Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Potemking
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LOCATION: Edge Of The Blue - Luma Pools

Elliot watched the creatures slink back into their holes as his decoy approached. Huh, they seemed pretty afraid! He kept his distance as the decoy wandered into the distance and away from the Wigglers until he saw them slowly pop back out, realizing that they were not threatening creatures in the slightest, despite a somewhat gross appearance. He judged most books by the cover, but it seemed he overreacted on this one. Though he still had his qualms.

Approaching the Wigglers, he caught view of their nasty eel-like appearance as they slinked back down into their holes again, the man skeptically looking at the location. On one hand, they ran off when he was near. But was that as long as he was physically here, or when they saw him? Wait, did they have eyes? He was already forgetting things as he looked at the empty ground with conflict in his heart. What if they just saw darkness above and tried to come out, and dug through him? No, that was absurd right? He'd won! This was his vacation spot, he'd get a good tan and then the women back in Limsa Lominscuttle Town would be head over heels for his even handsomer mug.

Silently, he continued to stare at the ground...

"Last thing I need is one of those between my left cheek and it's right decoy." He muttered, ruining his own experience with his worries. He scratched his head with a sigh, turning himself off from the idea. He'd done all those fancy swings for nothing, huh? Well, not nothing. It was actually pretty fun. And fun was the big part of a vacation, right? Maybe sleeping and lounging wasn't the way to go. Maybe he needed to venture around some more, see just what the place had in store.

But first, a trap!

Elliot had an idea, a snap of his fingers signaling such. He wandered back over to the trees momentarily, yanking at the vines and reaching for branches: Pulling off some of the leaves and ripping portions of the tree vine off into his hands. There wasn't a heavy breeze, so maybe these this would work. He hustled back over to the tanning spot he picked out, laying the brush over the area where the Wigglers had popped out. Maybe if they popped up out of this, being unable to see any sunlight, that'd prove his theory about them burrowing up into him. And if it didn't work, maybe that meant he was actually safe and could relax there at any point. He'd keep an eye on it, but for now he'd go elsewhere until he had results.

He wandered over to the lake, taking a closer look at the corals below, and getting a better view at the aquatic life. Sheesh, after seeing these from a closer position he was especially glad he didn't go down there. A lot of these fish looked worse than just regular fish, and there was what he could only call a living inner tube floating around on the water. A mix and match grab bag of everything pulled into this world, living in a new sort of harmony. If it wasn't for his mother he might've liked this place. It was strange and very foreign on all ends, but also kind of charming. There were always so many issues though, and conflicts. Even his home where there was a literal blood sport, there weren't as many issues as there was here.

Water was still out, but if he wanted to be active and get some sun, the ideal place was on these little stretches of sand the lake had for him. The sand was much different from the dirt and rocks, feeling his feet lightly sink with his steps. He was used to sand, there was plenty back in Thunderdome, at least before it got blown up. The mounds of sand were strange, and seemed to almost lure him in along with the colorful shells laying around. Who knows what kind of people wandered down here? Maybe these mounds were treasures left behind from prior visitors! And by left behind... Elliot assumed they misplaced, or dropped. And if they could afford to vacation out here, then they could've been loaded. The potential prizes were in his mind, and he decided to go rummaging. His hands felt warm in the sand, and as he began scooping through the mound with his two natural scoopers.

He couldn't help but check back on how his little Wiggler experiment was going. Heck yeah, multitasking! Unfortunately looking back at the little brush pile he made kept him from seeing exactly what he was digging into...

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey ~I'm Stone Free, do what I please~

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Level 4: 31/40
Location: Next to Shippy
Word Count: 1,133
Points Gained: 2
New EXP Balance--- Level 4: 33/40

They just kept coming. Sakura had the stamina to keep fighting, but she could only be in so many places at once. A destroyer, an Abyssal that looked like Bullet Bill by way of Alien, charged at her, teeth gnashing. The thing illicited a fear response in her that she couldn't repress. When she looked at it, she imagined it biting her throat out. The more she fought, the more these terrible things got under her skin. The threat of life and death was one she didn't have much experience with. For the second time this week she had jumped out of the Atomos and faced death by Abyssal, and Sakura feared she wouldn't be able to take much more.

"Hooh!" She kiai'd away as much of her nervousness as possible. The destroyer flew in, looking to bite into her neck. Sakura raced her arms and it seemed like it didn't mind what it wrapped its arms around. But that would prove to be it's mistake. There was a dull thud of blue energy as she blocked the charge. It bounced off her like a wall, and she countered with a jab. Her knuckles spintered rock three times in a row before it looked unsteady and woozy. Sakura wrapped her arms around it, span around and threw it a ludicrous distance away from the battle. It became a little black shape and then splashed. Stunned, it didn't resurface.

Two more came in next to each other. She fired off a single cannon shot, taking a chunk out of one and knocking the other side. In a crude bit of proper street fighting, Sakura zoomed up and grabbed them by the jaw. She smacked them together to finish stunning them and then tossed them aside into the drink. She cracked her knuckles, acting tough. "Who wants some more!?" Sakura taunted. To anyone listening, it was clearly fake, her voice breaking a little. She was getting nervous.

(Maybe if I act brave and cool, I'll feel brave and cool, too?)

A He-Class cruiser, a strange, featureless humanoid halfway merged into a floating rock that ended in mouths, with a cannon for a right arm, came to a stop behind her. The cannon began to glow and it pointed it's way towards her.

Bursts of yellow energy came forth. It looked like the Abyssal's cannon arm was falling apart of the seams.

"Hadoken!" Sakura shouted, letting loose on of her blue fireballs. Her Hadoken and the yellow bursts of energy met with a burst, but her Hadoken pushed through. Realising this, the He-class dodged to the right. "Hadoken!" Sakura fired out another ball of blue flame. The He-class dodged- right into it. She'd actually fired it to the right, predicting that it would pre-emptively dodge right again. It was kind of like changing up the fireball timing so Karin would mess up her jump in, but adjusted for this new world of fighting. Plus, this fireball was very fast- the speed of a fastball. Hard to dodge.

Nonetheless, the He-class was hit, and it slid back from the explosion that followed. Sakura punished it further with a blast from her cannons. It's gun arm fell apart and it sank beneath the waves. She couldn't help but feel sympathy for them. How different were they from Bella and Rika? Unlike Bella, Sakura was realising that they will never get a chance to be anything other than bloodthirsty monsters. What a cruel fate.

A destroyer came zooming up from below the waves. It emerged like a dolphin as she side stepped it. Flying uselessly about twenty feet in the air, Sakura moved underneath it. She caught it and slammed it over her knee. Then she let it drop into the water.

(Is this really any better than just killing them? They'll probably just end up dying anyway. But, then again...I'm not sparing them for their sake, am I? I'm sparing them for mine. But now I'm starting to realise this just might be crueler.) She looked over her shoulder at the Abyssal she had spared a while ago. It was a He-class, too. And it was just kind of "standing" there, over the water. Not even glancing around. Pacified, but little else. It would probably be discovered by the Armored Corp that was order to follow behind the battlefield. Then, it would be blown to pieces.

(...As long as I don't have to do it.) Sakura thought. The selfish nature of this made her face red with embarassment. She knew Mister Geralt said doing this would be okay but...she just felt like she was making everything worse for everyone, just for her own sake. Everyone else was destroying these Abyssals without hesitation. Why couldn't she? Was something wrong with her?

Thinking of the Witcher, Sakura's eyes glanced up towards the Atomos. He was- yeah, he was riding the giant bird. Sakura would probably laugh about that later. "Don't fall, Mister Geralt!" She yelled helpfully up at him.

Smacking down a few more destroyers of various kinds, Sakura was interrupted by an explosion. A massive series of explosions. That was good? What wasn't good was what happened next. The harbor wall they were trying to detonate opened for them without hesitation.

"W-woah. That's a big one." Sakura said, recoiling from the Harbor Demon's presence even from here. Sakura winced, looking away as she saw another ship girl die. Her palms were sweaty, her hands were shaking. It had been different, when it was just her and Ranger versus the person that would be Bella. This was different. The sheer scale was too much. The Harbor Demon was throwing Abyssals like they were stones into a pond.

It's massive cannon pointed towards the Jackdaw, and Sakura gasped in horror. The Street Fighter got closer to Shippy and shouted up. "What are we gonna do!?" It was so far away, and there were so many Abyssals interposing themselves between them and the Harbor Demon! Not to mention she was blasting everyone with reckless abandon. But maybe..?

"Should I go for it?" Sakura asked. Sakura began to speed up ahead of Shippy, skating quickly along the water. She wasn't going to let that Harbor Demon blow up the Jackdaw. Even worse, once the Jackdaw was sinking, that cannon would turn on Shippy next. Sakura groaned, frustrated and indecisive. She decided to stay near Shippy and defend her as much as possible.

"Maybe the Atomos can take her out!?" She shouted. "I- I don't know!" A He-class appeared and fired off some rounds. She blocked them, grunting as the energy exploded off her arms. She ducked to the side long enough to get out a couple of Hadokens to knock the Abyssal out.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

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Tora, Poppi, and Queen Sectonia

Level 8 Tora (76/80), Level 8 Poppi (49/80), Level 6 Sectonia (holding 1 level up) - (14/60) +3
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse

Word Count: 3489

Try as she might, Sectonia couldn't really find a mirror. No one seemed to know where one was as they were all turning in and the sugary made furniture of this village didn't help matters. While there was the occasional unbroken 'mirror' Sectonia could find, they weren't actually mirrors but slabs of sugar crystals that kind of reflected images, but not super well. And most of them weren't in the best shape, being quite fragile. "I swear one of my minions here was handy..." Sectonia thought to herself. Well, that could wait for the morning. It was getting quite late and thanks to that fairy Midna had rescued, everyone could easily be brought to a place where they could get some shut eye. Perhaps it was a good thing that Sectonia's size had shrunk a bit, because even at her new, slightly smaller size, she had to take to one of the biggest beds in the village made out of some kind of... Spongey kind of baked good. If this is what they meant by sweet dreams, she wasn't sure if she liked it or not as the scent of all the sugar really influenced her dreams. At least it wasn't hard to find a place for alcrmeie to sleep, the pokemon being quite small and able to sleep pretty much on a pillow.

The morning came soon enough, Sectonia having a little bit of an embarrassing 'situation' of having found her tongue digging into the bed, trying to find its gooey center. "Ahem... alright then..." Sectonia said, realizing the situation and correcting it, getting up off of the bed and waking up her new little friend. Said friend didn't feel like getting up however, so Sectonia put them on her new tophat like crown and made her way back to the city square where the others were to be found after they also got their beauty sleep.

On her way over to the meeting spot, Sectonia was still on a small quest on finding a mirror. A bit of sleep did help her think though, and it made total sense. That little puff ball Tora could make robots, so why not a mirror? Thankfully since he was the first one to turn in, it wasn't all that difficult to find his little workshop, Sectonia seeing Poppi on the way. "Poppi? I take it Tora is up as well?" Sectonia said.

"Mhm!" The machine girl pointed back the way she came from, toward a waterlogged stretch of ground. "He trying to upgrade Mech Arms, so Poppi doubt he move."

"Thats fine. I just need a mirror. None of these sugary ones work." Sectonia said, questioning why they'd sleep there of all places. "I just hope he isn't sticky."

Poppi shook her head. "On contrary, Tora much cleaner than before!" She gave Sectonia a farewell wave before skipping onward.

"Ah, very good. Later then." Sectonia replied, stopping herself from tipping her hat and causing her new minion to fall off. There probably something else to unpack there, with Poppi being so happy and all, but now wasn't the time to think about that. Hovering over the wet patch of land, made her way to the door, making her presence known

The Queen would have knocked if there was a door to knock on, but instead she found only the fragmented remnants of a door subjected to high internal pressure. It permitted a view of a sodden interior, quite bereft of Nopons. In the perplexed quiet that followed, however, she heard the industrial noises of an electric drill from the side of the house, and followed the sound to find Tora sitting on an icing-free patch of cakey ground with his toolbox and his Mech Arms in front of him.

"Well, this is certainly... something." Sectonia said, looking through the house. She supposed someone who was 'handy' really wouldn't be the neatest of things. The house itself was fairly quiet, at least, until sounds of a drill could be heard outside the house. Finding her way there sectonia noticed Tora working on one of the parts of the robots they had defeated yesterday. The loud sounds coming from the area Tora found himself in managed to wake up Sectonia's new little friend, the cake 'mon a bit grouchy at being woken up by sounds of industry. Sectonia patted them on the had just the same and spoke up. "Ahem, Tora" She said, trying to get his attention.

Though by all means one to embed himself so thoroughly into his work that he was nigh unreachable, Tora had neither the time nor comfort to do so, so when Sectonia tried to get his attention he glanced up from his tinkering. His look of annoyance morphed into one of wariness, as he wondered what the killer queen might want with him. "Oh, Sectonia?" His greeting left some enthusiasm to be desired. "Hello."

"Hello Tora." Sectonia said, giving him a more curt greeting, looking over what the nopon was doing. "So your working on an upgrade for Poppi?" Sectonia asked. Tora would notice that unlike before, Sectonia was a lot less 'harsh', and a bit more relaxed. While her new appearance didn't change her face around too much to what Sectonia knew, to Tora she looked a lot more 'chipper' compared to what she was before. If that was due to the occasional jagged red mouth Tora could spot if he was looking hard. Of course Sectonia only moderately noticed these changes.

Surprised to see Sectonia taking an interest in his doings, Tora shook his head. "Nope. Well, sort of, meh. Those robots from last night have cool rail fists, got Tora wondering if could copy for Mech Arms. That way, both Tora and Poppi stronger!" At the moment, of course, he'd barely begun an inspection to see if such a thing were possible, and even then things weren't looking good, but he didn't need to tell Sectonia that.

"Ah I see. Quite handy." Sectonia said, unaware herself of the pun she just made. "I myself would like to acquire a mirror. I still have very little idea of what I look like after absorbing that spirit." she continued. Seeing as the two hadn't interacted much, Sectonia wasn't entirely sure on the best course of action here. While not a user of technology herself, she knew it could be quite useful, as her palace had quite a bit of it incorporated into its design.

The odd request left Tora thinking for a few moments. He was a handy engineer, sure, but he couldn't be expected to make anything. Making mirrors, or even just glass, was an art form quite beyond him. To avoid outright telling Sectonia he couldn't do something, however, he fell back on visual description and no small amount of flattery. "Well, you have hat inside crown, flippy collar, cool wing cape, super big jewel! Sectonia now big classypon." He glanced back down at his project, and realized he could see himself in the Mech Arms' metal. "Oh, here! You can see self in shiny weapon surface!" Helpfully he picked the gauntlet up and turned it so that the backside of the missile pod, a flat surface, faced his acquaintance head-on.

Sectonia took a look at herself in the reflective metal. It was giving a much better quality picture of her new appearance than she got in any of the candy mirrors. While not the mirror she was accustomed to, Tora did a decent job of shining this metal up and she could clearly see her new appearance. Much like one would do in front of a mirror, Sectonia started posing a bit, getting an idea of what her new wings could do, and finally noticing that if she opened her mouth wide, that her mouth had transformed into this strange red jagged mouth. Which, if she stuck her tongue out, looked like something out of a horror movie, yet still regal. In fact, after a few more poses, she was a bit surprised at how good she could look, and how scary she could look the next second. "Hm... I suppose the spirit fusing process isn't perfect, but I still look quite regal all things considered. Although I'm not sure if this method of intimidation is my thing..." She said, pondering to herself. Still, with her ability to now retract and expand her wings, this gave her quite the ability to demand attention whenever she wanted it. "Thank you. Have you thought about making anything for the others? I don't think some of them made those weapons themselves..." She said, her request done and now thinking of her other minions.

As Sectonia perused her new features, Tora continued to hold the makeshift mirror up for her, his patience running out bit by bit with each pose. Finally she seemed satisfied, and the Nopon let his tired wings down. He asked if he'd made anything for the others, which earned her an odd look. Was that expected of him or something? "No? Others know Tora is busy with Poppi, and Tora already take many beatings in place of friends without even asking praise. That seem like enough, meh?" At about that time he mentally gave up on his project with the Mech Arms, and instead waddled in a circle around Sectonia to get a better view of her changes himself. "Hm! Tora definitely like Sectonia better like this. Definitely not as scary."

Sectonia shrugged at Tora commenting at how his contribution was just getting hit so others didn't have to. "Fair enough. I suppose there are spirits for that anyway." Being so distracted from his work, Tora got up, seemingly giving up on it for the moment and instead taking a closer look at Sectonia, moving around her to do so. She didn't mind, and just patiently floated there waiting for him to finish, although her eyes did follow him just the same. After getting his eyefull, he commented saying that this form wasn't scary, unlike her previous form. Laughing a bit, Sectonia said. "Does royalty intimidate you Tora?"

Although she could have easily taken Tora's offhanded remark poorly, Sectonia accepted it in good graces. Her laugh helped set aside any lingering uneasiness, so the Nopon answered her with fewer reservations. "That not it. Back home Tora travel alongside friend Zeke, who actually prince of Tantal. And Tora get along with Peach-Peach just fine." He still needed to crane his head upward to look Sectonia in the face, but somehow she cast a less menacing shadow.

"A prince and a princess aren't nearly as regal as a Queen. They're still jouvinilles." Sectonia said. Although she figured that her being a queen wasn't the real reason he said that, guessing it was something about her previous appearance. Her unrestrained beauty probably had him flustered or something to that accord. After all, he did look at the other ladies and was often berated by Poppi for doing so. "Ah. Anyway, Thank you for the mirror, makeshift as ti may be. I should let you get back to your work, I assume we'll be moving out soon. Just don't turn your arm into pastries again." Sectonia said.

With a proud look Tora held up his little arm, fully back to normal without even a trace of confectionery. "Tora arm all good now! Happy that whatever that was wear off pretty fast." He gave the Mech Arm a last look, trying to calculate the time. In the end he shrugged his arms in a what-can-you-do sort of way. "Meh, not enough time. Tora hate starting something just to get torn away again. Really need to sink in whenever get anything done." He scooped up the weapon and put it on his back before he looked over at Sectonia once more, curious. "So what fusion like? Tora see lots of friends try, but...Tora not so eager to try."

Sectonia had to think about this question a bit, as even she noticed she was being a lot more talkative than she used to be before the transformation. Yet this didn't bother her all that much when she thought on it, seeing as it lead to greater power. "Well, as you have seen, its a bit of a... process. I was surprised I found a spirit that was even remotely close to my standard of beauty. And you get a bit of what that person was, I suppose. But it doesn't feel 'wrong', or I assume it doesn't if you fuse with a spirit that is fairly close to what you are. Midna would be the better one to ask about that, shes the one who fused with some weird looking spirits." Sectonia said after thinking about the whole situation. "Plus, while I am a powerful mage, Its surprising what other strong beings have as well. For example." She started, pulling out her red scepter. After a slight flash of light, Tora would feel like his perception of time was slowing down, with only Sectonia moving noramlly for him. But in actuality to anyone else looking at the pair, they were just moving really fast. "First space, and now time!" She said, laughing.

More than a little disoriented, Tora shook himself as if to dust off the clutches of time. Nothing bad seemed to have happened to him, but the trace of indignity in his manner suggested he did not appreciate being subject to magic out of the blue, so he didn't sugarcoat his pronouncement. "Well, whatever new spirit was, it definitely help. Still look sort of like baddypon, but at least not as mean."

"Mean? Why would you say I was mean? I've done nothing but help my minions." Sectonia said, a bit indignent, her hands on her hips as if she was an overbearing mother.

Instinctively Tora shrank away from Sectonia's annoyance, but just for a moment. His journey, after all, had been one of growth, strengthening both his body and his will. Now was as good a time as any to set this be straight. "We not your minions," he told her, looking determined. "Tora understand you big important in own world, but as all long way from home. It not like we obey you anyway. And fighting alongside not mean friends." The Nopon's gaze turned inward as he remembered his conversation with the Courier. He had been meaning to talk with his teammates one-on-one to strengthen their relationships, but he doubted that this would count. Searching for his words, he tried to dial back the criticism. "Meh...well, it just that Tora learn that recently. Friends only happen when people get to know each other. If someone proud or selfish or annoying, people not want to get to know. This first time we speak after all, and only because you want me make something." He hoped that he was illustrating his point without making the giant insect upset, but he was no wordsmith. His eyebrows rose as he considered something else. What if he was the reason why?

What Tora wasn't expecting was Sectonia to take his defiance candidly, merely shrugging at his proclimation that he wasn't one of her minions. "Of course your all my minions, and if I want strong loyal minions, well, its best to know all about them. Its just how things work." Now, much like Tora, Sectonia wasn't very good at the 'friends' thing either. Heck, if it wasn't for the recently absorbed spirit, this spurn of 'getting to know her minions' probably wouldn't have happened so soon. "But fair. All I've known of you is you can make things and take a punch. You don't really talk much about yourself outside of 'I am makerpon.'" Sectonia stated, laughing a bit at the end.

The engineer couldn't help but furrow his brow when Sectonia insisted on the others being her minions. Either she must be rather egotistical, or have a very broad interpretation of the word. Tora certainly didn't consider himself 'loyal' to her, but if she didn't demand anything in particular of him, he guessed that he didn't mind this arrangement continuing. When she offered to get to know him, however, Tora perked right up--that was just what he was looking for! "Meh meh meh, sure thing!!" he sang, waddling over to the porch of the candy house to sit down, where he remained for a quiet, slightly awkward moment as he collected his thoughts.

"Well, Tora suppose first thing to know is that Tora is Nopon. Most Nopon live quiet, trading, farming, doing business. Do very good, too! But Nopon not resonate with core crystal well, so most Nopon never have Blade, meh." He held up his wings, using their fingers to outline a diamond. "Grampypon Soosoo, daddypon Tatazo, and Tora all have same dream: to have Blade companion. Since we not awaken on our own, Grampon start project to build artificial blade. It take many years, and in the end Tora all alone, but dream finally become reality." With a grin he clenched his little fist. "And so Tora join Rex-Rex, Pyra, and others on grand adventure! Traveled all across Cloud Sea, had many fights. Time of Tora's life." More than ever he missed his lost friends. As the emotions surged back to him, he found himself unable to suppress tears forming in his eyes.

Sectonia listened to Tora say his little life story. Obviously Sectonia had no diea who these people were, and this really barely went past that 'builder' comment Sectonia had mentioned earlier, but having Tora speak about his past seemed to whirr his emotions, going fro happy, to pride, to happy, then sadness at the loss of his adventuring friends. After hearing him finish his story, Sectonia patted him on the head. "Well thats why we're getting rid of that little lightball in the sky. Speaking of sky... Was the planet below your "Cloud Sea" shaped like a star by chance?" This was a bit of a longshot, but Sectonia was no stranger to living in the sky, her kingdom of Floralia being high above Popstar itself. "I live in the sky as well. Although I don't have a 'family' legacy such as yours. I just rule Floralia. We were finishing up the circus district before all of 'this' happened." Sectonia said, making a bit of small talk, gesturing to the ball in the sky with a bit of annoyance.

The prompted question left Tora shaking his head. "No, only thing under Cloud Sea is water. And Morytha, but doubt that what you mean." He didn't know exactly what she meant by living in the sky as well. After all, he lived on Gormott. Still, she managed to rouse his curiosity about her own home. "So the place you are queen of called Floralia. What that like, meh?" At the very least, he could keep an eye out for any location that Sectonia might be familiar with.

"Hmm..." Sectonia thought to herself. Given Tora's shape, Sectiona thought that maybe he'd be a Dreamland resident as well, as many of them were ball shaped but apparently not. He then asked Sectonia what Floralia is like and yes, she never explained her kingdom. "Its quite lovely and beautiful, just like me." Sectonia started. With a flap of her wings she explained how Floralia was a group of floating islands, mostly dominated by flowers. There was the odd factory district, the volcano, the 'being constructed' circus, but it was mostly flowers as far as the eye could see, with her palace being high enough that eternal moonlight shown above it, the moon being so big in the sky that it could fill most of one's vision if stared at directly.

With wonderment Tora tried to picture the place. The best he could do was a re-imagining of the Leftherian Archipelago, blanketed in flowers and awash in moonlight. Though he had no reference for 'volcano' or 'circus', he said nothing to suggest as much to avoid looking dumb. "That sound pretty," he told her. "Tora would like to see it someday. Already this world show much more than Tora ever thought possible. Rolling plains, dark space, huge sand...even sweetyland! Adventure is tough sometimes, but just seeing what lay over next hill makes Tora a happypon."

"Well, if we find parts of it I'll point them out. As for now though, I think we should meet up with the others." Sectonia said. With a tip of her hat, her Alcremie now awake and able to hold on, Sectonia made her way towards the center square where the others would be congrigating. Tora followed close behind, glad to have made some progression on his secret mission at last.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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wordcount: 2,049 (+3)
Midna: level 3 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (26/40)
Level 8 Poppi (52/80)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse

Dawn broke upon the land, and the princess was not pleased, attempting to bury her face in her furry pillow’s fur in-order to avoid the harsh rays to no avail. Light trickled in through the not particularly effective curtains made up of flattened strips of rainbow colored candy and demanded that Midna rise and seize the day whether she liked it or not.

”Fine fine Galeem. Have it your way. It is going to be incredibly cathartic to destroy you,” she grumbled at their luminous oppressor, before floating up into the air, yawning, stretching, dismissing her wolfos from its pillowy duties and then setting about preparing for another day trekking towards the mountain.

First came cleanliness which ended up consisting of a luxurious chocolate milk bath. Decadence of the highest order, in the princess’s opinion, but then that was entirely fitting for this land of milk and honey.

The princess lingered in the tub for as long as she thought reasonable, floating and letting her mind actually rest in solitude and process everything that had happened over the past day. Only a day, or even just an afternoon really, and yet so much had happened.

There was also so much left to do.

Like breakfast, her stomach helpful informed her by rumbling. Unlike some of the others Midna had unintentionally insulated herself from the temptation of eating her resting place in her sleep, and so she was hungry while simultaneously being surrounded by food. Or desserts to be more accurate, which might be an issue.

Showing some restraint she didn't simply start eating her host’s furniture, who knew who had been sitting on it, and instead inquired what they ate. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be more sweets. She didn't know what she expected. She had to wonder what it was like, being made of and eating the same stuff you were made of. A brief and highly unpleasant unprompted vision of living in a kingdom made of flesh and bone put an end to that, but fortunately not to her appetite.

The fare offered by her host was a delicious buffet of treats, chocolates, gumdrops and myriades of other little sweets, but it wasn't exactly substantial. The princess could feel her body abuzz with more sugar than she’d ever eaten in her entire life but she could also feel that she’d be crashing down from that rush of energy sooner rather than later, and so, after bidding her rabbity host farewell, went to see if she could scavenge something more substantial from the unoccupied and/or ruined parts of the village.

It was while doing this that she happened to run into Poppi, pausing in the middle of floating down the street while de-candying a candy apple with a dragon claw to say hello to the metal woman.

”Good morning, did you sleep-” she paused, remembered what Poppie was, and then corrected herself, ”was the night-watch uneventful?”

Poppi looked happy to see the Twilight Princess. In QT mode her dress and frills represented the middle ground between her now heavily armored Alpha form and decidedly unarmored QT Pi form, and she didn’t look too out of place against the backdrop of Parnasse. “Good morning, Midna! Nothing much happened last night. Kept optics on candybeasts but nothing came close. Once or twice Poppi thought saw dark figure in distance, but nothing come of it.” She gave Midna a polite curtsy. “Anything Poppi can do for you today? Poppi can’t help if friend wants breakfast, but Phantom Thieves have yesterday food in town center.” Sure enough, the breeze contained faint traces of a smoky meat smell, fairly noticeable against the prevalent confectionery aroma.

The princess sniffed and then caught the scent ”Oh that’s what that was. Who would have thought that you’d need to look for food when the whole palace was made of it? Not that that matters much to you I suppose?” she asked, before going back to Poppie’s nightshift. That they were being shadowed was concerning, though it could be anyone or anything really. Robot spies/scouts, that organization 13, a million and one things they hadn’t encountered yet or ”Do you know if the shadowy person could have been one of the people who were trapped? Or are they accounted for?”

Crossing her arms, Poppi thought about it. “Last night while on guard, Poppi learn little about trapped people. Catch rough shape. There raccoon that walk like human, young girl in top hat, and guy in purple helmet. Last one you know, of course. Shape I saw have long coat and cat ear like Gormotti, not match others. Raccoon turn up to talk to Fox, but others Poppi not see again.”

”Take it their long gone?” Midna asked rhetorically, tossing her half peeled apple up and down as she taught about the implications of their stalker ” Would have made things easier if it was just one of them. Haven't disappeared into the night either have they?”

“Have not seen again,” Poppi confirmed. “Only saw once, so maybe they left after checking on us. It probably nothing.” As she spoke, her tone remained flat and a little distant. Already she’d issued this report twice, once to Joker and once to Fox. With the start of a new day she wouldn’t have minded a quick chat with someone interesting like Midna before setting off, but already it was all business.

”Hmmm, well, here’s hoping I suppose. I’ll let people know about our caty stalker when I meet them” Midna replied, catching the disinterest and deciding to drop the subject. It wasn't like they could go on with that topic any further after all.

”Thanks for keeping watch by the way, I hope it wasn’t too boring. “ she said. She realized she didn't really know much about this miraculous and endlessly helpful machine woman. Even after Tora had talked a bit about her construction that didn’t really say much about the person he’d made ”So, tell me, what did you do before...“ she paused, and then decided that was to dry a topic of conversation and changed tune ”Actually no. Better question. What do you do for fun Poppie?“

The sudden change brought Poppi’s interest back around. She hadn’t expected such an odd question, but she didn’t dislike it, either. “Fun…?” Since arriving in the World of Light, and even before that, the new lifestyle of adventure that she and Tora found themselves with didn’t permit an abundance of free time. Still, in the occasional moments that came to them, she and her creator found lots to do. “Well, since Tora spend most life shut indoors and Poppi only built right before adventure, we always like seeing and trying new things. We both like dancing, especially together! Different modes better at certain dances, too. Like this” She smiled as she placed her fists on her hips. She brought her knees up one after another, intermittently performing kicks and twisting her lower legs sideways in a merry jig. She finished with a spin and a curtsy.

Midna had floated back a little to give her space, having not expected a demonstration but enjoying the energetic dance nonetheless, and then giving her a little round of applause. Not something she’d expected from a machine, and yet given her personality perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.

”Dancing is fun, though I'm more used to a ballroom affair. I'm still getting more used to the more vigorous styles people seem to have and that the dragon in me wants. The slippyness this thing“ she flicked the spaulder of the bat”is causing some issues with that at the moment.“

”Or I should say four I suppose. Is Tora any good like you are? I’ll admit, with his dimensions I’m having difficulty picturing it, shall we say, seriously?“ she had a hard time imagining the round Nopon dancing, but then again she was learning a lot of new styles of dance, for some reason, so maybe there was something that suited him better than the noble court appropriate affair she still thought of when she thought of dance. ”then again, if he’s having fun he’s having fun.“

For a moment Midna’s question confused Poppi. How could her Masterpon’s dancing not be good, or worse than hers for that matter? “Of course Tora good! Dancing good no matter who do it.” To an extent her declaration implied that she had no measure of objectivity in the art. Maybe, Poppi mused, Midna simply preferred whatever ‘ballroom’ was. With that big hand of hers, she would no doubt be very good at throwing and catching them. So rather than linger on a subject the princess disliked, Poppi moved on. “Poppi also like food. Cannot eat it, since systems not designed to handle, but olfactory sensors provide wonderful experience each time. Plus, since Poppi smell what Tora eat, everything he order doubly useful!” Truth to be told, Sweet Canyon’s olfactory assault still left her a bit frazzled, but she figured she was doing a good job hiding it.

”Oh you can’t? Then how do you keep yourself energized?“ Poppie’s whole existence was still a strange one to the princess, but if she didn't need to sleep then her not having to eat should not be that surprising, she supposed. Having her be able to smell but not eat seemed cruel, in a way. Or perhaps it wasn't, because she clearly enjoyed it. Again, she didn't have the framework to understand what being Poppie might be like someone from a more modern time who could have read fiction about such beings would have. What she did know was that Poppie’s mention of smell had brought her attention back to the scent of meat wafting in from the center of town, and her stomach cried out for something more substantial than sweets. ”You don't mind if we head towards the Thieves’ cooking while talking do you? All the sweet things are lovely, but we can't survive off of them alone. I read of an old king who did that once. That did not end well.“ it ended in scurvy specifically, but that wasn't fun to talk about.

“Sure!” Poppi stepped aside to allow Midna to lead the way. As they made for the town center, she offered some explanation. “Well, Poppi not know exact details, but for fuel Poppi draw in ether from atmosphere. Ether keep Poppi running, power up weapons, orrun through elemental core to turn to fire, water, wind, and so on. Poppi’s ether furnace pride and joy of Tora family line. It what make me possible!” It was hard not to look proud of her creator and his forebears. After she replied, however, it occurred to her that she’d been practically hogging the spotlight so far. For the sake of politeness she turned the question on Midna. “But what about you? Poppi curious what fun stuff there is where Midna come from.”

The princess eagerly followed her nose towards where a proper breakfast hopefully awaited. ”It must be quite the engine to draw enough power to allow you to be, well you. The mages and scholars of my realm can only dream of making something like you,“ Tora might come of as silly a lot of the time, but Poppie was a reminder that a great intelligence rested between his fuzzy ears.

”For fun? Well, I do enjoy balls and galas and other such social events. I also enjoy studying magic, history and other subjects when I have time to myself. But to a certain extent those are work for a princess like me, even if they are enjoyable.“ She had to think for a moment to find an activity that didn't have some kind of dual purpose, be it social or intellectual ”Have you ever done any Picross? It’s a type of logic puzzle where you have a grid and each row or column has a number of squares that need to be filled in to make a picture. You know how many squares need to be filled in each row and column, but not which ones, so you need to use the intersection of the rows and columns to work out where they should go.“

”It’s fun“ she insisted, even if her explanation had been a bit dry and probably not very helpful without a visual aid.

Though picturing the game wasn’t too difficult, Poppi decided to take Midna’s word for how enjoyable it was. “Not done it. But sounds fun,” she agreed. “Board games more liked by Dromarch and Roc. Blade friends. Tora make video game that he enjoy, but Poppi never get hang of it.”

The two reached their destination. Rather than grand affair the Thieves had simply brought out the rations of hippo meat and greens gathered in the oasis yesterday. Panther had put her new sharp teeth to work digging in ravenously, having suppressed her hunger for sweets after seeing what happened to Tora. Poppi slowed down just a touch, not wanting to stop chatting with Midna just yet.

Midna’s stomach demanded she go and partake, but seeing as poppie was slowing down it would be rude to rush ahead of her. Also she did have one more question to ask ”I know what board games are, but what’s a video game?“

A fair question--perhaps once Poppi should have anticipated. Honestly, she was more surprised that stuff like this hadn’t happened more often already. “Well...hm. Think of board game, but instead of wood, board made of light, and mostly move itself around, except for piece you playing. And control with sticks and buttons.” She couldn’t come up with a better explanation than that. “Maybe next city friends reach have technology and Tora can show Midna.”

”That sounds strange, but could be fun to try. There’s a city on the far side of the desert right?“ Midna tried to remember the map, ”hopefully it isn't a wasteland like the deadzone’s one is supposed to be.“ she said, forgetting that the city she was thinking of was called the ruined metropolis ”Guess the only way to find out is to keep moving?“

And part of that was to be property fueled for the journey. Midna’s belly had had enough of conversation and after an insistent growl the princess politely ended the conversation in-order to eat a proper breakfast of meat and veggies to pile on top of the sweets and fruit she’d had earlier. Something of a poor order, but the princess wasn't complaining as she sated herself, and then got herself ready to get moving once again.

They all had a long hard day ahead of them, of that there was no doubt.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

Member Seen 3 hrs ago


Level 8 Blazermate - (59/80) +1

The Great Sea
Words: 547

Thanks to her timely friend heart, and the absorbion of spirits from the others, Shippy was... well still getting attacked, but at least she wasn't going to collapse into a wreck. Although the fact that Shippy, being full of compressed water, ended up spitting everyone out of her hold, didn't bode well. Blazermate, as she had said, wasn't an aquatic medabot and thusly couldn't swim. However, thankfully, Link, having absorbed an abyssal, was able to throw Blazermate back onto the deck before she sunk too much. "Thanks Link!" Blazermate said as she flopped onto the now smaller deck of Shippy. Upon the deck Blazermate saw that Kamek was lending aid, as well as Sakura, having come down from the airship after seeing Shippy get swarmed. "Good, I can finally do this then." Blazermate said, summoning her striker the Engineer, who started to build his gun and dispenser right away.

Of course this took the hard hatted man some time, so while Blazermate kept her beam on Shippy, who was still getting the brunt of the damage, she commanded her zombie abyssals to come to the deck and surround the building engineer, doing their best to fend off enemy abyssals until he got his gun up. Even the level 1 sentry would do a fair bit of clearing the deck, keeping Ms. Fortune's back clear as she used the artillery cannons to blast abyssal away.

"Hey, I need to keep healing Shippy, but the Dispenser can heal you." Blazermate said. Funny enough, the dispenser also healed Shippy, but not nearly at the rate of Blazermate's healing beam, especially with all the buildings only being level 1. When the sentry gun locked onto an enemy abyssal, Blazermate also tried to advance on it, shield arm up first in an attempt to bite them before they died to build more zombies. She was only slightly successful, needing to fall back to the dispenser after a few runs due to the damage her shield arm was taking from the abyssal weaponry. At least she could do her own kind of 'upgrading' by biting the already zombified abyssals, mutating them into something that'd make a metal album cover jealous. She was kind of sad if a zombie got a kill, it didn't raise the kill as another zombie unless she bit them first, but well, you couldn't have everything!

Another interesting thing was that, thanks to Shippy constantly being injured, Blazermate was building medaforce at an incredible rate, only taking her about 60 seconds to get a full tank of Medaforce. Soon she was back to full, and just in time as a GIANT abyssal came out of the island. It was giant robot sized, throwing other abyssals as ammo with its giant hands and its even bigger guns. "Oh you have got to be kidding me!" She said as her medigun sparked with arcs of electricity, signifying she had full Medaforce and could uber. And seeing the SIZE of that thing, she'd probably need to use that uber soon to save someone's life. She kept herself ready for that, still healing shippy to keep them afloat and hoping that the others on the ship could use the guarded dispenser for healing as her zombies held the line.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN


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Geralt of Rivia

Limsa Lominscuttle Town- The Black Bay

Lvl 6 (69/60) -> Friend Heart Lvl 6 (71/60)

Word Count: 1,150 words

It worked.

That was the overwhelming thought in Geralt's mind for a moment. A wave of healing energy washed over the Helmaroc King, the wounds it had been dealt closing themselves rapidly before his very eyes. Of course, he couldn't give that the attention it would have deserved otherwise, given that he was still split between keeping himself from falling and maintaining Axii's control over the bird-like monster. Thankfully, the effort required was not as great as he expected, meaning that this really was essentially just a really big bird. He was still careful not to lose his balance, though, and that meant he was only able to get a general picture of the situation on the water's surface.

Things were going well for the Blue Team, especially compared to when he'd first mounted the bird. He wouldn't quite pat himself on the back for this insane plan helping to free up the Atomos to help Shippy, because he saw that the waterborne ship's own team had done quite a bit on their own to improve the situation. What he would pat himself on the back for was the startled cries of a horde of Abyssals as they were ripped from the water in the talons of the great Helmaroc King and crushed into dust and Spirits, which poured out of the open-air cage their hosts had perished in and back to the surface of the water.

Geralt was very, very careful not to stray too close to either ship, and even more careful to stay out of the line of fire of the Navy, lest they mistake him for an enemy in the chaos of the fight. As the battle raged, Geralt found he could fluctuate the intensity of the flow of power to his Axii Sign, allowing him to 'rest', if only for a few moments here and there.

It was shortly after one such moment that he had the Helmaroc King slow and keep pace as it flew over the Atomos. "Hey!" He called to those below who could hear him. "It worked!" He laughed, happier than the others had seen him since his brief reunion with Yennefer. "Now let's- " And that was when it happened.

The Demon of Kwolok Harbor showed itself.

"Oh but of course!" Geralt shouted as he saw the massive monstrosity slaughtering Shipgirls, about other Abyssals like they were playthings, and otherwise wreaking havoc on their allies. "Time to go." He simply stated, ordering his mount to fly high, high above the others so that he could get a better look at their current situation. Whatever advantage he could glean might very well be necessary to turn the tide once more in their favor. Their goal was the river at the top of the crescent-shaped island, and the massive fuck-off Shipmonster was in between them and it. Sure, they could let the Navy bleed to death slamming their corpses against it and sneak around, but that left the possibility of reinforcements chasing them once their allies were slaughtered, which it certainly looked like they would be without further assistance.

Whatever Shippy did before would likely be either frowned upon by the allies they were trying to help, conveniently ineffective, or too resource-intensive to do again, so he wouldn't count on it. Still, if the living vessel was capable of unleashing that power in a more focused manner again, it might do to factor it as a potential backup plan.

The Atomos was slower than before with the added armor and weapons, and its maneuverability wasn't fantastic, but it was a single ship, albeit a flying one, making it theoretically possible to load the whole crew on board, send Shippy back, and just fly past the fighting. He had a feeling that wouldn't fly with some of the others, but the plan was to get them past and into the heart of the enemy's territory. Wasting time-and possibly their lives-bogged down in the fight here wasn't exactly conducive to that plan. The more heroically-minded members of their team would probably resist, even if they ultimately acquiesced, as well.

No, the best plan was one that took one or both of the Abyssal's biggest players off the board, allowing the Navy to fulfill their portion of the plan to the best of their abilities. The Princess that sent the bombers, and whatever the hell the new freak that showed its face was. Both, ideally, needed to go down. The sheer volume of armaments on both of them made attacking from above less than ideal, unless he could get directly above them without being detected. That itself would be somewhat of a challenge, but if he could pull it off, he might be able to drop onto them and do some serious damage with bombs and blade. But it was risky, probably even riskier than this scheme he'd pulled off.

Sizing Bowser up was a possibility, but given the Abyssals' superior aquatic mobility, they'd need to devote resources to neutralizing that advantage. The Navy could assist on that front, true, but it could leave them vulnerable to reprisal from lesser Abyssals. Ideally, Blue Team would be able to handle these opponents themselves. Cadet had that bow he was now using, in addition to close-quarters skills, Link was a ferocious swordsman with a few extra tricks Geralt still didn't quite understand up his sleeve. Hat Kid was bouncing around, seemingly with an answer to all of life's problems in the form of some kind of hat. That Frog guy had fought the Sorceress seemingly well, and hadn't gotten killed against the Abyssals yet, so he could help keep Shippy afloat. Blazermate could seriously power up somebody, but that would leave Shippy vulnerable while she did it. Nadia was new and a relatively unknown factor to the Witcher, but she seemed to be pretty damned resilient, and certainly not a bad shot with those cannons. Of course, there was also Sakura, Junior, and Kamek, but those three Geralt felt he had a good read on. For now, Peach was away from the fight as well, but she'd fused with a Shipgirl, so there was the possibility of using her to help box in the Abyssal leaders with Bowser, he supposed.

The Witcher had ideas, but nothing solid. No cohesive way to blend these abilities together to take their foes down. It frustrated him, the guy who'd taken up the mantle of workshopping this invasion plan with Kamek and the other Shipgirl commanders (though it felt that they had little input on the overall strategy, just serving to give them some info).

He stayed up, watching, waiting to figure out some weakness, some flaw in their opponent's formations, anything he could use against them. There was always a way. Always something to exploit. And he'd find it, or his name wasn't Geralt of Fucking Rivia.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,800 (+3)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (42/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 7 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (34/70)
Kamek: Level 7 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (32/70)
Location: Edge of the Blue – Seaward Bay


“Go away go away go away!”

“Mi! mi! mi! mi! mi! mi!”

There was a great deal of yelling and firing going on on the back of the Atomos as parts of the remains of the bomber swarm moved in to strike at the larger, closer target. Their attack run triggered routines in other parts of the abyssal air force, automatically bringing fighters in to escort them. This, of course, brought in the navy’s own planes that looked to help, and soon enough there was a chaotic air brawl over and around the ship as it raced back from it's overextended position towards Shippy.

”STUPID GNATS! DIE ALREADY” the king demanded, twin jets of water blasting out and buffering a tight formation of bombers, causing them to scatter and then tear themselves apart on the lingering razor shoals as they tried to rush the rest of the distance.

While the bombers were shot, escort made it, and the swarm of hand sized fighters dived down, pelting the king with a hail of bullets, forcing him to duck and bring his shield up to guard rather than handle them, but as they swooped around they ran into a hail of gunfire steaming out of of Rika’s gauntlets. One was fired slow triple fire bursts of shells that were a poor shot against the nimble fighters, while the rapid fire lighter cannon mounted in the other fared a bit better. Floating to either side of her like addons where her own aircraft, a pair of Reconnaissance Planes decked out in purple scales and sporting little slime horns of their own like under-slung battering rams, which added a stream of machine gun fire to her own. Individually all these weren't that effective, but the sheer volume of firepower the girl was putting out somewhat made up for it.

“I am not an AA ship so” she yelled, hauling her gauntlets to the side and unloading on another wave of fire at a flight of bombers “shove off!”

“kyukyukyukyukyu” Mimikyu seemed to agree, having had to forgo her favored electro balls (which were better against things slower than she, and these aircraft where anything but) and was instead holding her tail stick like a rifle and making the closest she could to gunshot sounds with her voice, which would have been very silly if she wasn't managing to shoot down the odd plane as she copycatted Rika’s big guns.

Around them went the shink, click, thunk of harpoon turrets as the toadies sat still and silently fired and reloaded with mindless rigor, sending bolt after bolt sailing at planes, ships and everything in between. If they had been able to think and talk they would likely have complained about the all yelling.

Unfortunately for them, the Toadies’ stationary nature made them perfect bombing targets. As the fighter escorted properly tied up the ships defenders, the last of the princess’s bombers targeting them came in low, the bat-like creatures spitting explosive charges at the stunted creatures, vaporizing half of them in an instant and leaving their turrets unmanned. They swept up and onwards, trying to get clear, only to be scorched by a wave of fire breath.

”GAHAHA-ARGH!” Bowser laughed and then cried out as a squad of fighters strafed him again. ”WHERE DO THESE THINGS KEEP COMING FROM”

“Carriers. Or fortresses” Rika helpful shouted at him over her own gunfire, before letting up with the slow firing cannon to point out “like those over there, those are Light Carrier Nu-Class”

The ships she pointed at where a group of squat looking things, that despite looking like they were bristling with massive guns were actually dedicated aircraft carriers (the various pipes likely exhausts or launch tubes), floated huddled together and surrounded by destroyers and cruisers. The Abysall’s control of positioning on the battlefield meant that even though they were slowly losing, they could still push the ship girls away from their unarmed air-support platforms without too much trouble.

The carrier herd was falling behind them however, and so did the fighter swarm (both because they were getting further from their carriers and because the azure navy’s fighter cover was intensifying as they moved closer to the back-lines) as the airship rapidly re-approached Shippy, though not, as Bowser had expected, head on.

”I’m going to bank around Shippy, loop round the side till we’re facing the right way!” Jr called out as they moved to pass the ship, and then started a wide turn which would bring them round behind the living ship and eventually wind up with them flying facing forwards beside her.

”Come on, we can hit them from behind!” Bowser commended, stomping over to the edge of the ship facing towards their allied vessla, before spitting a fireball down at a clump of hips too on the navel battle to notice they were benign flanked.

“I. I don’t” Rika said after she stepped up to the plate and hesitated unleashing her firepower. With the plains and little ones, it had been different. Some of the ships down there were much closer to being people than the destroyers and planes where. “I used to be like them”

”I’ve been there. But sometimes you need to crack a few mind controlled minon’s heads to save the rest.” Bowser said, letting his shoulder canons do work while he talked, before actually taking the specifics of her situation into proper consideration and saying ”Look you can't risk the lives of people who are people right now for the lives of things that might be people later. So fight to make sure we all live and then maybe they can be free tomorrow”


”Look, just keep shooting the little ones or something!”

“Mmm” she nodded. She could do that. It was easier when it was an order to too. She cocked her guns and then unleashed proper firepower down upon the destroyers, turning the troop’s ghetto gunship into something that had actual military grade rapid fire firepower all on her own.

Down below, things were going better after the close call that had been Shippy’s near death and the subsequent confusion brought by her transformation, but they were still a chaotic mess. The endless sound of war pounded on Kamek’s senses as he sailed too and fro above Shippy, wand firing spell after spell as he tried to avoid being shot and simultaneously trying to direct his many minions. Onboard the Shippy his green minion continued to aid her, casting his final type of enchantment upon the living vessel. Spectral blades formed around her propeller, enlarging them and letting them push her through the water faster with no extra effort, boosting the speed at which she could race towards their destination, while purple runes formed on her rudder, letting her maneuver better at that higher speed.

Above the waves shadow Jr’s and Kamek clones added heavy air-support to those on or beneath the waves. The Jr’s where particularly powerful Kamek thought proudly, as one of the Jr’s swooped down, dodging fire and driving a mecha arm mounted drill into a ho-class, tarring the tower of guns apart, only for the mage to to be horrified when a school of destroyers closed in on the clown car riding shadow child. The charge had caused the clone to over extend, leaving it exposed and without support.

”Young master, look out!” he cried out, but it was too late. One of the destroyers had the bright idea to leap up and bite the small propeller holding the craft while its rider was distracted, causing it to drop down into the water, bringing its rider with it. The destroyers were on jr in a second, and rapidly tearing him to pieces before Kamek’s eyes.

Taring the shadow clone to pieces, the mage had to correct himself. It was just a clone. There were even three more still swooping about, hammering ships or flicking paint at them with magic brushes. He knew it was just a copy, a facsimile, and yet seeing a clone of a loved one being killed hit in a way that losing other minions, even copies of himself, really didn't. A dark power indeed. It hurt just as much when the second caught a shell and was reduced to ashes.

The mage’s spirit was lifted short after however when the real Jr returned to them, piloting the Atomos, and though he was briefly confused when it flew to the side and past them the boy’s intent became quickly obvious as it began to bank around, bringing the firepower of Rika, Bowser, Mimi and the two remaining harpoon guns to bear as it circled them, the maneuver letting it support them while also preventing it from being a sitting duck.

Then, just as soon as things had started to look up, she appeared. The second princess, titanic in scale. Worse than her own monstrous size, which would make her a terror to even get near, was the mighty cannon mounted upon her back. Fortunately it wasn't pointing at their ships. Unfortunately it was turning to aim at the admiral’s . Some were stunned by this latest princess’s power or stumped as to what to do about her, and right they should. Even though they’d faced otherworldly horrors and a mighty dragon, the harbor princess was a different kind of imposing. War incarnate. And she wasn't even a guardian. What horror waited within the oceans depths when this sat atop it.

Still. Kamek worked for a (sometimes) giant, and knew all too well that they could fall. He had just the spell for this situation too, he only had to hope that this one wasn't skilled with a hammer like dream-Luigi had been when his subordinates had tried to use it against him.

”Tell the ladies to get clear of the princess! I have a spell for this!” Kamek shouted at Ranger, hoping she could radio in a warning that could prevent another friendly-fire incident. While calling he landed on shippy’s bow and called his clones to him. Together they belt on the deck, the four surrounding the original, and then raised their wands. A small orb of light formed at the tip of Kamek’s which rapidly rose, pulsing and sparkling as power was fed into it as it climbed above them. Then it halted in the air and steadily enlarged into a massive glowing ball of blue light, geometric shapes sparkling off of it. If uninterrupted over the 6 second charge time, an eternity on the battlefield, then with a final exertion the mage and his clones would hurl the artillery spell forwards, sending it to sail above the waves, and the heads of the lady sized ships, friend and foe alike, towards the harbor princess.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

Member Seen 19 hrs ago

Word Count: 1391 (+3 exp)
Level: 7 - Total EXP: 12/70
Location: Edge of the Blue: Black Bay

By touch alone Ace Cadet could tell if the items forming in his hands were at all useful to him at the moment. Something soft and pliable, something heavy and unyielding... he stored these items away by habit, not using any brain power on sorting out what they were or what to do with them. One item though he held up to his face, squinting his eyes to try and get a better look at through the dark water. It's shape was familiar, and as soon as it clicked in his mind and he knew what he was holding, the Cadet was quick to shed his helm and don the rebreather. The drainage valve began working almost immediately, mechanical gills churning to life and sucking the water from inside the mask, pushing it out. Before it was even finished, as soon as the Cadet's mouth was above water he tried to draw breath again - and found none, just emptiness and burning in his throat. The mask still needed time to convert his breath back into oxygen. It wasn't a pleasant experience at all, but when finally the mask was working as intended the Cadet thought it was worth the pain. It beat drowning after all.

Ace Cadet got his bearings again now that the threat of drowning had been staved off for now. With the rebreather's latent armor skill awakened it provided more air than it normally would be able to. Combined with Blazermate's periodic bursts of healing, the emergency the hunter had found himself in was suddenly a lot less extreme. That wasn't to say he was out of the thick of it yet though. The abyssals were rousing themselves after being struck by the Crush Shot, and one by one they started darting around the interior with their teeth and guns flashing. The Cadet would have to fight his way through the monsters, make sure his allies were alive and get back to the staircase leading out of the hold, all while fighting the heavy pulling current of water... wait, heavy current?

Having been free floating when Shippy opened her maw, the Cadet was easily swept up and out of the ship as she spat up everyone and everything that'd been inside. Barrels, abyssals, he and and the others that were down in the hold. At some point Frog had joined them as well, if that flash of green skin was anything to go by. It took the monsters much less time to get their bearings after being ejected out, and they swarmed. Joining their brethren they made for the ship, or for the sinking heroes.

The Cadet drew his sword and shield. With the blade he repelled the abyssals that charged in, the weapon quick and clean in the water. With their armor the sword couldn't quite cut through, but it cracked their metal skin and shattered their armaments. Those that preferred firing from a distance, well their shots were much more bearable with a shield between them and himself.

There was large abyssal coming up fast from beneath, one suspiciously humanoid. It had Blazermate in it's clutches! Wait a sec... is that Link? The psuedo-abyssal was heading right for him, and on closer inspection it did seem to be Link himself, with some changes. He must have absorbed an abyssal spirit to survive when the hold flooded. That was smart. The Cadet eased up, letting Link catch him as he swam with the others towards the surface. It took nearly no time at all to breach, and the Cadet prepared to be launched along with Blazermate and Frog back onto Shippy's now very different looking deck. Then a splash and a sudden attack had the Cadet slipping from the Link's grasp, leaving the Hylian to tussle with the jaws of the abyssal.

The hunter sunk down a little, leaving room for Link to battle with it. Around them, cannonballs and heavy ballista bolts sliced through the water and turned surrounding abyssals to ash. Was the tide turning in their favor?

He swam up once Link was finished, forcing himself through the ocean water even in his armor. It seemed like Link was planning to stay under and support from there. Ace Cadet couldn't argue that plan even if the rebreather allowed him to speak. He tapped on the Hylian's arm a few times and showed him a mega potion produced from his pouch, insistently offering it to Link. If he was staying below, who knew when or if Blazermate's beam could reach him - and hopefully even without words, it would be easy enough to tell what the potion was just by the look of it. With the benefit of being able to consume it underwater (and really the Cadet had never questioned the logistics of that), surely it might help him.

The Cadet knew he wouldn't be quite as useful in the water, so he broke the ocean's surface and quickly took aim at Shippy's railing with his slinger. When it connected he hauled himself towards her and over the side back onto the deck, shoving any handsy enemies that were trying to climb up. As soon as he was back on board the Cadet removed the rebreather and heaved for a few moments, getting a good few mouthfuls of fresh air. He could see that the situation on board was still hectic, but with Kamek and Sakura coming down to assist from the Atomos, plus the shipgirl and her shark swimming nearby, he thought they might just get through. A small, dark shape sped out from a corner of the deck and got right in under his legs. Initially the Cadet startled, but it was just BB, a little singed but miraculously otherwise unharmed. He scooped the piglet up and tucked it into his bag where he figured she might be safest. "You hold on tight," he told it.

Waterlogged but determined, the Cadet shouted to the crew, "What's the plan?", and the Captain answered just as loudly, "We be making our getaway to the river!" That seemed like a good plan indeed.

"Heard!" There were a couple of cannons still unmanned, which he planned to take over. First, though, if they wanted to make a clean getaway they needed speed. Once more drawing his bow, the Cadet dropped onto one knee, the metal of his armor clanging against the ship's reinforced deck. He lifted his arms up, nocking an unusual looking arrow. He pulled the drawstring hard, pulling the ends of the bow to bend and aiming straight up in the air. When he let the arrow fly it sailed up and burst, raining a shower of invigorating powder down on Shippy and everyone on board. It only needed to touch them to speed them up, increasing their movement prowess. I hope this works on boats! He didn't stop with just Shippy and her crew. He aimed out over the water where Sakura was skating around in a panic and where Kamek was hovering, spreading the powder over them as well. If Link came above water maybe it would even reach him too.

It was about that time that another new, gigantic abyssal showed itself. "Just our luck," the Cadet laughed despite himself. However if they got themselves out of the previous bind, surely they could make it out of any. He was preparing to try and shoot down any kind of shell the demon shot at them, but to his surprise it was focused on another ship instead.

"It's gonna fire on the Jackdaw!" Finding no time to swap from his bow to the cannon emplacement, he fired arrows out quickly at the abbysals flying through the air. Whether those that planned to bomb them that or the ones tossed out by the demon, the arrows stopped their momentum and dropped them into the sea if they didn't perish outright.

Could they do anything to assist the Jackdaw? Would their weapons even reach the demon from there, and if they made a beeline for her would they reach the monster before it fired? It seemed like Kamek had some kind of plan in place, so the hunter moved towards the circle of koopas, making sure that any brave abyssal boarders were turned to ash before they could interfere with whatever ritual he was planning.
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Dawnrider Demigod

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Level: 5 (19 -> 24 -> 27 -> 24/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse
Word Count: 4136/5076 (+3 EXP)

With the last of the dust settled (some of cocoa, some not), Fox hooked his ever-handy shield device back onto his belt and glanced about among his allies and the area for an outgoing assessment of the encounter. Having supportive assets like the Medic within their ranks practically precluded the need for him to call for a/n in/formal status report on everyone, as per routine and habit, unless something otherwise demanded his attention. Or maybe the Doctor’s involvement actually presented ironic cause for concern all its own. It became harder to be sure with that one the more they paid attention to and the longer anyone spent around him, which Fox hadn’t, as was fortunately the case for the sake of his peace of mind. That said, it may not do to leave him unattended in the night with any of his comatose “patients.”

Thus came the subject of rest that no small number of them doubtlessly needed, such as was admitted earlier by Joker on behalf of his team. Tora seconded this, succumbing lazily to his own fatigue, his level of which was understandable in light of just how much work he did (perhaps unknowingly) for them consistently pulling the team’s weight to the front of the line as one of its only two Shields. Poppi then volunteered herself for night watch, clarifying her absence of the need for rest as she casually bridal carried her “Masterpon” to bed. Primrose voiced her own concerns regarding the sleep and post arrangements, raising a point about maintaining a close proximity to one another, and thus their ability to watch over each other while they slept. Why she suggested they segregate by sex he didn’t hazard to question, certain that she had reason enough of her own for it, but he otherwise agreed with a nod that they could and should save no more effort than they had to keeping a closer eye on their fellow man and woman.

“In that case, anyone who can spare it should join Poppi; go in shifts if we have to,” he openly suggested to any prospective (but moreover trustworthy) volunteers within earshot. “If there’s anyone who shouldn’t be alone, it’s our watch,” he reasoned simply, more or less submitting himself for the task in the possible absence of any immediate takers. While he was going on a full day of activity without sleep or much rest at this point, he thought he could spare a couple more hours for everyone else’s sake. He refrained even from asking Necronomicon for her help (or Joker for permission to have it) on the assumption that she too, like Poppi, required no sleep. He always preferred taking action to demanding it anyway, and most of them had worked hard enough for today as far as he was concerned. “I’ll take the first one,” he offered in consideration of the others’ noticeable fatigue whilst trying to suppress his own, perhaps thereby setting the example for whoever should step up to relieve him later in the night.

Poppi blinked twice, a little confused, but her processors soon reached a satisfactory conclusion. However steadfast, Fox would need to rest eventually, so if there would be a joint watch it made sense for someone who didn’t to take a later one. “Roger! Let’s do our best.” In a maelstrom of sparking metal and flashing ribbon she changed to QT Pi mode, and flew up into the air to set up watch on an undamaged roof.

It didn’t take long for Fox’s concerns to be substantiated by a commotion coming from one of the nearby houses. Barely a minute or two after their battle with the two Goliath, and already it seemed they weren’t quite finished. Fox rushed to the source, pistol drawn, to tend to the disturbance personally, whatever may be the cause of it. He found out upon throwing the front door open and scanning the premises with his iron sights that it was merely the result of necessary measures being taken to free the captives housed within, as Midna reassured and everyone else of. Fox eased off and lowered his weapon, taking a second look about to see the fragmented remnants of resin prisons scattered along the floor at their bases, their occupants now missing. This would possibly give him something to look out for, he figured as he vacated the lightly-destructed gingerbread domicile, re-holstering his sidearm on his way out back to the center of town to begin the first watch.

A peaceful stillness settled over the fantastical town as its visitors fell asleep, one by one. Fox maintained his vigil, circumnavigating the premises over and over to keep an eye on as much of his surroundings as possible. On only his second loop, however, he found the tranquil silence disturbed by a hissed whisper. “Psst!” it came from the direction of swirled cream bushes.

The first hour or so of the late night passed uneventfully as Fox paced quietly about the town; mostly to keep himself awake at that point. It was no remedy for the drowsing boredom that had set in, however, but he figured boring was the preferable intended result of a watch. Between Poppi patrolling the air and rooftops on one end of the village, Necronomicon maintaining a perimeter around her housed team on the other, and Fox on the ground keeping an eye out for them, none of them picked up any movement or activity thus far. That was until the first instance of it suddenly decided to, of all things, whisper directly at him for his attention.

His ears twitched in response, prompting a double take from him as he looked around his immediate area for who- or whatever called in hushed tone for him. He wasn’t sure at first that sleep deprivation wasn’t causing him to imagine or hallucinate it until the voice again specifically addressed him from the direction of the whipped shrubbery, demanding his presence. This struck Fox as an obvious baiting attempt, but even knowing this he proceeded anyway toward the yonder bushes in slow, careful steps, keeping mindful of any sap traps that may be hidden within or around them. Surely, this wasn’t his pride, his general overconfidence in his abilities, his trademark ‘go it alone’ mentality making his decisions for him; causing him to skip over tipping off the other two; telling him it was something he could--and should--definitely handle himself.

In truth, that wasn’t the case. These weren’t thoughts he had, just habits he was in. Bad habits he would have thought himself too good for had he ever actually thought about it. What else was the point of going on a joint night watch if not to have a safety net and utilized line of communication in place? It was his idea to join them after all. It was in realizing this that he caught himself for all of a second to remember that he was part of a team and reach out to them. “Eyes out! Something’s here,” was all he gave his fellow watchwomen to go on, delivered in a whisper as quietly as he could manage as he approached the sound’s source to inspect, ready to draw at the first sign of hostility.

“Hey, buddy! Over here!” Only when Sly shifted did he reveal his presence. The shadows resolved themselves into the shape of an anthropomorphic raccoon, taller and slimmer than Fox, in a blue cap and shirt. That alone both suggested a true knack for stealth, and that Fox wouldn’t have found the stranger if he didn’t want it. So too did the swiftness with which he sized Fox up suggest a talent for perception, as held up his hands placatingly. “Take it easy! Don’t want any trouble. I’ve just had a really weird, exhausting day is all. First the machines, then getting stuck and blacking out, then finally waking up to some hairless ape with a sword talking nonsense. I was just hoping I could find someone normal and ask what in the world’s going on.”

At this point, Fox was convinced of non-aggressive intent by the fellow mammal and loosened his guard in kind. If he wanted to get the drop on him for any reason, he would have done it already, and not gave himself away to do it. Paradoxically, recognizing this was both unsettling and reassuring, that he could have found an enemy in him but wouldn’t. Not unless he shot first, that is, for he was still Gleaming by the looks of it. That much Fox noticed above all else about the raccoon’s appearance, besides the uncanny sense that they weren’t quite the same somehow, in spite of their shared anthropomorphic nature. Perhaps the questionable decision to forego pants while still donning boots had something to do with it. Either way, it came as good enough reason on his part to provisionally trust Fox, as he mentioned being an issue with the first person he met.

“Can’t say I blame you. I was exactly where you are just yesterday,” He reassured the stranger, in a rather cryptic, not-so-assuring manner. “Are you hurt at all?” he asked, with this World’s best answer for an olive branch very much in mind.

Sly looked himself once over. “Not...really? Well, not physically, anyway. This has been a real roller coaster, but I’m fine. I guess. Would be a lot better if I knew my buds were okay.” He scratched his head, clearly more concerned about getting the low-down than his own well-being at the moment. “So what’s the deal, do you know?”

Sadly, this meant that hitting him with a Friend Heart was out; not without doing him harm first. He hadn’t intended on it after lowering his alert level--still didn’t--but how much would he retain if he simply tried explaining it to him? It didn’t do Fox any wonders, waking up with a head full of fog following the beating he took in a string of back to back fights he didn’t remember having. And what if this man then decides to take off on his own into the World after getting less than satisfying answers? His chances were frankly worse out there, against any number of the multiverse’s goods and evils alike that could rope him into something that he would be compelled to see through, whether he could or not. Though, it’s possible as well that a man of his skillset, only the faintest idea of which Fox had been made privy to, could avoid such conflicts altogether if he wished. Were his concerns honestly warranted, and was he sure it would come to that anyway?

Moreover, why did he fret this at all? Why did he care this much about the fate of a single stranger? He was content to let go of one today already, after going through the trouble of freeing his Spirit. The simple answer was what he had already said before: that everyone was potentially valuable, and that they should be free regardless. There was something more to this, however. Something… abstract. Subject not to rational thought, but intrinsic feeling--that they were connected somehow…

“Enough… I think,” Fox answered with a sigh. With the possibilities still racing through his head, he continued. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

Though a little frustrated by the lack of forthcoming answers and baffled as to how his own past played into it, Sly wracked his brains for his past. “Well, I was living in Al Mamoon, to the north of here. I’ve been traveling all over the world all my life, you see, a little here, a little there. Mostly with my pals, Bentley and Murray. Don’t suppose you’ve seen ‘em? Turtle fella with glasses in...well, in a wheelchair, and then a big, strong hippo dude. Um, anyway, we were together before Al Mamoon, doing...stuff, but I guess we got separated somewhere. I came out here at some point...I dunno, maybe just for a change of pace?” He shrugged. “Haven’t had much luck getting back into the ol’ groove.”

“Sounds about right,” Fox commented, nodding along at the end of the stranger’s recapitulation, that he could tell was incomplete. It was missing something integral to his arrival here, something he knew undoubtedly to be responsible for it, conveniently missing from his memory. “They don’t sound familiar. Not like anyone we’ve seen thus far. Sorry.” he answered regarding the stranger’s friends as described to him. “For what it’s worth you’re not alone. I think most of us are missing people of our own. Friends. Family. Rivals. Even enemies,” he stated with a light shrug, as if to appear sympathetic. With a sigh of resignation, he continued. “If it sounds like it doesn’t make sense, it’s because it’s not supposed to,” he alluded with undue subtlety to the powerful influence over his mind that he remained and would remain unaware of, “and I’m not sure how to make sense of it any faster.” The latter half of his statement came at a lower register, almost as if he was saying it to himself as well.

Sly held up his hands in a resigned gesture. “Oh well, couldn’t hurt to ask. Sucks to be us, I guess. Hopefully we both find what we’re lookin’ for, huh?”

“Yeah...” he answered with a nod, his eyes directed contemplatively to the ground. Decisively, he looked back at the stranger and spoke. “I hate to tell you this, but it’s not going to get any easier...” Following a momentary pause, Fox quickly drew his Blaster and squeezed off an impact shot aimed for the raccoon’s chest.

Fox was quick on the draw, almost impractically so, but as a master thief Sly had honed his instincts to a razor’s edge. As the shot went off the raccoon had already gone low, running on all fours. On second thought, he was running on three--in his right had a hooked cane had appeared, pulled out of nowhere in a marvelous feat of sleight-of-hand. He attempted to snare Fox’s feet and pull him over, but the pilot flipped backward long before the cane could slip around his ankle. By the time he righted himself, however, his new acquaintance had disappeared into the shadows.

Fox recovered to stance from his evasive maneuver, training his sights on nothing when he did. His opponent had disappeared in the space of a second afforded to him between dodge and landing, a remarkable stunt of stealth unheard of for him; and he’s met Solid Snake. “...Not yet.” Fox intensely muttered under his breath, finishing his thought from before firing the opening shot.

“Looks like there’s more to you than meets the eye,” Sly remarked, his voice coming from nowhere in particular. Yet with the fight begun, he could not retreat. “You tired or something? Don’t worry, I’ll lay you out for a nice nap and be on my merry way.”

“You’ll thank me for this when you wake up.” In dispensing with the flimsy diplomatic charade, an attempt at which he would have taken more seriously if he thought it would get better results (as per his previous try at Lakeside), he believed he had taken a faster step closer to winning another ally, even if it was the hard way. The present mocking voice of his adversary confirmed for him that he hadn’t taken this opportunity to run away, for lack of being able to, which was exactly what Fox hoped for when gambling a shot at him.

In astonishingly near-perfect silence, Sly pounced from the shadows behind Fox, touching down in hug’s reach with footfalls to rival a cat with mufflers, and was awarded the first blow by ambush. Sharply he drove the pointed end of his cane into the vulpine’s back with two repeating uppercut swipes to lift them both from the ground. Fox never saw or heard it coming, but as he felt the back of his collar snag as he began to be dragged down by it, he made a snap impulse decision to slip out of his jacket in a rolling back tuck. In his play for an instant knockout--utilizing a signature move of his--Sly found himself bringing down only cloth rather than violently slamming his enemy’s head in the (or the dirt cake that passed for it here), and for his effort was met the toe of one boot to the face and the flat of the other to his chest.

Fox was back on top of him in no time, covering swiftly the distance between them forced by his last hit, following it with a series of rapid jabs--punches and kicks alike. Sly managed to redirect the first few of them with leveraging movements of hook and shaft, but was quickly overwhelmed with the gradually quickening oppressive flurry of strikes to get inside his guard, ending with a lunging kick to send him reeling back. Fox chased it with a snapping side kick to Sly’s abdomen while he was backed up against a craggy slab of rock candy to double him over and followed up with an over aerial heel kick to the back of his head. Even as Sly’s head was heading for the ground, he turned over in a floaty, physics-defying act of balance and recovery that had him landing instead back on his feet, whereupon he threw down a smoke bomb at his feet for a concealed quick escape and disappeared once more.

Sly should have known better than to think he could trust a fox, or that he could fight one up-close, after all the years spent on the run from (and at one point romantically involved with) Carmelita. He supposed this is what he got for never learning his lesson, but with a storied off-and-on history like theirs, he couldn’t really blame himself. What he did learn in a matter of seconds, about his opponent, was just how poorly matched they turned out to be in a contest of martial skill. Even the fastest he’s ever seen or faced were slower still. His best chance lay in making the most of his stealth, mobility and utility advantage and employing guerilla tactics to keep his opponent off-balance and try to end the fight in as few moves as possible.

As the smoke dissipated, Fox kept himself on a swivel with his gun drawn, snapping his sights to a conspicuous falling object that he nearly trigger-punched a hole through: Sly’s hat. It fell harmlessly at Fox’s feet, prompting him to look upward, and distracting him from the blinking red light of the decoy cap about to detonate. He noticed this too late to react, blowing him back off his feet. Then came Sly dropping down from the canopy with his cane spinning ahead of him in a drop attack that Fox rolled out of the way of just before impact. He stood up rapid firing at Sly, whose perception of time dilated at will as he ducked, weaved through, jumped over bolts of laser fire. Fox could almost swear to seeing him step off of one as if it were solid to gain air, but he couldn’t be sure.

Airborne, Sly hurled his cane downward at Fox, only for him to respond with a quick pulse of his Reflector to send it back. This sufficed regardless of damage, for he merely meant to stop him from shooting for long enough to execute a counterattack. He zipped downward at an angle, catching his returning cane on the way, and passed through Fox (or appeared to) in a generated line of dull blue electricity. Sly seamlessly continued to move, inexplicably sliding along an imaginary line on the ground as he swerved in a u-turn, assisted by grounding his cane as a pivot point. The electrical charge at his feet sustained with movement as he then entered an electrified wheel roll, colliding with the immobilized Fox, entering him into the proceeding tumble before throwing him by the hook end of his weapon.

Fox rolled back to his feet and fired off two reckless shots, and found them deflected back at him… with his own Reflector? Fox spat a subdued cry of searing pain when taking one of his own shots to the clavicle, then directed closer attention to Sly. It seemed the thief had somehow lifted Fox’s gadget off his person during their brief second of contact, which Sly was happy to admit with a boastful, presentory flourish, cocking an eyebrow and winking at Fox with a wry smirk. Annoyed, Fox shook his head and simply rushed him down with an advancing flurry of rotating kicks, only one which connected… with a trapped cardboard silhouette of his opponent that instantly swapped places with him.

The predictably aggressive Fox was momentarily paralyzed once again thanks to the electrical charges rigged to the dummy cutout, triggered the instant he struck it. He’d lost count by then of how many similar ‘counter’ techniques he had seen, dealt with, and had to work around in the past, but right about now he was feeling a little sick of it. From out of nowhere came Sly again to knock him down with a cane-twirling dive, and continued advancing on him to punish his ‘ukemi’ by rushing in with two spinning swings. He dizzyingly swatted Fox on the cheek with the first, caught him around his neck with the second, then swung himself around by his hooked foe, and brought himself in for a shoving flip kick to his chest that sent him flying.

Fox decided at this that he’d had enough, and that it was time to get a little more serious. He caught himself inverted against the ground by his hands, kipping up and taking off into an Illusion dash to expeditiously make up the distance between him and his opponent, meeting him up-close before either of their feet could hit the ground. Where Sly earlier punished his recovery, it was his turn to punish his landing, aiming to prove a point that he could do all of it better while he was at it.

Fox touched down deciseconds before Sly, as intended, and sent him back upward with a signature rushing backflip kick to the chin that snapped his head back, along with the rest of him. Not content to let him come back down on his own, Fox lept upward to drill stomp him into the sugar-frosted ‘snow’. Sly scrambled to his feet to defend, but to no avail. Fox blocked the first blind cane swipe with the flat of his foot, rattled the raccoon with a string of chain punches to the torso, and at the first attempt to fight back with it, twisted his off arm to relieve it of his stolen shield. He then hit him with a straight punch to the abdomen, empowered by a flash of his shield, before taking him off his feet with a tail-assisted leg sweep. Fox followed with a snapping front kick to Sly’s back to keep him suspended, and finished with an arcing reverse tornado kick to send him away.

Air left Sly’s lungs as he flew back-first into a nearby tree, causing him to fall over face down flat onto the ground in a now barely conscious heap. Fox made his way over one pacing step at a time, using his free hand to draw a Friend Heart from his chest. Groaning in pain, unwilling or -able to concede defeat, Sly tightened his grip around his cane and struggled in vain to lift it under the anchoring boot of Fox, who decided he would rather not let him even if he had the energy left to. Fox then knelt down before him, hovering the Heart over his weakened form, dropped it gingerly onto him, and watched and waited for it to take full effect.

In a single, brief flash, Sly’s situation took a complete turn, and his struggle ceased. Every burn and bruise on his body disappeared, the adrenaline pumping through him evaporated, and his fighting spirit stilled. For a moment he lay still with wide eyes devoid of comprehension, but then he let out the contents of his lungs in a heavy sigh of relief. “Whoo...boy. I tell ya, I’ve been on some wacky hijinx, but nothing half as crazy as this.” He let his neck go slack, and his head lolled back onto the cakey cushion of the ground.

“Do you remember now?” was all Fox said at first as he stood to lower his pacified adversary turned neutral acquaintance (and ideally future ally) a helping hand up.

After another moment, Sly accepted the hand. His reluctance seemed more to do with exhaustion than distrust. “Sort of. There’s a lot to deal with, a whole lot, jeez. Could run my thinker ‘til I get a headache, but maybe I oughta just sleep on it.”

Right… sleep. After a bout like that, already running on so little, Fox had forgotten all about it in the heat of battle and the moments leading up to it. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Fox replied, fatigue--equal parts mental and physical--clearly setting on him as he started taking his first steps away.

Slightly perplexed by his dismissive self-adjournment, Sly raised an eyebrow in the vulpine’s direction. “So… what, that’s it? We just beat each other senseless and go our separate ways? Is that how things work around here?” The facetiousness in his tone became increasingly evident with each sentence. “I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m kinda out of the loop here.”

Fox stopped in his steps, for a moment before speaking. “You were going to take off anyway, weren’t you?” the question begot a bewildered look from the raccoon as to what exactly he meant. Fox then glanced back at him in his continued address. “You said you wanted to find your friends. I don’t intend to talk you out of that. I already tried that once today.” He thought back to the Soldier from Lakeside, wondering how that may have panned out or will come to; for the better, he hoped.

He turned to direct his full attention to Sly, and told him, “When you do leave, head southwest from here. Pass over the mountains, and you’ll find a city floating above the bay. I can’t promise you’ll find your friends there, but you’ll find better answers--and maybe help finding them.” While he was largely assuming intent on Sly’s part, Fox advised him on directions to take with every hopeful intention that he might follow it, somewhat contrary dictation of non-interventionism. More concerned was he that he was doing right by a due comrade, in whom he somehow saw himself.

The two canids weren’t quite done yet. From a nearby rooftop, and with far less near-silent grace than the raccoon mustered during his fight, Poppi appeared with a wave of greeting. “Hello! Poppi hear noise and come to investigate. Only catch tail end of fight. All well that end well?” With a pleasant smile she attempted to deflect the wary glance that Sly sent her way. “Nice to meet new friend. Poppi name is Poppi!”

Fox’s eyes went Poppi’s way ahead of her arrival, certain she came to investigate before she said as much. “We’re okay here now, Poppi,” Fox reassured her before glancing back to Sly to do the same. “She’s with us.” It slipped his mind in his exhausted state that Sly wasn’t yet aware of an ‘us’.

With a nod, the artificial blade left again. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Fox was flagging, so it was about time she tagged in the next lookout. Another being without the need for sleep, Necronomicon had volunteered, so Poppi went off to rouse her from her dormant state. Fox could sleep easy knowing that his metal comrades had his safety both well in hand, and well in tentacle.

Mouth slightly agape in perplexion, Sly shook his head free of yet another strange occurrence to put himself back in the moment. “What about you, stranger? You got a name?” he asked half-rhetorically. “So I can let them know who sent me.” For him, this would be genuinely useful to know. He wasn’t, after all, accustomed to entering new places undisguised and being welcomed there.

“Fox,” he answered simply. “Fox McCloud.”

“‘Fox’, huh?” he asked, nodding curiously. “No relation to Carmelita, I take it?”

Failing to recognize any such name, Fox answered with a headshake and a shrug, “No one I would know of. Another friend of yours?” He asked simply as an extension of polite, friendly curiosity.

“I-It’s, uh… a bit more complicated than that,” Sly stammered, rubbing the back of his head.

“Hm. I hear you,” he nodded in reply, offering some sense of allusive understanding.

“Well, Fox,” he started, turning outward from him, “I guess we’ll be in touch,” he said with a smile and a salute of his cane.

Fox smiled weakly back, flitting his weightening eyelids as he looked back to the village, then back to Sly. “You should probabl-” he started to say, but by the time he looked back, Sly was gone. He would later realize that he failed to get his name in turn, but trusted that they would likely be seeing each other again somewhere down the line. He retrieved his jacket and contacted the Blade and Persona. “You two got it from here?” The Persona replied on behalf of both of them, insisting that he get some much needed rest, and that they would alert him if needed. “Thanks, girls! I’ll see you in the morning.” With that, he began his short walk back into the town proper to find a place to lay his head for the remainder of the night.

With or without anyone to fill in for him, and being too tired to worry about it either way, Fox sought out the first vacancy in accommodations he could find and made straight for an empty bed, which just so happened to be composed in its near entirety of fluffy marshmallow. “Of course,” he said to himself upon testing it, nodding with a resigned, tired sigh before laying down onto it anyway. He didn’t so much as remove his boots, belt, headset, or jacket, for he would sleep easy enough now with less to worry about.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by TheDemonHound
Avatar of TheDemonHound

TheDemonHound Hell’s Minion

Member Seen 10 days ago

Location: Sweet Canyon - Parnasse
Fight Rewards: +5
Level: 1 (5/10) -> 2 (0/20)
Level up!
Bleeding Attacks-
Red’s axe is able to cut just a bit deeper. When dealing melee damage it causes a bleeding effect with damage over time, supposing the target has blood of course
Word Count: 1,708
Level 2 (0/10) -> (3/10)

After grabbing the robots attention and laying fire into one of its legs Red prepared herself to avoid and counterattack the robot till its joints gave out. Thankfully it looked like that time never came. With the combination of magic, missiles and various other attacks that managed to eventually put that robot down for good. She grunted in approval as she sheathed and holstered her weapons and nodded at the handiwork of her new teammates. This was good because now she knew that at least most of the group was capable, but also bad because if they did figure out what she was and had to fight them she wasn’t all confident that she’d be able to win.

Although hopefully she wouldn’t need to do that. After all there were various non-human creatures among the group that maybe being an Abnormality wouldn’t be that big of a deal to them. There also seemed to be a new one that had joined in on the fight with the group, a younger looking boy who managed to punch a decent sized dent into the other robot that the group took care of. He may have been strong but he didn’t seem too mature as he went off to pout afterwards. Not like it was any skin off her back what he decided to do with his time though, she wasn’t too interested in learning about many of these people as it stood. Joker was about the only one that managed to catch her interest, him and his group's weird ability. It wasn’t like anything from her world which was saying something as she had seen more weird and abnormal things than just about anyone could dream of.

Once she saw the others settling down for the night she decided to reluctantly follow to where the girls were allocated to staying after looking around the confectionary town a bit more. Unlike the others that tried making themselves a bed she was content with sitting down and leaning herself against a wall. More comfortable than some of the places she had fallen asleep before but still had quite a bit of trouble before eventually falling into a restless sleep like usual.


In the morning Red woke up with a start as the images of a bloody wolf slowly left her mind. The same nightmare ravaged her mind again as it did every night but pushed past it once more. All this was was a reminder that she was doing this to find and put down that damned creature in an even more brutal fashion than the last time they met. Granted, the last time she met she had a bit of help from the employees of that facility who got caught in the crossfire. At least they were smart enough not to take her kill, but like always she wasn’t able to put him down permanently. Maybe in this world she could keep him down and be rid of him for good but she didn’t keep her hopes up.

For now though she had a job to work on. She was still investigating the trade route after all for that one weird queen. Red managed to track down one of the weird animals that was helping them around last night, the first one she found being a weird kangaroo looking thing. “Assuming you actually live in this sickly sweet place I’m hoping you can tell me what the hell happened here and to the trade route with Al Mamoon?” While she had a vague guess it was better to find out straight from a hopeful eye witness.

Although the Blumaroo seemed somewhat unnerved by Red’s appearance, or perhaps because of it, he was quick to cough up the information she was looking for. “Oh uh, sure. W-well, the whole thing was the Princess’ idea, and the rest of us work to harvest the local sweets. Then Ruki runs the train to Al Mamoon and Gnorbu trades them for goods to bring back for us.” Realizing he hadn’t really gotten to Red’s question, he rocked on his tail nervously. “B-but one day a big gang of machines showed up. They overran the place and captured Edith, our fairy. When the Princess didn’t send down help, the rest of us hid inside our homes. Then the roots came, but...well, if you guys got rid of the machines, we should have the train running again in no time.”

Red let out a sigh of exasperation as she listened to the creature's story. She had her suspicions but of course it was those damned machines. And that last fight just proved how little viability she had fighting them outside of her gun. Seemed like she’d be sticking with this group for a little while longer to try and deal with the enemy together. At least she hoped that’d be the intent of this merry band of heroes.

At least she got her info. Who knew a talking kangaroo would have so much info? “Do you know if these robots have a camp or a base somewhere? And you mentioned a princess, where is she in all of this?”

With a frown the Blumaroo shook his head. “Sorry, we don’t know much about them. Before we got stuck, there were lots of them around town. If they’re not here any more, then I guess they’re dealt with? We’re really grateful. Really.” He didn’t seem to shy away from speaking on behalf of the Princess, which lent credence to the idea she didn’t really care. “As for the Princess, I think she holed up in her little castle west of here. I’d be surprised if she didn’t come by sometime soon, since she can see Parnasse from there.”

The machines weren’t all defeated Red knew that for fact. With the amount of small ones she encountered on her way into town from Al Mamoon this was gonna be a slight problem. “Of course, stereotypical princess who doesn’t care about her kingdom, I take it?” She shook her head in disappointment. If she was a ruler like that she’d come and personally rain down hell on anyone that messed with her kingdom. She kinda liked that idea before realizing she was getting lost in thought. “Thanks for the info, looks like I gotta go find this Princess. Or I guess wait for her to show up.”

As the sun grew higher in the sky and the morning progressed, the various heroes of Yellow team arose from their slumber throughout the town to grab a bite to eat, chat, or go about their business in preparation for another busy day. Rather than engage with the strangers she’d found herself surrounded by, Red kept her eye westward, and before too long her patience was rewarded. The sound of tramping feet and laborious groans alerted her to incoming company on the smooth flan path that led to the ‘little castle’ her Blumaroo acquaintance spoke of, and what she saw did little to dissuade the opinions she’d formed about this place’s ruler so far.

Toward Parnasse came a palanquin lugged by diminutive footsoldiers in uniform, their faces contorted by the effort required for their task, and within the palanquin lounged an obese blonde woman in a fanciful pink dress. Even now she appeared to be enjoying a slice of cake. As the procession neared Parnasse, one carrier sounded a bugle, and the town’s chocolatey inhabitants appeared from their houses to line the path on either side. Altogether the neopets represented less than a dozen, but they formed up quickly and stood straight. The Fat Princess had come to town.

Red waited quite a bit of the day on one of the rooftops in town watching the castle for the supposed princess and what an interesting sight it was. The woman being carried by the poor, poor subjects was not what she expected yet still very fitting for the description she had gotten. Red watched intently as the procession arrived in town and all the Neopets stood at attention. However the mercenary had no issues ignoring the rank of this woman and quickly approached the large woman without even a bow. “I’ll just get right to the point ‘Princess,’ tell me everything you can about the problems with the trade route and the machines causing the problems.” The red cloaked girl went right to business, hoping to keep this conversation as brief as possible.

The mercenary’s arrival and subsequent insertion went uncontested, since the footsoldiers were busy straining under their burden and the Princess sure wasn’t going to do anything. She did, however, fix Red with a half-confused, half-condescending look. “Impudence aside, if you know that the machines interfered with the trade route, why, you know as much as I do!” Curious, she tilted her head slightly. “Ah, but if you’re her on behalf of Her Moojesty, well, please be assured that we’ll have the treats back on track quite soon. We have much to thank all of you for, but alas, nothing with which to reward you beyond all the sugar you could ever eat~!” With a jovial laugh she crammed the rest of her cake slice in, as if to prove her point.

“Wait, so that’s it? Everything will start running fine?” Red was certainly not happy looking at or talking to this snobby lady. Though the good news is that apparently a few robots were all it was gonna take to get the train rolling again which made for an easy job. That kind of disappointed her… but at least she’d be able to leave this disgustingly cheerful place behind her. “Well I guess I’ll go report this news to the queen then.”

The Princess flashed her a saccharine smile. “Very good! It’s been positively dreary without any goodies from Al Mamoon around. Variety is the spice of life, after all!” With a snap of her fingers she commanded her soldiers to turn the palanquin around and head back for her castle. She reached up to snap a lollipop-laden branch off a passing tree. “Give my regards to the Cowlipha, won’t you dear?” she called, but if Red said anything at all, the Princess did not stop to hear it.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

Member Online

Tora & Poppi

Level 8 Tora (76/80) and Level 8 Poppi (55/80)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse
Primrose's @Yankee, Fox's @Dawnrider, Sectonia's @Archmage MC Midna's @DracoLunaris, Yoshitsune's @Rockin Strings, Red’s @TheDemonHound, Laharl’s @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 1249

Quite unlike their compatriots in the Blue Team across the continent, the heroes situated in Sweet Canyon got the chance to awaken and prepare at their own pace. Their mission, of course, remained the same--as did its vital level of importance. A harsher or perhaps just more professional leader might have rounded them all up and marched them all out already, Joker knew, but even with such a heavy burden on their shoulders the team couldn’t afford to be all business all the time. That spelled out a one-way ticket to burnout, and if anything was to be slackened in this world, it couldn’t be one’s resolve.

So it was a little into the morning, about seven o’ clock, when the travelers finally massed in the center of Parnasse. Affected to various degrees by their sugary abodes, they went about their business alone or in small groups. Tora arrived alongside Sectonia, an odd pair if ever there was one, but neither looked ill at ease. Sporting a rather cheery disposition on display, Poppi stood by as Midna had her fill of the leftovers before the Thieves put them away. Questing eyes found a couple newcomers, including the genial Sly Cooper and the less-than-obliging Laharl. As neither obviously belonged here, Joker offered them the chance to join the merry bad for a while, at least until they got back on their feet. When Red arrived she preceded an eyebrow-raising procession. Fat Princess introduced herself with all the necessary pomp and circumstance, at her palanquin-bearers’ expense. For all the self-importance on display, however, the weighty woman brought with her not so much of a crumb of information or reward that the heroes didn’t already have.

While Tora didn’t anticipate that a land of cakes and candies might harbor a monarch, he found himself not in the least bit surprised by what she was like. The impression that this lady did nothing all day but eat and boss her poor subjects around seemed like a very real possibility. Her arrival did, at least, help get Yellow Team on its way. Tora and Poppi waved the chocolatey townsfolk goodbye as the heroes set off, guided two of the townsfolk. Ruki and Gnorbu evidently represented the sum total of Parnasse’s envoys to the outside world, with the former running the train between Sweet Canyon and the city that formed the heroes’ next destination: Al Mamoon. After a few rapid-fire questions at his fellow engineer meant to find out what a train actually was, Tora started looking forward to traveling on one a great deal. After all that running last night he sure wasn’t eager to repeat the feat in the heat of day!

Although according to the Princess it would be at least a day’s worth of gathering before the first shipment could be sent to Al Mamoon, and it was Gnorbu’s job to sell the sweets, he insisted on accompanying the group anyway as a guide. At a merry trot he led the saviors of Parnasse back the way they came the night before, toward the gingerbread railyard. “Over here!” he called, bringing the visitors over to the graham cracker door of a large shed. “We pulled the train in here so the machines wouldn’t smash it!” With a little muscle from Braum and Heavy Gnorbu revealed an altogether incredibly fitting locomotive. Proudly Gnorbu teased it from its housing and into the open, where everyone could marvel at its sweet splendor--and the fact that they’d be smelling desserts a while longer. “Hop on! We’ve got a long ride ahead of us!”

Tora took a moment to look back across Sweet Canyon. Never in his dreams could he have pictured such a fantastical place, but in the end, it fell far short of paradise. Killer machines, amber that could trap a hapless traveler forever, living treats that could turn you into food...and worse, that ever present cloying stickiness. The Nopon shuddered. “Don’t have tell Tora twice!”

Divided among the three different train cars, the heroes climbed aboard, and last-second arrangements were made. Necronomicon accepted Mona as a rider, as his black coat promised to catch another load of sweltering desert sun, and the other Phantom Thieves chose to forego their costumes or their everyday attire. Given the growth come about by her fusion, including her snake tail, Panther didn’t fit her unmodified clothes quite as well, but neither she nor Ryuji seemed to mind. Tora and Poppi opted to sit on top of the honeypot that formed part of the second train car, where they could leap into action at a moment’s notice. Blue Poison, thankful that this honey was fake for a change, cooped up inside, but there was still room for a few more in there. After a short time the whistle sounded. It was time to begin.

The train lurched to life, the heroes got underway, and Tora and Poppi quickly realized they needed to pull off some expert maneuvers to avoid the obstacles dangling in their path. Candy-cane branches, bulbous sugarplums, and clusters of bright red cherries all conspired to knock them from their high horse, but the duo held firm, and Tora even plucked himself a fruity souvenir. Before long the train chugged down a valley between two scrumptious pancake-stack hills and into the desert once more, which left Tora and Poppi with nothing to contend with but the desert wind whipping at their hair. And, of course, the heat. Neither of the dynamic duo missed it, but the one unable to utilize an onboard ice core to regulate his temperature enjoyed the hot surge decidedly less. “Eugh!” he groaned, disgusted. “Hopefully it not far to this Almoo place.”

Regardless, getting back out into the open was a nice change of pace, and being on a train was a blast. Traveling in the sheltered comfort of Vah Naboris was one thing, but here he could really feel the rush of the air For the first time he could really breathe deeply, although he had to turn against the wind to make sure he wasn’t huffing sand. Seeing nothing but syrup and sand for miles and miles did wonders to bring back that feeling of insignificance from before. Tora looked down to see stone supports beneath the tracks, which explained how the rails stayed up when the going got mucky. As the toothache-inducing archipelago fell further into the backdrop, the sand got more and more normal, until Tora realized that the group had reached a perfectly ordinary desert once more.

Still, the region wasn’t exactly featureless, as Poppi’s enhanced optics could attest. Off in one direction, she spotted strange lamp-shaped mountains. The couple of structures that surrounded them seemed man-made, but when she zoomed in on the distant figures running around them, ‘man-made’ no longer struck her as appropriate. Farther still the desert rose and turned grayish, becoming a sagging sprawl of buildings long since claimed by the scraping sands. In the other direction, toward the mountains that separated the Sandswept Sky from the Dead Zone, the terrain turned into an expanse of great, stony canyons.

Unfortunately for Tora, where the Yellow Team was right now was pretty boring. It wasn’t flat, and the train did cruise between great dunes, around valleys, and over chasms, but there was nothing really going on. After the first hour the thrill of riding a train had run its course, and he crawled over the honeypot’s front to look inside. “Hiya, meh! Everyone having good time in there?”

Edge of the Blue - Luma Pools


With his rather paranoid setup for determining Wiggler lethality laid down, Mirage soon found his attention captured by the sandy lakeside beach. His imagination propelled him to its surface, where its many piles hinted at the presence of unknown goodies just waiting to be uncovered. As his first attempt proved, not every gritty accumulation masked an object beneath, but the intrepid vacationer was not dissuaded. In short order he made his first lucky break, as in one fortuitous swipe uncovered the gleaming brazen circumference of a pirate doubloon! Though chipped it still shone with a fine luster, one that beckoned an eager mind to conjure up exhilarating stories of buried hoards and greedy buccaneers. Of course, his next attempt turned up a crab the size of a dinner plate. Less mean than it looked, the creature sidestepped for cover without even trying for a painful pinch, unless Mirage’s questing hand were to draw too near. Subsequent excavations revealed a smattering of loot; from the sand the hologrameer pulled a spotted egg, a bunch of shells, a fallen coconut, and even a fossilized skull of indisputable hardness.

His loot secured, could also take a look over at his experiment in progress to see the Wigglers back at it again, having gingerly wormed their snoots through the leaf litter to bask in the morning sun once again. Whether or not the trepidatious things would shove through a living being remained to be soon, but there were lots of other places to sunbathe.

Now that he could get a good look, the area west of the waterfall-fed lake appeared quite inviting, even if its sunbathing opportunities were limited. The lush forest continued in that direction, not so thick as to be overwhelming, but filled nonetheless with increasingly aquatic-looking life on land, from coral shrubs to the rare tall anemone among the pink-red fronds.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Potemking
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Member Online

LOCATION: Edge Of The Blue - Luma Pools
WORD COUNT: 1,311(+3 EXP)

Looking back from his trap, Elliot discovered the mound he had been scooping through had absolutely nothing! His disappointment was immensurable, but he pressed onward with his dig as these mounds had to have something, somewhere. He focused on his next target, scooping it away with his hands in a mixture of curiosity and desperation for this to not be a waste of his time. Luckily enough he felt something in his palms, fingers scrambling to snatch it and yoink it out of the mound. It appeared to be a coin of some sort, though the fact it was chipped was probably not a good sign. Still, he wiped it against his sleeve and found it was still rather pretty! It was the start of a win, and he'd take it. Pocketing the doubloon, he scavenged the rest of that same mound in search of more treasure, but found nothing. But it motivated him to move towards the next in hopes of more coins, possibly even shinier.

Due to the coin he found before, his next dig was a little more frantic. Fortunately enough Elliot noticed there was an unwanted guest inside the mound, in the form of a really grumpy looking crab. For a moment, he simply stared at it, hands recoiling to his chest in hopes of not getting pinched. It was an awkward moment of silence before it withdrew, skedaddling to go find a new home without an annoying adventurer to pest it. Unfortunately the mound was empty, but that just mean it was time to keep going.

He wasn't sure how long he was digging, but it had been a neat little haul of treasures. The sands had some beautiful shells he collected, wondering if he could do something with them later. Maybe if he had the right supplies, he could make a necklace of of them and keep it as a souvenir of his vacation. That was a cute and relaxing idea, just like the idea that came with the coconut he found next. Once he did relax, he could try to crack it open and take a drink. Though, he had to question if a buried coconut was good to drink... He'd sniff it or something later once he busted it open. For now, he moved on.

Elliot's excavation of the sand mounds finally started bearing some real fruit as he found what he at first assumed was just a really hard rock, but it had a strange pattern to it that made him curious. Lightly knocking his knuckles against it, he figured this thing would be really hard to break, and he wasn't sure if that'd do him any good. If anything, it was nifty to look at. And even if it was for the sake of hoarding cool collectibles, he'd keep it. Kinda heavy, though. He hoped that it was worth dragging home as something other than a souvenir.

Elliot had been growing a bit tired of digging, but decided on one last dig. The man stuck his hands into the mound and to his surprise, instantly hit pay dirt. The item felt smooth as he lightly tugged it out, his eyes widening at the sight of what it was: Some sort of... Egg?

"Now what's your story, little buddy?" He asked himself, gently holding the egg in his hands. He looked it over, noting it's spots. What a beautiful little egg, but he had no idea what sort of creature could be within. He looked between the egg and the sand mound, wondering if he'd done the right thing by pulling it out. The man bit the inside of his cheek, standing up as his thoughts weighed towards himself. He thought of the crazy wildlife that existed in this world, and had to wonder what was in this egg. And whatever it was, could he tame it possibly? He was, not admittedly, pretty lonely since he got here. Sure, there were plenty of folks to flirt with back in town, but he was low on friends. The idea of a mystery pet that would eventually hatch amused him, and that companionship potential made him feel a warmth he'd been lacking for awhile now.

He'd keep it. At worst, it wouldn't work out. He felt a sense of hope, and would hold onto the egg in an attempt to keep that hope. Whether that was a good or bad idea, he wasn't sure. But it was the one he'd make.

Done with his digging, Elliot went to check on how his trap was doing. Seeing those wiggly little creatures back out, he groaned. Good thing he didn't lay down, he didn't want those things touching him. That sort of left the spot unusable, so he'd need to find a better one. After collecting his things and trying to organize best he could, he kept the egg in his hand to try and keep it safe for the time being. Wandering away from his failure of a sunbathing spot, he noticed an assortment of strange, colorful looking anomalies on land. Perhaps the water level had been higher at one point, allowing for it to happen? He disregarded it, not sure if that really made sense. A lot of things in this world didn't make sense, at least from his perspective. But he'd just have to get over it, or at least figure it out later. The woods looked interesting, but maybe it was better to keep out here with his new little spotty friend on board.

Speaking of which, Elliot kept the egg close to his chest. His fingers fondly caressing the shell as he thought of the possibilities. Maybe it'd be some sort of big dragon one day, or some sort of dog. "Dogs don't hatch from eggs." He had to tell himself, feeling certain the possibilities were endless. It could be something he'd already seen, but he couldn't think of anything that looked like it laid eggs. That being said, he truly didn't know much about the creatures around here.

"Well now it's our vacation, so let's try and enjoy it." Elliot spoke to the egg, and basically, himself. What would he name it? Would he know if it's a boy, or a girl... Whatever it is? Ah, no matter, he'd try and think of a name that'd work great for a boy or girl! This egg was honestly a healthy distraction for the man, his negative thoughts drifting out of his mind as his vacation suddenly became a lot more interesting. After the work he'd done, he decided maybe it'd be good to take a little break with his new non-hatched friend, and sat down near the edge of the lake in a spot where the sun was coming down to provide a little extra heat for the duo. That old spot was a thing of the past, and the sight of the lake was honestly breathtaking, so this was okay, actually.

As he scanned the surface of the water, he looked for the strange innertube creature again. The idea of floating around on it was very tempting, though the fact it was alive was a bit of a deterrent as he wasn't sure of exactly what it could do if climbing on it made it angry. It looked uncanny, but cute? Truly it left conflicting emotions in the adventurer's heart. His silent observations allowed him to hear the rushing waters, and those damned noises coming from the direction of the ocean again. It was constant, and hard to notice when distracted, but when he was just sitting around like this? "What IS that??!" He questioned, fingers combing the egg in a wary manner. He had to admit to some curiosity regarding what could be making such a strange ear-worm of a noise, especially all the way out here, but for the moment he remained in his sitting position.

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Dark Cloud
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Dark Cloud When the spaghetti is done just right.

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Level/Experience: 3 (9/30 EXP)
Location: Edge of the Blue - Black Bay
Word Count: Less than 750 Words (+1 EXP)
@Yankee as Ace Cadet, @Archmage MC as Blazermate and @Gentlemanvaultboy as Link

His legs had almost given up on him and Glenn's vision slowly darkened, however fate had other plans for him when suddenly he was being pulled towards the waters surface by a large creature. 'Link? Where didst Link go?' frantically he pushed against the creature yet as it hoisted him and the automaton out of the flooded deck Glenn had a better view of the strange humanoid abyssal. 'Strange dost Link not wea-' then suddenly the amphibian dawned upon the realization that the creature was in fact Link.

However he got little time to speak to his now hulking friend as Link threw both him and the strange machine woman above deck and into the air, out of the frying pan and into the fire. As he flew through the air, Glenn swiftly drew Masamune from it's sheath and poised himself to strike yet he wondered where his companion Ace was as he hadn't appeared quite yet.

Glenn landed with a roll, and stood up as he spun around swinging his mighty blade in a wide arc. Cutting through some abyssal's aboard the prow where he had touched down, it seemed like the unending wave of enemies had been abated with all but a few or more still boarding Shippy's deck and Glenn took it upon himself to strike down the ones trying to get close to him or anyone who was still aboard the upper deck.

Soon enough he was making his way over to the Captain as Ace finally appeared and inquired Briney Beard as to what the plan now was to which the simple answer was 'abandon ship'.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

Member Seen 19 hrs ago

Collab Word Count: 1952 (+3 EXP)
Level: 1 Experience: 10/10 (LVL+) / Level: 3 - Total EXP: 32/30
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse
A Collaboration With
@Dark Cloud & @Yankee

Unable to rest, Laharl simply watched the goings-on of those still awake into the wee hours of the night with vague interest while the darkness of the sky slowly brightened with the warm glow of the sun peaking upon the horizon.

Yes he was definitely exhausted but still his mind was wracked with too many questions to allow himself even a moments rest, so he just sat idly by watching the townspeople going about as the day greeted them. A few others from the group he'd fought alongside were also waking. Laharl eyed the few that milled about the city center, still slightly annoyed from yesterdays events however even he needed to swallow some of his pride and ask just what the hell was going on.

'These fools must know something,' with a grunt he landed on the ground before the crumbling remains of the gingerbread house from which he had sat atop 'I'll make them eat this candy all around us if not!' he couldn't help but cackle at the thought, unbeknownst that the candy may actually do something bad. And so in the early morning he walked around looking for someone he saw from the battle the night before.

He found one of them standing a little ways off from the rest of the group, casually taking in the surroundings with her arms crossed. It was the woman whose spell he'd foiled, the one in the red outfit. Laharl stood out among all the sweet buildings, and so she noticed him immediately. From beneath her hood Primrose cast her gaze up and down his form. In the daylight, it appeared he really was as small as she thought last night. He was even shorter than Tressa. She wondered if he was a child, or if it was just his species... after all, he didn't look completely human, what with those pointed ears.

Either way he was probably lost and confused. Primrose had overheard some of the gossip about the others that had been trapped in the crystals - those that weren't already living in town more or less made off on their own. Not this one, though.

She waved to him, lifting one hand from where it rested on her arm and moving it a little. 'Hm? Agh! Uh, look like you didn't notice!' the boy, making a fool of himself looked directly at the woman in red but proceeded to act like he hadn't noticed it although he definitely had. Casually walking up to her as he nearly tripped on his own cape, and stumbling momentarily "Greeti-Agh!" he said before finally tumbling forward.

"Oh - " Primrose reached out to steady him, surprised by the sudden stumble. Maybe he really was a kid after all. "Alright there?" Laharl squeaked in response to the womans touch, despite how thankful he really was he simply flinched away with a bit of fear in his eyes that was soon masked over by his usual glare that probably looked anything but threatening to Primrose. "Of c-course I'm alright why wouldn't I be alright? Alright?" that was redundant but he cared little, it was embarrassing enough he had stumbled on his stupid cape.

Laharl crossed his arms defiantly and looked at Primrose closer, she kind of reminded him of Etna in a way which was strange as this lady was definitely not a demon like himself "Hmph, s-sorry..." unexpectedly he sighed, looking less contemptible but also a twinge of pain made him scrunch up his face at the apology he made "I am Laharl, Overlord of the Netherworld and the strongest demon in existence!" he introduced himself before Primrose could comment about the odd reaction he just had, and puffed up his chest trying to look tough and act like a total badass with his cool armroll. Very unimpressive to anyone watching but in his mind he believed it.

Ah, so it's like that. Primrose took a step back, settling her weight on one leg. She pulled down her veil, and through her hood remained on from Laharl's perspective her full face was on display. Curly brown hair framed her visage. Conventionally, she was pretty. Attractive. She'd staked her trade on that when she arrived in the Sunlands years ago. A small mole below her lower lip brought her whole look together. She smiled at Laharl, kind - and not as performative an expression as it otherwise would have been. She had somewhat of a soft spot for children.

"Of course you are," she said. If her tone wasn't so soft at the moment her words might have come off as demeaning. "My name is Primrose. It's nice to meet you." She nodded to him. She hadn't missed his aversion to being touched. That was something she sympathized with.

"Netherworld, hm? So not from around here." Intimating, was a more appropriate term for how Primrose looked in the young demons eyes and her tone didn't go unnoticed by Laharl yet however he found himself unable to raise his voice.

He simply glowered at her with an irritated look on his face "No I am not from around here, obviously." Laharl made a point of huffily raising his chin like a noble brat "Are you?" he asked after a moment, it seemed obvious his noble act had little effect on Primrose and probably wouldn't make her want to divulge the information he wanted so he probably would need to change his tune. As it was now, she seemed more amused than anything.

"No," she said, and left it at that for a few long moments. They stood in silence. Then the crook of Primrose's mouth turned up again and she asked of the young demon, "Do you have anywhere to go?" elicting a heavy sigh of exasperation from him in response "No, I was hoping you could assist me?" he said rather bluntly, tired of playing around and falling into one tirade after another "You know as thanks for my assistance?"

"Your assistance," the dancer repeated. She tilted her head as though she were considering whether or not to help Laharl out. She felt a little badly for him, a boy on his own who was clearly trying to put on a strong facade. Briefly, she looked towards where the rest of the group was mingling before she turned back and gave Laharl a proper answer.

"There is a safe place I know of, but I'm not sure how difficult the way back will be. As for our group, we are moving on. Ahead. We've picked up a handful of new people along the way, I'm sure another won't hurt..." She paused, drumming her fingers along her upper arms. If she had Laharl's personality pegged, then she should probably play along with his Overlord charade. "That is, if you care to lend us more of your assistance. Who knows, we may very well need it." Laharl cracked a smile, 'At last! My greatness has finally been recognized!' the demon boy looked quite proud with himself for being so great, it was stroked his ego and he was quite self-satisfied in his own awesomeness that he sort of got caught up in the moment "UHAHAHA! Of course you'll need my assistance! I'm the strongest demon in existence!" he explained cockily to Primrose after laughing at the top of his lungs..

"So you are," Primrose replied, the amused little smile still on her face. "Well, I can introduce you to the others if you like. If you have any questions I can do my best to answer." the boy simply scoffed in response "I can introduce myself, but if your that desperate then fine!" he said with a smug grin, shrugging at the question "I want to know why I'm even here, I was with my vassals one moment but then nothing..." Laharl sounded frustrated and his brow furrowed, as nothing seemed to add up.

"That..." Primrose turned her stare from the demon's shining red eyes to the sky, where Galeem's light shone as a second sun. "I'm not sure if you will understand, but everyone was taken from their home worlds, and all of those worlds were mixed together." he followed her gaze and frowned "You mean that my world...No longer exists?" Laharl knitted his brows and looked at Primrose with worry in his expression "No, I was trying to claim my fathers throne! No this isn't fair! I had a job to do! Why?" he hollered with a distressed look in his eyes, Laharl's body language suggested a boiling rage that was slowly bubbling to the surface. He felt like everything he had done amounted to nothing and that he was without purpose now, believing it more than he had before.

Primrose stayed quiet, letting the young demon get his rage out. That she could understand as well. She had some unfinished business in her own world after all. Once his outburst was finished she gently followed up her statement. "We're all hoping that once that light, Galeem, is defeated that everything will go back to normal. That is the reason we're traveling, gathering allies and spirits, power."

'Power...' that was a concept the boy understood as it was the very thing his world revolved around as no weakling could rule the Netherworld and stay untouched, no strength was respected and regarded highly amongst the demonic hierarchy. Primrose mentioned a name too Galeem, that name sounded quite demonic however he had never heard of it.

"Your all...Working together to beat this Galeem? Right? Weird..." he said mostly talking to himself, it wasn't something he generally was used to asides from having his vassals fight with him but maybe this was similar in a way "What was that about spirits? Like ghosts?" Laharl played with the hem of his long scarf idly as he asked the question.

"Not exactly..." Primrose sighed, wondering how to go about an explanation of something she herself didn't know much about. She'd gotten all the same information as everyone else at the Alcamoth, and had learned much more experiencing everything first hand yesterday, but the details on how everything worked eluded her. Still, she did her best to summarize. "Yesterday, when those metal creatures were destroyed, did you see those bright orbs their bodies left behind...? Those were their spirits. You can use them in various ways. Crushing them, bonding with them, fusing with them..."

As she spoke, Primrose demonstrated with her hands - she cupped them together and pressed in hard, then brought her palms up, one on her chest and the other her forehead.

"I suppose each way has it's advantages, and disadvantages." She didn't elaborate anymore than that, after all Laharl was still "Gleaming," and he didn't appear weak enough to be freed just yet. Even if she'd wanted to, it looked like while she and the demon were speaking a lot more of their group showed up in the town's center. Now that nearly everyone was present, it seemed it was almost time to get going. The dancer gestured towards the others.

"Seems we will be heading out soon." but he stood there for a moment in silence, his red eyes looking at those gathered in the square. His eyes were narrowed as he watched them, but after a second he nodded his head slightly acknowledging her comment finally "I'll be coming with you, but only you Primrose. You will make an excellent fri-Vassal!" the boy coughed into his fist, aware that he almost called her a friend and therefore had to make a fool of himself by childishly playing it off "Yes an excellent vassal! But never mind that, let's go!" he pumped a fist into the air, and excitedly exclaimed. Primrose suppressed a chuckle. Even when she abandoned her life as a noblewoman no one had tried making her into a "vassal." She could foresee some personality clashes going forward, but they'd cross that bridge when they got to it.

Word Count: 902 (+2 exp)
Level: 4 - Total EXP: 4/40
Location: Sandswept Sky

𝙱𝙿 ●●●●

True to her word, Primrose led Laharl to the group and introduced him as "Overlord of the Netherworld," knowing the title would make the demon chuffed. Although most of the Yellow Team still couldn't say that they knew the dancer very well, she was positively radiating with amusement, making it plain to see that she seemed to be playing along with some game. She noticed that another new face was among the crowd, one that seemed closer to Fox in appearance than anyone else. The size of their group was a little unwieldy, but with so many different abilities and expertise it also made them a force to be reckoned with.

Strangers joining them wasn't an uncommon experience, given how often it happened in just a couple of days, but being greeted by a royal entourage was. Apparently this princess only ruled over the land of sweets though, and they still had farther to go before they encountered who (or what) they were really looking for.

Al Mamoon... Cowlipha... don't tell me we will end up in a milk and dairy land... The dancer near shuddered at the thought. She'd had quite her fill with the candy already.

They left Parnasse. Primrose didn't completely follow the brief conversation Tora had with the Neopet, but she gathered that they'd be traveling on the vehicle that was meant for the rail they followed into the sweet canyon in the first place. She'd thought perhaps it would look similar to Mona's wheeled form, but to no one's surprise it was cute, fragrant, and decorated with sweets. Thankfully, these treats seemed like replicas, and not the real deal. Also thankfully, the train was large enough to fit the lot of them, but only just.

Primrose walked along the length of the locomotive before she decided on the third car. Maybe that giant fruit statue could provide some shade for when the sun rose a little higher. She stood in front of the car, looking up at it for a few moments. Behind her, Braum cleared his throat.

"Need a lift?"

She flicked her gaze at him, from impressive mustache to the huge gaudy belt. "No, thank you."

"Come now, it will take no time at all to give you a boost with this!" He laughed and presented the giant shield we carried with him, the same one he'd used to defend her last night. He did have a point, too. Primrose gestured for him to bring the shield to bear and he did. She jogged towards him and hopped up towards the shield, and with his might Braum pushed it and sent the dancer up into the air. It was more force than Primrose expected, but she was a professional - and after a split second panic while airborne she landed cleanly beside the giant kiwi.

"See? That wasn't so bad."

Primrose clicked her tongue, but she nodded a thank you to Braum and waved him off to wherever he was going, probably to help others climb aboard. She settled down, sitting close to one of the cream dollops with her back against the fruit and her legs stretched out in front of her. When the train began to move she braced herself, but the ride was relatively smooth. It remained smooth for a long time, as the sweet canyon gradually changed back into the sand of a normal desert. The patch job Galeem had done with the worlds left a lot to be desired, if the Lord of Light saw fit to drop that kind of place right in the middle of the Sandswept Sky.

Primrose leaned her head back against the kiwi. Her hood and veil were in place again, and she let her eyes slip closed as she fell into her thoughts like she often did. She recalled that Ophilia might call it meditating. The young cleric often did the same, praying to Aelfric for a safe journey. Many of her companions weren't the praying type, Primrose among them, but whenever she indulged Ophilia she did feel a little better for it.

Aelfric... Sealticge, Lady of Grace... who even knows if you are out there. If you are, grant me some of my power back. I will need it for the journey ahead. She wanted to get back to where she came from and finish what she started, but she knew it would be a long road before then. First though, she wanted to make sure that she could follow that road and make it out alive. If possible, with everyone else as well. The first to come to mind were the younger ones. Primrose blinked her eyes open and lifted her head. At some point the Phantom Thieves had donned their casual outfits again, and every since earlier Laharl had been hovering close by. She turned her head, seeing Tora and Poppi on the car in front of her, joined by a few others. The rest were on the car behind, all relaxing or chatting. Things felt calm, despite Primrose's more serious thoughts.

A particularly hot wind blew in front the front of the train. Primrose lifted a hand to her hood, keeping it in place while the air whipped her hair and clothes. She felt a warmth settle somewhere in the back of her mind and knew that she'd remembered something that could help them all once they got to their destination.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by ZAVAZggg
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ZAVAZggg Sok Il-Seong

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Level: 3 (8/30)
Word Count: 443
Location: Edge of The Blue - Creature Beach
EXP: +1

Sephiroth brushed the sand from her garments, and a few of her wounds, as she shakily rose to her feet. Lips smacking, she tried to search for something to drink that wasn't seawater, to little success. What sources she did find were either too dirty or too salty, and even if they hadn't been, there was something deep inside that told her they wouldn't be enough to quench her thirst anyway. Growing more agitated as time went on, the former SOLDIER began to pace back and forth along the beach. Although in all honesty her gait was more like a drunken hobble thanks to the piece of rigging that had been torn off the night before. Well that and her thirst, which had intensified somehow. Whereas before she felt extremely parched, now she felt as though someone were shoving a sandpaper covered cylinder down her throat. Desperate to find some means of alleviating her thirst, she suddenly remembered the items she'd retrieved the night before. One of which just so happened to be a vial of blood.

Pulling it free from the pocket in which it had been sequestered, Sephiroth held it up to the sun, watching as the light set the crimson ichor aglow. Then, operating under what she could only describe as a feeling of pure impulse, she wrenched the cork free and began to drink until the container was empty. A wave of refreshment and energy surged through her body, the loopy daze she had been in only seconds ago fleeing like ice before a flame. Invigorated, she decided to hold on to the empty vial for now and even went so far as to pick up the cork in order to seal it again. Her reasoning for this being that, eventually, she would run across something it could hold. Thirst taken care of, Sephiroth proceeded to turn her attention towards her surroundings. Taking note of the fact she was on some kind of beach, she decided to head to higher ground, keen on figuring out what landmarks were around so she didn't end up getting lost down the road. As she went however, Sephiroth couldn't help but wonder why she'd been afflicted with such a thirst, nor why blood had seemed to cure it though her mind was already working on possible solutions. The most convincing of these was that it had something to do with her encounter on the estate, as she could still recall the sickly warmth that flooded through her after the courtesan pierced her chest.

In the end, however, she still had no idea what those creatures had done.

Nor what she herself had become.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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Build Mission - Connecting the Hamlet

After a good twenty minutes of arguing, the team finally reached a consensus that satisfied everyone--namely, the rather headstrong and insistent King Dedede, since the consensus was that everyone else would do the work of building a trade route and he would supervise. Steve voiced no objections, or anything else for that matter. Meanwhile both the fairness-minded Shovel Knight nor an unruly Knuckles made their disapproval known, but agreeing that leaving all the labor to Steve would be even more unfair, they grudgingly agreed to the braggadocious king’s plan. With their excavating prowess the dissenters would tame the land, and across it the angular craftsman would construct his road of packed dirt, bordered by stretches of fence and dotted by Steve’s peculiar torches, which never seemed to go out.

And so, with a broad smile on his beak the ponderous penguin waddled out from Lumbridge, crossing the bridge past the hill where Ryu so often meditated to the sprawling plains beyond. The afternoon sun shone down across miles and miles of rolling grassland, intermittent copses of trees, and the odd geological rarity. From here Dedede couldn’t catch so much as a glimpse of the settlement this route would eventually reach, but it was out there nonetheless, and for his part the king wanted to see it. After all, anywhere inhabited by civilized pigs surely boasted some good eating.

“Raight hea oughta work!” He stuck out his mitten and beckoned at his squad of Waddle Dees. One round minion separated himself from the crowd and handed his king a wooden post, which Dedede planted in the ground. With one smack from his mighty mallet he drove it in. Clonk! “Ahaha! Every journeh begins with a single step, and Ah decleah we’re beginnin’ raight hea!” When he laughed, his belly shook. “Ah say, hammerin’ them posts is heaps o’ fun. If Ah take care uh that, maybe yew belly-achers’ll quit lookin’ at me crossways, hm?” He glanced back at the others as if daring them to start complaining again. Steve, meanwhile, had already started tamping down the soil. Even one touch from his spade seemed able to treat a few cubic feet of ground at a time, which to Dedede wasn’t just magic, but incredibly useful. With him around, an impossibly arduous challenge suddenly seemed like a chore that could be done in time for dinner.

He took a few steps forward then held his waggling mitt out again. “C’mon, gimma anotha!”

One timid Waddle Dee stepped forward, but he wasn’t carrying anything. Dedede’s brow furrowed. “Whea’s the post, son?”

“That was the only one!” his underling quavered. “Steve is the only one who knows how to make them!”

The king rubbed his chin. “Is that right? Weall, Jus’ ask ‘im ‘ow! Steve mah boah, whah doncha show mah li’l Waddle Dees ‘ow t’do that craftin’ o’ yers? Ah kin ‘ave ‘em go ‘n collect whatever ya need, long as they got the tools.”

Nodding, the builder pulled a block out of his pocket and set it down. It expanded into a workbench, and the Waddle Dees gathered around to watch. Steve arranged pieces of wood to make sticks, then sticks and wood to make a pickaxe, a shovel, a wood axe, and even a set of three fences. How he was able to just change raw materials into finished products without hours of labor on each one Dedede had no idea, but it certainly impressed him. “Hot diggety, that’s one heckuva trick! Think ya got it nailed down, l’il Dees?”

His minions offered vague noises of reassurances that proved a little too effective. Satisfied, the king nodded officiously, and extended his mitten to the horizon. “Awlraighty then! Let’s hit the road, boahs!”

And they did.

Naturally the team rubbed up against some friction while trying to put their imperfect plan to work, the hours dragged on, they settled into a productive rhythm. Their process, shaky at first, got better with each leg of the trip across the plains. With his burrowing Knuckles scouted ahead to get both the lay of and the feel for the land, and he brought his reports of obstacles and resources back to Dedede. Though the others had worried -with reasonable cause for concern- that the King might just laze around and let everyone else do the work, he soon proved himself a capable foreman. Once given the details of the upcoming terrain, Dedede dispatched his Waddle Dees to gather wood, dirt, and stone with the tools made by Steve, while he clobbered any hostile wildlife that arose to threaten his minions. Shovel Knight lent a hand to defense and excavation, ensuring bountiful harvests. Some of the materials went to crafting replacements as the Dees’ axes, shovels, and picks broke, but the rest went to construction. With dizzying speed Steve laid down stretches of fence and the cobblestone road, although he left the dirt footpaths on either side to his chivalrous teammate’s shovel. And wherever the team paused to take a break, everyone pitched in to build a rest stop with back-to-back wooden benches beneath a shaded overhang.

Work continued over hill and dale, through wood and crag. The team cut a path across vast fields of vibrant flowers and billowing wheat. They ran into wild animals, cheeky implings, and even lonesome farmhouses. Dedede invariably elected to divert the roads to connect the scattered domiciles, even if they were a little out of the way, explaining that he wanted nothing more than to expand his kingdom even as he imagined the little homes being wiped away by the Land of Adventure’s regeneration. Still, the mercenaries made good progress all through the day and deep into the afternoon, until Knuckles ran back with some news.

Dedede looked up from his half-eaten apple, fetched from the leaves of a fallen tree, to see the red echidna on his way in a hurry. “Hm? Whah yew runnin’ like yer pants on fire theah, fella?”

In a cloud of dust Knuckles slid to a stop. “Well, I’ve got good news and bad news, and I’ll save ya the trouble of askin’. Spotted the Hamlet up ahead, finally.”

“Oho, that is good news!” Shovel Knight roared. “My muscles haven’t ached like this in ages, and I’ve shoveled my way through entire questlines!”

Knuckles looked annoyed that he’d been interrupted. “Well, don’t kick your heels just yet, ‘cause before we reach the Hamlet we’ve got a real problem. A canyon that makes that ravine’s we’ve seen so far look like cracks in the sidewalk.”

“Canyon? Sidewalk? Boah, yew ain’t makin’ a lick-a sense,” Dedede said, waddling forward to see for himself. “If theah was somethin’ big like that in the way we woulda been told about it.” But sure enough, once the overgrown penguin crested the next hill with the others at his back, he beheld a rift in the ground of elephantine proportions.

A few moments later, Dedede stood on the edge of the precipice, his eyes about as wide as they could get. “What in tarnation?! It’s dang near bottomless!” He turned around to see Steve deep in thought. “But it ain’t nothin’ t’worry about, ‘cause yew kin just build stee-raight across, raight?”

The silent craftsman’s strange face did not convey emotion well, but his expression spoke of anything but certainty. Nevertheless he placed a workbench, pulled a heap of leftover stone from his inventory, and began to craft slabs, stairs, and walls. Taking what assurance he could get, Dedede gave a nod and clapped Steve on the shoulder. “Good man! Yew git busy, and we’ll pull the road ‘round this way.”

He left after ordering a number of his Waddle Dees to stick around and help out Steve. The others followed suit, less than convinced by a solution that seemed a little too good to be true. About twenty minutes later the road was almost connected, but a loud crack hastened the crew back to where Steve was working. When they arrived they were surprised to see the makings of a sturdy-looking stone brick bridge already well underway, courtesy of the newly-built furnaces beside its anchoring point, but their maker stood by with a somewhat glum expression. A quick exhibition revealed that as strong as the bridge looked, even one block farther out over the void would cause a portion of it to crumble away.

Dedede removed his hat to scratch his noggin. “Yeah, that tracks. Ain’t practical to jus’ keep on buildin’ straight over nothin’. Bridges gotta have support.” When Knuckles gave him an incredulous look that all but said yes, but how did you know that?, the King puffed himself up. “What? I gotta know a li’l architecture so I kin keep buildin’ up mah castle!” Although he looked pretty proud, he didn’t dilly-dally for long, but instead stepped out onto the bridge.

Shovel Knight reached out a cautionary hand, saying “Uh, sire? Won’t it buckle under thy...?” only to get cut off as Knuckles returned the favor from earlier, interrupting him with a sharp shh! Yet nothing happened as the king made his way out toward the edge and stood on the stone promontory.

As best he could judge it, the partially collapsed bridge reached about a third of the way across. He looked over his shoulder as best he could. “Hey, Steve! If Ah kin getcha ‘cross, think yew kin finish the bridge?” At first the builder looked doubtful, but an idea came to him that made him nod. Dedede turned back, stepped toward the edge, and jumped. He ignored the shouts of alarm from behind as he puffed himself up, literally this time, and hovered across the rest of the gap. After he landed on the canyon’s opposite side, he dusted himself off and made the return journey, enjoying the surprise of his teammates the whole time.

Knuckles ran up as he landed. “You can fly? That would have been good to know! All I can do is glide.”

“Thou canst glide?” Shovel Knight’s head jerked between the two of them. “I mayest only pogo jump with mine shovel!”

Steve jumped a short distance into the air, then looked at his feet, disconsolate.

“Buck up, mah boah!” Dedede encouraged him, pushing through the others. “‘Cause today’s yer lucky day. Ready t’fly?”

For a brief moment Steve bore an excited smile, but then Dedede casually sucked him up and took off. Shovel Knight and Knuckles looked between one another, the former shaking his head as the latter shrugged. A few moments later Dedede spat Steve back out on the other side, and though he seemed less than pleased, the craftsman got to work.

They didn’t have long to wait, because as it turned out Steve needed more materials than he carried on him, and only Dedede could bring him what his other teammates gathered. Suddenly the king found himself in the exhausting position of having to hover back and forth, back and forth. “This ain’t fair! This ain’t fair!” he wheezed, tears streaming from his eyes, as the others looked on.

“You can do it!” Knuckles grinned as he shouted his encouragement. “Just think of it as your responsibility as king! You must do what no-one else can!”

“Dadgummit!” Dedede gasped as he landed to drop a pile of stone. He wiped his brow and gulped in what air he could before taking off once more. “Guhh...heavy is the head that wears the crown!”

After what felt like an eternity the two halves of the bridge finally met in the middle. Dedede collapsed, chest heaving, as the others spanned the final section with planks of wood. His Waddle Dees gathered him up and carried him to the other side, and the others followed behind. “Not bad,” the echidna conceded while the penguin was semi-conscious. “If you’re willin’ to go the distance like that, maybe you’re half the king you say you are.” Even with their glorious leader indisposed, Shovel Knight and Knuckles knew break time was over, and alongside the now quite practiced Waddle Dees got back to work.

When Dedede roused himself, he realized he’d been laid to rest in the shade of a small copse uphill from the canyon. He sat up to see the tall, thin buildings of the Hamlet arrayed before him just ahead, the road almost complete. A whole host of pigs had gathered to welcome their visitors. Knuckles poked him in the ribs, and Dedede stood although his bones didn’t feel a thing. Shovel Knight chuckled as he watched him get up. “So, thou art finally awake? Good timing! We mayest make our heroic arrival to yonder Hamlet as one!”

“We’re heah then, ah we?” Dedede shouldered his mallet and smiled. “Let’s not keep ‘em waitin’!” Pausing only to brush the leaves from his royal cape, the king strutted out into the open with his team and procession of Waddle Dees right behind, waving to the joyful pigs. Steve finished up the last of the road as the citizens watched, and after the last cobblestone was laid, the Hamlet gave their saviors a warm welcome.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Gentlemanvaultboy
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Hyrule Warriors

Word Count: 1667

Level 4 - (34/40) + 2

Level 9 - (4/90) + 2


Location: The Edge of Blue ~ The Chaotic Sea

@Yankee@Lugubrious@Zoey Boey

There were a few things Link had to attend to before he began his undersea assault, the first of which was the Cadet tapping him on the shoulder. At first Link looked at him incredulously, in a "why did you come down here this is the opposite way you should have gone" kind of way, before the Cadet handed something over to him. A liquid swirled around in a bottle. He wasn't sure what it would do exactly, but he was familiar enough with potions himself to recognize one when he saw it. Might have been healing, judging by the Cadets spore trick from yesterday. He nodded and gave the Cadet a big thumbs up as the boy turned and began swimming to the surface, letting the potion vanish into the slate where he could get at it quickly.

Two more things. First, helmet back on. It was dented, but that dent was proof it had saved his life. Next, new shoes on. Unfortunately the slate recognized everything on his lower body as one article of clothing, so he was left with just the new boots and his underwear. That was whatever. It wasn't like the Hylian Trousers would block the abyssals shots or teeth, and he could already feel the reduction in drag from a few experimental flutter kicks. The only downside was that it felt uncomfortable exposed.

He raised his arms and aimed toward the abyssals above him. Maybe, just maybe, he could get one of them to drop the pants.

So Link went on the attack, zooming around under the water, keeping pace with the ship easily, and shooting at the exposed underbelly of any abyssal unfortunate enough to ender his range. Of course there comes a time in any surprise attack the enemy realizes what's going on, and the abyssals were no different. Some alarmed peeks beneath the waves by survivors led to diving attacks on the imposter in their midst. Link was fast underwater, but only as fast as any random abyssal and far less experienced with their underwater movement. The little bit of reduced drag more than once was the difference between swimming free and being caught in the jaws of a monster. Link maneuvered as quickly as he was able, keeping the backs of his arms between him and his pursuers whenever possible so that he could block their shots and return fire. When he had to breath he did so in purposely distinctive style, shooting to the surface and breaching several feet into to air to catch a quick breath. Once he had done this what he judged to be enough times that those on the ship could recognize it was him he started leaping for these breaths near the ships gun battery, leading his harassers right into the range of Ms. Fortune's relentless lead assault.

He was just cutting back through the stricken results of one of these displays, grabbing up and smashing at least four of the spirits Ms. Fortune had blown away and crushing them in his quest for pants, when a loud BOOM rocked the waters surface and he watched in horror as one of the ships guns crashed into the water behind him. He was so taken of guard he momentarily forgot about the remains of his pursuers until he saw a few red hot shots whizz past him in the water. He shot forward toward the gun, pulling out the slate and selecting the rune that had appeared in it this morning.

It a moment the descent of the battery ceased as chains of light wrapped themselves around it, binding the thin in space. He pulled his arms forward, unleashing a withering barrage of artillery fire on the broken piece of equipment, but strangely it didn't seen to react in any way. Link dived, ducking underneath it before maintaining his original course.

"3..." He counted to himself. Timing was everything for this.

The abyssals followed, right on his tail.


He spun and faced them, shields raised, ready to make a stand.


Then he suddenly shot up as the battery thundered through the water like a cannon ball, slamming the attacking group in the backs and scattering them like broken nine pins. He watched with pride as they dissolved and the battery sped off into the distance. At least he still had the timing down for that. He swam after the ship, taking the momentary respite he'd bought himself to notice something odd floating in the water. Curiously he picked it up and squished it a couple of times in his hand. Pliable. Brown. Cylindrical. He turned it over. Yep, that was definably mea..."

A moment later Link burst up from the water and tossed the segment of Ms. Fortune's calf he had found, overarming it back onto the deck like he had Frog and Blazermate. "Sorry!" He shouted, unnaturally pale face slightly red. He shook it. "I mean, are you okay? Is the rest of you still up there, Ms. Fortune?"

It turned out, however, that they had bigger problems to worry about. Much, much, much bigger. In every way. The door they were fighting toward was thrown open and what awaited them on the other side was both a woman and a monster. He looked down at his own hands as the thing reached down and pulled up a squirming horde of abyssals. He suddenly felt very inadequate. That thing could crush Shippy in one hand.

Now that he was on the surface he could hear properly again. The explosion's. The churning of the water. The voice of a girl. He looked over to see Sakura leave on the abyssals floating on the surface, alive but out of the fight. He had passed by a few when he had come close to the surface. So that explained that. It was an indecisive way to do things but he couldn't blame her for it. He had never killed something that looked as human as some of these, at least to his knowledge.

He also couldn't figure out a way to get the giant monsters attention attention away from the Admiral's ship, at least not from a range like this. Luckily for him the old Koopa seemed to have a plan. A ball of light began to float above the circle of wizards, growing bigger and brighter with each passing second. Unfortunately that might as well have been a giant "come kill me" sign.

"HOI!" He yelled over to Sakura. "Don't let any of them interrupt the spell!" With that Link turned his cannons on the next wave of enemies and let loose, actually standing his ground. They couldn't afford to let any bored this ship right now.


Merge Rate: 30%

Location: The previous day, in the Frozen Highlands ~ Snowdin ~ Bar Survive

Much like her own words, Albedo's left Linkle with a lot to unpack. The first thing, the quick right hook that had knocked her out of the funk she had fallen into while telling her story and made her sit up, was that comment about her being too pure and good for this world. For the first time today she was made aware of an advantage her lack of blood flow provided, because if the plumbing had been working her face would have been as red as a fresh picked apple. There was a certain implication that, yes, morally speaking the Hero had to be a cut above other people and have a nearly unshakable characters but...just...Goddess, hearing it put like that was embarrassing. Like winning a race because the kid in front of you tripped, it felt wrong. She wasn't that good. She couldn't be that pure. If that was Linkle, than what was Princess Zelda? The Princess would have to be completely inhuman, like the sun shining at the center of the universe.

As far as opening salvos did, though, it performed wonderfully. It was so jarring it knocked all her other thoughts out of Linkle's head and left her open for the rest of what Albedo has to say. That was what really built her back up, and slowly the girl felt herself start smiling again.

"You've got that right." She said confidently, even is she didn't know what a preschool was. "I've been at this ever since I could hold a slingshot." She pounded on her chest, right above where he heart would be. "Now way this thing will ever get the better of me. You're right. It's just like the Stranger. If you're invincible why try more than you have to, right? Just wait." Linkle hadn't even been close to starting to give up. No way. No Way! It was just nice having someone else confirm it with stuff like reason and logic. The Skull Heart had just noticed a tiny chink in her heart and gone for it, but that only proved its desperation. It was just a starving animal scratching at her door.

"Still, I don't think I can beat it by swapping bodies like that." She said, a little more level headed than before. "Even if there were enough really bad people to gather the dust from I don't think I would be the same after doing it. The way you described it I might just come out of it evil anyway from all that evil dust. So it looks like I just have to find the right seam and give it a tug."

Suddenly, a thought occurred. Spurned on by this talk of their imperfect world Linkle looked him in the eye. "Right! That reminds me. I still haven't told you anything about the world." She knocked her knuckle against the side of her skull. "Sorry, I lost the track a little. Get ready for this, because before you wouldn't have believed it. First of all, what's the last thing that you remember before you were brought to this world?"
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Tora & Poppi

Level 8 Tora (73/80) and Level 8 Poppi (46/80)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Sweet Canyon - Parnasse
Primrose's @Yankee, Fox's @Dawnrider, Sectonia's @Archmage MC Midna's @DracoLunaris, Yoshitsune's @Rockin Strings, Red’s @TheDemonHound, Laharl’s @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 806

Tora found the occupants of the honeypot on the uncommunicative side, so after a quick exchange of pleasantries he hauled himself back up with Poppi’s help. Once back in his regular sitting position, he noticed that there appeared to be a storm a-brewing up ahead. Clouds of sand dancing on the wind had been ever-present since entering the appropriately named Sandswept Sky, but this one left the rest behind. It stretched from the desert floor hundreds of feet into the air, less a cloud and more a wall, and it was really moving--it billowed and whirled with remarkable speed. And the tracks led right for it. “Uhh…”

As if on cue, shouts from Gnorbu belted out of the intercoms in the third and fourth train cars, though Tora and Poppi were near enough to the engine to hear the ‘pet outright. Drawn by his voice, they also saw for the first time that both the merchant and the engineer sported ropes tied around their middles. “Everyone brace yourselves!” Gnorbu called. “We’ve got an upswell ahead, right over Hollow Heights! Normally we tie the stuff we transport down, but today’s a special case, so hold onto something if you don’t want to fly! And believe me, you don’t wanna sail away over Hollow Heights! ...And despite my joking tone, I am deadly serious, so buckle up, for real!”

Though a little on the nervous side already, Tora chuckled. “Aha, well, at least we not need worry, right Poppi?”

His companion’s brows narrowed as she zoomed in on the storm ahead of them. “If wind really strong and sand thick, Poppi may not be able to find or catch if Masterpon go flying.”

Tora winced, his nervous laugh back in full force, and focused forward. The train bore down on the upswell with surprising speed, too much speed really; it seemed like he barely got any time to mentally prepare himself at all before the swirling chaos loomed right in front of him. He gulped and rolled into his stomach to wrap his wings around the honeypot, while Poppi -less than confident herself- grabbed the back of his overalls. Inexorable as death, all-devouring the wall of sand raced toward them. It swallowed the engine, then the second car, and the duo were inside.

A scream tore free from Tora’s throat as he hurled from the honeypot, ripped away by the sheer force of the wind. Poppi hurtled away right behind, her grip on Tora’s clothes locked tighter than a drum. Only after a moment did her processors kick in and she twisted to right herself, thrusters at full power against the overwhelming wind. Luckily she could see inside the storm just fine, with everything darker and yellower than normal but otherwise pretty much fully visible, and thanks to that she could orient herself toward the train and boost its way with everything she could muster. She fought the wind with every ounce of energy her Ether Furnace put out, and still for the few terrifying moments her hand stretched for the edge of the caboose it didn’t seem like she was going to make it. Her hair flapped like mad, her furnace burned, and something big missed her by centimeters as it flew by. Finally she managed to bring her fist around literally punch into the train car’s bronze piecrust, making a handhold she could lock into. Necronomicon had a similar idea, holding onto the third train car for dear life with all of her tentacles. Tora wailed the entire time, and only after securing herself did Poppi realize she’d been screaming too. When she actually looked around, she could scarcely blame Tora, either.

To either side of the tracks the ground had fallen away. The train was racing on a bridge of iron girders across an immense hole in the ground, with no bottom visible no matter how deep Poppi looked. To her surprise, the edge of the hole were not sheer cliffs, but stacks upon stacks of girders, struts, and columns holding up the ground, with sand piled high at the edges and spilling over in places like waterfalls. The supports extended into the darkness beneath the ground in every direction as far as she could see. ‘Hollow Heights’, she realized, truly did not do this place justice. From the infinite depths the freakish winds welled up, dancing like manic revellers and piping through the miles of rusted supports like some insane god. It took a little while for Tora to tire himself out and quiet down, but his wild heartbeat never slowed, and Poppi never unlocked her grip. She couldn’t feel any elation at having narrowly escaped death--not when she remembered that thing that nearly hit her earlier. Together with Necronomicon they sailed behind the train like a bizarre flag, and waited out the storm.

Ms Fortune

Level 3 Nadia (18/30)
Location: Black Bay
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Hat Kid's @Dawnrider, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 1544

No sooner did the Harbor Demon Princess appear than the nearest couple dozen shipgirls turn their weapons her way, too galvanized by fear and instinct to realize that was just what their enemy wanted. A voice roared over the Navy communications using one of the Commander-level override lines. “Don’t forget the small ones!” whoever it was bellowed. “They’ll slaughter you up if you focus on the Demon!” Still, the new threat could not be brushed aside. Everyone who could turned their weapons’ the monsters way. In reply the Demon lifted up one of her oversized arms for use as a shield to protect her head and chest. Exploding shells and sprayed bullets made quick work of her sodden sleeve, but dealing damage to the arm itself presented a challenge. As solid as rock and without the propensity to chip, the hardened flesh of her arm soaked up all the punishment the Navy could dole out like it was nothing. Unfazed, her main cannon adjusted the last few degrees, and fired.

A couple hundred feet from the Jackdaw the ocean exploded as if a bomb had gone off just beneath the surface. With a grunt of annoyance the Harbor Princess started adjusting her aim. The waves from the giant shot rocked the Admiral’s boat, giving wings to the feet of the deckhands as they raised anchor and unfurled sail so that the ship might get in motion. The thunderous sound that rolled across the water roused Nadia from the stupor in which she clung to Blazermate’s dispenser like a hungry kitten to a pant leg, soaking up the healing she desperately needed as she shut everything else out. For a moment she was possessed by the fear that Shippy had been shot, but after determining that she was still alive, she let her breath out and pulled her claws out of the dispenser casing.

She stood, having forgotten about her missing piece, and promptly fell over. Just in time Link appeared and tossed the lost segment of her leg onto the deck. With a gasp of relief she seized the part she’d given up on and slapped it back into place. “Oh, thanks a million! And yeah, pretty much.” Now that she was healed she could was finally pulling back all the scattered blood she lost and not feeling quite so woozy. With her restored senses she could remind herself of the situation now facing the crew. Even though they were on the cusp of getting away, an immense new foe had shown herself, and heroes couldn’t exactly leave their allies for dead. Nadia watched Kamek and his clones cooperate to prepare a doozy of a spell, charging a radiant orb of light wreathed in colorful shapes. Though busy directing her seaplanes for defense, Ranger took a moment to send a warning of her radio for the Navy girls, already wary of getting too close to the Demon’s giant mitts, to clear the way for incoming ordnance.

With Sakura and Link doing their best to keep Abyssals away from the boat, and covering fire from both Shippy and the Atomos, the Koopas completed their sorcery to make manifest a brilliant ball of destruction. The boat rocked, and Nadia’s hair and cat ears blew back as the orb rocketed over the water. It annihilated the Abyssal seaplanes in its way and struck the Harbor Demon’s arm in an explosion of magical power. She roared in pain, and her guard with down, with good hand clutching the impact point on the other. Behind her the weapons platform went berserk and for a few moments fired wildly with every cannon at its disposal. The Navy took the chance to get some damage in, but all too soon the Harbor Demon composed herself once more and switched to her good arm hand for defense. Worse still, she registered the little ship and flying craft on the left side of the battle to be a threat.

With the cracked hand she seized another handful of Abyssals and hurled them across the bay. Nadia yowled and jumped behind a cannon to take potshots at the incoming monsters, but a couple dozen Abyssals splashed down both around and on the ship. One of the more fishlike things landed directly on her turret and lunged at her head, but she ejected the head just in time and her foe’s its teeth closed around nothing. Her hands flew up to catch her head, then slam it down between the Abyssal’s eyes. “Fore!” A quick backhand knocked the stunned critter into the drink, but when she saw the next monster flying in, she knew she couldn’t sit back down. “Whoa!” She dove to the side as a Wa-class Transport slammed down like a wrecking ball, bending one cannon barrel like a straw just before leaving a crater in the deck. Instantly the Abyssal’s pod opened wide to release a bevy of Imps, which on a symbolic level distressed Nadia immensely. “W-what the hell!?” If she could make a move before they spread out, though, she might be able to wipe out the whole problem in one go. Dramatic tension coursed through her; it was time for a show.

She flashed her claws and lunged forward as Blazermate’s turret lit the new enemies up. “Furserker Purrage!” Her limbs became a blur as she dealt slice after slice after, catching up entire packs of Imps and carrying them along in the combo. Not meant to take continuous damage like this, the Imps got torn to ribbons. It all culminated in a driving headbutt, her rigid ears made into stabbing points, that slammed the leftover Imps into the Wa-class and pushed the monster right to Shippy’s edge. For a moment the rotund Abyssal teetered on the edge, but just as it brought its cannons around Peach flew up behind it and fired off her scatterboom mid-flip. She landed with a flourish as the Wa-class burned and died behind her, but Nadia darted past to deal the enemy a parting kick anyway. As its half-dissolved bulk rolled into the water, the feral rounded on the princess. “You’re back! Thank goodness, I thought you weren’t gonna make it out there.”

“Me? You guys were getting messed up when I left.” She sidestepped as Destroyer thrown onto the deck let loose a couple wild shots while floundering, then hurried over to smash the thing with the butt of her gun. A To-class clambered up onto the deck only to see both ladies run toward it. Nadia went low and extended a double high kick while Peach threw herself at the monster rear-first. “Ha-CHA!” With a roar the Abyssal hurled away in a burst of weird hearts, its reckless shots bursting against the water. Peach straightened up and brushed a strand of loose hair into place. “Anyway. Everyone! I managed to get some spirits from the supply line. All Navy, rest their souls.” She opened a very pink pouch to reveal five spirits: Chicago, Northampton, Mikuma, Jamaica, and Trento. “If worst comes to worst, the rest of you can fuse and get out that way.” She frowned as Nadia’s face fell. “What’s wrong?”

As gingerly as she could in an active warzone, Nadia took the spirit of Northampton. “This girl...I saw her yesterday, at the game. She was on a date. She was happy.”

Peach averted her gaze to the Harbor Demon. She had tried to show some dignity, but what she saw made her eyes widen. There was no time to mourn. “Um, I’m sorry, but we’ve got a situation. That thing’s aiming at US NOW!”

She panicked as the Demon fired, and the shot hit the water so close to the ship that the resulting wave both drenched the ship and nearly capsized it. Blazermate’s turret and dispenser tumbled into the sea, with Nada right after them. She made a spur-of-the-moment decision and absorbed the shipgirl spirit like Peach before her, but transformed a moment after she hit the water and got wet anyway.

A monster nearly got its jaws around her before Nadia was on her feet. For a moment she marveled at being able to float on top of the water, but no longer. Shippy hadn’t capsized, but it had been way too close a call for comfort. Thanks to the Harbor Princess’s attention, there was a fresh crop of Abyssals preventing Shippy’s escape, and the next big shot might not miss. She skirted around to hide behind Shippy, dodging Abyssal fire easily. Nadia fired her cannons for the first time a marauding Destroyer and slid backward across the water from the recoil. When it caught up and jumped at her she instinctively blocked with her rigging before she plunged the other double blade into its eye. As it dissolved she couldn’t help but smile. Not only did this machinery respond like a part of her body, but its metal bit into the armor of the Abyssals way easier than her claws could. Unfortunately, her new boots and gloves covered a few separation points, and her hair made it hard to see from one eyes, so she quickly clawed them up while on the move. “Alright, back in the game.” With this, she could really do her part.

Edge of the Blue - Luma Pools


As Elliot settled down to relax, he spotted the tube-beast once again, floating around the lake with purpose. He elected not to bother it for the time being, but watching it made for an amusing distraction from bothersome sounds, since while the creature seemed to be hunting, its physiology gave it a tough time. Since speed was obviously not its forte, the animal remained as still as possible to wait for fish to blunder close. Neither particularly intelligent or observant, the fish swam into range now and again, but when the tube-beast lunged for them its bulbous shape suffered from water resistance. Many times it splashed down only to come up empty-handed, or empty-mouthed, as the case was. Nevertheless persistence won out in the end, and the ludicrous predator eventually snagged a weird-looking critter that resembled a living airbag. Sure enough, it let loose a pronounced fpppppptt when ruptured, revealing that not only did its bladder contain real air, but that the harmless-looking tube-beast had sharp teeth in there somewhere. It chowed down on the spot, clearly hungry but far from satisfied.

After a bit, Elliot’s wandering gaze picked up something inbound from the northern river. To his surprise, he discovered a much larger and more fearsome creature that appeared to be a blue and gold sea serpent. With struts forming the rough shape of a boat and actual oars jutting from each side, it made for a bizarre amalgamation of creature and craft, but the way it moved its head and vicious-looking claws prevented any doubt that it was alive. The tube-beast, still bobbing for a meal, remained oblivious as the ship-shaped serpent paddled closer and closer. When it finally noticed and let out a cry, it was far too late for the ponderous thing to get away, but instead of fleeing it swam closer. With noise somewhere between a croon and a growl the serpent bent down and nuzzled the smaller creature. After the two shared a moment, the parent banked sideways to reveal a cache of freshly dead fish stashed in its ‘hull’. The young one made a joyful sound and stuck its head through to start munching. Through it all, the two did not seem to react to Elliot’s presence, other than the parent turning a bright blue eye full of menace toward him for a moment. Just you try something, it seemed to dare him.

Provided he did not, and wasn’t satisfied with lying as still as possible in the sun, the Luma Pools still offered plenty to divert him. A rustle of branches nearby caught the attention of the Ukazeer and Ukabi both, and a moment later a funny-looking orangutan in overalls swung out into the open, one hand on his vine and the other on a bunch of bananas. After a final cautionary look behind him, the new arrival began to pull of bananas one at a time and eat them with gusto. He got so into it that he just about fell off his branch in fright when a outcropping in the lake blasted forth a noisy stream of superheated water. The pressure died down a moment later, but now that Elliot’s attention had been drawn to the unusual formation, he could see crystals shining on its outside.

Edge of the Blue - Creature Beach


Newly replenished by the delectably sanguine vintage within her now empty tincture, Sephiroth set out across the peaceful beach to reach higher ground. Judging by the position of the sun in the sky, it was getting to be later in the morning, which bode ill for one unaccustomed to wasting time with long rest. Just how long had she been out? Still, whatever happened last night, and despite the pitiable state she’d woken up in, she felt never better at the moment. She felt as if she could jump a couple hundred feet, sprint a dozen miles, or wipe the floor with the entire snickering lot of those blasted courtiers in a single sitting--the Blood was just that good. Long after the last drop disappeared its sumptuous tang hung around, filling her with pep. And since there was no time to lose, she directed her newfound energies to finding a way to go.

As with most seasides, the coastal land steadily slopes upward the farther Sephiroth went. Her eyes lay on a stony prominence that overlooked Creature Beach, the twisted palm atop it a lone sentinel staring back at the buried leviathan below. Getting up there presented no challenge, but once she attained that height, Sephiroth found quite the view stretched out around her. In one direction lay the ocean blue, ashimmer in the sun’s brilliant rays. It went on as far as the eye could see, with just a few islands here and there breaking the mold. Many of the little islands seemed inhabited, with a couple quaint houses apiece. Far to the south, across a good few miles of mixed land and water thanks to undulated coastline, she could see the piers towers of Limsa Lominscuttle Town. In the lowlands toward the southeast she could see mists swirling among the hanging branches of cypresses, willows, and mangroves--the outermost edge of the nightmare realm she penetrated and escaped from just a scant few hours ago. Directly east, the land continued to rise, turning to grassland and scattered forests, then to mountains. More foliage awaited to the north, although red and pink a ways off suggested a different variety.

When not focused on the big picture, Sephiroth could spot a couple points of interest. Situated in a clearing to the northeast she found a rustic village of thatch rooves and masoned stone. Unlike with the island houses offshore, however, she could detect the movement of people between the structures. Farther up the beach she also happened to spot what appeared to be a sprawling temple amid the shoals. All in all, nothing that particularly jumped out as a quick route to power, but ample opportunities for someone willing to make the most of things.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Potemking
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LOCATION: Edge Of The Blue - Luma Pools
WORD COUNT: 879(+2 EXP) Level up!

Elliot eyed the innertube creature, watching as it truly proved to be alive by trying to hunt. Honestly, this just made him feel glad he hadn't actually jumped onto the thing, considering it was going for fish it might have actually bitten him, or worse. He had a small fantasy about catching fish for it, taming it, then riding it around the lake, but that was horridly cut short as it seemingly caught a fish, he might have winced had the thing not deflated like a whoopee cushion before it ended up dead. For looking like it could pop from being poked with a pin, the surface-swimming creature must've had some dangerous teeth go through that weird critter like it did. "Kay, noted. Don't let that bite you." He spoke to himself, with an affirmative nod. Thankfully this weird, round, and not very big or speedy fella was all he had to worry about in the water, as far as he could tell.

At least, until he noticed something coming from up the river. His eyes widened, at first thinking it was a boat, but soon discovering it was another sea-craft looking creature, just much bigger. It seemed like it was almost about to run over or destroy the smaller one, and Elliot found himself panicking and reaching for his revolver... But stopped once his hand was resting on it, since the smaller creature cried out not in fear, but some sort of affectionate joy. His head tilted, as the large boat-like monster opened up and revealed a stash of caught prey. This thing wasn't trying to eat the tiny tube-creature, it was feeding it! It must've been a parent or something. Did that mean the tube-thing would become... A full ship-thing like this one? Elliot had been staring intently, but the big boat seemed to not like that, glaring at him with a glowing eye that caused him to scoot backwards in the sand, rubbing the egg he was holding to quell his worry as he smiled awkwardly at the creature until it finally ignored him. "Okay, really don't let that bite you."

Though, it did make him think. This little egg would need food once it hatched, right? He had a coconut, but he didn't think that'd be enough. Would it even drink the stuff inside? Did it need vegetables? Meat? Just plants, or grass? Being the owner of a mystery creature was hard. He needed some sort of food for it, and swore he saw some of the monkey-creatures from earlier playing with some fruit. He could possibly harvest some of those if he found a source, or just pick some up from where the wildlife was playing. Anything seemed better than sitting here with this boat that looked ready to charge straight onto the shore to get to him. Didn't it realize he was a parent, too? He'd like to see that big boat try and charge him and endanger his baby! Well, actually he wouldn't, but he'd protect it regardless! Jeez...

Speaking of fruit, a noise caught Elliot's attention. Some orange ape was swinging around up above, with a bundle of bananas in his possession. This wouldn't have been much of a problem, if he wasn't throwing the peels everywhere, some of them almost hitting the bloodsport star by landing in his luscious hair. He would have shouted at the ape if it wasn't for a sudden loud blast of water startling him, the man turning to look at the sight of the hot water erupting from an outcropping in the lake, the sight being followed up by the shining, beautiful crystal exterior of the source of that heated water blast. His eyes glimmered at the sight of the crystals, the beautiful natural growths reflecting in his eyes, at least until he stumbled backwards into a banana peel.

Slipping in comedic fashion, Elliot promptly landed on his buttocks, a grunt of pain escaping him as he wished he had more rear padding. Thankfully he kept a good grip on the egg, or else it could've ended up hitting the ground! However, this mishap and the endangerment of the egg caused his head to turn, one stink-eye meeting with the orangutan in the trees. On one hand, it was just a monkey throwing its trash around in the wilderness. Probably normal stuff? But to Elliot, it had gotten on his nerves. Fortunately, he wasn't petty or angry enough to open fire on an ape for throwing a banana peel on the ground. Though, that bundle of bananas did look delicious. He wouldn't mind having the food for himself, but at the same time, he wasn't about to gun down the monkey for them. He was still cautious about firing off shots in the wilderness, and shooting this overall-wearing creature for a few bananas seemed extreme anyways.

He was, however, petty enough to raise a fist and yell at it.

"Watch where you're throwing your peels, ya funny looking chimpanzee!" Elliot shouted, not exactly knowing his monkeys very well. His arm fell as he realized it was a monkey and probably didn't understand him anyways. Of course an animal wouldn't have style or grace like he did; Though they were brothers-in-arms about having funny faces.

At least according to other people...

Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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wordcount: 3,930 (+3)
Midna: level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (29/30)

Queen Sectonia
Level 6 Sectonia (holding 1 level up) - (17/60) +3

Location: Sandswept Sky - Desert - Hollow Heights

Midna chowed down on the leftovers from the Thieves' rations and reflected that a breakfast of meat and candy probably wasn't a massive improvement over just one consisting of just sweets. It was for this reason that the first thing she thought about when being informed that there was a city nearby was to look forward to having something cooked by a proper chef for lunch. Or, falling that due to their completely broke status, just some bread. Maybe someone would be interested in the various odds and ends they had acquired through spirit crushing but had no use for, she thought, and only then did she get taken by surprise by the fact that there was a city out here in the first place.

After the endless wastelands filled with ruins and rolling desert she’d not expected to find groups of people much larger than this town, the mercenary camp or the roving bands of robots, and yet apparently there was not only a major population center out here, but also some kind of machine called a train that would take the there quickly and safely. Thinking that it left the train tracks behind as well, tracks, the princess was briefly convinced it would be some new titanic marvel of engineering till she saw it.

”You know. I’m not sure what I expected” she noted when she saw the dinky cakey contraption, but as it turned out it worked well enough at its intended function.

After being very unimpressed with the local princess, her attitude a personal affront to the princess and to royalty everywhere, the Twilight princess boarded their latest miraculous mechanical transport along with the others, finding a spot at the back of the small passenger carriage. Anything to stay out of the sun.

Sectonia found that her new appearance made eating the rations of the phantom thieves was much easier. Having some actual teeth took a bit to get used to, especially since they weren’t really teeth but jagged mouth bits. Either way, she enjoyed the sweets a bit more than everyone else but she’d prefer honey or fruits herself. She wasn’t really much of a meat eater, but she tried a bit with the others. Not her favorite thing, but at least it didn’t take her ages to eat it this time.

After getting ready, apparently they were going to make their way to a city made of sweets, at least with what Sectonia could gather. They were going to travel by train, although it looked like it was made of sweets much like everything else around here. That was the good part, the bad part was the ‘princess’ who decided to pay them a visit. Sectonia really disliked this person, they acted like a baron more than royalty. Although if the ruler of this place was like this ‘princess’ it would be really, really easy to incorporate this kingdom later…

With that whole unpleasant interaction done, Sectonia boarded the back of the train, sharing a cabin with Midna. Due to her reduced size, she could fit into the train as long as she kept her wings tucked in, but she did fill a lot of the compartment. Sectonia’s Alcremie moving down to rest on her head instead of her top-hat to avoid not getting squished. Funny enough, while her imposing visage would probably scare lesser people, it did block out a good amount of sun.

The train chugged out the station and out into the desert. The proper desert. The one that wasn't a pun. Sweet canyons, trees and wildlife was replaced with the now familiar endless barrens of sand and stillness. While there were some things to look at, they were all far away and hazy to the Twilight princess. Also, despite the shade, it quickly got a bit stuffy inside the passenger train, prompting Minda to turn round on her seat and push open the back window to let some air in, before settling back down and, with little else to do, striking up a conversation with the transformed, yet still imposing, Queen she was sharing the compartment with. Given her impression of the queen so far, she wasn't expecting much, but what did she have to lose?

”So, I see you’ve taken the plunge with the whole fusion thing” with her earlier comments about only wanting to choose something beautiful, Midna had assumed the Queen never would take on a spirit due to having too high standards, but she’d been wrong on that point. The unlucky caped and top hatted creature she’d trapped in crystal before its death hadn’t been what she’d been expecting to fit, but seeing the result it had certainly worked out well.

”How are you finding it?”

Sectonia looked at Midna, giving her a ‘’toothy’ smile with her new red glowy mouth, since she couldn’t really move much besides her hands in this cramped spot. ”Fine, fine. I couldn’t manipulate time before. Finding spirits that work well for me is going to be tricky however ” She said candidly. ”Your first fusion looked fine. I’m not sure how I feel about the second one. Hanging jewels on your crown feels awkward. Glad you're trying to match me in the lower area though.” She said, laughing a bit at the end.

Minda was rather taken aback by how the Queen brushed past the fact that she had time manipulation powers now of all things and went straight into lightly criticizing her look. Not that it was her look exactly as she hadn’t chosen it, indeed to an extent even her “original” look hadn't been her look, but it still stung a little regardless. It made her entirely miss the implications about her now having a larger, more queenly, ‘abdomen’.

She self consciously flicked one of the red baubles hanging from the fused shadow and asked ”They aren't that bad are they?”

The bit of her getting touchy about the baubles was also the one that warned her to have absolutely nothing to do with the cream creature that was resting on the queen’s head which she hadn't realized was there till now. Apparently they’d picked up more than the red hooded woman while she’d been sneaking around the village.

”No, they are solid so that is fine. I’m just speaking from experience. If you don’t feel uncomfortable with them then they ‘should’ work?” The queen said to clarify her point on the matter. ”So, how are you enjoying your powers? I still need to play with mine.” Sectonia continued, shifting the conversation a bit.

”They’ve been fairly useful so far” the princess replied, leaving the bauble be for now before clicking her fingers and lighting one hand’s worth with purple flame for a moment before dismissing the dragonfire again ”Dragon powers have been incredibly useful. Still need to test out what I can really do with the sand part if I go all out with it though, but considering how nasty the sandstorm the dragons whipped up was for everyone involved, it’s not exactly applicable to use in a big group.”

”But you’ve probably seen most of mine. What’s really interesting is yours. You said you had time manipulation? So casualty too,” that fact still floored her ”Tell me about that”

”Hm. I would prefer to not be in another sandstorm as well. Sand takes forever to get out of your fluff.” Sectonia said, giving a friendly chuckle. ”It doesn’t seem to be anything too severe, I can just speed up or slow down time in an area. Also...”
She said, holding her hand out and producing a starry darkness from it, much like Midna did with her dragonfire. ”I also have some slight control over ‘void’, whatever that is. It is a magic type I’m not familiar with. It is like darkness, but far more powerful and empty.” Sectonia said, explaining her powers. ”Tora didn’t appreciate the time magic when I used it on him as an example, I suppose being made ‘faster’ isn’t much his speed.” She said.

They both let out a short laugh at the joke after which Midna wondered if the queen had always been this personable and was opening up more, or if the act of absorbing a spirit had had more of an impact on the queen than it had on her, a thought that lacked a great deal of introspection.

”best hold off any more experiments with time till we arrive. Not sure what speeding up one part of this ‘train’ would do, but I can’t expect it would end well. Unless you think you could affect the entire thing? Get us to Al Mamoon faster” Midna asked ”after trudging through the desert all day yesterday and the weirdness of that dessert I’m looking forward to being in and seeing an actual city. It’s good to know the world isn't just full of little towns, though I’m having a hard time imagining how you could build and sustain a large population in the desert. Maybe we’re reaching the end of it? I’m more than ready to be done with this wasteland.” she added

”Ah, I doubt that would be a good idea. Too much speed and a train will fly off the tracks.” Sectonia said, dismissing Midna’s idea of speeding up the train. ”But yes. I’m not a fan of this desert as well. The Dessert area was quite fascinating, although why it was next to a desert we can only speculate. Some sick sense of humor perhaps? Either way, if I had the opportunity, I know i’d remove this desert and replace it with a much more beautiful flower field. Although I suppose you could make some glass from the sand...” Sectonia said, continuing on with the conversation. As the two royals chatted the sandswept desert outside passed along, not much of note to comment on all things considered.

”The dimension annihilating and rewriting the sun is a fan of puns. Terrible, isn't it?” Midna noted with dry humor ”But yes, the world could do without deserts. There's a certain bleak beauty to some of it” she glanced out the window before admitting ”Though not this part. But as the ruler of a realm can be the epitome of bleak beauty, I’d prefer useful land to some that makes a nice vista any day of the week. Also, though I’m by no means an expert at glass making, I assume you can use sea sand for it, and oceans have more uses than the desert, that I know for a fact.”

"Yeah. Although you don't have many oceans in the sky. " Sectonia said." Volcanic ash is all we have to make glass. But we make it work." Speaking about kingdoms the two of them were rulers so there was a topic there. "So who rules your kingdom then and what is it? Floralia is my kingdom, a chain of islands in the sky with flowers as far as the eye can see, my palace at the top where eternal moonlight shines, and the usual things you need to run a kingdom.”

“What about you?"

”That would be me. Ob-” Minda paused and then went about clearing up a cultural difference ”The Twilight realm, my home, is ruled either by a King of Twilight or a Twilight Princess, i.e. me. We don’t do queens as there's a lot of, shall we say, negative connotations with that title.”

”As for my kingdom, it’s also a chain of floating islands funnily enough, though some are so large calling them mere islands becomes a bit of a stretch. There is no sun or moon in the ream of Twilight. Instead only light comes from the ambient twilight glow that turns people into beasts, and from the Sols, magical power sources we use to keep ourselves from succumbing to that corruption. It was the Interlopers’, our ancestors, prison, and eventually it became their tomb, but we, the Twili, their descendants, have made it into a home worth living in.” She explained. It was bleak and dangerous and could make the desert seem tame in comparison sometimes. But it was home. She missed it, though she wasn't going to tell Sectonia that even if she was more personable now.

"Why is there a negative connotation with the Queen title?" Sectonia said, pointing out the weird convention of having a king but no Queen. "The floating island thing seems to be commonplace. Tora comes from sky islands as well. Although a world of corrupting light that needs your own science or magic to deal with doesn't sound pleasant." Sectonia said. "Floralia is similar. They are sky islands but still quite large. No corrupting light though. We do have a stone that emits light as well. We call them Sun Stones. But they just emit sunlight." Sectonia continued. Seeing how feisty Midna was Sectonia wasn't surprised her realm was so hostile.

”Not sure, there just are. Probably there was some kind of reason or historical event that caused it, buuuuuut nobody decided to write it down because ‘why would you. Everyone knows why queens are bad!’ And then that goes on until you get to the point where they don't because the event so far removed from the event and no-one wrote about it and then you're just stuck with the word being bad but no one knows why. Probably. Or maybe I could dig up the reason in an archive somewhere back home. Or in Hyrule. But we have no way of accessing those records normally, and finding out wasn’t exactly on the top of my priority list the 2 times I was there unfortunately.” Midna replied with a tirade against poor record keeping

”And they do, do they?” She said in response to the news that Tora and Poppie also came from a world of floating islands ”Huh. Maybe they are. I only have my home and Hyrule, or I guess the whole light world, for point of reference, and so it was one for one floating islands vs planet. Ironically Galeem seems to have made the inverse? A world with a big hole in the middle, at least if that “empty space” on the map is literal. Then again who’s to say the ocean doesn't just end out beyond the edges of that man and so maybe it is a floating island too?”

"if I'll be so bold. I think why Queen has a negative connotation in your kingdom is because one of your ancestors wanted to feel forever cute and Princess is cuter than Queen. I prefer the beauty of Queen myself though." Sectonia said, laughing while Minda made an exasperated sound at the thought that she could well be right.

"Ah we have a planet below our realm called Popstar. Funny enough before this whole Galeem thing happened we were looking at handling that lower world. It's ruled by an oversized penguin funny enough.* She said, giving a casual smirk as she thought dedede was just silly. ”All he does is eat and sleep. And without style I might add.”

Midna decided not to comment on how strange that was. She was talking to a giant bee after all.

"Now how do we know this isn’t just one huge island that is floating in a sea. Although I would think if this was made by mashing all worlds together it would be far bigger." Sectonia commented.

”It is concerning. What exactly did Galeem do with, well, everything else? Part of why I’m glad there are living cities is it means more people haven't been, well, left out? I hope that what Galeem didn't use they just… sorted away somewhere? Because if not?” the alternative was too awful to say out loud.

"No clue." Sectonia said, doing her best to shrug. "Or there are multiple Galeem and we have to deal with another one after this one? Let's hope not. "

”Probably would be easier after the first one,” she suggested. She’d do it, if it got everyone back. Her people at least. It took a bit to dawn on her just how many worlds that might be if that was the way it had been done.

"Now here is the question. If we beat Galeem, do the worlds go back to normal or do they need a new ruler?" Sectonia said, making her intentions clear about the second part. Unlike Midna her goal was expansion, not stability.

There was a pause. Then Midna took a deep breath to steady herself and then said ”If things do not go back to normal by themselves, and we need to usurp Galeem’s power in-order to set things right, that might be acceptable. But when they fall a new ruler is not needed, as Galeem does not ‘rule’ in first place. The ‘god’ itself sleeps, and the three guardians I’ve heard about had their own little domains surrounded by a world under Galeem’s influence, yes, but not under it or their control. To ‘rule’ this world a person would need to take the power used to overcome Galeem to go forth and conquer, and I for one will not stand idle should anyone try to do so” she tried to give Sectonia the benefit of the doubt, but couldn't keep her past and her convictions out of her words as she added a not so subtle threat tot he mix ”There was a man who turned my kingdom to that once, who brought twilight to the light world to make it his own, and I personally saw to it that that path was dead and buried, along with his corpse.”

Sectonia listened to Midna talk about her opinion on the whole thing, and from what she could gather she was on the receiving end of a conquest, a poorly done one at that. Now if this was the pre-fused Sectonia, the conversation would’ve probably ended here with Sectonia distrustful of Midna, but that wasn’t the case thanks to the recent fusion. After Midna had calmed down a bit after venting, Sectonia said, calmly. ”We certainly come from different worlds. Creatures like Galeem are, oddly enough, somewhat common on Popstar. Eldritch horrors that just want to destroy everything or corrupt dreams or turn the world to yarn or paint.” Sectonia started, getting into a bit of a speech herself. ”Its sad to hear someone tried to take over your kingdom with less than noble pursuits and frankly, sounded like an idiot. But where I come from, a more united kingdom would be better at dealing with stuff like that.” Sectonia said, pointing her thumb at the light ball in the sky. ”And if this all happened again, a more united front would be better at dealing with it.”

”Oh he was mad. He hid it well at first but...” she said, and then had a thought. She had been intending to confront the queen’s claim on a statecraft level, but instead realized there was something more fundamental, more powerful, that she could draw on instead.

”There is one evil above all others in my world that returns again and again and again. Ganon. He whispered in my usurper’s ear and planted the idea of conquest in his mind. He also corrupted the guardian of time herself, who ended up tearing both herself and time apart, and because of that I don’t just know the history of my world, I have walked it. So I speak with certainty when I say it is not armies or empires that throw back the darkness every time. It is a boy wielding a legendary sword, aided by the sorcery of a princess and a few close companions.”

Something clicked for her then, mostly from her time as part of the smash tournaments, but also just a little from Crow’s ability to vaguely guess what was going on.

”From being in smash I know that's how it is in other places. It’s a Plumber. A bounty hunter. A pink puffball. Heroes save the world, and we have plenty of those already.” There was, of course, a touch of a lie, or rather an omission, in there. When time had fallen apart they’d needed armies to make it through. But that didn't help her argument, and ultimately it didn't matter in Minda’s opinion anyway. They’d pulled one together from the various races and times easily enough without having them preemptively united under the boot of an overlord. You didn't need to have a grand ruler to get various kingdoms to unite in the face of evil, just a plan, a cause and heroes to lead them.

”You mean all of those ‘heroes’ who are running around mind controlled right now?” Sectonia said, pointing to the huge flaw in Midna’s reasoning. ”They didn’t stop this, they can’t stop everything.” She was getting a bit annoyed with Midna now, who was clearly reliving some bad memories. Maybe this would be a discussion for later when the twilight princess had cooled down.

”Things get worse before they get better-” Midna began to say, against drawing heavily from her experiences, but fate conspired to interrupt their argument as a strange box on the ceiling suddenly started talking with Gnorbu’s voice. Through the communicator, Midna realised what it probably was after a few moments, he warned them that they were about to hit an upswell. A quick peek out the window told the royals all they needed to know, as the giant column of sand being blasted into the sky was hard to miss.

”Wonderful. And this time I have more than fluff to clean…” Secotnia said upon seeing the approaching upswell of sand. Seeing this would be an issue, she scooped up her Alcremie and told it to hide under her top hat. As they approached, they were also notified of the canyon they would be passing over, a seemingly bottomless canyon where the train tracks were held together by some basic looking metal struts and that was it.

”Been there, done that. You have fun with the sand” Midna told her, having had enough of sandstorms already after her fight with the flygon and so rather than toughing it out with everyone else she, after taking a brief look at the bizarre hole they were about to go over, slipped into a shadow and vanished from sight.

Sectonia, being a flyer, wasn’t too worried about the pit itself. The sandstorm meanwhile was a much bigger concern, forcing her to keep a good hold of her crown and top hat. At least her new wings could be used as some kind of cape, letting her block much of the sand blowing into her face as her other hand held her headwear, the Alcremie inside her hat being kept away from the brunt of the sandstorm.

This only worked for a tiny bit of time before the updraft became a huge issue. Seeing as she only had one free hand, Sectonia dropped her wing cloak and summoned her staff, using her new powers to slow down time around her, trying to affect the updraft so it didn’t bother her as much. Seeing as she was trying to affect such a large object, she decided to extend the reach of her power to far in front of the train, but not affecting the train itself or the people inside. Hopefully the slower sandstorm would help out everyone else as well. At least being inside a cabin made the sand not as bad as it could’ve been.

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