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TehUltimateMage

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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[A - 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."

 

Antoni looks 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. 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. There are many others, all of whom Antoni finds rather overwhelming. 

 

Sorey seems to be talking to the air, and Antoni backs away a little bit, rather concerned for the brunette. 

 

"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? Antoni can't comprehend anything that has come out of Sorey's mouth. 

 

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

 

"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."

 

"I... have no idea what I'm getting myself into", he replies. Still, it's much better than being alone and not knowing what's going on. Perhaps he can pick up on where he is if he keeps quiet and observes his surroundings. And perhaps takes notes- does he have a notebook? Antoni feels around his vest, sighing in relief when he takes out his notebook and his pencil. Good. At least he can do what he does best in any unfamiliar situation- shut up and write it down. 

 

"But I guess I'll come along." He gives Sorey a smile. "I have no idea who you were talking to, but I'm sure they'll also be great company.

 

....Should he have said that?

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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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