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X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

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Adolin Kholin, son of Highprince Dalinar Kholin -- Gateway to the Starry Skies

[9000 pounds of horse] - [excuse me hello]

 

Adolin wasn't sure if the sound coming out of his mouth was a scream or a roar. He was falling -- he was on Sureblood -- Sureblood was falling. 

 

The rhyshadium was as stupid as he was sometimes, trampling over a literal army to get to him. While he appreciated the gesture, it didn't change the fact that they were surrounded, nor did it prevent the parshendi forces from pushing both horse and rider off the edge of the chasm.

 

He didn't know how far the bottom was. Rather than worrying about his own fate in the Tranquiline Halls, he found himself preoccupied over his horse. A man in shardplate, even damaged, could survive a fall. A rhyshadium? Might break all its legs at once, if it tried to land on its feet. 

 

 

The chasm darkened around him, then suddenly settled into an ambient brightness reminiscent of dusk. Adolin didn't question the change too much at the time; he was still yelling and he was still falling and he was still on his horse and his horse just crunched something under his hooves, nearly jolting Adolin off his saddle from the strength of the impact. 

 

No more war cries, no more rhythmic chanting. Relative silence. It was serene, even though the people standing before him were settled into battle stances or bursting with power. He was still astonished that Sureblood simply walked off the abrupt landing, in the process having seemingly having killed what appeared to be a very large whitespine. The ground felt soft under the rhyshadium's stone hooves and the grass was ornamental and lethargic... what was Shin territory doing at the bottom of a chasm?

 

 

Everything felt heavy, but it was probably because of his accumulated exhaustion and his damaged armor. The battle had shattered many parts of his plate and he was forced to abandon his helm. White stormlight evaporated from the cracks like smoke and suddenly reminded him that yes, he was part of a vicious battle to save his father about seven seconds ago. Adolin looked up, but he couldn't see his familiar sky. If he were at the bottom of the chasm, shouldn't it show as a rift far up above? He grimaced. Last he saw, the Kholin forces had secured an escape route. He could only hope that the Colbalt Guard had made it to Dalinar in time. Despite his efforts, Adolin had failed -- but at least he tried. Unlikely that he would make it back in time now, all he could do was have faith that the Blackthorn wouldn't fall that easily.

 

"Hello, chasm community," he began, slicking his sweat drenched hair out of his face and trying to summon his best air of diplomacy. "None of you would happen to know how to get back to the surface, would you?"

 

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VKhgyTs.png

What will you do?

COMPOSE | >ATTACK

>KO | RUN

 

The battle is over as quickly as it started. Lara has no idea how to react as the strange tentacled man changes into an even weirder monster and grabs Utakata. It looks like he's ready to squeeze the life out of him, and even in the form Utakata's in, his expression shows a state of fear. Lara has no idea what kind of power Utakata has, but she knows it's a useful one if it can be controlled. She aims at the mouth of the creature, hoping to at least distract it, when an armored man and a rather large horse come out from nowhere, falling onto the monster's head and causing it to fall to the ground. It lets go of Utakata, who in his beastly state seems rather angry now. He hisses at the monster and smacks it with all six of his tails and faces everyone else. It appears he has very little control over this state, that he's just hanging on to whatever sort of control he has left. 

 

Still, this beast is making aggravated noises. At this point Lara isn't 100000% sure if it's fear, rage, or a mix of both. She has to admit, if she had transformed into a weird beast only to be grabbed and almost killed, she'd be angry too. It's clear to her that this beast is something that doesn't normally come out. Part of her wonders if that's the extent of his abilities. But for now, she turns her attention to the armored man. He and the horse seem totally fine, as if they were used to knocking out giant monsters from several meters into the air. 

 

"Hello, chasm community," the man says as he brushes his hair back. It seems as if he were just coming back from a fight himself. "None of you would happen to know how to get back to the surface, would you?"

 

Ah. He's totally unaware. Lara sighs. "Well, you see, this isn't--" She hears a high pitched whine come from the red-and-black beast formerly known as Utakata. He looks like he's freaking out, ready to attack any one of them at any moment. "Oi, hang on. Let me handle this one." Lara grabs her pistol and immediately marches up to Utakata. "What the devil are you angry at, you little hell-spawn?" She cracks the pistol across the beast's face, causing Utakata to fall to the side. His head lands on a medium size rock, which causes the body to go limp. Lara winces, hoping it didn't do any severe damage. She notices that it takes a minute, but Utakata returns to his normal self. His eyes are closed, and he's lying still. Lara kneels down and sighs in relief when she feels a pulse and notes his breathing. At least it didn't kill him. 

 

Then Lara turns back to the stranger. "Anyways. I'm afraid this isn't a chasm or an underground community. Welcome to the Gateway to the Starry Skies. My name is Lara Croft, I'm one of the agents belonging to the eXtra Dimensional Restoration Squad, or XDRS for short. Allow me to explain." She takes a deep breath. It's the same damn spiel over again, but oh well. "You're not in your home world anymore. In fact, there are a plethora of different worlds out there, in what's called the multiverse. Everyone here? We all came from different universes and worlds, and there are many more out there. As for XDRS? Well... There are screwups in the multiverse happen all the time. People, animals, monsters, even important items from other worlds tend to hop to worlds in which they don't belong. What we do here is help make sure items that are important to these worlds- known as anchors- go back home. …..Please let me know if I need to repeat or clarify anything, I know it can be a lot to digest in one sitting." Lara nods. "Oh bloody hell, where are my manners? I should ask, what is your name?

 

She glances down at Utakata, who doesn't appear to be stirring just yet. Perhaps she hadn't been speaking long enough. 

 

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What will you do?
TEA | COOKIE
>>WHAT | YEET

 

Evonna has a hard time processing what's going on for five solid minutes. Everything seems like Noise, nothing seems right at all. The only thing keeping her from running to the next room is the fact that she's clinging on to Sorey. She feels tapping on her shoulder, and when she feels she's able to let go, she does. Chikako has a hand on Evonna's shoulder, and with the other she gestures to the rest of the room. Evonna looks around, and she sees three new people standing or sitting. They must have been the ones causing the mischief a few minutes ago. Looking between the three of them, she has no idea what else to say, other than--

 

"Beautiful," she muses. Chikako lets out her musical laugh again. 

 

"I mean, you're not wrong, they're very beautiful." Chikako looks at Sorey, then at everyone else in the room. "Wait.... How can we see them now?"

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   There was a sudden ripping sensation from his side as the mech pulled his attacker's limb taught. He didn't know if he should expect to drag this tentacled-human with him, or for the tentacle to release him or fight with him, so he barely gave it a second thought when the limb abruptly released, nicely marring his plating in the process.

   Typheus immediately braked and flew back, pursuing the tentacle, flying aft just in case it tried to spear him again. There was a scream from its origin, some crazed ranting, normal agitated noises. The tentacle then swung, giving Typheus a clearer view: the human had now turned into a completely black thing and was wrapping its limbs around the other human that had tails, which was distinctly different by his orange glow. It seemed like a great distraction, and from his peripheral he could see Fiddlesticks standing up slowly, not in immediate danger. So this other tailed human must be a significant rival to this black thing.

   Then some unfortunate person suddenly blinked in through the Gateway, landing squarely on the black creature's head, causing it to buckle. It stood up - no, the creature it was riding stood up - and casually disregarded the beast. Another human, and a horse? Figures. Makes for an even better distraction though.
   Typheus dove toward the black creature while it was weak and braked above its head before shutting off his thrusters, dropping down over the top of it with a heavy thud. He unsheathed his blades and placed on foot on its neck, putting enough weight on it to get the message across to stay still; if this thing still had a human body underneath, he will be quick to disengage it. The only thing stopping the mech is the question of whether the black form was just as infuriating as the tentacles. He studied it, gathering clues, ignoring Lara as she approached the newcomer to explain what was going on. This thing behaved like flesh, but so did the tentacles... eyes are common weak points, so if it tried to struggle he could at least blind it...

 

   Typheus looked up at a sharp hiss ending in a short, metallic shriek, like a steel beam was moved across another. Fiddlesticks was crouched low about twenty quli away, still uncertain of putting her full weight on her legs after the missile torched her, glaring daggers into the black thing.

   "What are you waiting for?! Kill it!!" she screeched, almost cutting the end of Lara's explanation off. Typheus prepared to retort that he didn't know how to kill it, but that would be a stupid thing to say if this thing could still understand words.

   "We need to see what the XDRS wants to do with it," he said instead.

   "That thing is not worthy of imprisonment," she snarled, shooting her glare back at it before leveling it with the Superiority model. He said nothing, holding back his real thoughts on the matter. This was the XDRS's turf, and he wasn't appointed by them to make any decisions about newcomers going berserk, setting the Gateway on fire, or beheading tentacle monsters that nearly killed everyone - barring the fact that Fiddlesticks didn't help, thinking her space-age tech could at least blast the guy back a few feet. With that thought, he glanced back at what he presumed was the entity's feet, but they didn't look like anything with good grip, nor were there puncture claws like what he and Sniper models had for stabilization. More multiverse magic, probably, his thoughts growled in frustration.

   The mech sighed by flushing out his air intake, removing some built-up exhaust from having flown back into his trail too often. "What are we doing with this?" he asked Lara, gesturing to the black monster under him. Before she could answer though, another voice came from the left: Xander. So now more agents arrive.


   Typheus took the man's assurance with silence. Deal with him how? What sort of arrangements? How did he know this thing was a human underneath when he just arrived? Did he watch?
   The Superiority model's mind lingered on the last thought. Just standing back, watching everything... This reeked of the Empire's practices. He didn't think the XDRS was malevolent, by far, but his threads had turned to defense and distrust. It only reminded him, yet again, that neither he nor Fiddlesticks belonged here. They were high-strung military mechs on the run from their Empire, trying to complete a personal mission that would hopefully have an impact on the war in general, or what they were told again and again was a war. As flippant as the Empire was about it, it was no war. It was something more agitating. Almost as agitating as the fact that the both of them still haven't fought a significant battle and have been given few reasons to trust the XDRS as allies. This almost made it; until it was abruptly ended by multiverse magic. He knew he was going to hear for days from Fiddlesticks about how she just wasted a missile.
   The Superiority model hasn't had much time with mortals, but he knew they loved magic. These past hours have only taught the mech that magic was extremely annoying. Apparently, the science of Zirhon did not meld well with multiverse magic.

   Typheus grumpily stepped off the black creature, who was still immobile, and marched over to Fiddlesticks. Recognizing the metaphorical wall in his eye, she stiffly stood up, careful not to crush her still-malleable legs, which were close to being cool enough to walk on. He tapped on right arm, leaving a dent in the softened metal, and, not pausing in his step, went over to the podium adjacent to the scene of the fight and opened his emitters. Fiddlesticks very carefully followed him, ignoring the words of the people behind her, while he searched for a signal.  It wasn't long before he figured out how to open the Gateway terminal and went to work.
   Fiddlesticks crouched down opposite of him, enough to block the view of the terminal from most of the others. She stared at his calculated determination. This place was grinding on his wires too, wasn't it? He always had to investigate new things before he knew what to do with them, but ironically enough, they were always too lawless for his taste. Ironic, because he stuck around with her. Well... perhaps now, they would actually go home. At least they would actually know what to do, instead of running around here like a gelustrik with most of its heads cut off.

 

   It took a while for Typheus to get the Gateway activated. Fiddlesticks stood guard when her hull had cooled enough, in case anyone tried to interrupt him. Once the suspected coordinates were in, the two machines stood on the center podium, and with a single blink, they were gone.

   ((EDIT 9/5/19: Poof.))

Edited by skwerl56767

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< STATUS: Stable; Confident >

< LOCATION: Gateway >

< AGENTS: Add, Hikaru, Rimuru, Temeraire, Utakata, Lara, Greivous, Vaccaria, Adolin, Fiddlesticks, Typheus >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Dimitri, Twilight, Nata, Sureblood >

 

“Aw, the fight’s already over!”

Nata placed one hand on his hip as he gazed over the remnants of the battlefield. The way he pouted his lips rivaled that of a toddler about to throw a tantrum. 

“It’s a good that the battle ended before we got here,” Xander said, approaching Nata from behind. Nata raised an eyebrow at Xander as he stopped beside him, the Nohrian’s eyes trained on the newcomers at the gateway. “I’m honestly a bit surprised by how many potential agents have shown up in such a short period of time,” Xander continued as he held his hands behind his back. “We acquired quite a few more agents right before we headed out for two new missions.” Xander turned his gaze towards the grand stones encircling the flower bed at the center of the gateway. “Perhaps there’s a reason for that. One we might not even know yet.”

 

Nata blew a raspberry. 

“Who cares about why there’s so many people?” Nata wailed dramatically. “I was so looking forward to finding whoever started the fires and giving them the what for!” Nata punched the air thrice, striking out at an invisible opponent with great gusto. Xander glanced at Nata slowly, raising a questioning eyebrow. 

 

“Yes,” Xander said. “I wonder what it would be like to have to...discipline someone who was recently summoned by the gateway.” 

“Come on, I wasn’t like that,” Nata said, gesturing towards Dimitri. “It wasn’t the same!”

“Really?” Xander scoffed. “How was it different.”

“Well for one, I put up a much longer fight,” Nata said. “Probably because I’m an excellent fighter and you were all most certainly mesmerized by—” Nata raised his hand waved it in front of his face. “—my ethereal beauty and couldn’t land a single blow. Which is reasonable reaction to having all my brilliance shoved at you at once. Besides,” Nata continued with a shrug. “I wasn’t a stupid 8 ton monster.” 

 

Xander decided it would be in everyone’s best interest to not tackle Nata’s comments. In lieu of continuing the line of discussion, Xander looked around the surrounding area to see what damage had been done. He could see several new agents scattered about the gateway. They, thankfully, appeared to sustain no serious injuries, but he couldn’t be too sure without a close examination. The fire they had been originally called down for had seemingly died out some time between them receiving the call and arriving at the scene. Among the singed grass Xander spotted several small, flickering flames still clinging to life. 

 

“Nata, extinguish what’s left of the fires,” Xander ordered. “I’ll deal with the rest.” Nata let out an exaggerated groan, but still begrudgingly trekked over to the fires and began putting them out. Xander walked over towards where Twilight was. She seemed exhausted, but considering the sheer mass of the creature she had to help placate, Xander couldn’t blame her for needing a break.

 

“You did well,” Xander said gently. “It looks as though you and the other minimized the damage to both the gateway and yourselves. You should take some time to rest. I and the other senior agents can handle it from here.” Turning towards the newcomers, Xander walked towards them before raising his voice so it would be loud and clear. “Everything Lara said is true. All of you are no longer on your homeworlds. My name is Xander and I’m a senior agent here at XDRS. I’m sure many of you have further questions and I, along with the other agents here, will be happy to answer them. I ask that you follow my colleague over towards the castle we use as our base. We have several healers there that can attend to your wounds.”

 

“I can deal with him,” Xander said as he glanced up towards the mechs. “This isn’t the first time we’ve had someone become violent upon arriving and so we’ve prepared arrangements for dealing with such people.” Granted, Xander didn’t think they had ever had such a large person attack people at the gateway before, but he was certain he could move the newcomer to the holding cell. Somehow.

 

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EGiNzVe.png

< STATUS: Stable; Annoyed >

< LOCATION: Gateway >

< AGENTS: Xander, Hikaru, Rimuru, Temeraire, Utakata, Lara, Greivous, Vaccaria, Adolin, Fiddlesticks, Typheus >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Dimitri, Twilight, Nata, Sureblood >

 

So they had arrived at XDRS. Add sighed aloud, taking a moment to brush the dirt off his pants and jacket. Out of everything that did go wrong, Add was glad that his teleporter had at least sent him and Hikaru to the right place. Add didn’t think his first interaction in a supposed interdimensional squad of heroes would have him cleaning up his own mess, but no one had nagged him about bringing a ghoul to XDRS’s headquarters so he counted that as a win. 

 

As the blond man—Xander he said his name was—introduced himself, Add stalked over towards the remains of Starfall. His poor, beloved drone had nearly been split in half. Add knelt down in the grass, careful not to cut himself on the metal shards littering the ground. Starfall’s outer shell was cracked in various locations, and the tip of the crystal within its center had been snipped off, causing purple sparks to bounce out of it. 

 

“This is going to take days to fix,” Add bemoaned to himself. With a wave of his hand, the dynamos floated down towards Starfall and maneuvered themselves under it until it was cradled between them. Add stood up off the ground, making a noise of disgust when he saw the grass strains on his pants, before looking towards the ghoul. While he was stationed in Tokyo, Add had learned about the abilities ghouls could acquired if they participated in cannibalism. He had heard that the few select ghouls who did gain further strength through cannibalism, become far superior to their peers in combat. Add had initially been interested in the idea, but soon lost interest when he learned about R cells and how they only functioned in creatures native to ghouls’ world. Still, even with the research Add had done on ghouls, he never could have imagined that they could gain the power to transform into nearly indestructible monsters. Well, in this case, indestructible monsters that ruined Add’s chances of having lunch.

 

Calmly, Add walked over towards the ghoul. He placed his hands in his pockets, ignoring the giant robots and the horse rider as he stopped right besides the ghoul’s head. Without any warning, he kicked the ghoul hard right above where his eye was. Almost immediately, someone let out a loud whoop before launching themselves on top of beast. 

“Yeah, lavender man’s got the right idea!” Nata said as he pulled a knife out of his pocket and attempted to jam it between the ghoul’s scales.

 

“You can’t hurt him with a normal weapon, you imbecile,” Add scoffed. “You’d need a specialized weapon from his world before you could even think about piercing his armor.”

“Yeah well, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to mess around,” Nata said as he slung an arm around Add’s shoulders. Add quickly shoved Nata back and took several steps back.

“Do not touch me, dirt man,” Add hissed. 

“Nata, quit fooling around!” 

 

Nata glanced over his shoulder to see Xander watching him disappointingly. “We still have work to do.” Nata clicked his tongue, but, much to Add’s relief, did not argue. Add pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. Maybe joining XDRS wasn’t a smart decision after all. He wasn’t entirely sure if the were competent, but it could just be bad first impression. Add took in a deep breath and lowered his hand. The giant monster aside, there was something much worse at hand. Looking at everyone nearby, Add could clearly see that not a single one of them was a redhead. Honestly, how hard was it to find someone with a full set of bright red hair? Didn’t the multiverse realize that Add needed to find a redhead ASAP? 

 

“Oh well,” Add muttered to himself. He supposed he’d just have to find one while working for XDRS. After all, that was one of the main reasons he wanted join.

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Tien frowns at the envelope in his hand, turning it over to stare at the writing on its back. He can’t read it, of course. At least, he’s actively avoiding letting the words click, even though he can feel a strange force tickling at the edges of his mind that blurs the foreign symbols into near-legibility. He flips it back over with a small sigh, letting his hand drop to his side. Apparently, it’s addressed to Lara Croft. He remembers her from the Gateway--more or less--so he felt fairly confident when he first accepted the request to deliver the letter.

 

That faded rapidly. It has to have been at least half an hour since then, and no luck yet. He’s going through the hallway of rooms now, hoping he’ll hit on the right one eventually…and that she’ll be there.

 

It hasn’t been working out too well so far, but he’s out of better ideas.

 

He stops in front of the next door. A small bell hangs from the knob, but that’s no help in figuring out whose room it might be; he doesn’t know anybody well enough to make a guess at what it means. 

 

Tien sends the Almighty a silent prayer hoping this one will be right and knocks.

 

~~~

 

Lara’s eyes snap open and she immediately sits up, not liking the cold draft that starts to touch her back as Stan’s warmth fades. She sighs. “Now who may that be,” she muses as she stands up and lurks towards the door. She opens the door, half-expecting Evonna to be there with another small container of cookies- Lara swears she gained five kilos since the first day of Evonna being there. But upon the door fully opening, it’s not Evonna at all. Rather, Lara has to look up in order to lock eyes with Tien. She turns around to glance at Stan, who rolls over in bed, seemingly uninterested in what Tien could possibly want. Lara then turns back to greet Tien with a smile. “Oi oi, Tien, what may I do for you?

 

The taller boy blinks, gaze sliding to the side as he holds out a letter. “This was addressed to you,” he says simply. 

 

“Ah! Thank you,” Lara graciously takes the letter and walks over to the desk, pulling out the wide drawer underneath the desk area and takes out a small silver letter opener. Briefly she wonders where she had put her pistols, as she hadn’t seen them in the past several days, but the thought is only fleeting. She has no idea where her mind even made the association. Instead, Lara takes the letter in her left hand -noting the way Tien flinches back- and carefully uses the letter opener to break the seal. Instantly she recognizes Winston’s rather old-fashioned cursive and smiles warmly. “Oh Winston, I really ought to get him a communicator so he doesn’t need to send so many letters.” 

 

Her brow furrows as she takes a look at the letter. 

 

Lady Croft,

 

I want to wish you a happy twenty-second birthday. I hope all is well with the XDRS, and that all is well with yourself. 

 

It seems that a friend of yours has arranged a birthday party for you, I have included the details within the envelope- including the venue and the guest list. It appears that the party will be fairly large, a few of your friends are bringing plus-ones. I suggest you bring a few friends along, I’m sure some of your colleagues on base would be elated to come along. 

 

As usual, all is well within the Manor. I have just finished cleaning at the time of writing this letter, some workers are finishing up the pool area this week. Your room has been left untouched minus vacuuming and dusting, as you asked. 

 

I hope that you will be able to attend, and that you may return home soon. I do worry. 

 

Faithfully in your service,

Winston

 

It takes a minute for her to read the letter all the way through, but once she’s finished she nods. 

 

“Ah, I see what this is. It appears that I have a few things to attend to back at home.” Lara glances at the lad, and then the letter. “See… I hadn’t told many people here, but today’s my birthday, and a few friends of mine decided to throw a rather fancy dinner party.” 

 

“...Happy birthday,” Tien offers.

 

Ah! Thank you, Tien.” Lara looks up at him with a smile. Her smile soon is replaced with a small frown as a thought crosses her mind. “Something…. Isn’t right though.” Lara pauses, shifting her weight to one foot. “I expressed clearly to Winston not to celebrate my birthday, and I had asked him to tell my friends that same thing. He’s also telling me to bring friends. He never does that.” Lara frowns and glances at the letter again, concerned at the brevity of Winston’s words as well. “Plus, I have been hearing reports from Winston that there has been quite a stir in the news lately. There’s also a strange presence in the world that I thought would be interesting. Because of this, I ought to be prepared for anything. I’ll need a bit of help.” And with that, Lara places the letter on her desk and faces Stan, glancing at Tien as well. “Care to come with?

 

"Of course, my love," Stan replies when prompted, shifting within the sheets. He isn't bothered by Tien's presence -- surely the boy has seen other men bare their torsos before. Even if there was a fair bit of titanium in this one. "Your butler's going to be overjoyed when he finds out you're with a proper gentleman."

 

His grin suddenly dissolves and he lowers the tone of his voice. "Mighty fine timing, isn't it? Usually multiverse mail is incredibly tardy, considering none of the worlds actually sync up."

 

Lara furrows her brow in response, and her voice lowers as well. “Yeah… Something just isn’t right.

She walks back to the bed and sits down next to Stan, planting a peck on his cheek. “You could be right… Nothing about this looks right.

 

She looks up at Tien, who seems uncomfortable and has edged halfway out of the door. She clears her throat. “Er, anyway! So… If you wanted to come along Tien, you’re more than welcome.”

 

Tien hesitates, tracing a circle into the floor with one foot. A faint tinkling sound, like wine glasses clashing against each other, rises from somewhere near him, and he looks at a patch of embroidery on his shoulder. “...What’s it...going to be like?”

 

Lara chooses not to address the tinkling noise, just for the sheer purpose of not making Tien say more than he needs to. He seems uncomfortable enough just being here. “Ah, my world or the party? I suppose either?” 

 

Tien nods, a grateful expression flashing across his face.

 

Ah! Well….. I suppose there are a lot of cultural and technological differences between our worlds… There are forms of automatic transportation… er…. Honestly I’m not familiar enough with your world. But as for the party, from what I saw on the letter… There will be plenty of different types of food, sweet, savory…. There will be alcohol, it’s illegal for anyone under twenty one to drink but I’m sure there’s a way around that, there usually is….” Lara pauses. “People dress in their nicest clothing, oh! And it’s on a beach. A very lovely beach on an island, the water is a very clear blue…. I’ve only been to that particular one once. It’s lovely.” 

 

He slowly nods again, mumbling indistinctly to himself. Something makes more of those tinkling sounds. Maybe, somehow, it’s the embroidery he keeps looking at. “I...I only have the one set of clothes, but I’ll go if you’ll have me.”

 

Lara smiles warmly. “I’ll have anyone who wishes to come along.” 

 

"1990s Earth is the pinnacle of human civilization on that planet. It's going to be a fun time, kid, fancy clothes or not." Stan added to the explanation. "I've never been myself, personally, but it is one of my favorite eras."

 

Lara nods. “What he said. It’ll be nice getting a chance to relax.” I hope, she holds back from saying.

 

Tien cocks his head to the side. He seems to be listening, but his gaze is trailing to the metal set in Stan’s chest. He shoves his hands in his pockets as Stan leans into Lara.

 

"So, birthday girl, when are we heading out? best not to dawdle, or we'll miss the party!" 

 

Lara snorts and squeezes his hand. “Well, I need time to get myself together here…. I doubt a robe is anywhere near appropriate for this occasion.” 

 

"It'll make a statement," Stan teases. 

 

“As much as you’d love it,” Lara retorts as she leans back into him, “I personally don’t wish for my friends to see me all disheveled like this. I should be set in….” She sighs, realizing Chikako would want to be involved. “...Two hours, if Chikako has anything to say about it,” she says in defeat.

 

Stan swings his legs over the bed and stands up. Thankfully, he is wearing boxers -- these ones with little yellow dinosaurs with big claws from a franchise from the aforementioned 1990s era. As a pop culture reference, he thought Lara would enjoy them, though she was obviously too uncultured or too busy to pay attention to The Digital Monsters. With his feet on the ground, the man performs an elaborate stretch that even includes the metal in his arm and in his torso. "I'm always ready to go, and you know it." Stepping towards the door, he puts a firm hand on Tien's shoulder, causing the boy to stiffen at his touch. "Come on, bell-boy," he calls, referencing the insistent tinkling coming from somewhere on his clothing, "let's get Pascal to set the coordinates while the girls are busy putting on their faces."

 

Face. Haha. As if I’ll allow anyone to put that much makeup on my face. Watching as Stan stretches, she raises her eyebrows, impressed. Lara grins and nods. “Yeah. Right, Pascal needs to know, maybe see if anyone else would like to attend. Now shoo,” Lara says with an even wider smile, “I need to shower…..Oh. And can you find Chikako and Evonna? I may need their help.”

 

Tien blinks several times, turning towards Stan as he appears to refocus. He’s got something in his hand now that he’s idly toying with; it looks like a rock, vaguely trapezoidal with some small carvings. “Uh, right. I think I know where Chikako is, I ran into her while trying to find you, she might have moved…”

 

Lara nods. “Thank you. If you see her again, please send her to the room with bells on the doorknob.” She looks at the rock in Tien’s hand, rather interested in whatever the symbols are. When Tien is turned around, she raises her eyebrow when she doesn’t see bells anywhere on his uniform. What, by the devil, is that noise? ….”That’s an interesting rock. Is that where that chiming is coming from?”

 

Tien blinks at her. “The chime…? Oh! You mean Fractal?” He gestures at the pattern on his--

 

It’s moved. It’s on his chest now.

 

Stan squints. Lara blinks. Her brows furrow once more. “The Devil…..?”

 

“I thought you were being quiet,” Tien says, apparently to himself.

 

“I was,” a glasslike voice responds, “Just not as quiet as I could be. I thought we were not keeping it secret here.”

 

“Fractal…. secret…..” That explains some of his nervousness, I suppose? Lara shifts a little, leaning forward out of curiosity. 

 

"Let's just go," Stan interrupts, trying to shoo him out of the room. Boys gotta keep their secrets and he knows how that feels. If there are things he wants to hide, no sense in prying them out of him. Women can be so nosy sometimes. 

 

Tien lets out a small yelp as Stan shoves him. “Right, uh--I’ll go. Find. Someone?”

 

"Pascal, yes," the older man repeats. "She's real hard to miss, if you see her. And Evonna, and Chikako... " 

 

Lara sighs, mentally kicking herself for making the boy more uncomfortable. Ah, she did it again, didn’t she. Before her brain decides to kick in and beat itself up for it, she stands up and approaches her dresser, turning back to face them. “Right, I apologize. Maybe it’s best for me to keep my nose out of those things.” She nods, cocking her head to the side and smiling.Yes. Thank you, I appreciate it.

 

Tien hums in acknowledgement, his ‘Fractal’ adding its own chime, and darts out of the room before Stan can give him another push.

 

"Love ya, babe," Stan salutes, before stepping out himself and closing the door behind him. 

 

“Love you too, hotshot.”

 

Lara sighs, opening her drawer and grabbing the revolver underneath her underclothes. Well, she thinks to herself, I need something, and if I can’t find my pistols, this old thing may have to do. 

 

Edited by Mikasa361

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Karen and Nidrak

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Allies (?): None

Location: Castle, Xander's Room

Current Morph: Karen

 

Well, that was awkward. 

 

Karen stood with both hands shoved into his pockets. He wanted to help, really, but apparently there wasn’t anything they could do. For all of the deadly injuries he’d sustained and healed, there was nothing he could do to help others. Useless. Power meant for killing and to keep them alive long enough to enact more violence. 

 

Nidrak shifted uncomfortably in his head. Not a physical shift, of course, but a gentle shuffling sensation in their shared emotionscape. Xe didn’t say anything, still being too shaken up by recent events to find the right words (Nidrak didn’t need to worry about that, xyr words were always the right ones), but the reminder of xyr presence helped. Xe didn’t like it when Karen’s thoughts became too dark and sharply pointed towards himself. He’d done his best to keep them to the positive, more for xyr sake than his own. 

 

What now? he asked. It was easier when they had a task to work towards, and Nidrak needed that. As busy as xe was worrying about him, he knew that xe wasn’t doing okay either. 

 

There must be more people around, right? We still don’t know what’s going on, truly. 

 

Let’s not make contact. It’s better to find as much information as we can while no one’s paying attention to us. 

 

He felt a faint twinge of disappointment from Nidrak and smiled. Of course xe wanted to meet new people as soon as possible. It wasn’t that Karen didn’t, but he could be patient and find out if these people really were who they claimed they were first. Right. Morph? 

 

They were so used to always being in morph while on a mission, but they’d already been seen, hadn’t they? Would they be less conspicuous, less likely to be stopped as a human? A mouse or rat probably wouldn’t be out of place in a stone castle, but he didn’t know how helpful that would be. For eavesdropping it’d be excellent. For opening doors and rifling through desks, less so. 

 

We could morph later, if need be. 

 

That’d work, hopefully. If not, the best they could do was act confident and like they belonged. Depending on the level of security at the castle (and so far it seemed incredibly weak) they might even get out without a fight. 

 

They took off at a quick yet unhurried pace. Fast enough to look like they knew where they were going (even though they were really just wandering around and had absolutely no idea where they were going), slow enough to not look like they were being chased. 

 

They heard voices and stopped to listen, hidden behind a wall. There were… people chatting and eating cookies? It hardly sounded like some nefarious plot, and for a moment Karen almost felt silly for skulking around and spying. 

 

Maybe there’d be something elsewhere. 

 

Eventually they came to a hallway lined with doors. Picking one at random, the looked for anyone watching them and pushed it open. Inside looked like a fairly normal dorm room, if far cleaner than any dorm room Karen had ever seen. It almost looked like nothing strange was going on and that these people weren’t evil. Oh well. Worst case scenario, they were caught looking through someone’s underwear drawer. Which, actually, would be pretty bad. 

 

Deciding to leave the underwear drawer alone for now, they headed towards the desk and opened a drawer. 

 

Oh, hello. 

 

Large, old-fashioned keys sitting alone in the top drawer? Yeah, those had to lead to something interesting.

 

my first post in months and it's just karen ruining things

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T I M E S K I P
(aka “a lot of things happened and we’re not sure how to throw them all into the topic, so we’re jumping ahead”)

 

With the majority of the agents gone on missions, the base was eerily quiet. It usually ended up this way… though it was surprising that even all the new members ended up finding something to do. The rooms on the second floor showed signs of being claimed and the doors appeared to be getting personalized. It was nice, almost homely. People came and went, in this organization; but most of the time it was only a transient handful. There was a lot to do off-world for existing agents too, of course, and it was made even more complicated with how the timelines never seemed to sync up properly.

 

After all, it had only been a few months, according to Natsuki, since she had been here. During the shopping trip at the marketplace, Raine replied to them that for her, it had been nearly two years of hard work. With that behind her, balancing the X-tra Dimensional chequebooks seemed an almost unreal return to normalcy. Even if it was all a mess. There were also those administrative tasks that no one had the time to do, either — shortly after returning and dealing with the chaos of more new arrivals, Raine took the time to update the roster and do a little background research on the worlds they were to visit. Sometimes the databases were accurate — other times, they were completely wrong or had no information. Sometimes the information even contradicted itself. Nothing on either MMRS or WOKE or many of the other nuances of the multiverse. Why was that?

 

The professor squinted at her laptop screen, hands resting on its keyboard. It was a hefty, situational device that had a battery life of about ten minutes, and therefore couldn’t operate without being tethered to the wall. Still, it was a little more comfortable to use than the library’s actual computer terminal. She had to run a wire across the room to gain access to the network. It was a little tedious, for sure, but considering that the only people who would use wireless connections were herself, Natsuki, and Stan, it almost didn’t seem like it was worth pestering Pascal over. (Besides, that woman never had enough of an attention span to work on simply improving existing infrastructure, preferring instead to chase hares in the form of novelty gadgets.)

 

Pascal was busy at the moment, anyway. She seemed to be camped out at the Gateway for days. Not that Raine herself was much different. She didn’t think she had moved from the library in days, either.

 

Um… professor Raine?” A Luma floated over, just as Raine was typing up some information she would have to read out to Duke. “It seems like we’ve received a transmission from Miss Rosalina. She says she senses something odd in this Galaxy, and requests that the the XDRS’ management go investigate.” The star did a twirl, the continued, “Oh, and she also wanted to remind everyone to remember to take breaks from time to time! She says she knows that the team always tends to overwork itself, so give yourself the time to rest.

 

Rest? Raine didn’t feel tired at all. In fact, she had been productive for many hours, judging by the clock. “Tell that to Twilight, not I,” Raine replied. No use it telling to the half-elf herself. 

 

The pale star shrunk back, intimidated by her sudden venom. “I already did…

 

Seeing the Luma's reaction, Raine's expression softened. “I apologize.” She slumped her shoulders and rubbed her temples, defeated. “Maybe I am overworking myself…

 

She said…” the Luma began again, softly, “she said that it was to be expected that most of you would be like this, so Miss Rosalina suggested that you treat this task as if it were a vacation, with a mission on the side!

 

Ha, if this was what she signed up for, she should have gone and wasted her time at Lara’s birthday party. Raine could at least assume that they were having a good time right now.

 

Let me complete this task first,” she said. She clicked the print icon, then snapped her laptop shut.

 

~~~

 

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Raine -- Gateway

[Rosalina's request] - [getting ready] - [Listen up, Duke!]


As usual, everyone was called to the Gateway. The professor had picked up Twilight and Natsuki on the way as well as a few newcomers who decided to stay here on base, for whatever reason, but who ultimately decided to come along as well. Raine could see how an energetic young man like the one with feathered earrings would get bored and choose to come exploring.

 

Around this same time, that man she heard so much about — Kelsier — and the men he had taken from his world were also getting ready to depart. Part of the reason Raine suggested they meet here at the Gateway was because she hoped to intercept Duke before he departed — though it wasn’t like they were able to leave in the first place without the hourglass and the dagger which were currently on the warp platform, placed before Twilight. In her hand she held a stack of papers which Duke obviously could not read, but which contained important research about the world and the anchors they were chasing.

 

Duke,” the silver-haired woman called. “I know you typically adapt to situations as they arise, but it wouldn’t hurt to know what you’re up against. Know your enemy and gain every advantage you can.

Hearing this, Kelsier tiptoed towards her. Based on what she read on the net, it was hard for Raine to trust the man completely. How much information was too much information for him to know? “The two anchors over there, which Twilight will be returning to you, are vessels to collect the sand scattered across the city. If you have either object in your possession, you will be immune to the sands’ effects; if you find yourself without, you will be at risk of transforming into a sand creature which, based on reports, are becoming quite numerous. Be cautious.

 

Kelsier remained silent, arms crossed, still listening intently. Raine guessed he wanted information about the Lord Ruler, but her instinct told her to withhold what she discovered.  “Remember, even with the talk about overthrowing the Lord Ruler, your primary objective is to clean up the problems caused by the multiverse, not create new ones.

 

The organization had struck a deal with Kelsier to get the dagger back: help defeating the tyrant, in exchange for the anchor. However, Raine was prepared to take it back by force, if necessary.


 

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< STATUS: Stable; Friendly >

< LOCATION: Base - Gateway >

< AGENTS: Duke, Jowan, Natsuki, Raine>

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Kelsier, Mista, Twilight

 

 

It had been awhile since Giorno had returned to base. He had joined X-Dreamers some time ago, but he was usually off-world on his own missions. His skillset and connections to Passione made him uniquely qualified to return to worlds X-Dreamers had visited for one reason or another and clean up any problems their presence had caused. It probably wasn’t the most exciting set of missions to be sent on, especially compared to the antics he heard about happening to agents who went off to retrieve anchors, but Giorno didn’t mind. There were advantages to being sent on missions. alone He had complete control over the situation, and his connections to Passione allowed him to call upon Mista and Fugo to. With them working beside him, he could be certain his assistants were competent, efficient, and focused on completing their goal. Now, Giorno realized that he had taken his job for granted. 

 

Giorno had been in the kitchen, enjoying a warm cup of chamomile tea with his subordinates when a Luma had entered the room and informed him of his new assignment. Giorno stared down at his cup his face void of emotion. It was rare for him to be assigned to collect an anchor so there had to be a good reason for it. This was the second time X-Dreamers was returning to this world, so perhaps they knew about some sort of threat that required Giorno’s attention. Whether that was his connections to Passione, the two gangsters he brought with him, or Golden Experience the Luma did not say.

 

Giorno took a long sip of his tea, savoring its smooth taste. He lowered his cup back onto its respective plate with a soft clink.

 

“Thank you, Luma,” Giorno said. “I will go to the Gateway shortly.” 

 

“Okie-Dokie!” the Luma chimed happily. “Good luck on your mission, Agent Giorno!” It waved at Giorno with its stubby yellow appendage before floating out of the room. Giorno stood up, pushing his chair behind him. “Fugo,” Giorno said, glancing at the man leaning against the counter. “Stay here until further notice. Follow the orders of the other senior agents, but don’t do anything I wouldn’t approve of, and Mista.” Giorno glanced at his friend still sitting beside him. “Come with me. I want one of my men watching my back.” Wordlessly, Mista stood up from his chair and walked towards Giorno with his hands in his pockets. Fugo nodded and gave Giorno a two-finger wave as he and Mista exited the kitchen and made their way towards the gateway. 

Upon arriving, Giorno caught sight of several other agents already waiting there. He only caught the tail-end of what Raine had said to Duke, but Giorno could make an educated guess of what she said based on her stern frowned and Duke’s track record of being… well, Duke. 

 

“It appears as though most of us are here already,’ Giorno said as he approached the group. He halted a few feet away from the others with Mista not too far behind. “There doesn’t appear to be many of us, but I believe we’ll be able to accomplish our goal just fine.” Oh, right, this Kelsier probably didn’t know who he was and it had been awhile since he had been back on base. “Allow me to introduce myself,” Giorno said, placing a hand over his chest. “My name is Giorno Giovanna and I am a senior agent here in X-Dreamers. My companion here—” Giorno motioned towards Mista. “—is Guido Mista.” Giorno lowered his hand before holding both of his hands behind his back. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been on an anchor mission, but it’s an honor to be entrusted with such a valuable artifact,” Giorno continued, glancing over at Raine. “I will ensure that we complete what we were set out to do.” No matter the cost. Regardless of whatever deal they made with Kelsier, returning the anchor back to base was of utmost importance. Disturbing or killing the natives of a world would surely upset the balance of their universe, but anchors were a particularly strong point of distortion wherever they landed. If Kelsier, or any of the other agents on the mission for that matter, were unable to see that then Giorno would deal with them swiftly.

Edited by Doctortear

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Rayla, Alolan Prodigy
<Status: Stable>
<Location: Gateway>
<People: Raine, Duke, Kelsier, Giorno, Mista>

 

~~

 

Arceus, she was incredibly bored. Ray must have walked through the base at least a dozen times, so at least she had that committed to memory, but even so, it did nothing to relieve the boredom now.

 

Each person still on base had taken the liberty of decorating their chosen rooms and Ray was no exception. Inside her room was... a mess, to be certain. PokeBalls and various other objects used by Pokemon Trainers littered the floor (thankfully not to the point where they would be stepped on), and several Z-Crystals that Ray didn't use often were scattered across the desk. On the door was a drawing of the emblem of the Sunne, held in place with duct tape - Ray hadn't felt the need to defile the door itself with carvings or nails.

 

Still, today found the bored Trainer at the Gateway, and it looked like there was a gathering going on. Was a new mission about to go underway? "Well, you don't see this every day... Maybe it was just me missin' the memo - again - but I'm guessin' that a mission or two's about to go down. Am I warm, Raine?"

 

Ray looked around at the people present. Raine, Duke, that Kelsier guy, and...

 

Well, Giorno and Mista are new (to her, at least - maybe she did see them around the base once or twice after Illidan left). At least she caught the introduction. "Giorno and Mista, eh? Interesting names... My name's Rayla, but everyone just calls me Ray."

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Natsuki, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Ray, Twilight
Location: Gateway 

 

Jowan leaned against a rock at the Gateway, one foot up against the stone, fidgeting with a decorative strip of white cloth on his shirt. Well, not his shirt. His old robes had been completely unsalvageable and had been burned, so he’d been stuck wearing Duke’s clothes. He didn’t really mind that. Duke’s clothes were bizarre, but it wasn’t like Jowan knew anything about fashion. He’d worn enough robes, in any case. 

 

The past few days had moved too quickly and too slowly all at once. There’d been people to meet, new things that had had to be explained to him (the shower wasn’t the only strange thing in the castle), and research to do. It’d all been exhausting, but he wasn’t as nervous in the castle as he had been when he’d first arrived. All things considered, life had been relatively calm. Apparently the number of people that had arrived when he did wasn’t an everyday thing, nor was someone getting stabbed in the arm. He was more prepared for a fight, as well - a dagger sat heavy at his side, tucked under his clothes, and a plain wooden staff was at his back. Duke had presented it to him a day after Jowan had mentioned not having one, and he had no idea where he'd found it. 

 

He’d avoided Kelsier, of course, leaving the room whenever he showed up. He was paying for his avoidance now, he supposed. He wasn’t going to refuse to help an entire world just because he had a grudge against one man, but that meant that he hadn’t interacted with Kelsier in days and now had to work with him. Jowan pointedly avoided looking in his direction, and instead stared at the stack of papers in Raine’s hands and tried to see if he could make out the words on the top page. 

 

Two more men arrived and the golden-haired one (how did he get his hair like that?) introduced them. His words were serious, and Jowan felt overwhelmed by the aura of complete control that Giorno radiated. Giorno reminded him of Kelsier and Duke, in that sense. A person with the charisma to lead armies solely with the strength of his conviction. “I’m Jowan,” he said, then glanced down, unable to meet Giorno’s eyes. Should he have said more? Maker, he probably should have, or perhaps he shouldn’t have said anything at all. Now it was too late, and he couldn’t add anything without it being weird. 

 


 

Edited by Kiran

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

"We have looooads of advantages!" Duke replies, interrupting Raine's carefully planned out mission briefing. The blond spreads his arms out wide as if to emphasize his words, before letting his facade drop and smiling sheepishly at the other woman.

 

"I know, Raine. Thanks." Turning his attention to the aforementioned anchors, Duke immediately perks up when Kelsier approaches the group -- silent as always, crossing his arms across his broad chest as he ponders to himself. What an absolutely fantastic display of manly passive aggression. Duke needs to learn from the older man. 

 

The arrival of a familiar, breathtaking blond draws his attention from the equally-as-breathtaking blond by his side, and Duke thinks that this must be his lucky day. That, or there was something very dire in the multiverse for them to all be gathered here at once -- not when they were usually split up with very little time to interact. 

 

It seems Giorno's arrival isn't as much of a shock to his companions, however. Rayla simply comments on the strange nature of their names, and Duke is inclined to agree -- what strange naming conventions, but he won't judge another world's idea of what was perfectly suitable to name children. He feels his chest swell up with excitement needing to be expressed as Giorno finally finishes his speech -- with a solemn pledge, no less. 

 

Jowan interrupts him before he can launch into his ideas, and Duke smiles. The most breathtaking of them all! He does look good in the uniform, Duke thinks, and fills in the shoulders quite nicely. Whoever designed the shoulderguard deserved a raise. 

 

Wait, that was him. Against the recommendation of nearly everyone in his private council, as well as his minister of the treasury. Extra gold plating was, surprise surprise, quite expensive. 

 

"I'll raise myself," Duke determines, before he clears his throat.

 

"Alright! Everyone's here, which means we should set out as soon as possible -- worlds aren't going to save themselves." As he talks, Duke gently -- but quickly -- pulls the papers from Raine's hold, shuffling them to add emphasis to his comments, wanting to urge the others to move quickly. "When we went there the first time, it seemed like the world was in chaos. I want to help the citizens of the streets, in possible. Dynarst tells me they're all embedded in some kind of servitude. Anchors are important, but so are human lives -- I can't read this." He stops with the papers held between his hands, staring blankly at the carefully printed sheets. Folding them together, he waves them around carelessly now, their worth lost to him.

 

"By the way," he adds on, "I lost my sword in a bit of an unfortunate accident, and Vylcan and I have a disagreement right now over the benefits of supporting pink-haired royal families, so I'm going completely unarmed this time around. All good?" 

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[A - Gateway]

 

"Adelina? Addie? Where did you go?" Antoni calls out as he looks around the tunnel. Was it a good idea to be wandering around the sewers of central? No. Had Adelina cared at the time? Also no. He sighs and, in his boredom, he starts manipulating the electrons next to a puddle of water and allows the shock to run through the puddle. Thank goodness for rubber insulated boots, as heavy as they are, because too late he realizes he's stepping in the puddle. 

 

"Antoni? Was that you?" 

 

"! Addie!" Antoni starts running through the tunnel, but as he does so, he trips on an old can that a homeless man must have left on the ground.

 

That's the last thing he remembers. 

 

The next thing he can register is lying on his back in soft grass. Had he landed on his head? Nothing looks familiar here, is he somehow dreaming? Antoni sits up and looks around, noticing everything is blurry. He yelps, unable to make out the figures that are nearby. Where are his glasses? Antoni moves to his knees and starts feeling the grass for them. 

 

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Raine -- Gateway

[ preparing for departure ] - [ duke why ]


You are correct, Ray,” Raine answered the young girl. “I wanted to intercept these men before they departed to clean up Scadrial. But the rest of us — Twilight included — are called to verify some anomaly right here in this universe. Rosalina wants us to do a little scouting, which I believe would be important in case anyone decides it’s a good idea to target us, specifically.

 

Goddess knows why anyone would do that. Maybe it was the laundry list of problems certain members have inadvertently caused. Either way, even if visitors weren’t malicious, it didn’t change the fact that the XDRS was gaining more attention, enough to be personally keyed into by people like Add. Securing an extended area might be useful.

 

Raine was unamused by Duke’s attempt at a joke, at the very least. And he must have sensed that it had missed the mark, because he then attempted to reassure that everything is going to be fine — then immediately swiped her notes from her hand and shuffled them all out of order. Dammit. She should have thought to create a backup copy, or at least stapled the arrangement. At least the pages themselves were still intact — it wasn’t like Duke had wadded them up and eaten them, which, in hindsight, actually should have been one the scenarios she should have prepared for. At the very least, the pages themselves were numbered and the information within them were organized by headers, making it less of a hassle to simply reorder them based on whoever was reading the stack.

 

Look, Giorno, I trust you,” Raine said, repressing her rising irritation behind a stone face. “This task isn’t much different from what you usually do. But I have a hard time imagining that Duke would contend with sitting still while you do your cleaning.

 

Mista paused. He dragged his eyes away from the strange man standing in the corner against a rock — for some reason, his pose gave him a bad feeling, and his clothes were suspiciously similar to Duke’s — before he spoke. “So it’s me, Giorno, Duke, and this guy over here going, right?” Shifting his weight to one foot, he pointed at Kelsier. “That’s four. Absolutely unacceptable.
 

 

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Natsuki, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Ray, Twilight
Location: Gateway 

 

A small noise of horror escaped Jowan's throat when Duke roughly shuffled the stack of papers Raine had handed him. Why, he wanted to ask, but at this point he knew that Duke usually just did things without thinking. It was frustrating, especially for someone that knew how much harm rashness could cause. He could see Duke walking up to a metaphorical cliff one day and stepping off the edge because he didn't think that the ground could harm him. 

 

It was also so captivating. Despite Duke's flaws, he was so eager in everything he did, so ardent in his desire to help people. His mistakes would be different from Jowan's. 

 

Duke being a wonderful person didn't stop Jowan from leaving his pose against the rock and carefully snatching the papers from Duke's hands before he could drop them into the dirt, of course. He couldn't just allow the beautiful stack of information to be manhandled by someone that clearly didn't understand its worth (in fairness, not being able to read yet would make that difficult for Duke). He fussed over the stack, sorting the pages back into their proper order and smoothing out creases. His eyes flashed over the pages as he went, picking out headings and fragments of sentences. 

 

Ah. He'd known that Duke hadn't had his sword, but he hadn't known that he couldn't use his barriers. They were all going to die, then. He hadn't expected Duke's metaphorical cliff to come up so soon.

 

Jowan was distracted enough by the papers in front of him and the revelation of their impending doom that he nearly missed Guido's words. Four? He looked up and saw that Guido was pointing to Kelsier, not him (he refused to look far enough to really look at Kelsier). "There's five of us. I'm going too," he said, but even as he did so he felt doubt welling up. He was still going, right? Nothing had changed, they hadn't realized that they were better off without him?

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Mikleo - Gateway

[ oh, it's giorno ] - [ life is pain ]

 

Oh, it was Giorno. When the golden-haired man came over, Sorey gave a polite wave while Mikleo had his back to one of the gateway’s stones, looking sour and avoiding looking at the Italian man. They had discovered recently that Giorno could also see spirits and had one of his own, though Mikleo wasn’t a fan of the strange looking being that sort of reminded him of a cicada with its ivory carapace and unblinking round eyes. Too creepy.

 

It also didn’t help that the first time he encountered Gold Experience Requiem was when it punched him across the kitchen. Giorno and his stand automatically assumed Sorey was an enemy stand user when Mikleo accidentally brushed against the senior agent while preparing some tea. Apparently their worlds had similar enough mechanics to cause the mix-up. The evidence of the strike was healed, but the water seraph refused to interact with him ever again for the next two hundred years. Well, it was easier said than done… because Lailah, of all people, was strangely fascinated by how that spirit worked and requested that Giorno summon it when he could. And since both she and Giorno were currently on the scene, it was inevitable that she would be approaching him to say hello.  Did he mention that Giorno's thing had a creepy stare? Those eyeballs made Mikleo’s skin itch.

 

Ah, there she was, finally. Skipping over with a “Good afternoon, Giorno and Mista!”, hands clasped coyly behind her back. Mikleo rolled his eyes.

 

 Mista simply nodded at Lailah's approach, then focused again on doing whatever mathematical gymnastics he was trying to do by trying to find fours in everything. "So this guy is coming with us too... You're an agent, right? And that guy isn't. We're still at four agents. It doesn't work!"

 

Mikleo didn't understand him, either. The seraph slapped a hand to his face in secondhand embarrassment. Just get over it!

 

 

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Sorey - Gateway

[ do you need my assistance? ] - [ all seraphs active ]

 

There were two missions going out at the moment, it seemed… And while the other agents were arguing about the logistics of the one Professor Raine called Scadrial, Sorey’s gaze drifted to the stars. The group was talking about the chaos of the land they were about to visit. Part of him wanted to save those people too. But the other part of him told him that the people going were a lot more capable than he was, and from how Raine spoke about it, Sorey was a little hesitant to ask if he could go, too. As the Shepherd, he was the most powerful person in his own world, destined to save everybody… but now, it seemed like his powers were but a drop in the bucket.

 

The young man was startled out of his thoughts by a small cry and a body landing near him. He stepped back out of reflex, raised his brow in surprise, then cautiously approached the form that was rising and feeling the ground for something. Sorey followed the boy’s gaze to the grass. What was he looking for? Glancing right and left, he scanned the grass himself. A couple feet away, there was a pair of thick lenses that seemed to have tumbled some distance. The Shepherd knelt down to pick them up and fold the arms of the glasses, though they didn’t quite align… Were they already like that, or did he accidentally bend them just a moment ago?

 

Pressing his lips into a straight line, Sorey walked over to the new boy and prepared to deliver the bad news. He held out the lenses towards him. “Here. Looks like they got a little roughed up, sorry! I think you can probably bend them back the right way…
 

 

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

Duke lets go of the stack of paper easily, failing to see the importance of keeping the sheets in order or even present. It is a blessing in disguise that Jowan had taken the papers from his fingers just then, as he'd just been stricken with the sudden idea of wading up the papers and stuffing them into his cheeks, like a chipmunk. Slightly alarmed at this intrusive, strange, but very tempting thought, Duke stares almost hungrily at Jowan as the mage works, easily pulling sheets of paper from the mess Duke had left them in and arranging the pile. What is he going off of to align the sheets with one another? It is entirely mysterious to Duke, like a strange magic.

 

"Jowan's coming too," he chirps, just a second after Jowan himself speaks, echoing him. Are they still discussing the plan of their mission? The intent seemed easy enough to Duke -- go in, battle, rescue the city, and come back. Any extra thinking meant extra anxieties, and Duke has never started a battle towards certain death by worrying excessively.

 

Instead, he plucks the sheets from Jowan's grasp once more. "Surprise," he says, waving the papers around, before he brings them before his face and squints at the mysterious text. "What does this word say?" he asks, pointing to a character with the sheets turned away from Jowan's vision. "Or this one -- is my name on it? Does it describe me?"

 

Before he can give Jowan a chance to answer -- or to even look at what he is questioning -- Duke sighs and shakes the papers in the air, feeling the loose material fling back and forth with the created wind. "That's so boring," he decides. "It all looks the same to me." 

 

In response to Raine's words, he waves a hand even if the statement is not addressed to him.

 

"It'll be fine," he reassures, almost absentmindedly, without looking up from the sheets. "We can work separately from one another; I'm not going on this mission to secure any anchors. Just to ensure liberty. Oh -- What is this word?" 

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Natsuki, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Ray, Twilight, Antoni, Sorey and co.
Location: Gateway 

 

"I... don't think I understand the problem here," Jowan said, furrowing his brows. "What's wrong with there being four of us? I mean, maybe it would help if there were more, but- Duke no." 

 

By the time the words left his mouth Duke had already plucked the papers from his grasp. He doesn't resist, instead loosening his grip on the papers too prevent them from being ripped. He didn't doubt that Duke would rip a few to steal them from him. Jowan stares at Duke, a pleading look on his face, but Duke's too busy squinting at the page to notice. A hopeful flare of excitement swelled in his chest when Duke actually showed interest in a specific word, but it fizzled out and died like a quenched flame when he realized that Duke wasn't even showing him the word. He vainly tried to lean around to see what Duke was pointing at, a faint blush dusting his cheeks at the proximity of their faces. 

 

It hurt a little when declared the papers to be boring, like Duke was calling him boring by extension. He didn't find the papers boring -- they were very interesting, in fact -- so didn't that say bad things about his tastes? It wouldn't be surprising if Jowan was a boring person -- it wasn't like he had much experience in the world or what people that hadn't been locked in a tower for most of their lives found interesting. He wanted to spend time with Duke and teach him how to read, but maybe Duke would tire of him eventually and move on to the next person. 

 

Still. They'd talked a little, and they'd agreed to try, right? Jowan wasn't one for avoiding things just because they were bad ideas. He could try and believe Duke when he said that he, for whatever reason, enjoyed spending time with him. 

 

Moving quickly before Duke could start shuffling the papers again (or, Maker forbid, drop them), Jowan grabbed the stack and held on so that both of them were holding one side of it. He stepped around so that he was beside Duke and could finally see the word Duke was pointing at. Duke's fingertip partially obscured it, as if he had more or less randomly stuck his finger out at the page, so Jowan nudged his hand out of the way. "Empire," he said before Duke could get distracted again. "The Lord Ruler is the supreme leader of the Final Empire. He reigns from, uh," Jowan paused, unfamiliar with the next two words. "-Kredeek Shaw, his fortress in Luthadel." The paragraph continues with information about the geography of Luthadel and important landmarks, which Jowan doubted Duke would find interesting.   

 

damn it, Duke

 

Natsuki

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Jowan, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Ray, Twilight, Antoni, Sorey and co.
Location: Gateway 

 

Natsuki closed their eyes for a moment. Having Duke and Mista in one location was like having to watch over two children. As much as they respected Giorno and trusted Mista's skill in combat, his... eccentricities were an obstacle. As ridiculous as his refusal to associate with the number four was, it was still something they had to consider. They couldn't understand why he couldn't just get over it, but it wasn't their place to say that. It was best thought of as an allergy: an overreaction to normal stimulus, but something that had to be worked around regardless. 

 

Even so, they wouldn't have bothered rearranging the agents on the mission for Mista's issues alone. He seemed determined to find fours in everything, and would probably find some trait or another that four of them shared. Mista's problems and Duke being Duke, however, was enough for them to decide that something should change. Giorno alone wouldn't be able to take care of Duke, especially if Duke insisted on running off alone. "Perhaps I could accompany you," they said, glancing over at Raine. They felt an urge to request that she come as well, especially since she would be far more helpful against allomancers, but they couldn't speak for her. "I know it's not in the plans, but I'm not particularly needed here at the moment, and it seems as though some members didn't disclose all relevant information prior to now," they said, looking at Duke enough to make it clear whom they were talking about. 

 

damn it, Duke

Edited by Kiran

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[A - Gateway]

 

“Here. Looks like they got a little roughed up, sorry! I think you can probably bend them back the right way…”
 

Antoni looks up to see the glasses practically in his face. "A-ah, thank you!" Taking them graciously, he takes a second to look at them. And to his dismay, the man who gave them to him was right, the frames are bent out of shape. He sighs and looks down at the ground. If he can take out some of that grass and find a stick, he could fix them up right away. He takes some grass in his fist and pulls it out of the ground, exposing the dirt underneath. Doing this a couple more times, he gets enough of a patch of dirt that he can draw a small transmutation circle in. 

 

To his luck, he doesn't need to use the temple of his glasses. There's a small stick within reach, which he takes and quickly draws a transmutation circle. It's a sloppy one, at least for him, but at least it'll do. Placing the glasses in the middle, Antoni puts his hands on either side and allows alchemy to do the rest. The frames are in tip-top shape in no time. Pleased, he puts the glasses back on his face and looks up at the young man, who appears to be close to his age. Seems friendly enough, doesn't show any signs of hostility. So Antoni gets up and looks around, happy that he can see again, and then looks to face his welcomer... welcomer? whatever the term may be. 

 

"Um... Hi. I don't know where I am, but my name is Antoni. Er... You wouldn't happen to know what this place is, do you?"

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< STATUS: Stable; Friendly >

< LOCATION: Base - Gateway >

< AGENTS: Duke, Jowan, Natsuki, Raine, Rayla, Sorey, Antoni>

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Kelsier, Mista, Twilight, Mikleo, Lailah

 

 

Two more agents arrived at the gateway as everyone began to converse among themselves. The Luma had not mentioned Sorey and Rayla participating in the mission to Luthadel which implied that either there was another mission they were going to embark on or they were all bored and simply wanted to occupy their time before Giorno and the other agents left. Giorno supposed there was nothing wrong with that. He didn’t mind entertaining other agents while they prepared to leave.

 

“It’s nice to make your acquaintance, Ray and Jowan,” Giorno said, turning to face his fellow agents. “Good day to you too, Lailah. I hope you, Sorey, and the other seraphs have been doing well.” Giorno glanced over in Jowan’s direction just as the man diverted his gaze to the ground. “I believe you’re coming with us? I’ll do my best to ensure you return safely.” Jowan did not reply, at least, not immediately. Duke began to do what Duke did best by ruining perfectly well-arranged paperwork and spouting nonsense about ignoring the objective and focusing on liberty or justice or whatever abstract ideal caught his fancy this time around. Giorno pressed his lips into a thin line. He hadn’t worked with Duke often, but he had heard his a fair share of stories. During one of the rare occasions he was on base, Giorno would often share a spot of tea with some of his fellow senior agents. In particular, Natsuki thoroughly enjoyed complaining about the unruly agents and whatever mess they caused recently. Despite being a senior agent himself, Duke always made his way into one of Natsuki’s stories.

 

“While I always appreciate company, Raine did say the rest of you were gathered here to investigate an anomaly, did she not?” Giorno asked, looking over at Natsuki and Raine. “I wouldn’t want to take away agents from another mission just because we have some…” Giorno glanced over at the other agents attending the mission. Duke was taunting Jowan with a sheet of paper while Kelsier was standing off to the side doing seemingly nothing. “...eccentric agents this time around, but having another agent join us wouldn’t hurt. There actually is some merit to Mista’s dislike to the number four. His stand is connected to that number and his performance decreases when he’s associated with that number. Normally I’d invite Fugo to join us, but he’s still exhausted from out last mission and I wouldn’t want him to overexert himself.” 

 

Not to mention, Giorno was worried about the chaos that could ensue if Purple Haze was brought into the mix. Purple Haze was an exceedingly powerful stand with the ability to kill almost anything that came in contact with the virus it generated which was exactly why Giorno refused to let just anyone fight alongside it. It would be too much of a gamble to bring Fugo along.

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Rayla, Alolan Prodigy
<Status: Stable>
<Location: XDRS Base - Gateway>
<People: Tsuki | Duke | Jowan | Natsuki | Raine | Sorey | Antoni | Giorno | Kelsier | Mista | Twilight>

 

Tsuki, the Beast that Calls the Moon
<Status: Stable>
<Location: XDRS Base - Gateway>

 

~~

 

So Mista hated the very concept of the number four? That was... strange, to say the least. Oh well, to each their own.

 

"So there's an anomaly 'round these parts that some of us have to investigate, huh? Good - I was gettin' bored." Ray tossed the ever-familiar PokeBall in the air. "Tsuki, come on out!"

 

And out came her signature 13-foot-tall Lunala. Tsuki rubbed her head a little and shook it, then looked around. "...oh boy. Quite the crowd we have here today... Something important going on?"

 

"Yeah, Tsuki. Some of 'em are going off-world, but the two of us are gonna be joining Raine to investigate an anomaly somewhere else in this universe."

 

"Sounds like my kind of thing."

 

Ray smiles. She loved Tsuki to death and back - if anything were to happen to the Legendary, she'd be beside herself. "Twilight. Raine. I hope you guys aren't opposed to me riding on Tsuki's back."

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

 

Duke looks on in surprised attachment as Jowan takes a particular interest in the papers he had been waving around only a second prior. The blood mage grabs the papers firmly in his grasp, not at all like the careless manner that Duke had been waving around only a second prior, and nudges his hand away to read. How he can make sense of the strange black texts and understand what it was mentioning is marvelous to Duke; Jowan's smooth baritone reading out the words causes the words to filter straight through Duke's mind as he focuses instead on the other man's reading. All else fades into the background, including Natsuki's almost-obvious disagreement of his abilities. 

 

Then Jowan stops, looking a little uncertain -- as if he has fulfilled Duke's request already, with one sentence, and that just won't do. The edges of his mouth curl up into a small smile and he reaches forward, using the hand that Jowan had brushed aside only a moment prior to grasp the other man's fingers in his own, lifting his hand from the paper.

 

"Keep going," he says casually, as if nothing in particular is happening, yet keeping his grasp loose enough that Jowan can pull away if he is uncomfortable. Bringing their hands down, he tilts his head. "What other stuff is there? This is good mission briefing, but just give me the interesting bits." 

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Natsuki, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Ray, Twilight, Antoni, Sorey and co.
Location: Gateway 

 

“Thank you,” he said in reply to Giorno before quickly looking away again. The man looks… not upset, exactly, but not happy either, and Jowan wasn’t sure whether he’d done anything wrong or not. Better to just avoid opening his mouth and ruining things with someone that was going to be fighting with him. 

 

Jowan’s heart swelled at Duke’s words, and a small smile crept  its way onto his face. Truly, Duke wanted to hear him continue to read? That pleased Jowan more than it had any right to. “Let’s see…” he said, flipping through the pages. What would Duke be most interested in? For Jowan it was mostly the magic system (of which there were a few pages of information on), but he didn’t think that would be Duke’s favorite part. It was too detailed and focused on the specifics of which metals could be burned to do what. City layout was a no as well. Absently, he leaned closer to Duke. Hm, since Duke was so interested in taking down the Lord Ruler, something about him would probably be best. He skimmed through, trying to find something that wasn’t overly filled with strange words about the magic of Scadriel. “Rashek - that’s the name of the Lord Ruler - was part of a growing number of young Terris - that must be some kind of ethnic group? It doesn’t say - who had more violent attitudes than was seen as typical of their people. They believed that their Feruchemy should have been put to greater use than it was as a tool for simple labour.” 

 

He flipped over to another page, trying to keep the “interesting bits” like Duke had suggested. “The koloss are a bestial race of creatures on Scadrial, created by the Lord Ruler through the use of Hemalurgy. During the time of the Lord Ruler, koloss serve as a powerful, fiercely loyal army to him, thanks in no small part to the fact that they can be controlled through the use of Allomancy by any powerful Mistborn or group of brass and/or zinc mistings. Oh, those sound nasty, it says they can grow up to twelve feet tall. I hope we won’t have to fight any. ” As soon as he said it he winced. Why would he say that? Now they definitely would, just because the universe hated him. 
 

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

It is strange to him that Jowan would begin to flip through the pages -- to Duke, it seemed they had all the same kind of text, black and small and neatly printed against one another. What in particular was Jowan looking for? How could he tell, with such precision and accuracy every time? 

 

Entirely curious, he watches as Jowan reads from a passage, his voice clear and smooth. Rashek -- so the Lord Ruler, this elusive sovereign he had heard so much about, had a name? Well, that certainly helped to humanize him beyond the all-knowing, eternally immortal being he assumed from the way Dynarst had spoken of the man. That -- is good. The more they know about the Lord Ruler, the better; not so much for the logistics of the mission, but for the emotion. If he knows he is on par with the man he is battling against, then there is no cause for worry. 

 

At Jowan's comment, Duke can sense a brief moment of anticipatory anxiety from the man by his side. This is exactly why he never briefs before a meeting -- the fear that came from the expected was crippling, sometimes, and as a Commander he knows all too well what it is like to go into a battle with the knowledge that one will lose. Hope drives people towards greatness, even if it is false -- and he would rather die with a small strand of hope still present than fade knowing it was the expected outcome. 

 

"Don't worry," he says, nudging the other man's shoulder and grinning. "I'll fight them off. Or any of the other freakishly strong people in this organization, you included." A pause, and then Duke turns to Jowan as if he has the solution to everything. 

 

"If you're worried about the height, just look at them from a distance. They'll look small then!" Holding up a finger, as if it was a genius idea. 

 

"Go back to the Terris," he says, the subject having peaked his interest; an ethnic group, that considered themselves capable of extending their abilities to far superior means? It wasn't an uncommon story, him having heard variations of the tale throughout his time working as an X-Dreamers agent, and he can roughly guess how well that situation turned out for everyone involved. He looks at the text on the pages in Jowan's hand, inspecting them almost as if he could read the printed words. And, to be fair, he does roughly recognise maybe a couple letters he believes he has seen before. 

 

"Greater use from simple labour," he repeats the words he had Jowan murmur only a second prior, feeling the make of the sentence on his tongue. Then, he shakes his head. "Always dangerous when someone tries for power. I wish it wouldn't happen." As he speaks, his voice is almost wistful, for only a split second, before he perks up once more.

 

"Then what happened?" he asks, wanting Jowan to continue, half out of interest for the tale and half because he wants to continue hearing the other man's voice, reading aloud to him. 

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Kelsier - Gateway

[ are we going yet ] - [ oh, what's this? ]

 

Kelsier ended up staying with the Xtra Dimensional Restoration Squad for a longer time than he initially expected before they allowed him to key onto his world. He had watched people come and go in the castle and met people who might be sympathetic to his cause, but every day that passed rendered him a little more skeptical that perhaps the X-Dreamers weren't planning to make a move at all. Half the agents had already departed for another mission or other. What about his?

 

When he first got to this planet, Kelsier was uncomfortably frugal with his metals. But when it became clear that hours upon hours had passed in this world with no day cycles, he had no choice but to burn all his reserves away. He had the vial of steel from the coinshot tucked in his pocket for a few days, but wandering around the castle grounds without the constant vigilance granted by tin was an unpleasant exercise at best. Well, until he struct a conversation about alloys with the woman with the red and white hair, who gladly, almost too enthusiastically, gave him a sheet of foil to chew on which, upon burning, ended up sapping away the trace amounts of other metals he didn't realize he had remaining. Worse than an empty stomach.

 

Eventually, they did sort out the mixup and Kelsier had acquired a vial of nuggets of the correct metal this time. (That woman -- Pascal -- had also fed him a pewter mixture upon his request. The mistborn wasn't sure what he expected when the ratios were obviously incorrect and his nausea caused him to make a mess on her workdesk.) And, eventually, they managed to get his mission sorted out. Everyone was at the Gateway ready to leave (that man, Jowan, still keeping a good distance away from him even after five days), but they were intercepted by Twilight and another group of agents.

 

Kelsier hid his impatience behind a pleasant smile. Right -- they needed the dagger! Comfortably burning tin, he relaxed with his back against one of the Gateway's stones and simply listened to the conversations going on around him. Raine had a package he was very interested in and it was being passed between Duke and Jowan. A monster with wings dotted with stars, floating behind a girl who mentioned that they were going on another mission (unimportant). Giorno, Mista, Natsuki, and Raine, discussing mission assignments -- but based on the intense look in Giorno's eyes, Kelsier wasn't sure if they were going to hold their end of the bargain. The key to a good team was trust, didn't they get it? And Kelsier felt that there wasn't much trust going on between them at the moment. 

 

What he focused his attention to, though was the continuing discussion between Jowan and Duke. The planet's climate and the Koloss were things he knew about; Rashek was new. From here, even with his senses enhanced, he couldn't quite read the document and so, leaving the agents to discuss the disadvantages of the number four, he approached Duke to take a look at the papers, noting how even days later, Jowan shrunk away at his presence. Was the emotional allomancy such a big deal?

 

"Jowan, was it?" he addressed the young man with a grin. "I'd like to apologize for pulling on your emotions without warning. If we are to work together, we'll need trust between us, yes?"

 

And then, building upon the quotes from the document, he put a hand to his chin and added, "To think that the Lord Ruler -- Rashek -- is Terris. Suddenly, it makes sense why he would control and selectively breed his own people. Wouldn't want anyone to accidentally find out his dirty little secret."

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