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X-DREAMERS [mission 02: the otherworldly bazaar]

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[Bowser VS White Kyurem: Round 1]

 

Bowser growled when he saw the fusion. His fists balled. This reminded him way too much of that damned Dark Star. The thing had burned his insides while extracting his DNA and then turned into a twisted him. It wasn't right. And now this dragon... thing... was doing something really similar?

 

This was not on. Bowser narrowed his eyes, raised a fist, and lunged - 

 

- and was promptly met by a painful blast of dark blue energy. "Ow! Crud...." The force of the attack kmocked Bowser to the ground, stunning him for a few moments. White Kyurem snarled and advanced, but Bowser pushed himself back up. Thank his draconic durability.

 

So maybe running into this one wasn't his brightest idea. The draconic Koopa huffed. "If you think you're beating me that easy... well, think again, chump!" He took advantage of White Kyurem's advance to bite down on his opponent. Hard. Utterly alien clear blood, shot through with magic, trickled from the wound. The yelp of pain told Bowser he'd cut off the icy attack charging in the thing's mouth. White Kyurem responded with scratching at Bowset, who refused to let go until the colder dragon bit his collar and pulled on it before the Koopa King managed to get free. Bowser retreated hastily as Kyurem's head glowed in a steely way.

Edited by DuskOfTheStars

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( Maybe we should stay outta this for now... (White Kyurem: Round 1) - Sonic | Tails | Joshua )

 

"Tails, c'mon, we should help this guy out!" Sonic shouted, just about ready to bolt off running when Joshua put a hand on his head and stopped him. "What's the big idea?!"

 

"Look at the size of that thing. The most powerful Noise isn't even that big, and the only reason the biggest is bigger than that is because of me!" Joshua said, brows furrowed and deadly serious. "Clearly the one fighting it is our ally right now, and he was knocked into the ground. It's powerful. I don't know if even I could handle it. That being said..."
 

Tails looked at Sonic and put a hand on his shoulder, gently pulling the hedgehog backwards and away from the ongoing fight. "Maybe we should back up for now. We'll jump in when it's weaker, 'cause I think Joshua's right.  We won't be much help against it as it is right now."

 

"Ugh... Fine."

Edited by catstreetCAT

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[ Things have gone to hell. - White Kyurem: Round 1 - Noraeash, Oblivionix, Noreillan, Saen'theas, and Nora ]

 

A whole string of curses in Thalassian was more than enough to bring the five Blood Elves' attention to the strange dragon. "What are you harping on about now, sis-- WHAT THE HELL?!"

 

"It's not like you to curse, Noreillan. But, at any rate, this thing's a threat..."

 

"The guy fighting him's getting knocked around pretty badly - is... is it wise to jump in, Ann'da?"

 

"Wise or not, I saw Lord Illidan flying away with a man in tow - if he feels threatened by it, what chance do we have?"

There was a pause before the paladin spoke. "I will offer our ally healing if he needs it, but otherwise, we will not act until it is weaker. Oblivionix, seek out higher ground from which you can snipe it."

"Sure thing, Nor."

 

"Noreillan, Saen'theas, prepare your magic. Nora, find a place to hide and observe the situation here - once the beast weakens, find Illidan and brief him on the situation."

 

"It will be done, Ann'da."

 

The four went to work while the paladin - Noraeash - slowly approached, just enough to remain out of the dragon's sight. He directed his speech to the other creature, the allied one. "...we may not know each other, but... don't hesitate to ask me to heal you if you need it."

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Raine -- Black Market, Green Gate

 

XDRS. Half of her hoped she could find the organization here, while another part of her dreaded the reunion. 

 

Raine had been one of the first members the eXra Dimensional Restoration Squad had recruited, back when they were still a handful of people brought together by a series of inter-dimensional accidents. At that time, feelings for her own world tugged back at her. While she served her time as Twilight's diplomat, when Pascal signaled to her that she had found the right world (and the right time, and the right reality) Raine had taken the chance to check on the status of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. She was worried the delicate dimensional balance between the two might have been in jeopardy due to the instabilities of the multiverse.

 

She realized too late that Pascal had overshot the timing. Instead of placing her where she thought she left off, it sent her much further back to events she had experienced already. It was difficult to let some of them progress since she had the means to avoid them... but Raine kept her knowledge to herself so that the timeline would resolve itself with minimal changes. She saw the journey to its end.

 

Once Lloyd Irving reunited the worlds -- her worlds, she had to specify -- Raine had been using her newfound time to do some interdimensional investigation of her own. She was surprised to hear that XDRS was getting famous (even infamous) in certain circles, and that there were other organizations forming, all with slightly differing motives. There would be much to discuss with Twilight once she managed to make it back to their base... provided it hadn't accidentally been burned down by this point.

 

 

~

 

There was something flying towards her when she was pacing through the market. It was big and purple and it held a limp form in black armor in its arms. 

 

"Xander!" Recognition struck Raine before her mind could properly process what she had seen. She pivoted on her toes and ran after it just as the shadow passed above her, her eyes trained on the receding figure as to not lose it. The black armor, gold trim, and blond hair of the Nohrian were unmistakable even in the darkness. She, however, was not entirely certain if it was Xander or the Xander, but that detail could be sorted out later.

 

The winged person carrying him began to lose altitude once they approached one of the gates leading out of the market, and Raine acknowledged the possibility of the duo fleeing into another world. They landed, however, and the purple man placed Xander onto the ground with an unexpected gentleness just as Raine wove her way out of the crowd. 

 

"Xander!" she shouted again.

 

With her orange robes fluttering behind her, she slowed her pace and fell into a kneeling position beside the king. Their expressions told most of the story -- the demon was looking incredibly distraught, and Xander himself had his brows furrowed more than usual, his eyes clouded with pain and his cravat stained with red from cuts on his face and neck. She didn't want to turn him over to examine his vulnerable backside, but a touch of the damp fabric near his leg confirmed that he was bleeding there as well.

 

"You're very pale," she said. It was probably very apparent to see. The half-elf held her staff over him and, whispering an incantation under her breath, she gathered the mana to cast a spell. White light engulfed Xander's wounds, starting with the one on the back of his leg before curling up and mending the others. 

 

Her experience as a healer and a former agent of the XDRS told her that it was unlikely that the Nohrian king would be so severely crippled by a single slash. Poison, then, perhaps? Recalling one of spells from Botlzmann's book -- one she had long since committed to memory -- Raine cast a second spell. A ripple of light passed over Xander as if it were a ripple of water, seeking to cure him of his ailments. 

 

"...What happened?" she finally asked, looking first to the demon, then to Xander.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Xander | Above the Marketplace —> Gate

 

For the rest of the flight, Xander clung to Illidan for dear life. In lieu of way to alleviate the pain, Xander settled for throwing away the dignity he had to try to preserve earlier by burying his face into Illidan’s chest. Latching onto something, or in this case, someone, was the only thing he could do to ground himself, yet even then he could not ignore the effects of the demon blood. The burning pain that continued to surge through Xander’s body intensified exponentially with every passing minute. His body began to tremble uncontrollably from the hot, stinging pain pumping through his veins. Xander bit down on his lip hard enough to draw blood to keep himself from whimpering. In the back of his mind, Xander made a note to apologize to Illidan in the future for digging his fingernails into the poor demon hunter’s shoulders.

 

When Illidan finally did land, Xander found himself reluctant to let go. Illidan was kind enough to lower Xander down slowly, allowing him ample time to readjust himself. Xander hissed through his clenched teeth when he put weight on his bad foot so he elected to raise it slightly off the ground. Xander, now sitting on the ground, allowed himself a moment to think. Illidan had thankfully made it back to the gate so heading to a healer back on the base would be fairly easy. That said, one of the unfortunate side effects of living in a multiverse was being exposed to magics and weapons that were unfamiliar. Gods knew if any of the healers back on base even knew what was happening to him.

 

Before Xander could muse further about his current predicament, Illidan explained the situation. Xander’s head shot up, his expression hardening.
“What do you mean it was you?” Xander asked. “What’s this Fel you speak of?” Xander stiffed at the revelation, his fingers unconsciously digging into the ground. It was hard to believe that Illidan would carry Xander around from potential danger only to harm him himself, but no, there was more to it than that. Illidan’s words come out in a hasty, nearly incoherent mess. His face was usually impassive, but his voice was full of emotion. Xander could plainly hear the panic in his voice and the soft "I'm sorry" mumbled under this breath. If he had intentionally harmed Xander, there was no reason for him to admit it and then act alarmed by what happened. No, Xander did not think Illidan was trying to harm him, but if that was the case…

 

Xander’s eyes roamed across Illidan’s body, taking in the sight of the green liquid oozing down his skin. Xander hadn’t known what the liquid was at first, but if Illidan’s explanation was to be believed, then the vivid green liquid was supposedly his blood. Knitting his eyebrows together, Xander slowly reached down and gently placed a gloved finger around the rim of his wound. A spark of searing heat shot up through Xander’s leg. He yanked his hand away as though it were burned. He squeezed his eyes shut, moaning a soft Hah... as pain wracked through his leg. Gently, he lifted his hand back up so he could properly examine it. His glove was stained with not only a wet, dark red splotch but a lighter green splotch as well. It wasn’t hard to imagine how the green blood how gotten inside of Xander’s wound. The large gash was in the back of Xander’s knee; it would be rather difficult for Illidan to bridal carry Xander without holding his legs. Xander would be lying if said he was knowledgeable about healing, but he suspected that putting magic demon blood in his an open wound probably wasn’t the brightest thing to do. That thought came to the realization that Xander hadn’t truly noticed that Illidan was injured until now. Xander’s face softened. It wasn’t right of him to completely neglect his fellow agent’s wounds even if it was hard for him to think clearly for more than a few minutes at a time.

 

“Illidan you—”
“Xander!”
Hearing his name, Xander spun around towards the sound of the voice. His eyes widened slightly as she saw a familiar figure running towards him.
“Raine?” Xander said. He hadn’t seen her since she had returned to her own world. Xander couldn’t exactly blame her for leaving the organization to ensure the safety of her own realm. After all, Xander knew he’d find it hard to abandon Nohr should the opportunity to return to it show itself.

 

Raine quickly went to work; she kneeled by Xander’s side and whispered some foreign words under her breath. A bright light enveloped Xander’s wounds, causing the skin to meld back together. Xander sighed with relief as he felt the warmth from the light pool into his wounds, causing the pain to ebb away and transform into a light tingling sensation. The second spell brought forth a cold sensation that swept through Xander’s body, dampening the burning heat igniting his veins. Xander shivered involuntarily, closing his eyes shut as he let out a small, shaky breath. He could see feel the burning pain coursing through his body, but it was beginning to slowly dissipate into something bearable. Xander tested his leg by placing some weight on it, and when he found the pain to be tolerable he let out a sigh.

 

“Thank you, Raine,” Xander said. “I was out on a supply run when my group and I got attacked by some enchanted weapons. We were separated and I ended up sustaining wounds from the encounter.” Xander glanced over at Illidan. He wasn’t exactly sure what the ‘Fel’ was and Illidan had yet to explain. He wasn’t sure if Raine knew anything about the Fel, but her second spell had certainly helped dull the burning sensation. “Forgive me if I’m asking too much of you, but would you mind checking up on my companion,” Xander asked Raine, motioning towards Illidan. “I believe he was hurt as well.”

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[ ...at least now there's healing. - Gate - Illidan ]

 

...it was then that it occurred to Illidan that Xander didn't know what the Fel was. Great, now he'd have to explain the details behind one of the most corruptive forces in his entire universe. "...I don't have time for details, so this'll be a little fast. The Fel is basically what flows in the veins of every demonic creature in my universe, myself included and now yourself included as well. It fuels the powers of any demon from my universe, and that would naturally include me as well."

 

He paused. "It is going to burn for as long as it's working its way through your system, Xander, until it gets used to it - how long it takes tends to vary between people. There's no stopping it, but a bit of healing should lessen the pain..."

 

Speak of the bloody devil, a healer showed up. She and Xander seemed familiar with each other - he heard the name Raine - and she healed the wounds Xander had sustained. Another good sign was that her healing spells seemed to ease the searing pain caused by the Fel.

 

But that was only a silver lining to the much, much worse news Illidan had to deliver; the words were going to be hard for Illidan to say, especially to a king. The half-demon sat down, letting Raine do her thing. "I really can't sugarcoat this one, but if you couldn't guess by the Fel snaking its way through your veins... You're, well..." He took a deep breath as he worked up the guts to say it.

 

"You're turning into a demon, Xander."

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??? - Marketplace - White Kyurem

 

Guttural screams of agony tore through the air and caught her attention. She whirled around, catching the unicorn beside her by surprise. One of her hands was summoning a shield out of shining green energy to existence. A grey monstrosity of a dragon, caked with ice, stood a ways away, looking intently at a feathered white dragon it had (assumingly) trapped, posture betraying its pain.

A surge of purple energy pulsed into the trapped white dragon, and it screamed again as it shrank and became a small white stone, which the grey one absorbed. An inferno surronded the dragon momentarily, clearing to reveal a twisted form similar yet different to the white one. Red cords ignited from its wings, and it raised its head.


I will be free. I will… I will be whole.

 

There was three voices there. Two of them sounded the same, but their words were so different. One of them echoed the first, the strongest voice, while the other, far more faint, screamed for release, for freedom, with that same intensity as with the initial scream that caught her attention. It was that voice that made her act. I will not stand and watch again!

Passerby were either frozen in shock or running for their lives. She deftly leapt up onto her friend's back.

 

"Ponbiscuit!" before she even gave the order, her friend leaped and was soaring with spiritual wings above the crowds. "Go help the pedestrians!" Ponbiscuit neighed and flicked her ears, and she pulled her weapon out. As her friend took a sharp dive, she jumped off, charging mana into her sword as an aggressive turtle took a blast from the grey dragon.

 

"If you think you're beating me that easy... well, think again, chump!" a snarl from the turtle. Unfortunately, she missed her mark of aiming at the grey dragon's back as it stomped towards the turtle, but with a mighty war cry, she slammed her sword down, hard, on the earth beside the grey dragon. The mana in her sword was released, mostly through the earth outward, but partly through her as well, and with well-practiced ease she kicked off from the ground, using her sword as a pivot to smash her shield into the grey dragon.

 

 

Edited by Pyrowings
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Raine -- Green Gate

 

Raine narrowed her eyes in scorn at Xander's explanation, but her expression had softened by the time he had finished speaking. A supply run turned sour... It was only a matter of time before an incident would have occurred again, she reminded herself. The healer nodded at his request to heal his companion's sounds as well, and rose to her feet with the help of her staff.

 

She lifted her chin and looked the winged man (who was part elf, if her mana sense was correct) in the glowing eyes shining through the through the fabric of his blindfold. If Xander trusted him and if he was someone who joined the XDRS while she was gone for stars-know-how-long, there was no reason to not help him. White light enveloped one of Illidan's smaller wounds, a bite mark oozing green blood, and she gauged his reaction to the spell. Seeing that it mended painlessly -- for some worlds had creatures that were injured by healing as if it were fire -- she went on and healed the remaining gashes on his person.

 

Her expression remained focused and unreadable at the revelation that Xander was to become part demon. She was deep in thought at the weight of the words, but there were too many unknowns, and the demon-winged elf seemed like he had the answers once he calmed down. "If it can't be reversed, what would be the downsides?" she asked him, going straight to the worse case scenario. "In other words, what are demons like in your world?"

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Xander | Gate

 

Xander coughed profusely into his fist.
“I’m sorry, did you say demon?” Xander asked. Xander didn’t know much about demons. He knew about their connection to dark magic, but Nohrian dark mages spent more time creating Faceless or working with spells that addled the human mind as opposed to summoning demons. He recalled that Magvel, a continent across the sea, had significant problems when it came to demons, but Xander knew very little of the happenings on that continent since Nohr had limited contact with it. Xander supposed that the demons in Magvel mattered little when compared to the demons from other worlds. He had numerous encounters with demons since joining X-Dreamers none of which were pleasant. Xander paled at the thought of becoming like one of the cruel, twisted monsters he had run into before. Just thinking about it made his stomach churn with unease.

Raine was quick to be the reason by asking what exactly was going to happen to Xander.


“Yes, it would nice to know exactly what this ‘Fel’ is going to do to me,” Xander said. Even though Raine had dampened the pain, Xander could still feel the Fel coursing through his system like liquid flame. While the reasonable side of Xander knew he shouldn’t worry until he learned exactly what was going to happen to him, he couldn’t help but be somewhat afraid. He’d never felt his body so uncomfortably warm before let alone been in a position when his body was going to presumably change in some way. His muscles tensed when he thought about returning to Nohr and having to explain why he looked or acted differently. He knew it was unreasonable to fear for a hypothetical that might not even come to pass, but he could not assuage it. At least, he couldn’t try until he knew what demons in Illidan’s world were like.

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[ This could get long... - Gate - Illidan ]

 

"Okay, I can see that both of you need a bit of a crash course in the Fel. This could get long, so pay attention, both of you - I'm only going to explain this once."

 

Once Illidan confirmed that his wounds were healed, he stood up once more. "As Xander probably knows by now, contact with the Fel burns to the touch, but it is more than a simple flame licking away at skin. The Fel can touch and sear a being's very soul, given the chance, as it is fueled by sacrificing both the lives and souls of living things. That being said, the Fel does not discriminate between the kinds of life; plant and animal life works just as well as the lives of men and women. To the Fel, life is life regardless of the source. Naturally, that means it can also be used to animate constructs and reanimate the dead. I should also note that souls that are destroyed by the Fel have a tendency to produce more Fel as a result.

 

"It can also be used for many of the same things as Arcane magic from my world - invisibility, scrying, and portals are but a few examples - and it can be used for healing. I'd strongly advise against healing through the Fel, though, as it tends to leave a mark on the one being healed, should they lack the Fel." Illidan paused to see if Xander had that distinctive scent now... and he did, making the Demon Hunter gag a bit. "...augh. I never could stand the smell Fel gives out. Another thing is that Fel tends to smell like sulfur and brimstone - a scent as unpleasant as the Fel itself is.

 

"I should warn, however, that the Fel is extremely addictive, and physical transformation is not an uncommon occurrence. The changes could be as small as simple changes in skin or eye color, or they could result in demonic features entirely, depending on how much Fel is present and how fast." Another pause. "...keep that healing of yours handy, Raine - I don't remember the timing very well, but any demonic features Xander is going to get will start growing in any second now; it's going to hurt a lot and get very bloody. I wouldn't be surprised if it were to be a pair of horns on his head.

 

"Demonic features aren't the only effect Fel has, by the way. There are... how to say... 'positive' and 'negative' types of corruption. While positive corruption - typically seen as blessings - typically only result in increases to strength and magical potential on top of any physical changes, negative corruption - the kind associated with curses - more often leads to both physical and mental decay. ...I don't see either kind of decay happening to Xander, so I suppose it's safe to say that my blood went to the side of 'positive' corruption.

 

"That's not to say there are no mental changes with positive corruption - that is never the case. I wouldn't be too surprised if Xander were to be more violent or impatient in the long run, as the Fel tends to amplify negative traits, while at the same time trying to snuff out positive traits such as empathy. And, sorry to say, once the changes begin, they're next to impossible to stop regardless of the willpower of the corrupted individual.

 

"That being said, there is a way to make sure the Fel stays in check - we Demon Hunters in particular have runic tattoos, Arcane in nature, that keep our Fel under control." Illidan paused for a while, silently musing over whether Xander would need any or not. "Xander, if there are any significant marks or emblems from your world - any at all - it'd be wise to use such as an Arcane tattoo to keep you from potentially being killed by your own Fel."

 

Satisfied with how he'd explained the Fel, Illidan now turned his attention to what demons from his universe were like. "What are my universe's demons like? Immortal, for one, even beyond the usual scope of life and death. The souls of demons are tethered to what people from my universe call the Twisting Nether; should a demon die in the physical plane, their soul goes to the Nether to either regenerate a new body or await a suitable vessel. There are only three ways to permanently kill a demon: kill it in the Nether, kill it in a place where the Nether bleeds into the physical plane, or kill it in a place saturated with Fel.

 

"There is, however, an exception to that: Argus. There is an army of demons, known as the Burning Legion, that uses the energy of the planet Argus to circumvent permanent death since the planet is so heavily bathed in Fel. The energy comes from the planet's World-Soul - Argus is, indeed, as alive and unending as the demons walking upon it. It is why I am so concerned about returning to Argus - as long as the World-Soul lives, the Burning Legion will continue to harass the people of my universe. Killing the World-Soul will result in the infinite army becoming finite, at least on that planet.

 

"With knowledge of their eternal selves in mind, though, most demons will taunt their killers with the knowledge that they will, at some point in the future, return as if they were never struck down... but this isn't without consequence for the demon, either. Sargeras, the Legion's ruler, does not tolerate failure and often tortures the souls of slain demons prior to their rebirth. For what reason, I cannot say for sure.

 

"Not all demons join the Burning Legion, however. Some choose to strike out entirely on their own, while others will band together with other like-minded demons - I can attest to the latter, having quite a few demons in the ranks of the Illidari. They can also, unsurprisingly, be undead, as well."

 

Illidan sighed. Was that everything? That seemed like everything. "I believe that is all I know on both the Fel and the demons of my universe."

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Circuitraider | Fruit

 

Somewhere in the Market, there was noise. The Autobot paused in her musing about where the others might be, lifting her gaze from the ground and scanning the environment in search of... what, exactly? She lightly drummed her fingers, the silver metal making a faintly rhythmic sound against the purple plating of her arm. Circuitraider still hadn't moved from the entrance to the alleyway, letting other visitors of the Market to pass by her without hindrance. There were more large beings than she had originally taken notice of, several obscuring her view of the rest of the area. 

 

It vaguely unnerved her, leaving her tense and expecting something to happen. Tired of standing uselessly, she began moving once more, slipping into the throng of shop-goers and ignoring everyone.

 

She was intending to return to the Green Gate but a faintly familiar orange-scaled dragon caught her attention and she drifted towards them. When she was closer, Circuitraider noticed the small being with the dragon. The pointed ears and bright hair were distinct enough to differentiate her from fellow humans but the scout couldn't remember her name, nor that of the dragon's. Maybe she never got their names in the first place? It didn't matter. 

 

Approaching, Circuitraider caught the tail-end of the not-human girl's words. "Fruit? Are you thinking of buying sustenance for all of the organics within XDRS?" Circuitraider wondered, staring down at the pair. Should she crouch down? The dragon was just barely half her height... No, she'd already waited too long to figure that out. Crouching now would just result in an awkward position. 

 

Sora | Times Change

 

He stared, dumbfounded. Something dropped into the pit of his stomach, leaving a queasy sensation in its wake. Screwing his face into an unhappy frown, Sora pressed his hands against the counter, leaning forward slightly. "But that -" What? "That's impossible"? He'd seen so many new and 'impossible' things in only a short amount of time, and then slept for a year to have his memories repaired. And now he was here, after waking up and being sent out to discover what Organization XIII was up to.

 

Pushing back against the counter, the boy stood straighter and shook his head. "So... this version of you has been here, at the Market, for little more than a year?" Sora wondered, remembering exactly the task that Cid had once set upon him. An old book that led into another world. He puzzled over that, a layer of worry settling upon his shoulders. What would happen to all his friends if he were gone for a year? What would happen to the worlds? Or was the time more confusing than that. Especially if Sora was from Cid's future, supposedly.

 

And - He remembered about Hush, his breath catching. Didn't the Nobody claim he destroyed the Organization and their world? Sora swallowed, trying hard to get past the lump in his throat. Did it mean something, that the Keyblade possibly brought him here? He shook his head, rubbing the back of his neck. You're being too dramatic. It can't be that crazy.

 

Keychains... Oh! Turning to Pascal, he smiled. "I'd love your help! Fortunately, I didn't lose the one that's most important to me so I'm not in any rush to start searching," he replied. Back to Cid, he nodded once. "I know they are. Pascal, don't forget why you're here," he reminded her.

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Raine -- Green Gate

 

Now that the winged elf-demon had drawn attention to it, Raine noticed both of them did have a scent of sulfur and brimstone. It was unpleasant, but nowhere near intolerable. Despite herself though, she scrunched her nose at the smell while listening intently to the rest of his explanation and committing it to memory.

 

"To summarize:" Raine said when he was done talking, "you have evidence that Xander's corruption is beneficial in some instances rather than turning him undead, that he's looking forward to physical changes that can vary in in severity, an immortal soul, and a demon's temper...

 

It was troublesome, but not entirely game-breaking. She expected the effects to be much worse, like loss of self or a decay into a blob monster -- both effects that negative corruption would have brought on. The Nohrian had gotten lucky. 

 

"I'll accompany you. I've finished my business here, and you might need me for the... horns." She stopped and squinted at the king, trying to imagine Xander with horns and purple skin and fangs and tiny wings. Since he was covered head to toe in armor, if they gave him a helmet she didn't think anyone would notice the difference, unless the Fel changed his voice as well.

 

"Let's go," she suggested, now that both Xander and Illidan seemed to be walking fine. "I'm sure we can find an artisan in the marketplace willing to do a tattoo for you."

 

 

Pascal -- Cid's shop

 

"Right!" Pascal smacked her fist into her open palm, nodding to Sora in gratitude. "I almost forgot about what we were here for, since we were caught in the lovey-dovey reunion..."

 

Without warning, Pascal vaulted over the counter. The moment her feet touched the ground she was off and running but Cid's hand shot out and snatched the end of her scarf before she could get two steps further. Pascal stumbled forward, tripping over herself and crashing to the floor with a yell.

 

The engineer's demeanor had changed instantly now that he was no longer talking to Sora. "My shop, my rules," Cid snapped at her. "How many ****in' times do I have to drill that into you, you numbskull?! Sit your ass down and let me get you what you need."

 

Pascal reached up and hoisted herself up using the lip of the table and dramatically threw her all her weight onto the counter, as if her disappointment were physically trying to crush her into the floor. "But Ciiiiiiiiiddddd!!" she whined. But she conceded. Cid knew every trick in the book she tried to take a page out of.  

 

"Same as last time," she told him, her expression perking up again, away from the mock sadness. "But three times as many. Transmitters, worm gears, the rest of the stuff I picked out... Oh! And that doohickey I was thinking about using on the Gateway last time."

 

"Why on earth would you need so many...!" He stopped, huffed, and shook his head before making his way to the back. "Honestly, this is a workshop, not a friggin playground," she could hear him mutter. "If you'd calm your tits I'd let you back here more often."

 

While he was gone, Pascal gracefully used the swinging door in the counter to get back on Sora's side of the shop, giving the youth a small salute. Cid emerged with a plastic pouch of electrical and mechanical components and placed what looked like giant fuse onto the table. Pascal proceeded to dump the entire bag onto the counter to undo the elastics and examine the contents, then swept them all back into the pouch in an unorganized mess.

 

"This should do it. Thanks a bunch, Cid!" She slid him her card which he slashed and handed back to her. He simply nodded his thanks, and seemed to have a ghost of a smile on his lips. (Though Pascal figured if she inquired, he'd just say he was frowning less hard.)

 

"Thanks for waiting too, Sora," Pascal finally said to her companion. She had just finished stuffing the items into her many pockets. "Shall we go? We still have time to wander around for a bit, I think."

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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~Kouji and Tara- Not today.~

 

Kouji had no idea who this person was that was being attacked. He knew one thing though- that creature that did… well, whatever it did…. would need to be knocked down a peg. It was some sort of dragon-like creature, that’s what Kouji could tell from a first glance. He glared at it. That’s it. I have no idea who this person is, or where they’re from, but Tara’s been sticking kinda close to them. I can’t just let this happen. He stared at the ground, preparing himself. He glanced at Tara, who looked too afraid to even move. His heart sank. What was she going to do if she was too terrified to digivolve?

 

Tara, get out of here! Go somewhere safe. I’ll help these guys over here.” Tara was frozen in fear, so Kouji swore under his breath. “Screw it. EXECUTE.” That familiar feeling of being digitalized and being pulled this way and that took over again, like it did every time he tried to digivolve. It hurt, but there were worse things, like stubbing a toe or getting a paper cut. Soon enough he found himself in reality again, although taller and stronger than his human form. Here it was, the legendary warrior Lobomon, spirit of light. Tara had managed to jump back in fear, but Kouji didn’t mind that. He picked Tara up and moved her to the civilians who were running to safety. “Stay here, this’ll be a mess.

 

W-wait, what about you? I-it’s too dangerous, that thing can kill you!you’re the only one I know here. Please don’t leave me. The giant wolf-armored man shook his head no. Figures. He’s too stubborn.

 

I can’t just do nothing, Tara! That’s your comrade. They need help, otherwise that thing is just gonna hurt more people. I’ll be fine, promise.” Then he ran back to the fight, about twenty feet away at this point. Tara shivered as she watched her friend run toward the danger, but her knees were locked in place. I can’t do it, she thought, there’s so much confusion, what if I hit someone?

 

Tara watched from the sidelines. She wanted to help him, she truly did. But knowing that she would be useless anyway, she stood back with the crowd who watched in fear and anguish. I’m too scared to fight, too scared to run further, all I can do is just stand here? Tara, why don’t you run? Why don’t you help? Why must you be such a useless little ninny?

 

Kouji whipped out his handles, from which two blades of light immediately emerged. He always felt that he was in Star Wars when he used his powers, it was pretty cool. Maybe others didn’t think so, maybe they did. He didn’t care though, to him it would still be the most awesome thing he could do, at least now. Lobomon lunged forward with his blades. Lobo kendo. The blade made its way into the flesh of the beast while it was distracted by… Bowser of all things? It was strange being here, but he could get used to it. He slid the blade out of the wound and stepped back, ready for the next attack.

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Qaksh -- Fruit Stall

 

The silence weighed heavy between them. Qaksh wasn't quite sure what to say next. Light must have felt it too, for she changed the subject and asked if they wanted to do some shopping now, and he happily obliged, heading towards the fruit stall.

 

"Oh! Yes, that was our purpose, wasn't it? Getting supplies? Come to think of it, I don't think Pascal assigned anyone to do it, so..." He froze. The scales near his neck rose, but his frills flattened to his head.  "...I was so caught up in all the new people," his telepathy became very small, nearly inaudible, "that I didn't bring any bags other than the one around my neck..."

 

Thankfully, before he could get berated for not using that brain of his and preventing this issue through foresight, a very tall creature -- no, a machine, like the ones Pascal had in her room -- approached them through the crowd. It was so tall that it easily stood a whole body higher than most other beings milling about.

 

"Ah, hello, yes!" He waved his tail in greeting. Qaksh had seen the metal golem before when they were about to leave -- it was hard to miss them, after all, since they were nearly twice as tall as he was and took up half the teleporter pad -- but it never occurred to him to inquire about them or ask their name. "We were planning on getting some food, in case no one else thought to return with groceries. Usually, whoever calls the supply run organizes what we get, but Pascal is not the best in that area..." He glanced around. No Pascal in sight to hear him complain, which was a relief. "When it was just a handful of us at the XDRS, we didn't need much food at all, but because of all the new members we'll need to get a lot more."

 

He lifted up an apple with telekinesis, looked it over for bruises, then put it back down on its stand. He had no idea of anyone's food preferences, and with a sinking feeling he realized that he should have asked everyone about it before they left. What if they bought food that nobody liked, or worse, food that no one could eat because of allergies or general incompatibilities?

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Xander | Gate

 

It took Xander several minutes to fully digest everything Illidan had said. It would be absurd to have any expectations for the fundamental laws of magical beings within other universes, yet Xander found himself startled at the sheer complexity of the demons from his world. Xander pursed his lips, tapping his knee as he grew deep in thought. At the very least, he was grateful that he hadn’t gotten the brunt of the Fel’s curse.  It was ironic that Xander who had spent his entire life beating back his natural introversion and building up his weak body to peak form to mold himself into the perfect prince had been given the power to increase his strength and magical aptitude. Despite that Xander, scrunching his nose at the unpleasant odor wafting off of himself, found it hard to believe that the Fel was a “gift”. Like Illidan said, that strength came at a cost. Not only was Xander probably going to have to wear as much perfume as Camilla does just to mask his new repugnant odor, but he was probably going to become just as vicious as her as well.

 

Gingerly, Xander pressed his foot to the ground to make sure his leg could withstand having weight on it. There was still an unpleasant warmth in his body but the pain in his leg was reduced to a dull ache. Xander slowly got to his feet.
“I would never have guessed how…complicated demons in your world are,” Xander said, turning his head towards Illidan. “Although I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised considering the complexity between two completely different worlds.” There was still some factors Illidan had spoke on of that Xander hadn’t fully appreciated. The potential of Xander becoming immortal was distressing in a number of ways. As much as the mere concept scared him, Xander knew he couldn’t dwell on it now. No, he had to do what he always did; shove it to the back of his mind so he could be king he needed to be. He needed to ignore his nagging worry at least until he was safe in the confines of his room back on the base.

 

“I’m grateful for your assistance, Raine,” Xander said to Raine as he tried to shake his thoughts away. At the mentioning of horns, Xander touched his head. He could not deny he had a slight headache, but he wasn’t sure if that was a sign of the emergence of horns or if it was a side effect of getting beat around by an enchanted sword. Just thinking about horns bursting out his head was enough to make Xander’s stomach churn.

 

“As much as I’d like to keep this Fel in check, is it imperative that I get a tattoo right now?” Xander asked Illidan. “Even if you had a good reason to remove me from the fight before, I will not stand idly while our fellow agents are desecrated by some beast. As the one who brought them here, it is my responsibility to ensure their safety.” Xander would not deny that the fatigue brought forth by the fight with Quel’delar remained, albeit somewhat alleviated since the end of the fight, but that wasn’t going to stop Xander from making sure everyone else was okay. There was no way he was going to sit around for hours getting some ink pressed into his skin while for all he knew the other agents were being maimed by some monster.

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[ It's hard not to worry. - Gate - Illidan ]

 

That's right, there was a dragon-like beast rampaging back near the goblin's shop. It would be foolhardy to not deal with it - what were a few more minutes to the Fel, anyway? "I can't say I blame you, Xander. Fine, just keep in mind that the Fel can be volatile without a way to keep it in check. We're at least getting that tattoo before returning to the base, though... and I will pull us both out again should you get too injured for even Raine to handle, regardless of any protesting." There was no way Xander was going to die on Illidan's watch and if that meant pulling the king out of battle a second time, so be it.

 

"We should regroup with the others." Illidan unfastened Quel'delar, in its scabbard, from his waist. "I believe this is yours, Xander." He held out the scabbard for Xander to take - Quel'delar rightfully belonged to the Nohrian king, after all, since he'd won against the blade... even if just barely.

 

Here was to hoping things hadn't gone to complete hell during their absence.

Edited by hikarinomemori

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Natsuki [ Kyurem Fight ] 

 

Natsuki pushed themself back to their feet, wincing at their new injuries. Bits of gravel had embedded into their palms from when they used their hands to break their fall, and the axe’s head had grazed their shoulder. They reached to touch the wound, and their hand came back lightly bloodied. That was fine. A bit of blood was to be expected, but the slash wasn’t doing more than seeping and sending throbbing feelings of pain down their arm. 

 

They supposed that it could have been much worse, considering the damage that such a weapon could have done. No one had been seriously injured, so -- 

An animalistic screech of pain rent the air.

 

They turned to look, eyes wide, unsure of what they were seeing. Magic, clearly, but they had no idea what kind. A creature of some sort had attacked Reshiram, and now had taken on some of their appearance. 

 

I will be free. I will… I will be whole.

 

Ominous. They had to help Reshiram, but they had no idea how the creature had absorbed them, let alone how to free them. 

 

Unsure of what to do, they turned to Xander, both for orders and to see if he was okay. They hoped -- expected -- to see him standing triumphantly over the sword, or whatever it was that people did after defeating magical floating swords. Instead, they saw him being carried by Illidan, a panicked expression on his face. “Xander!” Their hand shot to the holster at their side, pulling out their gun, but no, they couldn’t. Even if the marketplace hadn’t been so crowded, they had just as much chance of hitting Xander as they had of hitting Illidan. They held the gun at hip level, arms shaking, as Illidan flew away. Things had all gone to hell so quickly -- two people that were their responsibility were in danger, and they couldn’t do anything to help either of them. If either of them died -- 

 

Wait. Breathe. A few seconds. 

 

A flood of calming hormones was released, slowing their breathing and allowing them to think clearly. Out of habit, they took note about how the hormones affected them: effective, but the release was a bit slow. Normal, then, and difficult to change without increasing the rate of false positive releases. 

 

Not that that mattered now. 

 

Right. They scanned the creature that had attacked Reshiram, and their heart sank. It was clear that it was powerful, whatever it was, and they doubted that taser barbs would pierce its hide even if they did manage to get close enough. They reholstered their gun with steady hands; it wouldn’t be of any use either, not where there was such a high chance of hitting innocents. 

 

Crowd control was the best that they could manage. They began directing the fleeing pedestrians away from the fight, hoping that they knew the marketplace well enough that they weren’t directing people into a dead end. They picked up a small creature that was trying to run from the fighting and carried it a street away to safety, watching the creature that had absorbed Reshiram the entire time. For now the evacuation attempts were going well, but that could change swiftly if the fighting damaged the streets.
 

 

Anders [ look at their widdle paws! ]

 

Anders tried to prepare himself for whatever it was that Ranulf planned on showing him, but he still let out a small oh!” when Ranulf transformed. It would have been difficult not to; Ranulf had both shapeshifted and turned into a beautiful cat. He resisted the urge to stick his hand out for Ranulf to sniff; it’d probably be rude to, and Ranulf had already established that he appreciated his personal space. 

 

At least it wasn’t that weird. The telepathy was new, but Anders was quite familiar with shapeshifters. 

 

Justice warned him to keep quiet about his own shapeshifting abilities, which was silly. Even he wasn’t stupid enough to reveal such a thing to someone that he had just met. Well, Keaton already knew. And turning into a cat would be a great way to play with the kittens. 

 

Maybe he was a little tempted. 

 

He could completely understand Ranulf’s desire to sit in a box. Boxes were wonderful. Very cozy. Nice and warm.

 

Focus. 

 

Right. Not sleeping for two days tended to make that difficult, but he’d fought drakes after longer. Having a conversation shouldn’t be so difficult. 

 

“I’m not really sure,” he admitted. “Shopping, apparently, but no one told us what to look for, so. That wasn’t very smart of them, was it? I guess that makes our job making sure that Keaton doesn’t get into trouble.” He glanced at Keaton, making sure that he hadn’t run off in the past five seconds. “So, is there any way that we can help you with the kittens?” Maybe he’d regret saying that, but they were adorable and he would do anything for them. 
 

Edited by Zor

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Raine -- Green Gate

 

Raine stopped, her breath catching in her throat. Her frown deepened.

 

Up until now, she was not aware that there were more urgent matters than the Fel in Xander's veins and the scuffle with the living weapons that the king had mentioned. Given that he had mentioned a beast, it was unlikely that they were still talking about the weapons. Other members from the XDRS must have been defending against some sort of creature causing a commotion in the marketplace, unrelated or semi-related to the weapons that caused the slice-wounds on the two men. (But where did the bite mark come from? That was a mystery.)

 

She remembered Xander had always tried to take the weight of everyone on his shoulders, and she could only respect his sense of responsibility even if she couldn't agree with some of the unhealthy choices he made. But, in this case, she knew that she would have done the same thing in his place: prioritizing the safety of those under her care.

 

The silver-haired woman motioned toward Illidan. "If it's faster, could you carry the both of us in flight?" she asked.

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Xander | Gate

 

Xander visibly relaxed; his shoulder slumped as he exhaled a soft sigh. If getting a tattoo meant he could rescue his fellow agents as soon as possible, then so be it.

 

“That sounds agreeable,” Xander said to Illidan with a brief nod. Admittedly, the thought of getting inked had never crossed Xander’s mind. His teachers had made it their mission to convince him that his body belonged to Nohr. Therefore, he couldn’t desecrate the “purity” of his flesh with silly things like tattoos. Then again, those teachers probably never thought Xander would be placed in a situation where his life depended on getting a tattoo. It was funny; ever since Xander joined X-Dreamers he progressively began to do more and more things that his teachers and father would never approve of. Considering the circumstances, Xander figured that the desires of his teachers mattered little.

 

When Illidan handed Xander Quel’delar, Xander couldn’t help but stare at the sword’s scabbard.

“So it is,” Xander said as he cautiously took the scabbard from Illidan’s hand. Xander had been so fixated on defeating Quel’delar in battle he had completely forgotten why he was fighting it in the first place. To think that he would now have to wield a sword that had tried to maim him less than ten minutes prior was baffling. Was it wrong to hold a grudge against an enchanted sword? Was he just supposed to pretend the fight didn’t happen and treat the sword like he would any other? Xander made a mental note to ask Illidan about the sword’s potential sapience on a later date.

 

Pushing his thoughts to the side, Xander equipped the scabbard to his belt just as Raine asked Illidan if he could carry the both of them.

“Yes, could you carry the both of us?” Xander inquired. Illidan had used both hands to carry Xander before, but he might have done that out of respect for Xander’s injuries. Illidan certainly looked strong enough to carry two people at once if his chiseled abs and frankly impressive biceps were to be trusted.

 

 

Ranulf | Lost in the Black Market

 

“Huh, that is weird! Why would you go to a market without knowing what to look for?” Ranulf said just as Keaton barked, “Hey! I’m not going to get into trouble!” Ranulf snickered at the wolfskin’s protest before turning to look at Akatsuki.

“Hey, big guy!” Ranulf said as he waved a paw in front of Akatsuki. “If you wanna play with the kittens, feel free! Just be gentle with them; they’re only half a year old.”

“Ooh, ooh, can I play with the kittens?” Keaton asked, his tail wagging madly. Ranulf motioned towards the box with his paw.

“Be my guest,” he said. Keaton pounced forward, grabbing the edges of the cardboard box as he stuffed his entire head into it. Although Ranulf couldn’t see what was happening in the box, he had a rough idea based on the sudden mewling and Keaton’s tail that was wagging increasingly faster.

 

“Oh, you want to help?” Ranulf asked in surprise, looking over at Anders. “I wasn’t actually expecting you to... that’s okay though! I’ll take all the help I can get!” Ranulf tapped his chin with his paw thoughtfully as he tried to make a list of everything the kittens needed. “Well, for starters they’ll need the basics: food, water, a litter box. They already have identification so that’s good and the merchant I got them from said they were in good health. They’ll probably need a better bed than a box with a towel in it. They’re just kittens so chances are they’re going to get towel filth—wwhhhhoooaaa there!

 

Keaton had removed his head from the box but was still staring intently down at the kittens within it. His normally wolfish ears had transformed into a more cat-like shape with a pointed end and fuzzy hair peeking out of the ears. His tail, while still relatively fluffy, had been elongated. The tail itself was no longer wagging but periodically flicking back and forth. Ranulf appeared to be completely mesmerized by the twitching tip of Keaton’s tail. Involuntarily, Ranulf’s paws itched forwards as though he couldn’t control the urge to playfully bat at Keaton’s tail. Keaton, for the most part, seemed completely unaware of his new parts.

Edited by Doctortear

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Anders [ keaton… is now pettable... ]

 

Anders wanted desperately to join Akatsuki and Keaton in petting the kittens, but first he had to finish talking to Ranulf. The area around the box had gotten fairly crowded, anyway, and he'd gotten his chance to pet Leonardo da Kittinci (short though it was). 

 

He nodded, mentally taking note of all of the things that the kittens needed. He wasn’t exactly sure where any of it could be found and didn’t remember seeing anything that looked like cat supplies on the way (not that he’d been looking). It couldn’t be that hard, though, and it wasn’t like he had anything else to do. 

 

There was one other problem. 

 

He stuck his hands into his pockets and withdrew two pieces of copper and a piece of silver. He had no idea what the coins would be worth at the Market -- or if he would even be able to find someone willing to take them -- but they wouldn’t have been enough even in Kirkwall. Pascal had said something about mentioning her name, but it didn’t seem right to ask XDRE for anything, especially when he wasn’t planning on getting involved with them. 

 

“Maybe I could heal someone…” he murmured, returning the coins to his pocket. He didn’t normally charge for healing, subsiding on donations, the odd Hightowner, and loot from Hawke’s expeditions, but he was hardly in Darktown anymore. People could likely afford it here, and if not, he had a lyrium potion that might be worth something. That was better saved for emergencies, though, and as much as he cared, retrieving food for the kittens wasn’t an emergency. 

 

“Huh?” Keaton had, somehow, managed to get into trouble without even leaving Anders’ sight. Well, in a sense. Another way of looking at it was that he’d been improved. His ears were shorter, and his tail flicked in clear interest. 

 

Adorable. 

 

“Keaton?” he asked, and waited a moment for Keaton to turn around. Keaton had certainly been willing enough to be pet before -- maybe that offer still stood? Feeling almost mesmerized by the way that Keaton’s ear twitched, he slowly lifted his hand and reached forward, giving Keaton plenty of time to push his hand out of the way. His ears looked so soft.

Edited by Zor

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[ This'll be a bit of a stretch... - Gate -> Above the Marketplace - Illidan ]

 

Both of them were asking if Illidan could carry them both in flight. "...I can certainly try to. I normally don't, but given the circumstances right now..." The fact that Xander, of all people, was now asking to be carried... The Demon Hunter could feel the heat going to his face.

 

Elune dammit, no! Focus, damn it! He had to push those kinds of thoughts aside - he was not about to think of the Nohrian king like that. ...at least, not that quickly. Carefully, he picked up Xander with his right arm, and Raine with his left, and got that running start of his so he could ramp up the speed. Although a little more difficult with two people than with one, Illidan got himself into the skies fairly quickly.

 

Finding the goblin's shop from here would be easy. Finding that beast, even easier. His Spectral Sight was already going into overdrive, searching for the dragon's aura...

 

 

[ CAT!! - Lost in the Black Market - Ray ]

 

"You heard the nice cat man, Akatsuki - play nice." Now that Ray thought about it, Akatsuki was kind of a cat.

 

"If y'all need help, I can give it, too. Had to raise Akatsuki there all by my lonesome - how much different could these little guys be from a Litten?" Ray dug through her bag, trying to find her PokeDollars - she always kept a small fortune on her person in case situations like this arose, as things in her world could get awfully expensive.

 

She counted out about 400,000 PokeDollars - she could've sworn she had 700,000. "Dang it, must've lost some in Ultra Space. Oh well. Just gotta find someplace to exchange this and then we should be set." Ray saw how little money poor Anders had. "...don't worry your head about it, Anders, I'll pay for it. I always keep some money on me for situations... like..."

 

Things suddenly got a lot less normal when Ray saw Keaton with cat features instead of dog ones. "Keaton? Um..."

 

She wasn't quite sure what to say.

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[VS White Kyurem: Round 2]

 

The succession of attacks from the elven knight wounded White Kyurem, who reeled back and was caught off-guard by blades of light belonging toca lupine-armoured humanoid. The pale grey was bady damaged by this attack, bleeding clear blood with bits of hlowing white magic in it. White Kyurem's senses were still stunned when Bowser went in the attack, hitting hard with a tail strike. 

 

Unfortunately, it snapped Kyurem out of the stun. The ice-fire dragon roared, summoning the power of the earth to cause flames to shoot from the ground and energy to ripple through the earth nearby. Bowser roared in pain at the earthly energy's impact.

Edited by DuskOfTheStars

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Natsuki [ Kyurem Fight - Talking with Illidan & co. ] 


Natsuki scanned the area for something else that they could do to help. Instead, they spotted the reason for one of their troubles -- Illidan. He wheeled around in the air, almost appearing to be looking around for something. He carried two people, Xander and -- Raine? Why did he have her? 

 

It didn’t take Illidan long to find whatever it was he was looking for, and as he dove Natsuki ran to where his trajectory suggested that he’d land. As they did so, they reached for and unholstered their taser. They almost wished that they could have gone for their gun, given that Xander and Raine could be in danger, but such a thing would have been beyond reckless. 

 

More drugs pumped through their veins, spurred by the continued release of adrenaline. A delicate balance of positive and negative feedbacks, but relatively crude compared to some of the other things that the universities could produce. Enough to let them push themself a little harder, slow down their perception of time a bit, but hardly good for their body in the long run. Even so, it was practically considered standard issue. 

 

“Stop! Let them go,” they yelled, pointing the taser straight at Illidan’s chest. If they were lucky, he would be able to understand the threat that the weapon represented. “Raine,” they said, giving the healer a nod of acknowledgment. 
 

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[ What is that thing he's pointing at me? - Above the Marketplace -> Kyurem Fight - Illidan ]

 

It did not take Illidan long at all to find the beast and land. No sooner than he did, however, that Natsuki was pointing a very strange object at his chest as if it were a blade. He gently set both Xander and Raine down on the ground before looking back at the strange device in Natsuki's hand. "...just what is it that you're trying to threaten me with? I assure you, Natsuki, I meant no harm to either of them."

 

He paused. "...I'm serious, though, what is that thing?"

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Xander | Gate —> Kyurem Fight

 

As Xander expected, Illidan’s muscles weren’t just for show. It was hard for Xander to bite back his pride as Illidan effortlessly picked him and Raine up with one arm before launching himself in the air. Despite the fact that Illidan was holding Xander securely in his arm, Xander, just like before, found himself pressing himself against Illidan’s body. Flying on a wyvern he had control over was incredibly different from being carried by someone with wings. Xander tried desperately not to think about how high above the ground he was or what would happen if Illidan’s arm slipped.

 

Thankfully, the flight was short. As Illidan began to descend, Xander caught a glimpse of the monster they had fled from. It wasn’t nearly as gargantuan as Xander thought when he first saw the beast, but it was certainly big enough to cause a ruckus. From the corner of his eye, Xander could vaguely see what appeared to be a large turtle with a spiked shell fighting the beast. There appeared to be more individuals in the fight, but Xander saw little more than shapes in the distance as Illidan began to land.

 

Almost immediately after Illidan touched the ground, Natsuki ran to greet them. The initial relief Xander felt at seeing his friend soon turned into confusion as Natsuki pulled out their taser and aimed it at Illidan’s chest. Xander had only seen Natsuki use their taser once before back when Nata had first arrived. Natsuki had used their taser in hopes of stopping the Closer’s rampage. Xander would never forget the way Nata’s body began to convulsed and stilled as the taser latched onto him. The taser hadn’t actually stopped Nata. Apparently living your entire life with a shock collar around you next built up your pain tolerance quite a bit. While Nata was fine and dandy afterward, Xander wasn’t sure if Illidan could shrug it off as Nata had.

 

“That’s enough!” Xander yelled. He marched in front of Illidan and stopped right where Natsuki’s taser was pointed. “I don’t know what you think you’re trying to accomplish by attacking a fellow agent. In case you haven’t noticed we have a problem to deal with.” Xander gestured towards the eldritch dragon a reasonable distance away. “What we need right now is to know what’s going on. Natsuki, what happened since we left?” Xander wasn’t sure why Natsuki had tried to attack Illidan, but he knew them well enough to know that they responded well to be given orders. Given the situation, Xander was sure that Natsuki could put aside whatever grudge they had against Illidan for the greater good. After all, the more control they had over the situation the better chances they had at minimizing property damage and helping innocent bystanders.

 

 

Keaton | Lost in the Black Market

 

Excitement rushed through Keaton as he heard both of his friends call his name. They both spoke with an unmistakably wary tone, but that was okay! Well no, his friends being upset was decidedly not okay, but he was going to fix that! If there was one thing Keaton knew it was that there was nothing better in the world than to see his friends’ faces light with up joy, let alone be the reason for their elation.

 

“What’s up?” he asked, turning his head to address his friends. Much to Keaton’s surprise, Ray was the only one with concern evident in her expression. Anders, on the other hand, was staring at Keaton, his lips slightly parted and his eyes wide with awe. Keaton’s eyes locked onto the hand that was hovering a few inches from his face. Instinctually, he leaned forward to give it a cautious sniff, familiarizing himself with the distinct human scent mixed with a bitter herbal smell.

 

Before Keaton could lean into Anders’s touch, he felt something soft and heavy slap down onto his tail. He spun around with his pressed flat against his skull as the corner of his lips curled into a snarl.

 

“Ah! I’m sorry!” Ranulf, who’d been playing with Keaton’s tail, said quickly. “I couldn’t help myself. Your tail is just so… fluffy.” Once Keaton had realized who the culprit was, his growl dissipated entirely and his ears perked up.

 

“Oh, that’s okay!” Keaton said cheerfully. “Sometimes you just gotta chase a tail, you know? We’ve all been there.” Keaton waved his hand nonchalantly. Ranulf wasn’t the first person to have pounced on his tail and he probably wouldn’t be the last. Back home, Keaton had been tackled by adults and pups alike who wanted to roughhouse or chase his wagging tail. When Keaton was younger he had chased his own tail as pups did. ...Okay, maybe he still chased his tail from time to time. Maybe the night before he arrived at X-Dreamers he had tripped over himself because he saw the enticing wagging of his own tail and couldn’t resist the urge to try and bite it. Maybe just thinking about chasing his own tail was tempting enough to make Keaton glance down at his backside, his fingers twitching with anticipation.

 

What Keaton didn’t expect to see was the additional length his tail, lashing to and fro, had acquired.

“H-huh?” Keaton said. He grabbed his tail with both hands, the tip of it still twitching. Not only had the tail grown in length, but it seemed to have gotten thinner as well. “What happened to my tail?” Keaton cried as his ears pulled back.

“I don’t know,” Ranulf said with a shrug. “One minute it was normal and then the next it looked like that.” Keaton pursed his lips as he tightened his grip on his tail. Something must have happened when he was playing with the kittens. He’d been so distracted by the cute little pink beans on their paws that he didn’t notice anything that was going on around him.

 

“Did someone do something to me while my head was in the box?” Keaton asked, looking back and forth between Anders and Ray.

Edited by Doctortear

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