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X-DREAMERS [mission 03: Shadows of an Island]

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Lara Rochelle - Empress

X -  Walk Away | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O- ! Friend!

 

Lara figures it's perhaps not the best time to bring up just how strange Sol's shedding of one singular tear was. And perhaps she figures it's best not to pry, she knows now what happens when one tries to pry. So she instead smiles and shakes her head. 

 

"You're more than welcome, Sol. You're doing just fine. I do hope you can have a good time here, I'm sure it's a bit of a shock. It is remarkable, though, that anyone could manage to get Utakata to catch the eyes of women." And at Sol's comment on her attire, she grins, feeling her face flush. She still isn't used to being called "fetching" or anything similar, probably considering she's more used to being caked in grime from the exposed shoulders of her tank top to the toes of her boots. "Ah! Thank you. I'll admit I did have a bit of assistance, including a trim and perhaps three little stylists." She looks down at her dress. "I do feel like a bloody goddess in this attire.

 

Then Lara takes a look up and down at Sol. Is she really as old as she says? The woman ages very well. "You look very lovely as well. I'm not surprised you're catching attention. Although if it gets too irksome, let me know and I'll scare a few people off." Lara says with a chuckle. Conversation is nice. She actually appreciates it, considering she now feels just a little less anxious. 

 

Now if her damn boyfriend could show up, that'd be great.

 

 

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ウタカタ - Hierophant

X -  Flee | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O - Oh god Tien no

 

His conversation with Anaya was just kicking off when he soon stopped talking. He catches Tien in a conversation with who he assumes is one of the waiters. He seems to give the boy a different name, and seems to be passing off Xander's horse as his own. He can just feel the second hand embarrassment as he walks past, and even with Anaya trying to catch his attention again, he stays quiet until they make it to the bar. He sits down, sighs, and puts two fingers to his temple. Anaya raises her eyebrow at him.

 

"Are you okay, Utakata?" 

 

He shakes his head. "I could just feel the embarrassment back there.

 

"Erm... Alright," Anaya says. She orders a glass of wine, then turns back to Utakata. "Do you want anything?"

 

"If there's sake, I'll take some."

 

Anaya grins at him. "I like your taste in alcohol," she states before turning to the bartender and ordering a bottle. Wow, he thinks to himself, Someone likes her sake.

 

 

Edited by Mikasa361

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Well. This was a thing that was happening now. Tien shot a sidelong glance at Xander as he left with Illidan, faintly wondering what all that was about. He considered asking Fractal to tail them, but that would be a stupid idea; Xander knew what she looked like, for one thing, and Tien did have some respect for others’ privacy, for another.

 

Also, there was a cute boy talking to him and he had to focus on not being a total mess. He’d find out what it was all about eventually. 

 

Yosuke leaned towards him, and he instinctively leaned back slightly. "Sooooo, Telinar. You don’t seem like the kind of person to hang out with a, ah what’s a nice way to phrase it." Yosuke waved his hand in a circular motion. "Snobby? Yes, snobby crowd. What brought you to this party? And you!" Yosuke pivoted to look at Temararie. "I think I would have remembered seeing someone with as great of sense of fashion as you. How about you? What’s your name and how did you get dragged into this lovely mess with the rest of us?"

 

Tien brushed his hair back with a slight snort, automatically tucking his bangs behind his ears. He could act the part without Lightweaving, but Light would help. Fade the brown from his hair into pure Alethi black, make his freckles less noticeable, that was easy enough to pass off as the lighting. "Oh, you’d be surprised. I’ve been to a few functions like this before, though usually, ah…" His nose wrinkled. "Usually not in, let’s say, quite as nice a position. I’m here because I work with the guest of honor."  He nodded in Lara’s direction. "She extended an invitation and I didn’t have any reason to refuse."

 

He wasn’t quite sure if he was regretting that or not.

Edited by Pachimew
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The voices in the crowd dimmed down to murmuring in the distance. Small, stringed lights hung between the trees and reflected a mirage of blue and yellow light upon the ocean waves. The large leaves of the palm tree waved in the wind with the gentle breeze as the waters lapped at the beach's and. It was surprising just how quiet the world became when they moved not more than about thirty yards away from the party.

 

But Xander did not take Illidan to ocean just for some R&R. Xander stopped beside a palm tree isolated by itself not too far from the beach's end. He took in a deep breath, taking in the scent of the fresh air before exhaling aloud. Now that he was actually alone with Illidan far removed from everyone else, he wished he had grabbed a second, or perhaps third, drink from the bar. Everything suddenly felt so much more real. Before, Xander had an adequate amount of time to mull over his thoughts and run through different conversations in his head. It was so much easier to propose hypothetical questions and gauge his own responses and emotions at whatever pace he wanted than it was to deal with everything at once in real time; but none of that mattered. They needed to have this conversation and, frankly, Xander wanted it to happen.

 

So,” Xander started. Arms crossed flatly against his chest, Xander turned his torso so he was facing Illidan directly. “Was there something you wanted to say?

 

"I--" Goddess, everything was a mess. Between Temeraire's talk from earlier and the awkward way she'd dragged him to Xander, his mind was a mess. "...goddess dammit. There is, but I--" He stammered for a few seconds. "Let's just say I need to get my thoughts together first. This came about a little more suddenly than I'd planned." Illidan took a deep breath, taking in the scent of the ocean. Goddess, he'd missed this scent, though it was a little different from the Darkshore and the Broken Isles. "...if you have anything to say, Xander, go ahead and say it. It's not like I was doing much at that party besides standing there looking awkward."

 

I’m starting to think we both should have taken more time to think about this beforehand,” Xander said. He groaned irritably. He pressing the palm of his hand into his forehead. Evidently neither of them were as prepared to revisit the conversation as Xander had thought just moments prior. He wasn't sure if either could be prepared for the conversation. The tension was so palpable and thick that it almost made Xander want to drop the subject entirely. Almost. Xander was no stranger to hard conversations that left with him a deep pit that settled at the bottom of his stomach; he wasn't going to be intimidated by his emotions.

 

Listen,” Xander began slowly. “I’m not going to pretend I’m not… interested in whatever there is between us.” Xander waved his hand between the two of them. “But ” Xander looked at Illidan directly. “We need to talk about it. I can think of a million reasons why we should leave this as a fleeting fancy. When the time comes, I’m going to return home and I do not know what plans you might have for the future, especially considering how new this is for you. Making this work is going to take work and compromise and I...I’m not sure it’s a good idea to start a relationship knowing it won’t last or if that’s even something you’re considering. I’m not sure I want to start something for some brief fun only to know it’ll have to be discarded later down the line.” 

 

Xander, emotion swelling in his chest, pushed himself off the tree. He began pacing in the sand, his shoes leaving imprints in the damp sand. 

Even if I am interested I don’t think I share the same emotions you do. I can’t claim to know your feelings, but being in love with someone in such a short time is...frightening. I don’t understand how you can have such strong emotions when you barely know me or the things I've done. Infatuation or a crush? Yes, I can take that but love is…” Everything. Xander stopped pacing. Love was one of the factors that pushed him to take arms against Hoshido then a god who threatened to decimate everything he had ever known. He did it for the love of his homeland, love of his family, and his desire to make a better future for his homeland. It was so incredibly strong and to think Illidan felt that for him already...

 

Xander raised a knuckle to his lips, closing his eyes as he took in a shallow breath. “Love is much stronger than that, and I cannot fathom feeling that intensely about anyone I just met, let alone associate it with the love I had for another.” Xander lowered his fist and glanced warily in Illidan’s direction. “Do you understand?

 

"I..." Illidan paused. Temeraire's right. I made a mistake and now I need to atone for it. "I think I do. I--" Why is apologizing so hard?! "...ugh, goddess. I'm not used to having to apologize for something I did. I guess before now I never really felt bad about it, but this time... This time was different." He shook his head a bit. "...the point being: it was wrong of me to associate what I feel now with what I felt back then. Tyrande is Tyrande... and you are not her. Maybe it is some stupid crush that'll pass in time, but..." Illidan took a breath. "...all I'm asking for is a chance to make it something more. The right way this time. I don't know what that right way is, but... what's the harm in trying to find out?"

 

Nailed it-- Oh, right! The chocolate! "Before I forget." Illidan took out the box of chocolate he'd saved from earlier. "It's probably all melted and gross now, but..." He groaned a little. "Long story short, some weirdos tried giving it to me earlier and I don't want it... I'm not saying it's a declaration of love or anything, but if you end up thinking of it like that, I don't blame you..."

Xander’s shoulders slumped with… what? Relief? Hearing what Illidan had to say, even if he did fumble with his words, lifted a weight off Xander’s shoulders. He thought the conversation was going to be more difficult, but it appeared as though Illidan had taken Xander’s words into consideration. It was a surprisingly welcome start to the conversation and though Xander had more to say he felt more relaxed with the direction their little talk was going. Semi-satisfied, Xander took the box with some hesitation. He didn’t know how long Illidan had it but, the chocolates inside they had to be melted by now, right?

 

Pawning off gifts from unwanted suitors isn’t the most romantic gesture I can think of,” Xander said idly. He brushed some sand off the top of the box and cleared his throat. “Though I do find your comment about apologizing a bit worrying, I am glad you thought about what I said. As for your suggestion I…” Xander rubbed the back of his neck anxiously, gaze averted to the side. “I don’t want a fling or something that’s pre-established as temporary, but I know asking you to consider taking this seriously is selfish considering the circumstances.” Xander lowered his head and, after taking in a breath, looked up and met Illidan’s eyes. “I know I’m repeating myself, but Is that something you’re really okay with? It might be easier for the both of us to just bury the hatchet now and move on with our lives.

 

"I'd just like to know that I actually tried." Illidan replied. "I... don't exactly know why, but being with you makes me feel... at ease. Happy. Something that I don't normally get back home. I won't go into the details - not unless you ask, anyway - but the long and short of it is that nobody on Azeroth likes me for me. Hell, nobody even likes me for anything. In short: I don't really have any friends, much less a partner." Illidan sighed. He'd never really opened up to anyone like this before. He felt like Xander could understand. "...and hey, you wouldn't be the only selfish person here. I am okay with this... It would mean everything to me, to have felt true happiness even once in my life."

 

That’s—” Xander pinched the bridge of his nose. Just when he thought they disclosed the issue Xander had, they came straight back to it. “Look, despite only knowing each other for a short time I care for you, Illidan. I really do, but you can’t base your happiness on whatever relationship you have with me.” His hands suddenly began to feel sweaty. Xander leaned down and gently placed the box of chocolates onto the sand. “I’m honored to be someone who’s made you happy, I truly am, but I don’t want to thinking of me as your only source of happiness. I don’t want to start anything if you’re under the notion I’m the only thing that can bring you true happiness. That’s putting a lot of expectations on the both of us and, well, I’d rather not disappoint.

 

"That's not what I'm saying, Xander! I--" Illidan sighed. So this was what it felt like, to be on the receiving end of the disappointment. It hurt. A lot. "...okay, I suck at socializing. Everything I say comes out wrong and I don't know why. What I'm trying to say is that I'm happy that someone even started liking me for me - not for my powers, not for knowing how the Legion works, but for me. Even in light of all my mistakes and problems. Long story short, you're not just the only one who's made me feel like this. You're the first one who's made me feel like this - not even Tyrande came even remotely close and that is saying a lot." A pause. "...or maybe I'm just being stubborn again. Who knows at this point? I sure as hell don't."

 

Oh.

Xander exhaled. The world felt a bit dizzy. “That’s not what I thought you meant at all.” Xander carded his fingers through his hair, and began twirling the tip of his bang around his index finger. “Sorry, I misinterpreted what you said.” Xander sighed, lowering his hand as he turned to look out towards the ocean. He was glad they were airing out their grievances into the open. It was refreshing to be able to talk freely about how he felt even if most of the time he’d prefer to keep to himself for the sake of maintaining a decorum of professionalism; and yet, such heavy discussion didn’t make for a romantic atmosphere. The air was taut with tension. They were fumbling over their words, desperately trying to reach a conclusion that they both wanted. Xander became hyper aware of the beating of his own heart and the strong tug pulling at it.

 

This is a bit faster than I anticipated taking any relationship,” Xander said, still gazing towards the sun setting on the horizon. “Not that it’s a bad thing,” he quickly added. “Just, not what I expected.” Xander chuckled under his breath. He finally tore his gaze away from the horizon and back towards Illidan who was still standing in place.

 

 

"It's not the first time people have misunderstood my words, believe me." Illidan visibly relaxed at knowing that Xander had made a mistake. It seems even royalty isn't perfect... "I'll admit, it's a little faster than I'd expected too... but it's not a bad thing. Maybe different people feel it at different speeds?" Illidan shrugged. Maybe that's how it went. For all he knew, some people didn't feel that kind of attraction at all. (Part of him was grateful that Xander wasn't one of those people.)

 

"Perhaps," Xander said, nodding. "Hmm, I suspect this must be strange for you too. I couldn’t imagine finding someone very attractive without even being able to see them.” It took Xander a moment to register his own words before his eyes widened. “Ah! I’m sorry that came out wrong.” He certainly hoped that careless comment hadn’t offended Illidan. With his heart feeling so full, it was hard to realize what he was saying until it already came out of his mouth.

 

The half-demon couldn't help but burst into laughter. "That's not the first time someone's commented on my lack of sight either. Don't worry, Xander, appearances aren't the only attractive point of a person. For some, it's the personality, or the voice, or the way a person behaves..." Illidan paused for a while. "For me... it's the way you fight. You jump in to defend others without so much as a single thought, and I like that about you. It... kind of reminds me of my own fighting style, except a little more... how to say... defensive? I'm sorry if that's the wrong word for it..."

 

Xander gave a half-hearted smile as Illidan’s booming laughter slowly died off. He was glad that Illidan wasn’t offended, but he hadn’t anticipated such a bombastic reaction. Thankfully, Xander’s concerns were waived when Illidan brought up his fighting style.

 

Really? You like how I fight?” Xander mused. He never really thought that how someone fought could affect someone’s affection towards them, but it made sense. Xander knew of several combat tactics that he found dirty and dishonorable, so perhaps Illidan was referring to someone like that? “I’m honestly not sure how much of my fighting is based on instinct and training anymore,” Xander said. Instinctively, his hand drifted to Siegfried’s pommel. “Paladins are a front line defense. We’re trained to keep our allies behind us so we can take most of the blows. I’ve always been taken with that sort of fighting style. I wouldn’t call it comforting per se, but among the chaos of combat it’s reassuring to have my allies safely behind me.” 

 

"Ah, so your world has paladins, too!" Illidan exclaimed, visibly perking up. "And you're one, as well, I presume? Considering everything, though, paladins likely work far differently in Nohr than they do on Azeroth. They're front-line fighters on Azeroth, too, though - I guess some things do remain consistent..." Illidan paused. "There's always a little something to muscle memory, anyway. I usually find that, on a battlefield, there isn't a lot of room to think about what to do next. Unless you're a mage or a healer - always on the back lines, those ones are."

 

I’m afraid I haven’t paid that much attention to how you act battle,” Xander admitted. He released his grip on Siegfried. With his attention back on Illidan, Xander rubbed his chin with a finger and looked the half-demon over. “That said, I do quite like…” Quite like what? His deep, smooth baritone voice? The cute way he’d cock his head ever so slightly when asked a question he had to think about? How the tips of his ears would twitch when he grew curious? The way he delicately handled every day items knowing how easy it would be for him to break them, or the slight indent in his checks whenever he smiled? Now that he thought about it, Xander had noticed more about Illidan's little habits than was probably appropriate.

I like quite a lot about you honestly,” Xander said, face heating up. “I feel like going down the list might—" Be incredibly embarrassing and incriminating of Xander's character? "—take awhile.

Illidan started sputtering when Xander said that he liked a lot about him. Did I hear him right?? The heat went to his face and it showed. "...must be a long list..." Illidan rubbed his hand through his hair. "...hey, Xander. What does the sunset look like? I wasn't born blind, but... it has been thousands of years since I've seen one. I've forgotten what a sunset looks like."

 

Xander hummed to himself. 

Perhaps I can tell you about that list some other time,” he said, a slight tilt in his tone. “In a more private setting.” He held his hands behind his back and took a few steps towards Illidan as he looked out towards the skyline. The orange glow of the sunset arced out towards the water, covering the surface in its sheen. Xander was surprised to hear that Illidan wasn’t born blind. Knowing how long Illidan had been alive, Xander wondered just how long it had been since the world became nothing but an endless black sheet for him. 

 

The sun hasn’t reached the horizon yet,” Xander said in a soft tone. Looking up, he could see that the sky above the sun was still blue. The sun’s rays gave the underside of the clouds a orange tinge that grew in intensity the closer the clouds were to the sun. “The sun’s covered by some clouds, but you can still see its light piercing from it. The sky’s still mostly blue and full of clouds, but the closer everything gets towards the sun the more  they become enveloped in its light.” Xander paused, staring at the water lapping at the and. “In just a few hours, the sunlight should engulf half the sky and as soon as the sun disappears underneath the waves everything will go dark.” Xander glanced over at Illidan. “I’m afraid I’m not much of a poet or a romanticist. I do hope that sufficed.

 

"You don't have to be a poet, Xander. I can still imagine what it's like... and it sounds beautiful." Illidan had a soft smile on his face. "All these things you can see... even the smallest detail can be taken for granted. You tend to learn to appreciate a thing's beauty once you can't see it anymore."

 

Yes, you do miss something the most when it’s gone,” Xander said. He frowned. His mind was unwillingly bringing back memories of his siblings and homeland. His heart ached to return to them every day, but even if he missed them terribly he didn’t want his desire to return home to ruin the moment of solitude. He couldn’t place a finger on it, but there was something wonderful about being able to stand and watch the sunset together. Even if they were a few feet apart, Illidan was still close and there, and it made Xander feel a clutching warmth inside and out 

 

Or maybe that wasn’t his emotions. Xander’s headache, the one that plagued him for nearly a week, had returned. His skin felt warm like heat was emanating from his blood and scorching his skin from underneath. Xander swallowed against a dry lump on his throat and resisted the urge to scratch his heating arms.

Would you excuse me for a moment?” Xander asked as pleasantly as he could. He looked back towards the party scanning the area for a restroom he could hide away in. “I need to freshen up.”

 

Illidan raised an eyebrow, wondering why Xander would suddenly want to leave. They were having a good time together, just talking with each other. It was just the two of them. So why--?

Oh.

Oh. Oh no.

 

Oh goddess it's happening. Illidan didn't answer - internally he was panicking. Xander was turning into a demon and who knew just how much demon he'd end up being? Things were about to get messy, he could tell.

 

Illidan’s sudden panic was perfectly evidence on his stricken expression and how his body stilled completely. 

 

It has nothing to do with you,” Xander said. He hesitated for a second, hand hovering above Illidan’s shoulder before he took the initiative and clasped it. “It’s just another headache. I told you these headaches have come and gone for the past several days.” Xander gave Illidan’s shoulder a squeeze before flashing him a reassuring smile. “They usually don’t last long, but I’d prefer to deal with it by myself. I’ll come back once it’s died down, alright?

 

Illidan knew better, he knew those horns at the least would come in at any minute. That said nothing about the rest of whatever demon features Xander would gain. Still, he didn't want to be rude... "I highly doubt it's 'just another headache' as you claim it is... but if you really think you can handle it by yourself, I won't stop you. Just... don't hesitate to find me if you need me, okay?"

 

How can you be so certain?” Xander asked. He removed his hand from Illidan’s shoulder frowning. “You said they could happen at any point, but you didn’t know when.” It seemed odd that Illidan claimed that Xander’s current headache was different from the others. Xander knew that his ailments were caused by the Fel, so what made this one so different. Xander clicked his tongue then shook his head. Illidan was still the expert in this scenario. Perhaps he had some sort of insight he’d yet to share. “Nevertheless, thank you. I’ll come find you if I need you.


Illidan nodded and left it at that. He was sure it was the horns coming in, but he wasn't going to shove it down Xander's throat. Let him see so himself, he thought to himself. It wouldn't be the first time he was proven wrong, anyway, if Xander just so happened to be right. Xander hesitated for a heartbeat longer, but once it was clear that Illidan wasn't to make Xander privy to whatever was on his mind, Xander let it go.

 

"I will come get you if I need you," Xander asserted for a final time. Xander waited for just a second longer before turning around and walking towards where he thought he saw a restroom earlier that day.

Edited by Doctortear

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Temeraire Rhowa, Warrior of Light

<Status: Stable; a little nervous>

<Location: Mauna Kea Beach>

<Current Class: Ninja>

<People: Tien | Sieghorse | Yosuke>

 

~~

 

"Oh, my fashion sense ain't that great. Nonetheless, I'm Temeraire. I'm here for... pretty much the same reason as Tien, here. Lara invited me, and I had no reason to say 'no'." Temeraire listened as Tien spoke. "Oh, so this isn't your first time at a party either, eh? First time or not, though... I can't help but feel a bit out of my element." Sure, she could dress the part, but other than that, Temeraire was sure that she stuck out due to her ears alone.

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< STATUS: Stable; Mischievous >

< LOCATION: Mauna Kea Beach - Food Table >

< AGENTS: N/A >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Party Attendees

 

Rufus wasn’t the most considerate man. He had everything else going for him; his gunplay was peerless, he was incredibly intelligent, and a handsome devil if he was being perfectly honest, but when it came to thinking about his others Rufus held the short end of the stick. Which is exactly why, just an hour after arriving on Earth, Rufus had decided to wander away from this companions and attend a fancy party he definitely wasn’t invited to. Rufus didn’t think anyone could really blame him. He had just spent forty-eight hours guarding a can of caviar. Granted, it was a can worth three million dollars and the pay for the job was excellent, but gods above was it boring to just stand around and make sure no one snatched the can before the auction started. Why anyone would want to pay a bounty hunter to guard a can a caviar for two days was beyond Rufus, but it was done and over with. Now, he could enjoy himself by tampering with the lives of unsuspecting rich people.

 

Rufus stood beside a table stacked with fancy a variety of expensive dishes and appetizers. He held his hands behind his back as he idly watched people dressed in fine clothing delicately transfer food onto the tiny plates in their hands. Rufus did little to contain his sneer as he watched from a close distance. It was convenient to stop and rest in a world filled of non-magical beings, but Rufus couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of disgust at seeing a crowd of privileged humans mill about. Rufus glanced over his shoulder, quickly scanning the area. He didn’t see Dennis or Kuu nearby. Either they hadn’t noticed his absence or they hadn’t caught up to him yet. It didn’t matter which was the true so long as he wasn’t going to get a lecture for what he was about to do.

 

Walking towards the table, Rufus looked straight forward as he passed a woman cutting herself a slice of a fruit pie. Without so much as a glance in her direction, Rufus swept her foot from underneath her. She let out a startled yelp before plunging forward, her face smacking straight into the pie. Several humans around them noticed the commotion. The woman stood up straight, her face covered with a stick, red fruit preserves.
 

“Watch yourself,” Rufus said coldly. Without waiting for the woman’s response, he continued on past her towards the other end of the table where the silverware was stored. He hummed to himself as he looked over them. Covering a human in pie was satisfying, but not very profitable. He supposed rich people wouldn’t really mind if they were missing some of their silverware, would they?

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二番隊

.

.

 

He had looked away for just a second.

 

How is he so fast? Kuu murmurs to himself under his breath, scanning the area around them quickly for any signs of the elusive bounty hunter that had formerly been standing right beside him and Dennis, guarding the caviar for the job that he had insisted on taking. It paid a lot, was Rufus' explanation, even though Kuu is still confused as to why they require that much money. His share of the money had been sent back to his barracks, and then subsequently dumped into the sewers when no one could figure out what to do with multi-universe currency, until Dennis found him dumping bills into the Seine one day and subsequently put a stop to it with the explanation 'That's like 200 euros Kuu, don't'. Perhaps he was lucky that it was Dennis who found him and not Rufus, as he's almost certain he would have been eviscerated otherwise. Speaking of -- 

 

"I'm going to look for Rufus," he announces, preparing himself as he looks across the horizon. Where would the bounty hunter most likely be? Districts, narrow alleyways of England, and then -- 

 

Ah. 

 

The giant mansion -- that could be it.

 

"Stay here," he adds as an afterthough, though it is not so much a command as it is a resigned acceptance that they will probably fail this protection meeting, considering where one went, the other two usually followed. With that thought, Kuu uses Shunpo to teleport himself directly into the middle of the hall, appearing in a blink of black light.

 

And just in time to see Rufus sneak up behind an unsuspecting human and trip her, slamming her face into the pie and the table, by extension. Ah -- of course, exactly why he came. Damage control.

 

Kuu knows how to comfort humans -- he thinks. They are not so different from the Shinigami of the Soul Society, with the exception that they died much more easily. But emotions and words -- they were all the same, were they not?

 

He knows exactly how to help this situation -- and the pie-covered lady, who is quickly beginning to get over her shock and enter the realm of 'upset'.

 

Kuu grabs one of the treats from the waiters scurrying nearby, a strange, egg-like item, cut in half with some sort of mustard filling. 

 

"Enjoy your hor d'oeuvre, sir," the waiter says. "Bon appétit."

 

"Wo ist die Toilette," Kuu replies. How exciting, he was speaking European! 

 

He uses Shunpo once more, appearing beside the lady before anyone else could, at the speed of light. The woman is blinking, wiping pieces of jam from her eyes, and trying to retain the finer parts of her dignity. Around, people are beginning to grow concerned, with equal dirty looks shot at Rufus' retreating back and concerned glances in their general direction.

 

He can deal with his retreating boyfriend later, Kuu decides, and instead kneels down beside the lady.

 

"Don't cry, ma'am," he tells her. "Some people choose to take their bad day out on others."

 

Then, he holds out the 'oar deverreee'. "Egg?"

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Posted (edited)

 

Forum_Signature--Fractal_Persona_Branch.

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Tien glanced over as someone let out a small cry. Some woman had just been tripped straight into her food. The man who tripped her snapped out something he didn’t quite catch and strode away, barely bothering to acknowledge her and certainly not apologizing. 

 

Tien frowned, feeling a sharp, instinctive dislike for the man. Only half-listening to the continuing conversation, and keeping his attention on the woman long enough to note that someone had come to reassure her, he watched the man move to the end of the table and start picking up silverware and store it in his coat. His...black coat with a pink feather collar…

 

Hm. Now that Tien thought about it, this man--was he a man? The left hand was covered, like a safehand; no, no. This wasn’t Alethkar, or even Roshar. Best to go with man. At any rate, he very much did not look like he belonged here. And he definitely hadn’t come with X-DRE. 

 

He leaned towards Yosuke without looking away, carefully keeping track of him. "I think that man is stealing." Tien hesitated for a moment. "...We should do something about it."

Edited by Pachimew

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ウタカタ - Hierophant

X -  Flee | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O - Prank time

 

He’d been enjoying the conversation, but looking up he sees something that catches his attention. He sees someone who he assumes is a man based on his frame. The man trips an unsuspecting woman and sends her falling face-first into the food she was trying to obtain. She yelps, and now her face is a mess. Secretly he feels bad for her, that has to be embarrassing. 

 

But what a basic, basic prank. Was there nothing else he could do to start some mischief? Or was he just trying to be an ass? He has no idea. It doesn’t quite spark his ire, but rather an urge to start some mischief of his own. After all… If most of the people here aren’t Lara’s friends, who the hell cares? 

 

He thinks back to the time when he had his revenge on Kaito, sometime when he last made Hamako cry. Utakata had made sure Kaito had a rather rude awakening when he found himself waking up to many explosive bubbles that were set up when Uta snuck into Kaito’s room in the middle of the night. That was glorious. Hmm….

 

What are you thinking, Utakata?

 

Mischief, that’s what I’m thinking. But I don’t want to do it alone…. But I’m really feeling the urge to leave slug slime on somebody’s chair or something. 

 

…I mean…. That does sound fun. 

 

It does. He concludes his little conversation with Saiken as he turns to Anaya. “It’s been a pleasure, Anaya. I just need to take care of something.” Anaya waves at him, and Utakata walks closer to Tien and his little group. As he does, he notices the same man who tripped that poor woman start grabbing utensils and stuffing them in his coat. Those forks and knives may be worth something, but come on, is it really smart to go around stealing things like that in plain sight? He sighs and waves at the group, making sure to keep his voice at a low. “So… Anyone else see that guy thinking he can just go ahead and mess the place up?” He glances to the side as a miniature form of Saiken takes shape at his side. “Anyone wanna teach him a little lesson on manners?

 

Edited by Mikasa361

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Temeraire Rhowa, Warrior of Light
<Status: Stable; slightly amused>
<Location: Mauna Kea Beach>
<Current Class: Ninja>
<People: Tien | Sieghorse | Yosuke | Milk Cream | Rufus | Kuu | Utakata>

 

~~

 

Well, this got interesting fast. No sooner had Temeraire finished speaking that she saw someone trip one of the party-goers and she landed face-first into one of the pies. Her first thought was how amusing the situation was, but part of her couldn't help but wonder if the woman was injured. Of course, the man who had tripped her barely acknowledged her and most certainly didn't apologize. While this wouldn't bother Temeraire at all - after all, she'd seen it so many times in Ul'dah - what did bother her was the same man taking the silverware as if he owned it.

 

That's-- That's stealing! she thought to herself. Yeah, there was no way she was going to condone stealing, but she didn't want to cause too much of a scene. This wouldn't be easy...

 

As if on cue, she saw Utakata walk up. "So... Anyone else see that guy thinking he can just go ahead and mess the place up?"

 

"Oh, you bet I did."

 

"Anyone wanna teach him a little lesson on manners?"

 

"You read my mind. Only question is how we're gonna do that."

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Lara Rochelle - Empress

X -  Walk Away | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O- Just Bloody Run

 

The third suitor today. Lara sits at the bar, looking at the couple of green tea shots she ordered from the bartender. She starts to question why she even showed up here, if people were just going to bother her with promises of marriage and a future she doesn't want right now. A lot of the time she wonders if it's just because these people want to marry rich, or if they're already wealthy if they want some sort of "alliance". None of it makes any sense to her, she never really had friends in the upper class. Lara downs one of the shots, ignoring the taste she normally loves and focusing in the warming in her throat as it goes down. Sure, the party is fun, except for these goddamn men who think they know her enough to spend the rest of their lives with her. She doesn't even know half of their names. But, it's been nice seeing Anaya again, and a few of her other college friends. She even had the chance to meet Zip's friend Alister, a history grad student who seems to have a good head on his shoulders. If and when she decides to come home for good, the two men could be good help for the next expedition she goes on. 

 

...Bah. That's assuming she ever wants to go home. Lara takes the other shot, swallows, and lets out a deep sigh. That's the last drink for a while, she doesn't want to be unprepared in the off chance things go awry. 

 

"Lady Croft?"

 

She glances to the side to see Winston looking rather concerned. She gestures to the stool next to her so Winston can sit. Winston shakes his head. "I'll stand, but thank you. Are you alright?" Lara nods. 

 

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine."

 

"Are you sure?" Winston raises his eyebrow. "You seem rather preoccupied."

 

Lara shakes her head. "The bloody suitors. Some man from Cambridge promised he would 'take the best care of me' and I would 'have no need to work again'. The gall, assuming I don't love what I do and that I need someone to take care of me.

 

"I apologize, Lady Croft. If there's anything I can do..."

 

"Please, get a drink for yourself." Lara says this with a smile. "I appreciate it, but I can handle suitors. You do plenty for me already, and I appreciate you for it. Please, take the day off, enjoy the party. I'll be alright, I promise."

 

Winston smiles back. "Thank you. I will be sure to do just that." Lara flags down the bartender, a kind young woman with her long red hair tied back. Her silver eyes sparkle as she walks over. 

 

"What can I do for ya?" She asks in a Southern drawl. 

 

"May I get a water for myself, and a Guinness for the gentleman here?

 

"You got it," the bartender affirms with a wink. Lara looks over at Winston, who seems tired. 

 

"Please, Winston, take a seat. Stay a while."

 

 

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ウタカタ - Hierophant

X -  Flee | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O - Hang on

 

Utakata grins, thinking of the many things he could try to do and the mayhem it could cause. Just the thought of pulling one of his old tricks beings him back to his days in the Academy. He crosses his arms over his chest and takes a minute to think. The grin is still on his face, feelings of anticipation stuck in his chest. Mayhem! Brilliant! 

 

"Utakata, I want nothing to do with this. Keep me out of it, I only want to watch," Saiken chirps from on the ground. The jinchuriki looks down at the cat-size slug and frowns. Then he looks up at the sky, thinking. Hm... Now how to convince a centuries-old slug that a little trickery wouldn't be so bad.

 

"What if I made you a whole five-course meal?" The slug's antennae twitch, and Utakata knows he's considering it. "I'll include whatever complicated dish you want, just so you can watch me squirm. Deal?" Saiken seems satisfied with that. He nods his little head and wiggles all six of his tails in delight. 

 

"Now you've got my attention. If you need a prank involving slime, count me in!

 

Utakata grins again. Excellent. 

Edited by Mikasa361

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< STATUS: Stable ; Mischievous >

< LOCATION: : Mauna Kea Beach - Table Near Bar >

< AGENTS: Tien, Temeraire, Utakata>

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Milk Cream, Saiken

 

It hadn’t been Yosuke’s intention to draw attention to himself, but with an armored horse, a cat with a ribbon, and the small gathering of misfits around him it appeared as though that plan had been shot out of the water. At least, that’s what he thought until everyone in the immediate vicinity turned their attention to a woman who had been tripped—or rather pushed—into a fruit pie. Yosuke raised an eyebrow as a man in an outrageous cloak marched over towards the silverware and stuffed a knife into his pocket without so much as blinking. If anything, Yosuke gave him credit for so  blatantly causing a commotion in the loudest outfit in the entire party. It was almost impressive how apathetic or stupid, maybe both, the man was to purposefully trip someone and begin to steal right out in public. Yosuke’s companions were not amused.

 

Unanimously, Telinar, Temeraire, and a newcomer (their friend perhaps?) decided that the man needed a punishment and they were the ones who were going to dish it out. Yosuke briefly glanced over at the stranger, squinting at the strange creature sitting by his feet. Was that some sort of cosplay? For a dog? A cat? Some sort of weird endangered species that a man with too much money on his hands bought with little regard to its or his own safety? Yosuke couldn’t tell what kind of animal, but considering the armored horse and the man with wings that walked off with Xander, Yosuke decided that it was best to keep his mouth shut. For now.

 

“Well,” Yosuke began. “I’m not actually getting paid. A friend—” Yosuke paused. “—ex-friend convinced me to do this job for the exposure. Since I’m not actually get paid there’s no real repercussions for me getting my hands dirty so….” Yosuke slinged his arms around Telinar and Temeraire. He glanced between the two of them, grinning widely. “I’m up for a little mischief. What do you all have in mind? We got a horse, a cat, and I have a full deck of cards.” Swiftly, Yosuke fished an Ace of Hearts out of his pocket and waved it in front of Telinar’s face. “In addition to some miscellaneous stuff, but I don’t think you can do much with half a pack of chewing gum and lint.”

 

Edited by Doctortear

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Dennis

Allies: Kuu, Rufus, others

Location:  Mauna Kea Beach - Food Table

 

Yeah, no, there was no way that he was leaving Kuu to look for Rufus alone. While Kuu wasn’t malicious, unlike the demon, he could cause just as much chaos with his stunning lack of awareness of social norms. Leaving him unsupervised wasn’t an option.

 

Sighing, Dennis takes off jogging after Kuu, wishing (not for the first or last time) that he still had Vista on his team or that he had a Mover power. It’d make keeping his two idiot boyfriends from getting into trouble slightly more manageable, though he doubted any power would have been enough. He arrives just in time to see Kuu teleport away again. He’d never been able to understand the words “low profile”, and Dennis had just about given up on trying to remind him. No riots started, but the guests, all wearing fancy outfits, were looking pretty unhappy. 

 

Among the normal human guests, he feels out of place. His helmet was off, collapsed and held in a pocket on the back of his armor. Other than that, he wears his full costume, grey and white with the image of a winged clock on the chest. 

 

It’s not the costume that makes him feel out of place. It would have been easier if he were wearing his mask. 

 

Fortunately, he’s not there to talk to people, he’s there to find Kuu and keep him from stripping in the middle of the party or doing something worse. Rufus, too. 

 

He finds Kuu holding out an egg towards a woman with pie smeared on her face. He decides not to question it, and instead looks for something he could give her to wipe her face with. There’s a thin sheet of cloth stashed in his costume, but it’s large enough to cover several people at once and takes ages to fold back up again. Instead he grabs a cloth napkin from a table, automatically taking note of his surroundings as he does so. He can’t let his guard down. 

 

“Here, this might help more,” he says, holding the napkin out to the woman, gallan- graciously resisting the urge to poke fun at the woman. He was getting better at that. “Rufus?” he asked Kuu, though it really wasn’t a question. Who else?

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二番隊

.

.

 

Why is the lady not taking the egg? There is nothing wrong with his hand-egg. Instead, the woman stares at him incredulously, as if she can't quite believe what's happening. Kuu, for his benefit, pushes the egg closer to her face.

 

However, before he can begin to question her on why she doubted his gifts, Kuu startles when a familiar voice appears out of nowhere. Dennis! When had he gotten here? How had he known? 

 

His boyfriend is offering a piece of paper to the lady, and Kuu wants to laugh -- that is what happens when one lives not even half a century; they begin to offer useless items to humans in need. He has been a shinigami for centuries now, and he knows that humans value food over --

 

Kuu nearly falls over when the woman reaches for the cloth offered, thanking the hero as if he had not just appeared out of nowhere and stolen the spotlight. Frowning, Kuu is half-tempted to not answer Dennis' next question, but his need to get someone to stop Rufus outweighs his brief grudge. 

 

"Yeet," he confirms, hoping the modern lingo will attract him more to the lady so that she will take his hand-egg. As if hoping to confirm his thoughts, he pushes the egg even closer to her face and she backs away, wiping at the pie on her features, alarmed.

 

"Stop him," he tells Dennis, referring to Rufus. "I can't wait any longer. I have to practise my Shunko." 

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Tien blinked at both the sudden consensus of doing something and Yosuke’s casual affection, but he found a grin spreading across his face regardless. He made a mental note to figure out who’d roped Yosuke into this later; they sounded like they deserved some low-level revenge, too. 

 

"I have pockets full of rocks and a talent for...misdirection," he volunteered. That was the most obscure reference to Lightweaving he could think of. His skillset was limited but useful; a good eye, illusions, and the ability to convince people of nearly anything.

 

As for actual prank ideas… "When I was a kid I used to sneak bugs into the house and down my brother’s shirt, but I don’t know if there’s any…" He trailed off, eyeing Saiken. "...Slime could make a good substitute, though."

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Dennis

Allies: Kuu, Rufus, others

Location:  Mauna Kea Beach - Food Table

 

His hard work learning 2019 slang just to teach it to Kuu is paying off, at least. It’s always nice to see his efforts bear fruit, even if the results just end up terrifying the poor woman even more. Good. He’d toiled for hours to accomplish this. 

 

Still, he can’t let Kuu smash the egg into the woman’s face, and Kuu’s dangerously close to doing just that. “No eggs,” he says, grabbing Kuu’s wrist and stepping to insert himself between Kuu and the woman. Behind him, the woman takes the chance to scurry away. 

 

“You really don’t,” he says, snorting. “What was that you said before? ‘Stay there’? It’s a good thing I followed you, if you’re giving up so quickly.” He plucks the egg from Kuu’s hand and pops it into his mouth. Not bad. “C’mon, you can practice your Rufus-tracking instead. It’s more useful, anyway.” 
 

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二番隊

.

.

 

Kuu lets out an undignified squawk as Dennis abruptly takes his hand-egg and tells him he's not allowed to practise his Shunko, all in one sweep. The shinigami watches with murderous eyes as Dennis pops the egg into his mouth, chewing as he considered their next movements, and he stares sadly at the space where the egg had been only a second before. His victory -- shattered.

 

"I do -- Shunko is very useful," he insists, completely ignoring his boyfriend's next words. "It is an advanced battle technique practised only by the highest-ranking members of the Onmitsukido. it combines physical abilities of Hakuda and Kido spells to fire Kido at enemies through arms and legs. My captain, Sui-Feng, is one of the most experienced users of this technique --"

 

Launching into a description of Sui-Feng's endless talents has a physical effect on Kuu; he straightens up, beaming, as he continues to talk passionately. His captain was just so amazing! 


"She would be able to find Rufus in just under a half-second," he finishes proudly, thinking of his beloved captain and disregarding the expression on Dennis' face. 

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Dennis

Allies: Kuu, Rufus, others

Location:  Mauna Kea Beach - Food Table

 

-combines physical abilities of Hakuda and Kido spells to fire Kido at enemies through arms and legs, u-huh,” Dennis says along with Kuu, having heard the speech enough times to match his intonation. “And I’ve never seen anyone better at it than you, so just take a few hours off. You can do that, right?” Actually, he probably can’t. Dennis doesn’t know how many times he’d been woken up in the middle of the night by Kuu practicing, only that the answer is “too many.” It was hard enough to sleep without being woken up by Kuu’s yelling. “Fifteen minutes?” That was doable, right? “And look, I’m sure she could find Rufus in half a second, but anyone could. Look, I can do it too. I bet he’s stealing from someone right now-” 

 

As he speaks, Dennis turns around and is met with the sight of exactly that. Barely a few feet away, Rufus shoves silverware into his pockets without a hint of shame. 

 

Why. 

 

He sighs, only a little fondly. “You’re getting predictable, Rufus.” He must’ve run out of babies to steal candy from. That wasn’t a joke; he’d actually stolen candy from a baby once. It'd been hilarious for how stereotypical it was (and besides, candy was bad for babies' teeth). 
 

Edited by Kiran

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[Prank Squad - Everyone, pretty much]

 

 

Saiken wiggles his tails when Tien acknowledges him. Utakata rolls his eyes. “Saiken, you’re the strangest pet I’ve ever had.” Saiken’s tails stick straight up in anger. 

 

“HEY. What did I tell you? I’m not your PET.”

 

This makes Utakata chuckle. “Just needed to get that one out there.” He crosses his arms over his chest. “I mean, I have a few things off the top of my head. Namely, anything to do with bubbles. I’d do an example of explosive bubbles, but that’d ruin the whole thing. However, if we’re talking slime…” He glances at Saiken. “Saiken has some pretty gross slime.”

 

“My specialty,” Saiken says with pride. 

 

“I could see if I could sneak some in a couple bubbles and pop them over his head. Of course, the trick there is making sure he doesn’t look up.” 

 

“I can help with that,” Tien says, cocking his head to the side. “I can probably distract him long enough, or cause a commotion to make him look away.” He pauses. “It would probably be easier if I just pull him into a conversation. He seems...focused.” Tien’s nose wrinkles like there’s another, much ruder word that he wants to use.

 

This makes Utakata grin evilly, his golden eyes twinkling with delight. “Catching him off guard will be fun. Anyone else got something? Because I feel I might not be satisfied with just that. He seems like a serious prick who needs to get whipped into shape.” He looks back down at Saiken, who’s back to wiggling his tails. He seems to be more interested in the meal he’s going to eat after this. 

 

Yosuke had nearly forgotten about conversation completely. He was staring down at the strange snail creature wiggling on the floor.

It talks,” he mumbled in a hushed tone. It would take a lot of effort to find some bizarre costume or creature to a party out on a Hawaiian beach and even more time and effort into placing a microphone on it so it could maintain the appearance of being a strange, talking creature. Yosuke hummed to himself before pushing up his glasses by its bridge with two of his fingers. Considering how hard and impractical it would be to fake having a weird slime pet, that could only mean…

So,” Yosuke exclaimed, quickly brushing his thoughts away. He unwound his arms from Tien’s and Temeraire’s shoulders so could clap his hands together. “I’d agree that any explosions are out of the question, but if you need a distraction we have a few options. I am still a waiter and we do have two lovely animals that could make for quite a conversation topic.” As though realizing he had been mentioned, Milk Cream let out a soft meow. He walked up towards Yosuke and brushed the side of his body against his leg before looking up expectantly. 

See?” Yosuke said, gesturing towards Milk Cream. “He knows what’s up! We got his old lad as well.” To emphasize his point, he patted Sieghorse’s muzzle, eliciting the horse to perk up at the sudden attention press himself more firmly against the offered hand.

Saiken looks at Milk Cream, with a puzzled expression that only Utakata knows. Utakata sighs, plucks a small appetizer from one of the trays the caterers are carrying around, and holds it in front of Saiken’s maw. He takes it happily, making rather odd yet pleased noises. Utakata nods.

“Animals are a good diversion. Saiken could even work in a pinch, considering how odd he is.”

“How many times- Agh, I give up,” Saiken mutters in defeat. Utakata carefully takes out his tube of bubble fluid and pipe from the small pouch he always kept in his kimono when he didn’t wear the elastic belt. He looks down at the cat, who seems to also be expecting a treat.

“....is he allowed to have treats? …..can I pet him?”

“Utakata will you focus,” Saiken snaps. 

“We’ve got plenty of options for distraction on the table,” Tien says, waving his hand in a ‘move-along’ motion. “We can pick one later. What are we doing after he’s distracted?” Hiding behind Telinar’s persona, it’s easy for him to fall back into authority, even when he’s planning pranks instead of trying to organize training for the Signal Corps. “Explosive bubbles? Slime? Send a horse charging at him?” He gestures at Utakata, Saiken, and Sieghorse in turn, then pauses. “...Temeraire?” 

Temeraire pauses, considering everything that had been said. "Explosive bubbles and slime do sound like good options, but I wanna make sure this sticks - I was thinking a huge mess. Anyone got any ink?"

“I can make something similar in a pinch, but…” Tien turns to Utakata. He seems the most likely to have it on hand. 

“I mean, I can make some ink bubbles. I just need a container to pop them over if you need a good amount of it.” Utakata furrows his brow, “if there are bowls here, that’d be ideal.”

Saiken hums. “This will be an interesting evening, that’s for sure.” 

Yosuke clasped his hands together and pointed at Temeraire with the both of them. 

I’m going to veto the explosive bubbles again, but the slime and ink?” Yosuke brought three fingers to his lips then slowly pulled them away as he made a “mwah!” sound. “Brilliant! There’s quite a few unused bowls and such back over in the kitchen.” Yosuke gestured towards the north, past the bar. There was a small brightly lit building where several waiters were entering and exiting from. “I could go grab a bowl and bring it here so you pour the ink into it.

With that, Utakata grins. “Perfect,” he says. He looks at Saiken, who shakes his little head.

“You’re ridiculous.” 

"This is gonna be so much fun." Way better than trying to punk some Monetarist back in Ul'dah. She didn't even think she'd be able to get away with such a thing in Ul'dah. "I don't know about all y'all, but I'm more than ready to prank a thief." 

The energy of the group is infectious, and Tien can’t help but grin as well. Storms, how long has it been since he did something like this as a team? “I’m ready if all of you are.” 

Well, if everyone is in agreement, I’ll go grab a bowl.” Yosuke lightly nudged Tien with his shoulder. “You said you were going to distract him, yes?” Yosuke asked in a hushed tone, the edges of his lips curving upward. “Go dazzle him with your beautiful face.” Yosuke made a clicking noise before shooting Tien a finger gun. “Why don’t all of you go pose in front of him until he’s too distracted,” Yosuke said, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Or maybe burst into tears on the spot because you just can’t believe the host had the audacity to use the wrong spoons for the caviar.” Tugging at Sieghorse’s reins so the stallion would follow, Yosuke pivoted and began walking away from the group and towards the building in the distance. Noticing that Yosuke was leaving, Milk Cream ceased rubbing himself in the sand and chased after Yosuke, meowing desperately with every step he took.

Tien blinks after Yosuke for a few moments, eyes wide, cheeks turning red. How long has it been since he’s been flirted at so blatantly? Has that ever happened since Keor--

He flinches away from the thought. Keor has been dead for three, almost four years now, and it’s still a wound in his heart; not a gaping one, but a scab that can still be easily scraped off. Wasn’t that why he’d been hiding in the first place?

Tien gives the remaining two a half-smile. “I’ll go do my thing, then. Don’t hit me.” He pivots on his heel and heads for the ostentatious thief.

Deep breath. Take in Stormlight. Dazzle him with your beautiful face. Well, it’s not exactly his face that Tien plans to use. He shapes the Stormlight around himself in a few quick, familiar motions. Stronger jawline. Sharper nose. Fade the brown to black. Smooth away the freckles. Yellow eyes. Stand straight--raise your chin--look like you’re authority.

Telinar Mevani is, perhaps, not the best person to confront a thief, but he’s better suited to it than Tien is. 

Utakata watches Tien work his magic with awe. He’d only ever seen other ninja use that sort of genjutsu, but he’s nonetheless impressed. He looks down at Saiken, who’s munching happily on some fruity dessert a frightened guest threw at him. 

“Enjoying yourself?”

“Mmmm, I’ve never had such delicious food in the centuries I’ve been around.” 

Utakata rolls his eyes. “Ouch. And here I thought that was my cooking.” He taps his foot as he waits for Yosuke to get him a container of some sorts. If he can get one of those, he could do something of use. For now, he looks at Saiken. “Think we could use a little acid?” 

“I don’t think so, I think even if we used a weak one it’d pose a problem.” 

“Right. No acid today.” He glances at a woman who was passing them, giving him a dirty look. “What?” The woman turns away and walks off with a huff. Utakata rolls his eyes. “Snob.” 

Temeraire had to blink a few times when Tien's appearance suddenly changes. A glamour? She has to admit that she's a little awestruck...

Not too far away from the pranksters, Rufus was examining a mother of pearl caviar spoon. It was particularly pretty, having a white sheen and being inscribed with decorative swirls. Rufus twirled the spoon around in his hand, humming to himself. He could stuff the spoon into his jacket with everything else, or he could be a heathen and do something more fun. Grinning to himself, Rufus grabbed a slice of nearby ham with his ungloved hand and wrapped it around the spoon as tightly as flimsy ham could be wound. He looked over the plates of food in front of him, squinting his eyes as he searched for the best target. There! Forcibly, Rufus stabbed the spoon into a beautiful dome-shaped jello with some sort of fruit in the middle of it. He dug the spoon into the jello. He lazily picked up the ham and stuffed all of it into the hole the spoon had made. Satisfied with his work, Rufus turned to Dennis who had finally realized Rufus was standing right next to him.

Your observation skills never ceases to amaze me,” Rufus said. He returned to where the silverware were, idly picking up a fork before stuffing it into his jacket. “It’s a wonder you live up to this point.” Rufus picked up a second fork, twisting it between his fingers. From the corner of his eye, he could see that someone had approached him. He glanced over his shoulders, catching sight of a young man, a teenager perhaps, who was staring directly at him. Rufus narrowed his eyes, glaring at the stranger for a few moments longer before turning back towards the table in front of him. “What do you want?” Rufus asked casually as he hid another fork into his jacket.

“Love you too,” Dennis said, grinning and cheerfully flipping Rufus off. 

“You’re not very subtle,” the young man said, half-smiling as he pointed at Rufus’ jacket. “I was wondering, are you trying to annoy the guests, or are you just that stupid?”

Rufus paused, frowning. He glanced back over his shoulder, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.

Do I look like I’m trying to be subtle?” he asked. He twirled a fork between his fingers before pointing it at the stranger. “I don’t care about what you or some rich humans think about me or what I’m doing.” To emphasize his point, he turned his back to the young man once more and pocketed the fork in his hand before reaching to grab another.

“You don’t care about getting kicked out either, I suppose. Not that you were invited. Unless you’re just looking for a fight.” Rufus wasn’t looking, but Dennis could still watch the man raise an eyebrow that seemed almost challenging

Rolling his eyes at Rufus’ antic, Dennis rested one hand on the table. He focuses his power on and through the tablecloth, encouraging it to affect only the cloth, the ornate dish the silverware was held in, and the silverware itself. It took a good bit of concentration; he wasn’t used to being so selective, but he felt the power take hold of the silverware. Which. Probably wasn’t the best way to deal with Rufus, but it’d be worth it to see his face when he found out that he wouldn’t be able to steal any more knives for a few minutes. “Nah, we don’t want to fight,” he lied. A partial lie, anyway. He didn’t want to fight some random civilian, at least. “He’s just like a magpie. Picks up anything shiny he sees on the side of the road.”

Rufus let out an amused srnk

You really think you or any of your pompous rich friends scare me?” Rufus asked, chuckling. “Please, save your threats for the cheap labor you hire because you know that they’re too poor to say no to pocket change.” Rufus thought it would be best to accentuate his point by grabbing one of the fancy knives and pointing it at the rich stranger’s chest. When he went to pick up a knife, he found himself gripping at its handle and yet unable to move it. He frowned, trying from another angle but the knife didn’t budge. Rufus’s lips pressed into a thin line. He could practically see the condescending look on Dennis’s face as he began spinning some lie to the stranger.

You know, I don’t recall giving you permission to speak for me,” Rufus said. He folded his arms across his chest as he turned around to face the two men. “Maybe having to sit around for a few days while watching some rich people gawk over a can of caviar made me want to start a fight with some rich people. It’s not like anyone’s paying me not to, so what’s the harm in it?

The younger man cocked his head, thought it over, and shrugged. “Well, you’ve got me there.” Before Rufus could recover from the surprise of being agreed with, he continued, “But I’m only making observations. You, on the other hand, are, hm…” He tapped a finger against his cheek. “Are also making assumptions, but you should know they’re rather less accurate than you might like.” 

“You’re the one that insisted we do the caviar thing,” Dennis noted, snagging some kind of fancy, cream covered pastry. He wasn’t going to spend all day chasing after Rufus without something to eat. “I’m sure we can find some other rich people to fight, ones that are actual threats. You can take their stuff, Kuu can do his Kuu thing, and I can actually get something useful done.” He was itching for it, honestly. The job on Oddworld had felt off. It could have been because he didn’t care about a can of caviar, it could have been because they hadn’t been involved in a single fight, or it could have been because they hadn’t had a real goal to work towards. He’d done more than a few morally ambiguous things and worked with shady villains before, but usually there was usually more of a reason than just “Rufus wants money again”. Regardless, he felt just as restless as Rufus did. 

With a wooden bowl in one hand and Sieghorse’s reins in the other, Yosuke approached Utakata and Temeraire with Milk Cream hot on his heels.

Pro-tip for the future, don’t try to bring an entire horse into a kitchen,” he said, wiping sweat off his brow. “Maybe half a horse could work, like the front half or the back half, but the whole horse? Terrible idea; not my greatest plan. Ignore those stains on my pants. They’re unimportant.” He held the bowl out to his companions, but frowned suddenly. He glanced around, realizing that there were a person short. He glanced over at where their target was, and although he saw two men conversing with him neither of those men was his man. “Do you two know where Telinar went?” Yosuke asked, looking back at Temeraire and Utakata.

“Er….” Utakata blinks. “No, he just walked off, I’m not sure where Ti— Telinar went.” Utakata glances up to make sure the flamboyantly-dressed man isn’t looking and grabs the bowl Yosuke brings over. He takes his pipe, blows a small stream of ink bubbles over the room, and waits for them to settle against the bottom of the bowl. Then he blows another one over the top of the bowl to make sure none of the ink splatters. He snaps, and the ink bubbles underneath splat against the bubble-lid. Content, he snaps again and allows the lid to pop. “That should be enough,” he says as he turns to Tem. “What’s your plan?”

“What about slime?” Saiken peeps. Utakata narrows his eyes at the cat-sized slug. 

“We’ll work out the logistics in a sec. I want to see what Tem is planning.”

“I want to see what Tem is planning,” Saiken mocks him bitterly. Utakata throws his pipe at him, which Saiken grabs with one of his tails. Utakata rolls his eyes and turns back to Temeraire.

“Anyway, what’s about to go down?” 

Temeraire gently took the bowl and checked to see if the thief was sufficiently distracted. Seemed like it, considering the argument he was having. Good. "Pipe down and watch, boys." She then snuck behind the thief, holding the bowl in her hand, and motioning for the person he was arguing with to keep quiet. She gently raised the bowl... a little more...

And then she proceeded to dump all of the ink on the thief's head.

Utakata spits the sake he brought with him from the bar. He admires her straightforward approach, that’s for sure. Saiken covers his mouth with all six of his tails to muffle his laughing. Utakata, though, does not hold back. He doubles over, arms around his waist, and laughs. It’s not even the act itself that does it, it’s just how blunt Temeraire was in dumping the ink on the man’s head. He can’t help and laugh at how she just took the subtlety of pranks and tossed it out of the window. 

“Oh boy,” Saiken mutters, “this moron’s about to give himself away if he does this during our portion of these shenanigans.” 

Utakata nudges the slug with his foot while he puts his head down. He takes a few deep breaths, and in a few seconds he’s done, minus a couple of giggles here and there. With that he takes another sip of sake, trying to play it off as if he hadn’t laughed in the first place.

The stranger’s reply was enough to give Rufus pause. It seemed as though he had been incorrect in his assertion that the stranger was rich, despite sharing clothing similar to the other party-goers, and that made him want to rethink his approach. Want being the key word. Before he could open his mouth to reply, a thick, black liquid began pouring down his head. He sputtered, rearing backwards as he hastily tried to rub away the ink drooping down into his eyes. He pulled one of his hands away, feeling the liquid between his fingers. He experimentally opened and closed his fingers. The liquid was somewhat sticky, staining his fingers an awful black. It was ink, he realized with a frown. Who was carrying around ink at a party?

Rufus spun around, quickly locating his assailant. She wasn’t even trying to hide it! She was still holding an ink-stained wooden bowl in her hand, for goddess’ sake! 

The hell do you think you’re doing?” Rufus growled. Not too far off, he could hear a human let out a disgusting belly-laugh. Rufus grinded his teeth together. “Who carries around a bowl of ink, huh? What was your end game?

Tien bit back on the laugh he wanted to let out. As soon as Rufus spun around, he let his expression of false surprise relax into a grin, raising one hand to cover the small snicker he couldn’t quite repress.

And with that, Temeraire feigned innocence. "I'm so sorry! The dress got in the way - I'm not used to wearing this sort of thing and I tripped... I caught the bowl but I must've tilted it by accident...!" It wasn't a complete lie.

Nailed it.

Utakata snorts. SMOOTH, he thinks to himself. He kneels down and pets Saiken, whispering “ready for some slime?”

“Of course,” Saiken replies. “You got the bubbles?”

“Always do.” He grabs the pipe and opens the cap, keeping his back away from Temeraire and the man. He nods, and Saiken opens his mouth, ready to spit some slime. He looks at Yosuke. “Got another bowl?” He keeps his voice low, taking this opportunity while the man is distracted. 

Another bowl?” Yosuke asked, frowning. “That might take awhile to go back to the kitchen and grab one.” He tapped his chin curiously, eyes drifting towards the commotion by the dinner table. He hummed to himself, his lips curling into a smirk. “I’ll be right back,” he said, waving at Uta as he headed towards the table.

Oh, so you just tripped, huh?” Rufus hissed at Temeraire. “A cute excuse if you were carrying anything that wasn’t a bowl full of ink at a party on the beach!” Casually, Yosuke strolled over towards the table before letting out a dramatic gasp. 

Goodness, what a mess!” he exclaimed. Quickly grabbing the bowl from Temeraire’s hands. “I’m so sorry sir,” he said with a short submissive bow in Rufus’s directions. “I’ll clean this up right away!” Rufus growled under his breath, but kept his cool and simply waved the waiter off.

You did this on purpose, didn’t you?” Rufus said, turning back to Temeraire. “I know a trick when I see one.” Not too far away, Yosuke returned to Uta’s side, proudly presenting the ink-stained bowl.

Utakata grins. “Thank you,” he replies. He takes the bowl and leans down to let Saiken spit some slime. Dipping the wide end of the pipe into the soap solution, he presses the narrow end to his lips and blows a few bubbles. For each one, he pours a little slime into it and lets it float into the air. He hopes that the man is too angry and distracted to not see them floating a couple feet over his head. But he puts his supplies away once the slime is all used up, tucking them into the kimono. He places the bowl elsewhere, just in case. Subtlety, especially now, is key. Utakata sits and waits, looking for a window of opportunity. He smiles and nods at Tem, mouthing “nice one.” 

Tien glanced at the bubbles overhead, then at Utakata--grinning briefly--and then back at Rufus. How to make sure he stayed distracted...ah. Intervene. Of course.

“Calm down,” Tien said, stepping up next to Rufus and turning so he half-shielded Temeraire from the other man’s glare. “You’re scaring her. She just said she’s not used to this, it’s probably her first big party.” He turned to Temeraire, making sure that Rufus couldn’t see his face. Nice job, he mouthed, grinning. Then, at an audible volume, “Are you alright?”

Temeraire smiled when Tien came in to defend her. Truth be told, she had very much dumped the ink on purpose, but it wasn't like she was about to admit it out loud to this thieving jerk. "Yeah, I'm okay, thanks. I should've known my friends were setting me up when they told me to bring that ink to the party... Now I know why... man, I need better friends." A ruse of being misled by a group of "friends"? Brilliant. She was on fire tonight.

Oh, that was good. Tien faked a frown. “I suppose this one here isn’t the only party trasher tonight.” He tilted his head at Rufus, keeping his tone light. “Not that I blame you. It’s unfortunate that they’d do that to you, especially if it’s your first time coming to this kind of event.” He couldn’t just leave it at that. He had to keep Rufus distracted. Come on, think of something…

Tien’s gaze caught on the spot where Fractal rested on his jacket. Ah. Perfect. He brushed at his sleeve. “I don’t think I’d be surprised if someone started setting…” He trailed off, waving a hand vaguely. Did they have chulls here? What was something big and loud that Fractal could mimic?...Wait, duh--“...Setting wild animals loose. You know, I saw a horse earlier?”

His spren, fortunately, seems to get the message, and zips off his sleeve and across the party floor.

"Oh, yeah! I saw a horse earlier, too! Maybe it was the same one? I didn't think there'd be horses around here, but with this kind of party? You never know..." Praise that King for bringing his steed along. But would it be worth drawing Xander's ire by intentionally riling up his steed? "...but, you know - just saying, if I were to cause a scene - I'd be using something loud and obnoxious. Something like... fireworks. Sometimes those loud popping sounds they make get on my nerves, and they're too bright and colorful on occasion..."

She hoped Tien got the hint.

Tien had no idea what those were. And anyways, Fractal had already gone off. Which was a shame, because they sounded perfect. He nodded thoughtfully, crossing his arms, and chanced a glance at the bubbles that were now hovering directly over Rufus’ head.

Temeraire, too, noticed the bubbles - those had to be Utakata's work. She had a feeling that they would pop soon, and when they did...

Well, they wouldn't need fireworks then.

It takes a minute for him to go to the bar and grab some drinks. He grins, knowing he has a chance. Utakata smirks and, keeping it hidden, snaps his fingers. He turns around to watch as his work begins to come to fruition- the slime raining down on the ink-covered man. He grins and downs the shot he ordered, content with his prank. Utakata flags the bartender and asks for another bottle of that sake- for another successful prank.

Dennis wasn’t sure why these people were bullying Rufus- well, no. He knew exactly why they were bullying him, and he couldn’t blame them for it, but he also couldn’t just stand there while they attacked him with some kind of power. It was possible that the bubbles were harmless, but it was also possible they were filled with acid, and from past experience acid was more likely. 

“Rufus!” He lunged forward, trying to shove Rufus out of the way, but wasn’t fast enough. Wasn’t that how it always was? Always too slow, too weak. Rufus was spared from the worst of the slime, which instead hit Dennis, but some splattered onto him. 

Dennis couldn’t do anything about the slime on his hair or the cloth parts of his costume, but he could at least get it off of his skin and armor panels. He froze the slime on the front of his body, then stepped backwards, leaving a slimy imprint of his body floating in the air, then repeated it for the slime on his back. Possibly an overreaction, but he knew what had happened to Victoria. 

OH, THAT SON OF A B—

Utakata’s eyes widen in anger as he sees the man who appears to be the thief’s friend knock him to the side. He quickly pours himself a large glass of that sake and sips on it, seething. What he hadn’t accounted for was that. He had half a mind to plant an explosive bubble behind them both and pop it. But, taking a deep breath between sips, he realizes that it’s nowhere near worth getting so riled up over something so juvenile. 

He also realizes, however, how quickly he’s sipping. So he pours himself another glass and walks back towards the others. That actual son of a… Way to ruin a perfectly good prank. He sighs. Perhaps some of it got onto the man, but the full brunt of it would’ve been art. A goddamn shame. Perhaps he’ll keep this bottle to himself after all. It’ll be gone in no time.

Yo, what in the seven hells is this guy on?! Temeraire was fuming - things hadn't quite gone according to plan thanks in no small part to the thief's companion. She almost wanted to scream bloody murder in their faces, but no, that would definitely cause more issues. Part of her wished she had gone to rile up Xander's steed, after all…

Alright, that was more than enough. 

Rufus furiously wiped the slime away from his face, spraying the sand with slime. He was tired of these children fooling around and he tired of Dennis being such a hero all the time.

You’re such an idiot,” Rufus said, turning his back to strangers as he cupped Dennis’s face and began rubbing the slime off him. Despite his frown, his voice dropped softly so lightly it was hard to detect. “Quit trying to help.” Satisfied that the rest of the goop wasn’t going to obscure Dennis’s version, Rufus removed his hands from Dennis’s face and turned to face the strangers. 

You.” His expression darkened considerably. “Do you really think I was born yesterday?” he snapped. “This universe is full of weak humans which, clearly, none of you are.” In his anger, Rufus had completely neglected the obvious signs of the strangers being interdimensional travels as well. There was the girl’s cat ears, the younger man’s weird moving fabric, and the strange slug creature beside the man who had belly-laughed earlier. Rufus shook his head, furious at both himself and the strangers. He normally would just assume it was a harmful prank, but he already knew the consequences for not taking the threat seriously. He wasn’t going to fall for that ever again.

Let me make this perfectly clear,” he began. “I detest humans, loathe them even, but I know what some of you people do. I know what happens when you give certain people access to the multiverse and I’ve already done my fair share of cleaning them up.” Rufus’s fingers twitched, itching for the chance to summon his gun. “So how about we stop playing this little charade and you tell me where you’re from or who you work. If I like the answer, we won’t have any more problems despite how annoying you all are. If it turns out that this--” Rufus gestured towards his entire body. “--is a prelude to something worse you have in store for this world then I’ll keep things brief.

They’d gone too far. They had very much gone too far. Tien had started to realize it when he recognized the sheer panic in the red-haired man’s face--the kind of panic you get when someone’s about to be horrifically injured or killed in front of your eyes. Rufus’ inflamed speech only drove the point home.

Tien had taken a half-step forwards to reassure the slime-covered man, frozen and watched in fascination as he demonstrated strange powers to remove the slime from him, and now he took a step back at Rufus’ speech, raising his hands in silent surrender. Storms, he hopes Fractal hasn’t agitated Sieghorse yet. He calls her back to him with a mental tug, and after four heartbeats she settles briefly around one finger as a ring before releasing herself back into her pattern form along his jacket’s arm.

Upon the fog of anger clearing, his heart falls deep into his chest. Utakata recognizes that sort of trauma in the redhead’s face- that sort of fear that everything you know and love is going to go to hell. And frankly, almost seeing Hamako get killed during the Chunin exams those three years ago? He knows how that feels. How could he have taken into account something like that?

You don’t. That is a lesson he learned before, you never know what a man is going through, not unless he tells you straight to your face. He sighs and takes another whole drink. Now he feels it, but he won’t admit that he should probably slow down on the sake. As well as hating humans…. If he hadn’t had his family or his cell mates as support, he would have felt the same as this angry blonde man. He doesn’t give a damn about the blonde, that man can go to hell, back, and hell again if he so chose. But the redhead…. No, he knows the trauma all too well. So he pours one more glass. He sees Tem doesn’t look too happy, and his heart sinks that he can predict what’s about to go down. He calls Saiken to him and thinks to him, there’s a chance I might need you to come back in, I might need you. But I’ll let you know. 

Of course, Utakata. I’ll be ready to come back inside, but let me enjoy the air a bit more.

Alright. Don’t go anywhere though. He looks down at the slug and takes one more sip of sake. Yeah. He’s gonna need this. 

"...so you hate humans. Am I supposed to be scared?" The sweet, innocent tone she'd had while telling those lies had all but vanished, and now Temeraire's voice was practically drenched in venom. "Listen here, bud, we weren't the ones who tripped some poor woman into a fruit pie and started flat-out stealing silverware from the table. Who was the one who did, again...?" She glared at the thief. "Oh, yeah, you. If you think that we were just going to let you get away with doing whatever you wanted... well, bud, you thought very, very wrong. And if you really think that the XDRS is the one tearin' up the multiverse, you got another thing coming. So back off, or we're gonna have a problem."

Tien backs up two more steps, pointedly away from Temeraire.

Utakata looks at her and blinks, rather slowly. He sinks back into one of the tall chairs around the bistro tables and takes a drink. Oh… Oh NO…….. He will admit, though… He’s rather impressed at the gall she has. 

Rufus throws his head back and barks out a laugh.

That’s what you got out of what I said?” he asked, fists clenching. “Listen here, I know it might be too much for you to understand but there’s a distinct difference between messing with a world’s inhabitants and slaughtering them indiscriminately because you--” Rufus blinked. His brain slowly caught up with the rest of what Temeraire was saying. “Sorry, did you say you were X-Dreamers?” Rufus asked, his tone completely losing its venom. “Really?” He straightened his body, glancing between each person in front of him. “You guys?” These were… a bunch of children. None of them looked much older than 25. Granted, Grand Chase was also populated by people in their younger 20’s, but he had expected a semi-prestigious organization to have people of a high caliber than a bunch of adolescents. 

Utakata nods. “We’re with one of the senior agents, Lara Croft. I’m not sure where she is, but…

I’m here,” Utakata hears from behind him. “The devil are you doing giving us away like that? Seriously, Temeraire. Utakata.” When Utakata turns around, there’s Lara. He almost hadn’t recognized her if not for her snobbish accent gracing his ears. But there she is, hopefully there to bail them out with proper explanation. Though with that frown….. He kind of wishes Stan were here to put Lara in a less witchy mood. “And what, pray tell, is going on here?” 

Tien panics. Behind Telinar’s mask, that panic manifests as diving deeper under his false self. “I’m not associated with them,” he says, a higher-class accent soaking more heavily into his words. “I don’t know what’s going on, and I’ll be leaving, bye.” He spins on his heel and walks out of there as quickly as he can without outright bolting.

He needs someplace quiet to collect himself and recover. “Fractal,” he whispers in his normal voice, threading through a knot of people and vanishing from the others’ view, “go back and keep track of what they’re saying. I’ll come back in a bit.”

His spren hums assent and darts back to the group of agents. 

Bugger me. She'd done it now, hadn't she? Temeraire had to go and give the guy the devil, and now Lara had shown up. "...h-hey, he asked. I wasn't gonna keep going with the ruse. Besides, it could've ended up a lot worse than ink and slime."

Lara sighs. “That doesn’t explain what in God’s name is happening here, does it? Well? On with it, then. One of you. I don’t have all day.” She looks at Utakata, who seems to be taking another drink. On with it does not mean take another goddamn drink.” 

Utakata sighs. “Look. Yes, the ink and slime—”

On. With. It.Lara says as if she were shooting a gun with each word. She glances at both of them. No way in hell were these people going to make Lara Croft look worse in front of people who already knew her reputation. Nor was she going to allow them to ruin an impression of her by screwing around at her party. “Well?” 

"Cutting to the chase, then. This guy--" Temeraire distinctly points at the blond-haired thief. "--tripped a woman into a pie and started stealing silverware. We weren't just gonna let him do that, so I dumped ink on him and Utakata followed up with popping slime bubbles. And that's when vocal hells broke loose. That enough of an explanation for you?"

“Devil may care what he was doing, you don’t respond in that matter! Did I not tell you not to cause a scene?Lara puts two fingers to her temples. She takes a few deep breaths. Calm down, Lara Rochelle, this is a party after all. “Still. Someone who was stealing… Lord almighty, you could have informed me and I’d have dealt with it. The man looks distinct enough, doesn’t he?” 

With that, Utakata puts his hands up in surrender. “Alright, yeah. I’ll admit I wasn’t mature in this situation. I apologize, it wasn’t the right thing to do at all.” Even he had a sense of honor, after all, and he couldn’t just stand by and let Temeraire deal with it. Lara’s wrath is probably worse than the emotional beating he took from the thief. “And for making a ruckus.” He takes a swig of sake. “All of that could’ve been handled better.” Ugh. I feel it again. Yikes, am I about to be wasted? ...So be it, if everyone’s mad at me. I’ll take it. I’ll wash it down. I’ll forget about it for a while. He downs the rest of the drink.

Lara nods. “Thank you.” She doesn’t seem completely content, but it seems to halt her rage for a bit.

Temeraire huffed a little - she'd said her piece and was now internally cursing Tien for just up and leaving like that. No doubt Lara didn't like her much now. She needed to cool off, bad, but she had no way to relieve the stress without making things worse. The poor Miqo'te was tense and there was no way to ease it. She seriously hoped Illidan and Xander got back here soon.

I'm never going to another fancy party again, she vowed to herself. It wasn't worth it anymore.

Lara sighs.That being said,” she adds, turning to the blond, “I do not take kindly to the idea of things being stolen- especially for a party of mine, and if I have to pay for missing items, you will be held liable, am I clear? Being a senior agent of XDRS, I won’t hold back.”

Oh by the goddesses they were children. 

The newcomer, Lara they called her, began demanding they explain themselves to her and they did in a manner akin to small children nervously confessing to their bad deeds to their parent. Rufus considered calling Ronan for a brief second and asking if he had actually researched X-DRS before telling Rufus to join it. Sure, Rufus like their arrangement, but was Ronan really okay with sending Rufus to fight alongside people with the maturity of tweens? Rufus sighs, carding his fingers through his inky hair. Think about the paycheck, he tells himself. 

You know, this would have gone more smoothly if you told me you were XDRS in the first place,” Rufus said, sighing. “You nearly had me convinced you were here to wipe life off this planet and I--” Rufus chuckled darkly. “Well, it’s nothing you have to worry about now.” He glanced over at Lara, the one they claimed was the senior agent. “You’re Lara Croft?” He asked, nodding towards her. “Rufus Wilde. I was part of Grand Chase, another organization that spanned across the multiverse. We disbanded some years ago after our target, Kaze’aze, was killed. My brother-in-law, Ronan Erudon-Isolet, contacted your group some time ago about sending some of our own to join you, but it doesn’t seem you got the message. He sent me over to help you and let me tell you, your base must be somewhere special.” Rufus waved his hand in a circle. “It’s real hard to find one place in the multiverse especially when you don’t have coordinates. So--” Rufus’s expression hardened. “You can have your silverware back. I was under the impression that this was a party of snobby rich people.” Rufus pulled out the silverware he had stuffed into his coat and tossed them into the pile they came from. “That said, can it with the threats. I didn’t spend nearly a decade fighting a crazed god to be threatened by a mere human. I’ll be amiable, but if you think you can intimidate me with empty threats you best think otherwise.” 

Lara grins slightly, closing her eyes. She’s quite amused at how he seems to bark like a little chihuahua at her. Perhaps it’s true that he could kill her, but would he, knowing that she’s got an in like that? “Mm, I see. I’ll keep that in mind, sorry. Either way, don’t mind them. They’re all new. I’ll see to it that they figure out what not to do when they’re not in their own universe.” She glances at all of them, her expression no longer hardened. “Anyway, I can have Winston take you to the hotel where you can be cleaned up, if you wish. Your companion as well. I apologize on my behalf as well, I should have been more attentive to what’s going on.” She gestures to the butler, who nods and starts stepping in the direction of the hotel.

“If you don’t mind, I can take you,” Winston says kindly. Lara smiles at Winston.

Then she sighs. “The Devil…. ‘Course this **** happens, doesn’t it.” She turns and walks back towards the group of friends she was originally speaking to. 

Utakata sighs and downs the rest of the sake. He’s more mature than that, and he just got talked down to by someone younger than him that he could absolutely beat in a fight. 

But whatever. It’s fine. It’s all fine. Never been better, has he. 

Perhaps he’s already had too much. This sake is starting to get into his brain. He lurks over towards the beach and finds a chair to slouch in. Who knew he’d be talked to like a child, and give off such an impression to a possible newcomer? ….I’m a goddamn idiot, he thinks to himself as Saiken comes near and places another bottle that he likely grabbed from behind the bar. 

“Take,” Saiken says as he drops it in Utakata’s lap.

“....You’re a horrid influence.” He smiles at Saiken anyway. “Thanks though. Seems I can at least count on you.”

Edited by Mikasa361

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Tien'd had a few minutes to calm down from his panic and think things through now. Fractal came back and told him the whole thing had been defused, which also helped. He’d had...maybe too much time to think things through now.

Tien winced at himself as he reflects on his actions. More specifically, at panicking so badly that he’d locked himself into hiding behind his lighteyed mask so early on, without even having the benefit of Lightweaving. It was stupid and sloppy. He should be better than slipping behind it in a panic.

Also, now he couldn’t bring it out for the rest of the party and was going to have to pretend he’d had no involvement whatsoever in the whole thing. He could do that, though. That was kind of a relief. 

So. First order of business. Avoid Utakata and Temeraire. They knew who he was, and he really didn’t want to face that right now. Which left…

Yosuke was still petting Sieghorse when Tien slipped up next to him. “Hey.”

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ウタカタ - Hierophant and Lara Rochelle - Empress

X -  Flee | ▢ - Drink

△ - Chat | O - Bonding Time

 

 

Oi.” 

 

Utakata turns his head to see Lara, yet again, behind him. 

 

This seat taken?” Lara gestures to the chair next to him. Utakata shakes his head, allowing Lara to take a seat in the chair. She looks at him, her expression gentler than it was before. “Hey, um… I wanted to apologize for losing it at you. I was going to talk to Temeraire as well, but she’s a bit preoccupied at the moment, doesn’t seem willing to talk.” Utakata looks at her and knits his eyebrows together. She’s holding a glass of some sort of wine, and seems to be drinking it slowly. He curses himself for downing that sake too quickly, he feels weird. “I was too harsh.

 

Just a lil bit.” 

 

Lara chuckles. “Perhaps I do have a little bit of that ‘rich spoiled brat’ aura during parties like this, I just… felt mortified that people I was associated with- adults, for that matter, were playing around like children.” She takes a sip of wine and looks down at the ground. “Truth is, I was also jealous that you were trying to have a little fun here. I’d been stuck trying to socialize and avoid suitors today so much that I remembered why I hate parties like this.” Pause. Utakata takes that minute to think about things a little bit. Then he sighs.

 

Then he decides to speak. “I’m sorry I contributed in that foolery. I guess I was bored, and the idea of pulling pranks brought me back to childhood. It sounded like fun, but I realized I went too far.” He takes out the pipe, opens the lid to the soap water, and dips the pipe in. “That man…” he blows some bubbles into the air. “The one who knocked Rufus out of the way… I knew I messed up when I saw him.” 

 

Lara raises her eyebrow. “What do you mean?

 

He blows a few more bubbles. “His body language, his eyes….. it was as if he were going to lose someone he loved dearly. I’ve been there, but I was so focused on how he ruined my prank that I didn’t see it right away.” More bubbles. “....I’m an idiot. Why did I agree to something so stupid….

 

That I don’t know. But we’ve all **** ed up at some point. It’s human. Don’t think of yourself any less just because I yelled at you.

 

Don’t flatter yourself. My self image was ruined years ago.

 

Lara raises an eyebrow. “Oh… Er… I’m sorry.”

 

Utakata waves it off and shakes his head, playing it off. “No, don’t worry about it. My stepbrother is a pretty nasty person, didn’t like having a little brother one bit.” 

 

...Oh…” Her voice is soft. Painfully soft.  Utakata shakes his head again. 

 

Bah, sorry. I shouldn’t bother you with that. I’m a bit drunk, I tend to spill when I’m there. ...Look out, I might become a bit more giggly soon enough.” He looks at her to see if she’s disappointed. Clearly, yes. But all she does is shake her head at him. 

 

Bloody hell… Ah, well. Seems as though everything else was running smoothly, so…” 

 

She looks over towards the beach, and her eyebrows knit together. Had she spoken too soon?

 

Edited by Mikasa361

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< STATUS: Stable ; Surprised >

< LOCATION: : Mauna Kea Beach - Near the Beach >

< AGENTS: Tien >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Milk Cream, Sieghorse

 

With how large the commotion by the table had begun, Yosuke had thought it would be best if he distanced himself from the group for the time being. He had watched the group closely, idly petting Xander’s horse as he did so, but he made no motion to join them least he entice even more chaos. He had been so engrossed in watching the production, that he barely registered the familiar voice that spoke up right next to him. 

Telinar?

 

Yosuke turned his head, blinking in surprise. Telinar had disappeared soon before the prank started. It was highly suspicious that he would reappear just as the hostess came in to dispel the drama, but Yosuke thought it best not to call Telinar out. For all Yosuke knew, he had gotten cold feet and was embarrassed by it. 

 

“There you are, Telinar,” Yosuke said with a smile. “You missed quite a lot, not that I blame you. I had to step out so I didn’t cause any more trouble.” Milk Cream, who was seated at Yosuke’s feet, stood up as Telinar’s approached. He strolled up to Telinar and playful batted at his pants. “Someone’s been waiting for you to come back,” Yosuke said, nodding towards the cat.

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Stan --  Mauna Kea Beachfront

[ on the water ] - [ planned tardiness ] - [ has an inappropriate amount of explosives, as usual ]

 

Far into the distance over the sea, a man was on a small boat. The motor was at full strength, spraying water and leaving a powerful wake behind him as he sped forth towards the beach.

 

Stan stood at the front of the motorboat with a pack slung over his shoulder, directing a light to chart the path forward in response to the darkening sky. Behind him was a man operating the rudder, and between the two of them was sweet, sweet weaponry and enough black powder -- in several forms -- to blow the vessel out of the water several times over. 

 

Internally, Stan cursed himself for being sloppy. Why hadn't he noticed the signs earlier, instead of having heard of them through a chance encounter? He was lucky, but he should have kept a closer look on the people coming and going during the party's preparation. Then again, for all their banter, he didn’t know Lara that well. Hell, he barely knew anything of her past career or her family or friends, other than the hints she had left here and there about her dead parents. Unsurprising that one wouldn't want to talk about these things very frequently. But to be infamous enough to be personally targeted? He knew he himself had that kind of notoriety, but he imaged that the list of people Lara would have slighted would have been rather short.

 

Still, Stan was impressed that Lara’s instinct was right on the money. Bringing agents was a smart move -- and it was even better, with Xander here, however crazy it was that he brought his horse. (Who brings a horse to a dinner party?!). Initially Stan thought that all he would need to do was defend her against suitors, but it turns out that the party was about to get a lot more interesting... and he didn't even have to use Winston's credit card for the boat rental.

 

~~ several hours earlier ~~

 

While everyone was out purchasing clothes, Stan was doing a little shopping of his own. He had considered perhaps wearing something out of the current era, but then his strangeness would be overshadowed by the rest of the XDRS. It sort of ruined the effect, you know? So, he opted for classic, timeless menswear. Black tie, not too formal, complete with a dark cravat for a distinctive setpiece and unbuttoned just enough to feel casual. He already had the suit on hand, albeit carefully folded into his luggage. He had all the time in the world to return to the rooms that Lara’s butler had so graciously reserved for them.

 

…Well, that was the plan, anyway. In reality, he dropped off his things and wandered around town, occasionally bumping into the pockets of clueless tourists and then apologetically returning their wallets with a few bills short. Lara had a credit card, but is just didn’t feel right to take advantage of her like that, wouldn’t it? Besides, for these kinds of skills you either use them or you lose them, and he was dangerously close to losing them. For personal purchases, he made sure to use his personal gains. 

 

Leaning against a telephone pole outside a comic book store -- excitingly vintage! -- Stan flipped through the final issue of Watchmen. He wasn't quite reading it so much as literally flipping through the pages and glancing at the pictures, excited that he had another piece to add to his growing new collection. The act of owning something was already a happy moment. He didn't need to actually read it, other than to kill time and procrastinate on actually important tasks. 

 

"--Lara Croft... party..."
 

Stan titled his head to listen better, but was cautious enough to hide the fact that he was evesdropping. Did he hear correctly? Was her name mentioned?

 

"gonna blow this whole joint--"

 

Well. He might not be current with the slang of this time, but as an expert in the field he knew what that meant. He snapped his book shut, audibly, to catch the attention of the people whispering around the corner.

 

"Gentlemen," Stan began, stepping forth. He held a hand out, palm up, to stop the businessmen from fleeing right away. "I believe I can help you with the lady of the hour."

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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[U and L - Mauna Kea - Beach]

 

Utakata has a horrible feeling about that small boat that seems to be coming in rather quickly. Something settles in the pit of his stomach- he turns to Lara who seems rather intrigued by it. In the dark, he has no idea who the people are on it, but it doesn’t matter. Everything, since he got to this area of beach, felt off. Somewhere inland he picks up on an odd chakra, his eyes widen as he sits up and looks around, seeing if there’s any immediate danger. God forbid if it were another Forbidden Jutsu here of all places… Especially to a caliber of that of the Tsuchigumo clan.

 

Lara… I don’t have a good feeling.” His eyebrows furrow together. 

 

Lara rolls her eyes. “Are you going to vomit—"

 

NO, Lara. Something isn’t right.” He looks around, but relaxes back in his chair. Utakata blows one singular bubble and allows it to float in the direction of the water. If it’s a danger…. he needs to be able to help take care of it, as drunk as he is. Perhaps planting a bubble in itself is a bad idea. “It feels like there’s some weird chakra around here…

 

The Devil are you talking about?

 

Utakata shushes her and narrows his eyes at the boat heading their direction. "Does that random boat speeding in our direction not look suspicious? Come on, Croft, listen to your instincts here." He gets up out of his chair and stands up, crossing his arms over his chest. Grabbing the bottle of sake he just killed, he smashes it over a rock, which causes Lara to jump. But Utakata has a method to his madness, as he picks up the biggest pieces and places them on a bistro table. The rest he collects, and wraps them in a cloth napkin, so as to not leave the mess lying in the sand. 

 

Lara raises her eyebrow. "Was that really necessary?" Still... He's right about one thing. That boat is awfully suspicious, she doesn't see that many piers around here. Could... Could her worries this entire party have been correct?

 

"Makeshift shuriken. Just my pipe isn't going to be enough if we're being attacked."

 

"Attacked..." Lara repeats that last word and looks at the boat. She grips at her purse and opens it, carefully taking out the loaded revolver. A sense of dread settles in her chest. If Utakata's (and, deep down, her) instincts are correct, then.... Will the revolver be enough?

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Tien blinks as the small, furry creature--he hadn’t quite picked up on what it was called--brushes against his pants, rumbling loudly. It hadn’t hurt him before, and it is kind of cute, so he goes ahead and crouches down to stroke its fur.

 

Soft…


Wait. Right. Don’t forget about Yosuke’s question. Tien looks back up at the waiter and smiles. “I got nervous and panicked a little,” he admits, carefully leaving out the fact that he’d panicked once Lara showed up, not before the prank started. “Do you think it went well? Was it…” he hesitates briefly, Dennis’ desperate expression flashing through his mind. “...worth it?”

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< STATUS: Stable ; Mischievous >

< LOCATION: : Mauna Kea Beach - Near the Beach >

< AGENTS: Tien >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Milk Cream, Sieghorse

 

“He is pretty soft, isn’t he?” Yosuke said as he watched Telinar bend down to pet Milk Cream. Yosuke watched, eyes half-lidded, as Telinar smiled every so slightly at Milk Cream as he instinctively leaned into his touch. Milk Cream purred loudly. When he glanced over at Yosuke’s direction their eyes met. In an instant, Milk Cream’s ears flattened against his skull. He walked out from under Telinar’s hand with an air of dignity. He raised his chin up into the air, tail raised like a flag, as he marched away several paces before plopping himself down on the sand with his back turned to both boys.

 

“Such a rude boy,” Yosuke muttered under his breath. He shook his head at Milk Cream’s theatrics before glancing back at Telinar. “Eh, I can’t blame you for bailing,” Yosuke said. He shrugged lightly, diverting his gaze down to his hands. He raised one hand, turning it over so he could lazily examine his nails. “We were pranking a man who clearly has a gun holster on his belt. Oh and the prank? Absolutely not worth it. Nothing was accomplished on this day; there were no life shattering revelations, tears shed, bonds forged and broken, or, you know,” Yosuke made a winding motion with his free hand. “Anything of substance. I think the hostess came around to yell at everyone. Something, something, yelling about murder, something something.” 

 

Yosuke lowered the hand he was examining thoroughly. He looked back up at Telinar with a grin. “I had fun!” Yosuke said. “Well, as much fun as I could have.” Yosuke’s grin faded. He glanced in every direction with narrowed eyes as though he was suspicious of anyone overhearing him. He inched closer towards Telinar, far enough so he wasn’t encroaching on his personal space, but close enough so he no one else could hear them. 

 

“You know it was pretty hypocritical of me to want to prank that guy in the first place,” Yosuke said, dropping his voice to a low whisper. “There is one thing I can never keep my hands off of even if I try to. If I see it I just can’t help myself; it has to be mine.” Yosuke cocked his head to the side ever so slightly. “You wanna know what it is?”

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