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X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

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Stan - Gateway

 

"Oh my God, is that a car that can turn into a robot?!" Stan shouted, pointing a finger and forgetting the other thing he was about to say to Cistina.

 

"Oh my gosh, it's a robot that can turn into a car!" Pascal answered, absolutely giddy.

 

"Ahem," With that out of the way, Stan cleared his throat and regained his composure. He was able to sit up now. "Might not hurt to get checked up on, but looks like our injuries are mostly on the mechanical side." He squeezed his eyes shut to fight a slight dizzy spell. "Xker's right, metal limbs and magnets don't get along."

 

He had a feeling, however, that it wasn't magnet magic, considering that his electronics were all still fine. "I gotta report back to Twilight, cause I got good news and bad news. She'd be interested to know what we found out." Without asking whether Cistina and Pascal wanted to hear the good news first or the bad news first, he went on, "Good news: we think we know where the distortion is and it's a lost anchor; bad news: there's some locals who don't want us poking around."

 

Pascal - Gateway

 

The most interesting part of gate duty was by far the people who came along, and even after the big burst from the ripple earlier there were still a good amount of people showing up! Three to be exact. A good number, all three who gave slightly different flavors of the same 'where are we', ranking up there with the usual 'who are you' and the 'what did you do'. She responded to Evonna's dark expression and series of curse words by putting her hands behind her head and rocking on her feet in a relaxed fashion. That other kid who approached was almost just as pissed off as her. Pascal's eyes, however, darted every few moments at the car-turned robot.

 

Today was a good day. She just needed to quickly get off guard duty so she could fix up Xker and take a closer look at all these new mecha.

 

"Hi, I'm Pascal, and this," gesturing to the circle of rocks and the stone platform with a large sweep of her arm, "is the Gateway! Not to be confused with the name of this planet itself, which is also called Gateway, or Gateway to the Starry Skies if you want a mouthful. We're part of a cross-dimensional rescue squad and don't worry, you're not the only new people today! So basically..." Pascal paused for effect, "You're not on your home planet anymore!"

 

"That's Cistina, and that's Stan, and Xker, spelled with an X and a K," she added, introducing the agents on the scene by pointing to them in turn. Stan made a motion with his good hand, which Pascal interpreted as a hello wave.

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   [XDRS Main Hall]

 

   Duke was looking less and less comfortable by the minute. "Not my fault," he said in reference to the laser, grimacing at the new scars burned into the walls, making them glow clearly. Typheus shot a glance behind him at the perpetrator, but said nothing. The master of the game then straightened up and cast his eyes around the room, watching the walls as they all suddenly came alive with blue, crisscrossing with fractals and finally shattering harmlessly to the ground. The machine shifted uneasily at the sight. Nice to know he has that kind of power...

   "Well done," Duke congratulated. "You've helped test my hypothesis that challenging newcomers to a battle in headquarters is usually a bad idea. So now that that's done and over with, can we forget the whole 'who are you, I'm going to try and murder you' deal and work on the 'hey Duke, you're so wonderful and original with your ideas, can we be friends' issue?" he proposed. For a moment Typheus wanted to simply roll his eye in exasperation, remembering a few similar moments from his past that thankfully helped him shrug it off, but a few laughs escaped at the last comment. He knew he was bringing attention to himself, not restraining them, but it was honestly cute how naive that human was about the animosity he stirred up; or perhaps he was just trying to be optimistic?

 

   Duke continued down the stairs, continuing his speech by including the robed human in it and mentioning masochism. The word brought a few teasing remarks out of Typheus's memories, and he suddenly straightened up with a start: the barriers! Did Duke take all of them down? Surely he would safeguard the doors, right?

   He swiveled and looked up at the hole Fiddlesticks had disappeared through, both wanting to call her and second-guessing opening his emitters again; chances were good the stone would just bounce the signal back at him, even if he tried to aim it through the hole. He was pretty sure Duke wouldn't appreciate being pounced on by 2000 pounds of metal, and there's no point in agitating Nata or Twilight (with that thought, he took a few steps back when Nata abruptly flung himself onto the key-sword boy, who was still challenging Duke)... He deducted from experience that it would be best to move in closer.

   Typheus walked past the struggle, casually catching the robed man's correction about the nickname, and looking at the struggling boy as his sword vanished into light. The latter was talking about a strange organization, that Duke was part of... the X-Dreamers? Organization 13? They had his friends? Evidence-collection programming kicked in, and immediately Typheus's suspicions spiked. He turned to Duke as he came to a stop down the stairs, looking him up and down. So far, Twilight and Nata were the only ones here who knew Duke, and the boy's claims were so confident it was hard to disregard them; at the same time, he had also been standing, confused, within that circle of stones, so he must also be a stranger? No one else seemed to have a better idea of what was going on more than he did, which made their claims less credible. Which begs the question: what did the boy know about Duke? Should Fiddlesticks really be stopped from flanking him? It might give them the advantage if things turned ugly...

 

   The machine roughly shook his head, trying to suppress his budding aggression. No. They could be as innocent as the scientists, he told himself. Even if this is Organization 13, or X-Dreamers, or whatever they want to call it, it doesn't mean that any evils it has makes all of its members responsible. He wilted at the remembrance of such complications he and the other mechs encountered on Earth. They're being nice so far, stop suspecting things!

   The nagging sensation in his head persisted though, especially with the knowledge of the strange abilities each "human" here seemed to have. In his long train of thought Typheus was semi-detached from his surroundings, until he came back to ask a question:

   "If this is an 'all-inclusive society', then where is everyone else? Unless you're a three-man army, excluding the implied extras?" he asked Duke, looking at Twilight and Nata to include them. "Wouldn't there be others running around in this... 'X-Dreamers'?"

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

   [XDRS Third Floor]

 

   Clunk clunk clunk clunk... her footsteps echoed down the hall. It wasn't exactly quiet, but this floor was pretty barren anyways. The place was still lit by the strange torches, and the introduction of purple runners softened her footfalls, so it was pretty easy to navigate. For a stone-and-mortar castle, its large, cathedral-esque windows made it very bright and open, only emphasizing how comfortably large the halls were; she felt strangely accommodated for.

   Now, the hard part: the trial and error of finding the front gates, Fiddlesticks thought, It will be interesting to see if Duke has any counters to surpri-!

   Skii-THUD! She yelped as her balance was suddenly offset, even with the runner underneath! She had throw her arms out to the sides, gouging the walls with her bayonets to stop her fall, the thud coming from one leg as it ground itself behind her.

   She paused for a moment, waiting for the adrenaline spike to fade. Speaking of surprise... what in Alkinest...? she wondered, looking down. There were many small, shiny spots under her feet. What are those?

 

   Fiddlesticks crouched down to get a better look at the objects, flashing her scanner over them. Small, polished... iron! They were tiny iron balls!

   Ammunition! her thoughts exploded, and immediately she lunged with her retrieval arms, sweeping a decent amount of them into a pile before trying to pick them all up at once. It's hard enough to do with biological arms though, nevertheless mechanical ones, and the little orbs simply fell through, scattering everywhere with loud tinkles. She let out a curious whistle, trying to grab a few that escaped her, but they slipped right through her wrenches!

   They're escaping! her mind said, and she playfully pounced on one rolling gently down the runner. The strike from the wrenches shocked the ball bearing with kinetic energy, making it shoot down the hall, and she pursued it with excited beeps. Tiny ball! Come back! I want to eat you! she laughed in her head, This is fun!

   She chased the ball a bit further, quickly going from a hunter's mindset to that of a kitten's without entirely realizing it. She kept her focus on that ball, completely ignoring the others that she was scattering around her, intent on getting it just for the sake of getting it while also being too entertained by its kinetic responsiveness.

   The ball bearing led her down the length of the hall before bouncing off into a corner, where its speed was killed. She pounced on it right then, and finally had it pinned! She snagged it with a vengeance and threw it up into her retrieval panel, where her grinders grabbed it and turned it into dust with a soft grating sound. It was barely a fraction as useful as if she had eaten that one girl's frying pan instead, but still pretty satisfying!

 

   A few other balls she had scattered to the end of the hall came rolling past her, and she pounced on another one, looking up to keep the others in sight. However, much more than the ball bearings came into view: two startled humanoids, standing in the middle of the hall. She froze up upon making eye contact with the black-haired one, who had been looking down the hall.

   Stupid! I completely dropped my guard! she thought shamefully, looking at the other human, who was blond and wearing completely different attire. She felt like a sore thumb that just clambered around on all fours in front of them, completely undignified from chasing a ball.

   She slowly stood up with her tiny prize in one wrench, ears flattened but not yet holding any aggression. She saw no lightning-knives or cryptic purple auras, and neither of them looked like the man that had created the maze. They were two humans, as far as she could tell, and she was the only one there with them, so she could definitely fend them off, right? She only spotted a sword with the one, but an ordinary sword wouldn't hurt her. Still though, she opted for caution this time, only eying them warily to see what they would do next.

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Nata - XDRS Front Hall

 

“Shut up,” Nata hissed as he tightened the metal chains around the boy’s hands. He gave a little tug to remind him the perilous situation he had put himself in. “Duke isn’t part of whatever organization you think he is from and he most certainly doesn’t know where your friends are. If there’s anything he knows—” Nata’s voice slowly grew in volume as he shot a glare in Duke’s direction. “—is that he’s going to spend some time in the basement if he can’t come up with a better excuse!” It took the effort to resist the urge to pick up the boy underneath him and fling him at Duke. “Pull this stunt again and I’ll show you a real sadist,” Nata snarled, sparks of electric phase power dancing off the back of his hands.

 

It was until after one of the robots started speaking did Nata remember his job included more than just threatening to beat up his co-workers and slamming small children into the ground.

“I’m not sure if you remember what Twilight said, but this ‘all-inclusive society’ encompasses an entire planet,” Nata said. “It’s not a big planet, but it is an entire planet. Everyone else is busy doing their jobs. The only reason we’re babysitting you lot is that newcomers generally want to know what’s going on when they first arrive. If you wanted to meet some other agents you probably will be considering someone—” Nata glanced over in the direction of the manakete. “—blew up a hole in the ceiling. If we’re all lucky, then Da- Xander, Natsuki, Lara—oh who's here—or any of the other competent members in this place won’t yell at us all for being dumb enough to, as I will remind you, blow a hole in the ceiling.” Nata looked between the newcomers accusingly almost as though all of them were at fault for the damage to the main hall. Just in case any of them had the great idea of sassing him, Nata tugged at the kukri tied around the wrists of the boy beneath as to remind the newcomers what would happen if they stepped out of place.

 

Xander - Base Library

 

A frown found its way onto Xander’s face when Natsuki waved off their pain like it was nothing. There was no doubt in Xander’s mind that Natsuki could stave off whatever danger they ran into, however that didn’t mean they should accept their own suffering as just, “another thing to survive”. Xander didn’t outright scold Natsuki for their beliefs, but the look in his eyes was most likely enough to get his point across.  

 

“Where did Duke even get so many ball bearings,” Xander asked as Natsuki prodded one with their feet. Xander watched the silver ball roll across the floor, eyebrows furrowed. If Duke didn’t consider the possibility of someone cracking their head open after slipping on one of the balls and onto the stone floor, then he and Xander really needed to talk. A harmless prank was doable but this? Xander sighed as he lifted his hand and ran his fingers through his golden curls. Perhaps Duke would do well with a sit down a discussion about his life choices.

 

Xander was just about to go looking for the broom Natsuki mentioned when a sudden rumble caught his attention. Xander’s head turned towards the direction of the sound, his eyes narrowing as he realized that yes, that was an explosion.

“Did you hear that?” Natsuki asked.

“Unfortunately,” Xander sighed. He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples gently. Cleaning up the mess left behind wouldn’t be hard, but the explosion shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Every agent should know better than to set off an explosion in the base and if one of the newcomers was at fault then someone should have calmed down before the accident happened. Was the base just too incompetent to know better or were people deliberately breaking the rules?

 

“Whoever caused that ruckus is going to wish they hadn’t,” Xander said as dragged a hand across his face. Xander’s eyes flickered open as determination flickered across his face. “My apologies if we have to take a detour. I’m not going to sit by idly while—” The clunking of metal filled the air. Xander looked up to the hallway to see what appeared to be a robot playfully skittering across the floor as it tried to chase the ball bearings rolling away from it. Xander stared at the robot completely perplexed as it tried to grab one of the balls scattering at its feet. Xander liked to think he knew all the agents. He had taken time to memorize the files of every one of the agents working for X-Dreamers down to the smallest details. He was confident he would recognize the face of any agent who crossed his path as well as know their name within an instant. Xander was sure he didn’t know this machine and if the way it slowly rose up, the flaps on its head flattening like a dog’s, then it didn’t know him either.

 

“Hello there,” Xander said as softly and non-threateningly he could manage. His hand strayed from the sheath on his hip. He folded his arms, being careful not to make any sudden movements. “We don’t mean you any harm. You wouldn’t happen to be new here, would you?”

 

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Lightpon ~ XDre Base

As she stood there thinking, a shimmer seemed to appear in the air around the melodramatic Duke. Is that some sort of magic? It would be better to not head into the middle of it... And so decision made, before heading forward, Light looked to her right and noticed that the brown, spiky haired boy was using some sort of magic to light up the walls around him. What kind of spell is that? It looks like silvery streaks are swirling around him-it's actually kind of pretty. 

Suddenly, a snarl came from behind her, and Light whirled around, the start of a summoning spell on her lips. A white furry dragon from who-knows-where was in the room, and for the lack of a better term, freaking out. It screeched--Light flattened her ears and clapped her hands over them--and breathed out a ball of energy that ricocheted around the room, lighting up the walls, before blowing a good-sized hole in the ceiling. When she looked down, though, the furry dragon was nowhere to be found, but there was a boy that was more or less standing at it's spot. She put her hands down and cocked her head. Maybe he was a shapeshifter too? Light stepped forward--He looks so scared, maybe he needs help or something? I should go over and--

 

“For Pete’s—What part of don’t attack the walls don’t any of you idiots understand?” Blue haired Nata barked. Light jumped at the sound.

 

"I-I-I-I didn't put anything c-ca-caustic in my paint this time, promise!" Light stammered. Nata didn't seem to be paying much attention to her, though, and instead turned to face the boy(?) on the floor.


“Could you not try to blow up the building? If this place comes crashing down you’ll kill yourself and everyone else here," Nata glared at everyone else after he spoke, and Light flinched. “Same goes for all of you! Stop breaking stuff! I don’t care how strong you think you are; we’re stronger. If I see any of you pull some stunt like that—we can restrain you. Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

 

"Understood..."

 

Still, after that display, something seems to have changed for Duke. After a few moments, he crosses his arms and concentrates--And the walls glow again. Light put a hand on one and felt that it seemed harder somehow before it shattered into twinkling blue pieces.

"Well done, you've helped test my hypothesis that challenging newcomers to a battle in headquarters is usually a bad idea."

 

"Since when was letting a bunch of people of unknown power into your house and letting them go wild ever a good idea?" Light asked incredulously.

 

 "So now that that's done and over with, can we forget the whole 'who are you, I'm going to try and murder you' deal and work on the 'hey Duke, you're so wonderful and original with your ideas, can we be friends' issue? "Unless you're a masochist, of course, which I think only you are over there, Mr. Tall and Brooding and Chained," Melodramatic Duke glanced over at the guy who attacked the poor wolf-boy.

 

"Jowan," "Tall, Brooding, and Chained" said. Is that his name? Melodramatic Duke continued talking, but after his lengthy speech, the brown-spike haired boy yelled:  "Hey... Where are Riku and Kairi?"

He looked tense--about to attack, but Blue Hair Nata sneaked up behind him and tackled him to the ground, then brandished his sword and sparks in Sora's face. "He's part of Organization 13! They're bad guys! And he knows where my friends are!" Sora yelled. 

 

At this, Light turned to stare at Duke. Do I think he's evil?.... No, unless someone being pretentious marks them as evil. And I'm friends with several of those types of people. Then back at Sora He sounds--and looks so convinced, but... "C-can we all calm down and just talk for a bit? I don't know what's going on right now, and...I don't know about you... But I want to get an idea before.. Before anything happens.... And what kind of a name is "Organization Thirteen?" Did 13 guys just meet up one day and decide "let's be evil" and they couldn't come up with a name?" Even if nobody agreed to her, Light walked closer to the assembled group, Rao zipping around her once before coming back to her shoulder. Should I prepare a summon? No, not right now, not when I really don't know anything. I probably have enough reach just by Phase Shifting away.

Apparently one of the robots had the same thought--Wait where's the other one?-- and came closer. As she watched, it seemed to stop and think for a long while--it shook something back and forth like a head too--before asking: "If this is an 'all-inclusive society', then where is everyone else? Unless you're a three-man army, excluding the implied extras? Wouldn't there be others running around in this... 'X-Dreamers'?"

 

"There was a white-to-red haired lady and a lady in yellow too... Back at the Gate to the Stars or whatever it was called," Light recalled. Blue-haired Nata then spoke up with a much more elaborate explanation, the middle interspersed with an glance towards a woman standing at the door to the end of the hall. Light awkwardly waved as she scanned them, then turned back to listen to Nata.

At the mention of the hole in the ceiling, Light looked over to the shaky looking boy on the ground. He looks even more lost than I am.... With this thought, she walked over, bent down, and offered a hand to him.

 

Cistina ~ Gateway

"Me? Got a bit roughed up. Probably would be nice if someone not Gladekeeper could look at us, and I think we'll need metal repairs - my bionic limb's damaged, Stan's are I think, and my right eye's not working. Damn monsters are magnetic or something like it, and vicious too. So maybe see which healers are at base right now...."

Cistina closed her eyes for a second--bionic limbs were the metallic parts, magnets are... Things that pull other things together? But more importantly, who here at base is--Ah, Badu's here and close by to boot.

 

"So I will go see if Badu is willing to return, and then try to find Yusei--Wait," Cistina paused. Xker seemed to have the same idea, as the golem-canine idly said "Wonder if Pascal'd be willing to consider taking a look once the rookie's done talking."

 

Cistina turned and started to call to Pascal: "Pascal! Shall I take over informing the arrivals? Stan--

Something purple rushed past the group and Cistina broke off as she turned to follow it. What in the world--

 

"Oh my God, is that a car that can turn into a robot?!" Stan shouted..

 

"Oh my gosh, it's a robot that can turn into a car!" Pascal replied(?) giddily. Robot. Right, that was the word she was looking for, though "car"... Cistina watched as the purple robot-car thing that had just transformed into a humanoid figure landed near them--It brought up a fusil attached to its arm and Cistina tensed--but as it looked around, it-she?-seemed more confused than anything. It looked like it was wearing plate armor, except plate wasn't in such a bright color... Hopefully the thing wouldn't start shooting at everyone there.

 

"Humans?" It sounded shocked, and the fusil it had disappeared in a fluid movement of parts into a hand-like structure, which it then crossed."Which pile of tin space jumped me here?"  

 

Cistina was about to reply when an "Ahem" reminded her of the two injured agents beside her. Cistina looked back to see Stan sitting up and say: "Might not hurt to get checked up on, but looks like our injuries are mostly on the mechanical side.“ But he still closed his eyes and grimaced. "Xker's right, metal limbs and magnets don't get along."

 

"Right," Cistina said with a nod. Magnets pull together things made of metal, though some metals are resistant. If I switch Zephros out for a spear made out of another substance and wear leather I can probably head on this mission, but it might be difficult to find something for the former...

"I gotta report back to Twilight, cause I got good news and bad news. She'd be interested to know what we found out. Good news: we think we know where the distortion is and it's a lost anchor; bad news: there's some locals who don't want us poking around." 

 

"Let me take your message to her," Cistina proposed. "You can file a more formal report at a later time; Twilight is presently hosting a group of new arrivals, and it would be best for you and Xker to stay and rest here." Cistina looked to the three new faces that appeared. ”You can help Pascal with the arrivals in the meanwhile."

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Yusei | XDRS Castle Hallways

 

As he walked, Hush answered his question. "Pale one?" he repeated, curious. "Empty... What was removed?" Yusei asked. The creature requested instruments to write with and the young man nodded once. "Yes, in the kitchen. There should be something there," he stated. Passing the room that was still in disarray, Yusei made a mental note to clean it up as soon as he was able to. Returning to the kitchen, he noted that the stove had been turned off and inwardly cringed. He almost forgot about the tea but it looked like someone had gotten to it before he did. Fortunately.

 

Pulling open one of the drawers, he shuffled the contents around in search of what he wanted. There was plenty of paper but, beyond markers and colored pencils in various stages of sharpness, it didn't look like there were any - ah! Finding a black ink pen, he set a memo pad and the pen down on the counter, stepping aside for Hush to come closer. "Alright, here you are. When you are done writing, how about you help me clean up the mess you made?" Yusei suggested.

 

Circuitraider | Gateway

 

She wanted to roll her optics. "Yes, we get it. I'm a robot who can turn into a car. Let's move on now," she muttered, tempted to lean against the stone pillar; it was at the perfect height for her. She listened to the exchange of words between the gathered beings. From how things sounded, only half of the group were familiar with the location and each other. The others, like her, were strangers.

 

"I wonder if you could tell me who's got the plasma rifle here."

 

Immediately, her eyes went to the cyborg creature she had initially passed off as just a dog, a basic companion to the boy beside it and similarly sporting a mechanical limb. "You talk," she commented, surprise lacing her words. "And here I thought you were just a dog with its human boy," she added. Waving almost dismissively, she took a step closer. "I can take your wounded to where they can be looked at," she informed, Prime's doctrine nagging at the back of her mind. 

 

Without awaiting a response, she started to crouch down, moving as if getting onto all fours. However, at the same time, her armor shifted and parts moved. Tires spun into place against the ground as windows sealed into their frames. The driver-side door eased open as she introduced herself, "Call me Circuitraider."

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Natsuki [ XDREs Base, Library Entrance ] [ Original Work ]

 

Really, how did Xander manage to express his disapproval so clearly? He didn't even have ears or a tail to flick. Natsuki shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, but ignored it. How they dealt with pain was their own problem; Xander could scold them if it started affecting anyone else (which it wouldn't, because that would go against the point of bottling everything up). 

 

At the sight of the mech barreling into the hallway, Natsuki's hand shot towards the weapons holstered at their side. Before they could draw either one, they forced themself to stop, clenching and unclenching their fist before dropping it to the side. Stupid! Once they had gotten a decent look at Fiddlesticks it became clear that they wouldn't be able to damage her, with weapons or without. They doubted that a Taser would hurt a robot much even if the barbs were somehow held against it, and handguns were similarly useless. Breathing deeply, they continued to watch the robot and relaxed their shoulders. The robot wasn't doing anything threatening yet, and they wanted to do everything that they could to keep it that way. Xander had the same idea, so they decided that it'd be best if they followed his lead. 

 

They weren't sure what kind of body language the robot would find least threatening, however. Humans tended to react well to raised, exposed hands, while animals usually interpreted the gesture as one trying to make themself look larger. Maintaining eye contact was usually a threatening gesture, but looking away could be seen as a sign of weakness. Avoiding either extreme, they blinked slowly and allowed their gaze to travel around the robot's body instead of maintaining eye contact.

 

The robot was sentient, clearly. Natsuki didn't know much about robots, and never expected to deal with sentient AI in their lifetime, but they could tell that it had been designed to be expressive and human-like. All of its proportions were wrong and it didn't really have a face, sure, but the ears, eye, and body language were all expressive enough. A new recruit from the Gate, then? They'd have expected someone to let Xander and them know if one of the arrivals had started running through the castle, but they hadn't gotten a warning about the explosion either. Something was wrong. 

Edited by Zor

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[ reporting for duty! : duke -- ; ]

 

His friends? Duke blinks, taking a step back as a barrier was thrown instinctively up in front of him at the sound of a boy yelling. Before the brown-haired boy, who he had apparently angered, could act, however, there was a flash of bright purple as Nata slams him into the ground.

 

Duke winces, watching as the other was suppressed with cold, calculating actions on the part of the blue-haired man, and Duke would have thanked Nata for saving his life if he didn't already know the only reason Nata had reacted was to prevent another battle, and not at all for Duke's wellbeing. He watches as the brown-haired boy continued to struggle under Nata's hold, yelling about an ... organization?

 

Duke pauses. The only organization he'd had the pleasure of meeting had been the RLD, and Duke wanted nothing to do with a group that had caused such chaos throughout the realms back home. Surely the other hadn't mistaken him for a terrorist?

 

To be fair, you aren't exactly doing a good job convincing everyone you're not, Vylcan says, and he winces. As Nata sets the boy in his place, glaring at him with a mention of the basement, Duke raises an eyebrow.

 

Well.

 

Xander would certainly not be pleased at the beautiful new hall he has somehow managed to construct for the squad, and Duke doesn't doubt Nata's words that punishment will come -- and it will be swift and merciless. But, well, if he's now regulated to the depths of the basement until his sentence is over, he might as well bring a buddy, right?

 

And Mr. Tall, Brooding, and Chained certainly looks like he's spent quite a few days in basements. Briefly, Duke wonders if they've perhaps summoned a criminal to the land -- but why? Surely Twilight was the sensible one out of all of them?

 

"Oookay," he said, clapping his hands together. "Not going to approach you, small angry boy. I can, however, reassure you that I'm not a part of any organization. I am contracted to a dead man who speaks bad puns inside my head, but not the point." He waves a hand through the air casually, before he steps forward, making sure to stay clear of the Nata-Sora situation as he instead approaches Mr. Tall, Brooding, and Chained, who was friendly enough to offer his name, at least. Jowan. What kind of name was that? Or had that been an accidental sneeze?

 

Curiously, Duke is extremely pleased to find that he is taller than the other. Years of following Elias and watching as the boy went from shorter to taller in the span of a few months has made him somewhat paranoid about his height, and so Duke clicks the ends of his heeled boots on the ground and tilts his head.

 

"I'm sure you're aware," he says, "but you're bleeding. Everything alright there? Are you a criminal? How many people have you murdered?" Duke glances curiously at the bindings holding the man. "I didn't think Twilight would suddenly take an interest in the slave trade, but I suppose there's a first for everything. Seriously though, you doing okay, buddy? You look like something just burnt your village in front of your eyes or something. Was it you?"

 

--

 

[ the enemy! : fushi -- ; ]

 

Fushi felt his blood chill to ice as he watched a blue-haired man suddenly dash forward, slamming the brown-haired boy into the ground. His heart drummed in his ears as he watched Sora struggle back, his voice rising in the air in the terrible, emotional way of humans, and Fushi thinks -- well, is the boy a friend?

 

He thinks he is.

 

There are not that many people Fushi knows, much less can hold onto, and Fushi is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. There is a certain ache pressing on his chest when he thinks of being left alone, again, and he wonders with all the curiosity of someone who is only beginning to understand death if maybe -- he can change the certain fates of others.

 

It is this thought that drives him forward, rushing at the blue-haired man with an almost inhuman speed, an animalistic surge forward learnt only by months spent living as Johan, before he was witness to the complexity of human existence. He feels the wind rushing through his hair, his clothes, and then he is no longer the boy but Johan instead, his first, primitive existence before he was made aware of the folly of this planet. 

 

He wants the boy to be okay. The man is hurting him, and he wants --

 

He lunges at the blue-haired man, mouth open, teeth bared, zero focused in on the man's hands that are holding knives that bind the boy's wrists together. That is fine, that is okay -- he can withstand any swords aimed at his person, but humans are not the same. They are so easily fragile, and Fushi fears the loss of another spirit more than the momentary pain that will accompany his own passing. 

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((Jeez, that took a while. I'm always glad to write for scarf-child, though.))

 

Hush, Child of Void

 

The Nobody nodded at Yusei's request. It would help to clean up the mess it had produced; truth be told, in its amusement, it had not noted the extent of its damage.

 

Hush took the fountain pen and memo pad, but rather than writing, it began to draw.

 

Two emblems (12) were drawn on the bottom, with a circle divided evenly into three parts above them. One had a drawing of a heart inside, another a stick figure, and the last containing what appeared to be a flame.

 

"Heart, body, soul. These make a person." Hush pointed to the three divisions in the circle accordingly with the pen.

 

Then, it scribbled out the heart.

 

"When the heart falls to evil, it becomes a dark one. Most call them... Heartless." 

 

Hush circled the second emblem. "They are dangerous. Do not cross them." This it said with a high degree of seriousness, for it had seen first-hand the cruel savagery they employed.

 

"Soul and body remain. Rarely, they become a pale one. Humans know them as Nobodies."

 

Despite the grave subject matter at hand, Hush couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of the colloquial names. Heartless were made of hearts, and Nobodies all had a body to use.

 

"Pale ones want to have hearts again. We remember, but we do not feel."

 

Now, it set down the memo and pen, its explanation mostly finished.

 

"Home is gone, brothers scattered. I am alone, so I come here."

 

It thought about the World That Never Was, obliterated by the calamity which tore the castle and city to bits. His brethren were lucky to escape, if they did at all.

 

"Help me?" The question came immediately, and without regret. Hush had no doubt it would need the aid of others.

 

Wait... What do I want help with? Do I want to go home, or would I rather be whole again?

Edited by Coryn02

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Twilight - Main Hall

 

Rounding the paint-splattered corner, Twilight quickened her pace now that she was more confident with the wall locations. She was almost at the base of the stairs, barely a half-dozen lengths from Duke. The goal was right there and she could give Duke an order to stop this madness.

 

A blast hit the ceiling. Twilight felt her heart skip a beat at the unexpected explosion and she whipped her head upwards to look at the damage. Oh no...

 

The room descended into absolute pandemonium. Nata barked orders. One of the metal beasts took the chance to wiggle through the hole that was made in the castle, and Duke realized how grave a mistake this prank was. The dissolution of his barriers did nothing to dissolve the tension however, as Nata immediately took the chance to tackle one of the children to the ground, causing Okay the wolf boy to lunge at him over an increasingly big pile of misunderstandings.

 

Unlike the last time at the Gateway, Twilight was quick enough at weaving a spell with her horn. A shimmering light drew a straight line between Nata and the shifter child, forming a pink-tinged barrier to protect the agent from a single direction so that neither could hurt the other. "Nata let him go!" Twilight shouted, urgency coloring her voice.

 

[[MAZE CLEARED...?]]

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Sora | XDRS Front Hall

 

He grimaced when Nata yanked on the chains around his wrists. Looking up towards the older boys, he frowned at their assurance that Duke wasn't who he believed. "That doesn't make any sense..." Sora breathed, trying to shake his head in the awkward position he was forced into. Then he hears the sound of fast footsteps. Glancing, he catches a slight glimpse of the white-haired boy as he turned into a wolf again, charging. "Wait, don't!" Sora shouted, just as a pink glow raced across the tiles of the front hall, separating the wolf from Nata. 

 

Exhaling, he couldn't deny the sensation of relief. 

 

He'd made a mistake and it almost had consequences he couldn't bear. Not really hearing Twilight's urgent cry, Sora twisted to look at Nata. "I'm sorry. I'll leave the guy alone. I thought... I only know villains who can trap people with invisible barriers. I'm just... I'm just trying to find my friends," he apologized, a plea starting to edge his words - much to his dismay. "I didn't mean to make a mess of things!"

 

Yusei | XDRS Kitchen

 

Studying the symbols that Hush drew, Yusei committed them to memory. "You've lost your heart?" he repeated, puzzled. "No emotions... And you want to feel again, like you did before," he continued. Falling silent, he nodded once a few moments later, making a soft hum. "Yes, we'll help you," Yusei answered, looking over at Hush. 

 

"You can stay here as long as you want or need. I'll make sure the other agents are aware of your situation. We'll see your home restored and then, after that, you can decide to return or stay with us to help others. It'll be your choice but you have time to think on it," he explained.

 

Tearing the sheet with the symbols off the pad, he folded the paper into four before stuffing it into his pocket for future reference. "Let's get that mess cleaned up now, and then we'll - "

 

Something rumbled through the hallways, causing the ground to tremble faintly through the soles of his boots. Surprise filled his face as Yusei paused at the commotion. Immediately, he started running to where he was certain the noise originated from. 

 

Lara was standing in the doorway when Yusei came to a halt, looking past her and into the front hall of the castle. It was... well, it was better than he expected honestly. 

 

Nata had a boy pinned and chained on the ground, a glowing barrier separating him from the teeth of a wolf. Beyond them, Twilight stood, her horn glowing to match the barrier. There were other newcomers scattered about ranging from a silver mech to a frightened white-haired being. 

 

Seeing Duke standing over a stranger in chains, Yusei frowned. "I see..." he murmured. Stepping past Lara and into the Hall, Yusei spoke just loud enough for everyone to hear him. "Hello, everyone. My name's Yusei. It seems you all have received Duke's... welcoming, to the XDRS base. Why don't I show all of you around a bit? You can settle in and relax while we sort out your unique situations," he explained. 

 

Looking to the spooked individual, Yusei continued. "I'm certain all of you have questions and they will be answered. Some of you may even be frightened and it's understandable. We're here to help despite... certain appearances," he glanced towards Nata and then Duke before returning to the strangers. "Follow me," he stated, motioning with an open hand.

Edited by ValidEmotions

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   XDRS Main Hall


   "I suppose so," Typheus said dryly, wings shifting in annoyance of Nata's comment. He was starting to second-guess the evidence he had collected, now that the captive boy looked more distraught than anything. Clearly Organization 13 wasn't a selfless group, and according to Duke's latest comment he wasn't part of any organization anyway. Funny though, how he welcomed them to X-Dreamers just seconds ago... did he just hang out in a shed outside the base or something? His flippancy wasn't very trustworthy...
   The mech prepared to launch a volley of questions at the few people who seemed to know what was going on, but then he picked up a series of clacking behind him, quickly accelerating and coming closer. Ordinarily he would be more concerned, but considering the last two false alarms he simply turned around, casually watching as a wolf gained on Nata. It leaped, teeth bared, and for a split second he considered intervening; there was no point in allowing unnecessary violence.
   Was it really unnecessary though? The sudden thought confused him, making him hesitate. We might be displaced, but that's more reliable than whatever the X-Dreamers is feeding us. He became conflicted, Is this another government-versus-rebellion model?

 

    Thankfully, his hesitance to act wasn't fatal; the wolf slammed right into a sudden barrier that manifested itself! It dropped to the floor, leaving Nata unscathed. The pink tinge of the small wall made it obvious enough who had done it.
   "Nata let him go!" Twilight ordered. Typheus glanced at the blue-haired boy, curious about how he would react, before walking over to the fallen wolf and crouching down to it, retrieval panel open. It was fairly small, so picking it up wasn't a problem; just a bit awkward with the misleading fluff. He didn't trust what the wolf might do next, so he held him close to prevent squirming while also staying relaxed. If he learned anything from Fiddlesticks, it's that sometimes it's better to act friendly than jump to conclusions, and he wasn't going to get any answers if more hostility broke out, so at this point it seemed getting to "tea time" faster was the optimal plan.
   With that recognition he looked around to assess everyone, noting Duke's approach to Jowan, the red-haired girl's gesture to the slit-eyed boy, and the two strangers who knew each other that he had nearly forgotten about, still standing by the entrance as if amused by all of the strife. Things looked to be calming down, for the most part. Although...

 

   The mech looked up and opened his emitters, turning back to the ceiling hole behind him. Maybe if he was lucky he could bounce a signal out to her.
   Fiddlesticks, he called, Fiddlesticks, return ping. The maze is gone. It's not worth it.
   He waited for a few seconds, hearing the arrival of someone else in the hall, and became annoyed by the signal silence. FIDDLESTICKS! Return the ping! Bloody... He suppressed a growl and shut off the emitters. The stone must be absorbing the signal. This isn't good. He turned to Duke to issue a warning, but was interrupted by a new voice:
   "Hello, everyone."
   Typheus turned back around to see the new speaker; another human? The spiky grey hair reminded him of... well, a lot of the guys here, actually... except in that it had four prominent yellow streaks going through it. Other than the somewhat-off design of the jacket and the knee pads, he didn't look that much different from the others.

   "My name's Yusei," the boy continued, "It seems you all have received Duke's... welcoming, to the XDRS base."
   That's about right, Typheus thought, glancing at the mentioned person. It wasn't the best, but I've had worse. He looked at Twilight while Yusei proceeded to offer them a quick tour, noticing that she looked relieved about Yusei's help. It looked like Nata was right; Yusei is one of the more "competent" members here. In looking over the boy's shoulder, he saw another person standing in the hallway, dressed modern but not in the style of many of the others here. She had neither introduced herself nor spoken up in general though, simply keeping an eye on the scene. If naming convention was anything to go by, she must be either Lara or Natsuki. Or Xander, but the probability of that was lower.


   Yusei began to leave, waving for everyone to follow. Keen on more information, Typheus obeyed; the faster "tea time" happened, to sooner he could form a proper judgment of the place and stop his partner from tearing it apart on a whim. Oh, speaking of which...
   Before entering the hallway, the mech stopped and turned around, looking straight at Duke. "Keep your barriers ready," he said cryptically, glancing at Nata and Twilight as well before ducking into the hall. It was a bit awkward at his height, but a heck of a lot more comfortable than the human-only halls of Earth. He then caught up to Yusei - while still holding the wolf - and added to him: "Twilight claimed more information will be given 'over tea'. When will that be happening?"

 

   -------------------------

 

   XDRS Third Floor

 

   Fiddlesticks took an uncertain step back, then her ears perked up and she cocked her head, surprised by the reactions. The black-haired one had the reflexes of a Combat model, but relaxed a lot faster, preventing her from returning the hostility, and the armored one was immediately open to conversation. She wasn't particularly comfortable with the idea though; they didn't seem to know any more about her than she did of them, which opened up opportunities to learn more with acting, but being caught could sour up any affability they had. Telling the truth though wouldn't be half as exciting, and they might lead her back to the beginning anyway. Their openness made hostility a terrible idea. Admitting that she had no clue where she was while planning an attack on another person wouldn't bode well, and saying she knew the place or that someone they knew built her would be stupid. That left... endearment?... It might be worth a shot.
   She looked up and away, putting her turrets behind her like a small child dreaming of summer. "I guess I'm new," she said shyly, hoping enough innocence slipped into her voice, "I've never been up here before. It has lots of..." She paused, examining the ball bearing she held. "Pellets?" She then made eye contact with the armored human, before looking at the ground. "I like the pellets. They're shiny. But it's lonely up here."

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Hush, Child of Void

 

While it couldn't really express this properly, Hush was glad Yusei had agreed to help it. Something about that, however small, made it feel just a little better about being alone again.

 

Then, it heard something shake the earth. Yusei started running to find out what it was, and Hush followed him into the open room.

 

Many strange people, a horse, and two of something much more inorganic.

 

That, however, was irrelevant, since the hunter was there.

 

Upon seeing him, Hush immediately darted behind Yusei, and hissed at Sora.

 

In Yusei's mind, a voice spoke its concerns.

 

"Hunter and betrayer!"

Edited by Coryn02

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Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

 

Oh, Andraste, the remaining golem was talking. Were golems even supposed to talk? Jowan had to admit that it had a point, but he'd rather Typheus stay quiet about it. Not that he didn't want to learn more about the mysterious organization that kidnapped them, but he didn't want to deal with any more of them. The few that he had met were violent, unstable, and strange enough for one day. On the plus side, Nata's rant did give him some valuable information- like how the castle apparently did have a dungeon, and how Nata apparently was either insane or lying. Both seemed likely. An organization couldn't just take control of an entire planet, "small" or not. The very idea was ridiculous; even the Tevinter Imperium never quite managed to conquer all of Thedas, and that was just one continent. 

 

Duke wasn't doing much better in the credibility department. Jowan wasn't quite sure how he expected to convince them that he wasn't part of any organization when his coworker had just been talking about fellow organization members; maybe he just hadn't thought things through. More concerning was how Duke had practically admitted to being possessed, even if he didn't say the word 'demon'. Jowan's heart sped up and his eyes widened in response. "Abominations, things just keep getting better," he said, giving a shaky laugh and running his fingers through his hair. He wasn't sure why Duke's reveal bothered him so much more than the pride demon currently restraining Sora. Maybe it was the casual way that he said it, or how non-obvious it was (weren't most abominations terrifying, murderous monsters?). 

 

"I'm sure you're aware, but you're bleeding. Everything alright there? Are you a criminal? How many people have you murdered? I didn't think Twilight would suddenly take an interest in the slave trade, but I suppose there's a first for everything. Seriously though, you doing okay, buddy? You look like something just burnt your village in front of your eyes or something. Was it you?"

 

The discussion he was having with himself about his chances of surviving if he used blood magic before attempting to flee was brought to a halt. How was one even supposed to respond to something like that? "I- what?" he sputtered. He looked down at his arm as if its state had somehow changed since the last time he saw it, then looked back at Duke, embarrassed. "Oh, thanks, I didn't notice blood all over my arm. Of course I'm not a-" he paused, biting his cheek and looking away. It wasn't like he was going to fool anyone, chained as he was, and the 'apostate' thing was a bit of a giveaway. They'd find out eventually, and he was going to try to do better if he was being given yet another chance that he didn't deserve. "I- but I didn't murder anyone, not successfully." The last of Duke's questions didn't even deserve an answer (not that the others did either), but he found the words spilling out of his mouth anyway. "I don't even have a village to burn down. Not that I would, mind you, just- Maker, I should just stop-" 

 

He was stopped from digging himself even further into a hole by the appearance of someone with absurd hair. Yusei claimed that they were trying to help, but Jowan was feeling less than thrilled by the idea of following someone when following Twilight had brought him into a situation that nearly killed him. "Wait, you can't just show up and expect us to travel deeper into this place just like that."

Edited by Zor

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Neku - XDRS Front Hall

 

This mess was just going to get worse and worse, wasn't it?

 

In all honesty, Neku couldn't blame Key Boy for his judgement. Circumstances were pretty shady, and the fact that Nata pulled a knife on the kid didn't help matters. Still, it didn't seem like this X-Dreamers group was the same as Organization 13, whatever that was. Of course, just because he doubted the kid's claims did not mean he didn't want to cause some form of bodily harm to Joshua 2.0 over there. God, did that guy ever shut up? He was half-tempted to use the chaos to do something about it (i.e. punching Duke in the face), but they really didn't need that now. Maybe he could use his ex-dead-person cred to hit up that apparent ghost in Duke's head and get him to annoy him more. Have him constantly spout a bunch of math terms for good measure. That'd put Duke out of commission.

 

... And as if things weren't going downhill enough, the wolf-boy from before decided to lunge at Nata. Thankfully, Twilight managed to resolve that situation before it was too late. Neku felt sympathy for the guy, hearing his apology. As the silver mech scooped up the wolf, Neku approached him.

 

"You heard the talking pony," he said to Nata. "Let him go." Moving on, he turned to the brunette. "Hey. I get where you're coming from. For now, though, I think it'd best to calm down and put a little trust in these guys. It's the only way we're going to get some answers."

 

On cue, a new speaker made himself present. Yusei, as he introduced himself, was standing at a doorway with another woman. Finally. Someone who knows what they're doing. As Yusei beckoned the group to follow him, an odd, white humanoid creature with what looked like a Noise or Reaper sigil on its head peeped out of the doorway, before immediately hissing and darting behind Yusei for safety. It was hard to tell, but it almost seemed to be specifically glaring at Key Boy. Neku glanced back at the kid in question, then back to the newcomers. Wonder what their deal is? he mused, before following along.

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[ busywork : fushi -- ; ]

 

Fushi skids to a halt just as he hears the brown-haired boy cry out, his voice desperate and rushed and entirely too panicked for the situation -- it confuses the immortal, who is only beginning to understand the fragile state of emotions in the face of everything that had happened. Just as he approaches the blue-haired man, his mind blank and his thoughts -- stop, stop, don't hurt him -- scattered, Fushi watches as a pink light shimmers before his form, as he makes eye contact with the blue-haired one, and --

 

He is skidding across the floor, paws scrambling on the tiles for purchase when Fushi feels himself collide with an invisible, inhuman force. The immortal is confused, his thoughts a scattered array of letters moreso than words as he attempts to straighten his position. Shocked at suddenly finding himself on the ground, Fushi lies there for a second, still, as he begins to collect the remains of his mind into coherent thought.


When he feels metal fingers underneath his form, the immortal looks up abruptly just as the main hall drifts away from his reach. Before him stands a strange, tall creature -- one made of shiny material and bolts found on carriages lead by horses, and the immortal's mind blanks; nowhere, not even throughout his brief travels around the world, had Fushi known an animal such as the one currently standing before him. The robot moved to hug Fushi closer, cool metal against the tips of his prickling fur, and, wholeheartedly curious, the immortal made a bark of protest and squirmed around halfheartedly before finding a comfortable position.

 

There are all sorts of things he still does not understand about this world: concepts to discover, people to meet, and he does not think a metal creature with a shiny yellow glare and thin fingers is anything to be worried about. Almost reassured by the presence of the other as Fushi feels the robot move beside him, the wolf settles down, hearing the deep baritone rumble of a somewhat-human voice beside his form. 

 

"Okay," he says, as one of the new words he has learnt, and he repeats that to the one holding him closer, signalling that it is alright. "Okay, okay. Who?"

 

--

 

[ see, we're basically best friends already : duke -- ; ]

 

Okay, so perhaps the wolf rushing at Nata, and Twilight's panicked response that ensured, was a little bit out of the norm. Duke, to his credit, stepped back and watched as Twilight's shield was thrown up between the two of them, and watched as the wolf bounced off and rolled. 

 

"Two points," he said, "good execution and timing, results could use some work. Animal didn't bounce enough." Silently, he hummed to himself as he watched a soft magic drum through the air, and the light-blue of his shields was visible for a split second around Nata and the new boy's form -- look, just because the brown-haired boy had accused him of being a gang leader or something didn't mean he had to die, necessarily -- before he broke the protective barrier and turned back to Mr. Tall, Dark, and Brooding, more interested in finding out what was wrong with this man in particular than watching the ensuring conflict of ethics that would result in, most likely, some conversation on why Nata had to attack people and why even cute fluffy animals felt tempted to attack the man.

 

He then watched as the giant robot bent down to pick up the dog, and, well -- goodbye animal, it was nice barely knowing you. Duke kept an eye trained on the suspiciously large mech and his movements, pausing when he turned back with a cryptic message. Barriers? He raised an eyebrow, unwilling to give away any locations he might've already barricaded inwards, and simply gave the robot a sharp, quick smile, before turning back to the one he had originally been conversing with. 

 

Aw, he was flustered. Duke watched as Jowan -- seriously, name or sneeze? -- spluttered for a second before replying, surprisingly, to all of his questions. Duke debated internally on telling him that he was joking about the village thing, kind of, but the information gathered from Jowan's spew of words was certainly ... interesting.

 

"Not successfully is good enough for me," he said cheerfully, looping his arm through the other's. Jowan was chained, so it wasn't as if he could pull away or anything. "Now, do you think you could stop bleeding for like, five minutes? I promise I'll get you some water and free you, I just don't want to wash my uniform too."

 

For a second, Duke wondered if Elias would be proud -- he was contributing to the black-haired, green-eyed revolutionary leader's cause by helping the unfortunate, or something. 

 

"You know," Duke said suddenly, "you're not the first person I've had to break out of chains or anything. Just between you and me, that's basically a typical Tuesday. And I'm glad to hear you aren't burning down any villages, but don't you feel that always puts a strain in friendship? I basically got my boyfriend to date me by promising to burn down his village -- it's really impossible to connect with someone unless you go through some life-threatening experiences, see." 

 

You're making yourself sound like a terrible person, Vylcan said. Context matters.

 

"The dead man in my head says hello, by the way. What's this 'Maker' thing you keep mentioning?"

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Reshiram twitched a bit, hissing when the blue-haired male shouted at them and freezing. The room continued to move, the walls disappeared in blue light as a voice monologued. The pale manakete still knelt, eyes darting up occasionally. Then they heard footsteps. A small red-haired girl bent down, offering a hand. Reshiram eyed her, recoiling a bit, before relaxing. The white dragon watched her face, ttying to figure out what she wanted - before a sudden commotion made them hiss sharply. Reshiram's head whipped around in time to see the blue-haired male from earlier pinning a brown-haired male, and a white canine attacking - and then a purple barrier went up and a steel-creature grabbed the canine. Reshiram was tensed again, a hand working on the ground as another male came in and called for everyone to follow.

 

They looked around warily. The new arrival was trying to reassure them, but they were still nervous. Slowly they got up. They looked around, and followed hesitantly. The Manakete could feel the stone in their pocket, and their right hand hovered near their chest, ready to disappear into the coat and bring the stone out again. Well, clumsily and probably not all that fast about it.

Edited by DuskOfTheStars

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Nata - XDRS Front Hall

 

It was amazing how quickly half of the room turned on Nata for doing his job which, for a matter of fact, he had never signed up for. It really shouldn’t have a been surprise for Nata to lift a hand up from where he was holding the boy, phase power sparking in his palm as the wolf boy charged him. This wasn’t the first time he had to put someone down for being too aggressive and if the constant need for locking people up in the basement was any indication then it wouldn’t be the last time Nata had to restrain someone.

 

Luckily for the wolf boy, instead if having phase power shot straight through his body, he instead collided with a sparkling purple barrier separating from both Nata and the boy he was holding down. Nata huffed with amusement, lowering his hand as he makes eye contact with the wolf boy just in time to watch him get picked up by one of the machines. It is only once the boy he’s holding down begins babbling does Nata remember that his job description does include not murdering people if they’re willing to work with him.

 

“Just—” Nata sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose as he exhales through his nostrils. He’s not used to trying to calm himself down in a short period of time let alone mustering the necessary patience that comes with speaking to kids. “Look, as we said earlier the majority of the people here are from different dimensions—universes if you may—than you. The chances are you meeting someone who lives in the same world as you, let alone meeting someone you actually know, are astronomically low. You probably won’t find your friends or the people who took your friends here.” Nata sighed again, trying to muster his composure as he slowly unwound the chains around the boy’s wrist. “Just… don’t make another mistake like that again, okay? Next time your restraint may last longer than just a few minutes.”

 

He would loathe to admit it, but Nata was a little proud of himself as he began to remove the chains off the boy. Nata was still annoyed sure, but he had managed to talk to a kid without blowing him up which was better than usual. He might have just kept is cool if one of the newcomers didn’t also tell him to get off the kid and if some weird monster thing didn’t begin shrieking at the boy.

 

“I’m sorry,” Nata said, spinning around to face the stranger just as he finally unwinds the chains around the boy’s wrists. “Do you know what situation you’re in?” He didn’t care if the stranger had already turned away; Nata was going to throw in his two cents. “I’m not sure if I made this clear yet, but I don’t have a problem with slicing any of your throats open. Shut up and learn your place.” Thankfully, Yusei showed up and began to direct everyone to follow him before Nata got too heated. Nata’s fingers clench against the handles of his kukri, his eyes darting between everyone in the room. Well if Yusei was going to take charge then Nata had mind as well make sure everyone was going to follow. Ignoring the instinct to start stabbing the closest person, Nata turned around and offered a hand to the boy he had restrained. “Come on,” Nata said. “We’re moving.”

 

Xander - Base Library

 

Xander pressed his lips into a line as the robot—female perhaps if the feminine voice was any indication—began to speak. He didn’t need to look at Natsuki’s expression to know that they also were disturbed by the implications of the robot’s arrival. Not only had they not received any reports regarding the arrival of newcomers, but whoever was in charge of tour apparently didn’t know how to handle a group of confused and potentially dangerous individuals. X-Dreamers was a fairly young organization, but they shouldn’t be having such rudimentary problems such as guiding people through the base without having any unwarranted explosions or letting one of the newcomers wander off on their own without supervision.

 

“There usually aren’t pellets up here,” Xander commented idly as he frowned down at the ball bearings gathering at his feet. None of the agents should have had to deal with the ball bearings in the first place. Having a newcomer deal with them as well was just downright unprofessional. “I presume you were somehow separated from the tour group,” Xander said as he looked back up at the robot. “You have my sincerest apologies for any inconveniences they have caused you. Do you recall where the tour was going to head next? I’d be more than happy to escort you need to be. I’m afraid we can’t allow you to join X-Dreamers or make preparations for you to return home until after the tour is concluded.” Xander glanced over at Natsuki, his eyes seemingly asking “Do you know what’s going on?” before looking back the robot.

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Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

 

Jowan flinched as Duke looped his arm around his, but unsurprisingly that didn't deter Duke. When a light tug didn't free him either, he gave up and resigned himself to his fate of being forever trapped. Being locked in a dungeon for weeks (was that how long it had been? had it been months?) hadn't been kind to his already poor physique, and he doubted that any further magic would lead to good things for him. Normally, he would have been terrified to have an abomination (or anyone that he didn't know, really) touch him, but Duke seemed adept at turning fear into confusion. Every time Jowan thought he had figured him out, Duke said or did something to disarm him. What kind of person wasn't bothered by attempted murder? Sane person, he mentally amended, remembering Neria. 

 

He opened his mouth to explain that no, he couldn't just stop bleeding, but Duke interrupted with another of his inane speeches. He had no idea how to respond to it; questions burned in his mind, but for some reason he suspected that he wouldn't be able to get a clear answer. It was probably better to just accept that Duke was likely exaggerating, making stuff up, or mad and move on. He did, however, bristle at the implication that near-death experiences were some kind of requirement to bond with someone. Getting into near death experiences hadn't been good for any of his relationships, unless one counted living under the constant threat of death. In which case... well, he didn't have anything to compare it to, really. There had never been a time in his life where he'd been truly safe.

 

"The demon, you mean," he said, trying to sound angry but unable to disguise the waver of uncertainty in his voice. He couldn't deny now that things really didn't seem to be working the way he was used to. "He's... the Maker. The one who makes things. Or, made things, actually." He shifted; it was surprisingly hard to explain. There were plenty of non-Andrastian regions in he world, but everyone in the Circle was an Andrastian (at least in public, as going against the Chantry in the Circle was ill-advised). "...You've never even heard of him, have you? Andraste, the Black City, Darkspawn, the Fade? Or the Beyond, if you want to call it that?" Duke had to at least know about the Fade, even if he called it a different name. It'd be difficult for a human to somehow not know about it. 

Edited by Zor

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Twilight - Main Hall

 

"Yusei!" Twilight shouted in relief. The young man's timing was excellent. Lara too, showed up. It would only be a matter of time before Xander appeared to enforce his discipline -- although she hated to cause that man trouble.

 

"On behalf of the Squad here I apologize for Duke's behavior and Nata's volatility," Twilight added right after shaking her head to dispel her barrier, ignoring Duke's comment about the execution of her spell. Waving a front hoof in a dismissing motion, she continued, "Neither of them mean you real harm! Our mission isn't to hurt you, even though they are a bit dramatic about it. Nata just doesn't want the room to descend into chaos, right?"

 

She nodded yes, as if answering in his stead.

 

"If you like," she addressed the brown-haired boy, "You can check if any of the agents we have here happen to be your friends? Failing that, we might be able to help you track them down."

 

And then, to everyone again, "That was enough of a detour so, Yusei is right; let's continue on what we were doing." Trotting forth past the duelist, she headed towards the door Lara came out. The water should be ready now, and the table and chairs she could easily rearrange to have a seat for everyone, with the exception of the metallic ones who would probably prefer to stand, and one of which she still had to find -- Too many thoughts were swimming in her mind and she was worrying about all of them. What if they didn't find her hospitable enough? They probably already didn't, considering two of her representatives caused major trouble for all of them. "Let me get the tea ready!"

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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~Lara~

 

Lara stood in the entryway with her hands firmly and sternly placed on her hips. The look of annoyance on her face, especially at Duke, was one of pure venom. But at Yusei’s appearance, she stood her ground. Yusei passed her and went into the hall.

 

He addressed the crowd in the hall, introducing himself and offering to show everyone around. Lara supposed that it was only appropriate. Had it been her, a few rounds of blanks would have been fired to gather attention- that is, if they didn’t hear her the first time. Still, looking at the scene, she had to wonder what happened to cause such a… Mess.

 

I’d still wish to know what the bloody hell happened here, Yusei.” Her pointed glance at the ceiling simply emphasized her rather dour mood. “Would you like me to go with you, or shall I stay here and look at the damage…?” Whatever happened, she hoped that these troublemakers would get some sort of consequence…

 

~Evonna~

 

What was even happening anymore? What was this robot that turned into a vehicle? Transformers??? Wasn’t that a franchise from a veeeeeeery long time ago? The girl who scared her seemed perfectly calm though, as if Evonna wasn’t a threat at all. Pascal casually explained how Evonna was no longer on her home planet.

 

She was nonetheless confused.

 

So… How the heck did we get here?

 

~Edward~

 

Edward glanced at the girl with the dark expression.

 

I second that. Why are we here, and how the hell did we get here anyway? I don’t get it, why would I suddenly be on another planet…?

Edited by Mikasa361
y'all are a pain about the font I use. :p

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Stan - Gateway

 

"Fresh meat?" Stan let out a breathy laugh in response to Cistina. "Make sure the castle hasn't been burned to the ground or nothin' yet..." He trusted Twilight and all given that she was a little pony princess with the magical power of friendship, but she... tended to get antsy when things don't go according to her predictions. "... or that no one has slammed their fist into Duke's face yet, or that angry blue man isn't in murder mode yet..."

 

Secretly, he was relieved that he didn't have to deal with the responsibilities of the welcome committee. Stan vividly remembered when Nata first arrived, the blue-haired guy immediately punched the person closest to him and expected answers to pour out from the violence. Blue man was a ball of yelling, knives, and lightning and the older man didn't particularly want to be on the receiving end of his combos again.

 

Good times.

 

He snapped the fingers of his good hand. "Right, right, the message. I couldn't discover the name of the world yet but she knows the coordinates. It's a world where ash falls like from the sky like snow--" --and to emphasize he tried to dust the soot off his blouse -- "-- and the people there have magic gained through eating metal. They haven't discovered electricity yet, so it's not exactly vacation spot material." He shrugged.  "And as for the artifact, we didn't manage to see it personally but, there was a shimmering gold sand, like glitter on the ground, and it stood out from the black streets and definitely didn't look like it belonged. It would be useful to check the database for something like that just in case."

 

"I can take your wounded to where they can be looked at,"  Said the robot who could turn into a car, which it did, and Stan watched, absolutely mesmerized and subconsciously biting his lower lip, as the machine's parts twisted and locked into a new position to accommodate its other form. If only he could capture the sequence he might be able to recreate it later in one of his own gadgets. Do it slower, dammit!

 

"Actually on second thought," he mentioned to Cistina, glancing sideways at the Transformer with only his eyes, "I think I can tell her myself. Get the new kids back to the castle so we can save our breath from explaining the universe shenanigans more than twice. "

 

"Hey you two!" Stan shouted to the teenagers who were both still wondering what the dickens was going on. He waved an arm to get their attention, then pointed into the distance. "If you want answers, there's someone explaining everything at the big castle over on the other side of the planet. If you keep walking that way, you can't miss it. It's big and white and looks like a castle. Cistina could probably guide you there too if you tend to get lost, but this whole place is continuous so you'll find it eventually!"

 

Duty done, he approached the car a little more excitedly than he wanted to and it was obvious in his walk that he was trying to restrain himself from bouncing forward like a kid. They didn't make cars like these anymore, oh no. Moving on the ground was way too passé after the space age began and there weren't many remains of the sleek and aerodynamic (for the time, anyway) shape of the 21st century car, and even less of this color. He'd only seen cars of this period in museums.

 

"Alright Circuit, do you mind me calling you that? Short for Circuitraider, of course,"

 

Having stepped in and taken the driver's seat, he adjusted the rearview mirror to take a look at his reflection, taking the moment to wipe away a streak of ash on his cheek with the back of his hand. Most of the controls looked familiar, especially the steering wheel, though he didn't know the specifics. Should be pretty easy to figure out, though.

 

Pascal - Gateway

 

At Cistina's suggestion, Pascal dug through the pockets on her suspenders, taking a good minute to reach in and shuffle through each one in turn for a set of small screwdrivers and a penlight.

 

She approached and knelt down by Xker, lifting up aer's chin to take a look at aer's damaged eye despite the heat of the still-hot laser poking near her face. "It's actually not as bad as it looks," Pascal mused, half to herself and half to the others, and moved on to look at Aer's limbs. "Just looks like some stuff got shifted around, is all."

 

The peppy young woman gave it a good smack with the palm of her wrist and amazingly something clicked back into place in Xker's leg. For the eye though, she had to unscrew the plating and was absolutely still while working on the re-wiring, shuffling only to search her pockets for spare parts.

 

"...Aaaaand done!" she shouted a couple minutes later after re-placing the last screw. "That wasn't so bad, compared to last time, wasn't it? I don't get why Stan doesn't come to me for repairs and upgrades anymore," she pouted.

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[ you okay, buddy? : duke -- ; ]

 

When Lara's gaze passes over him, a look of pure annoyance in her eyes, Duke simply winks and presses himself closer to Jowan. Eh, she was just jealous he was getting along so well with the new recruits. At Twilight's attempt to smooth things over, he at least has the decency to look somewhat ashamed. 

 

True, the hole in the ceiling could've been handed better, but that was in the past now -- and if a lifetime of being on the run had taught him anything, it was that the past was always to be reflected on, not caught in. He'd just remember for next time not to scare new people with mysterious powers. 

 

Trusting that Twilight and Yusei had the situation under control, Duke catches Yusei's eye and waves to the other as a sign of greeting before turning back to Jowan. Through slipping his arm through the other, Duke notes that the man was unusually pale and looked as if he was about to faint on his feet -- which, considering he was chained and bleeding, isn't much of a surprise. Briefly, Duke wonders exactly why the man was in his current situation -- he was pretty good judge of character, if he dared to say for himself, and Duke is almost certain Jowan isn't ... bad. There was a certain something in the back of his mind that is uncomfortable about this situation, and the blond perhaps wonders if that was why he had approached the other in the first place -- to seek for the truth, because he is slighted at the idea of forcing Jowan to go anywhere when he looks to be in such bad shape. 

 

That, or Elias had just rubbed off on him too much.

 

You were never a good judge of character, Vylcan says, though there is a hint of fondness in his voice, a certain inclination of the man's voice that says: I will be by your side. Duke is never one for the sides of good and bad as he is loyal to those that he deems important, and in a world of empires that dictate the central systems of people, that leaves him with only the idea of peace over the reality. 

 

"Demon?" he questions curiously, taking a step forward, prompting Jowan to walk alongside him so they could follow with the rest of the group. "I know I didn't come off with the best impression, but I think calling me a demon is a bit unfair, isn't it?" He hums to himself, before replying. 

 

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he says cheerfully, "you can call it whatever, I still don't know what this 'Beyond' thing is. As Twilight has hopefully explained already, everyone here is from different worlds, in a way. So I have no idea what cool lingo you kids are using to describe gods nowadays, but I suppose 'Maker' is a good term. Very accurate to job description. 9/10. Where I come from, she's the Goddess, but I suppose we've ran into some difficulties with the whole 'worship her' thing lately." He glances at Jowan, ignoring the fact the other looked the same age as him, if not older. "Seriously, you okay? Wanna tell me why you're chained and bleeding in the first place? From what you've told me, it doesn't seem like you've committed a crime or anything."

 

Briefly, he wondered why Twilight had allowed this -- did she not think to unchain someone? Duke frowned, wondering how the others would react to this news. It seemed for the most part that the X-Dreamers were dedicated to saving the universe -- universes -- and Duke hadn't pinned them for taking war prisoners, or something. If that was the case, he might have to let them know: 'hey, not cool, my father figure was a war prisoner and I don't think we have any children for Jowan to adopt, so free him maybe?'

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Circuitraider | Gateway

 

"I do mind," she replied to Stan. Seeing that the dog was being tended to by Pascal, she waited until the pair were finished and it climbed in before Circuitraider swung the driver's door closed, the gearshift moving as her tires began to turn. "Don't touch the wheel," Circuitraider instructed. She had seen Stan's kind before, the car enthusiast who simply had to run their hands on every inch of upholstery and play with all of the buttons. Driving away from the Gateway, the Autobot fell silent, following Stan's instructions to the other humans about simply traveling forward and, eventually, they would arrive. 

 

Sora | XDRS Front Hall

 

Sitting up as Nata started to release his hold, Sora stared at his bound wrists so as to avoid meeting anyone else's eyes for the moment. Someone new, Yusei, had shown up and people were starting to move. Nodding slightly at Nata's words, he finally looked at the older teen again as he offered a hand. His own hands free, Sora took the offer and got to his feet with the small amount of aid. Glancing at Twilight, Sora rubbed the back of his head with a hand. "Got any one named Riku or Kairi? Or Donald and Goofy?" he asked the pony.

 

Turning towards the people in the doorway and hallway, Sora started walking. He thought he had caught a glimpse of something darting behind Yusei but he shook his head. Maybe he was seeing things.

 

Yusei | XDRS Front Hall

 

Without turning his head, Yusei flicked a glance towards his shoulder as Hush disappeared behind him, hissing. Words slid into his mind, warning about a 'hunter and betrayer'. He would need to look into that further. At the chained man's remark about expectations, the corner of his lip twitched faintly in a brief smirk. "I didn't," he responded. The silver robot approached him, wolf in its arms, and asked him about the promised tea. "That will be happening now, actually. As soon as we reach the dinning hall, everyone will be able to settle down," he answered the machine.

 

The new arrivals were moving and he needed to do the same. Continuing into the hallway, he paused beside Lara for a moment. "I don't have an answer for the ceiling but you can get that from Twilight. Stay here and look over things in the Front Hall. If everything went well, Stan and Xker should be on their way back soon. They'll need someone to help them find Twilight so they can make a report," he explained.

 

Moving down the hall, with whomever decided to follow him, he retraced his steps to the kitchen and dinning area. Twilight would finish prepping the tea for the new arrivals, allowing him to take over briefly in the explanations. "We'll start in the dinning area so you can regain your bearings. From there, we'll lead you to see the rest of the castle. Along the way, you are free to ask any questions and we'll answer them to the best of our abilities," he stated, looking over his shoulder at those gathered. 

Edited by ValidEmotions

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Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

 

Lara's gaze was, to put in mildly, somewhat terrifying. Unconsciously, Jowan stepped closer to Duke, as if the blond could somehow protect him. When he realized what he had done he made to step away, embarrassed, but Duke had stepped closer as well- ah, so that was how it was. Given Duke's actions so far, he wasn't surprised that he thought that antagonizing angry women was a good idea. Whatever, he could play along, as long as it didn't get him killed as well. 

 

He hadn't planned on following Yusei and the others and would have preferred to avoid getting closer to Lara, but he didn't seem to have much of a choice. Besides, even as low as tea was on his priority list, he couldn't deny that fluids would be good for him. Fluids and medical attention. Neither of those things seemed to be in supply in the entrance hall, so he followed as best as he could.

 

"No, not you. You mentioned a man in your head, if you didn't just mean that you're hearing things." It wouldn't be surprising, but he didn't say that. 

 

Well, that was unexpected. He frowned. "The Fade. The place you go when you dream? If you dream, I mean, but you don't exactly look like a dwarf and there was the whole magic thing that you did." He reached out with his free hand and summoned a small flame, cupped within his palm. "See? It doesn't matter if you're from... a different universe or whatever, the Fade's still here. Wouldn't be able to do that without it." He closed his hand, extinguishing the flame. 

 

Those were the questions that he didn't want to answer. Biting his cheek, he turned his head away. The temptation to say 'no' and leave it at that was strong, but that wouldn't solve anything. He was confused and lost, and maybe if he volunteered information Duke would respond in kind. "I... I'm not sure what it's like where you're from, but in Ferelden attempted murder is still a crime." He forced himself to continue, but he couldn't make himself meet Duke's eyes. "That's not the only thing. I'm not exactly popular back h- there." It was still an evasion, he knew, but wasn't that fair? Duke hadn't exactly explained after he'd claimed to burn down a village, after all. Avoiding the subject of blood magic and treason was cowardly, but cowardice was something that he was good at. "The bleeding is from after I got here. Uh, speaking of which, you wouldn't happen to have any bandages, would you?" The gash had apparently been deeper than he had thought, and with the adrenaline fading the pain was becoming only more noticeable. "What about you? You haven't explained how you got here, and last I checked arson was a crime as well," he said, trying to change the subject away from himself. 

Edited by Zor

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[ let's talk! : duke -- ; ]

 

Ah, so there was a little bit of cultural confusion here. Duke chuckles to himself as he listens to Jowan speak, pleasantly surprised that the other seemed so willing to share about his world. Interestingly enough, it seemed magic held certain restrictions there that the other refused to believe otherwise. At the mention of a dwarf, Duke stares at Jowan.

 

"I'm taller than you," he points out, clicking the ends of his shoes against the floor for good measure. He was fascinated at the flame that abruptly appeared within Jowan's palm, flickering against the movements of others around them, before it was extinguished within the folds of his fingers. The small sight reminded Duke of a past he had long left behind, of sleeping nights under a caravan against the midnight stars, watching the bonfire flicker against the golden specks of Ace's eyes and Hana's delicate fingers moving through the wind. The same delicate fire that would wreck utter havoc on the battlefield under the command of a blue-violet-rose-eyed prince, and of holding him against the morning dawn before saying farewell.

 

That was a life he was no longer a part of, however. He trusted that there were better people, more passionate and more dedicated than he, who had left his heart behind with the soft grey morning light of Ace's funeral. A part of him was eternally within the ground, now.

 

"Sorry, no dreams here," he says instead, as if the sight of fire had not stirred emotion within his chest that he had laid to rest long ago, against the large stones guarding the boundaries to countless worlds. "I think everyone's magic works a little differently depending on what world you're from, doesn't it? I've never heard of this 'Fade', and the magic I did a couple minutes ago," at this, Duke momentarily looks guilty, thinking of the new hole in the ceiling, "is directly connected to that man in my head. I swear I'm not hearing things, and he's not bad, really. Kind of the norm in my world to contract a dead person to serve you, and everything." 

 

Attempted murder? That was a new one -- and Duke, for a second, wonders if he was perhaps misjudging the situation; surely Twilight had a valid reason for keeping the other in chains, no? Nonetheless, there is something about Jowan's tone of voice that stirs a feeling within him, and Duke knows all too well the constant pain that comes with being on the run for years. However, in his case, he was fortunate to have a loving family and loyal supporters -- something which he expects is not a kindness that has been lent to Jowan.

 

Instead, Duke laughs, pressing himself closer to the other. Bleeding had to hurt, and, well, he felt slightly guilty at having to force the other to walk alongside everyone else when it was clear he was in bad shape. "Arson is a crime," he says, "but thankfully I'm not too attached to the law." He winks, raising his free hand to tap the tattoo underneath his eye. "See this? I got this from spending twelve years in a maximum security prison after I murdered the king and kidnapped his son."

 

A pause. 

 

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding," he reassures. "Well, kind of. My best friend did kill the king, and I did take his son away with me, but I mean? He came willingly, so I wouldn't call it a crime or anything. Anyways, the point I'm trying to get at is, it's a good thing I came here when I did, otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd be either dead or having a wild time with a cute boy on a boat." Duke pauses. The second option actually sounded ... fairly tempting. Dang it, Twilight.

 

"So no, you're not the only criminal," he says, voice softer. "As far as I'm concerned, as long as you don't try to murder me, or Twilight, you're fine. This is a place for people to meet -- and in some cases, start anew."

 

At the mention of his injuries, Duke frowns. When he got here? What happened at the gates? Duke shakes his head, realising it had been a mistake to want to set up his maze instead of go directly with the others to retrieve the newcomers. From the sounds of it, he had missed out on quite the wild ride. 

 

"There'll bandages in the kitchen," he says smoothly, "when we get to the dining hall we can take a detour to get you patched up." 

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