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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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Tora, Poppi and Big Band

Level 8 Poppi (72/80) and Level 2 Big Band (10/20)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
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: 850


With Tora, Braum, and Yoshitsune -fresh back from a visit to the bazaar after his business at the forge- all caught up to speed, the reunited group could finally split up once more. Midna steered them away from the train platforms where the Conductor remained and toward the entrance, where a few rows of handy benches just out of the way of foot traffic provided a place for those weary of walking around the city to rest their legs for a moment. Poppi felt no fatigue of her own, but when Tora hopped up and plopped down into a chair she seated himself right as his side. He lifted his new friend the Downy Crake from where it sat in comfort atop his head. “How doing, Pufi?” he asked, stroking the bird’s luxuriously soft feathers with a wing. “Hungry? What does Pufi eat?”

Pufi, however, kept his silence, so Tora kept petting him. He winced when Big Band seated himself across the aisle, his weight causing the bench to issue a protesting crack even when applied gingerly. The detective raised one leg and laid it across the other, giving many of the group the chance to realize for the first time that both appeared to be wholly artificial. If it put Braum off, however, he gave no sign, happily seated himself by his fellow big man. He leaned his shield against his knees, long edge on the ground, and bent forward to rest his elbows on it. “Hooh!” he exhaled mightily. “I’m sweltering in this desert heat, even indoors. My frozen homeland left me ill-prepared; for all my time with the REDs and BLUs, I’m still not used to it. Look at this sunburn!” He rubbed at the peeling skin on his shoulder, then nodded at Band. “I can’t imagine what you must be going through!”

Band chuckled. “It ain’t so bad for me. If I run hot, my coolers kick in to keep me from overheatin’, so I’m always feelin’ sweet ‘n lovely.” He took a deep breath in and out, then planted his crossed leg back to the floor to lean forward. “Then again, we can’t get too comfortable. We’ve got some business to take care of.”

Poppi clasped her hands together on her lap. “So, everyone going to try find rebellion members?”

“Oh no, not by a long shot,” Band told her. “If someone doesn’t wanna be found, they’ll hit the tracks the moment they see folks’re out lookin’.”

With a concerned look Poppi tried to think of alternative. “That mean we need think of other way to find them than just look around…”

Her seriousness seemed to put Band in a jovial mood. “Nah, that means we just gotta swing low, sweet chariot. Groups of three or four oughta do the trick. Small, agile, less conspicuous. And we can’t just futz around askin’ about ‘em outright. We gotta be a little smarter.” The big man took a look at Fox. “Not tryin’ to take control or anything, just speakin’ from experience. Long nights ‘neath that old devil moon.”

Tora could count a lot more people present than three or four, and he guessed that their knowledgeable new friend did too, although what he meant by ‘sweet chariot’ he had yet to fathom. “What about rest of us?”

Band looked back down the platform. “That Conductor already told you. But guessin’ from the chit-chat right before we waltzed to the temple, you all got some light pockets. Could knock out a few commissions in the meantime.” He produced a tiny metal arm from within his coat and pointed toward a board by the station door. A bulletin hung there with an assortment of job posters tacked onto it, offering a handful of miscellaneous tasks for anyone with time and wallet space to spare.



“I didn’t happen to take note of the Bounties when we’re in there, but those are on the table, too. Seems like a tough bunch here,” the detective observed.

Panther took the opportunity to speak up. “Fun as that all sounds, I should go look for the guys. They’re probably goofing off somewhere without me.” She sounded more remorseful than reproachful, as if she was missing out. Having only warmed up to a few of the Yellow Team members so far, she’d been out of her element among the rest of them and not very impactful during the exchange with the Grimleal. “If anyone wants to lend a hand, I’d really appreciate it!” Though she mentioned nobody in particular, the direction of her gaze made it clear who she’d prefer.

“Whatever your business is, you get about it, and I’ll hop to mine.” With a grunt Big Band leveraged himself onto his feet, reattaining his impressive full height.

His imminent departure left Tora looking surprised. “Going already?”

Band glanced his way as though the Nopon had asked an obvious question. “From the clock's chime to the cock's crow is but an instant. I must go.”

Following his lead Tora and Poppi got to their feet. “Maybe Masterpon leave work that needs discretion to others,” the artificial blade teased.

“Hmph! Tora super good at discretion. Tora up for just about anything, really” the Nopon declared. “Tough enough for bounties, for sure. Who need help?”

Al Mamoon - Palatial Gallery

@Zoey Boey


From her position Jesse could cut through the chaos, but seeing the mad scientist just about to make his getaway and stopping it were two different things. Her yell caught the Phantom Thieves in the midst of the pandemonium, turning their attention upward. For a brief moment Joker’s eyebrows went up as he realized the culprit was on the verge of getting away, and with his trophy to boot, but his expression turned to determination the next second. Not on his watch.

“I got it!” He called, extended his arm upward. Rather than sending forth his grappling hook to grab an opportune hold up high, however, his device coughed up only a short section of cord. Joker stared at it in dismay--he hadn’t internalized that his hook broke in the upswell. “Or...don’t got it,” he growled.

Skull shook his head with a snicker, “Man, you gotta get that fixed. Guess it’s on us.” He ducked out of the way of an errant thruster, then beckoned the feline over. “C’mere kitty cat, it’s time for the Morgana Space Program!”

“I’m not a cat!” Mona scolded him, but he came nonetheless. He ran and jumped into Skull’s arms, and the boy spun around once, twice, before hurling Mona upward. Grinning from ear to ear, the blue-eye cat thrust his sword at the Infinite Spring. “Show ‘em your might, Zorro! Magarula!”

The persona manifested once more, rapidly slashing his iconic rapier through the air to whip up a wide-reaching gale. His whirlwind flooded the room and swept up balloons, thrusters, and Tengu guards alike, pushing them toward the edges. Through it all the Infinite Spring somehow kept stable, maybe due to the odd spheres stuck to the statue’s extremities that glowed and hummed. Whatever the case, Mona had plenty of airtime left. “Now, Zorro! Lucky Pun-!”

He was cut short as the old man poked over the edge of the Infinite Spring and shot him square in the face. Mona’s head instantly doubled in size, more than tripling the poor cat’s total weight, and with a confused yowl Mona plummeted toward the floor. Without so much as a second’s hesitation Joker abandoned the One-Shot Kill that his persona Leena had chambered, and alongside Skull, lunged for where his friend would fall.

By the time Jesse got into position, it was too late. The scientist had already removed the collision of the dome above, and now his unconventional ride carried him straight through it and into the skies of freedom. A few parting shots in the statue’s underside would change nothing, and more so than ever the FBC’s director was frustrated by the loss of her other abilities. Even the guards, feathers ruffled and heads spinning thanks to the whirlwind, were powerless to help. Smoke through her fingers, yet again.

Still, not an entirely fruitless encounter. A short ways away, the two unharmed Phantom Thieves crouched around their fallen friend. Mona seemed okay, but his head was so large he couldn’t even lift it under his own power, rendering him almost immobile. He looked to be on the verge of tears. “Hey, hey. You’re okay. Don’t start bawling on me.” Joker consoled him, patting the cat’s head. “We’ll get that rat before you know it. Just hang in there.”

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (24/40)
Location: Bottomless Sea
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Hat Kid's @Dawnrider, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud, Mirage’s @Potemking, Mr. L’s @ModeGone
Word Count: 897


Though eager to see what must surely be the end of Scylla’s story as anyone, Nadia had something else she needed to attend to at the moment: the surface of the ocean racing her way at terminal velocity. From certain heights, she knew, a fall into water could brutalize a man just about as badly as into solid ground. For just about anyone her climactic yet foolhardy attack and subsequent fall would be a death sentence, but Nadia Fortune wasn’t just anyone.

First things first: she needed to slow her fall. Nadia went from a nosedive into a spread-eagle position, pointed her batteries downward, and started to fire. Even miniature cannons put out an awful lot of kickback when mounted to a lightweight frame, which translated to a lot of motive force on the frictionless surface of the water, and she was counting on the same recoil that slammed Scylla’s tentacle halfway into sashimi to help slow her down. She opened fire and felt the weapons wrenching upward, only for the batteries to click empty a few moments later. Oof...welp, that’ll have to do. By now the Life Gem had refilled enough of her blood that she could pressurize it. A stunt popped into her mind, just crazy enough that it might work, and she couldn’t afford to weigh its pros and cons while she lost the deceleration her cannons earned her. I hope someone’s watching!

She twisted herself around until she got a bead on Shippy, then used her precious blood to shoot her way. Her eyes locked onto her target: the yardarm of the great central mast, its sail furled for a journey under the boat’s own power. As she fell closer she detached her forearms on lengths of muscle, and at the final pivotal moment, latched on with every fiber of her being. Her downward momentum converted to centripetal motion with the aid of one more blast of blood, and with a yowl of exhilaration she began to loop. Her claws dug into the wood as she looped around the yardarm, again and again, losing speed and length with each pass, until finally her wild ride came to an end with her dangling below the spar. She dropped to the deck below only to realize her head both hadn’t stopped spinning and felt rather light. “Waiter…” she gasped as she tottered a few steps backward. “...Check please!” With a final lurch she passed out, hitting the deck in a pile of parts.

Shippy’s other passengers could scarcely spare the time to admire her spectacle, however. The Lurchthorn demanded their full attention, but quickly found that it couldn’t take it. While the imprecise conical blasts from Peach’s boomshot only chipped at its armor, Mirage’s well-placed revolver shots cut to the quick, mowing through the meat of the monster’s segments. No stranger to weak points, Link and Mr. L followed suit. When each segment took damage, it flipped to the other side as an act of self-defense, but the Lurchthorn only managed to delay the inevitable. The damage piled up, and when Rika went for the head the thing’s fate was sealed. A final, sickening CRACK rang out when the fatal blow was struck, and the skeletal fish’s segments went through a chain explosion from the tail all the way to the head. With it taken care of, and Shippy out of frenzied, chum-strewn waters, the passengers were free to focus on the clash of the titans up ahead.

Though he huffed and puffed, Bowser had reached his destination. He hauled himself up from his long climb and faced a monster bereft of tentacles, only to assume that talking was a free action. As a friend heart appeared between his claws a pair of sea-green sorceries burst against his chest. Even with a few of her tentacles down for the count, Scylla wasn’t about to relent, and she quickly showed him why. As the Koopa King charged she pulsed with power, gaining a golden sheen. “It’s playtime!” The horror of the deep rose atop a fresh batch of four tentacles, albeit much smaller than the ones before. Bowser’s turrets and tentacles barraged her, but for now she would not be stopped. Scylla leaned back on the rear two as the frontal pair rose up, poised to crush her assailant beneath their withering power.

It was a singular moment, a simple contest of hideous strength versus stalwart fortitude. Her tentacles slammed down hard. Shell cracked, beaks broke, weapons bent, and shards of stone flew far and wide, but from the dust Bowser still came. The golden aura faded as Scylla’s tentacles retracted, setting her down dumbfounded, and before she could hurl another faceful of noxious magic Bowser scooped her up in his claws. She screamed in rage, and her tentacles thrashed and bit. “Think you’re tough?” she shrieked. “I’ll kill you! I’ll rip you up and paint your guts on the rocks!” Though badly wounded, fading fast, and still under attack, Bowser received his hard-won chance to take definitive action against the tiny terror.

But that opportunity lasted only a moment, for Tentalus threw his weight against the seastack, and this time the behemoth won. The tall crag of stone had finally cracked, and that last impact jerked it irreparably out of balance. It began to fall, headed for a watery grave along with anyone without a decent exit strategy.



Of the various things he alluded to, Albedo did not anticipate the offhanded mention of Sucrose’s inhuman features to get much of a reaction from his new friend. He did not mind, however, and offered a little clarification. “More like cat ears,” he told her. “She is not a full-blooded Katzlein, so she has no tail. She tries to pass off her ears as part of her hair, and few ever realize otherwise.” However that might sound, he could not speak to any reason for doing so, save his assistant’s habitual shyness. Anything that would make her stand out, he assumed, she wanted to avoid. “And yes, she’s quite the bright spark. Despite her youth she’s made many achievements in bio-alchemy that would put experts in the field to shame.”

Comfortable in his seat, the warmth of Grillby’s interior, and the gift of good company, Albedo settled in for quite the story. It was as if the spirit of Hyrule’s history itself possessed Linkle, speaking through her in grand fashion to relate the epic saga of her world’s birth. He absorbed the deeds of Din, Nayru, and Farore as he worked away at his egg, bit by bit, until he’s taken in all there was to offer. Linkle’s description of the Triforce he met with interest, for although he regarded it as the typical wish-granting artifact of legend, he couldn’t help but wonder based on her description of the cyclical Legend of Zelda if such a power could come into play in this world. After that the Skullgirl dialed back from her world’s mythic lore to relate some more everyday details. If Albedo himself had lived an ordinary life he might have related to and been charmed by her tales of farm life, but he could only take her word for it.

More remarkable was the journey that must have led Linkle here. A simple farm girl, raised taking care of (what he assumed to be) chickens and hunting (what common sense dicated were) wolves by moonlight, now an undead warrior who commanded fire, ice, and lightning all at once...surely that made for a more fascinating tale? With the right reagents even the most basic materials could be utterly transformed.

Linkle went on to tell him about monsters and dungeons, and Albedo found himself nodding. Everything seemed to fit together nicely. Almost too nicely. He looked down to see a clean plate and an empty glass, then faced his new friend. “Thank you for telling me all that,” he said. “I said it before, but our worlds really do seem rather similar. Hard to believe this is coincidence. As for my world, though...I’m afraid you’d need to ask someone with a better grasp of history. Rather than things that were, I’m more concerned with things that are, have been, and always will be. A moment, please.” He rose from his chair and led his corgi over to the bar, where a small cushion was laid on the floor. The dog plopped into his makeshift bed, accustomed to this ritual, and Albedo stooped to give him a final scratch behind the ears before he headed back over.

“Ready to go?”




Thanks to his new coat, Albedo had no trouble leading the way through fresh snow to the south-southwest. Linkle followed him through an uneven land of hill and dale with frequent stands of trees. Here and there they passed the aged, cold-scarred remnants of fortifications that suggested the existence of some battle long ago, long since given over to the winter. Though animal sightings remained rare, the duo spotted a smattering of ice elementals, from the fragmented to the ethereal to the geometric. Surly-looking snowflakes glared at and blond that drew near, promising a cold reception if provoked. More problematic than the territorial elements, however, were foes that lay in wait.

When the pair stopped momentarily atop a snowy knoll, the nearby tree twisted their direction, the tips of their bare branches glowing hot against the cold sky. The Tree Women lurched down at the two with unexpected speed, snagging them in their long fingers of icy wood. The one that caught Albedo blew a stream of ice magic from her stretched mouths, but Albedo was ready. Before the monster could frost him over he manifested and plunged his sword straight into the narrow opening, prompting a hideous scream. She released him, flailing her arms with wild abandon, and Albedo dodged clear. “I dislike these things,” he remarked. “Easy to get away from, but irritating to spot.” That said, he doubted Linkle would find them very formidable. When his tree calmed down and started sending forth seeking candlelights from her branches, Albedo got a move on.

It wasn’t far from where the tree women lurked that the land fell away. Albedo and Linkle stood atop a stony cliff, looking out over an illimitable drop through frigid air at the temple the alchemist mentioned, although ‘temple’ didn’t quite do it much justice. The Cold Monastery was a series of towers atop mountainous spires, connected by bridges and dotted with frigid waterfalls that glittered in the sun. Each stood tall and loomed large, austere in their dignity. A trail toward the left led across a cliff, dangerously narrow at parts, and to the monastery’s gates.



Edge of the Blue - Creature Beach

@Zavazggg


On high alert for treachery, the posse meant to apprehend Sephiroth leaped to action the moment she did, and were rewarded for their vigilance. As she leaped skyward Birdie slung his chain at her, but the length fell short, and when she flung down explosive dark magics he scattered along with the rest. Sephiroth’s arc took her in the direction of the buried creature, but the others were quick on her heels even as she summoned forth her signature sword from nothing. “She can call her blade to hand!” Karin observed as she ran after the murderer across the sand, her fair features contorted by concentration. Everyone had been told to expect the unexpected, but there was no good way to anticipate this.

Still, rather than press the advantage of a hidden weapon to pull off a critical surprise attack, Sephiroth opted for another tactic. She assailed the buried creature with both magic and Masamune’s edge, attempting to goad it into attacking, but making assumptions was a risky business. The leviathan was so large, and so deeply entrenched in the ground, that she would need to do a lot better than that to provoke it. If anything, fleeing into its wide-open mouth and the labyrinthine depths of its innards might have been a better option. But Sephiroth wouldn’t be fleeing anywhere. As she leaped to try and make it over the creature, Officer Nanu saw his chance to nail her. “Now!”

Gothitelle activated Shadow Tag, sending forth her own shadow to surge forward and nail down Sephiroth’s as she took to the air in an attempt to flee. The moment the tag struck, Sephiroth dropped like a rock to the ground, all momentum lost. Then her pursuers reached her, and each took their turn.

First came Bacchus. He launched himself through the air in a flying belly flop, speeding past Karin and Shantae in the process. Before Sephiroth could rise from where Shadow Tag dropped her, the obese god splashed down, knocking her into the air. In a flash he was on his feet, and from his lips tore an obscene belch that took the form of waves of pink energy that barraged and overpowered Sephiroth, leaving her stunned. Next came Birdie with a rather more ordinary leap, chains in hand. “Nowhere to run!” He landed in front of his foe and struck her with a full force headbutt that staggered her backward. “Bahaha!”

All that gave Shantae more than enough time to complete her dance. “Transform!” In a burst of magic she changed into a blue-feathered harpy and flapped forward to seize Sephiroth by the shoulders with her talons, drawing blood. A powerful flap took her and her quarry into the air, and a moment later she slammed down, smashing Sephiroth into the sand. The impact jarred her talons loose, and she flapped backward to a safe distance.

Karin avoided the others’ punishing openers, but when her ally finished she rushed in to apply pressure, even though Sephiroth could act again. The reason why became clear when Bacchus blundered just begging to be hit, obviously trying to protect Karin as she dashed forward to deliver a quick series of punches. Birdie circled around to try a long-ranged chaingrab while Shantae flapped overhead, looking for a chance to dive. Nanu, meanwhile, called forth a second Pokemon. Lycanroc appeared in a flash, and with a quick command from her master ran forward to get a piece of the action.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Search Mission - Dead Zone Desolation

Starring @Gentlemanvaultboy as Yuri Kozukata, @Dawnrider as Banjo/Kazooie, @Yankee as Pit, and @Lugubrious as Nero
Word Count: 7,374 (+8 exp)


As the small scout party gathered under the early morning sun in the grand atrium of Smash City Alcamoth it’s least adventurous looking member raised her voice to speak. She still wasn’t that loud, mind you. There were precious few circumstances where Yuri Kozukata ever became truly loud, but it was enough for Alcamoth’s unofficial lost and found officer to gather their attention. “Before we go,” She started. Her tone, as always, carried a trace of halting uncertainty. “Does anyone have any token of the people we’re searching for?” She stared at Nero and Banjo in particular, those that had actually spent time with the missing. “Something they owned, something they loved, any part of them. It would help me find them.”

“Aren’t there actual dogs in this army that could do that?” Kazooie thought out loud to no one specifically, considering not who might have heard it. She neglected also to consider the importance of one’s individual abilities and experience when it came to finding things lost or hidden, in her impulsive dismissal of another. Being essentially an example of a glorified scavenger hunter (albeit a proven one) with not but her wits to rely on for the task, she would prefer not to be right in it, lest Caesar or the like be chosen for the scouting party over her and Banjo. Either way, Banjo briefly interrupted his morning stretch for one motion for a chiding, backhanded tap on the back of Kazooie’s head to remind her of her manners.

The fourth member of the party came around to blink at Yuri. Admittedly he hadn't gotten to know the ins and outs of many of the people staying at the Alcamoth beyond friendly surface level chatter, instead pulling patrols around the area, but did they really have some kind of seer here this whole time?

"You can find people with an item of theirs? Then...!" Pit's eyes shot down to the gold and lapis bow in his hand. That would make finding Lady Palutena easy! He looked back up, face eager, but the more somber expressions of the others just drove home that they were currently on another important mission. He didn't want to make light of said mission, either. Well... Lady Palutena was strong, she was probably safe out there somewhere. She could wait just a little while - and afterward he'd have to ask to borrow Yuri's ability.

Pit coughed into his hand, clearing his throat. "...that would be super handy."

“It’s not as easy as just knowing.” Yuri replied, trying to temper his expectations. The boy...the angel...had that same look of hope in his eyes that plenty of Hisoka’s clients did when they first came to see her. There was no doubt plenty of people in this new world in search of lost loved ones. Yuri herself was among them. “But it gives me a trail that I can follow. At the end of it...they’re always waiting.” It might have been a reassuring thing to say if not for the way her features tightened at the end.

After absorbing what the two had to say, Nero stepped forward. He extended his left forearm palm-up, a prosthetic of green and black metal and plates in a rough spiral. “We’re looking for Linkle, the girl who was kidnapped, and Nico, my friend. She decided to drive out of the Dead Zone to save her van. I mean, crazy, right? But if it helps you find her, she made this arm for me. Put a whole lot of blood, sweat, ‘n tears in, too.” His face was cloudy, hiding his feelings, but it was difficult to disguise his concern for the daredevil inventor.

Yuri stared uncomfortable at what had been offered to her. Of all the things a Token could be, she had never expected a prosthetic arm to be among them. She supposed that showed the limits of her imagination, but she wondered if that would even work. In the worst case taking his hand might result in a Glance instead of what she wanted. Nevertheless, she took a step closer and extended her arms, wrapping her fingers around his palm. She focused on the name, calling out to the parts of herself that the woman had left in the arm when she had built it. Nico. Nico. Nico.

Then, suddenly, she felt a chill as she saw white hands right near hers. They hovered above the arm, moving with confident skill right above the arm as though she were holding tools. After a last few turns of a phantom screwdriver she saw the body come into being as it stepped away, indistinct and white. Less of a person and more of a human shaped blob only she could see. The memory the arm would have of the one that made it. Quickly the Trace turned and began walking across the floor of the atrium toward the main gate. It covered ground far more quickly than the movements of its legs would indicate, sliding forward more than it should with every step. As it went it mindlessly passed through one of the wing headed people that made this place their home, causing the man to come to a dead stop and look about for the phantom presence he had momentarily felt but couldn't place.

Yuri had turned to watch the thing as it strolled off and moments after the Trace had passed the High Entia she let go of Nero’s hand and the Trace faded away into nothing. She nodded to him. “It works. We’ll need to reach the area, but I should be able to find her once we do.”

"All right! This might turn out to be a pretty quick mission." Pit had been swiveling his head back and forth between Yuri's face and the direction she was looking in, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever it was she was seeing, but he gave up pretty quickly after she spoke again. Now the angel fixed an expectant smile at Banjo and Kazooie, propping one hand on his hip. "And what about the other girl? Got anything of hers?"

Banjo brought down his hands from a yawning overhead stretch (he wasn’t one for early mornings), placing one on his hip and cupping his chin with the other. “Hmmm… ” he began, tapping his foot thoughtfully. “You could try the repair shop in the middle of nowhere?” He looked to Nero expectantly, having remembered first encountering him there, and expecting him to remember the same. “We dropped her motorcycle off there after she wrecked it. Though, I’m not sure if it was actually hers...” he said suspectingly.

“She probably won’t need it anymore, either way.”

Banjo shook his head at Kazooie’s cynical interjection and continued. “Anyway, It’s a bit of a ways from anywhere we’ve been, so it’ll be slow going getting there on foot… unless we have something else?” He probed the group for better ideas for transportation, hoping little that any of them might have one in mind. He and the rest of them would otherwise be preparing themselves for a long walk.

"Ooh, maybe that Eddie guy's got something?" Pit crossed his arms behind his head. "But how would we get a car through those paintings...?"

Nero also crossed his arms, although over his chest, and his face was one of recollection. “Might not have to.” His eyes landed on Banjo and Kazooie. “In Lumbridge I saw a huge monster truck and this...well, I don’t know what to call it. It looked like a sports car, but much bigger and covered in gold spikes. Remembered thinkin’, man, that’s garish as all hell…” For the second time, after trying to follow Yuri’s gaze earlier, he looked through the main doors of the Alcamoth Atrium. “Peach and her crew took them out across the plains yesterday morning. Then they came here without them.”

“Uh… yeah! That was us!” Kazooie stated the fact as if it was supposed to be obvious to Nero, gesturing to herself and Banjo, to which Banjo nodded in corroboration. “We went with them while you had somewhere better to be?” She added in a tone of mocking reminder.

Unlike Pit and Yuri, Nero hadn’t been around to see the Seekers arrive, but the Eryth Sea made Alcamoth totally inaccessible to land vehicles. Across the great distance he could sea the mountainside with a perfectly smooth cut across their faces, and it wasn’t a stretch to picture the great orb of subspace that once hung there. “They must have left the vehicles up there, before fighting the dragon. We could use the teleporters to get across, then a little mountain climbing, and we’ve got our wheels.”

“Fat chance, Devil Boy,” Kazooie began, shaking her head at the suggestion. “We jumped ‘em over a ravine to get there, going down,” she emphasized, taking the problem with the current plan to now be obvious to them.

Nero gave her a look. “What, our little field trip in the Dead Zone not convince you I’m up to it?” He flexed the fingers of his prosthetic arm. “Might cost me a Punch Line, but I think I could send at least one hunk-a-junk flying.”

“Be my guest, then! I’d be up for seeing that. Just know that Banjo and I will be there in case you need help with another van,” Kazooie snarked in half-agreement, citing relevant precedent for the challenge he might have with accomplishing such a task. Call it a ‘vote of lacking confidence’ on her part. It was as good a vote as most could hope for from her.

“How’d you know we fought a dragon?” Banjo pondered out loud, unrelated to the current line of discussion, genuinely curious as to how the Devil Hunter picked up on any specifics of yesterday morning’s venture that he was absent for.

He gave the bear a shrug. “I’ve just been sittin’ around since I got back from the hellhole. Gave me a chance to get up to speed. And now that we’re clear to go back, I don’t want to waste any more time.” The devil hunter quickly looked over the group. A teenage boy, a teenage girl, and the familiar two-for-one deal. It looked like it fell to him to lead once again. Doing it once already for a bunch of strangers did not ease the burden of responsibility on his shoulders, since they might not be so lucky this time, but at least the Dead Zone would be less dangerous and the group was smaller. “Even if we have to drive across the plains, bein’ able to drive at all will make all the difference, so let’s go with my plan. We’ll go past Lumbridge and head for the repair shop, where I first met some of you. With any luck we’ll find Nico there, but I’m not gonna hold out hope.”

"Soooo let me get this straight, your plan is to climb a mountain then punch a car across a canyon?" Pit's voice was incredulous, but Nero seemed pretty confident and if it worked it would make things a lot easier for them all. "Well, I guess a plan's a plan. Lemme go see if we have anything to help getting over the mountain. Be right back!"

The angel turned on his heel and ran from their gathering point, making a beeline to the city's various item storage rooms.

At hearing that supply caches were freely available there in Alcamoth, Banjo couldn’t help but think, “Wait! You mean they just have whatever we need here? I feel kinda bad taking from that chicken farmer now. N-not that I didn’t already,” he said, rubbing the back of his head.

“I don’t,” admitted Kazooie, and was met with a disapproving head shake from Banjo. “He didn’t know what he had anyway.” She paused before asking the obvious question. “So, you wanna see what else we can collect here?” Her suggestion to raid the store rooms while they waited for Pit was met with initial ethical protest.

“I don’t know, Kazooie… Wouldn’t that be a bit greedy of us?”

“I hate to argue with you, Banjo,” as she wouldn’t normally, “but we’re the only ones on the roster who can run out of ammo and whatnot. The only ones who have to honor it at least.” Though not entirely fair in her assessment, she wasn’t wrong in her reasoning. That they were subject to attrition was even listed as a weakness for them in their character sheet--a fact they were both no doubt aware of.

“I guess,” Banjo half-heartedly conceded. “I just don’t want to push my luck with the GM is all. He already does enough for us, and I’d rather not take that for granted.”

“Eh, I’m sure he’ll be fine with it,” she argued. “Worst that happens is he tells us we don’t find anything. Now, come on!” With a surrendering sigh from Banjo, they left for the store rooms to see what they could find themselves.

As the three of them left Yuri cast a side-along glance at Nero. Hearing the plan laid out so plainly as Pit had forced a reevaluation of the man. Besides the shock of white hair and the futuristic prosthetic he didn’t look particularly different from the sort of person you would see walking down the street back home. Compared to most of the others here he was positively normal. Despite this he seemed confident in his ability to do exactly what he said. Was he also something inhuman?

With everyone just about ready to set out, they waited a few moments for their last member to come back, but luckily didn’t need to stick around for long. A rhythmic tap taping of sandals on the floor signaled Pit's return. In one arm he held a couple of yellow cloth hoods with distinctive ears, and in the other what looked and smelled to be this morning's leftovers. "Can you believe they wouldn't let me take the rocket belts? Guess they only have a couple of them or something.” Behind him, the dynamic bear-and-bird duo followed along with one item apiece of their own: a spring and a boomerang.

"Anyway, these should help! They make you jump really high." Proudly, Pit presented the bunny hoods - as well as the various kinds of food he had in his other arm. "And look! More breakfast."

Yuri took the hood, giving a quick and appreciative bow to the angel, and held it at her side. She had seen these used in the fight she had been summoned into. No need to go quite that fast yet. She also, rather gingerly, took the teacup balanced precariously atop a piece of cheese in his other arm mostly so it wouldn't tip over and shatter. She brought the cup up to her lips, sipping of the now lukewarm tea.

Banjo took one of the four hoods to share between him and Kazooie and beheld it quizzically with the question of, “So, which one of us is supposed to wear this?”

You, I think,” Kazooie conjectured, correctly. They decided to quickly experiment with this, with Banjo adorning the hood while they each ran quick lines and pivots (or “dash dancing”, as they learned it to be called) on both sets of feet to find its ability transferred perfectly between them, gesturing approval to one another with their success.

Though he elected not to take any food, Nero glanced over the selection of food that Pit offered. Seeing the daisy flower mixed among the others made him raise an eyebrow. “Nice of you, but the food’s not super travel friendly. If you can get some of that stuff packed we can take it along, but otherwise I’d put it back where you found it.” He shoved the rabbit hood he’d been given into a coat pocket. “Let’s get a move on.”



Far above the crystal-blue surface of the Eryth Sea the array of floating islands made traversal easy thanks to their built-in teleporter network. It was pretty despite the long fall, but since Nero had a job to do and his phone was dead anyway, the devil hunter didn’t stop to see the sights. It took just a handful of minutes to cross the whole lake and arrive at an island floating just off the far cliffs, below where the End bubble once resided. Nero had to his neck upward to see where the high crags terminated. It was a lot of mountain. He pulled out the long-eared hat he’d been given and turned it over in his hands, less than confident in the odd headwear. “Why don’t...you go first?” he asked Pit. He wasn’t afraid of heights, but that didn’t mean he was going to just hurl himself off the edge, either. “Seeing as you’ve used it before.”

"Heh, nervous?"

Nero shrugged, unbothered, and Pit strode over the island's edge. He glanced up at the rock face, then down at the drop. It was a long way up but even longer down. He was fairly sure that with the bunny hoods they'd be able to make the leap. Probably. Without further ado he donned the hood, which was really more of a headband, yellow rabbit ears sticking up tall from between his laurels. Standing at the ledge, he bounced on the balls of his feet a few times before looking over his shoulder at the others.

"Okay, watch and learn! Especially you, rookies," Pit said, with a cheeky grin directed not at the humans (or human and part-human) with them, but at Banjo and Kazooie. He recalled their invitation had been lost in the mail or something, but they'd made it eventually.

Pit crouched down low and then sprung up, the power of the bunny hood extending his jump significantly. Without a running start he didn't sail quite as far up as he would have liked to, but a couple flaps of his wings saw him landing high on the mountain side - with plenty more to go.

“Joke’s on him. This is nothing new for us,” said Kazooie, remarking on their renown platforming ability, experiences with which just so happened to include springing to great heights.

“I guess he’s never played our game before,” Banjo replied with a glancing shrug to Kazooie.

“Figures,” she said, disappointedly shaking her head.

Yuri saw the angel boy go, nervous and wide eyed until he made a jump that there was no way she could even with the power of the rabbit hood in her hand. That didn’t even take in account how approaching the edge of a cliff and jumping off into the empty air was just...she had ambiguous feelings about that that she in no way wanted to confirm. She was as scared of it still being easy just as much as she was scared of it being hard.

She looked between the cartoon bear and the white haired man she stood between. “One of you will have to carry me.” She said shamefully. “I can’t do that.”

“Not it.” Kazooie declared as an announcement of the duo’s takeoff, telegraphically winding her wings back to signal Banjo for an enhanced Flap Flip to carry them skyward much higher than usual. Kazooie managed two more midair jumps out of her wings before bringing out the Shock Spring board to launch them above Pit, who would then get a good look at their launch pad tumbling down the mountainside. Upon looking up, he would see Banjo flashing him a smile and a thumbs up, and Kazooie side-eyeing him with a derisive feather-finger wave. As for Pit, he looked up at the both of them and laughed, "Alright, not bad."

For the first time Nero got a real sense of where on the spectrum Yuri was, and he couldn’t help but feel bad about it. Practically everyone he ran into, particularly at Alcamoth, commanded a good bit more strength than the average person, and he’d assumed this one was the same. Instead, Yuri -spiritual powers notwithstanding- seemed to be an ordinary girl, dragged into something way over her head, and the fact no doubt weighed down on her a lot more than it did him. “No problem,” he told her lightly, as he tugged on his own rabbit hood. The accessory that didn’t look too out-of-place on Pit made for a ridiculous spectacle on him, in sharp contrast to his punkish attire, chiseled features, and stern expression. He hoped that the hilarity of it might lighten the mood a little. Now that he knew the score, her well-being was priority number one. Nero approached, towered over her for a brief moment, then crouched down. “Jump on my back and hold on tight.

Yuri pulled on her own hood in both a show of solidarity and in the hopes it would make her easier to carry. As she went around to his back she hesitated, taking in a deep breath and steadying her mind before wrapping her arms around his neck. As she did she flinched like she was expecting something to happen, as though something had been coiled and ready to bite as soon as she touched him, but when nothing did she sighed in confused relief and tightened her grip. “Thank you. I’m ready.” she said.

Standing up, Nero placed his right hand on Yuri’s wrist, just to be sure, and took a tentative jog forward. By nearly zipping clean off the island he quickly and definitively determined that the headwear allowed him to accelerate far past his normal threshold. He stepped back from his the edge with a deep breath and an exasperated shake of his head, then tense up to leap. Even he was taken aback by the speed with which he hurtled upward. With narrowed brows and grit teeth he waited til his deceleration marked the apex of the jump, then thrust his left arm upward. The wire launched from the base of his prosthetic in a burst of compressed air, flew with great speed to its limit, and latched onto a crag of rock. Its powered retraction drew Nero and his cargo upward, and the extra boost plus his naturally greater jumping ability afforded him a highly respectable distance.

Of course, the devil hunter took no note of his standing compared to the others, since the altitude and precariousness of his position demanded his full attention. As the wind pulled at his back he clung tight to the outcrop. “You okay?” he asked Yuri, waiting for her affirmation before he clambered higher, seeking a flat space wide enough for another launch.

“Yes. I’m fine. You don’t have to worry. ” The girl replied. Her rapid breathing seemed to only be a case of adrenaline jitters, because if she was afraid her tone didn’t betray it. She hadn’t even closed her eyes, though she preferred to keep them pointed upwards. “It looks like there’s another handhold to your left.”

“Huh, looks like there is.” Nero didn’t know if his muttering could be heard above the wind, but he seized the indicated outcrop and used it to push himself up. One more hop and he stood on a sloped but workable section of stone, big enough for the rabbit hood to work its magic. With Yuri’s assurance he jumped again, a bit harder this time, and he decided to double up for good measure. At the apex of his leap he used Air Hike, causing a demonic circle of blue energy appeared beneath his feet that gave him a second jump as high as the first. He spotted a flat top of stone and pulled himself over. The speed of his ascent sucked the air from his lungs, so he stopped there to take a moment to breath. Even with a demon’s toughness it wouldn’t do to go light-headed. He turned and crouched at the edge to take a look down and gauge the progress of the others.

When he scoped them out, however, he found not two other climbers, but three. He squinted to get a better look at the unknown jumper, who appeared to be climbing remarkably fast. Though without a hood of its own it couldn’t leap quite as high, floating green platforms were drawn from the ether wherever it went, allowing it to make constant easy progress. As it grew closer, Nero made out a strange, bullet-shaped creature with yellow skin, a tube nose, a green garment of some sort, and four spindly legs. “Weird,” he muttered, but his interest in the thing was more practical than scientific. “Wonder if we can hitch a ride on that thing’s platforms.”

"Well, only one way to find out." Pit watched the creature ascend passed him, then shimmied up to an area on the rock face that would be easy enough to get back to if he took an unexpected fall. After all, maybe those things' platforms were some kind of psychic energy only it could use. Pit counted the number of platforms up from his area, picked one of the higher ones and jumped, aiming to land on top and see if it was solid.

Second guesses went out the window as he threw himself to the strange jumper’s mercy, but as his sandal touched down he found the surface not just solid, but bouncy. It boosted him up the height of a decent jump and reinvigorated his wings just as if he’d landed, allowing more flaps. He easily bounced his way to the next platform. "Hey, it's springy!" he said. He bounced up again and overshot the creature's progress, floundering midair before flapping his way back to a perch on the mountainside.

With the angel’s rather risky experiment a success, Nero shrugged, unable to argue with the results. Not bad. All the same, he lacked the air control that Pit did, so he chose to stick to his own method rather than rely upon the odd creature. Moving more or less independently despite the danger of scaling such a perilous mountainside, the group climbed higher and higher, until they reached a large cave mouth in the rock face. Rather than present an ominous, yawning aperture into some tenebrous underworld, however, the cave turned out to be little more than a short tunnel floored with stone bricks. Nero helped Yuri down, then led the way forward at a brisk jog. Just a few hundred feet away it opened right back up again, and the sunlight shown down on a picturesque green vale nestled inside the mountain range.



Since the group wasn’t here to sightsee, the Devil Hunter neither paused nor deviated from his course. He followed the path around the spiral mountain in the valley’s center toward the only other notable path through the mountains, which carved a fortuitous northwest. To certain members of his crew, however, this place represented something special: home.

To them, this was yet another instance of simply passing through on their way off to somewhere else more dangerous, like any other before it. Often at the start of any of their adventures was home the starting point to which they scarcely (if at all) returned until their journey’s end. This felt little different, aside from the stakes. Coupled with melancholic nostalgia was a distinct, underlying dread of the possibility that they may not return for one reason or another, and that they should appreciate, if nothing else, the sight of it. Silently, the pair understood this, and remained hopeful for the better.

Yuri's attention was easily drawn to the visage they had emerged from as they crossed the rickety wooden bridge and started down the mountain. A cackling witch in crumbling stonework overlooked the whole valley, completely at odds with the local scenery. “I wonder what that was for?” She asked aloud to the group.

”We were neighbors with our villain,” Banjo remarked casually, as if such a case could be considered common.

”Take it from us, that’s the prettier face,” Kazooie added, referring disparagingly to the broken edifice of the witch as the preferable visage to the real one that it was based on. Banjo nodded affirmatively to Kazooie’s pointed addition to his statement about their nemesis, rather than scold her for it as he would for most. Gruntilda marked a particular exception to his attitude regarding others in a number of ways, but that was to be expected when it came to one who, among other things, abducted your little sister with intentions of forcibly swapping genes with her.

"Must've been tough." Pit could hardly imagine living right next door to Medusa. He shuddered at the mere thought. "So is the canyon just past here?"

Nero had wondered if the bear and bird might have a thing or two to say about their place of residence, but if they didn’t want to poke around or reminisce, so much the better. Only one narrow path led out from Spiral Mountain between the cliffs and crags to the northwest, and the devil hunter headed that way. The others followed behind, matching his brisk pace in the single file that the walls to either side allowed, and only the pounding of their feet against the dusty ground and their collective breath challenged the reigning silence.

After about twenty minutes the team turned a corner to see the narrow path open into a sizable area up ahead. Sure enough, Nero spotted the very monster truck he’d heard about, although one look at it was all he needed to second guess his earlier plan. Brother Grimm was a beast of a machine, at least three stories high, with tires big enough to squash pickups like they were bugs. It featured mounted machine guns, fangs bigger than most men were tall, an excessive amount of exhaust pipes, and even barbed wire around its mammoth tires, as if whoever tricked this puppy out was told to ‘go’ and just never stopped. It left one hell of an impression.

Nero stepped out into the open space, highly impressed by the ludicrous machine despite himself. “Wonder what Nico’d make of that,” he wondered aloud as his gaze settled on a second vehicle, a cartoonishly villanous-looking sports car decked out in yellow spikes and a silver miniature of Bowser’s head. No doubt made with the Koopa King in mind, it stood a lot taller than the average bougiemobile, but it still barely reached Brother Grimm’s undercarriage. Luckily, with only four separate units to transport, that was all Nero needed.

There appeared to be only one problem, and it wasn’t the act of flipping the car over the gorge that lay behind it. A gang of strange humanoids in green uniforms lurked around the place, seemingly idle until the mercenaries appeared on the scene. Then the creatures put up their fists and raised their weapons, ready to defend the machines they evidently assumed to be theirs.

The other three emerged just after Nero. The angel among them balked at the sight of the Primids at first. All that Subspace stuff should have been taken care of already during his first foray into Smash Bros! Pit shook off the initial surprise quickly enough, reminding himself that pretty much anything was possible now. They could encounter anything or anyone from any point in time. Defeated enemies getting revived definitely doesn't get old fast or anything, he sighed to himself.

"Those guys guarding the ugly cars are small fry. Shouldn't take any time at all to deal with them and move on!" Banjo and Kazooie remembered taking on no small number of them on their way through the first time, and agreed with their cherubic comrade. Nodding, Banjo punched his palm and cracked his neck in anticipation, while Kazooie flared and beat her wings aggressively, posturing threat. The Primid's blank expression didn't change despite the insult, and to prove his point Pit went on the attack with his bow split into the double blades, unafraid even in his 'weakened' state. His slices raked across the pugnacious creatures’ bodies, dealing a series of solid blows.

As Pit charged in Yuri brought up the rear of their quintet, sight fixed on the enemies huddled around two of the most outlandish cars she had ever seen in her life. Those things were the enemy? They looked like toys. Then again, so did a lot of people around here and that didn’t make them any less dangerous. She took a deep breath, and reached for the camera hanging at her waist. She brought it up to her eye, observing Pit’s fight through the special lens she had been provided by the tournament organizers. She tried to get as many of the monsters in the viewfinder as possible and captured her photo.

The moment she pressed down on the camera’s button, a wave of darkness emanated from the device at light speed. Its touch stopped Primids in their tracks, leaving them paralyzed even after shadow faded. Though totally unexpected, the assistance made Pit’s easy pickings even easier, and with a nod of approval Nero stepped forward. From his coat’s right inner pocket he withdrew a rather large revolver with his left hand, and with a squeeze of his finger the Blue Rose let loose. With each trigger pull two bullets hurtled forth to blow through the head of one nebulous mook at a time.

In a dead run, Kazooie bounded herself and Banjo into the crowd of Primids, turning at the drop in their arc for Banjo to come down onto the first one with a heavy, crashing, half-open fist to drive its head into the rocky ground. Banjo bowled forward, coming off of his maneuver into another, and dove Kazooie beak-first at the next Primid. Following through, Banjo scooped it up overhead for Kazooie to spike it into the air. Banjo caught the hapless minion by its ankle and slammed it down at its own brethren as an improvised blunt weapon, before reaching into his pack to do the same with Kazooie, to her inevitable surprise (no matter how much or often they did this) and displeasure. Banjo continued steadily forward, savagely clubbing his way through the mob with alternating swings of partner and Primid in a hand each for every step, eliciting a whimpering caw of pain from Kazooie with every hit. He soon felt his off hand empty with the weaponized Primid’s demise, while Kazooie remained strangely unharmed. Banjo then threw out a raw uppercut to swat away an oncoming attack, seamlessly raring him back onto one foot in a preparatory stance for a wind-up pitch before letting fly, sending her sailing, whirling forward with her wings out like a bladed disc. She trilled with effort as she spun on the point of her talon like a ballet top, banking in an arc to catch a number of Primids in a row, sawing into them with passing contact.

A few moments of free damage later the Primids escaped the magic of Yuri’s camera and charged their foes in force. Their efforts were for naught. Three ran the devil hunter’s way, with one falling before it even reached him, and in a flash Nero drew the Red Queen from his back to catch the others in a whirling slash. He zeroed in on one to send skyward with a launching High Roller, revving the weapon like a motorcycle as he did, then flew at the other in a fiery Streak. “FLASH!” The wide cut nearly bifurcated the Primid, and when it fell Nero quickly finished the job with an inelegant overhead pound of his blade. Behind him the second Primid was falling, and as he turned he stowed the Red Queen. A Wire Snatch flew out to grab hold of the unfortunate thing and yank it right toward him, straight into the barrel of his revolver. One last BANG and the thing slumped to the ground as ashes.

The Primids that chose to take the angel on rather than rushing away towards the others again found themselves on the wrong end of his swords. Just shaking off Yuri's ability, they couldn't keep up with the speed of Pit's attacks, and he kited and cut them down one by one. There were no shadow bugs in sight, only the shining little spirits.

In record time the Primids were being defeated, and when only one remained it looked around helplessly at the mercenaries. Pit approached it with an unapologetic grin and raised one half of the bow up high, bringing the hilt down heavy to bonk the Primid square in the center of it's head. It spun around dizzy for a moment before collapsing. Pit twirled the duo of blades and brought them together with a click, forming them into one again and turned back to the others.

"See? Easy peasy."

“Seems like it,” Nero told him, breezing past. Spirit collection he left to the others. “Let’s get a move on.” He went around and grabbed hold of the Bowsermobile’s bumper, then started to pull. With whoever chose to lend a hand speeding up the process, the mercenaries maneuvered the vehicle toward the canyon that separated them from the Land of Adventure. One it was as close to the edge as gravity would allow, Nero got into position. With a look of utmost seriousness he removed his currently-equipped prosthetic and replaced it with a sleek red and black one. Since nobody stepped in with a better idea, he stepped forward to enact his plan from earlier.

He crouched down and started to charge, electricity crackling from the Punch Line arm. Flame blazed forth from the rockets in its lower section, kept in check only by Nero’s clenched-jaw strength. The whole affair shook violently as its power grew, until finally the devil hunter let loose. He swung forward with a full-bodied uppercut and struck the vehicle hard enough to twist and crumple the rear bumper, and at the end of his punch the rocket-fueled prosthetic detached to jet into the air and carry the Bowsermobile with it. The effect was instantaneous: the machine sailed away as if it were a plastic prop, flipping end over end as it cleared the chasm and proceeded another couple hundred feet before slamming down right on its tires. A perfect launch.

Nero pumped his other fist, none too showily, but good accompaniment nonetheless to the smirk he couldn’t keep off his face. Hiding his satisfaction as best he could, he preoccupied himself with switching in his leftover Gerbera arm in preparation for the trip across. Once fully composed he glanced at the others, motioning toward the gorge. “Shall we?”

Yuri wandered up next to him, wide eyed from seeing something that would normally take an entire Hollywood special effects team to pull off done right in front of her. It wasn’t just that either, the way Nero had jumped on air, the repeated pounding of Kazooie to no negative effect, Pit's entire shonen hero aura, it all led to one conclusion. “It’s like all of you stepped right out of a cartoon. No one where I’m from can fight like that.” She said, ignorant as she was on the matter of shinobi. Nonetheless, she placed her ears back on and hesitantly motioned for Nero’s assistance again.

“Good thing we’re not from there then,” Kazooie snarked before unceremoniously lifting off with Banjo into full flight for the freshly relocated Bowsermobile, in a feat of movement the camerawoman might further find impressive.

“Cartoon?” Nero looked a little affronted. Then he put two and two together, realizing where Yuri must be from. “Oh. I guess. I’m not so much into that stuff.” He glanced at the young woman’s rabbit hood as she hesitated. Maybe she felt like she needed his help again but didn’t necessarily want it. “You can probably make it with just that. Go for distance, rather than height.” Rather than forge ahead he waited to see if she’d give it a shot.

"Yeah, if you fall one of us will catch you!" Pit was quite pleased with her cartoon comment, it brought up thoughts of dashing protagonists and tough superheroes to his mind and he ended up subconsciously power posing - fists on either hip and his wings outstretched. "Humans can be pretty impressive when they try!"

Yuri looked back, uncomfortably, at the jump. At the edge. She walked up to it, feeling her hands tighten in anxious fists as she started down over the edge across the span. The rude bird had carried her partner across it so easily. She walked backwards, getting some distance between her and the edge. This wasn’t like Mt. Hikami. The mountain had been developed as a tourist spot before the disastrous landslide shut that all down. It was mostly old roads, overgrown paths, and old decrepit structures. Humans had made the mountain their own long ago, and so it was a simple walk to the summit if only you could avoid the ghosts.

She couldn't depend on that out here. She couldn't rely on everything being made for people if she didn’t want to get left behind by birds and angels. She turned to give a small smile to Pit and Nero for their encouragement. “Okay.” She said, nodding. She took a running start, wind blowing past her ears as the hood pushed her to run faster than she ever had before. She kept her eyes on the opposite edge, very pointedly not looking down. This wasn’t like that time. There wasn’t just empty air out there, there was somewhere for her to land. She focused on it and jumped as she reached the edge.

She immediately regretted it. It felt like she had imagined it would, the wind rushing past her as she jumped into nothing and the stomach churning sensation as she felt herself start to drop. Unlike in her imagination, though, it ended with her boots hitting the ground. She stumbled forward as she landed on the opposite side, her knees jittering from the impact. She wasn’t even a little prepared to take that landing and after a few clumsy steps tumbled forward and landed in the dust. She pushed herself up, turning over and sitting on the ground for a moment to catch her breath. Then she waved over to the other side. “I’m all right.” She called out, still trying to process that she had made it.

Across the canyon Pit cheered, raising his hands up high. Rather than keep those already on the other side waiting he prepared to jump himself, but before that he looked over at the other human (or sort of human? Kazooie said something about 'devil boy' and Pit did get a weird feeling from him).

"Kinda can't believe the punch a car plan actually worked," he laughed. "C'mon, I can't wait to try riding in Bowser's car!" Moments later the angel alighted on the other side, still talking as the bunny hood's ears bounced up and down. He trotted over to the car to get a closer look. "Y'know they never invite me to those go-kart races. They invited Link and I'm just as old as he is! Give or take a few months. Even that villager and their dog too..."

Nero jumped a moment later. Having exhausted his own rabbit hood, he fired the Gerbera arm repeatedly instead, launching him a few yards at a time over the gap. After he touched down he landed in a roll. “Good jump, miss,” he told Yuri as he made his way for the Bowsermobile. Since Banjo had already parked himself behind the wheel Nero climbed into the second row of seats, wondering how qualified a driver the bear might be but willing to give him a chance. Without a close friend behind the wheel he didn’t feel compelled to ride shotgun, so he left that to the others. The land of adventure stretched out before them, vast in its rolling green fields, hills, and woods. They had a lot of ground to cover in just this region alone, so it paid to get comfortable. Just a few moments later the mercenaries’ grand offroad trip was underway.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ZAVAZggg
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ZAVAZggg Sok Il-Seong

Member Seen 33 min ago





Level: 3 (24/30)
Word Count: 275
Location: Edge of the Blue - Creature Beach
EXP: +1




Sephiroth knew her plan had been a long shot, and as such she was fully ready to accept the painful consequences that had resulted as it failed. As she lay there under relentless attack however, she didn't let her mind slip nor wander from its assigned task of finding her a way out of the current situation. Calmly, perhaps too calmly for one who was under attack, Sephiroth took note of how hard the leviathan was to rouse. She would need a stronger attack it seemed, and luckily she had just the thing in mind. First thing first however, she needed to get some of these fools off her back. Although her shadow was pinned, she struck out at those captors who dared approach, using the sheer length of her Masamune to its full advantage. These were not broad, wide swings by any stretch of the imagination though, rather they were a quick series of precisely aimed jabs and thrusts designed to keep her opponents at bay long enough for the bluish flame clutched in the palm of her free hand to blaze a pure white.

A tonal shift that marked the passage of Megaflare into Gigaflare.

While the distance was laughable, the blast radius was anything but, and Sephiroth was certain it would be able to overtake the leviathan even at this range. Hopefully, assuming luck was back on her side this time around, the beast would finally be roused from its slumber and come barreling into the fray. Smirking as she fended off the rotund man and strange doglike creature, she extended her hand toward the buried leviathan and let Gigaflare fly free...
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Gentlemanvaultboy
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Gentlemanvaultboy

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Hyrule Warriors


Word Count: 1219

Level 5 - (46/50) + 2


Level 9 - (33/90) + 2

@Potemking




Link


Location: The Bottomless Sea





Link only had time to catch Ms. Fortune's acrobatic return to the skip out of the corner of his eye, his heart skipping a beat in the heat of the moment when she collapsed into chunks before remembered what her situation was. She was the only one to return, either. The abyssal girl also came back, maybe to reload considering she went right to Blazermate's ammunition machine, but she didn't seem to have the time to reload her weaponds again before the bonefish was upon them once more. Undeterred, she threw herself at the thing and landed a solid punch to the head which, after the withering fire it had received from Shippy's crew, was sufficient to scatter the thing to pieces segment by segment.

With that thing gone, and the sound of thrashing water and gnashing teeth now a ways away from them, Link had time to catch his breath and look around. The Atomos was still in the air, which meant the kids had done something to get it stable during the effects of stasis. Around the deck it didn't look like anyone had gotten seriously injured. Even his fish bites weren't bleeding, an effect of the overhealing Blazermate had performed before the start of the battle even if he didn't know that. About the only one who looked bad was Ms. Fortune, and that was only if you didn't know her deal. "That looks way worse than it is." He called out reassuringly to Mirage and Mr. Green. If Ms. Fortune and Rika had decided the come back, though, it stood to reason that the fight with the sea monsters must have been winding down.

He was half right. As he turned to check he saw Bowser with his hand wrapped around the little monster, the thing screaming something he could tell just from the tone was absolutely obscene. That should keep them from having to worry about the eel like tendrils at least. The big one, though, was still primed and ready to fight. It slammed its whole bulk into the spire the two rested on, and with a heart shaking crack the rock broke and began to tilt into the sea.

Link desperately whipped out the slate again, watching wide eyed as the bar refilled. It was around 3/4th of the way done, but every single pip that lit up to indicate the cooldown process felt like an eternity as the spire continued to fall. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, it was ready to use again. He swiped out with the slate, summoning forth the gold chains to wrap what was now essentially a giant boulder and arrest its fall before it could plunge into the depths with his friends on or under it.





Linkle


Merge Rate: 30%


Location: The Frozen Highlands - Snowdin ~ Grillby's ---> The Cold Monastery






Linkle nodded, downing her entire drink in one single go while Albedo made his dog a nice little place by the fire. As he came back and they started out the door and down the street she expanded on his thought. "I guess it is kind of strange. I think most worlds must be more alike than different. Like, have you ever met someone here that didn't know what you were talking about when you told them what, say, a bird was? I'm not sure what a Katzlein is, but I think I have a pretty good picture since I know what a cat is. Also I've met a cat woman before, but she was from the same world as the Skull Heart."

Before they set out on their expedition to the temple Linkle asked for a quick pit stop at the hotel, where she set most of the non-essentials in her room. She kept the strange card in her pouch, along the the berries in case they needed a snack later and the bloodstained leaf because it weighed nothing at all. She also kept the gun-sword on her back, because who knew when the extra range might come in handy. Mostly she wanted the sled free in case they found something interesting to drag back.

As they set out across the snow toward their destination Linkle also found it made for a fine sled. Whenever they crested the top of a moderate hill Linkle would hop on and, gripping the bar while standing, ride the thing to the bottom. It was faster, and it was more fun. As they contained she couldn't help but notice the lack of real animal life, or the old encampments that were in the process of freezing over. They spotted what were possible the culprits, a multitude of creatures that seemed to be made of various forms of ice. "I should hunt some of these on the way back. They might know more about ice than me."

As they stopped atop the knoll, Linkle turned to him. "How cold is it here, do you think? It must be worse that yesterday with all the ice monsters floating arouAAAANND!" She hadn't noticed the tree moving, and now she thrashed while it grasped in its splintery grip. She managed to turn herself to face that...woman? There was a certain feminine aspect to the tree, mostly in its long "hair." Linkle only had a moment to be taken in by it before it opened its mouth and sprayed a wave of frozen air over her that left a layer of frost covering every part of Linkle's body. It was the birch woman's turn to be surprised, though, as Linkle didn't appear to be in any pain from the attack. Just annoyed, an annoyance the expressed itself it a flaming kick right to the woman's chin. She dropped Linkle, the woman suddenly bursting into flame like an oil soaked rag and letting out an ear splitting shrike, but as Linkle landed she pulled out her new crossbows. The tips flared red as spread out her aim, launching a bomb arrow at both the one that had grabbed her and the one Albedo had just escaped the clutches of, blowing them apart and putting a stop to the fireballs that one had sent seeking after Albedo. More trees were moving on this hill though, so Linkle grabbed her sled, scooped the tree women's sprits as she passed, and sledded down after him. A she reached a place safely out of any trees reach, she crushed the spirits in her palm.

After that it wasn't long before the pair arrived at the Temple, a sight Linkle was blown away by. She guessed those waterfalls were where the rivers she had seen flowing before came from, and as they dumped water from between the towers they through up icy mist that seemed to permeate the air around the old place. It looked less like a temple and more like an entire settlement, or a...

"Are you sure this isn't the dungeon?" She asked in awe. "Because if it isn't, give it a hundred years and it'll definitely be a dungeon." This was the sort of place her grandma had explored. She started forward eagerly down the cliff path, wondering if she would even be able to get the sled across the narrower parts but continued unperturbed.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,045 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (79/90) (-5 for heart)
Bowser Jr: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (75/70)
Kamek: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(72/70)
Location: Edge of the Blue – Bottomless Ocean
Feat: Rika


“Eat this!” Rika yelled at the bullet riddled spine fish thing as she smashed its stupid face in with a hammer blow from her punching gauntlet. She dodged back after delivering that blow, ready to stab it with her bayonet or get the heck out of dodge, but the deed was already done, her right hook having ended the fish’s already flattering life, though bizarrely the punched face was the last thing to go as it exploded from tial down to tip.

Rika shook one arm to relieve the jarring the impact had caused while reaching out to grab the spirit of the fish as it fell in-order to crush it with the other, before turning to find new foes. It turned out however, that Shippy was finally out of the mess they’d made, which left only those near the spire in danger. Maybe if they had done as Peach said they’d have pulled out by now, but as it was, Bowser, and to lesser extent Ace, were both still right in the thick of it, and however that situation ended, the ship girl could only watch from one far.

And take the time to rearm herself, just in case they went actually out of the reef yet. It was when she was walking back to the dispenser to do so she finally realized the daring Miss Fortune had returned to them, by way of tripping over one of her disembodied arms.

“What was..? oh no!” she gasped and glanced around the ship, spotted all the other bits laying about and moved to clunkily try and scoop them all up while still strapped into her gauntlets “don't worry miss! We can put you back together. Right! Right?” she said, directing that last at Blazermate whom she considered the expert in people fixing.




Bowser grunted in pain as the green bolt from the monster girl hit him, but he didn’t let that stop him or slow his charge. She was on the ropes, the last little vestiges of power weren't going to stop him. Unfortunately, last vestiges turned out to include a held back trump card as the girl glowed with golden light and she suddenly gained another four tendrils, though these were a smaller fair than the pens that had been blasted and ruined by the rest of the team. Not that their size mattered much as the tiny terror declared that no, playtime was very much not over as she began to lay into him. The king tried to shoot these down these new limbs, but something let them hold fast against any punishment, and so the king was left with only one option.

To hunker down and bear it.

His shell locked in place and then bent and buckled under the onslaught. The little orange barrier of the mecha-mit held fast for only a moment and then floundered. The king however, did not. Though his armor buckled, his clothes were torn and his blood was spilled Bowser did what he did best and endured where others would have fallen or fled. For once, his stubbornness paid off, as the girl’s final gambit faltered, the golden light leaving her and taking her renewed tendrils with them.

The girl was stunned by his refusal to be put down and so, before she could muster more magics, he crossed the last meter separating them and picked her up in his claw, scaly fingers holding her tightly enough that she couldn't blast him, but not hard enough to crush her as he likely easily could.

”I was trying to help you, and I don't just do that for anyone, so attacking my minions was pretty rude of you,” he told her through labored breaths as he raised the friend heart he had held onto through the whole fight ”But you aren't yourself right now, so I'll cut you some slack and give you one more chance to accept my help. Don't waste it.”

The king pressed the heart against her forehead with a head pat and the effect started to take hold. She’d soon be free of the light. She’d also be completely restored where he was still fading and there wasn't a guarantee she’d be friendly even when Galeem’s influence had been washed away. It was a stupid risk, even he could see that. Any attempt he could have made to mitigate the stupidity in the moment where she was coming to terms with reality was pulled from under his feet when the sea stack gave up the ghost as the tentacle titan rammed it one last time and caused the top, which he was standing on holding the girl, to break off entirely and plummet towards the waves. The mass of stone plummeted, bringing him and the newly freed monstergirl with it, only for it to come to a knee jarring halt before it impacted with the waves when golden chains like those that had grabbed the Atomos gripped it, suspending it in mid air.

That, unfortunately for Bowser, did still leave him high above the waves with only a long drop to the bottom, a drop he was not in a condition to survive.

”DAD!” came a cry through the broken window of the Atomos as the ship swerved towards the floating rock at the behest of the king’s only child who was racing to his rescue.

”Hold on” Bowser told Scylla, because unless she did something about it she was coming with him, before taking a running start and leaping the short distance from the time frozen rock onto the airship as it roared past at speed.

He hit the deck, stumbled from the change in momentum, did his best to deposit his captive/rescuee on the deck without injury and then collapsed to the metal floor in exhaustion as the ship banked in an attempt to avoid hitting the remains of the stack or its destroyer and to chase after the safely escaping Shippy.

A moment later, the back door of the ship was thrown open with a ”Sire are you alright!” as the old mage who had raised Bowser pushed through his own fatigue to come to his king’s aid.

Whether it was to his defense or simply healing that would depend entirely on the girl.





wordcount: 652 +1 (+5 form the other colab)
Midna: level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (14/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon


”Could we try and be subtle about this, please? Goddesses, the last thing we need is for things to explode before we are ready and informed of the situation.” Midna chided those in the group who apparently had very loose lips when it came to the fact that they might be siding with the rebels against the vizzar.

She sighed, and then let I go and settled down on the back of one of the benches, which put her at about eye level with the two titans of men who had settled down as well.

”You’ll be looking forward to the chill of the mountain then Braum?” she commented added to their little exchange, before they got down to business, namely that some of them were going to check out the resistance. Emphasis on some. They weren't exactly the most conspicuous bunch, best leave the hunting for those who did not want to be found to a small specialized team who wouldn't spook their quarry.

The rest would have to find ways to occupy themselves, and the best way to spend their time was likely getting more spending money. With that in mind they got pointed towards a job board with a list of more mundane civilian requests on it.

The tasks of manual labor, poking around an abandoned church and hunting down an escaped dog didn't pay well compared to the palace jobs, but they were a lot more reliable. There was no grantee they’d even find some of targets of the bounties, whereas hauling fruit was a reliable if rather poor source of cash.

Speaking of the other requests, Midna gave the others a quick rundown of what she remembered.

”The palace jobs where a thief which ‘paranormal’ abilities who’s been stealing important city fixtures, there’s vermin in the cisterns, a treasure chest mimicking monster lurking in the Bazaar, a scam artist (that was all it had) and then they are looking for someone to find a permanent cure the Queen’s lethargy that can currently only be solved by cheese.” She told them, and would supply more remembered details (like the much higher pay) if people were interested in them.


”Not a lot of straightforward ones, but then again if they were they wouldn't pay so well” Minda said, before considering what she might do herself.

”Unless anyone needs my help with anything, and I can be pretty inconspicuous while acting as backup muscle… backup magic, I might take a look in this church. Sneak in through the shadows, give the palace a once over, that kind of thing.” she said after a couple of moments of contemplation. It might not pay well, but there was something about the little mystery it presented that had caught her attention. Plus ” It should be pretty quick, so once I’m done I can meet up with one of you and lend you a hand with some of the trickier sounding stuff?”
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey ~I'm Stone Free, do what I please~

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Level 5: 24/50
Location: The Bottomless Sea Surface
Word Count: 343
Points Gained: 1
New EXP Balance--- Level 5 : 25/50


If it helped Nadia at, Sakura was indeed watching. She grimaced at the grotesque nature of Nadia's abilities, but since she understood them to be on purpose it wasn't as gross. She had the same learing experience watching Dhalsim do his crazy yoga stuff. This was kind of like that except way, way wetter.

Sakura cheered, clapping her hands as she saw Nadia make the landing. Nadia preceded to fall to pieces but Sakura didn't catch that part. Meanwhile, the team onboard Shippy defeated the evil bone fish. That just left Sakura out in the open to defend Mister Geralt and Miss Bella if they wanted it.

Now the street fighter's attention was back on the fight. Bowser and Ace Cadet were up their on their lonesome, and it was getting hard to see them. Since they weren't being flung through the air as much. All she knew was she didn't like the idea of the turtle dad and the monster hunting getting eaten by eels.

Sakura yelped, covering her eyes as the fight progress and then peeked through her fingers. Bowser took a big hit, but the Atomos scooped him up. Meanwhile the entire big island tower fell to pieces.Beyond that Sakura couldn't tell much. She never really was a very perceptive person. No way in heck could she have spotted the opportunity to take a shot like that, let alone actually hit it.

"Wh-what happened? Bella-san? Geralt-san? Did you see? Where's the eely girl?" Sakura clenched her fingers.

"Hold on, I'll be right back." Sakura skated forward, getting closer to the island and Tentalus. There was probably going to be a big splash soon.

"Okay, you win!" She shouted up towards Tentalus, the big purple monster. "Now shoo! Get outta here!" She flicked her wrists towards the big guy. "Nothin' to see here! Buh-bye, domo arigato!" With that she turned and began skimming back over to Geralt and Bella. She hoped they could scoot out of here, soon. Hopefully Mister Bowser managed to calm that thing down.


Level 1: 6/10
Word Count: 561
Location: Museum
Points Gained: ?
New EXP Balance--- Level 1: 7/10


As Jesse's clothes were blown back by the whirlwind, she couldn't help but once again lament her powers. Her own flying abilities wouldn't be deferred by such a wind. And, of course, she was more than strong enough to just yank that Infinite Spring right out of the air. But these kids were capable, so she decided to let them go for it. Her firing off gunshots probably wasn't going to help. Jesse was a pretty good shot but she was by no means an elite markswoman who never missed the mark. That's why it helped that her gun had infinite ammo.

Unfortunately, this balding bastard outwitted even the parautilitarians that she was temporarily working with to stop this guy. Jesse blink as she saw a cat's head double in size. That probably sucked.

Just to make absolutely sure, Jesse reached her hand out towards the Infinite Spring and clawed her hand. Trying to extend her willpower, to latch onto the object and bring it under her control. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zero. A big ol' goose egg. Then, the man just floated right through the glass as if it wasn't even there.

(Right. Of course he can do that, too. What is this feeling? Pistol envy?)

Jesse didn't waste any energy on parting shots, just strode forward and watched him drift away. Half-heartedly, she clenched her fist and shook it towards the ceiling. "Aaargh. You haven't seen the last of me. Haha." Jesse said jokingly. In a spike of frustration she turned and kicked at a drifting balloon, the impact hollow and unsatisfying. That bounty would have been useful. Would she ever get another chance? Did it even matter? She felt useless without her powers. The Tengu guards were also a poor replacement for her Rangers.

Sighing, Jesse placed a hand on her shoulder and rolled it a few times. She walked over to the group known as the Phantom Thieves and appraised them. Once again, there was something different about them. In a way, they looked familiar. Their outfits were fancy and stylish and foreign to her, but they were recognizably human. But even still. Something about the way they carried themselves. They walked with purpose and poise.

(You know when a noise has been going on for so long you don't even notice it anymore? And when it finally stops, the quiet takes you by surprise?)

Polaris glimmered in her mind's eye.

(Do these people know something we need to know?) An affirmative shimmer. (Okay.)

"Jesus. Sorry about that." Jesse said, approaching the group and eyeing the wounded cat.

(Should I lie and tell him it's probably temporary?)

"Are you guys doing all right? Seem like you're quite the team. Yeah, that crazy guy has been going on a crime spree. I've been tracking him down, but, that was the first time I managed to see him in person." She hissed through her teeth. "Next time. Next time. I figure if that gun could make your cats head big, maybe it could make it normal sized again. Or hey...maybe it's temporary." Jesse offered.

If she got her social graces right, she should wait until the people she's trying to talk to reciprocate her conversation offer. Then, when they do, and they're engaged in social activiy, she offers her name. Real nice and casual like.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Dawnrider
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Dawnrider Demigod

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feat.

GM

@Lugubrious

Level: 5 (38 -> 43 -> 45/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Word Count: 859/1198 (+2 EXP)


While the others caught Tora up on the overall scheme and talked around the Conductor who obstructed them, Fox used the distraction to step away from the group to find an isolated area between idle/unused train cars parked in the yard. He checked his surroundings for prying eyes and to make sure he wasn’t being followed before taking a knee and mocking radio contact to summon a messenger from home.

After a couple moments, a familiar puff of smoke heralded the arrival of one of Alcamoth's correspondent moogles. The little white creature appeared with its kind's iconic, whimsical whistling noise, the pom stopped her head a-bobbing, and waved to Fox with both hands. "Hiya! So excited to be here! What can I do ya for, mister?"

“Update: We’re held up in Al Mamoon. Volatile political tensions threaten to break out into civil war. We believe Robin may be involved, and possibly in immediate danger.” His emphasis on the individual would be readily apparent in its intent to his Smash cohorts back at Alcamoth, thus further justifying the delay in their progress. “We’re looking into it on our end, but we may not have much time.” His stolidly professional tone was marked with an undertone of malaise that creeped into his voice with the thought of worst cases and the request that followed. “Ready a diplomatic relief response for the aftermath, for whatever that may look like. The people here could use the outreach either way.”

“Um...okay!” the moogle responded after a moment, more than a little overwhelmed by both the content of Fox’s request and his tone. “I’ll just tell the boss everything you told me. But, um…” She looked a little hesitant, pawing at the side of her head. “I assume that’s on the map or something, but even if it is, I don’t think the boss likes sending people to unknown areas. He’d probably ask something like, is there a good way to get there? And even if we get a team ready, it might be a long time to get to Elm...or, wherever you are. If only we had a fast-travel system…” Even as she considered the ramifications of Fox’s request, she still stayed mostly upbeat, rattling off things to be aware of in a matter-of-fact manner. “Anything else?”

Fox had, of course, failed to consider the projected cost or potential risks of his request. The more sizable party he travelled in had something of a hard time getting there already, while incurring personnel losses along the way. A smaller party of four might fare worse still. For this reason he bit his tongue on how they might get there, and abstained from relaying further instruction--on travel or rescue. “We lost four on the train here,” he told her, shaking his head to confirm a negative. “We may have to figure out a better way. Just keep them on standby until then.” No more complicated than his order was, he realized he was already asking too much, motivated expressly by a recognized need for assistance and connection, and a desire to help in any way that mattered.

“Ah…” The little creature looked crestfallen. “Can do. Will do.”

He then recalled one out of the previous orders made, incidental to their current situation or how it may further aid any further efforts on either end. “What’s the status on Naboris?” he asked plainly.

Having not handled that mission’s correspondence herself, the moogle took a moment to identify what Fox meant. “If that’s the one for bringing in the giant stone camel, I don’t think it went that well. I mean, the mercenaries found it pretty easily. It picked up a few hitchhikers or something, but that wasn’t the main issue. I don’t think they ever figured out a way to control it. So it’s just sort of standing out in the desert near the path leading to the Eryth Sea.” She scratched her head. “Maybe that’s good enough? We don’t have a place to store it anyway.”

Right… there was still that issue. He didn’t understand to begin with how Midna was able to pilot it short of subsuming its old pilot’s Spirit. They did seem to have a world of origin in common, however. Considering this for a second, he suggested, “Consult any Hylians we have at home. See if they can get it running. We’ll keep you updated on our end where we can in the meantime.”

“Okay!” The Moogle said, blissfully unaware that Zelda had been on that mission (as Fox had also neglected to ascertain). “Good luck then, and see you later. You got this, guys!” With a final cheer she left.

Fox wordlessly thanked the creature with a parting, affirmative nod before it disappeared. He took one last look around him for good measure before standing back up and heading off to rejoin the others.

He walked in on the exchange of ideas between interested party members on how to possibly track down the local rebels. To Big Band’s address of “control” he simply shook his head in amicable dismissal of presumed protest on his part; as if to say “You’re good.” “I was just going to suggest we go look for trouble, but I’m open to ideas.” Bounties and commissions then came into the conversation, about which he had compromising thoughts on their relevance to the task. “There’s a chance they may be indirectly responsible for some of these problems people are having,” he said about the listed and referenced jobs for anyone who considered taking one. “Start with those, if anything.” To Panther, who expressed understandable interest in regrouping with her own team, he added, “Could you relay to them what we’ve learned when you find them?” His question was more rhetorical than anything, as he expected she would anyway. If he was later contacted by them afterwards, he would know why.

As he made ready to leave, Fox addressed the group one more time, following Midna’s declaration of intent. “Wherever we all go we should keep ourselves small; split up and cover as much ground as we can,” he advised in endorsement of Band’s recommendation. “I’ll be seeing what I can’t find on my own.” With that, he set off at a nonchalant pace out of the marketplace, specifying not where he was going, for he didn’t entirely know himself.

He thought he might start with the ‘Paranormal Thief’, if he had a starting location to go by. He guessed that such activity would make for just the kind of chaos that would attract or be perpetrated by the anarchally-prone. Perhaps coincidentally, and unbeknownst to him, the Phantom Thieves would be coming fresh off of their run in with the culprit. He thus stood to run into them (and/or possibly Big Band, depending), provided his blind path took him in the right direction, but that would depend also on whether or not he encountered anything of interest on his way. There was no telling what he might run into wandering the city looking for its darkest, quietest corners by his lonesome, but he would be carefully looking out for any and all of it.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN
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MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

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Geralt of Rivia

Bottomless Sea

Lvl 7 (41/70) -> Lvl 7 (43/70)

Word Count: 772 words


In rather short order, the tides of battle were turning. The assault on Shippy slowed to a crawl, as those on board the living boat fought and destroyed the single remaining enemy of any note. The strange, flying, animated skeleton-fish exploded bit by bit and dissolved into Dust and Spirit, which Rika crushed. Nadia pulled off a reckless but necessary gambit to survive her attack on the monstergirl, redirecting her momentum and probably giving herself the world's worst case of nausea. At least she wouldn't be conscious to feel it.

It was Bowser and the Cadet that Geralt was focused on now. They were both durable enough to last a few hits, if Geralt's memories of the Cadets own brand of hunters served. Bowser's own durability was obvious. He wasn't worried about them getting killed, which meant he could focus. He'd cut his own fire as soon as they'd gotten close enough to risk hitting them, but kept the smaller guns shooting at the mass of rampaging fish that might have turned on Sakura and Bella should they decide to get closer.

Speaking of the smaller Shipgirls, Geralt smirked a little at their positioning. Sakura was clearly trying to protect him and Bella, which to those not quite in the know would just seem hilarious. Geralt's new knowledge, however, told him that the Street Fighter was more battle-savvy than one would expect from a teenage girl. She'd seen his relative immobility, and knew that without rigging, he'd be ripe for the picking if the Ordnance Platform were destroyed or damaged. Bella's case was obvious, as her massive tail gun required time to aim, making its use in close combat unwieldy at best. If either of them were attacked like this, especially by a more mobility-based opponent, they could be vulnerable.

Bowser's climb, and subsequent beating at the hands of their current target, was actually a bit hard to watch. It was clear he was betting it all on this, charging right into her and exchanging blows. The Koopa King grabbed the tiny terror, withering under her ultimate attack, but still managing to pull through and grab her.

And it was at that moment that the enemy of their enemy proved to not be much of a friend. Sure, destroying the pillar Scylla was on wasn't overtly hostile, but it put their prospects of victory in danger. The Ordnance Platform's guns turned to bear down on the massive monster, threatening a repeat of the devastating barrage he'd given earlier, but remaining silent for now. It hadn't actually tried to kill them just yet, despite the Seekers technically starting the fight with it, so for now, a threat it would remain.

Once more, golden chains appeared from the ether, stopping the movement of the collapsing pillar, and Geralt's peripheral vision caught Link's tablet, aimed at the fight. He'd nearly forgotten about the Hero's handy little device, and it had saved their hides twice just now.

Speaking of which, the other thing it had stopped was now swooping back to grab Bowser, who Geralt could see had Friend Hearted, and dragged with him into the ship.

Sakura must have missed it, as she asked him and Bella what had happened. Obliging, the MegaWitcher answered. "Bowser grabbed her. She's on the Atomos now."

Beyond that, he had no idea what happened aboard the Atomos. It was up to them now. Instead, Geralt called out to Sakura, who was now moving towards the broken spire, and Bella. "I'm moving!" And, after a pause, he added, "Slowly!"

Comedic timing aside, the Ordnance Platform slowly crawled across the water towards Tentalus. Geralt assumed a dramatic pose, a single finger pointed at the monster, guns aching to fire. "Listen to the girl!" He yelled, his size and deep voice making the command carry despite the much larger distance between him and the target of his order. "We don't want to fight you any further if we don't have to!"

He meant it, too. His own history with monsters wasn't quite as bleak as he'd told Sakura, since it would definitely hurt the point he'd tried, and honestly mostly failed, to make. He didn't know enough to know if this was a sentient, thinking being in front of them or a mindless beast. A dragon or a Fiend. If it listened, if it saw that it was clearly outmatched and turned tail, he'd let that be the end of it. But if it charged? If it tried to hurt Sakura, or Bella, or any of these other crazy kids he'd come to know?

He'd slaughter it like a pig.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Word Count: 740 (+1 exp)
Level: 7 - Total EXP: 46/70
Location: Edge of the Blue

The Cadet agreed that Nadia's plan was a much better idea, but being slower than her and a beat behind he very nearly missed the ride up. The eel zipped right passed with Ms. Fortune on top as he skated by a moment later. Crud. The Cadet threw his arm out, the slinger flying and catching the creature's severed neck and dragging the hunter along with it. It was nowhere near as flashy as Nadia's ascent, but it was quick - even as the rough pull scraped him against the sea stack's rocky surface. As the eel tentacle flicked over the top and threw it's rider into the air, it dragged cord and hunter unceremoniously up seconds behind the Koopa King who'd rushed to beat him there. The claw detached once the eel flew under it's master's dress, and the Cadet got to his feet with sword and shield in hand. It was in time to see a scalding shot stop Nadia from being chomped and the Feral give them a salute during her fall, reassuring them that she'd be alright. With that the Cadet faced Scylla, pointing his blade at her.

"Your evil ends here, fiend, now we— uh, wait, Bowser?!" While Bowser had wanted to take her alive so to speak, the Cadet was surprised at his mad dash forward. Out there on the slick rock she definitely had the advantage even without the other monster shacking the whole thing every now and then, but such straight forward tactics did show results. Scylla wound up for what looked like a devastating attack aimed right for the charging Koopa, and though the Cadet rushed forward with his shield out the little monster was quick. Her tentacles slammed down hard, and even aimed at Bowser the blow back from the force of it was strong. Combined with the heavy slam on the larger monster's weight against the sea stack, finally breaking it apart, it was hard to keep balance on the rock. Saved by the same flash of gold and chime noise that suspended the Atomos, the Cadet managed to keep his balance and crossed the short distance to the king.

"Are you alright?" He asked of Bowser. The king looked worn, though he was still able to keep hold of that little monster who was currently making a lot of colorful threats. And also give it a friend heart. That didn't really seem like the best idea to him, considering the things she was saying. Being Galeemified didn't just make people like that - but hopefully she'd be grateful to Bowser for it.

The Atomos flew around to pick up their leader, and given how adamant he was about saving his monster girl it stood to reason that he just took her with him into the ship. Rather than join them (which the Cadet very much wanted to do to make sure things went alright up there), the hunter pulled a lifepowder from his pouch and tossed it through the airship's open door. "Throw that stuff into the air to heal you guys!" he called to the crew, though even if the bag broke open and the powder spread into the air from the throw alone it would be helpful.

Now alone on the sea stack, still blinking gold but threatening to fall at any moment, the Ace Cadet turned his sword at Tentalus. Was it's violence sated now that it succeeded in splitting the rock? Or would it be resentful that the sea stack's toppling was paused and it's opponent was kidnapped? Either way it was a still a monster, and taking down monsters was still the Cadet's specialty.

"Alright, it's your turn!" he told the beast, and was practically poised to jump onto it and stack hacking, when Sakura and Geralt arrived below warning the monster to back off. We don't want to fight you any further if we don't have to, the Witcher said, which wasn't exactly true for all of them... but, the Ace Cadet was nothing if not a team player, so while he let out a harsh sigh and kept his weapon unsheathed, he changed his tune a little. "...your turn to stop your evil deeds! Turn away or be eradicated!" Juuuust a little.

He expected that Tentalus was just a monster and couldn't understand their words, and if it decided to go on the attack he was ready to lunge at the first notice.


Word Count: 480 (+1 exp)
Level: 4 - Total EXP: 22/40
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon

𝙱𝙿 ●●●●
D34C25
The meeting with the Grimleal had given them all a lot to think about. Now that most everyone was informed and they'd moved to a shady spot to think about their options, they didn't wait to share their thoughts and opinions. Locating the resistance and getting their side of the story... that was pretty much a given. Splitting up to do it however... while Primrose couldn't find fault in Fox or Big Band's logic, she felt that going it alone might not be the best idea, despite that both of them seemed keen on doing just that. Again the topic of money was broached, and though there were a plethora of odd jobs available Primrose left those for others to take up. She would rather stick to her own tried and true methods.

With people ready to split off, Primrose figured she should figure out a plan as well. Panther mentioned regrouping with the other Phantom Thieves and met her gaze, and the dancer returned it with a nod.

"I'll go with you," she said. "It is probably best not to travel alone in the city if it can be helped." After all, the Grimleal were convinced at the time that their group was there to help. Word could spread quickly, what if resistance members spotted them first and got the wrong impression and attacked? Or what if the Grimleal themselves decided that they were more trouble than they were worth and decided to get rid of them before any information could be leaked to the resistance? Of course that was on top of the usual dangers of a large city, even despite that it was still daylight out.

That being said, it didn't stop a couple of them from taking off on their lonesome already.

"As our group gets larger, it would be nice to have a way to communicate more easily... The relay between Fox, Alibaba and her team leaves much to be desired if the rest of us are separated from any of them," she commented after the mercenary's retreating back, tapping a finger to her chin. "Perhaps that is something to keep an eye out for."

Other things came to mind as well. The meeting point, though she supposed here was as good as any. Lodging, if this endeavor ended up taking a while and they had to stay the night in Al Mamoon. Primrose hoped that it wouldn't, but it probably beat camping up on the mountain if it came to that. As far as finding information about the resistance, she would worry about that after reuniting Panther with her friends.

Should she wish the others luck in their individual endeavors? ...somehow that didn't seem like the right thing to do, so instead she gave the group a little wave and stepped away.

"Shall we get going?" Primrose smiled at Panther, motioning toward the road.
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Tora, Poppi and Big Band

Level 9 Tora (5/90) Level 8 Poppi (74/80) and Level 2 Big Band (13/20)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
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: 890 / 1707


With just a few exceptions, the team so talkative when it came time to deal with potential enemies took a taciturn turn, leaving Tora and Poppi a little bemused but Band nonplussed. What the others got up to was, after all, none of his business, so long as it didn’t interfere with his own investigation. What did surprise him was Fox declaring his intent to go it alone, taking the detective’s suggestion of sticking to smaller groups to the extreme. Primrose, meanwhile, took Panther up on her implicit request, and laid down an implication of her own that Band agreed with. In any unfamiliar city it just made sense to keep another pair of eyes around to watch one’s back, and in one in the grip of an active shadow war? A no brainer.

Midna offered the team a little help by listing off the Bounties she remembered seeing up in the palace, all of which stood a couple levels above the rather mundane tasks posted to the job board. She herself, however, assigned herself to the disturbance in the church. The princess of darkness would, it seemed, be tasked with bringing a mystery to light. Yoshitsune, Red, Sectonia, Tora, Poppi and Laharl said nothing for the time being. Band couldn’t help but agree with Primrose: this group could use some extra help communicating, and not just across long distances. Well, no matter. He had some business to take care of, and so stomped off in the same direction as Fox, and left those who remained to sort things out.

“Well!” Braum declared to break the silence, slapping his knees as he got to his feet. “I can think of no better use for these muscles than hauling fruit! Just leave that one to me.” He put a totally confident grin on display, reassuring everyone that they need not worry about the produce delivery.

For his part, Tora considered one of the Bounties that Midna recalled, which sounded easy enough to him. He hopped down from his chair. “Tora and Poppi can clear out cistern, meh!” he volunteered. “Icky nasties not stand chance against Tora and Poppi supreme team!” That said, however, he knew an opportunity when he saw one. The Nopon waddled over to tap Red’s shoulder. “Hey! Tora not know you very well, but this good chance fix that, and you seem good at fighting, too! Want join Tora and Poppi?”

Whether or not Red accepted, the pair got moving shortly. After consulting the train station’s map board to find water treatment, Tora walked there with a skip in his step. Compared to the sheer effort of braving the unknown for the sake of the Seeker’s mission, going down into some sewers to kill rats was a paradoxical breath of fresh air. Classic adventuring fare, Tora figured.

On the way there, Poppi attempted to glance up at the sun, but found it too strong for even her optical sensors. She blinked, turning her gaze back to the streets. Each one bustled with activity, full of a huge variety of unfamiliar faces. Who would have thought that such a normal city existed way out into such an inhospitable region? “How Masterpon handling desert heat?” she asked.

“Phew!” Tora wiped some sweat off his row. “Not fun, Tora tell you that! Hotter than Mor Ardain, and way more sandy. Tora more thankful for Poppi than ever.” He glanced her way. “Um, now that mention it can Poppi cool Tora off now, meh? Became really hottypon in train station, even in shade.”

Obligingly his companion showered him with a spray of diamond dust, and the Nopon sighed in relief and delight. “Ah, much better! Thank you Poppi!” She smiled and bowed her head, happy to help. As they got underway once more, her Masterpon returned the question. “How about Poppi? Hold up okay, meh?”

“Oh, it alright. Sand in joints annoying. Overall durability decreasing slightly faster than normal, and ether drain slightly higher to regulate temperature. But Poppi enjoy desert.” She tapped a finger against her chin. “Or maybe, it better to say Poppi fascinated by desert. It so incredibly vast. Bigger than any Titan. Looking out over miles and miles make Poppi feel very small.”

Tora nodded. “Meh, meh. That for sure. Tora smaller than Poppi, too, so it even worse. Although Tora care more about all the walking. Legs killing me! Good thing Tora build up resistance running around Titans all day with Rex.”

After a slight laugh the artificial remarked, “Poppi grateful Tora not give her tiny Nopon legs. If Masterpon want be carried, just let Poppi know~!”

Tora spotted the entrance to the waterworks and changed course for it as he shook his head. “No thanks, meh. Tora determined hold on to what little dignity Tora can.” With one wing he scratched his belly. “Well, in public, at least.”

The water facility turned out to be surprisingly well-lit and brightly decorated, with flower patterns across the walls and ceilings. A stairway led Tora and Poppi down into the cistern itself, which opened up into a grand central chamber. Only after oohing and aahing over the great stone head that loomed above them did Tora remember he was here to kill some rats or something. “Well! Tora couldn’t imagine more pleasant sewer system. Let’s go, Poppi!”

“Roger, roger!”






Primrose & Panther

@Yankee


Glad for the dancer’s acceptance and company, Panther headed south from the train station in the footsteps of the other Phantom Thieves. Where they ended up she could not rightly say, but once she grew near enough she could reach them via radio contact. Just how their masks allowed them to communicate she didn’t know, but she sure wasn’t questioning it. With that in mind, all she and Primrose needed to do was wander around the southern section of Al Mamoon, and Panther certainly didn’t mind a little sightseeing, even if she felt like having lunch soon.

Bit by bit they worked their way through the streets, with no response to her occasional hails. Everywhere she turned there was something new and interesting, and her stomach led her where her eyes did not. Try as she might, however, poor Panther couldn’t wheedle so much as a single kebab from a bored-looking cart-minder with her feminine charms. Despite boasting more allure than ever before she met failure at every turn, as if everyone saw straight through her--which was not out of the question, as only a little observation was enough to convince Primrose that her new friend was a terrible actress. “Jeez, what do I have to do, Marin Karin?!” she pouted at length. “Whenever I see someone else do this, it seems like the easiest thing in the world. Just bat a few eyelashes and suddenly people are tripping all over you.”

She looked herself over, wondering if her new outfit was to blame, or if her snake tail was putting people off, but ended up glancing at Primrose. “Oh, uh. I mean the, like, royal ‘you’, but I guess you’ve got that stuff nailed down. You’ve been turning heads all day.” As she spoke Panther did her best to keep her envy out of her voice, since she bore Primrose no ill will whatsoever. “Sorry, it’s just a little frustrating to not know what’s wrong.”



Midna’s trail, and the city’s accommodating if relatively sparse shadows led her to the shuttered church without incident. Though not that large, the former place of worship sported both impressive domes and well-laid roofing tile, both in a bronze color that contrasted its stone brick. Even without a lot of familiarity with this architectural style Midna could tell this place was old. More pressing than its appearance, however, was whatever allegedly lay within, and that drove the Twilight Princess to look for an entrance.

The main door seemed thoroughly sealed, but the church had a number of windows. All those at street level had been nailed over with wooden boards by whichever city officials condemned the building, but those higher up had made such treatment impractical for several reasons. Toward the church’s top its openings were less windows and more missing sections of wall with interspersed pillars, and for someone who could float they offered an easy way inside.

The moment Midna entered, however, demonic runes closed over the openings, trapping her inside. Given her experience with Twilight Beasts it wasn’t the first time something like this happened, and it wouldn’t be the last. What it meant concerned her more: the presence of enemies that could be dispatched in order to dispel the barrier. That made things easy. And the freakish, gibbering noises she could hear down below made it even easier.

In the wide-open space of the church’s ground floor, a strange-looking sword rested, embedded, in the altar. It contrasted sharply with the style and decor of the place, suggesting that it did not belong, and since being jammed there it had attracted all the wrong attention. Three grotesque things contorted themselves before it, leaping and gyrating in a bizarre, disturbing dance of adulation. They were mockeries of flesh, bone, and eye too horrible to ever have been human, and the noises they made as they supplicated before the cursed blade were the stuff to keep the average man up at night.

Midna knew what she had to do, but she knew not if she had the strength to do it. If this seemed like more than she could handle, surely there existed another way out of the church that she need only find.

Fox & Big Band

@Dawnrider


With Band trailing at a respectful distance and not at all trying to hide it from Fox, the detective followed the pilot as he made his way north through the city, then northwest. Maybe Fox thought he could figure things out on his own, but Band doubted his new acquaintance heard the whispers like he did, and with things the way they were Band didn’t plan on either of them going solo. This wasn’t necessarily the direction he would have chosen to start a sweep in, but Band was in no rush. These things took time, especially when done right, so he was in it for the long haul.

Fox’s happenstance wandering took him to a relatively open area among the buildings, its mosaic paths leading through carefully cultivated garden beds brimming with flowers. Marble fountainheads carved into fish and serpents spat streams of water in fanciful arcs for children to play in. As soon as he entered, Band slowed for a moment and set a timer in his head. He’d been here last night and taken the whole thing in, but not in a pragmatic sense like he wanted to now. There existed only a short period in which he could get the lay of the land without looking like he was searching for something, so he needed to read between the lines fast. In that department his long years of experience were an invaluable asset, and as his eyes swept over the scene they saw a great deal.

Judging by both the furnishings on the buildings and the architecture itself, the park lay between a residential district to the north and the business distinct to the east, with the train station and a few other public other utilities just on the other side of a row of hotels to the south. Temporary accommodations and transport went together like bread and butter after all, and so did work and rest in the lives of the average citizen. Foot traffic between the two distincts along the upper-right quadrant of the park far outweighed it in the rest, told as much in the wear on the tiles as by the people walking that route even now. His wasn’t the only eye savvy to that phenomenon, however, and the buildings lining that section of street outshone their peers elsewhere. And above them all was the establishment right in the corner, the Hound Pits.

With doors wide open to invite in anyone bracing themselves for the work day or relaxing after it, the comfortably laid-out bar had been buzzing even in the wee hours of the night when Band’s train rolled in, and it was buzzing now. Not too busy, not too calm. A waypoint in a threshold, a liminal space between worlds where anyone could find a few moments’ refuge. Band waltzed that way.

Rather than enter, however, he parked himself right outside. With one spindly mechanical arm he removed his hat, which he held upside down and dropped on the ground in front of him. From beneath his coat he produced a music stand that he sat down on, and the front parted to admit a saxophone. When he put it to his lips, the spell was cast: for however much he stood out normally, the big man had disappeared. Set up like this he was barely higher on the social ladder than a beggar; his very presence posed a question to each and every bystander as to whether they would avert their eyes and mind their own business, or stop to listen to his music with the unspoken expectation that they would toss a little something something into his hat. He played low but upbeat, a familiar and pleasant tune that perfectly complemented the sort of brief but vivacious meetings and meals of a working day lunch or drink. His jazzy, soulful notes wove through the air, across the park and into the bar. Band felt quite confident as he banked on nobody sallying forth from the Hound Pits to shoo him off, what with his playing skill. If anything the proprietors might be willing to tolerate him for the extra atmosphere he provided and the extra customers he attracted--the townsfolk might even think him a hired amenity of the bar itself. In only a few moments the biggest man around put himself off everyone’s radar, faded into the backdrop, a piece of the scenery. Out of sight, out of mind.



It was as good as an invisibility potion, and it allowed him to accomplish his real purpose. In this comfortably transitory, interim place, he could pick up all sorts of things both from inside the bar and out. Sound, after all, was his speciality. Even while playing Band could eavesdrop on a bevy of conversations, whether at rest or on the move, hunting for any suspicious trace that might point him in the right direction.

Al Mamoon - Palatial Gallery

@Zoey Boey


Joker turned his eyes on Jesse as she approached, offering her sympathies for Morgana’s condition. In the heat of the moment he didn’t identify her before, but now he recognized her as the woman he’d seen acting casual near the gates. A redhead, at least ten years older than him, seemingly capable. Judging by her involvement in the action and what seemed like an understanding with the guards, he guessed she was some sort of undercover security. Then again he might be overthinking things, since ‘unaffiliated bystander’ worked just as well. She didn’t seem to shy away from a fight or freak out when faced with strange things, which lent credence to the idea she possessed some degree of power and/or agency of her own, although she arrived too late to make much of a difference.

“We’re alright,” he told her. “Considering everything that gun seemed capable of, it could have been a lot worse.” The stranger went ahead and dispelled any need for conjectures by spelling out her own reason for being here. Having failed to apprehend such a dangerous and unpredictable individual before no doubt stung. At least she would be able to enjoy some good luck today. “Well, no need to wait for next time. Mission control?”

“Yes, what is it?” a girl’s voice came through some hidden communicator.

“There should be a UFO above the museum. Do you see it?”

“Ummm…” A brief moment passed before Joker’s contact got excited. “Oh, yes! I see some sort of golden...thing, covered with balloons and jets!”

Joker gave a slight smile. “There’s a man riding it. Disarm and apprehend him, please.”

“Sure thing! Going in now!”

“Great. Joker out.” The Phantom Thief ‘hung up’, then helped Skull lift up Mona. He waved at Jesse. “Where’d you come from? The courtyard?” Unfortunately for Jesse’s well-planned conversational tactics, she would need to wait for now. As the guards picked themselves up and unruffled their feathers the Phantom Thieves made tracks down the corridor Jesse entered through. They moved as if they knew the place, straight past the reflecting pool and out through the Japanese screens into the courtyard.

There the small group found an honest-to-God alien ship hovering above the hedges, its flashing lights dull in the daytime and the cthuloid ornament on top gently rotating. A number of large tentacles extruded from its bottom, one of which constricted the very hapless scientist who’d managed to give Jesse and the others the slip. His gun dangled in the fingers of the three hands that terminated one tentacle, and a crumpled Infinite Spring lay face-down in a planter dotted by shreds of balloon rubber. Although the contraption featured no eyes, it waved when the Thieves approached, both parties without even a shred of apprehension. “Hi, Joker! I managed to catch the guy. Totally blindsided him too. He shot me with this, I think?”

Necronomicon held out the tool gun with her hands for Joker to take. As he accepted it he noted that the formerly small tri-hands compared in size to his own, confirming what he’s hypothesized as he approached. “This gun changes things. He made you bigger, I think.”

“Bigger? Oh, no! Now everyone’s gonna look at me weird! I can’t stick out in crowds!?” The UFO wrapped herself in a couple of her tentacles as if to hide her face, mortified.

Joker kept his focus on the gun, trying to figure it out, as he replied without paying direct attention. “Don’t worry, Futaba. We’ll just fix it with this, and even if we couldn’t, we’d still like you.”

“Wha!?”

Skull’s increasingly confused look turned to annoyance. “Oh, for cryin’ out loud! Joker, it’s Necronomicon, not Futaba! And you: you’re a spaceship, remember? Nobody’s gonna care! Might even be better if you can fly more people around.”

“Will you dummies quit arguing and shrink my head already!?” Mona could only look so irate upside down.

Just a little embarrassed, Joker threw up a hand in resignation. “I’ve been trying! This thing just doesn’t want to listen.” For some reason, the Tool Gun wasn’t responding to him. Jesse, however, could somehow feel it even when it wasn’t in her hand, as if it longed for her touch.

“Maybe it’s got some kind of security measure?” Skull suggested. “Or maybe Necro squeezed it too hard.”

“Oh no!” the remarkably self-conscious spaceship repeated in dismay. “Am I gonna be stuck like this forever?”

“At least you can still move!” Mona cried, wiggling angrily. “Here, gimme that thing!” The bunch continued to argue, with the old man sneaking in some protests here and there, but it was the Tool Gun on Jesse’s mind.

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (27/40)
Location: Bottomless Sea
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Hat Kid's @Dawnrider, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud, Mirage’s @Potemking, Mr. L’s @ModeGone
Word Count: 1352


An extremely dizzy Nadia remained all but senseless for a while, strewn across Shippy’s deck, but with the Life Gem’s help she began to recover, spurred on her way by the strange sensation of being touched in many places at once. “Mrow!” Her head yelled, jerking awake to find half her parts held tight in Rika’s arms. “That’s my, nyahaha…! That tickles! No petting! Lemme go, lemme…achoo! She sneezed her head right out of the Abyssal’s collection, alarming Rika and shifting the whole lot enough to send her bits back down to the deck in a heap. Muscle fibers shot out from her various separation points to reconnect them, and in the span of just a couple seconds Nadia pulled herself together enough to sit up and catch her falling head in her hand. With a grin she popped it back on, but the moment she tried to get up she plopped right back down. “Guh! I guess I’m...still dizzy. It’ll be a minute or two be-fur I’m...good to go.” She reclined against the ship’s mast to get her head fully on straight.

Her position turned out to be a front-row seat for what happened next. Nadia watched, spellbound, as a gigantic slab of weathered stone tumbled from the seastack’s peak. Even with Shippy well removed from its splash zone she couldn’t help but be a little intimidated by its titanic mass, and worried along with Sakura about what fate might befall the Cadet and Bowser, who as far as she knew were still up there with that horror. Link shared their concern, and unveiled his magic tablet once again for an even more ambitious save than the last. The feral’s eyes went wide when she realized just what he meant to do. Can he really do it? Saving the out-of-control Atomos was one (very good) thing, but this veritable mountaintop was a few whole orders of magnitude bigger and heavier. Yet Link was dauntless. He thrust the Sheikah Slate skyward from Shippy’s prow, sending forth the golden chains of stasis, and with a metallic note the slab stopped in its tracks.

Nadia let out her pent-up breath in a laugh. “Whoa...way to go, Link! A real catch of the day!” When the Atomos swooped near she spotted Bowser leap from the suspended mass to its deck, his own catch held tight in his claws. The sight of Scylla still in one piece took her by surprise, and though Geralt answered for Sakura she did not hesitate to voice her own dismay. “What!? She’s still alive!?” she yelled aloud for the sake of anyone who didn’t happen to see. “Why?” Whether from her high-flying stunt or the battle in general the feral still wasn’t thinking straight, so she couldn’t fathom King Koopa’s intentions for the tiny terror. It just didn’t make sense!

Up on the airship, Scylla rolled across the deck and came to a stop on her stomach. “Oww!” she cried, childlike, and when she rose onto her elbows her face was one of bafflement. In that brief moment she looked, for the first time, rather like a confused little girl. The illusion did not hold.

When she realized that somehow she’d been restored to pristine health, Scylla gave the Koopas a look that dripped venom, and cackled. “Hehe...heheheheheh!” From beneath her dress a flood of tentacles burst in a writhing mass, all at their original size. She rose as they piled beneath her, cackling while she raised her arms. The Atomos began to sink downward, overburdened by the combined weight of the horror’s heaped-up limbs. All seven eel heads formed up around her, bearing down on the Koopa’s like a ravenous pack of dogs. They lunged, only to stop short as an immense, flabby purple arm careened just over the Bowser’s head and slammed Scylla head-on. The flailing horror screamed as Tentalus clotheslined her right off the Atomos and into the time-stopped crag, which unfroze the next moment with the Cadet still atop it to hurtle into the ocean with a tremendous splash. He had little choice but to leap for Tentalus, but ample cause.

Not annihilating the Atomos in the process, of course, came as an unexpected and indeed unintentional miracle for its passengers. Any hasty conclusion that the much bigger leviathan was on the heroes’ side was crushed as purple tentacles, regardless of warnings, erupted from the sea. One batch appeared on either side of Shippy, and another around Geralt’s Ordnance Platform. The two that wrapped around his main cannon’s barrel wrenched the whole upper portion of the machine sideways and pushed around its sub-weapons, rendering everything but the Witcher himself harmless, provided he wasn’t thrown into the drink.

Nadia jumped to her feet, took a split second to steady herself, and charged. She raked the flabby meat of the nearest tentacle with her claws and found it way less tough than Scylla’s eels. Likewise Peach blew apart a couple with ease thanks to a Grenaduck and her boomshot, but a new problem quickly presented itself. The tentacles regenerated shockingly fast, with a new one rising to grab hold of the ship or its cannon batteries mere moments after the last sank beneath the water.

Luckily, if Tentalus meant to take down the Atomos it was already too late. Free of its nightmarish burden the airship got out of the behemoth’s range lickety-split, so Tentalus focused on the horror floundering at the base of the seastack instead. While its lower tentacles held tight the other threats it rounded on Scylla, its arm raised to pummel her once again. Its enormous orange eye was full of rage, but not so keen that it spotted something moving through the great behind it--something very, very big, and headed its way very, very fast. As Nadia hacked through another tentacle and leaned on the railing to catch her breath, she watched the severed stump slide down into the water, and froze when she saw something else rising up from the deep. “Sh-sh-sh-SHARK!” she screamed, and everything turned to chaos.

The Megalodon erupted from the ocean like some primeval god, so close that when it brushed against the inconsequential vessel the impact sent its passengers sprawling to the deck. It breached with enough force to send its entire mass up from the surface and toward more tempting prey than Shippy: Tentalus’ back. “Ace!” Nadia yowled. “JUMP!” A moment later the nightmare shark plowed into its target, its nested jaws carving through flesh like it was butter. Tentalus bellowed, its tentacles letting go of their holds to whip wildly, as the titanic shark’s weight drove it into and below the water. There came a splash soaked everyone to the bone, and the monsters were gone.

Peach coughed explosively, slapping Shippy’s wheel. “Go, go, go! Get the hell outta here!” Once Ace and Geralt had been collected the vessel lurched forward across the choppy sea at maximum speed, quickly leaving the seastack and its horrors behind.

A moment passed before Nadia even dared to breath again, let alone speak. She crawled over to where Blazermate’s dispenser still stood and wrapped her arms around it to take care of her fish bites and resupply her cannons. “Hoooooh…” she exhaled after she could feel the machine’s healing warmth. She gave a weary smile. “That was craaazy. Always a bigger fish, I guess. Gotta give that thing credit for helping, I guess. Sea plus.”

A hand appeared on the railing nearby and Bella hauled herself up onto the deck, her sundress utterly soaked and her expression utterly haunted. “Excusez-moi, I need to...lie down.” Nadia shakily let go of the dispenser to help pull, with Sakura’s strength from below a great help to shift Bella’s tail. Once done the feral steadied herself against the railing to give the others a chance at the dispenser, and looked out across the sea while thunder rolled overhead. Both the structure with the beacon and the storm were a lot closer. “Waves getting worse,” she observed, shifting her balance to stay upright as Shippy went up and down the swells. “Hope nobody’s seasick.”





With an ever-so-slightly amused look as he considered Linkle’s conjecture, Albedo led the way toward the narrow cliff path. “It is impressive, isn’t it? A completely different architectural style from any place of worship I’ve ever seen. The product of a totally different culture. Beautiful, perhaps even frightening in its austerity, with a less-is-more sort of attitude conveyed through the structure itself.” The alchemist paused momentarily as one boot sank into a drift, then yanked it out and dusted off his new coat. “I’m almost eager to see the inside.”

Unfortunately the moment of clarity during which the pair saw the monastery faded, and the chill wind brought curtains of snow. It made the mountainside road, already more treacherous and uneven than either would have liked, a dangerous prospect even with crude fences built into the stone here and there to provide some support. The required climbing and jumping meant that without some ingenuity the Skullgirl would be better off leaving her sled beneath an overhang for collection on the way back.

Even without it, however, she carried a potent burden as she made her way along the precipice. The wolfish wind bit into her with unrelenting fangs, chasing what little warmth remained from her husk. Ahead of her Albedo, aided by his flower constructs, faded into the tumultuous white. Certain death loomed only a few feet to the right, and with mortality so clarified it became tougher to keep the darkness from her mind. It numbed her and weighed her down, telling her that freedom from her suffering waited far, far below. Only in flashes could she make out a blurred figure ahead, but the indistinct shadow was not the outline of the boy she’d come to know. It loomed larger, taller, with a crown like the top half of a wagon wheel. It obstructed the path before her, telling her that inevitable confrontation lay somewhere ahead, yet however far she pushed on it continued to recede. Try and drown me out all you like, the howling wind seemed to whisper. I am here. I grow stronger. I am your destiny.

After what seemed like an age, the storm subsided, and Linkle caught up with Albedo at the monastery’s gates. Nobody answered a knock, and the frosted doors swung open without difficulty. The alchemist made his way across the snowy courtyard and to the doors of the first tower. These, however, opened wide on their own, and the two were admitted inside.

It was warmer inside than out, but not comfortable. Like the freshness of a clear fall day, it was just cool enough to bring out inner focus, while still being livable compared to the winter outside. That was far from the sharpest contrast, however. Despite its stark exterior the monastery’s inside featured a staggering multitude of color. Albedo’s eyes went wide at the amazing arrays of mosaic and tapestry, quilt and banner, mural, pillar, and painting. It was dreamlike in its beauty, its rich scarlets and crimsons the most impressive of all. Before the visitors stood two priests, one male and one female, both lightly armored and with enormous cross-shaped weapons stowed on their backs. The man, burly with strong brows, looked a little on the scary side, while the woman’s gaze was as dispassionate and chilly as the ice that hung over the doorway. They gave their visitors time to take in the sights, and the woman only spoke up when approached. “Welcome to the Cold Monastery,” she greeted the duo, her voice low, even, and soft. “Whether you are here for worship, enlightenment, or for a reprieve from winter’s clutches, you may stay here so long as you preserve its mindful tranquility.”

Albedo kept his voice at a whisper. “Thank you. We are here in search of knowledge. May we explore this place and ask around?”

The woman nodded. “The first three towers and their various shrines are open to you. Please do not disturb anyone engaged in worship or meditation, but those unoccupied by such pursuits may be able to help you.” Bowing their heads, the priests moved aside to let the visitors pass. Albedo stepped between them and right away spotted a number of monks kneeling at the far side of the main space, which explained the whisper. Still a little taken aback by the cultural rather than opulent splendor of the interior, he wondered where to go and ended up looking to his companion. Maybe Linkle would be better at navigating a temple than he.

Edge of the Blue - Creature Beach


When the members of the posse went at her, Sephiroth went on the defensive, using thrusts from her nodachi to make her opponents think twice about how badly they wanted to get close. She managed to stab into Karin’s shoulder, not too far from her heart, and then into Bacchus’ chest and a fishman’s throat in quick succession, but that was all her strategy managed to achieve, for its fatal flaws were then made evident. The lethality of thrusting attacks could heartily discourage one enemy at a time, but against a group of seven, and with such a ridiculously long blade, the others closed in far too quickly. Sephiroth’s attempt to charge up a Gigaflare came to an abrupt end when Birdie, whirling his chain like a vertical lasso, slung its metal length to grab her arm. A hearty yank pulled the much, much lighter woman off balance and canceled her spell. Then Karin, holding fast despite her bloody wound, dashed in.

The young lady’s face featured none of the smugness or elegance she put on display for Sakura the other day--only a cold grace, and lethal effectiveness. Sephiroth had, after all, made clear that this was a fight to the death. With righteous fists she delivered a one-two strike to the murderer’s diaphragm, then liver. Robbed of breath and paralyzed by the agony of a cattle prod to a vital organ, Sephiroth sagged to the sand.

Even as she faltered, however, Sephiroth was consumed by rage. It bubbled and roiled inside her, screaming even if her voice could not. How could she be brought to her knees by this trash...this rabble!? Her strength and defiance welled up inside her, overpowering the paralysis, and with a wordless scream she clasped her limp fingers around Masamune’s hilt. Rivulets of blood, the blood of humans, fishmen, a Pokemon, and even a god, spattered the thirsty sand as the blade flashed in the sunlight.

Then, as the last fishman burbled his last, Nanu’s Lycanroc bolstered his fading consciousness and unleashed his Counter. His stony claws ripped into Sephiroth’s arm with twice the force of her own desperate slash, shredding the flesh and muscle of her sword arm as he gouged the bone. Overloaded by a flood of stimulus and baffled by what just happened, the swordswoman could only watch as her foes closed in. Though ants to be crushed beneath her heel, she had fallen to the ground, and now they were swarming atop her, ready to eat her alive.

“I almost feel bad for this,” Shantae sighed. “But you asked for it.”

With the fight clearly over the posse might have stopped there, if it weren’t for the gleam in their eyes. There would be no mercy now.

“Gothitelle…” she dimly heard someone say as Bacchus raised his jug with both hands. “Heal pulse, now!”

Before Sephiroth could figure out what that meant, the jug mashed her face, breaking her nose and knocking out teeth. Karin and Birdie took over as Bacchus and the Lycanroc received their healing, pummeling her with the graciously unstoppable force of a waterfall and brutal, ungainly strikes, respectively. Once no longer bleeding out Bacchus belly-flopped in again, throwing Sephiroth into the air in a spray of sand, where the Gothitelle coalesced a crumplezone of psychic force amidst a flurry of fireballs from Shantae. The Lycanroc brought her down with a leaping slash.

Birdie saw his chance. “Now I’m gonna ‘ave my fun witcha!” He charged forward with a heavy headbutt, striking Sephiroth as she fell. She flew off to the side only to stop suddenly, the chains wound around her pulled tight. With a leer Birdie pulled her back toward him. As she slid under he leaped over and pulled her around again in a full loop to smash into the sand again in a brutal version of jump rose. After two revolutions, during one of which he did the splits mid-air, he pulled off a somersault to drum up some extra force and slammed Sephiroth face-first into the sand, burying her up to her middle. Then Shantae fell from the sky in the form of an elephant and crushed the murdered to smithereens.

When Shantae got up a moment later and turned back to normal, the group found only a pile of ashes in the sand, and three spirits sitting atop it: one of a long-haired man wielding the nodachi, one of a masked sorceress, and one of Scharnhorst. Nearby the fishman spirits floated, tragedies in and of themselves. As the other pursuers worked to steady their breathing and nurse their wounds, Nanu gathered the spirits into his Bag, and Shantae looked horrified. “Oh, gosh...oh, gosh! What in the world came over me?” She held her hands to her head. “Even for such an awful villain, that was too much…”

Holding her hand on her chest, Karin was only a little farther ahead in composing herself. “My word...we must have gotten a little carried away.” She kept her eyes off the ashes while the policeman did his work. “I can only guess...that the vile woman there...awakened something primal in us. Some kind of extreme fight-or-flight instinct.” She glanced at Bacchus, who was scratching his beard uncomfortably, and at Birdie, who seemed a little disquieted himself, but neither said anything.

Nanu looked grim as he withdrew his Pokemon. “My apologies, folks. Things can get pretty awful in this line of work, with lives on the line. If the peacekeepers of Limsa were any stronger, I would not have asked you to come.”

“No, no, it’s alright. I insisted I should be part of the team, anyway,” Shantae breathed. “If I’m really a hero, then it’s my duty to confront evildoers.” Her breathing steadied as she gazed off to where the sea met the sky. “I only wish that this felt a little more like justice.”

“Guess we oughta ‘ead on back to Limsa,” Birdie grumbled as he wiped bloody sand off his shoulder. “Tell ‘em we got the slag ‘n all.”

Shantae frowned. “I’ll go back to that place and give them the guards’ spirits. Tell them the bad news. Its the least we can do after we dragged them out here, only for that monster to cut them down.”

Nanu nodded, and the group got underway.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 836 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (81/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (77/70)
Kamek: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(74/70)
Location: Edge of the Blue – Bottomless Ocean
Feat: Rika


Bowser groaned as the little terror of the deep repaired his offer of friendship with a renewed assault, something that had been entirely predictable to anyone who wasn't Bowser. In fact even the king only really groaned knowingly where he lay on the deck as the tentacles swarmed the ship and began to sink it through sheer mass alone.

”You will leave at once or else” Kamek demanded shakily as he tried to muster the focus to summon up a spell, only to be shoved aside as a steam of minions of all shapes and sizes stormed out from inside the ship where Jr was summoning them from. The myriad of goombas, koopas and subspace troops throw themselves at the tendrils, buying them all a few moments mainly because the eels were too distracted by snapping them up to go after the living targets.

It wound up being enough, as aid came from an unexpected source when the tentacled titan slammed a fist into the girl, her heightened position atop her tendrils from which she was lording over them being the only reason the smack did not take anyone else or the ship with her.

”Young Master! Get us out of here!” Kamek called out after a moment of stunned silence, but the prince was already one step ahead, gunning the engine and blazing the courier airship after Shippy, who was finding out that, just like the little monster, being friend hearted had not made the big tentacled baddy a friend of theirs. Not being the only one to make that mistake was a consolation of sorts to the downed king, but considering it was Sakura who had done the deed it wasn't much of one.



Tentacles front the titan assailed Shippy and the immobile Geralt. Even if they were weaker than the eels, there were a lot of them. Worse, they kept coming back. Alongside the others Rika laid into them as soon as they appeared, her one loaded rigging turret slamming shells into one as she bayonet charged another, driving the spike of her rifle (to which she had applied the weird tag she’d gotten and caused the bayonet to briefly poison the tentacle) into it and then bringing the two hull blades across in a scissor cross chop, severing through the pinned tendril from its source. Both wiggly threats fell, only for them to be replaced in short order by additional tendrils. The question of where it was getting them from wasn’t anyone's focus as they played the world's worst game of whack a mole

“No. no. bad. Stay dead things are supposed to stay dead!” she demanded and she, in a roundabout way, got her wish when another monster got involved.A shark, bigger than any ship the girl had ever seen arose from the bottomless depths, drawn perhaps like so many of its lesser kin by the split blood. With titanic jaws it chomped into the back of the tentacle titan before pulling it and, presumably, the little one down with it into oblivion, finally freeing the pair of ships from the threat of their collective tendrils.

“Told you so. Learn this time” Marie the striker who had also been a monstrous child, briefly appeared to tell Bowser as he watched the fish girl get dragged down into the depths, before leaving him to the administrations of his old mage. The koopa hobbled over to his king and gently bopped him on the forehead with the end of his broom.

”That was very foolish of you sire” he told the king before pulling out Cadet’s pack of life powder that he had derived after it had been chucked at the ship and sprinkled its contents over the king. Blazermate likely had her hands full downstairs, or so the old mage assumed, so it would be best to see to this themselves. Aided by an appearance from Heel the rabbid healer striker, the king gradually recovered from his ordeal as they flew their way away from the encounter, before silently hauling himself up from the deck, dusting himself off and moving his way back inside the airship with his advisor following after.

If nothing else, the encounter had been an informative one. The monsters out here were big and deadly and 100% not friend material. Now, as the waves below became choppier, they were approaching the beacon. Rika, having scooted out to help the other ladies rescue Geralt, joined Miss Fortune at the dispenser, clipping off her guns and finally getting a quiet moment to restock them.

“So. Do you think there's more of those monsters out there?” she asked casually as she worked at it. Up above the troop were quietly asking themselves the same question. This was only the edge of the bottomless sea. How much worse could it get if they tried to approach the center.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey ~I'm Stone Free, do what I please~

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Level 1: 7/10
Word Count: 711
Location: Museum
Points Gained: 1
New EXP Balance--- Level 1: 8/10


Jesse tilted her head the side in agreement with Joker's assessment. The guy was irresponsible, reckless, and was willing to hurt people to get his way, but at least he wasn't trying to maximize harm. It wasn't saying much, but still. When it came to paracriminals, Jesse would take what she could get.

(At least he isn't committing terrorist attacks on the off-chance the site gets haunted. Wait. Mission control?)

Jesse listened to some kind of interaction between the one who called himself Joker (a code name?) and Mission Control. "Yeah, the courtyard." The Director followed the crew out. They knew their way around this place, that's for sure, and it didn't look like they worked here. Maybe they were regulars. But regular tourists didn't have a mission control or codenames. There was still the matter of the way they carried themselves. Something beyond these minor quirks that suggested something deeper. Jesse wanted- needed- to figure out what it was.

Jesse's eyes widened and her mouth cracked into a smile as she saw a real-life UFO. (Fun.) More than that, however, she saw it going after the paracriminal. And it won- big time. The suspect was apprehended in a few seconds flat. He was useless without that thing and could be safely ignored. That alleviated some of her frustrations, but not all of them. It wasn't really about the paracriminal, it was about her ability- or lack thereof- to catch him. Even then she had gotten distracted from her real priority: the Object of Power.

It turns out Mission Control is a talking alien space ship with tentacles- who was shy. Still, it acted like an endearingly normal kid. The crew had a banter going that spoke to their familiarity with each other. (Necronomicon? That's a hell of a code name with a lot of baggage.)

Langston would be having a panic attack if he could see how flippantly they treated the Object of Power. Joker was poking and flipping it around, the barrel being pointed in every which direction.

Jesse...really wanted that Tool Gun. The Altered Item knew a parautilitarian when it saw one. Langston always said he could feel a connection with Altered Items, Object of Power in particular. He was definitely right. Everything has a history, a memory, and those memories make a personality. An object becomes an Object when we believe it so be so. Even if it still felt like there was a wool over her eyes, what she wanted was finally within her grasp. Getting this Object under control would be the victory she needed to get the ball rolling.

"Excuse me, Joker." Jesse said. "My name is Jesse Faden. And I'm specially trained in the operation of Objects of Power like that one." She points to it. "Listen: there's a one thousand gold bounty on that guys head. Since you guys captured him, you should go ahead and take him in and collect it. But I'm really after that thing. If you give it to me, I might be able to figure out how to use it and..." She looks to the cat. "...Fix your head."

If she managed to get a hold of it, she would attempt to bind the Object of Power to herself via the Astral Plane. The process might be a bit strange to behold, as the Tool Gun would float between her hands and begin to vibrate wildly and glow white. If successful, she would be able to use at least some of its abilities in a limited capacity. That was how it worked with all the other Objects of Power she linked with, anyway. There was still the potential to unlock more of its powers later, should she focus on it. Ideally, she would be able to undo the damage the labcoat clad man had done to the cat.

"I'm a bit rusty. If I can't use it..." Jesse began to reason aloud. "Then we could just threaten the suspect and get him to do it for us. Or make him tell us how." She said casually. How she would go about this was left unintentionally ominously to the imagination. "But obviously he can't be trusted. So, hopefully this works." Jesse surmised brightly.


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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey ~I'm Stone Free, do what I please~

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Level 5: 25/50
Location: The Bottomless Sea Surface --> Shippy
Word Count: 722
Points Gained: 1
New EXP Balance--- Level 5 : 26/50


Kasugano Sakura nodded as Geralt told her Scylla was on the Atomos. A Friend Heart would solve this situation peacefully. Sakura couldn't help but giggle at Geralt's comedic timing. He was really big and slow. It was kind of a shame since she imagined he was actually quite graceful when he fought. She hadn't actually gotten a chance to see him in action. Maybe they could spar later? Sakura slapped the sides of her head, remaining focused.

Ace Cadet also backed her up! And he sold it, made it sound really cool.

Sakura glanced to the Atomos. Nadia asked a question very loudly that made Sakura click her tongue against her teeth. "Because he's gonna give her a Friend Heart!" Sakura explained. But she gasped again as, unmistakably, the little girl monster was attacking everyone on board. "It didn't work?!" Sakura said in dismay.

At that moment, Tentalus saved the day. He swatted her right out of the Atomos! "YES!"

And then he started attacking everybody! "NO!" In particular, he targeted Geralt. To be fair, Geralt had shot him with a giant cannon. But, still! "No no no! Stop it! No! Bad giant purple monster, bad!" Sakura shouted. She went to Geralt's aid, delivering a killer elbow to one of the tentacles. She felt the organic hydrolics on the inside buckle and burst under the pressure of her strike, and the tentacle sunk beneath the waves, useless. Another one immediately took its place, and Sakura kept beating them down where she could. Or blasting them with her cannons.

"Let's get the heck out of here!" Sakura shouted. "Ace! Ace, come on!" She shouted.

"EEEHHH?!" Sakura squawked loudly in confusion. Nadia pointed out the shark, and indeed there was a big shark. A really big shark. A megalodon! It was jumping right at Tentalus to bite him, and the awesome sight drew a baffled laugh from the street fighter.

"Ruuun! Run run run!" She repeated. Sakura helped push Bella up. "Aw, man, Bella. Sorry about your new dress." Sakura wrung out some of the water from her own clothes again, but, shipgirls probably spent the majority of their day covered in water. Sakura was used to it, thanks to Arashio. Everyone got onto Shippy and sped away, leaving the kaiju battle to its fate.

Sakura walked a few steps and plopped herself down on Shippy's deck. "Phew! Is everyone okay? That was crazy! I don't even know what to think about it. I guess Friend Hearts don't make everybody your friend, after all. Poor Mister Bowser, he must be so upset." Sakura said, dropping her chin into her palm. "That sucks."

"I guess they really were just a couple of big dumb monsters after all..? I don't really feel too bad about them getting eaten or smashed. But, still. The only reason we knew that is because we tried to Friend Heart them. So I think it was worth it." Sakura surmised.

Sakura thought this last part to herself: It was also a little fun. Scary, yes. Bella almost died, and so did Ace and Nadia and Bowser and probably some other people, too. But also, it was fun. Exciting. Epic! Comparatively speaking it was much funner than the warzone of the ship girls and the Abyssals.

"I just think we need some better, uh, communication. So. Friend Hearts don't work all the time. If we see someone who we think needs our help, do we get involved? I say yes. But maybe we shouldn't resort to violence so quickly. I also think we should keep trying to use Friend Hearts just in case they turn out to be saveable. Just because something looks scary doesn't mean it's mean or stupid. Also, Bowser jumped in without telling anybody he was going to do it. I would be a massive hypocrite if I got mad at him for doing that, though. But still. We need like, codewords." Sakura said. It was a very stream of consciousness type ramble, and toward the end it sounded like she was mostly talking to herself. Overall she was in much higher spirits than the aftermath of their previous battle. But there was a puzzle infront of her, practical and ethical, that she was trying to figure out.

"E tooo...hmm...uhmm..." Sticking out her tongue slightly, she stared at the floorboards deep in thought.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

Member Seen 18 hrs ago


Word Count: 896 (+2 exp)
Level: 7 - Total EXP: 48/70
Location: Edge of the Blue

"Hey! Not Ya-cool!" Pretty much as expected, the giant purple monster lashed out towards the Atomos, and similar tentacles to the ones sprouting from it's head rose out of the water around the Cadet's comrades. It was a good thing Tentalus was still more focused on his miniature rival, so much so that the actual airship was unharmed when it reached inside to slap the child monster. Hopefully the others inside were alright - he didn't see anyone else ejected from the ship and it pulled off as soon as Scylla fell.

Already prepared to jump, the Cadet was in the air as soon as he felt the rock shift under his feet. He hit the flabby hide of the monster shield first and bounced off. He was quick to shoot the clutch claw out, the hook finding it's way into the side of Tentalus' head. While it took it's anger out on Scylla the Cadet maneuvered his way up to the top of the creature's scalp. We warned you! Cadet thought, and though he was slicing up the monster's head and face it took hardly any notice of the hunter. It's arms were more concerned with smashing the Scylla, and only when it's other tentacles were cut did the ones on it's head try to swat the Cadet away. These tentacles were fairly easy to sever the Cadet found, even with the shorter blade of the Master Bang combo. With a few strokes the appendages came clean off and fell to the ocean, where they were picked apart by small blood thirsty fish.

That big eyeball is probably the best place to attack, huh? It didn't seem to mind losing a few tentacles after all. The Cadet could hear Sakura calling to him, but he was totally find up there, he could handle it.

"Ace, JUMP!"

Nadia's voice too? Were they seeing something he couldn't from his position? Ace Cadet blinked, surprised, but a beat later he kicked off of the monster's head and jumped out toward the ocean. He felt a rush of air and water behind him. During his fall he twisted to look, seeing the massive body of the biggest sharq he'd ever seen tear through Tentalus and drag both monsters away to the depths. The hunter hit the water soon after, tumbling into the dark waves and coming up sputtering. By the time he'd pulled himself up to stand on the waves thanks to his spirits' power, Shippy had pulled around to pick him and Geralt up and sail far away from the scene.

On deck, frustrated and water-logged, the Ace Cadet pushed a hand over his forehead to brush wet bangs back from his face.

"A bust," he sighed, lamenting the lack of any real gain from that brief battle. He did notice that a few of Tentalus' tentacles had been cut off and were lying on the deck, so he kicking them over to a pile beside the rail. He shucked his rigging, pulled his carving knife from his back and deposited himself beside the pile to get started breaking them down. This skin of rubbery skin was much harder to remove than a pelt or scales and might take a while, but with the increased presence on Shippy if anything else happened they had enough people to buy time for him to suit up again.

"A misnomer I guess? It doesn't make people into friends, or turn the evil onto the path of light. It giggisux for sure." The slang juxtaposed with the lofty words about good and evil made the Cadet's comment sound strange. He found that he didn't exactly agree with Sakura, but he couldn't fault her for wanting to try and save as many people as possible. The problem was not everything they ran into were 'people.'

"There's definitely more," the Cadet said in response to Rika's question. He nodded, then looked back to Sakura. "But a monster's just a monster. It's not gonna matter if we give 'em hearts or not. They can't think like a human, they just follow their instincts." From it's hiding spot BB, one of the baby Behemoth minions they'd picked up in Limsa, shuffled it's way over to it's master and sat itself down beside him, drawn by the scent of meat now that it was safe onboard. "Yeah, even you lil' guy. We'll get you back to wherever Behemoths live eventually." BB snorted in response.

"You can try the heart with the, uh, the humany-looking ones. If they can talk then the best we can do is hope they're not evil, right? But regular monsters should be left alone, or put down if they're too dangerous."

That was the core value of the Hunter's Guild after all, preservation of nature. Even if most of the hunters made a sport and spectacle of the missions they were assigned and liked to show off the gear they commissioned, the Cadet included, they all respected that value.

As the discussion continued the Cadet glanced from his spot on the deck to Mirage and Mr. L, who were there and privy to everything they were talking about and were probably extremely confused. The Cadet waved to get Peach's attention and cupped a hand over his mouth, asking her, "Hey Boss, speaking of hearts and everything, should we... like, do something about those guys?"


Word Count: 775 (+2 exp)
Level: 4 - Total EXP: 24/40
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon

𝙱𝙿 ●●●●
D34C25
Though she'd mentioned all the possible dangers of a big city while she and Panther were still with the others, in general Primrose found Al Mamoon to be a warm place - and that wasn't taking the temperature into account. Still, she was ever vigilant, especially when her friend was chatting up every would-be chef and food stall owner. She found nothing suspect as they wandered into the guts of the city's south end, and so far no sign of either a gathering of civil unrest or the Phantom Thieves.

The girls put a pause on their exploration and stopped to stand in the shade under a cloth awning while Panther lamented her luck in scoring free food. 'Marin Karin'...? She moved right on from the strange phrase and mentioned Primrose herself.

"Getting people's attention was my job." Primrose shrugged, turning her eyes from the strangers of Al Mamoon to Panther herself. Looks and charm weren't the girl's problem, if Primrose had to pinpoint where she was going wrong it was... well, how easily she made her intention known. Her inexperience was endearing. She was younger than Primrose was now, but seemed a couple years older than when she'd started dancing. A few pointers couldn't hurt.

"Hm. Here," She motioned subtly to a peddler just a little way up the road. "A softer approach would help."

To demonstrate Primrose walked out into the sun. Though the decorative coins of her skirt jingled quietly and caught the daylight, made to draw the ears and eyes, when she approached the stall she'd pointed out she was casual as though she hardly noticed the attention given to her. When the peddler noticed that it was his cart she was approaching, he stood up a little straighter and smiled, doing his best not to leer.

"That smells delicious," Primrose said, sashaying up to the cart and looking over the food available.

"Desert Dumplings! None tastier in Al Mamoon," the man said. He was puffed with pride, and Primrose picked up on it. She spoke again, her voice was more upbeat than normal.

"Handmade?"

"Of course! I use only the finest ingredients I can get my hands on too. Surely I can interest you in some?"

"Oh if only I could! But we are new in town looking for the rest of our group, I don't have much in the way of money... or directions. I came to ask for some when I smelled your dumplings." She paused, shy and apologetic, before making a little show of going for her bag. "Well, they do look good, let me see what I have..."

"Oh no, no, please," the seller chuckled and motioned for her to stop. If he was already charmed by Primrose's act then this would be a little easier than she thought. "Where would my hospitality be if I didn't offer help to a beautiful stranger? Here, here."

A wrapped up a couple portions of the dumplings and made to hand them to her. "Oh, I couldn't," she said, feigning a decline of his offer, but he insisted and she took them. He glanced over to Panther before he reached out to grasp Primrose's hand, and she let him.

"If you two need a guide I would be happy to give you a tour of the city."

He certainly would. Primrose knew that if she accepted he would follow her forever, until she dismissed him. It was just something she was skilled at, charming people and getting them to help her - even to fight for her. However, she wasn't looking for a chef to come along with them at the moment. Although she did consider perhaps picking up a new "companion" while in town, if she could find someone useful.

"Thank you, you are very kind," she said, "but we will be alright. If you could just point us towards the closest point of interest, we might find our friends there."

Though disappointed, the man released Primrose's hand and gestured further down the road. "Well there's a couple things; a fountain, a museum... but all the most interesting things are right here, closer to the bazaar. At any rate, good luck and please feel free to stop by again!"

His voice was warm as he sent Primrose on her way. The dancer giggled and waved to him, then nodded for Panther to follow as they continued on. The cheerful, lost woman of a moment ago melted away into the cool, quieter Primrose.

"A little practice will do you wonders, but be careful too." She held out a of couple dumplings for Panther to share. They honestly did smell quite tasty.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Gentlemanvaultboy
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Gentlemanvaultboy

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Hyrule Warriors


Word Count:1164

Level 5 - (48/50) + 2


Level 9 - (35/90) + 2






Link


Location: The Bottomless Sea




Link collapsed to his knees as the remainder of the team gathered aboard Shippy, stowing the sword he had been using to take swipes at one of the tentacles with as Peach turned the ship away from what was left of the rocky spire and back toward their original destination. It was about all he could do to merely cut at the tendril that had appeared at the prow, the increased choppiness of the sea doing nothing to help him balance on these literal sea legs he had acquired.

He tuned and sat with his back against the railing, doing a quick head count and noting the damage everyone had taken before hanging is head and letting out a deep breath. No one was hurt. By the grace of the goddess above they hadn't suffered any losses from that debacle. Crisis mode was over. They were safe again.

He could now afford to be angry.

As he listened to Sakura as she explained how they had gotten involved in a fight between two sea monsters, even if the why continued to be a mystery, his face started to harden into a grimace. Worth it, she said. That had all be worth it? At the very least he decision to Friend Heart the big pink monster had been born of ignorance, she was right about that. Someone should have communicated to her that that wasn't how the hearts worked. Then she spoiled it be doubling down on the friend hearts, as though she hadn't leaned anything from what had just happened.

She was so lucky Ace Cadet had been quicker on the draw then he was, as he laid out basically everything Link was about to except much more calmly and in a way she would probably listen to. Hearing your complaints laid out by someone else did wonders for stemming the tide of your own anger.

"If monsters want to be kill one another, let them do it." Link added on to the end, still clearly irritated, as Cadet turned his attention to Peach. "We're lucky they didn't decide to put their differences aside and team up on us. That's how it usually goes." The closest he had ever seen to monsters fighting one another in Hyrule was Moblins using Bokoblins as live ammo. "It would have been so easy for them to crush both our ships if they hadn't been so focused on one another, and there's no way we could even fight that big fish at the end if it decides to come after us for us as dessert. It could come directly from below and that would be it."

"That's why it's so important to not pointlessly draw attention to ourselves!" He continued, to the whole ship. "No more bombs in the water without a good reason. We don't know what's under us!"

He almost wished he was at this alone. He had never felt this kind of stress on his previous adventure. There most everyone he cared about had been tucked away safe in villages, sealing the calamity, or dead. The ones who had come out with him only did so long enough to aide him in getting inside the Divine Beasts. He had never felt this sustained had to deal with this kind of sustained stress, this fear of losing the people right in front of him, before today. After two frantic combats it was clearly starting to raddle him.





Linkle


Merge Rate: 31%


Location: The Cold Monastery





It wasn’t too long before Linkle realized that taking the sled with her was completely infeasible along this path, so she turned back and left it nestled up against the cliffside along with the wood the tree women had turned into. By that time Albedo was already some ways ahead of her, those golden flowers of his making for a good path marker as the wind kicked up and the snow began to billow up around her.

She crept carefully forward, a feeling in the back of her mind keeping her all too aware that a fall from this height may as well be one into a bottomless pit from which there was no return. As she made her way along, hand sliding along the wall to her left, she could swear she could see shadows in the white out. Odd specters flickered in and out of view, oddly familiar ones that she couldn't quite place. She drew one her bows as they harassed her, words as sharp as the wind carried in the wind passed her ears, and as it spoke she realized what it was. That was the shadow that had burst out of the old Skullgirl.

“So that’s you, huh?” She said, the only thing keeping her from shooting at it wherever it flashed up being the knowledge that Albedo was somewhere in front of her in this whiteout. It probably knew that too. It would be just like it to try and trick her into putting an arrow in his back. “Come closer! Come on, unless you’re scared of me!” She shouted, but the wind blew her voice away as it emerged. “Try and throw me over why don’t you?!” It didn’t respond, and in a way that was more mocking that anything it had previously done.

She didn’t know how long she was haunted in the blizzard, but she was grateful when it was over and she found herself slightly behind Albeado once more though her previous enthusiasm seemed to have been sapped. Not even the brilliance of the main hall seemed to inspire much in Linkle. She had been expecting it to be warmer in here. It had to be with the way that icy eyed girl was dressed, but to Linkle it was all the same. She really wished it was warmer.

She stood close enough to Albedo to hear the softly whispered conversation, the rules, and where they were allowed to go, but as they walked into the main hall the pair stood in silence for a moment until she noticed Albedo looking to her for guidance and straightened up. All right, they were here. What did they do now? Just go around asking everybody which gods made you invincible? No, there had to be a quicker way than that. They had to return to the village by sundown. She thought back to anything that could help narrow the search down while looking around again. Her eyes slid across art and symbols, and suddenly she had an idea.

“His tattoos.” She said in a loud whisper. “He was covered in symbols, remember? They glowed when he fought me. There was a big circle encircled in weird little symbols and something that looked like an upside down bat. Maybe the goddess put them there when she made him immortal. Did you sketch any of them?”

“We should look around the shrines for symbols that look like that.” She suggested. “Even if they’re not related to his power they’re still from his world, right?”
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Primrose & Panther

@Yankee


From a safe enough distance to not disturb anything Panther watched Primrose’s performance with starry eyes. The grace with which the dancer carried herself, the effortlessness with which she seemed to attract attention, the smoothness of her angle...if she didn’t know what Primrose’s intentions were, the blonde was completely positive she would have been duped herself. When glanced at by the peddler she helped out by giving a cute little wave, but she dared not speak a word, lest she ruin the master at work.

Only a few short moments later, the show was over. Primrose drifted out of the smiling vendor’s grasp and back to her companion, with whom she became herself once more. Panther had to suppress the urge to bounce up and down in excitement until they got out of eyeshot. “Oh my gosh, that was amazing!” she bubbled, her fists held up and squeezed shut in exuberance. “Like, you didn’t even ask for ‘em, you just sorta steered the conversation along until he offered you some! And the way you went for your money, looking all sad...genius!” She slapped a palm to her head. “I’ve been so direct everytime I tried. Man, I must have looked soooo corny. I should’ve known not to trust those shows…”

After getting a little off track, she accepted the dumplings from Primrose with an apologetic smile of her own, as if she didn’t deserve it. “Thank you so much. Man, I feel bad making you teach me like this. I mean, it’s obvious you’ve got crazy experience. But me, I’ve never actually needed to do this sort of stuff and I probably won’t again. You’re probably wasting your time on me.” After staring at the dumpling for a moment she looked back at Primrose. “But I’m really glad you are. You’re like, the cool older sister I never had.” She took a chomp out of her dumpling and savored every bite. “Whah. That’sh...that flavor…” Rather than try to describe it, however, she just wolfed down the rest of it.

Once the two got back on track, Panther recalled the places of interest mentioned by Primrose’s momentary acquaintance: a fountain and a museum. Everything else existed either in the vicinity of the Bazaar or to the north, neither of which the other Phantom Thieves headed toward. If they’d gotten so caught up they hadn’t even tried to reconnect with her yet, Panther figured, they had to have found something important. Al Mamoon’s high buildings and busy streets made it difficult to get a good read on the sky, but Panther kept an eye to the south as she and Primrose explored. What sort of museum could possibly get her friends’ interest for so long…?

A chance look in the right place gave her the answer: a building made of tacky gold-colored blocks piled high, pimpled by sapphire-blue windows amid their swirls. Panther’s eyes went wide. “T-the museum. It’s...oh, what was it?” She snapped her fingers a few times, her gear turning as fast as it could. “Oh, Mada-! Madarame’s museum. The Museum of Vanity. They must have found Yusuke!” She coughed. “Ugh, um, I mean, Fox. Another friend of mine. He’s an artist. Come on!”

She raced through the streets as fast as her gown allowed, making at least one wrong turn. “Man, I know I saw it this way. Why...oh, crap. I totally forgot, I need my mask in order to radio them! Duh” She ducked into an alleyway as soon as the opportunity presented itself and momentarily transformed, donning her crimson catsuit and characteristic panther mask. “Hey, guys. You there?”

“Yeah,” the familiar voice of Joker replied after a second. “Where’ve you been? You missed all the fun.”

“Whuh?” Panther sputtered, a little panicked. “I was shop...you know, getting important supplies. What fun?”

A snicker reached her through the link. “Don’t worry, it’s good news. Especially if you need to get more supplies. Just come to the museum.”

The exchange ended, and with a resolute nod Panther changed back into her civilian attire in a flare of blue flame. “Okay then. Onward, I guess!”

Al Mamoon - Palatial Gallery

@Zoey Boey


Although it meant interspersing herself right into the middle of the banter of a group of strangers, Jesse couldn’t ignore the powerful artifact the Phantom Thieves handled so casually, and so took the first step to getting to know anyone. Whether out of genuine politeness or an urgent need for a distraction from Mona’s pestering, Joker turned her way the moment Jesse addressed him, and the others followed suit in giving her their attention so as to not steamroll her. Grateful for their time, the Thieves’ new acquaintance got right to the point.

She introduced herself not just as Jesse Faden but as just the person they were looking for, someone who could make sense of their new, uncooperative implement. More than that, however, she opened their eyes to just how grand a stroke of luck had befallen them. As it turned out the man they’d stumbled across and managed to apprehend was a wanted criminal, notorious enough to have earned himself an impressive-sounding bounty. Joker had yet to quantify the city’s currency in any way, but wherever one might find oneself, gold was nothing to sneeze at. All Jesse wanted in return was the Tool Gun, which he couldn’t even make use of.

It was a tantalizing proposition, and Joker didn’t take too long to consider it. When he glanced at the others the excitement in their eyes (upside down or not) told him all he needed about their opinions. Even if the Phantom Thieves stood for their own justice rather than the law, they could use the money it promised them, so he had a mind to take Jesse up on her offer. She gave off the authoritative air of someone trustworthy enough to not misuse the thing and capable enough to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, and besides, she’d caught a glimpse of what they were capable of. In the Metaverse, Joker and his crew were not just kids who could be taken lightly and pushed aside. As long as this woman understood that, he could make it work.

“Very well. The bounty reward, and helping Mona here get back to normal, in exchange for this gun. We’ll take the deal.” With the deftness of one used to handling handguns he spun the weapon around in his fingers, offering the Tool Gun to Jesse handle-first. Then he stepped back and, alongside Skull, watched in vigilant silence what the red-haired woman did with it.

Without a lot of ceremony she began some sort of ritual. Levitating between her hands the Tool Gun rattled and shone, more and more intense, until the fervor suddenly subsided. Joker blinked a couple times, wondering if he expected something more spectacular, and Skull scratched his head in mild boredom. Still, the brief ritual confirmed that this lady possessed supernatural power of her own, without explaining very much about its nature. Now bound to the FBC’s director, the Tool Gun fell into her eager palm. The tiny rectangular screen that faced her showed a loading wheel for a few more seconds, then popped up a selection menu. Everything about its early-2000’s design, from its standard text to sometimes sluggish response time, appeared so mundane and normal that it belied the gun’s true power, but having seen what it could do with her own eyes Jesse pored over each option listed before her.



Joker crossed his arms as Jesse examined the thing. “What do you think? Can you help Mona?”

“You better!” the cat scowled, failing to look ferocious.

At that point a muffled sound caught Joker by surprise. “Excuse me,” he said as he turned away, speaking in the same way he did for Necronomicon before. “Yeah, where’ve you been? You missed all the fun.” He smirked as he glanced back at the others. “Don’t worry, it’s good news. Especially if you need to get more supplies. Just come to the museum.”

He lowered his hand and walked back over toward Jesse. “Panther, another one of us,” he explained. “Oh, and you can call me Joker. This is Skull, Mona, and Necronomicon.”

The ship gave a small wave despite her large size. “Y-you can also call me Alibaba. If you like.”

“Hey, could you scan to see if Fox is here?” Joker asked her, and the UFO got to work. The leader of the Thieves gave his attention back to Jesse, hoping to see his cat friend restored.

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (30/40)
Location: Bottomless Sea
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Hat Kid's @Dawnrider, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud, Mirage’s @Potemking, Mr. L’s @ModeGone
Word Count: 2168


The rumble of thunder across the ocean put a stop to Nadia’s jokes, at least for a moment, and with a slightly shaky sigh she sat down against the live vessel’s railing. Now that a few team members from the Atomos joined the Shippy crew on board, the upper deck got a little crowded. Although Nadia didn’t mind being shoulder-to-shoulder with a few of her new friends, all the limbs and rigging arms swinging around made it easy to get batted overboard and into a rough sea that continued to get moodier by the minute. Good thing Bowser’s still on the airship. And that the airship’s still in once piece, Nadia mused, although she felt pretty confident that Geralt made up for it.

She tried to focus on replenishing her cannons alongside Rika, but the general mood and activity made concentration difficult. Where the brutal battle with the Abyssals and all the carnage therein left the heroes feeling hammered and hollow, this struggle seemed to fire some members of the group up. Nothing to get the blood pumping like a good old-fashioned scrap with some big, ugly beasts, Nadia guessed. In her world she seldom had the luxury of just letting loose, since most of the monsters looked a lot like people.

When Nadia looked more closely, however, she realized that she’d misread the situation. The animation she took to be hype in a few of her teammates turned out to frustration or even downright anger, and she couldn’t deny they were justified. Even if they escaped the fight with no casualties, most nearly got killed and they got nothing at all to show for it. No supplies, no information, no loot of any kind. They could have upgraded Shippy’s ability to weather a stormy sea with one of their spirits, Nadia lamented. The Seekers had a lot on their plate left to chew up and digest.

Rika took the floor with a question, although in Nadia’s eyes it demanded an obvious answer. “Oh, fur sure. Bet the whole place is teemin’ with ‘em,” she laughed, making light of the dangerous road ahead. Since she’d crossed fangs with not one but three nightmares of the deep in well shy of an hour in the Bottomless Sea, even more monstrosities seemed like a pretty sure thing. And even if fresh horrors didn’t reveal themselves every half hour or so, Nadia couldn’t imagine that they’d already dealt with the worst the dark waters had to offer.

Another matter, as Sakura and Ace contemplated, was that Friend Hearts were not a one-way ticket to a peaceful resolution. As counterintuitive as that might seem, Nadia couldn’t really call herself surprised. In the end it came across as more logical than anything. Her time in the World of Light had taught her that Galeem’s influence didn’t make people evil. It just made them oblivious and, for whatever reason, unable to stop fighting. Perhaps it formed some sort of insidious population control, thinning out the weak to leave the worthy, or the contentious to instill order. Then again, she more or less assumed Galeem to be so alien an entity that its reasoning, if it even possessed it, couldn’t possibly be fathomed by a conventional mind like hers. But whatever the meaning behind Galeem’s influence, Nadia could take an educated guess at what being freed meant. “If that big glowstick makes everyone act the way it wants, then getting rid of it just makes everyone act like themselves. So a monster’s still a monster.” She considered Ace’s line of reasoning about who to heart. “Well, humans can be plenty bad, too. Maybe they’ll be more rational about bad situations, though.”

She looked around to see what the others thought, pretty pleased with her hypothesis, until she happened to see Bella. Like the sky above her face was overcast, shadowed by doubt and worry. Nadia winced slightly, not having really spent enough time with the Water Princess to grasp her inner struggle.

Indeed, Bella could not hide her turmoil. All along she had been so sure that the Friend Hearts offered a transformative effect, capable of turning a monster into a person. But those leviathans hadn’t changed at all. Nadia’s words repeated themselves in her mind. A monster’s still a monster. Did that mean that she remained a monster still, just as capable of evil as the other Abyssals--just as she had been before? Was she truly any different? She shivered, anguish swimming in her eyes, as the cold sea breeze caressed her soaked skin.

Nadia wanted to smooth over what she’d unwittingly roughed up, but she couldn’t find the right words before Link let fly with a few of his. He helped to put into perspective just how risky the fight with the sea monsters had been for everyone. The whole lot of them, he reasoned, should be more careful about what fights they picked, and Nadia agreed with him. “You’re super right. Even with the spirits some of us got, we’re out of our element in claw-fully dangerous place. ‘Scuse the pun, force of habit.”

“We got lucky this time and it’s not gonna keep happening,” Peach remarked. “If that shark was just a few meters over in one direction, Shippy could have been sent flying, or just crunched up outright. The size of that thing...ugh.” She held her head. “We can’t commit to every fight. Any might be our last, so we need to step lightly. If you all can’t do that, we need to turn around and come back with people who can.“

While everyone else mulled over the ultimatum and what to do going forward, Peach made her way to Bella, wielding her empathy to beat at least one situation back into shape. “No need to be sad, Bella,” she told the morose Water Princess. “You’re not a monster. You didn’t do anything bad after being freed, right? So maybe you weren’t a monster to start with.” When Bella looked up, confused, Peach offered a reassuring smile. “Maybe you were just empty. A soldier with no will, made just to follow orders.” She picked up a little steam and extended her smile to Sakura, to whom Bella followed her gaze. “And maybe when you were freed, a certain pure heart filled that emptiness up. Miss Sakura must have given you a little bit of her kindness.”

After a moment of thinking, an unprecedented wave of relief and gratitude washed over Bella’s face. It made sense after all, and she didn’t know any better. Peach’s suggestion made for such a wonderful idea that Bella took it wholesale. “Oh...well, I don’t know what to say. Except, thank you.” She blinked away tiny tears. “Ah, look at me. Such a mess. Would that I had your confidence, mon cherie.”

“You’ll get there someday!” Peach told her. “We all started somewhere after all.”

With a sharp breath, Nadia put on a brave face and gave Bella an enthusiastic grin. “Yeah! Plus, you’re super cool in my book already. You really helped meowt back there, after all. Probably saved my life!”

“You all are t-too kind…” Bella told them, wiping at her moist eyes to quell their uprising. “I just hope I can be of some help here and there.”

Meanwhile, Peach finally responded to the Cadet. “Yes, we should,” she confirmed. “But we should wait until we’re in a safer location before we beat them up.”

Bella continued with her modest deflections, trying to escape the spotlight, until the conversation died down. The motion of the boat and the loud sounds of the stormy sea and sky did not lend themselves to chatter after all, and since the Megalodon appeared to remind the heroes that certain doom could shoot up from the deep any moment, most occupied themselves scanning the waters below and around Shippy. Nobody who turned their eyes outward across the sea could avoid noticing the beacon-emitting structure that grew closer and closer while the waves grew more and more temperamental. By the time Shippy drew near the big, dark shape on the water, the vessel every wave rose and lowered the vessel a good dozen feet, and the swaying was intense enough to make even iron stomachs waver. Despite her best efforts to stay positive, and her appreciation for Shippy herself, Nadia managed to convince herself that a ship of this size and build could not possibly cut the mustard on an ocean like this. And this was just the outer edge of the storm, for crying out loud! Even the Atomos struggled against conflicting winds, some sort of storm interference messing with its magitech engines.

She pinned her hopes on the yellow beacon and the huge structure it led to, like a rainbow to a pot of gold. Surely, she thought, a seabase of this size would have some sort of large vessel the Seekers could commandeer. A few more minutes of bobbing up and down the choppy waves later, the unknown structure emerged from the sea fog. The Blue Team had reached its target.



Nadia furrowed her brow, finding the shape of the seabase difficult to describe. It featured a roughly cylindrical center tower with large, asymmetrical wings on either side, all smooth and bulbous like the product of some amateur potter’s wheel. From the front of the main structure extended a wide bridge for a short distance, which terminated in a circular dock or landing pad. Waves rose, fell, and crashed around the place, alternatingly hiding and exposing portions beneath the water but always dousing the green metal decks with seaspray. How far down it extended Nadia couldn’t say, but the whole thing appeared to be fixed in position, which like the rocks before suggested some anchor far, far below. A steady rain fell over all, soaking them to the bone. All that said, Nadia didn’t care that much about the specifics. As long as she could set foot on a solid, unmoving surface, she was happy.

Shippy circled around the structure toward the dock, moving carefully to avoid being thrown against the metal platform by the unruly waves. No alarms marked the heroes’ arrival, and no movement could be seen aboard the platform. Nadia claimed her spot on Shippy’s prow, and when the boat got near enough, she bunched herself up and leaped onto the landing pad. Light-footed as ever she landed with only a slight sound, but her ears pricked up in alertness nonetheless. She raised her hand to tell the others to take care, then crept ahead on all fours. Past the barrels that populated the dock stood a crude tent, an awning of some polymer stretched over pipes to keep the rain off. Beneath its shelter lay two creatures, one humanoid in a drab wetsuit and the other a bizarre skull octopus, both sound asleep, and Nadia could see why. Between the two stood an aged keg of what could only be alcohol, judging by the foam on the metal cups that served in place of mugs. Shaking her head, Nadia stood to wipe water from her eyes and wave at the two vessels. “All clear!” she called. “They’re drunk as skunks.”

A few moments later and Peach had followed her onto the dock, her parasol coming in handy. She did not pause, but moved straight for the seabase’s entrance. In her mind too there seemed to be little doubt that Blue Team needed either some help across the water, or another angle entirely. When she approached the entrance, the door slid open to admit the princess and her team. Nadia hurried inside to get out of the rain, and found a long, wide hall with downward stairs. A few sealed doors lined the hall, but the way down lay at the end of the stairs at the far end. A huge elevator shaft -below sea level, as indicated by the high vertical window- stretched downward, with a single platform on the left side of the central pylon. Nadia crouched on the edge of the elevator shaft and ended up wishing she didn’t. It went down far enough to give her vertigo, deep below the surface of the ocean.

Nadia tucked back her wet hair and turned to see Peach standing in front of a terminal that projected a 3D map of the seabase. She moved closer to make sure she was seeing things right. “Wait a minute…that’s this thing?” She squinted at a tiny construct above a sprawling undersea complex. When Peach zoomed out, she revealed there were more complexes as well, with little lines connecting them. Also charted were massive chunks of stone that for all intents and purposes appeared to be floating in the infinite abyss. “Dang. This system must extend through the whole Bottomless Sea! But...you don’t think we should actually try going below it, do you?” She shivered. The idea of being trapped in a metal box deep underwater, surrounded by who knows what monsters and the crushing force of deep water, honestly terrified her.

Cold Monastery

@Gentlemanvaultboy


“Seek his world first, then its details...a good idea.” Albedo murmured. He slid his sketchbook from his coat and flicked through the pages, eventually landing on a few hasty sketches. Unlike most of the alchemist’s drawings, and especially the ones modeled after things that interested him, they were scratchy and abstract, with no discernible beauty or meaning. Many incorporated circular patterns, some concentric, some lined with indecipherable runes around the whole diameter. A couple designs appeared to be endless, formed of single, contiguous lines in loops and crosses that could be drawn without ever raising one’s pencil from the paper. “These are only a few of his tattoos. I drew them mostly from memory after our experiments, hoping that they might provide some insight, but I never learned anything about them.”

He glanced over what he could see of the first tower, noting that a few of the corners bore ornaments and furnishings of different styles. Instruments and edifices of other beliefs, each given its own little place of respect as a part of the cultural whole. Out of many, one. “Rather than split up, let’s both visit each spot together. One of us might see what the other misses.” With a plan in mind, the two set off into the temple.

Given the monks currently occupying the central area, Albedo and Linkle began their search in the bottom-leftmost area. There in one corner they spotted a fearsome angelic effigy of woven twigs and wooden wings, with a crown of spiky branches jutting off at odd angles. No symbols particular to the effigy itself made themselves evident in its surroundings, and the idol itself did not appear well-loved or well-maintained. Maybe, Albedo hypothesized, this stood for some local practice or custom that nobody believed in but a few thought should be honored. “Creepy,” he observed and the pair moved on.

A bit farther up they came upon a small, simple altar without much decoration, in contrast to the template around it. Before the altar floated a mechanical monk, deep in silent meditation. Albedo kept an eye out as he stepped cautiously past, but found no symbols either on the machine or the altar that smacked of the tattoos he’d drawn. Still, his eyes lingered for a moment on the pleasantly symmetrical spheres that floated around Zenyatta in synchronous rhythm.

He passed by a cloth altar that did not spark any interest in him in order to examine a far more intricate arrangement. This shrine took the form of a few very small tables arrayed together with little statues, horns, a goblet, and even skulls dripped with the wax of the candles mountain in them. Albedo took special note of the colored cloth that hung beneath each of the skulls, and the symbols emblazoned therein. As interesting as the glyphs were, however, none of them matched. Yet something kept his gaze on the shrine a short while longer.

He ended up turning to Linkle. “Maybe on the other side,” he whispered. Rather than try to get around her and risk bumping into the shrine he bid her take the lead. “You go ahead first.”
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Archmage MC

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Level 6 Sectonia (holding 1 level up) - (33/60) +1
Location: Sandswept Sky - Town

Word Count: under 750


Queen Sectonia could only sigh, a Queen becoming a bounty hunter for another kingdom, what impudence! But as she didn't have a kingdom of her own at the moment there wasn't much she could do about it. As her allies went about what they wanted to scout out, Sectonia decided to find this 'mimic' and deal with it. Apparently the hardest part would be finding it safely, but since she could just summon endless disposable minions, that wouldn't be an issue for her. "I suppose I will go after the 'mimic'. If any minions wish to join, they are free to do so." Sectonia said, waiting for a bit before flying off to get more information about this 'bounty'. Ugh, just thinking about it... Well at least the Vizier had a good sense of fashion. His minions were ugly, but she supposed not many would willingly stay in this sandy wasteland.

Sectonia, not being a stranger at gathering intelligence, didn't take too long to get an idea of where this mimic would be. A few questions to a few guards here, some bystanders there, some workers here, and she had a general idea of what warehouses it could be in. With an idea of what to do all set up, Sectonia summoned a group of green antillions and pointed them to search each warehouse one at a time, tapping on all the boxes they could in an attempt to grab the mimic's attention and hopefully get the mimic to eat one of them. Should any of the antillions be missing after searching a warehouse, or one antillion finds the mimic and escapes, they are to report to the Queen, then reenter the warehouse to engage the box with Sectonia supervising them from the upper area of said warehouse.

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Level 9 Blazermate - (9/90) +1

Bottomless Sea > Bottomless Sea Structure
Words: 780


While many of her allies were damaged, Blazermate wasn't going to leave the deck of Shippy if she could help it. After all, one errand flick from either the little scylla or the giant Tentaclus that sent her into the water would be disasterus for all involved. Whats even worse, Bowser had managed to make things even worse by healing the Scylla monster with a friend heart! Blazermate was going to have a chat with him later about that for sure. Still, with all the attacks and renewed monsters from the bleeding hearts of their group things went from bad to worse, leaving them with no spoils of war and if it wasn't for a GIGANATIC shark taking both monsters underwater, things would've been pretty bad.

Still, they all had to get out of there, so seeing as Geralt was the last one remaining, Blazermate used an ubercharge on him to be safe, so that he could safely return to the ship and they could make their escape. Once they had escaped the battle, Blazermate went to healing everyone on Shippy, their injuries a bit old so her medi beam healed them at triple its normal rate and soon she had everyone on Shippy fixed in a jiffy. There were discussions about how friend hearts worked, with Blazermate chiming in her own opinion. "Sectonia was like that too, although she at least had the brains to not outright attack us." Blazermate started. "But even with that example, having a bleeding heart for a monster that has shown no signs of intelligence while galeem'd means that it wont show any intelligence after the fact." She continued, reenforcing that fact that was being clear to everyone here. She then thought a bit and made a comment. "You know, that sentry gun is very good at figuring out who is an enemy and who is an ally that we could restore. Maybe we shouldn't friend heart anything it shoots at first before we have any way of knowing if htey're an ally? Either way that will be my metric from now on."

Having patched everyone up on Shippy, she decided to make her way to the airship above. Before she took off though, she said. "Now time to give Bowser an earful. He is a big teddy bear so I know he can't help it, but he can't turn every little girl into his daughter." Blazermate did take a bit to start flying after saying that, processing that the reason he treated blazermate so well was probably that very same reason. As she was preparing to take off, she said to Peach. "I guess your boyfriend makes for an awesome dad though, look at how badly he wants to help anyone that looks like a kid!" and with a giggle she was off, flying up to the Atomos to heal the koopa king and anyone left on it of their injuries.

It took her a little bit to fly up there, and as she got htere she noticed Kamek was using his green clones to heal Bowser, although not nearly at the rate Blazermate could right now. "Hi Kamek, I'm here to heal you guys up before we get to the next fight." Blazermate said, healing up the koopa magician and Bowser jr. before working on the king himself. She she got to healing the king, Blazermate said. "I know you wanna be an awesome dad, but you really need to get a better judge of who is going to be a good kid and who is just a mimic trying to take advantage of a bleeding heart." Blazermate said, wagging her demonic finger at Bowser as he lay there, scolding him but not harshly. "I think a good rule of thumb to follow for that should be if my sentry gun shoots at them before we have a chance to make friends with them, we should be far far more cautious and if they don't respond to words, there isn't much you can do. And don't go try adopting any mimics like we saw back there. They aren't little, they're probably older than you are!" Blazermate continued, trying to be a bit more lighthearted to the koopa king as he was trying to do a nice thing in the end after all.

Seeing as Bowser was the most dejected out of the group, or it seemed, Blazermate stayed on the Atomos as they approached the new tower. Apparently this lead them all to their goal, which was quite a nice feeling. Soon they'd be away from this cursed ocean, and Blazermate was glad for that. She'd take Space over this any day!
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Dark Cloud
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Dark Cloud When the spaghetti is done just right.

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Level: 2 (3/20 EXP)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon -
Word Count: Less Than 750 Words (+1 EXP)
Interaction: @Rockin Strings & @Lugubrious


Laharl didn't even spare a word to the swordless samurai as he tried striking up friendly conversation with the demon prince, meerly looking up to Yoshitune with a bored glance in passing as the prince slumped his shoulders in an act to dismiss the man.

It was quite evident however that the young demon was simply putting on airs to feel better about himself, still resentful of his lack of power and control over others. Despite his charade, secretly Laharl was relieved that someone wanted to talk to him as he was not used to being alone without vassalage to do his bidding and he wouldn't dare say it but he missed Etna more than he thought he would.

He nodded slightly to the samurai before him in response to his comment on the battle from before, but the man had turned to leave."Uh, wait!" he tried to call to the samurai but he unfortunately had already turned down the street, frustrated the boy huffed derisively crossing his arms together as he stood in the middle of the street pouting like a child who doesn't get his way "Whatever, not like I had anything to say to that idiot anyway." he grumbled to himself, but contradicting his words and actions he followed Yoshitune back to the train.

* * *


It seemed the conductor and the swordless samurai were in the midst of a conversation, from what Laharl overheard was about movies as the samurai apparently had no idea what a movie even was. He couldn't help but scoff loudly, making himself known to the two sitting atop the railcar "Where have you been living, under a rock?" he laughed despite how rude butting in on the conversation was he just couldn't pass up a moment like this, except the moment was interrupted by the rest of the group returning from wherever they had been with details on the town's current situation and the work to be done around Al Mamoon.

* * *


"MUHAHAHA" Laharl laughed loudly as everyone prepared to split up "These are simple chores! Barely worth my time, but I'll prove my strength to the people here!" flexing his noodly arms Laharl looked ridiculous trying to appear strong, and he was but unfortunately at his age he was still a child even at the age of 1013 which was young even by demon standards. Yet Laharl was keen to show his strength to everyone and prove himself, then maybe he would earn the respect and recognition he deserved.

After his foolish bantering Laharl made off after a few others who had the similar idea of taking on the infestation mission, it was disappointing he would have to work with others but all the better to prove how strong he was. He wouldn't be upstaged by anyone and he was hellbent on taking on whatever threat the infestation posed.

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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN
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MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

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Geralt of Rivia

Bottomless Sea

Lvl 7 (43/70) -> Lvl 7 (45/70)

Word Count: 1,126 words


So, good news and bad news. Good news, he wasn't dead.

Bad news, the Ordnance Platform was yanked to the side, guns aiming away from the giant monster, which was both smart enough to recognize the unique threat that it posed, and able to directly act on it in a way that neutralized that threat. So much for that plan.

Geralt turned to the tentacle that Sakura wasn't attacking, he unleashed a continuous stream of fire via Igni, quickly toasting one side of the appendage. The spongey flesh moved and rippled, seeming to change its grip to keep any one part of it from being boiled by the fire. After a few seconds, the stream died as Geralt felt that familiar ache that signaled the time to stop the flow of power into a Sign.

Inwardly cursing, Geralt began to draw his silver sword as he saw something that, even with the influence of the Harbor Demon's Spirit, would always make him fear the water just a little bit more: The impossibly massive shark breaching the surface of the Bottomless Sea, tearing through Tentalus's back like a hot knife through butter, and dragging it and Scylla into the depths of the ocean.

Suppressing a shudder as the Ordnance Platform was freed from its bindings, Geralt carefully leapt to the approaching Sippy, dismissing his construct and making sure to take a stable seat onboard Shippy. Legs folded beneath him, he must have looked quite a sight, sitting like a child as a 10-foot tall giant unicorn monster man.

And then the conversation came. Frankly, they all had their points, and he stated as much. "I don't disagree with Sakura that we should try and help people where we can. But we do need to be more careful about doing it, that much is true. Some monsters can't be reasoned with, but it can be hard to tell which ones those are." It was here that another difference between his world and the Cadet's was brought back to his mind. "In some places, monsters really are just monsters, unthinking creatures that, even if they're wise enough to prioritize targets like that thing was, are still bound by some destructive instinct."

"But if Bowser didn't talk and think and clearly feel, I'd be hard-pressed not to call him a monster myself. I think Sakura was trying to be cognizant of the fact that in this place, you can't always tell what you're looking at. Whether they're a sentient, thinking, feeling being, or a slave to instinct. Matter of fact, I took a job to hunt down a werewolf just before I joined up. Turned out he was researching a cure for his condition and trying to scare off anybody like me, sent to kill him for the crime of being cursed. I...can empathize with that." It was perhaps the first time he'd thought about Sabrewulf since meeting the werewolf, but he hadn't forgotten his promise to the man. "Hmm. Speaking of which, I have a few things I need to ask the Moogles when I get a chance about that..."

"That being said, we need to communicate better, too. Nobody, and I'm directing this at myself as well, can just go off like that again. Even though I wasn't the first out, I didn't try to stop Bowser, or even calm things down once I was out there. I just shot. I need to do better, and I'm sorry for that." It might have been hard to tell due to the Witcher's typically stoic demeanor, but he was being sincere when he said this. He looked at the others on Shippy, and an oversized fist clenched.

"As for letting giant monsters fight it out? I think most of us can agree on that." He wasn't going to point at that none of them had a way of knowing Scylla was essentially a monster, or more likely some kind of psychopath.

It was strange but kind of nice, talking things out like that. Peach's ultimatum did serve to ground him a bit. They needed to do better than jumping into every situation that they saw. Before this, he'd have thought Sakura to be the one to worry about, but apparently Bowser needed to be added to that list.

Geralt felt a little off at Bella's discomfort, but it wasn't quite a shared experience. He knew he wasn't some kind of monster, even if others on the Continent saw Witchers as such. Even with his new additions, Geralt was quite confident in himself and his humanity. Still, he was sympathetic to her, and added to Peach and Nadia's reassurances. "Your past is not all that defines you, Bella. Sakura may have awakened your mind to the world around you, but your heart is your own. All she did was give you the chance to use it, unshackled. And I am not disappointed." That was not Geralt of Rivia talking, and a part of him new it. It was more like listening to Dandelion try to woo a girl, but it felt much more natural than it would had he done it himself. No, he recognized the influence of the Harbor Demon's poetry on him, but couldn't bring himself to protest it. It was, after all, a part of him now.

Cadet's comment and Peach's response to the situation regarding their recent additions merely prompted Geralt to lift an eyebrow and open one hand, then curl a finger back towards himself. It wouldn't exactly be hard for him to knock them silly, given his new size.

Soon, the Seekers came upon the structure they'd been aiming for, and Geralt frowned when they approached. It was entirely alien to him, the massive metallic structure. This was like nothing he'd ever seen before, with perhaps the exception of Alcamoth. He did not like it one bit.

Disembarking with the others (and wondering what they'd be doing about Shippy), Geralt looked around for a moment before focusing on the only real way: forward. The megastructure was their clear goal, and nothing was stopping them from going there. In short order they were inside, and Geralt found that he liked what he saw inside even less. The colossal elevator shaft evoked a primal response from the Witcher, and he frowned as he spoke. "And what in the hell are we supposed to do with that?"

The strange light show Peach had activated was, strangely, more helpful. It was like some kind of magical representation of the structure they were in, he assumed. "I...have no idea." He said in response to Nadia's question. The idea made him somewhat uncomfortable, as well. People were not meant to go so deep below the waves.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1060 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (83/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (78/70)
Kamek: Level 7 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(76/70)
Location: Edge of the Blue – Bottomless Ocean
Feat: Rika


Onboard Shippy, Rika was also feeling a little let down by the not freeing monsters talk, considering by all accounts, and her own experience with the unfreed abyssals, she had been even more of an unthinking or feeling monster than Bella. She really had been lucky to wind up where she was now, alive and herself, even if ‘herself’ was something of a mishmash amalgamation of an old turtle's empathy for minions, a raging beast and an Azure navy girl all crammed into what had probably been a mostly empty shell. Maybe that was the thing, as Geralt said. The monsters were monsters to their core, while the beings the abyssal fleet made were shells ready to be filled up either with orders from on high or, unintentionally, to be filled up with friendship.

“I don't know about who we were before, but I think who we are now is pretty great!” Rika said to Bella encouragingly, before sitting down next to her and quietly keeping her company throughout the rest of their trip towards the beacon.

Up on high, the Troop where now alone, save for perhaps one hatted kid, but no-one could ever keep track of her (and Jr was slightly worried he’d never get his hammer back as a result) and so the key causer of the whole situation managed to avoid the debate raging down below that he’d caused. Or initially did anyway, till Blazermate came up and gave the king a combination of a scolding and a ribbing while healing them all up.

Bowser gave an exasperated put upon sigh at her words, but respected her enough not to blow a fuse in response to her slander. It was generally a poor idea to get on the wrong side of the person helping piece you back together after you’d messed up anyway.

”I do not have a bleeding heart” he grumbled instead ”and I’ve gotten enough of this from Kamek already”

”You make it sound like this isn't the first time he's done this” Kamek said to Blazermate, before putting two and two together ”Ahhh. The skeletal girl” before glancing over at his king for explanation

”Well excuse me for trying to draw the line at killing kids. Might be the bad guys, but we’ve got to have some standards!” he insisted in response, somewhat ironically considering a certain mage had very much not been above that back when the king was but a boy.

”What you did went a bit above just that when you got involved with the monster’s dispute” Kamek pointed out

”yeah. She was clearly handling it herself,” Jr added, which inadvertently prompted the king to wonder when he’d gotten more smotheringly protective. He tried to trust that his son could handle himself before all this, but between The Thing from Beyond the Stars and what had happened to Linkle… It was a balancing act with kids and how much you coddled them vs how much you let them deal with things themselves and he’d tipped over to one side too far. Better to find out that he’d tipped that way with some monster than upset his actual kid he supposed.

”She would have been cool if she hadn’t been so much of a jerk!” Jr had been saying, unaware of his dad’s thoughts about both him and the girl who might not have been what she appeared, before adding ”I mean who wouldn't want a dad as awesome as you? A big loser idiot that's who”

Bowser let out a bark of a laugh and then smiled again after that.




Though the wind grew harsher no more monster fights impeded their journey and so soon enough they arrived at the beacon island, which turned out to be the basis of some huge base of some kind. The Atomos set down on the landing pad without issue and then the troop piled out of it and, as quickly as Peach, into the base’s entrance. Unlike everyone else they’d been snug inside the airship when the weather got worse (even if the window was still smashed out) so, the little period of rain they had to dash though was highly unpleasant to deal with.

”Remind me to look into getting these uniforms waterproofed,” the old mage compiled as he tried to ring the water out of his robes once they where inside the building.

Bowser (water retardant ship girl clothes) and Jr (bib/bandana protected by his chin) were more interested in the map Peach had found, which was displaying a 3d layout of what seemed to be a truly titanic and sprawling network of bases that filled the ocean from end to end.

”Wow, It just goes on and on and on,” Jr said, clearly impressed ”How many guys does the guy who owns this have under them if they managed to get this built, you think?”

”Probably not as many as it looks seeing as there where a whole two of em ‘guarding’ this place” Bowser pointed out, not impressed by the dedication of the minions on display ”Don't get me wrong, its an impressive gauntlet, but what's it all for? Is there like a main base in there somewhere? A place where the guardian might be?” he flicked through the map to see if there was anywhere obvious to go.

”There's also the slight issue of what, or more importantly who, we’d have to leave behind if we did go down there” Kamek pointed out

“Who? oh. Right. Us.” Rika, who had come in (supported by her gauntlets) along with the others, asked and then realized what that would mean. Walking through all of that did not seem like something she or Bella could manage (the cruiser might be able to do a fair bit more than Bella, but she knew from her night on the town that she’d tire faster than the others) and Shippy had no way of even making the attempt

The mage nodded and then suggested ”Perhaps it would be best to find out if we are able to be invited down? Know that if we did have to leave people and things behind they’d be safe and sound because we and they are guests.”

”The squid guy outside looked like a skull. You tell me if they are friendly or not” Jr pointed out while hovering in front of the terminal in his little car and for all intents and purposes playing with the map when no one else was using it.

”Well. Yeah. But those two didn't look so tough, so should be easy to find out if they're reasonable bad guys or not.” Bowser pointed out, though this time he did wait to see if anyone was going to naysay the idea before going at it.

If no one stopped him he’d stomp back out into the rain, into the tent and loudly clear is throat, snap his fingers next to their ears or do whatever else was needed to wake them up, before, in his best angry boss voice, admonishing them with ”Sleeping on the job boys?”

The stern looking dragon turtle in military dress would towered over the pair as he told them ”You're a disgrace to minions everywhere, we had to dock ourselves and everything!” there was zero acting going on, the king was genuinely disappointed in these mook’s behavior even if they weren't his, ”So you’d best be real helpful from here out if you don't want your captain finding out about you slacking off”
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