She squeaked and pointed her blaster at Moira, her eyes squeezed shut and head turned away, pointed down and to the left. She doubted she could even put up a fight against Moira if she struggled with every fiber of her being. Her hand was shaking violently as she tried to hold onto the gun.


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Masala (Gateway)


Flinching at the pitch of the female human, Masala looked up at that one. She sounded like that excited Skitty who was always running around and it made her incredibly tense. There was something that highly irked her and she couldn't place it. “I'm a Stufful,” she replied. “My name is Masala.”


She then hummed as the second human spoke, this one being much more delightful than the first and his pitch was much easier to listen to. So she was teleported on accident? “Do you guys have a training room or something? I will explore, but I don't want to sit down and do nothing only to grow lazy.”




Philip (Gateway)


Jumping at the sound of a voice, Philip turned and looked at him. Did he need help? Well, this place was still bright to him and he didn't really understand what was going on. |My eyes are sensitive to the light| he tried signing to the man, pointing at his eyes and then making a blinking motion with his hands. He gave what he hoped what seemed to be a pleading look to the man, hoping he would understand. |I don't know what happened, but please don't send me back. I don't want to go back.| This time, he clasped his hands together, kneeling on the ground like he was pleading for mercy.


He gazed around the little bit he could see and he deemed it absolutely beautiful. His gaze settled back on the man, trying to figure out the next course of action should be.




Ruby (Garage)


“Home world?” She asked curiously, hopping forward to have a civil conversation. “And what is the worst danger one could encounter?” She almost churred to herself, asking all these questions made her think about Otulissa. Perhaps she could write a book and bring it back to Otulissa when it was time for her to go back.


“May I be so bold and ask what you are?” she asked to the one who answered her question. “I've never seen anything like you before.”

Edited by Dalek Raptor

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~ Moira O'Deorain ~ Gateway ~ Our Guardian Angel ~


Moira smiled. She'd expected Mercy to at least point the pistol directly at her. Moira let go of Mercy's wrist and pushed the blaster farther away from her. "I can tell you are pleased to see me. And don't worry. You will not die, by my hand at least."


She was loving this opportunity to annoy Mercy, even if she did have more pressing matters. She threw her left arm over Mercy's shoulders, and hissed, "You are much better use to me alive than dead. I'm sure you understand."


Moira then pulled back away from Mercy. "Besides, Angela, you always were rather pathetic." Standing up straighter, she looked down on Mercy, grinning.

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Stan -- Gateway


The dark, shadowed man seemed like he could not speak and his eyes looked blind and otherworldly. In response to Stan's query, he had responded in a series of hand gestures and body language: first he pointed to himself, then to his eyes, flicking his hand then making a blinking motion with his fingers. Following that, the shadowed man made a series of pleading gestures, bowing his head and shaking it side to side in a clear no, combined with other gestures of bewilderment.


"Woah, woah, slow down there!" the older man said, showing his palms in a stopping motion as the other man had knelt down. He couldn't quite understand the signs entirely, but he thought he could recognize bits and pieces of meaning. "Your eyes? Your eyes can't handle the..." he lifted his chin and stared into the sky of blinking stars, briefly. "Can't handle the light?"


Stan's goggles weren't tinted (though he wouldn't have lent them to anyone anyway, even if it meant the world), so after a pause he flicked open a pocket and pulled out a hard leather case in which was a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses.  He offered them to Philip, adding, "I was saving these for a cool moment, but I figured it'd be more useful on your face than on the mission. Take 'em. Don't worry, you're safe here. There's not much that can hurt you... natively, at least."


"Hey girls!" Stan suddenly spoke up and shouted to the air, not even bothering to turn around. "You don't need to keep whisperin' behind that rock."




Twilight -- Dining Hall


Twilight analyzed the event in depth, drawing her conclusions. The boy who was now a dragon of fur and feather seemed a little more relaxed right now, and a voice echoed through her head. Perking her ears up in attention, Twilight's eyes glimmered in excitement. They could speak telepathically in this form, and it was great news to know that her words weren't lost on them, just that they could not speak in human form for one reason or another. Recalling the awkward moments she had when she was briefly turned human -- although she would rather have forgotten the initial embarrassment -- it was no wonder that the dragon felt so nervous while small and without wings, claws, or a voice.


"You can speak," she reaffirmed. "What's your name?"


During this time, a human girl had wandered into the dining hall. Twilight didn't recall seeing her at the general meeting, and she wasn't entirely sure if she had encountered any other agents or gotten a briefing from anyone, but she seemed to be caught in her own world and admiring the architecture.


Twilight had been told that the place was rather bare, and everyone had different tastes when it came to castles. She was just happy to get this place for free.


"Hi," she greeted. "I didn't see you at the tea party. You're new, I presume? I'm-- " While addressing Hibiki, the pony felt something unexpected brush along one of her legs. She let out a startled cry, her wings snapping open to help her keep balance as she reared up. She was careful to avoid accidentally trampling the white cat slipping between her hooves when she placed her feet back on the ground. Where did that animal come from?


Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Lara noted that the adorable creature flinched, and she backpedaled a bit. “Oh…er… My apologies.” She glanced at Stan, who seemed distracted by the dark shadowy figure. Making sure to shove her slight embarrassment out of her mind, Lara decided to answer Masala’s inquiry, making sure her voice didn’t raise to that undignified extent again. “Well, we currently do not have any rooms. Typically we train outside. Though I am currently considering creating one. Training in harsh weather isn’t always ideal, but everyone else has other priorities. I’ll figure something out, I’m sure.Hopefully that didn’t make you sound like a prick. It’s preferable that the cute cuddly thing not have a reason to kill you.


She then faced the shadowy man, noticing it did not seem to speak. It seemed to make some sort of sign language- what kind though? Was that ASL? Lara had to make a note to study that sometime. She was certain that it would prove useful around these parts. However, she did pick up small pieces of the figure’s meaning- it didn’t like the light one bit. It could not see. Stan had given it a pair of sunglasses, and Lara smiled in amusement. The glasses seemed to blend right into its face. Of course, she then winced when Stan suddenly yelled towards the rocks. She gave him the death glare, which still probably meant little as Stan usually just laughed it off.

Edited by Mikasa361

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Aeoleus & Audrey // Collabs are fun


"...Huh?! You understood me...?"


Aeolus seems to be trying to quell his shocked emotion.


"... My name is Aeolus. I'm an Espeon from the Unova region... you said this was XDRS headquarters and that they were a... transdimensional group, correct?"


Audrey nods in understanding. "It's a lot to take in, I know. "


She waves a hand in the air dismissively, as if to demonstrate how little all this made sense to her as well.


"Basically, the universe is breaking itself, and the XDRS' goal is to set things right again. For whatever reason, you have ended up here. Fate, as it were."


Aeolus rocks back on his feet, confused. "I thought Palkia ruled over space... why is...."


The woman offers Aeoleus a wry smile.


"A friend of mine already works here. She gave me an explanation, since I'm planning to join."


"The basic story is this: Across the dimensions of the known universe are objects of great power called 'anchors'. Their purpose is to ensure that each reality is stable, and won't collide with any of the others. But now, the worlds have started to disappear, mostly because the anchors have started to disappear. The XDRS works to put the anchors back and help those who've lost their homes in the process of anchor disappearance."


Aeolus looks shocked. He quashes it, and seems to be considering the situation.


"Worlds disappearing.... Wow."


Audrey's only physical response is a shrug.


"Pretty crazy, yeah. A few weeks ago, I thought a Bone Bearer would be the scariest thing I'd ever have to deal with."


Aeolus pauses uncertainty.


"...I thought the regular Pokémon battles would be all I ever got involved in."


The grave robber tilts her head, an expression of intrigue on her face.


"I'm not familiar with that term. Maybe when we go inside, I can tell you about my world, and you can tell me about yours.


Aeolus blinks. "Huh... yeah."


He looks a bit taken aback, as though he's finally realised just how big this is. The Espeon looks around.


"We're going into that castle?"


"You bet! That's the XDRS headquarters. Anyone who's suffered world displacement is welcome to stay there until they can get home again. The organization's members also live and work there when they aren't on missions to other realms."


"Ah - alright."


Aeolus nods and heads towards the castle doors.


Audrey follows behind him, silently checking her person in case she'd forgotten some of her weaponry. She hadn't.


The doors are open. Aeolus looks a bit puzzled. "Why would someone leave their door open?"


"Today's the day they're expecting us. For some reason, the universe likes to drop everyone here at once."


"...Ah. I wonder why." Aeolus goes in a bit warily.

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Philip (near the Gateway)

Stopping his motions altogether as he continued to kneel to the man, Philip wanted to sag his shoulders before the man had asked him if his eyes were sensitive to the light. Feeling his heart leap with excitement, he nodded his head vigorously. He tilted his head one way, then the other as the man pulled out what looked like one of the older survivors wore. Hesitantly grabbing whatever it was, he gently unfolded them and put them on his face like he saw the extremely lucky survivor wore plenty of times.

He gave a soft happy purring sound as the world darkened with the sunglasses he stared at the man as he mentioned that Philip was safe here. Did that mean… Was he free from the Entity's wrath? Standing back up to his full height, he looked down at his saviour, not even flinching as he spoke up to apparently two women behind a rock. Still looking down at him, Philip quickly moved and wrapped his arms around the man to engulf him in a hug, something that he would have to apologize for later, but right now Philip didn't care, he was so happy, so grateful that he didn't have to attend anymore of those dreadful trials.

Evan always made a mockery of him and often got beat up by him per the Entity's orders if his performance wasn't where it needed to be, but it never stopped him from helping the survivors. He'd take a lifetime of beatings than to actively hurt innocent people that didn't deserve to be in the Entity's realm. He did soon release the man from the hug, before looking down at his attire. |I'm going to need some more proper clothing if I'm going to stay here| he signed, trying his best to get his point across about his clothes as he pointed to himself, then his outfit.


Masala (Gateway)

Humming in thought, Masala continued to stare up at the human, her tone becoming much more pleasant to listen to. “Indoors, outdoors, it really doesn't matter to me,” she said after the lady spoke. “I like to train in any type of weather, but not if it's pouring down rain where lightning and thunder are present.” Flicking her tail slightly, Masala collapsed on her stomach as the adrenaline from the small scuffle from Tyrantrum left her.

“So, what does one do when not training?” Masala asked, looking back at the female human, crossing her front paws before her stomach rumbled. “And where can one find food at this point? I'm rather famished after unleashing that powerful Bide attack that was supposed to be used on Tyrantrum. Better yet, where is a good place to sleep so I don't have to sleep outside.”

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[ Outside - Ray ]


"Anders? That's a nice name." Ray smiled - she always liked making new friends and took to it like a Magikarp to water. "And what about you, uh..." She paused. "You look like a Lycanroc to me, but I guess it's safe to assume that you're not one. I, uh..."


She smiled a little nervously. "Can I pet you?" She was hoping that, since this creature looked like a Lycanroc, it'd like being pet like one, too.


[ Dining Hall - Hibiki ]


Hibiki smiled and nodded as the pony addressed her. "Yeah, I'm new here. My name is Hibiki. There were some others with me, but one decided to go upstairs and sleep and the other went back outside." She of course was referring to Illidan and Ray - the sour-puss of a purple demon man and the girl with the weird giant space bat.


She opened her mouth to continue when she saw Twilight become startled by something and rear up. She hadn't expected to see wings and a horn on a single pony!


And then she saw how nervous the dragon-creature looked! Had she startled it? She felt bad for walking in on them. "Oh, I'm so sorry! Did I scare you?"

Edited by hikarinomemori
A word was misspelled, so I fixed it

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Lara took her attention off of Stan and looked back at Masala. She really did feel for the creature- rain and thunderstorms were awful to walk in, much less train. Cicero walked up to Masala, sniffing her carefully. He always loved making new frens! Lara sighed. “Well, we do have a vast library. Even if people don’t read much, it’s a great place to have some quiet time. Hmmm…. There are greenhouses to explore… I’ll try and get a shooting range up and running, but I suppose that’s not what you’re interested in. Hmm…. We’re still expanding, so I’m sure something new is bound to pop up.” Lara shifted her weight onto her left foot, her right one falling asleep. “And while I’m unsure of what you were talking about that made you tired, the kitchen is on the first floor of the castle.” Lara pointed in the direction of the castle. “The castle is not far in that direction. If you go to the large wooden doors and it’s in a hallway near the main hall. We have bedrooms on the second floor- I’ve been making sure occupied doors were labeled, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a room. They’re in a few hallways, should be in sight if you go up the stairs. If you’re still lost, I’m sure there are people in the castle who know exactly where you’ll go.


Cicero barked a little bark almost in agreement.

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