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X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

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Jowan 

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

 

He didn’t consider himself “freakishly strong”, what with his magic being so weak, but it was easy to believe in himself when Duke had such conviction. He couldn’t stop himself from grinning along with him, despite the dangers outlined in the information packet. 

 

For a moment, Duke looked completely serious. Jowan looked at him, anticipation building until Duke spoke. “If you're worried about the height, just look at them from a distance. They'll look small then!"

 

Jowan couldn’t keep a laugh from escaping. Only Duke could think of something so simple and ridiculous. And yet, the idea wasn’t completely without merit. Jowan couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not. “From the sounds of it they don’t use ranged weapons,” he said, trying to stifle his laugh and speak with mock seriousness. “So looking at them from a distance would be the best plan.” 

 

At Duke’s request for more information he flipped through the pages rapidly, scanning for any other mention of the world ‘Terris’. Whomever the Terris were, either Raine didn’t think them important enough to include or their section was too small to find at the speed Jowan skimmed through. He flipped back to the beginning of the stack for another skim through, but before he could get more than a few pages in Kelsier approached them. 

 

He froze and, embarrassingly, shrunk back so that Duke’s body was partially between him and Kelsier. His gaze flickered up to Kelsier, catching sight of a grin on the man’s face, then went back down to the papers he was holding, as if Kelsier would just go away if Jowan was reading. 

 

"Jowan, was it?" Kelsier said. "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?"

 

Jowan bit his lip, unsure of how to respond. He wasn’t used to people apologizing to him (discounting Neria, for she was always the exception). He supposed he should accept Kelsier’s apology; after all, he’d overreacted, hadn’t he? Kelsier certainly seemed to think so, if his cavalier tone was anything to go by - not that Kelsier’s opinion on the matter was important. He’d been hurt, but it had been one act, and he couldn’t just throw away allies. Not when the mission meant so much to Duke. “I suppose so,” he said, still looking through the papers. He didn’t think trust was really achievable, now, but it’d be hypocritical to not try. 

 

Kelsier seemed to know something about the Terris, and Jowan was struck with the desire to just ask him about it. The information might not even be in the stack of papers, but he felt that it was important. Didn’t he say that he was going to try to trust Kelsier? “Who are the Terris?” he asked before he could talk himself out of it. He’d have rather just found the information himself and been the one to tell Duke about it, to hear his curiosity and desire to learn more. He almost resents Kelsier for butting in and ruining that. At least Duke’s closeness is a comfort. 
 

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Raine -- Gateway

[ preparing for departure ] - [ change of plans ] - [ what a splendid idea, natsuki ]

 

Twilight was going to lead the planetary expedition and Raine was expected to participate... but Natsuki brought up a good point. Raine's eyes darted between the two agents, then made her decision. They would need damage control in Scadrial, Natsuki might appreciate the assistance, and so far, she was the only one who had complete knowledge of the situation. Speaking of Natsuki, it pained her to hear that they thought that they weren't needed here, Raine supposed that it was no one's fault but her own for not telling them that they were needed, right here. The ideal situation would have been to take the star princess' offer and take a relaxing space walk with the only other reasonable person this side of the galaxy, but things in her life never tended to end up the way she wanted. Even before entertaining the thought for too long, she had already convinced herself that she would do nothing but worry about Duke while doing her job on base.

 

The healer mentally apologized to Rosalina. Knowing the princess, the 'mission' was probably a thinly veiled attempt at making Raine take a surprise vacation on some remote planet or something similar. That woman would forgive her if she had to tend to some... emergency matters. 

 

"I've heard from Rosalina that the other mission here is a relatively simple exercise," she responded to Giorno. She wasn't told outright that it would be simple, but it was described as 'relaxing', so that was an acceptable synonym. "No more than patrolling the area. I believe, which would be quite quick with Ray and Tsuki flying out with Twilight. In all due respects, I will be more useful on the clean-up job in case there are any locals caught in the crossfire."

 

Twilight gave her a long stare, as if begging her to reconsider. After a couple beats, she yielded. "...I see. Scadrial is more pressing, I agree, so all I can do is wish you all the best of luck." Preparing for the group's departure, the alicorn levitated the two anchors out of her saddlebags and towards Giorno. "You're usually on cleanup, and I'm sorry to make you do this again! But here are the hourglass and the dagger. Both are key tools for capturing the sand."

Similarly, she levitated a third, round object towards Raine, which she received with a thankful nod, then frowned after she suddenly recognized it as the item that had bankrupted the organization. "Qaksh mentioned that this possible anchor has extremely powerful healing energy," Twilight explained. "Hopefully it would be useful in your care, since I heard you lost your horn recently and, well, I'm pretty attached to mine!"

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

In response to his suggestion, Jowan backs it up with actual validity beyond anything Duke could have thought of, and the blond perks up instantly at Jowan's addition. "Exactly!" he agrees, nodding vigorously along to best express exactly how much logical sense Jowan's explanation makes to him. Since they can't use faraway weapons, the only way to look at them was from a distance -- the very fact was a feat of stunning genius thought that Duke was floored by. 

 

"Precisely," he agrees, eager to hear more of what Jowan has to say, but before they can continue their conversation an unexpected third party breaks into the interaction, much to Duke's delight. The blond hardly notices Jowan stepping back and takes it to be only a gesture of politeness -- how thoughtful is Jowan, always? -- returning Kelsier's grin with one of his own, eager to welcome the older blond man. 

 

Kelsier accepts their topic of conversation easily enough, a hand raised to his chin as if deep in thought at this new information. Leaning onto his every word, Duke holds his breath and waits for Kelsier's assessment -- after all, the revolutionary had to know more about his homeland than either of them. Kelsier passes a judgment on the revelation of the Lord Ruler's status that Duke doesn't quite understand, but that doesn't stop him from clinging onto the other man's every word, curious. Selective breeding? What could that potentially mean? He gazes towards Jowan, assuming the other man must know something -- after all, he could read and was so thoughtful, always -- but Jowan only nods and asks Kelsier further questions, engaging his thoughts more. 

 

Furthering the conversation! Duke could kiss him right here. Swinging his attention back to Kelsier, positively brimming with excitement, Duke nods eagerly. 

 

"What's a Terris?" he echoes. "Why are they selectively bred?" 

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Sorey - Gateway

[what a strange boy] - [welcomes and introductions] - [mikleo and lailah active over there]

 

Sorey watched in confusion as the boy ripped out chunks of grass from the ground almost fitfully after he thanked him for returning his glasses. The Shepherd blinked a couple times. Was he... alright? He seemed to be doing it with some sort of purpose in mind and Sorey wondered if he should ask about it, but the blond haired boy had already finished his task and scratched a symbol into the dirt before Sorey could offer to help out.

 

With a spark of electric magic, the glasses repaired themselves. It was fascinating, but not much surprised the young man anymore -- there seemed to be all kinds of strange magic that could do all sorts of things around here. The lenses, now on his face, gave the boy a wholly different, almost comically bookish look. Sorey couldn't help but think he looked cuter without them. 

 

"I'm Sorey," he introduced himself in return. "This place is known as the Gateway to the Starry Skies, and it's home to an organization that fixes anomalies in the multiverse. I don't quite understand it myself, but if you're here, that just means that your world had a hiccup at some point." He looked behind him, to everyone else assembled at the Gateway. "I think most of the people here are just about ready to leave on one of their missions, so it'll get a lot quieter in a bit. Our leader, Twilight is that little purple horse over there, so you should say hi! It's not that weird for new people to show up here now and again."

 

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Mikleo - Gateway

[are you sure these people are competent] - [leaning on a rock and evesdropping]

 

"Another one?" Mikleo commented once Sorey approached the group with a new face in tow. He had closed his eyes and leaned his weight against the rock behind him, but Sorey's footsteps and voice brought him back to attention. "Not that I'm surprised, considering how many people we've seen show up here. Still, it's been a couple days since the Gateway's brought anyone new in." The seraph was at least glad to have something else to focus on other than Giorno or Duke's antics. The senior agents assembled here and had met so far didn't seem like they would be the type of people capable of saving entire worlds. But then again, he had traveled with Lailah for a while now and realized that, despite being a legendary Keeper of the White Flame, she was just as silly of a person as they rest of them. So maybe it was just his expectations that were skewed.

 

"Yes, everyone's doing well," Lailah had replied, as if Sorey and Giono hadn't seen each other just yesterday. "It seems you are close to departure, so I will leave you to your preparations. We will wish for your safe return."

 

Turning his attention back to Sorey, Mikleo gave a report of what the main group had discussed. "Natsuki and Raine decided to go with Duke and Gio, which leaves us with Twilight and Ray. Raine called it a 'simple exercise', but she also mentioned flying, which could be an issue because I don't think any of our armatus are capable of self-propelling flight. We're just patrolling the nearby planets, according to her."

 

"I see," Sorey replied, nodding. "Still, they were initially planning to bring Raine, which means that the XDRS would have had some way of helping us get around space without needing actual wings."

 

"The Lumas or I can help you with that," Twilight interrupted after overhearing him. "Some Lumas have the ability to help you jump even higher, and I've been working on perfecting some of my flight spells ever since we moved our base to this planet."

 

"Great!" He'd heard rumors that Twilight sometimes messed up her spells, but he was always ready to try new things, even despite the risks. Sorey then addressed the newcomer. "Why don't you come with us, Antoni? It'll be more fun than leaving you all alone here."

 

 

~~

 

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Kelsier - Gateway

[apology accepted] - [history lesson]

 

Kelsier nodded at Jowan's half-hearted response. Good. He was glad that issue was resolved. He still eyed the document they were reading from, but the fact that both of the younger men asked for clarifications pointed to some holes in the report. The Survivor was quite eager to fill them in himself and explain it to his two students. They were so invested in his world!

 

"The Terris, or Terrismen, are a tribe of people who live in the north. They're the only known people with the potential to use Feruchemy, which is a magic that involves storing attributes into metals. Stuff like strength, speed, or memories. As a refresher, it's completely different from Allomancy -- Allomancy is a magic that draws power from the metals after eating them. There are Terris people who live in Luthadel, but they're all used as stewards for the nobility, forced to serve. You can pick them out by their height and their bright patterned robes. One of my good friends is a Terrisman and I think he would be very interested in meeting you all." 

 

"As for being selectively bred," he echoed Duke, "We think the Lord Ruler is trying to breed Feruchemy out of the Terris people, and now it makes perfect sense. He could be afraid of it because he himself, as a Terrisman, knows the full power of what it can do."

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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< STATUS: Stable; Confident >

< LOCATION: Base - Gateway >

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

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

 

Rosalina was the one who ordered the mission? Giorno hummed thoughtfully as he fully digested what Raine had said. A “simple” mission from one of the senior agents usually translated into, “Please take a break you’re working too hard.” Raine had been off-world for some time much as Giorno had; however, unlike Giorno, Raine had returned to her homeworld or whatever version of her homeworld Pascal managed to find. He was uncertain if she had participated in any missions back then, but he was under the impression she had not done much work until she had encountered other agents at the marketplace.

 

If Rosalina wanted Raine to take a break, that must have meant she had been working hard since she got back. Giorno briefly wondered if Natsuki had any influence on that. The demihuman was an excellent agent who not only got their work done but went above and beyond, but their lack of self-care proved dangerous. He normally would not correlate one person’s recklessness with another, but Giorno remembered how Natsuki and Raine treated each other. 

 

Back when he first joined, he regularly spent time with both of them. They treated Giorno with amiability, but there was always something more whenever they were interacting with each other. Giorno remembered the way Natsuki’s voice would grow softer when speaker to Raine and how whenever Raine touched  Natsuki her fingers would linger on their skin for just a few seconds longer than they should.

 

Perhaps Giorno was just imagining it. He had been more present on base when he first joined and it had been a long time since he spent a significant amount of time with Natsuki and Raine. Maybe he was just projecting. The two of them really reminded him of—

 

He was letting his thoughts wander. GIorno sighed, emptying his head of his useless concerns. He had concerns that Natsuki and Raine were pushing themselves too hard, but he was in no position to order them not to especially, Giorno noted with a worried glance at Duke, Jowan, and Kelsier, when they had reason to offer their services. If they wanted to help then Giorno would gladly accept it. 

 

While the Duke and Jowan continued to talk about the mission report, Twilight approached Giorno and Raine. She deposited two anchors into Giorno’s hand which he accepted graciously and gave Raine a rock that, for whatever reason, Raine glared at as though it offended her. 

 

“You shouldn’t apologize,” Giorno said as began tucking the anchors away into his pants. “I understand the importance of these kinds of missions. If anything, I should thank you for trusting me with the anchors. I’ll be sure to return them to their proper places once we have finished up in Scadrial.” Then, turning to Lailah he added, “We’ll come back safely. Thanks for the concern.”

 

With the anchors safely tucked away, Giorno glanced over at his fellow agents. Jowan, Duke, and Kelsier seemed to be locked in conversation while Raine and Natsuki watched with thinly veiled concern. Giorno presses his lips into a line. On most missions he was happy to rely on the cubes to communicate with other agents, but he wasn’t sure he could count on some of the other agents. Duke, lovely as he might be, had the intellect of a Pomeranian barking at its own reflection. Giorno hadn’t had the chance to speak with Jowan before, but seeing how enamored he was with Duke told Giorno more than enough. Kelsier was a mixed bag; Giorno couldn’t tell if his “teaching” was out of the goodness of his heart or grooming for something he’d yet to share. Either way, Giorno couldn’t take any chances. He needed a safety net.

 

Pivoting on his foot, Giorno walked towards where Mista was standing. 

 

“Mista.” Giorno cupped Mista’s cheek ever so softly. Gently, he nudged Mista’s chin down so their eyes met. “I need you to be very still.” Without warning, Giorno shoved his free hand into Mista’s cap and yanked out a single strand of hair. Satisfied, Giorno released his grasp on Mista’s face, turned around, and made his way back to the other agents.

 

“Considering how many of us are going on this mission,” Giorno began, loud enough to capture the attention of the other agents. “I’d like to take extra precautions to ensure we don’t lose contact with one another.” Giorno outstretched his arm and opened his hand, revealing the single strand of hair. Wordlessly, a ghostly, metallic golden arm popped out of Giorno’s shoulder. It reached out and touched the hair before retreating back into Giorno’s body. Instantly, the hair was enveloped in a soft golden light. Quickly, it began to morph. It began to grow wider and changed in hue to a sickly white. Within seconds, a fat larvae was wiggling in Giorno’s palm.

 

“I’d like each of you to give me a strand of your hair or something else that belongs to you,” Giorno said. As he spoke, the larvae continued to grow inside in Giorno’s outstretched palm. “My abilities allow me to sense life itself, including life I make. In the unfortunate event that our communicators break or are lost, I’d like to give each of you a temporary companion that will allow me to keep a check on your location in case we have to separate.” 

 

The larvae in Giorno’s hand had completely transformed. Standing in the middle of Giorno’s hand was an adult elephant beetle. It was of considerable size, reaching from the first digit of his middle finger down to his wrist. It lifted up its head up curiously, its carapace a fuzzy yellow that was almost as shiny as the stand that made it. The beetle slowly walked up to the tips of Giorno’s fingers, its head moving from side to side as it examined the surrounding area. Then suddenly its wings snapped open and it launched itself off of Giorno’s hand. 

 

“These creatures follow normal animal behavior for the most part,” Giorno explained as he lowered his now empty hand. The beetle flew over towards where Mista was located before landing on his shoulder. It closed its wings and spun itself around, tapping Mista’s head with its legs cautiously before slowly climbing up his hat. “Since they will be made from something that belongs to you, they will instinctively return to you,” Giorno continued. He turned his head away from Mista and back to the agents in front of him. “I’ll be sure you give you all unique partners so we can tell them apart more easily. These creatures are more durable than their natural counterparts, but please do not intentionally harm them. They are living creatures with their own thoughts and desires and it would be a waste to end their lives prematurely. Please take good care of them. Now, with that said.” Giorno lifted one of his hands and beckoned the agents forward with one finger. “Who’s first?”

Edited by Doctortear

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Natsuki

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

 

Natsuki felt… happier than they should have at Raine’s support and choice to come with them. They’d been noticing that a lot recently, it seemed, and no wonder; Raine was excellent at everything she did. Even her handwriting was nice, far better than Natsuki’s own blocky letters. It made reading her notes or hand-written paperwork much easier, and Natsuki appreciated how seriously Raine took everything. 

 

“I’m glad that’s settled,” Natsuki said. They weren’t entirely satisfied with the people assigned to the mission; Antoni had just arrived and, in their opinion, shouldn’t be allowed to go. They had stacks of paperwork, rules, and policies to go over with new agents (not that most of them seemed to care) and Antoni hadn’t had a chance to be vetted or settle in yet. The trip to the marketplace had involved nearly-arrived agents as well, and that had turned into a mess. It wasn’t their place to say any of that, however, and they could trust Twilight to keep the group together.

 

“Your Tsuki will be invaluable on this mission, Rayla; it’s good that you’re going,” Natsuki continued, feeling somewhat awkward. They weren’t entirely sure whether they were supposed to be addressing Tsuki or Rayla. In their mind, Tsuki was similar to the dogs; a full member of the team and able to understand human speech, but still someone that stayed with their handler and understood their handler best. It wasn’t expected that they speak to the dogs directly in most situations, but Tsuki wasn’t exactly the same as a dog. The dogs, as intelligent as they were, couldn’t speak directly to anyone but their handler. 

 

They watched Gold Experience work, fascinated, though they couldn’t see the Stand itself. They weren’t overly interested in magic in general, but the way Giorno’s creations went through their life cycles to reach their final form was interesting, like a time lapse video. They almost wished they could study it. “Of course,” they said, plucking out a strand of their hair and holding it out towards Giorno. While they wouldn’t have trusted Giorno’s Stand as a sole tracker, having another option to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be was an excellent idea. 
 

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[P - Gateway]

 

"I'm Sorey. This place is known as the Gateway to the Starry Skies, and it's home to an organization that fixes anomalies in the multiverse. I don't quite understand it myself, but if you're here, that just means that your world had a hiccup at some point. I think most of the people here are just about ready to leave on one of their missions, so it'll get a lot quieter in a bit. Our leader, Twilight is that little purple horse over there, so you should say hi! It's not that weird for new people to show up here now and again."

 

After a long pause, Parker raises his eyebrow. Then he takes a look around, rather surprised at the types of people he's seeing. One young man seems to have his hair in what looks to be some sort of pastry. At the very least, the ringlets in his hair are very strange. He does, however, look awfully familiar. Had he seen someone cosplay him at a convention....? Perhaps, perhaps. Maybe the last time he went to Comic Con... There's a young woman with gray hair and a strange orange cape, a blonde who also seems to like his capes, and a nervous looking brunette next to the cape man. But that's to name a few. What the ever loving....?

 

Sorey seems to be talking to the air, and Parker rushes to his feet, taking a few steps back. Oh no, he's nuts.

 

"I see, Still, they were initially planning to bring Raine, which means that the XDRS would have had some way of helping us get around space without needing actual wings." Space? Wings? Uh....

 

The purple horse seems to interrupt Sorey, saying things that make no sense. Lumas? Like.... From Mario? What's going on?

 

Wait.

 

Purple horse. Wings.

 

....Oh, his neckbeard ex-friend would have a field day. 

 

"Great!" Sorey seems to finish his strange conversation with the horse and the air. He then addresses Antoni, who flinches. "Why don't you come with us, Antoni? It'll be more fun than leaving you all alone here."

 

"Um.... The hell...." His brain registers that maybe it's best to not ask questions. "Ah, I really don't know what I'm.... getting into...", he replies. At the same time, it's an adventure, isn't it? A chance to show off his skills, a chance to go out there and do some good, from what Sorey was saying. It sounds like it'll be a rollercoaster.

 

But he'd always loved rollercoasters. 

 

"But I guess I'll come along." He gives Sorey a smile. "I'm sure your friend there will also be good company," he says with a wink.

 

He wonders, briefly, if he should've included the last bit. But ah, who cares? 

Edited by Mikasa361

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Jowan 

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

 

At least Duke was excited by Kelsier’s presence. Jowan wasn’t entirely sure how he felt or should feel about that. Jealous? Hurt, that Duke didn’t care enough about his discomfort to be bothered as well? Whatever the feeling was, it wasn’t pleasant and left him with a bitter pang in his chest. 

 

To distract himself, he started flipping through the papers again. Feruchemy -- he’d seen that. Sure enough, the Terris were mentioned in the section about Feruchemy. He’d have been able to find it eventually if he hadn’t given in and asked Kelsier. Feruchemy sounded like it could be powerful, but the amount of set-up that went into it seemed so limiting. He didn’t really get why the Lord Ruler was so much more scared of Feruchemy than Allomancy, but then, he’d never been smart enough to figure that kind of thing out. 

 

The part about selective breeding… that was uncomfortably relatable. “That’s familiar,” he said, despite not having meant to speak. Mages weren’t allowed to have families either. There was nothing so horrid as a ‘breeding program’ for non-mages, but the loss of prestige for families that produced mages and the social pressure against them was high enough to be similar. 

 

He only looked up from the papers when Giorno called out. Thank the Maker, and excuse to look at something other than the papers or Kelsier. His eyes widened at the sight of Giorno growing a second arm -- no, the arm was incorporeal? It didn’t really look incorporeal, but it didn’t look entirely real, either. It didn’t disturb his clothes, almost as though it was a ghost that had been hiding inside his body. Eerie.

 

The extra arm was strange, but the bug that grew in Giorno’s hand was a little disturbing. It looked like a beetle, but no beetle could get that big naturally. It reminded Jowan of the giant spiders that kept infesting the lower levels of the Circle. Apparently he couldn’t blame everything in the multiverse on demons, but the comparison was there and he didn’t like the association. The thing had so many legs and he didn’t really fancy the idea of one crawling on him. 

 

He may have squeaked a little when it flew. 

 

Natsuki moved without hesitation to give Giorno one of their hairs, and Jowan supposed that he should trust the senior agent, but he didn’t like the idea of just handing over part of his body for someone to track him with. He’d worked so hard to escape from that. It was a bit different though, wasn’t it? It wasn’t blood magic, for one, and unlike with his phylactery he’d have control over it. If he did need to destroy the creature Giorno made for him for whatever reason he’d be able to. That thought was comforting, so he lifted a hand to his head and, after another moment of hesitation, pulled a hair free.
 

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Rayla, Alolan Prodigy
<Status: Stable>
<Location: XDRS Base - Gateway>

 

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

 

<People: Duke | Jowan | Natsuki | Raine | Sorey | Antoni | Giorno | Kelsier | Mista | Twilight>

 

~~

 

"Just a simple little patrol, then? I'm sure just me and Tsuki could pull it off, but then again... You never know what could happen. The more the merrier, I always say!" Ray smiled - she liked the idea of getting to know Twilight better, and was still a little surprised that the alicorn knew what a Pokemon Trainer is.

 

She turned to watch the other mission's group get ready and immediately wished she hadn't. Somehow, she'd managed to see Giorno turn a strand of hair into some sort of larva. On one hand, it was amazing that he'd been able to do that, but on the other... why something so gross??

 

"I know that look. You're grossed out now? You went through the Lush Forest surrounded by Bug-type Pokemon just fine, I don't see why--"

 

"None of them were squirmin' little larvae, Tsuki! I don't see how you're not grossed out."

 

"I'm more disturbed by what I saw! You're telling me you didn't see that?!"

 

Ray raised an eyebrow in confusion. All she'd seen was the hair turn into a larva. "See what?"

 

Tsuki lowered her head in disbelief. "...oh my Arceus, Rayla..." Unlike the human Trainer, Tsuki had seen a third arm on Giorno for all of maybe ten seconds, and it had been enough to disturb her a little. Humans weren't supposed to spontaenously grow limbs, were they??

 

The larva, thankfully, wasn't a larva much longer. Now it was a beetle of some sort, and the beetle had flown to Mista. Ray calmed down a little, still utterly fascinated by Giorno's mysterious power. Maybe she'd ask him sometime when he wasn't so busy...

 

Then she saw Natsuki approach and speak. "Your Tsuki will be invaluable on this mission, Rayla; it’s good that you’re going."

 

Ray smiled - it was good that Natsuki thought of Tsuki as helpful. "Thanks, Natsuki. But really, I was barely able to handle myself on the last one. If anything, these missions are a team effort, and I ain't just talkin' about my Pokemon. Every little thing counts."

 

Tsuki watched Natsuki carefully, listening to their voice, observing their mannerisms. "You don't need to be awkward around me, Natsuki. If there's something you wish to say to me directly, you need only say it."

 

Ray, meanwhile, turned to look at Antoni. "...I ain't entirely sure who Sorey was talkin' to, either, but hey, I just chalk it up to bein' another weird quirk of the multiverse. He's got friends that not a lot of people can see or hear. I still ain't sure if anybody can see or hear them... Still, I'm glad you're comin', too."

 

Rayla then turned towards Twilight. "By the way, Twilight, Tsuki can fit one more on her back besides me. Just let me know if anyone wants to ride with me, and who. And, most importantly, when we'll be off."

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by your sword -- 

.

.

shield me from judgement!

 

Kelsier's explanation is delightful, and if it was up to Duke he would insist that they stay here until the older man had completed all of his speech, shared all of his thoughts.

 

"Your friend," Duke echoes, as if this fact in itself is a wonderful thing, "can I ask who?" If Kelsier is introducing them to his friends, should Duke return the favour? Briefly, Duke entertains the idea of requesting to return to his homeland so he can show Kelsier off to everyone he knows. To his benefit and their annoyance, surely. 

 

"Forced servitude," he muses, wondering; that subject in itself is tricky, all things considered. The more he hears about the conditions of Kelsier and Dynarst's world, the more he is filled with a vigour to explore it further, change its structure, and the more Vylcan's presence burns his blood through his veins. "Is your friend in this situation?" Another ally, another glimpse into the world, perhaps? 

 

He wants to discuss more, but it seems the other agents involved are getting ready to go, including doing things like preparing -- who prepares for something in advance? -- and discussing -- why talk out the figurative when he couldn't be sure it would happen? -- and Duke is forced to return his attention to the agents setting up, in particular Giorno. He steps in front of Jowan instinctively when the other makes a sudden sound at the senior agent's abrupt movements, and glares at the blond man. Perhaps his actions are normal to the agents accustomed to the sight, but there is no need to shock newcomers, either. Perhaps the two of them are too used to each others' movements. 

 

Regardless, that doesn't give him right to deny the mission onwards, as much as he'd like to talk with Kelsier more. Reaching up, he takes a strand of his hair -- with an overexaggered motion, as if he were dying -- and gives it a light tug. 

 

"Oh, the agony," he moans, "how terrible. I've been stabbed for less." Plucking the strand of hair from his head, he presents it to Giorno with a satisfied expression, before sweeping his gaze around the field. Admittedly, he has been rather one-track-minded with Kelsier's arrival and their impending justice delivery, and has failed to notice the multiple scenes going on around the area. From Sorey welcoming a rather dazed looking blond to Ray and Natsuki conversing, it fills him with a strange sense of excitement in preparation for their incoming mission. 

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Raine -- Gateway

[ preparing for departure ] - [ thank you, giorno ]

 

 

When Giorno reached under his hat -- without warning -- to forcefully pull out a hair, Mista let out a yelp but couldn't move because of the other man's grip on his chin. Once he had let go, however, Mista gripped his head with both hands and doubled over in pain in one exaggerated motion. The contrast between the sensual, teasing touch and the surprise was too great. "Oi, Giorno! Give me a warning next time!" The boss always ended up getting what he wanted effectively and efficiently. Mista just conveniently forgot that sometimes.

 

During the golden man's demonstration, Raine twirled a silver hair around her finger and, pinching it firmly with her other hand, painlessly snapped it so she could offer it to Giorno. Gold Experience Requiem, his ability, was incredibly powerful and versatile in its life-growing abilities. Even though she couldn't see the spirit itself, she could most certainly feel the power rolling off of him and the subtle way it mutated whenever he activated his stand. Most thankfully, everyone so far had been cooperative with the procedure even if some were a little disturbed. Even Kelsier had plucked a blond hair off his jacket without complaint and passed it forth. 

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< STATUS: Stable; Confident >

< LOCATION: Base - Gateway >

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

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

 

“You should have known what I was going to do the moment I came over,” Giorno replied. He waved a hand in Mista’s direction, not so much as bothering to glance at his underboss as he took two strands of hair from Natsuki and Raine. He laid them both flat against the palm of his hand. Natsuki and Raine were two of the more responsible agents that Giorno knew of which allowed him to give them more leeway with what companions he gave them. The transformation continued as before with the two hairs turning into small wriggling caterpillars that quickly metamorphosed into cocoons. Within mere seconds, the cocoons cracked open as two moths wiggled their way out. They, like the beetle, paused after leaving their cocoons, staring up at the sky and taking in the world around them. Then, they flew off. The black winged moth landed on Raine’s hair while the white winged moth landed on the front of Natsuki’s outfit. 

 

“Be sure to take care of them,” Giorno said, lowering his hand. “Like I said, they are their own living things.” Giorno looked over at Natsuki. “Don’t treat their lives carelessly.” Giorno stared at Natsuki several seconds more, gaze unwavering, before turning away and collecting the rest of the presented hairs. Duke, Giorno notices, stands in front of Jowan protectively glares at Giorno as though he did something wrong. Giorno raises an eyebrow at the ridiculous display as he takes the hair Kelsier’s offers. He was aware that Duke and Jowan had grown close given how they appeared to completely ignore everyone else until Giorno called their attention, but was he so obsessed with the newcomer that he’d really place more trust in him than other agents? 

 

“You know,” Giorno says, idly plucking the hair from Jowan’s hand. “We are going to a place full of potential danger that we are not fully certain of even with the research provided in the report.” Giorno stopped in front of Duke. He tilted his head to the side, humming softly. “You should be less wary of us that have already proven our loyalty.” Giorno gently snatched the strand of hair out of Duke’s hand. “Trust isn’t a commodity. You need to know who deserves it and who doesn’t. Otherwise you might find yourself being used.” 

 

Giorno didn’t bother to look at the person his speech was directed towards as he walked away from Duke, absentmindedly grabbing another a hair from Dynarst’s head as he had yet to offer one. With all of the hair gathered together, Giorno clasped one hand over the other and made a dome with his hands. While Giorno had just lectured Duke about the importance of trusting other agents, his speech hadn’t been wholly truthful. Giorno himself didn’t fully trust everyone on the mission to fulfill their goal. Duke had a history of falling to the whims of any pretty person with a radical agenda and he had obviously fallen for whatever scheme Kelsier had in store. Jowan, while unfamiliar to Giorno, appeared to be on Duke’s side as did Dynarst. Giorno had limited time to get to know Kelsier, but based on what he had heard from word of mouth and some of the research they had stumbled across, Giorno was uncertain if the man’s goals aligned with X-Dreamers.

 

With all of that distrust in mind, Giorno knew he couldn’t give any of those men companions that were, to say at the least, easy to kill or ignore. Less than a minute after taking the hair, Giorno could feel squirming underneath his hand. A chorus of chirping came from his hands as small beaks peaked out from between his fingers. Giorno opened his hands, revealing a small gathering of colorful birds crawling over one another and flapping their wings frenziedly. The birds gathered their composure rather quickly before each flying off to their owners; the shrike landed on Jowan’s shoulder, the lorikeet dug its claws into the front of Kelsier’s shirt and hung there, the waxwing perched itself on top of Dynasrt’s head, and the the Anna’s hummingbird flew towards Duke, pecked his cheek, then landed gently on his shoulder. 

 

“Since that’s settled,” Giorno said as he folded his arms behind him. “I believe we’re all ready to go.”

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Twilight Sparkle -- Gateway

[ready for departure] 

 

Twilight watched the senior agents depart. She nodded to herself. If anyone in the organization could manage pulling off such a daunting cleanup task, it would be some of their best. The pony then turned her attention back to the three teens present. "I think now would be a good time to get started. This is actually an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the world where the XDRS has made their home. It's all thanks to Rosalina that we managed to secure a place here and this planet in particular is very dear to her. This means, in addition to our regular duties, it's our job to protect it!"

 

The Luma who had made the mission announcement zipped up and down. It was as if it was nodding, but since it was all head and no body, all it could do was shake. "Yep! Mama really trusts you guys! Can't wait to see her again!"

 

Sorey followed along with the explanation intently. This Rosalina must be busy if she couldn't visit them personally. She sounded like a pretty important figure!

 

"I might not actually need to ride with you, Rayla," The Shepherd replied to the trainer and her pokemon. "I'll see if my powers would be enough to fly."
 

"Luzrov Rulay!" Sorey shouted, raising his hand then lowering it over his heart. The incantation didn't change anything at all -- at least, not to the others present. But to himself he saw and felt the aura of the seraphim change his body and the appearance of his clothing, making him feel faster and stronger. He could feel Mikleo on the edge of his mind and found that his friend, under his cool facade, was just as excited as he was to explore the stars.

 

He took a running start and, with a splash of water magic, sprung high up into the air before really consulting anyone. The pull to the planet weakened more quickly than he had anticipated and Sorey soon realized that he was floating. He wasn't really falling, but he wasn't really flying, either.

 

Whoops. At least, kicking with water jets on his feet managed to get him tumbling gently in one direction. So cool!

 

We definitely should've taken up Twilight's offer, Mikleo grumbled into his mind. Honestly, you're way too reckless.

 

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[P - Gateway]

 

Parker had never really been one for imaginary friends. But Sorey seems nice enough, he supposes. He kneels to the ground and fixes his boots, quietly tying the laces back together. It's really weird, this whole thing... A whole multiverse out there... Who knew?  He smiles to himself as he presses a palm against the ground to push himself back up. He's definitely not sure what any of this entails, or why he's here in the first place. But the chance to finally try and make a name for himself? To kick ass, take names, help others, and get some muse for his art all at the same time? 

 

Hell **** yeah. 

 

Parker straightens his back and flashes Sorey a very wide smile. He has to admit, Sorey is a bit of a looker. He'd make an excellent subject for a painting. Or a drawing. I should find some paper and draw... That could be a very interesting piece indeed... He puts a hand on his hip. "Well, I can finally say I went to space if I go... So why not? Sounds like an adventure.

Edited by Mikasa361

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Some days, or what passed for “days” out in space, were nice. Calm and peaceful. Usually those kinds of days were transit periods, ferrying themselves from one place to another. Some days xe could just sit on the bridge and watch the stars go by.

 

This was not one of those days.

 

Ace gripped the edge of xer seat with white knuckled fingers as Robin slammed the ship forwards, the young pilot spinning the controls in terrifying pinpoint spirals to avoid the lasers on their tails. They could escape if they went through the Deeps, but that required getting past the starsdammned Deepwatcher that had decided to try and block off the area.

 

Ace swore those things had the worst timing possible. But Robin had a glint in her eyes and xe knew better than most how capable xe was.

 

And yet, there was something...something...wrong. 

 

Elaine shouted something, a garbled warning that would not resolve itself into coherence. Ace prodded mentally at the settings in xer chips that were supposed to help with it--no, those were balanced. What…?

 

Xe glanced over at Robin, whose determined gaze had not broken from the Deep in front of her. Glanced back forwards. The hole in the Deepwatcher’s so-called ‘cloak’ was closing.

 

Something still felt wrong. The Pull called, called, it should feel like coming home--

 

Something else was pulling xer elsewhere.

 

Away. 

 

Away from h̴̩̠͖͖͉̜̠̜̤͐̂ͯͪ͞͡o̞͖̾̃͋̒̅̇ͅm̵̳͓̎́̓ͨ͑̏̆́e̳̝̞̪͓̫̝̋̓́ͩ̚ͅ

 

The Shrike shot through the gap and into the Deeps.

 

Ace felt something wrenching.

 

C3PH3L10N's scream echoed in xer head, and then xe was slamming into someone. 

 

Ace got a glimpse of stars, enough for a sense of simultaneous comfort and dissonance as xe realized xe did not recognize them. 

 

Then xe hit the ground in a tangle of limbs with someone else. Ace shoved them off and rolled back, springing to xer feet. Xe put one hand on the stun-baton inside xer coat and glanced quickly around.


...What the ****?

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< STATUS: Stable ; Excited >

< LOCATION: : Gateway  >

< AGENTS: Parker, Ace, Sorey, Rayla >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Twilight, Tsuki

 

Hi! My name is Jin Kaien! Have you heard—no, no, that wouldn’t work. Hey there, I’m Jin Kaien—no, that was too familiar. Salutations, my dear acquaintance! May I introduce you to someone I am fond of—that was utterly ridiculous! 

 

With a frustrated shout, Jin slammed his fists down onto the bathroom counter. The force of it sent the small bottles on the counter tethering dangerously to the edge. Jin closed his eyes as he hung his head over the sink basin. Today marked a new day. For the past month, Jin had made it his mission to try and advertise Amy’s—his dear, wonderful Amy—fan club to someone new every day. His mission had been challenging considering that he been banned from more than a few places for being a tad overzealous in trying to get people to join and for, well, being himself. Some days he’d come back to his hotel room, exhausted both physically and emotionally, and collapse on the bed, drained. It had been hard some days, knowing that some people wouldn’t give him the time of the day, but that was in the past. 

 

Jin dipped his hands into the water at the bottom of the basin, and slapped his face with a handful of water. Today was different! He sharply lifted his head, and stared intensely at his own reflection. He had woken up at six o’clock sharp, ate a hefty breakfast, did his morning training, and spent the following two hours practicing his opening lines. Now, he needed to pump himself up before heading over to his destination for the day. 

 

Jin took in a deep breath. He was going to get it right. Jin exhaled through his nose. He was going to be convincing and charming and compassionate. Fingers tapped along the rim of the counter. He knew what to say. Breath in, breath out. With a loud Ha!, Jin punched one of his fists down into the counter. 

 

“I got this!” he said. His reflection smiling back at him encouragingly. “I got this. I got this more than anyone in the history of getting has got!” Yes! Jin’s entire body buzzed with excitement. He started pounding his hands in the air in front of him, now suddenly incapable of keeping them still. The fulfillment that came with productive, specifically successful productive, was the only drug Jin needed. With a final wink at his reflection, Jin exited the bathroom and headed to the bedroom to prepare for the warp to XDRE headquarters.

 

---

 

Wonderfully enough, there were already people at the warp pad. At least, Jin assumed it was a warp pad. Upon teleporting to XDRE, thanks to the handy phone-like device in his pocket, Jin was confronted to the view of a field of flowers held within a circle of large, towering stones. He blinked rapidly as his eyes adjusted to the light. The last few bases of “multiverse saving organizations” he had been to had all been inside large, modern buildings with a sleep interior. Taking in a breath of fresh air, Jin thought that an outdoors base was a refreshing change. Before he left, maybe he could ask permission to pick some of the flowers for a bouquet to send to his friend Asin. Asin vehemently disliked gifts from most people, but he appeared to love anything Jin got him. 

 

Jin glanced around at his surroundings appreciatively for a few moments more before his eyes caught sight of two people laying down on the ground. Jin immediately perked up. This was it! He was say the words! With the widest grin he could manage, Jin stooped down to the level and offered his hand. 

 

“Hi my name is Jin Kaien! Have you heard—” Wait, no, this wasn’t right. Upon further inspection, Jin could see confusion and apprehension swimming in the strangers’ expressions. Jin frowned. Those two weren’t just laying down in the flowers for fun, were they? No, that couldn’t be right. Jin had arrived too soon to know for sure what they were upset about, but maybe they had both warped in poorly.

 

“Are you two alright?” Jin asked, eyebrows furrowing in concern. He retracted his hand, and began glancing between the two strangers. “Rough landing?” He could preach for Amy later. For now, he needed to make sure his potential future clubmates were okay.

Edited by Doctortear

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Caspian Moselle

[ petal symphony ]

 

 

"Give me her," the demon says, her eyes glimmering a burning bronze in the faint moonlight. "Young girls lose their flavouring the longer the night wears on!" 

 

The Demon Slayer to his right shakes his head, his shaggy blond hair falling between his eyes. "That's not even remotely true," he winces, gripping his Nichirin Blade loosely in one hand. His other arm clutches at the shoulders of the unconscious girl they had rescued from the demon a second previous, the battle having already carried on for a while.

 

"Concentrate on the task at hand," he advises, lightly, and the Slayer has the decency to look somewhat abashed.

 

"Sorry, Hashira. I'll follow your lead."

 

Satisfied with the response, Caspian nods. In lieu of an answer, he takes a running start towards the demon, jumping into the air at the last moment as he feels the wind soar through his hair, a cold chill brushing against his cheek as he turns and grasps the edge of his blade, a simple gesture to ward off any suspicion if anything. Truth be told, he is somewhat confused at the concept of the weapon attached to his waist — it isn’t as if he has never seen a sword, per se, but usually only in the hands of skilled leaders and cocky swordsmen. To have one now, and to feel his fingers curl around the hilt in a mockery of a proper stance, feels almost wrong. 

 

No distractions. Illustrious’ voice sparks in his head, bringing him back to the present, and Caspian becomes keenly aware of his current situation as he feels magic gather at the tips of his fingertips, commanding the spears of light forward as a roar echoes throughout the sky, and his mother’s beloved servants appear out of the dust kicked up by his sudden movements. 

 

He slams the light of a million splendid suns into the demon, hearing her screeches echo throughout the woods, and — 

 

To his surprise, the demon doesn’t disintegrate like expected. Instead, there is a lull, silent, a lullaby before chaos, and then the ground erupts below him. 

 

What?!

 

Hands come shooting up from below and he hears Indomitable shout in his head, the flash of Formidable’s red eyes, and Caspian jolts back as he feels a large hand curl around his ankle, forcing him down to the ground. 

 

He conjures a light construct, exploding miniature spears against the limb, until finally he hacks it off — wincing at his crude form in battle — and lands safely, watching as the limb falls down on the ground and swiftly crumbles to dust. 

 

The demon laughs, her eyes now a haunting bright yellow in the darkness, as her body seizes up with a violent composition and she laughs, loud. 

 

“Lord!” she says, raising her hands to the air as multiple limbs split from below her armpits, new arms unfurling from within with deadly claws. “This power — I can feel it — I can taste it! I will be here forever, eternal! Thank you, oh — thank you!”

 

Sneaking a glance at the Demon Slayer, who has backed up now with a look of horror on his features, Caspian gestures for him to retreat before the demon snaps out of her delusions. It is clear to him that their fore is much stronger than he had initially thought, and he wholeheartedly blames himself for this critical lack in judgement. This is why — he prefers to fight alone, to avoid mistakes. 

 

The Demon Slayer shakes his head, clearly caught up in his own delusions about grandeur and loyalty, but all it takes is a firm glance from Caspian towards the girl in his eyes to make him relent. 

 

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he promises, and — Empress above, Caspian certainly hopes not.

 

Facing the demon, Caspian collects himself. He feels his mother’s pets circle around him protective, their large bodies blocking him mostly from the demon’s view. Taking a breath, the pink-haired man tucks a loose hair behind his ear and steps forward, ignoring the protests in his head. 

 

“You’ll do,” the demon analyses. “You’re not a girl, but I’ll break you open and drink your blood regardless!”

 

Caspian ignores the taunt, having lived long enough to know that all people liked to mock, in one way or another, and instead prepares a second attack. He feels the stirring of magic channel down to his heels, setting the bottoms of his shoes alight with a golden energy, as he rushes forward and conjures a longer spear, crashing into the monster’s hide. 

 

Almost immediately, he recognises his mistake, and before the realisation of danger sets in Caspian internally choses himself. Two mistakes in one battle? All of Esteau must be rolling in their graves. 

 

His thoughts are cut short when the demon grabs him with a large hand — when had she gotten so big? — fisting her fingers in his hair and snapping his head back with a ferocity that makes him wince. Dazed, he notices too late that the demon has him held aloft in the air by the waist, tight. 

 

From the corner of his vision he hears a yelp, and to his horror he realizes that his own falterance in battle has significantly weakened that of his companions, as well. Formidable is caught in the monster’s curling arms, lashing out at her shimmering white form. Her sisters curl underneath her, obviously displeased. 

 

Well, this is an unpleasant situation. Caspian struggles, trying to free himself from the demon’s hold, and only manages to trap himself further. Sighing, he goes limp in the demon's grasp and hopes that he will meet a swift, painless end, if not only to free the three from their contracts.

 

"Giving up already?" Were he a vain man, Caspian would think the demon sounded surprised.

 

"Not much point to it," he responds, calmly, and the demon's sharp teeth curl into a smile as she lures him closer, her makeshift chin sliding open to reveal a mouth entirely separate from her human-faced one, and --

 

A bright flash blinds both of them, and Caspian gasps, feeling a sudden sinking feeling overtake him with urgency. Some kind of magic -- another Champion, perhaps?

 

He almost wants to call out for a name he feels is right, wondering if Elias has somehow managed to navigate the systems of the multiverse to find him once more, before --

 

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!"

 

His ears are filled with a terrible shrieking as the demon claws at her own body, shrieking. "Lord! Where are you?!"

 

Could this be -- the same multiverse disparity that had sucked him into that harsh world in the first place? Caspian's eyes widen, as he comes to the realisation that -- 

 

Her tie with Kibutsuji, he thinks, it must be disrupted here.

 

He doesn't have time to look at where they've landed. Hoping it is a friendly enough place -- that, or violent enough to kill him instantly -- Caspian summons a construct to slice through the demon's distracted arm, serving the limb only partway -- what hard skin! -- but managing to wriggle out all the same. "Illi!" he calls, and Illustrious instantly bounds up; she catches him easily with a single swoop

 

The demon swings at them, claws raised, and Caspian turns sharply just as her claws catch the edge of his jaw, nicking scratches into the skin of his neck. He takes a leap, using the movement of her arm to propel himself upwards once more, firmer in his attack this time as he shoots up and slices through the demon's arm holding Formidable tight. The limb falls to the ground and her shrieks worsen, as her wound heals at a marginally slower pace than before, tiny stub-fingers beginning to regrow all the same. 

 

Caspian takes a quick surveying glance around, stopping for just a second at the strange sky above his head. How curious -- a world that didn't seem to reflect anything he's ever seen is before him, and perhaps the way the darkness curls around them with the aligned planets explains why the demon is not instantly crumbling to dust underneath the sun's rays. 

 

"You!" the demon howls, her voice filled with a passionate anger. "I need -- more, healing -- give me your blood!"

 

Caspian steadies himself again, breathing heavy, as he prepares for another onslaught. He is aware, faintly, that they do have company -- but he can deal with that later, when the demon has been defeated for his own survival. Regardless, he thinks he owes them at least some kind of apology for the current state of his clothing.

 

"My apologies," he says, his voice faintly raised to carry across the wind. "Please accept my sincerest regrets for ruining your present company." 
 

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Zagreus

Allies: Caspian, Jin, Ace, Parker

Status: Uninjured

Weapon: Exagryph, the Adamant Rail

Location: The Gateway

 

As is usual, Zagreus is fighting for his life. 


Exagryph hums in his grip and, at his bidding, forms a grenade that sparks and falls slowly to the ground. Unwilling to risk getting hurt by the bright explosion of wine that follows the grenade hitting the ground he dashes from the epicenter of the blast, icy wind tailing him. Behind him, a crowd of Numbskulls disintegrate in the wake of the blast. The Skullomat that spawned them perishes afterwards, the last vestiges of its vitality taken by the curse of Dionysus. 


The battle is mundane, until suddenly it isn’t. 


It is as though his next step takes him a thousand miles. The omnipresent green glow, stone walls, and dank air of Tartarus are gone, replaced by thousands of pinpricks of light in the sky, open space, and light, cool air. The place he finds himself in is similar to Elysium in that it has grass and flowers, and completely unlike it in every other respect. There are no statues of dead heroes, no walls, no Lethe, no ceiling


It doesn’t make sense, and is as likely to be some new infernal trick or illusion as anything else, but still Zagreus nearly drops Exagryph in surprise as he stares up at the sky. The sky! 


"You!" yells a voice, distracting Zagreus from the sight above him. He can’t relax yet, it seems. The owner of the voice isn’t a simple mortal, if the multiple arms and tooth-lined chin are any indication, but she doesn’t seem dead, either. "I need -- more, healing -- give me your blood!"


"My apologies," says a pink haired man. His stance is tired, but there is a sword held loosely in his grasp and a glint of will to fight in his eyes. Blood drips down his chin, as red as Zagreus’ own, and there is no divine energy about him. A mortal. "Please accept my sincerest regrets for ruining your present company." Three large, white and black striped beasts prowl protectively around him, unlike any creatures that Zagreus had ever seen before. They’re most similar to drawings that he’s seen of the Nemean lion or the chimera, yet they lack manes. 


For a moment Zagreus questions whether or not he should interfere. He could leave the pink haired man to his battle and talk to the red haired man or the two people tangled on the ground instead. He dismisses the thought quickly. He hadn’t had many chances to play the hero, but now is as good a time as any to start. 


“Need a hand?” he asks. Starting a fight with some form of banter or pun is required, of course, and the multi-armed woman seems to have enough hands already. He could have said that she has her hands full fighting the pink haired man already, but the pink haired man almost looks like he might collapse. 


Zagreus looses three bullets from Exagryph towards the multi-armed woman, two of which hit, then dashes towards her. The snowy wind rushes ahead of him and slams into the woman, curling harmlessly around the pink haired man and his white beasts. As soon as the dash is completed he turns on his heel and dashes back the way he came, putting some distance between him and the woman and allowing him to see how the bullets and wind affected her. 

 

 

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Sorey -- Gateway

[ crash landing ] - [ hellion!!! ] - [ Luzrov Rulay --> Fethmus Mioma ]

 

The agents on the ground didn't have too much time to react before something strikes Sorey out of the atmosphere and sends him crashing back to the earth. The other form that fell with him roughly shoves him off and maintains a cautious distance, but Sorey himself rises only to his knees and bows his head in apology.

 

"Really sorry for bumping into you...!" the Shepherd says, even though he was the one who had been bumped into. He was going to ask the stranger if they were alright, but a confident-looking red-haired man posed the question first. "Yeah, it was a little rough, but I'm fi-"

 

A pulse suddenly strikes Sorey's mind, like a split second flash of pain between his eyes. His newly intense stare locks on to a point beyond the new person.  It had been a while since he had sensed any malevolence at all, and the sudden outpour of it was like being exposed to a noxious corpse that had been sealed in a box for months. Lailah's warnings are loud in his head but her words were far away. Sorey acts mostly on instinct and crouches, drawing his blade. The blue parts of his armatization change to a bright red color, starting from the feathers near his face and spreading to his feet. His ceremonial sword catches fire and transforms -- bigger, better, brighter, coated in the flames of purification. 

 

It was as if his Armatus -- the artifact itself -- was a little restless after being dormant so long... or was that simply his unconscious desire to return to his purification duties?

 

Sorey follows the cold wind dash of another fighter and charges in himself with a fierce battle cry, sword ablaze and cutting towards the many-armed demon with a sweeping motion. A lot less light on his feet than the other, but he was confident he could do a lot more damage. 

 

~~~

 

Meanwhile, Twilight Sparkle made an uncertain grimace, her ears tilted back and betraying her nervousness. "Oh dear. Is the Gateway intercepting another wave?" It certainly wasn't that bad yet, she didn't think, Or at least not bad enough to call Nata for backup.

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Alright. Reorient. Center. A variation on the old Archive motto rose from somewhere in the depths of Ace’s mind. Observe, catalog, process. Seeing comes before understanding. So what did xe see?

 

...Stars. Xe saw stars. That was strangely comforting, despite their unfamiliarity. Ace wrenched xer gaze away from the sky and back to the situation as hand. The...kid? Across from xer looked vaguely confused, but otherwise unharmed. Ace waited for their information--name, pronouns, anything--to hit xer ID chip, but nothing came. Huh. 

 

Okay then. Stars over...a grassy meadow filled with flowers and a circular arrangement of stones reaching into the air. The place seemed to be in a perpetual twilight. Ace caught sight of a few other people clustered nearby, and a--

 

A--

 

Was that a giant, starry bat? And why did xe swear xe recognized it from somewhere?

 

Ace tried to image search the Archive with a memory screenshot.

 

[ERROR]

 

...What?

 

[ERROR. USER IS OUT OF ACCESS RANGE.]

 

Oh, what the ****? 

 

Panic--the kind of deep, true panic that Ace hadn’t felt in decades--started to claw at xer chest. Distantly, xe registered the kid xe’d shoved off offering an unnecessary apology. More distantly, xe noted xe should probably respond.

 

“It’s fine,” Ace said curtly, gaze not landing on the kid as xe tried once again to ping the Archive and got the same starsdamned error message. You couldn’t get out of the Archive’s access range, that was the point, what the--

 

Mercifully, a much louder unfamiliar voice interrupted xer thoughts. “Hi my name is Jin Kaien! Have you heard—” 

 

Ace swung xer head to pin the new person with a sharp look. As though in response, the...stars, this kid’s information wasn’t pinging either--pulled their hand back, expression shifting to concern. “Are you two alright? Rough landing?”

 

You could effin’ say that.

 

Ace pushed xerself up from xer cautious crouch and drew xerself up to xer full height--a little taller than where xe normally kept xer height mods set, xer maximum setting of 185 cm instead of xer default of 178. 

 

“Yeah, it was a little rough,” the kid xe’d crashed into said, “but I'm fi-”

 

A sudden scream grated against Ace’s ears, and xe yanked out xer stun baton before xe could even think. A moment later, xe registered what xe was seeing.

 

That thing was probably too big for xer stun baton. And it felt--it felt wrong. People said the Deeps felt wrong sometimes; Ace had never understood that, never understood how people could look at the Deeps and not feel the wonder, the call, the Pull.

 

Looking at whatever that creature was, Ace thought maybe this was what they meant by wrong.

 

There was a pink haired kid--stars, did no one have ID chips here?!--fighting the creature. Animals prowled around them. In a distant, vague way, Ace recognized them as tigers; animals xe’d never seen, a cultural memory xe’d picked up somewhere.

 

The kid hit the ground and skidded back slightly as the creature screamed for blood. Ace shoved xer baton back in its holster and checked xer pockets for xer stunner. I can’t believe I’m wishing I carried one of Louise’s guns.

 

“My apologies,” the kid said. “Please accept my sincerest regrets for ruining your present company.”

 

Why was this kid apologizing for being attacked? Unless Ace was interpreting this very wrong, there shouldn’t have been--ugh. Starsdamned self-sacrificing morons. 

 

Ace’s hand landed on xer stunner as xe caught a flash of fire in the corner or xer vision. The first kid, the one xe’d crashed into--their outfit changed in a flash of fire, blue accents turning red as an oversized sword materialized in their hand.

 

...This is turning out to be a really weird day, even by my standards.

 

The sound of a bullet firing drew Ace’s attention back to the creature. Yet another person had materialized, attacking the thing with a gun and...a...was that dash summoning snow? What even--

 

The kid next to Ace took off as the snowy wind whirled past the demon, spinning their sword with a yell. Ace sighed, figured xe’d better help, and finished pulling out xer stunner.

 

Xe aimed and fired without hope of it doing much.

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[P - Gateway]

 

Ah, he had said he loved rollercoasters. 

 

But maybe this was like the one that made me nauseous because of its near-ninety degree drop. New Jersey, was it? 

 

Parker can only think that because he'd only been here for maybe ten, fifteen, twenty minutes before Sorey was sent into the air and more people started raining from the McFreakin' sky. The first is a galaxy-haired person, soon followed by a rather happy-go-lucky red haired man. And not long after follows a beautiful pink-haired young man with an equally stunning (and rather odd) form of dress. He appears to be bleeding from the neck area, scarlet blood staining those clothes in a way that actually does make him sick. He's surrounded by not one, not two, but three giant white tigers. He is also fighting some sort of.... demon?. Haha, I guess 19 years is enough time, right?

 

Then follows a rather odd person- no, that's not entirely human. He has almost grayish skin and wears an outfit that vaguely reminds him of Greek mythology. Actually, he looks like a character his friend had showed him from the game Hades. But he can't remember anything about it for the life of him. Strange. 

 

Everyone starts coming after the demon.  Galaxy person has some sort of stun gun, Sorey is back and coming at it with a sword, and the Greek man starts shooting at it. The only ones who aren't actively fighting are Twilight and this pink haired man, who seems to be hanging back due to his wound.  Quickly Parker takes two key items out of his bag- his gun and his first aid kit. Quietly, he unwraps the package and straps on the holster to his right leg, placing the pistol in soon after. Then putting the bag on his shoulders and tucking the kit under his arm, he rushes to the pink haired man. "H-hey, you're hurt. Hang on, I can patch that up, uh..." He carefully leads the man further away from the demon and guides him so he's kneeling on the ground.

 

This man is very reluctant, and Parker gets that. But he doesn't see any sort of help coming right now. So he gets to work. He starts with the antiseptic, covering the wound and warning the man that it might Sting. Once the wound is clean he places a gauze pad or two over it and grabs the bandages. As soon as his work is done, Parker takes a few steps back and gives him some space. "Um... Sorry, where are my manners? My name is Parker Mizushima." He gives the pretty man a sheepish smile and then glances at the demon. "Jeez, this was the last thing I expected today," he says as he takes out his pistol and takes aim. 

 

 

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< STATUS: Stable ; Determined >

< LOCATION: : Gateway  >

< AGENTS: Parker, Ace, Sorey, Rayla, Caspian, Zagreus  >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Twilight, Tsuki, Demon

 

They were okay! Just seeing one of the strangers, the starry-haired one, rose to xer feet made Jin feel better. Knowing now that his concern was thankfully unfounded, Jin relaxed. The stranger still on the ground rolled onto his knees and bowed his head. The gesture was unexpected and embarrassing. Jin cleared his throat in attempt to maintain a modicum of decency. He felt his cheeks heat up, but he didn’t want to make the boy feel awkward just because Jin did. Thankfully, the boy began to speak before Jin let his emotions run on overdrive. 

 

"Yeah, it was a little rough, but I'm fi-"

The stranger never finished his sentence. The boy who had tumbled into the starry-haired person, glanced behind Jin  His expression hardened immediately. The pretty blue accents on his body burst into warm colors at the sword as his side grew significantly in size. He charged past Jin, sword drawn. Jin blinked owlishly. What in the goddesses’ names was he doing?

 

Pivoting a full 180, Jin caught sight of what appeared to be three more people at the gateway. There was a tall one with strange plant headdress, one surrounded by tigers, and one who had at least one extra arm too many. Jin vaguely recalled hearing people talk behind him after he had arrived, something about blood or healing, but he hadn’t paid attention to what they were saying. His only concern at the time had been the two strangers sprawled on the ground. Horrifyingly, the woman was riddled with bullet holes. Blood was oozing out of the open wounds, staining her clothing. The starry-haired person from earlier and a young boy Jin hadn’t noticed before both had their guns trained on her while, amazingly enough, the boy with the sword was charging straight towards her.

 

Jin went straight into autopilot. He smashed his fists together, the tips of his fist fighter’s knuckles brushing against each other. Small orange sparks burst from his fists upon his gloves making contact. Just as a the boy with the sword went to strike the woman, a barrier appeared around everyone in the immediate vicinity except for Jin himself. The barrier was translucent and vaguely orange. As soon as the the sword and projectiles for the guns hit the barrier, small flames burst from where the objects made contact and disappeared shortly after. Jin grimaced. His barriers usually lasted for at least eight minutes, but he had been in a rush. Without any Chi Waves to back him up, his work was sloppy and unreliable. The barriers would hold for a minute at most if he was lucky.

 

“Hold on!” With the threat of fighting temporarily stalled, Jin ran towards the center of the conflict. He rose his arms up to block everyone from attacking one another despite knowing none of them could hurt each other with the barriers up. “Was there some memo I didn’t catch?” Jin asked, furrowing his eyebrows. “Why are all of you attacking this one person? Lots of people who aren’t used to warping get violent afterwards and there’s no excuse for that. I get that, i really do, but that’s no excuse to pump them full of bullets! You can’t just kill people!” Jin wasn’t completely sure if the lady had never been warped before and she was just lashing out. If anything, he was spitballing; he was just making assumptions based on prior experience and stuff he had heard before. He didn't know why everyone was attacking her and not the man with tigers that didn't fuel Jin with the urge to pet them.

 

No! Jin shook his head furiously. If it turned out the woman was dangerous and intended to hurt everyone nearby, then Jin would swallow his pride and accept what was wrong. They could subdue her or terminate her life if needed. Jin didn't have a problem with killing people, especially considering his time in Grand Chase, but he did have a problem with killing innocent people. He hadn't seen if the lady had hurt anyone when his back was turned or really paid attention to anything she and the other newcomers had said, so maybe that was on him for not paying attention, but still! He wasn't going to stand by and let people shoot her! Especially since he didn't know how XDRE handled threats at their home base. Jin had tried tackling a robber in the intergalactic mall once and had to stay in a jail cell over night for not calling an authority first. If anyone had the authority to detain to sentence someone in XDRE's base, it was someone from XDRE and Jin had no idea if anyone nearby had any kind of authority.

Edited by Doctortear

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Is the black-haired youth mocking her? The demon draws back, eyes wide, as she collects herself once more. Everywhere she looks -- it fills her with a sense of intense hatred bordering on desperation, an urge that screams in her most primal instincts to destroy, consume, leave no survivors. If one person lives -- she has disappointed Him, and he will not be pleased --

 

But where is he? In this new world, where --

 

Stinging pain bites at her body, pulsating in and out as new, smaller hands spring from within the mass of her quickly growing body. Her regeneration here is slow -- slower than usual, and that makes the formation of new limbs slow as well. She has to end this quickly, before it worsens her condition. She shrieks in combination with the furl of wind against her body, the cold sharp gust cutting small slices into her skin. Small slices that before she wouldn't have felt, and still does not feel now, but is still conscious of their existing.


That, in itself, is unforgivable. Her attention is drawn upwards by the curl of a yell -- how many times has she heard such a war cry, and then crushed the head of the opposing youth so easily? -- and sees a boy bounding towards her, his brown hair stirred by the wind, his eyes filled with determination.

 

Her mouth curls into a smile, and she lunges for the boy, her previous target forgotten. Blood -- give me your blood!

 

To her surprise, neither the boy's attack or her own hits its target. A glittering orange wall blocks both of them from making contact, and she draws in surprise, offended at being suddenly blocked. What kind of Breath Style was this -- something so defensive and so ridiculous?

 

It fills her with anger at being taken lightly and wails once again, swatting the land around her, ripping chunks of grass and dirt from the ground as she flings herself against the barriers of the shield, until their glimmering walls crumble down and she breaks through, bloodlust clear in her gaze. 

 

A new man runs into the scene, with shockingly bright red hair. She prepares herself for another attack, but to her surprise the boy stops right before her and is speaking -- to the other humans?

 

How pitiful, is all she can think, as she looks down at this boy who seems to be defending her. Her, of all people -- with her bloodstained hands and the taste of millions upon her tongue. She doesn't need -- his pity, nor his defense, nor his companionship. 

 

Perhaps long ago, she did -- she vaguely remembers a blinking figure before her trembling gaze, a familiar, strange, unknown smile -- 

 

The thought makes her pause for longer than necessary, silence echoing into the air between them, as everyone processes the boy's words. 

 

Then -- 

 

--

 

Edited by Shoukaku

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Zagreus

Allies: Caspian, Jin, Ace, Parker

Status: Not Great

Weapon: Exagryph, the Adamant Rail

Location: The Gateway

 

Zagreus raises Exagryph to fire another hail of bullets at the woman, but before he can pull the trigger all of the combatants are surrounded by strange barriers that repel attacks against them. Wh-? 

 

Normally, he would have just continued to attack. In his experience, barriers and shields always went down eventually, and it was best to be shooting when that happened, but he doesn’t want to shoot the red-haired man that ran in between him and the woman (even if the man’s actions are strange). In the pause of the action he reloads Exagryph, hands moving automatically and without conscious thought. 

 

He’s not sure how to answer the man. What did he mean by “you can’t just kill people?” Of course he could kill people. He doesn’t want to, of course, but what was there to stop him? He’d killed dozens of the best warriors of Elysium again and again (not that he would be able to do that now, with as few boons as he has). “Do you want to test that?” 

 

Well. That sounded a bit like a threat, and it was partially meant as one, but he doesn’t want the redhead to get the wrong idea. He doesn’t have time to say anything more. The shields crumble under the woman’s onslaught and the battles resumes. He feels almost bad for the redhead. He’d prefer if there wasn’t any fighting either, but this is what he is good at. Killing is what he does. 

 

The woman isn’t aiming for him but he dashes anyway, constantly moving to make himself harder to hit. With the swordsman of flame so close to the woman he can’t risk Exagyph’s bullets, so he calls up the power of his cast, augmented by the power of the Huntress. Once, twice - twin arrows of green launch from his hand and dart towards the woman, curving in flight to hit her. The first digs into the flesh of one of her arms, less helpful than it could have been, but the second strikes true and drives itself into the woman’s throat. 

 

The woman hardly seemed affected by his earlier attacks, he’s closer to death than he’d like thanks to Master Chaos, and Exagryph is a ranged weapon. Despite having such good reasons to stay away from the fight, at the sight of the pink-haired man held tightly in the woman’s grip he dashes towards her. Again, icy winds dig into her flesh, while the man’s hair is ruffled and snowflakes gently caress his skin. At his side one of the lion-creatures digs into the woman with its claws. It’s strange to have someone fighting at his side, but it fills him with a surge of camaraderie. He won’t allow the Keres to take the man today. 

 

“I’ll give you blood,” he snarls at the woman, close enough that she could reach forward and tear open his chest (although she seems busy tearing apart her own), before dropping a bomb. 

 

It’s not the most delicate approach. In fact, it will definitely hurt the pink haired man as well, but it’s the only way to deal damage quickly enough to the woman that he has. The initial blast won’t do much more than scorch the people in range other than the woman, at least. She’ll have a much worse time of it. 

 

The demon, it seems, was preparing an attack of her own, and it’s not one that Zagreus is ready for. He’s good at analyzing his foes’ attack patterns and countering them. He’s not good at reacting to them the first time he sees them. Red crescents of blood slice towards him, tearing through the earth, and he isn’t quite quick enough to avoid them. A slice through his leg, his ribs torn open - it’s too much and for a moment he falls. “Nngrh, I won’t go back. He rises into the air, will and determination half healing his wounds. He can keep going. He won't be stopped by the likes of the multi-armed woman. 

 

bloodstones: 1

death defiances: 1

Edited by Kiran

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Ace’s shot hit an orange barrier and burned into nothingness. Ace blinked.

 

Firewall. Don’t think about--

 

Wait. No. That didn’t make sense. Firewalls were a mental construct only, and they hurt. Ace’s mind wasn’t twinging with the pain of trying to remember something xe shouldn’t be thinking about. This was a physical firewall. Better not touch it.

 

Ace lowered xer stunner as the kid yelled about not ganging up on others. Part of Ace rebelled--can’t you feel the wrongness?--but some people said the Deeps felt wrong too, and that had only ever been--

 

Ace instinctively slipped out of the line of thought before realizing xe didn’t feel the heat of a wall.

 

...Wait…

 

Tentatively, Ace reached for the thought again. The Deeps only ever felt like…

 

...Home.

 

Nothing burned.

 

Ace grabbed for something deeper. A memory of xer time in the Deeps, long past.

 

Nothing burned.

 

The other side of being out of the Archive’s range is that they can’t firewall me.

 

Oh, holy ****. 

 

Xe faintly registered the pink-haired kid shooting forwards, leaping high into the air with a spear of light at the ready. Much less faintly, xe registered the waves of red energy hurtling towards xer as the firewall-barrier flickered out. Those did not look good. 

 

Ace dodged to the side with easy grace--looks like all my other mods are still online, reflex-analysis-dysfunction regulator check check check; probably should have checked those first, can’t check all eye mod functions right now--and decided forget this, actually. The kids seemed to be handling themselves fine, even that weird gray-skinned one who’d gotten knocked to the ground. They were getting back up and looked ready to charge again.

 

Ace placed the entire situation firmly in not my problem and edged around the side of the battle to the other cluster of people. The space-bat still seemed faintly familiar. Besides, they were all out of the battle.

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