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A B A N D O N H O P E A L L Y E W H O
E N T E R H E R E





Did you know that Dante's inferno is called a divine comedy because things work out for the protagonist? Back in the day, the only two genres were comedy and drama. The only difference was that in a comedy, the protagonist is better off at the end, and a drama is the opposite. So that's why a story about going through hell can still be considered a comedy, even if it's not funny.

Name:
Broken Promise, BP, Boss

Age:
Old enough to know better, too young to care. (that is to say 30's)

Preferred RPs:
I Prefer to make my own, but will occasionally join something if it looks interesting. I'll join just about anything so long as it isn’t overly edgy/sweet, bonus points if it has familiar RPers in it. I don't do 1x1s too often.

Preferred Roles:
I tend to play adorable characters everyone wants to befriend or proper assholes everyone wants to stay away from. I try not to play moral paragons or prime evils.

RP Conquests:
I've completed quite a few RP's off site, but most of them are on private forums or have simply been lost to the ravages of server crashes. As for stuff here, I'm sure everyone who sees me post in the off topic sections has seen me find an excuse to talk about Danganronpa: Tower of Carnage. It's a project that took over 4 years to complete and I feel pride not only for myself but all the wonderful people who helped make it enjoyable during its run. Re: Zero: The High Council Is technically my first, but it was just something I kind of took over and ended up ending the story after just six months. It technically finished, but eh...

RP's in progress:
Presently I'm playing in a magical girl RP. I don't really think there's much more to say. I do have something in the works, but it's still too early to talk about that.

RP Graveyard:
I've been pretty fortunate on this forum. I think I joined one when I first came on the site that didn't really do anything, and there are a few 1x1 things that didn't go anywhere. It's disappointing when an RP ends before it can be finished, but I've come to look at them as learning experiences.

Other interests:
Videos
I watch a lot of educational videos on youtube. Usually as research for something I’m writing or purely because a topic interests me. I like channels like Tier Zoo and Daryl Talks Games, and I’ll also watch things like Critical Drinker or Literature Devil to deepen my understanding of story telling. Though I also like memes and jokes, to which I’ll find myself watching stuff like Sseth, but usually find myself surfing through meme videos. I gotta work on that.

Games
I have a rather long history of playing virtually every platformer to come into existence during the indie boom, as well as quite a few other indie games. I’ve played Meatboy, Binding of Issac, Gunvolt, Cuphead, Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt, Classic Metroid, Warcraft 3, Final Fantasy 7,8, and 14, Left 4 Dead, Shantae, Celeste, Danganronpa, God Eater, the list goes on. What I’ve played is kind of all over the place. I don’t play many games these days, I tend to pick things that look interesting and go on a decent steam sale. Currently playing through Tales of Berseria, but it's slow going.

Drawing
I draw. I haven’t done a lot of it recently and certainly don’t feel confident enough to show anything I make to the general public. Perhapse one day...

Music
I listen to everything, save most country/rap songs. I have too many favorites to name, but I’ve currently found myself listening to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger a lot. I find dance music is just really easy to listen to on a loop while I'm drawing or working on RP stuff.

Personality:
Not one to take life or the internet too seriously. Is only serious about writing well and having a good time.

People to Insult:
Dalton is a Dingus.

Most Recent Posts



“I was being interviewed, and then a shadow took me into another world with my best friends...



...Could totally be the name of the next great light novel.”

— Oros


Oros walked through the forest near penrose. She was delirious and couldn’t remember where she was. She wasn’t in pain, but she had lost too much blood and wasn’t thinking straight. Just because blood wasn't necessary for her to live didn't mean it was something she could easily do without. Anyone looking on would see a pink haired zombie shambling through the tall grass. Her outfit had been cut to tatters, and her jaw was dislocated if not broken. Her groaning even sounded like something a shambling dead would do. The zombie walked under the shade of a tree, and collapsed.

Her ambushers likely had a second ambush party waiting for her at the hotel. She needed to go somewhere else, some place they wouldn’t expect her to go.

She had her connections in Penrose, but her pride wouldn’t let her use them. There was no way she’d appear before Em looking like this, nor would she reach out to Cradle. She just needed a place to lie down where she wouldn’t be attacked again.

Connie and Mia were both spending a relaxing morning in their room. Mia was playing a video game, while Connie was attempting to paint a pretty landscape on a small piece of masonite. It was a beautiful day, the woods outside their window especially picturesque, all covered with freshly fallen snow, and with the increased control she’d recently gained over her magic, the timid girl hoped that this time, her painting would remain just as wholesome as her source material. Looking out at the winter woodland, Connie couldn’t help but smile. Nothing creepy to see here, nothing dark or depressing. Just the trees, some birds flittering between the branches, some squirrels frolicking in the snow, the body, laying under the nearest tree… Wait. The body…? Taking a closer look, Connie gasped as she saw that, yes, there was a body laying in the snow under the tree just beyond their window, an exceptionally bruised and bloody body, to be specific.

“Mia!” Connie cried out, startling her friend. “T-Th-There’s a b-b-body out there!”

“What?!” Mia exclaimed, rushing over to join her friend by the window. “Holy shit…” she whispered as she, too, caught sight of the mangled young woman.

“W-We h-have to h-help her!” Connie insisted, while trying to open the window.

Wait a minute, Connie!” Mia instructed. “We don’t know what did that to her,” she explained. “We need to be careful, and we should definitely transform first.”

“O-Okay!” Connie agreed, before giving voice to her incantation. “C-Come on, Mia!” she added the moment her transformation had concluded. “L-Let’s go!”

Upon reaching the injured girl, Gaia knelt down to get a better look at her wounds, while a trembling Connie stood beside her. The masked girl gasped when she’d gotten a better look at the unconscious young woman. “I-Is t-that Oros?!” she asked, the eyes of her mask going wide.

“It certainly appears to be, little sister,” Gaia agreed as she continued to assess the girl’s injuries and apply botanical bandages where she could. “I can only imagine what did this to her, and I do not wish to meet them any time soon.”

Gaia really didn’t like the idea of bringing someone as rude and chaotic as Oros into their home, but at the same time, she knew they couldn’t just leave her out here either… And so, carefully picking up the pink-haired young woman, the verdant magical girl placed her on one of the leafs of the beanstalk the pair had used to descend from their room. Folding around her like a pea in a pod, the leaf rose upward to slip through the open window, with Connie and Gaia following close behind.




“W-What do we d-do now, Mia?” Connie asked as the leafy pod detached from the stalk and settled down on the bed. “W-We d-don’t really have h-healing p-powers…” she added, while nervously fiddling around with her hair. “S-So s-should w-we c-call a h-hospital? O-Or m-maybe Ronin and M-Miko?”

"That won’t be necessary." With some effort, Oros sat upright. She took hold of her chin and pushed her jaw back in place. "I should heal on my own. I don’t have health insurance and I doubt a hospital will accept a company credit card." She made no attempt to wipe the blood off the corner of her mouth. Oros’s eyes scanned the room. "I don’t think you need to worry about what attacked me. The things that want to kill me often don’t bother with others. Probably because I’m too hot to handle. A walking fire hazard. Taking me into your home is probably the worst thing you could have done for your own safety."

“O-Oh, good! Y-You’re awake!” Connie exclaimed happily, her mask forming a big smile as she held her clasped heads over her heart. “I-I was s-so worried!”

"Why, you’re my, whats her tits? Yea! You’re Faith’s friends, right? Did any of you get a chance to spin the bottle? My memory is a little hazy." That was when her eyes fell squarely on Connie, then Mia.

“O-Oh! U-Umm…” she mumbled, slightly flustered by Oros’ s sudden change of subject. “Y-Yes, w-we’re f-friends with Faith! A-And, uh, n-neither of us g-got to s-spin the b-bottle at M-Miss Sakura’s m-movie n-night… B-But we still had a l-lot of f-fun!” she added, hoping Oros didn’t think she was sad about missing out.

“Do you have any idea who attacked you?” Gaia asked, getting straight to the point. Her serene voice held a slight edge that wasn’t normally present, Oros’s comment that their course of action had probably been the worst possible bringing no small amount of anxiety to even this most tranquil of magical girls.

"You bet I do! And that’s exactly why the less said about the subject, the safer we’ll all be." Oros looked back to Connie as a bottle appeared in her hand. She placed it between the young girl and herself. "Regardless, with just a few of us playing, there should be more opportunities for you to go. In fact, why don’t you start?" Oros was grinning ear to ear.

“U-Umm, b-b-but i-if it’s j-just t-the t-t-three of u-us….” Connie stammered as Oros proceeded to start up an impromptu game of spin the bottle on their bed.

“Do you really think it’s wise to be doing that right now?” Gaia asked pointedly, her eyes narrowing as she glared at Oros. “If we are in danger merely by being in your presence, would it not be best if you left? Especially seeing as how you seem to be fully recovered.”

Oros looked down at her ruined body. Her broken arm, the cuts all along her torso, her tattered uniform that was grounds for indecent exposure. That was without addressing how she was fairing on the inside. The only reason why she hadn’t bleed all over the bed was because there wasn’t enough blood in her body to bleed from the start. She hadn’t even been breathing, save to get enough air to speak.

"I mean-" She looked at Gaia. "I’m not uninjured. I’ve still gotta regrow my heart and a few other organs. Pain just doesn’t bother me that much. In my current condition I’m pretty sure even you could do me in pretty easily." She tipped her head back. "Why aren’t we fighting? I mean, I know why I’m not, but you seem to hate my guts. Is there a reason you wanna keep me alive?"

For a few moments, Gaia simply stared at Oros, even as Connie gave a shocked gasp at the revelation that the pink-haired girl would need to regrow her heart. Finally, she gave voice to a tired sigh. “Look, Oros, I may find you more than a little annoying, but that doesn’t mean I want to see you dead. Besides,” she added, “My dearest Connie has an exceptionally kind heart, and she couldn’t bear to see anyone die, especially not if she had a chance to save them. And so, here we are.”

Oros nodded with a grin smug enough to imply that Mia’s answer was expected. "And I have a soft spot for girls like Oni, so you’ll just have to accept that I’m truly withholding information for your safety." She groaned and cast her head back. "Not in the mood for spin the bottle? Guess the outcome is a little predictable when it’s only three people. Not to mention I don’t see it spinning very well on the bed." As if to demonstrate this, she gave the bottle a spin. It didn’t even make half a turn before rolling back towards Oros. "Are you going to the Christmas party, Oni?"

Upon hearing Oros’s reply Gaia simply gave their guest a look that said “don’t you dare hurt Connie”, before allowing the pink-haired girl to move the topic of discussion to the upcoming party in Dan’s dimension.

For her part, Connie simply stared at Oros in confusion as the girl started talking about someone named “Oni”. It took a moment for the poor girl to realize who that might be, although she was still rather uncertain about the whole thing.

“M-Me…?” the masked girl asked, pointing a trembling finger at herself. “U-Uhh, y-yeah! I-I t-think i-it’ll be a l-lot of f-fun! A l-lot of my f-friends are g-going, a-and… H-Have you g-gotten an i-invitation yet?” she asked Oros, unsure if the somewhat strange girl had any friends to give her one.

"Yup!" She held up her ticket. "Seems we’ll be seeing a bit more of each other. I wonder if they’re cool with spinning bottles?" She opened her hand, and a phone appeared in it. "I can have someone pick me up if my staying here is a problem. I just don’t trust myself to get very far. Kinda feel like shit, you know?" She looked at Mia. "What do you think?"

Gaia sighed in resignation. “I think you can stay here,” the verdant girl told Oros. “At least until you’re fully healed up,” she added. “And as long as you promise to behave yourself.”

"I have been making an effort to keep the swearing down." She reclined in the bed a little. "But I’m trying to remind myself I’ve got a date for the party, but this green lady’s standing in front of me, and she’s not wearing a lot. It makes things hard."

Gaia rolled her eyes at Oros’s “compliment”.

“In that case,” she told their guest, placing her hands on her hips. “Allow me to make things easier.”

The next instant, there was a flash of emerald light and the nymph-like demigoddess was replaced with a short-haired tomboy, wearing considerably more clothing.

“I’m gonna go back to my game,” Mia said as she sat down on the other side of the bed. “If ya wanna sleep, try not to snore too loud. If not… I dunno, maybe you can paint some pictures with Connie?”

“I-If y-you’d like to, I-I’d be m-more than h-happy to s-share!” Connie added, transforming back herself and gesturing to her various supplies.

The weakened magical girl was so stunned by Mia’s transformation that she hadn’t responded to Connie's query right away. Her wide eyes tracked her all the way to the corner of the bed. "Not bad." By that point, Oros had gained enough self control to look back at Connie. "Paint, in bed? Eh, maybe if you have a few pencils I can just kinda sketch something." Her eyes rest on Connie’s innocent expression.

“W-Well, uh,” Connie mumbled, embarrassed about having forgotten that Oros probably couldn’t stand in her injured state. “I-I g-guess you c-could s-sit on the e-edge of the b-bed a-and use t-this s-spare easel… B-But, um, i-if you w-want to use c-colored p-pencils, I have s-some of those, too!” she added, before reaching into her art supply bag and producing a package of colored pencils and a small sketchbook. “H-Here y-you go!” she told Oros happily. “I r-really h-hope you e-enjoy it, a-and I c-can’t wait to see w-what you m-make!”

The beastly girl slid her knees forward, causing the blankets and what was left of the giant pod to bunch up around her waist. She pulled everything up to her neck with her good arm before swinging her legs off the edge of the bed. Oros was almost swaddled in blankets, with only her head and arm sticking out. She had been careful to not disturb the patch of blanket that Mia was sitting on, but they were sitting pretty close to each other.

"Been a hot second since I tried to draw something." her fingers glided over the colored pencils. Her fingers came to rest on the black one, which she pulled from the case. "Think I'm gonna draw a fight scene. What about you, Oni?" Oros was already tracing in stick figures.

“I-I’m g-gonna t-try and f-finish my l-landscape,” Connie replied. “I-It’s j-just such a b-beautiful day, I w-wanted to see if I c-could capture it w-without my m-magic influencing t-things…”

"Whatever makes you happy, kid. Whatever makes you happy." Oros took her pencil and started to go to town on the white sheet she had been given. Unlike Connie, Oros was drawing inspiration from her mind’s eye. A difficult feat to pull off, one that often has disastrous consequences when attempted by a novice. She certainly seemed like she knew what she was doing. Oros was holding the side of the lead against the page rather than the point. This produced a light, yet broad stroke with every pass of her pencil. She was just establishing the scene right now, drawing in stick figures and buildings. "By the way, why do you stutter all the time? "

“O-Oh, u-umm, i-it’s b-b-because I-I’m a-always s-so n-n-nervous around o-other p-p-people,” Connie explained, her embarrassment ironically causing her to stutter even more. “I-I’m s-s-sorry if it b-bothers y-you…” she added, sounding a bit depressed.

“She’s just really shy,” Mia added, not bothering to look away from her game. “And she scares rather easily, as I’m sure you’ve probably noticed. Incidentally, she doesn’t stutter nearly as much when she’s in a low-stress environment with people she’s comfortable with.”

"Is that so?" Oros looked at Connie. "You know if you’re scared of her, you can always come to my place."

“O-Oh, n-no!” Connie hastily clarified for Oros, holding her hands up as if to stop that train of thought from going any further. “M-Mia d-doesn’t m-make me n-nervous at all! S-She’s m-my best f-friend in the w-whole world! B-But, uh, t-thanks for the offer…” she added after a moment, the poor girl being just a bit too innocent to fully grasp the implications of what Oros was suggesting.

The same couldn’t be said of Mia, although the tomboy decided to keep quiet about it for now. After all, she didn’t want to upset Connie if she could help it, and there would be plenty of opportunities for her to “discuss” the matter with Oros when Connie wasn’t around.

"Oh, in that case, she can come too!" Oros grinned. What she had illustrated on her canvas was a single stick figure holding a sword-like weapon opposed by several other stick figures. This might not have impressed anyone, but Oros was drawing three-dimensional shapes over the stick figures to give them form. Clearly she wasn't done. "I’ll take you both at once! I mean, only if you get a luxury room. Otherwise I’d have to split you guys between the economy rooms. They’re all filled up." She traced two rather large circles on one of the stick figures, only to notice her error and erase it. Then she drew them even bigger. "I don’t know if you heard, but I run the Golden Trove now. So if things ever get bad here, I can set you up with a room." She chuckled.

“O-Oh, w-wow!” Connie exclaimed when Oros revealed that she now owned a hotel. “T-That’s r-really cool! B-But, uh, w-we’re pretty h-happy here, f-for the m-moment,” she added. “B-But, um, m-maybe w-when Mia t-turns eighteen…?”

“Maybe,” the tomboy noted dryly.

Oros’s grin only grew wider as they conversed. "and what happens when she turns eighteen? She’ll still look like a kid, as magical girls don’t physically age. Not like any of us would age even if we could, given how long it takes for a week to pass in this here Realm of Patrons."

“I’d like to think I can pass for eighteen, at the very least,” Mia replied. “Besides, this place has all my records,” she continued. “I think they’ll know when I become too old to stay here. I mean, I could probably hack the system, but that’d only really buy me a couple more years, before people finally caught on. And honestly? I’m not a fan of staying here any longer than I have to.”

"Typical child, so eager for the freedoms of adulthood without understanding the responsibility that comes with it." Oros closed her eyes and nodded at Mia. "…Is what my mother would have said. But she’s dead as dirt, so you don’t have to worry about that. To be fair though, I think most magical girls are deserving of their childish appearance. OH! and I was just on the radio. You guys listen to that, right?" She looked at the floor. "P-people still listen to radios, right?"

“T-The radio?” Connie asked after it was brought up. “U-Uh, y-yeah, w-we l-listen to that s-sometimes,” she confirmed with a nod. “B-But, uh, I d-don’t r-really like l-listening to t-talk shows…” she added in a more sullen tone. “T-The p-people they h-have on c-can be k-kinda m-mean…”

“I’ll sometimes listen to Pac-a-Fist,” Mia added. “But only if her guests aren’t too obnoxious.”

She pointed at Mia. "You really should have tuned in to her last show, because I was on it! And I’m so far removed from obnoxious it’s freaky. Like you put me next to an obnoxious person and they start behaving better. My mom said I was great with kids for that reason." She turned back to her drawing. "Anyway, it’s a shame I didn’t get to finish, but she said I could come on again later, so you’d better better tune in then!"

Oros was at the final stage of her drawing, where she was starting to draw clothing and accessories over the three-dimensional forms she had created. Many novice artists try to draw this step first and skip all the groundwork, but this always results in an amateur drawing unless done by a true master of the craft. That wasn’t to say Oros’s pencil work was flawless. She had made small errors in the construction of her characters which were starting to show themselves in the final piece. The lone swordwoman’s arms looked a little long. And her six opponents were crammed together so tightly it was hard to tell where some of them began and ended. But Oros hadn’t put down her pencil yet.

“O-Okay!” Connie replied with an excited smile. “W-We’ll d-definitely t-try to! R-Right, Mia?”

“Yeah, sure thing,” the tomboy muttered.

"I can understand your reservations though. This place has some huge comph energy to it. There’s no nearby monsters, no magical girls jumping on rooftops, it’s kinda nice. It’s simple." She had finally taken up the colored pencils and was using them to color in her piece. "I dunno, there’s not a lot in Penrose anymore. I guess you can participate in the Mint or Beacon’s war on each other, or hide, or respawn some time, maybe following Faith north is what’s best for you kids. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind the company." She chuckled. "I don’t know why I’m staying here any more. It’s not super relevant to my patron’s needs. I guess I know I won’t have the same sense of purpose elsewhere."

“Y-Yeah, it is kinda n-nice not h-having to w-worry about all that,” Connie agreed after Oros complimented their room. “B-But, t-there are also an a-awful lot of b-bullies here…” she added, her soft voice taking on a more somber tone. “A-And that’s n-not so nice… M-Mia’s a-always protected me f-from them, b-but she’s g-gotten in a l-lot of t-trouble because of it, t-too…”

“Ah, it’s no big deal,” Mia brushed the concern off with a shrug. “I mean, what sorta big sis would I be if I didn’t protect you from those creeps? I just wanna make sure we end up someplace where Connie’s safe,” she told Oros. “That’s all I really care about. At first, that meant gettin’ the fuck outta this shithole of a city, but now that we’ve made so many new friends here, I’m not so sure anymore…”

"It’s good to have options, never know when one of them is going to die on you." Oros set down a pink pencil and admired her work. It was no show piece, but for something that was done to pass the time, it was an impressive scene. A pink haired girl with a katana was rushing down a group of other girls. Most of them appeared to be wearing hoods, though they also could have been wearing religious habits. "Finished!" She signed her work with a “M.F.” before looking at Connie. "How did yours turn out?"

“P-Pretty good!” Connie replied happily. “I-It’s a little r-rough, s-since it was only a q-quick study, b-but, look!” she instructed, pointing at the canvas with an overjoyed smile. “I-It d-doesn’t have any c-creepy things in it! I-It’s just a painting of a beautiful winter’s day, j-just like I hoped it would be!”

“That’s great, Connie!” Mia told her, pausing her game and giving her friend a big hug. “I knew you could learn to control your magic if you worked at it! I’m really proud of you, little sis,” she added as Connie nuzzled her shoulder affectionately. “And I’m really happy for you, too.”

As the two embraced Oros tipped her head and smiled. "Yea, I’m gunna have thoughts about this later. The picture I mean! It's wonderful!" She looked at her wrist. "The Doctrine Of Combat Supremacy doesn’t say anything about the rate in which magical girls recover mana, but I’m gunna say a few hours of rest and a relaxing picture is enough for a transformation." She clasped her hand over her chest, and then something started to grow inside it. This wasn’t something that Connie or Mia could see, but they could hear it. Her heart beat seemed to echo off the walls of their room as she visibly healed before their eyes. The blanket she was swaddled in fell off of her shoulders. Her outfit was mending, as were the cuts all over her torso. With a snap, her broken arm mended together, and she was finally strong enough to stand up again. "Ahhhh ~ !" she cast the blanket aside before turning to the two untransformed girls. Without looking away from them, a red vile appeared in Oros’s hand, which she quickly downed. In a puff of red smoke, Oros’s black garbs had been replaced by her cat hoodie, and her eyes had turned from red to green. "That’ll keep the pesky lust from telling me what to do!" She nonchalantly pointed at her picture. "You guys wanna hang that somewhere? Something like that really needs to be on display, you know? I could hang it in the hotel, but if you think it could inspire kids to do better, it belongs here."

Connie was a bit surprised by how rapidly Oros was able to heal herself, but she was very happy for the pink-haired girl, nonetheless.

“I’m r-really glad you’re f-feeling better!” Connie told her. “A-And t-thank you for the picture!” she added, surprised that Oros was offering to let them keep it. “I-It’s really n-nice, a-and I think it’ll m-make a great m-memento of your visit!”

“Yeah, I guess it ain’t half bad,” Mia conceded. Truthfully, she preferred actions scenes to the peaceful landscapes Connie liked to paint, but there was no way she was gonna tell Oros that. “And I think there’s a perfect place for it in the closet,” she added with a smirk.

Oros raised an eyebrow. "The closet? Pretty sure I came outa there a long time ago."

“Mia….” Connie chided her friend.

“Hey, I was just messin’ around,” Mia replied. “Honestly, I think the best place for it is over the bed.”

“Oh! T-That sounds great!” Connie agreed. “T-That way, w-we’ll think of you w-whenever we see it!” she told Oros, giving the girl a bright smile.

"Over the bed? That’s a pretty prime spot. I’m not even going to play an inuendo there, and you all know I could." She pulled her hood over her head. "Guess I’ll see you at the Christmas party. You kids take care! " She waved to everyone with a wink before stepping backwards out the door.

“B-Bye, Oros!” Connie said with a wave. “P-Please stay s-safe out there!”

“See ya,” Mia added. “Oh, and Oros?” she asked after noticing the pink-haired girl’s choice of exit. “Would you mind leaving through the window? I really don’t wanna explain to anyone what a strange girl was doing in our room.”

Oros had only backed part way out before stopping. ”What? Don’t get many adorable pink haired girls with stylish clothes this way?" She stepped back into the room. "Fiiiiine, I’ll make use of my cat like agility." She folded her arms as she walked past Mia. "You’d better not be doing this just to check out my moves though."

The window slid open easily enough. There was a large tree outside with a branch that extended out towards Mia’s room. Typical setup to allow boyfriends easy access to a teen daughter’s house or to allow a teen protagonist to slip past their adult guardians. It always annoyed Oros at how contrived the whole thing was. Windows were designed to let light into a home, so people would seldom grow trees right in front of them. Even looking at things from the tree’s perspective this didn’t make much sense. Trees naturally seek out light, so they are more likely to grow over a house instead of towards its shaded windows. But Mia could make corn-cob-rockets, so her having a tree that seemed to defy logic and reason made sense in this case.

The beast girl hopped onto the branch, which bounced under her weight. Mia had made the tree plenty strong, so Oros had nothing to worry about. She hugged the tree as best as she could, stepped off the branch, and started to slide down.

Fast.

Very very fast.

It seemed that Oros was not as well as she initially seemed. Yes, her body was fully mended, but her mana reserves must have been too low to even manage claws for holding onto the tree with. One of her legs caught a tree branch, and she was sent cartwheeling through the air, only to have another branch strike her in the stomach. She bounced from branch to branch, swearing with each impact. At least every branch she hit helped to soften her fall.

After descending about four floors, Oros’s final drop put her face first into a mound of snow. Her body trembled as she sat upright. She didn’t have to say “ow,” anyone looking at her could feel what she was going through. "That is cold!"

”Good heavens!” One of the caretakers must have heard all of Oros’s shouting, because a portly woman came to Oros’s aid, ”What happened? Are you alright?”

Oros coughed before standing up. "Yea, Mia let me sleep in her bed. Did wonders for my ruined body."

”…Excuse me?”

"Wha? Oh!" Oros placed her hands on her hips. "I’m fine, yes!"

The portly woman folded her arms. Oros was caught squarely in her shadow. ”Did you try to sneak into Mia’s room?”

"Did I? I don’t think I know anyone by that name."

”You just mentioned her name!”

”Wait! Yea! I have a dog named Mia! Here kitty kitty kitty!" Oros used her superhuman strength to hunt for her dog as fast as she could. Certainly faster than some portly orphanage worker could follow. With Oros gone, the woman turned her ire to the window up above, and anyone who might be looking out of it.


"…Shit."

— Oros


Oros was a bit perturbed this morning. She was having a good old time chatting with radio personality Pac-a-fist, only for Broken promise’s antivirus to go haywire and erase all progress. See, for some reason, Avast thought that it was suspicious that a word processor was trying to create and modify files, so it stopped its ability to do those things without warning. It even did this to BP image editing software, which was when he finally noticed it. So a lot of work got flushed down the toilet. But we’re not quitters here at DbD, so what can you do but start over?

The studio room was small. a table ran down the middle of the room and was divided by a single sheet of plexiglass. The guest’s side of the room was cozy, with gold and brown colors swirling over the back wall. There was just a table microphone, without any other distractions in the room. On the radio personality’s side, things were a bit different. There was a monitor on either side of Pac-a-fist’s console, which was covered in switches buttons, and a keyboard. The microphone and a cup holder had to be hung from the ceiling because there was simply no place to put them on her compact working space.

”…And that was ‘smells like teen spirit’ by Nirvana, for the two of you who didn’t know. And hello, hello, hellooooooooooo! Jame’s shift is over and Pac-a-fist is with you all live, here at KPAK-Penrose!”

KPAK-Penrose was the most popular radio station in Penrose. With only soulless organizations like Starbucks and Mcdonalds staying open in such a dangerous place, its primary listenership was teenage boys. Though KPAK is enjoyed by many young girls too. This is largely due to most wage slaves fitting in that demographic. That was also what made Pac-a-fist so popular in the morning time slot. Not only did KPAK focus on the types of songs teens in the area liked to listen to, Pac-a-fist’s talking segments happened to focus on things like videogames, movies, and occasionally talked about tech. Even when she’s not on air, people love to watch her streams that she does in her spare time, and she’s worth keeping in your social feeds if you like pictures of cute gamer girls doing cute things. She’s remained popular largely because of how genuine she seems while doing all these things.

”Before we play more music, I’ve got a guest with me here today. She recently acquired a hotel in Penrose. Now I know most of you aren’t interested in hotels, but she’s really turned the Golden Trove into a cool hangout spot for the locals. And she’s hiring! Thank you for coming on air with us Oros, the previous owners turned down all my invitations.”

Oros was filing her nails. "Well, the old crew was kind of old fashioned. Me? I can always reschedule my massage for later. Though it is important that you know I missed out on that because of you. "

”Hah! Well, we can have someone give you one right now if you’d like.”

"Could you give me one?"

”Ahhhh…” She chuckled nervously. ”Why not? It would just be kind of alkward walking back and forth between the switch board and your side of the studio.”

"Never mind then. Wouldn’t want my date getting jealous."

”Hah! Is she the clingy type? I guess we should get started with the interview.” She looked at Oros. ”Now I know the ownership of the Golden Trove is kind of a weird topic, right? You own it, but you also don’t own it?”

"Yea, you know how huge bushiness chains work? It’s kind of like that, only on a smaller scale." Oros folded her hands into her lap. "There was a family emergency, and the head manager was looking for someone who could run things in their absence. So Mr Boteg still owns the Golden Trove, but I make all the decisions. I only have to answer to him if we go into the red, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for a long time. I guess ownership really depends on how you want to phrase it."

”I see what you mean. Now, let’s talk about some of the big changes you made. I used the arcade the other day and WOW! You’ve got a nice selection of games in there! Pac-man is always going to be my favorite, but I really like the Batman driving game too! You can take any bat mobile ever for a spin!”

"I knew a regular hotel wasn’t going to make it in Penrose. The old management team had the right idea going for a themed hotel, but I wanted even more spectacle. So we’ve been upgrading all of the rooms to make them the best they can be. A lot of our customers aren’t even hotel guests. You can just purchase a day pass if you want to go on an outing with your friends. The arcade is cool because it’s finished, but the Golden Trove also has an auditorium we’re going to convert into a theater."

”Do you think the local businesses see you as a threat?”

Oros grinned. "Maybe? I dunno. I think the types of services I offer differ enough from everyone else that it shouldn’t be a problem. You won’t be getting the newest movie releases at my theater, and Penrose hasn’t had a proper arcade in a long time. I think I’m creating places for all the workers at those mom and pop places to come work. The only business left in Penrose are these huge chains, and I’m glad I could stand against that. But in the end, we live in a capitalist country, so people are gunna chose who wins with their wallets."

”Which leads me neatly along to my next question: You’re still hiring?”

"Yea! I could use a cute radio personality! You’d make an excellent receptionist!"

Pac-a-fist chuckled. ”Afraid I’m pretty attached to my job. But you’ve got lots of openings?”

"You bet your sweet bipster I do! We’re full on hotel staff, but I need people with skills. Someone who can maintain the arcade machines, stuff like that. We’ve also got a lot of roleplayers staying with us, so anyone who has something that might appeal to them is welcome to an interview."

”Roleplayers, huh?”

Pac-a-fist occasionally did “roleplaying sessions” where she would talk about the more magical aspects of penrose, but that was often a very small part of her show. Trying to turn what the general public viewed as a tragedy into some kind of magically inflicted nonsense was sure to drive away the normals, which was their core audience. But it did offer a way to subtly talk about magical girls in a way that didn’t make the whole thing sound like nonsense to the average radio goer. Everyone was aware of the cosplayers around Penrose, this was just a way to address them to the public at large.

”Do you get along with most roleplayers?” Pac-a-fist let her hands rest on a switch board.

"I’m pretty okay with most of them. Some take their roleplaying a bit too far." Oros wasn’t smiling anymore.

”Well I mean, I’d think you’d be good friends with ‘Penny’ right? She’s created a sanctuary for roleplayers, or do you see her more as competition?”

A snort escaped Oros’s nose. Then a shrug. Then her shoulders seemed to tremble, only for the trembling to amp up until it was clear she was trying to hold back a laugh. That was when she brought her fist down on the table. She wasn’t transformed, but it was hard enough to cause all the instruments on Pac-a-fist’s side of the table to jump. "Right, Cindy ford lost her life, and that parasite moved in and claimed her title all for herself, denying Cindy’s friends even a square shot at it. Then after she declares herself queen, what does she do? She moves into some warehouse to hide from the world. She’s not queen of Penrose, she’s just barely queen of her own home." Oros folded her arms. "I kicked her butt anyway! So where’s my crown? Does Dina have it? She kicked my butt afterwards, but all I’m hearing about is how glorious this cockroach is!" Oros took hold of the microphone and held it up to her face. Her eyes looked red and blood shot. "Tell you what, Penny. I’m not sure if you get radio in that dingy sewer you’re the queen of, but I’ve got a little proposal for you. Being the queen is old news, I’m the president of Penrose! If you want to challenge the power of democracy, just march your butt over to the Golden Trove and my secretary would gladly schedule a rematch if one loss to me wasn’t enough for you. Should you win, you’ll be the proud owner of two hollow titles."

”A-ah…” Pac-a-fist was frozen in place.

"Too much?" Oros’s grin returned. "It’s just roleplaying, they eat that stuff up."

”Of course! Hah!” She scratched the back of her head. ”It was a very convincing performance.”

"I am thinking of running for mayor though."

”Hold that thought. We’re going to take a break and play some Pearl Jam, along with some messages from our sponsors!” During the brief time Pac-a-fist was looking away from Oros, a dark shadow expanded behind her. Oros noticed it just in time to start screaming, but the shadow closed around her and pulled her into the floor before any sound could get out. The radio host only noticed that she wasn't there when she was done making her anouncement. ”Probably just took a bathroom break.” She sighed. Oros was kind of obnoxious, but there was no way she, a heterosexual white girl, would get away with silencing a bisexual Indian girl. For the moment, she just relaxed and listened to the radio play.






Oros ~ Fin?


In Staff update 11 days ago Forum: News
Oh well. They were pretty busy, so while it is sad to see happen, I am glad they will still be around and hope they continue to enjoy the site. I just don't have an excuse to badger them about stuff anymore. Maybe we'll write a story some time.



“It's hard work being a CEO. And speaking of hard things...”

— Oros


With Oros’s newly hired staff putting in the work, there was little Oros had to do to keep things moving smoothly. Aria and Binky were a lucky break, perhaps the luckiest break in all of this.

To kill some time, she was walking around at night. Her shoes making light crushing sounds as she walked through the snow. Was it going to be Christmas soon? She felt like that was four or five months ago for some reason. But if that was the case, they should be on the tail end of spring. Well whatever.

"Man." Oros thought to herself. "Sure is boring right now. It would be really cool if I could just sorta bump into someone."

And since this is supposed to be a collab, she was bound to bump into someone eventually. That someone being a certain Eliza, albeit untransformed at the moment.

"Er, pardon me." She excused herself, intending to walk past.

Eliza didn’t get to take more than a few steps before Oros grabbed her shoulder. "Wait a second." Oros walked backwards untill she was in front of Eliza again. "This meeting of ours was fated by those who write the history of our world." She retracted her hands and shoved them into her pockets. "There must be a reason why destiny brought us together."

Eliza comically blinked. Once. Twice.

"Uh...I don't know. Fate seems to like pulling fast ones on me, but whatever floats your boat." She shrugged, then held a hand out for Oros to shake. "I'm Eliza."

"I know." Oros took Eliza’s hand and gave it a firm shake, sliding her thumb along her knuckles. "I’m Oros. But more importantly, what has a girl like you walking around at this hour?"

"To be fair...nothing much. I don't get alot of downtime like this, so there isn't much to do besides hunt monsters or scry on people. Among other things." The witch looked around. "Though I can't complain. With everything that's happened and will happen, it's good to get some rest."

"The future, huh?" Oros started to grin. "The past is history, the future is a mystery, and now is a treasure. That’s why it’s called the present." She chuckled at that increadibly lame bit of philosophy she got out of a fortune cookie. She ate a lot more of those now that she owned an oriental themed hotel. "Your future can’t be any more bleak than the one I see coming, but lay it on me anyway, I’m curious now."

"See, there's this Christmas party coming up, and concidering how the last shindig ended, I'm worried someone will be stupid enough to crash that too." Eliza confided to Oros. She crossed her arms. "It's bad enough my boss is worried about things going to Hell-in-a-teapot due to the current power inbalance. And since things aren't even trying to be better, I can see why."

"Oh, you got a ticket to that too?" Oros held up the ticket that Emily had given her, turning it over in her hand. "I dunno. I mean I get it, people like to turn fun things into not-so-fun things. But even when there isn’t a distraction, look at how damn impassive everyone is? Penrose is a shitting crater, and magical girls are still patrolling the place like there’s something here worth protecting.." Her eyes moved onto Eliza’s. "Any reason why you hang around here? And don’t say ‘because my patron wants me to,’ because that’s not a real answer. "

Eliza furrowed her brows when she looked back at Oros. "Well someone's gotta keep the two powerhouses here from starting the apocalypse."

Oros laughed. "Yea, it seems that Beacon has really pulled ahead of Mint in that regard. The fact that Mint is even considered a superpower at this point is pretty laughable. I think Penny and her sanctuary probably has more going for them than the mint does, at least in terms of a presence in Penrose. But she’s on their side, so I guess they’re pretty much the same thing." Oros’s laughter died down with a sigh. "I think people talk enough about that shit though." She pointed over her shoulder with her thumb. "Wanna do something cool? I own a whole hotel now, got a game room and everything. But if you still wanna hunt monsters, we could go kill a few."

"...Eh, what the heck, I can game a bit. Lead the way." Eliza shrugged again, stuffing a hand into her pocket.

"That’s cool. I wanna regail you with the tale of my heroic victory over the Mint. Right this way, ma’am!"




It didn’t take the two more than a few minutes to find their way back into the game room. It hadn’t changed much since Eliza had her going away party with all the Cradle agents earlier. Only now Oros was here, and there was a lot of alcoholic beverages on a catering table that one of Binky’s clones had rolled out.

"…And then Al was all like ‘Wow, you’re pretty strong, even the ace of spades is no match for you borrito!’ Just a FYI I have no idea why he called me a burrito. Probably because I kicked his ass so bad that he had to drop the fake Italian gig. I always knew he was Mexican, but I’m getting side tracked! He handed Betty over to me, and pleaded with me to spare his life." Oros took a shot. "Also he had an inept bodyguard that totally wasn’t able to just no-sell my attack because they were on guard." She burped. "Pretty cool, huh?"

Eliza appeared dumbfounded at the story, despite knowing that most of it was bull thanks to her light magic. She took a sip of her drink. "Well uh, other than most of the bullshit you made up to look cool, I'm glad you got Betty back for us."

"Did you just call me out? After I invited you in here to play games and shit?" Oros stroked her chin. "I suppose I did bend the truth pretty far that time. There no way anyone wouldn’t instantly understand why they were called a burrito."

Eliza then gave Oros a comical look. "But what's the catch?"

Oros blinked. "The, the catch?" She placed her hands on her hips. "The catch…" Her eyes drifted from Eliza’s face down the front of her body, to her short-shorts, and finally her exposed legs. "The… Catch…" She wiggled her fingers. "The catch is, that she’s going to help me out." Oros’s eyes shot up to meet Eliza’s with a smile. "She has an important job, and nobody can do it but her." She traced circles with her finger on a nearby pool table. "But I’m not holding her against her will or anything. Did you want to see her?"

The comical look faded when Eliza was asked if she wanted to see Betty. "Sure. I gotta catch her up on what's happened during her capture."

"B-but before that..." Oros took a few steps closer to Eliza. "I mean, uh, I'm really bad at picking up subtle hints. Was there suppose to be a catch? Was I suppose to ask you to do something for me?" Her eyes shifted side to side. "Just asking for a friend is all."

The witch gave her a reassuring smile. "Hey, you're fine! I wasn't sure if you were allied with Cradle or not. Just wanted to make sure you won't stab us in the back or something." She waved it off, then looked Oros dead in the eye.

"You won't stab us in the back...right?"

The beast girl blinked. "You’re a light girl, huh? One of those babes that can’t be lied to. Well, not in an obvious manner anyway." She sighed and folded her arms. "Gotta say, kinda hurts having an accusation thrown at you after rescuing one of your agents. Guess that’s the world we live in now." Oros sighed. "But to answer your question, I have no desire to stab Cradle in the back. That could change with time, but it seems unlikely." Oros pulled up a pager and clicked a button on it.

The witch frowned. Did she go too far? "Forgive me. It's hard for me to let my guard down these days. Like I said, you're fine." She apologized.



“I can't wait to start working for Veronica again and finally put an end to Justine's tyranny!”

— Betty Biohazard


A white and black blur flew into the room and whipped out all three of its massive swords. ”Huzzah!” She turned to look at Eliza. ”Hold on a second! You’re a cradle agent!”

"Betty, Eliza, Eliza, Betty." Oros waved her hand between the two girls as she introduced them. "Don’t you guys have mental intercoms or something?"

”Actually, the brainwashing seems to have locked me out of that. I’ve mostly been keeping in touch with Trixy and Tetrad when I get a moment to myself.” She inched closer to Eliza. ”Actually, I think we’ve met before. You were at a few Cradle meetings, right? I don’t think we exchanged many words.” She nodded. ”They didn’t tell me everything but, a lot’s changed, hasn’t it?”

Eliza waved when Betty made her grand entrance. "You didn't miss much. Cindy got assassinated and Penny took her place as queen; the rave was a bust, people got mass murdered. We had to keep Justine and Beacon from killing Mariette and succeeded, not to mention Maura's the new leader now. Oh yeah!" She pulled out her invitation and copied it, giving the second one to Betty. "There's a Christmas party coming up and I'm sure as hell it's gonna get hijacked, wanna join?

”Um!” Betty could do little else other than just hold onto the ticket Eliza had handed her. ”That sounds like a lot.”

"At least a year’s worth of posting." Oros cackled.

”Well, I wouldn’t mind hearing about it all in more detail but-” She ran over to Oros, still holding the ticket. ”I’m going to be done with the super important task in time to join the party, right?”

She shrugged. "I uh, don’t really know when it’s happening. But probably?"

”Yes!” Betty pulled Oros into a hug. ”And I’m going to make sure that whatever evil threatens the party, I’ll make sure to slay it with impunity!” She still had an arm around Oros when she swung her sword through the air. ”Just point out the enemy and I’ll cut them down!”

Eliza chuckled at Betty's optimism. Atleast one of them was confident, even after getting kidnapped. Speaking of... "Did the Mint hurt you any? I can let Maura know to reconnect you to the magicoms but other than that-" She clicked her tongue at the realization. "Damn, we gotta get more healers with us." She shook her head. Remedy was out and the twins were dead, what could she do? Maybe one of them had a healing artifact?

”Oh I’m fine! I can’t remember much after the rave.” Betty held up a tiny cracked lantern. ”I’ve got this healing artifact though, so my physical injuries have all been taken care of. I was in touch with Veronica long enough to verify I had no problems, just my access to the network is down.”

"Right, I'll see about having Maura get you back online later." Eliza nodded. She then looked around, then back at the two. "So, now what?"

"We originally came here to play games, right?" Oros spread her arms. "Take your pick."

”Darts!” Betty prepared to throw one of her daggers at the dart board when Oros offered her a dart. Which she gently removed from her hand.

"Fine with me." Eliza casually shrugged, grabbing a few darts and waiting her turn.




”that was really fun!” She hopped into the air and punched over her head. ”I guess I should talk with Maura at some point. First impressions are important!"

"Guess I can let you go." Oros bowed to Betty, who returned the gesture before darting out of the game room. Before Eliza could depart with Betty, Oros placed her hand on her shoulder. "So earlier, you asked if I would back stab you or not. I said I had no intention of doing something like that, but it is important that you realize that my answer was conditional. If you give me reason to betray you, I will." Oros`s eyes softened. "But I really like you guys, so I hope you don't break my heart." She stepped in front of Eliza. "Speaking of hearts, are uh, in no, going to the party like, 'with' anyone?"

Eliza silently listen to Oros, then calmly smiled. "Now why would I do that on purpose, hm? Maura would have my head if I alienated a possible ally." When the party was mentioned, her eyebrows rose. "Like a date?? Not really. Why, what's up?"

"Well, certainly not for a date!" Oros placed her hands on her hips. "I was just curious what you were doing." Before Eliza could call out Oros for lying again, she clarified. "It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a party or anything of that nature. Wasn’t sure if people were like, showing up with their friends and shit like that." She looked away. "But if the person I wanna go with isn’t available… Anyway, we’ll see. It probably doesn’t matter." Oros walked out of the game room. "You’d better catch up with Betty. I’ve only known her for a few days, and she seems like the kind of person who has difficulty navigating. Does she even know where Maura is?"

The witch shrugged. "Platonic date then?" She walked out of the game room behind Oros. When Maura was mentioned, she looked around for any shadows. "As far as I know, Maura likes to lurk through shadow, dark places, yknow? Her type of magic connects them on an interdimentional plane or something." Eliza explained, calling the necromancer through magicoms just in case.

"I didn’t, actually." She turned around. "Also um, I’m going to my office. Is there a reason you’re following me? Do you really want a date that badly?"

Eliza stopped to give Oros an unamused look, despite being the one who idly followed her. "I was just answering your question, toots." she shook her expression off. "Right, I'm gonna catch up with Betty. See you.

Oros scoffed and rolled her eyes. Eliza hadn’t taken five steps before the beast woman’s voice cut through the air. "You know what? Fine! You’re not going to stop nagging me anyway, are you?" Oros pulled out a PDA and scrolled through her busy schedule, which was mostly just stuff that had nothing to do with. "I’ll go on a date with you since you’re sooooo damn persistent! But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I’m a free bird and I do whatever the hell I want." After scheduling something in, Oros folded her arms. "So I’ll stop by your place with my magic lotus to pick you up. You can be ready by eight the day of the party, right? "

Once more, Eliza was dumbfounded by the other girl's rantings. But after a second, she broke into a giggle. "Alright, alright, I'll bite." she pulled her phone out from her pocket. "I should probably give you my number then, so you can let me know when you've arrived." She smiled.

"Sure thing." After they exchanged phone numbers, Oros pointed at the door. "Now get out of here, I’ve got a foot massage in five minutes."

"Right, catch ya later, Oros." Eliza nodded, and walked out.
Reaver sighed as he straightened himself before reaching his destination. The monochrome altered reality field muted all colors in his vicinity, like it was always when in the presence of his Office. Mentally he thought it could have been worse. With that much of an oath? That girl had completely wasted it.

Deep in the end he wasn’t thankful he would not be put in a direct conflict of interest in that regard, as he knocked on Al’s door to report some minor odd jobs and hand some reports. The Mint didn’t have the same connection as he had with the Allfather, so it wasn’t instantaneous.

The door opened, and Reaver entered the office. There, he saw as Al was writing something on an antique typewriter. He briefly glanced from underneath his fedora.
“Put them on the desk,” he mentioned, before going back to his work.

Reaver did so, as he nodded. “By the way… capo, I did run into a bit of trouble the other day. Women. I do never learn.” He said. “Nothing major that will harm the Mint’s interests…”

“Hm?” Al didn’t stop writing, but he leaned his head so that one of his yellow, glowing eyes stared at Reaver. “What, got lost in the love life? Your problem, peguci.”

“Well yeah. She’s quite a looker. Also heck of a swindler. Turned Cradle, and put me in a bit of a pickle.” He shrugged. “I owed her big time.” He paused. “But thing is she called the favour on Betty. Says you stuff that other pretty minx in a closet. Can you imagine wasting my man’s word on that trifle?” He said.

“Nevertheless…”He added. “...A man’s word is a man’s word… so I’ve come to pester you about it. They want to buy her back.”

Al was initially uninterested, until Crimson Cradle came up. He stopped his writing, and with a sweep of his hand, the typewriter disappeared, sinking into a dark shadow.
“Betty, you say? And you say you owe her?” He put a hand to his chin.
“How did she learn about you? Is she an old flame?”

“Wiped my wallet and broke my heart a couple of years ago.” Reaver said.” But she’s gone a bit soft. With that much sway over me she could have asked for more. I’m relieved and disappointed at the same time. I just gotta try to convince you to set up a meeting, rather than, dunno… more radical stuff, capo.”

Al frowned, and shook his head. “You’ve been playing bad. She shouldn’t have learned you were part of the family. But, this could also be a new opportunity.” He took out some files, and Reaver could recognize Betty’s mugshot from them. “The broad is currently serving in the Ace of Diamonds. You know the story.”

He sighed... “Ransom is better than chattel slavery, capo.” Reaver sighed. “Offer and supply, isn’t this what this world keeps spinning?”

“Damn right it is, peguci.” Al threw the file to Reaver. “Pick her up and bring her to Warehouse K. She’ll need to put on some makeup first.”
“That bad huh? My heart bleeds…” Reaver said, mentally thanking that this had gone way better than expected. “...well with this my part to her is done.” He paused, as he went to do as instructed.

It was a good thing he was decent at healing.” Is her mind still sound? That penal regiment is the scummiest and most desperate of deserters and traitors. As fucked up as a Horror's anus after eating chili.”

“Betty followed Veronica’s lead when she defected, so she was put into simple jobs like serving drinks or running supplies,” Al mentioned with a smirk. “And only for a short time, too. She should be in mint condition.”
Leaving the ominous words hanging in the hair, Al summoned the typewriter, and went back to his work. ”Oh, I almost forgot. The codeword when you retrieve her is ‘Debt.’ Report back to me when you’re done.”

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

“Sheesh, this brings me memories. From my father.” Reaver said as he coursed through to the hidden facility where the Ace of Diamonds resided. He didn’t look much at how devastated the place was. He could revel on it, but Hyeronimus Bosch paintings were still more stylish than this. “Hello, sirs. I’ve come to dig a Diamond from the mud.” He said to the wardens. They did look a bit like Al. What the hell did they eat?

“Oh yes, Codeword... Debt. Name being Betty,” He added as an afterthought.

The wardens nodded as one checked the database. “Diamond 11037, confirmed. Please wait a moment.” Soon, Betty arrived, escorted by a warden; she was dressed in a black military uniform that seemed heavily used, caked in blood and dirt. She had no expression in her face, and resembled a doll. She saluted, but said nothing.

“Codeword Debt,” one of the wardens stated, and something happened to Betty; she blinked, as if she had woken up from a dream.

“H-Huh? What is this?”

The wardens seemed to expect that reaction, as they didn’t waste time. “You’re being escorted outside. Just follow him for now.”

Betty looked at Reaver, and nodded. “Uhh, ok I guess?”

"Mind tampering. Great trick. But she could have used a skimpy maid suit. Show some leg." Reaver said, to the eye rolling of the wardens. "Oh hi, my lady. It's your lucky day. Your parole might be accepted and if it goes through you might see your former buddies. Name's Reaver."

He indicated. "So we will get you prepped up, if you are so kind of following me…"

“Oh, that’s great to hear!” Betty answered, and the two left the facility.
Their next stop was Warehouse K, where Mint agents were already waiting for him outside.
“What’s the codeword?” One of them immediately asked.

"Debt." Reaver said, after escorting Betty.

The agents looked at Betty, and then at each other. “Got it. Miss, if you could come with us, we’ll give you a new clean uniform. Then you’ll be free to go.”

Betty seemed hesitant, but then smiled. “Alright. I was tired of wearing this old thing.”

Once again Reaver was forced to wait. But as part of the Mint, it was something to be expected; every part of the organization was layered in secrets and false leads, both to ensure security in the Mint’s processes, and to catch any agents too careless to cover their own tracks.

Finally, Betty arrived; she now wore a clean black uniform, with not even a single speck of blood remaining on her. She was also given some light makeup, and now looked more presentable than before. “How do I look?” She asked, while one of the agents appeared. “We got a message from Boss,” one of the agents said to Reaver, and handed him a paper note. “He has arranged a rendezvous spot.”

"Looking good, Black Betty." He said, humming along the namesake. "Now let's get this show on the road… Let me call the other side…"



"Imagine not having a fancy banner and then just seeing this half way through a post?"

— Oros


The phone rang several times, far surpassing what most would consider a reasonable time to pick up. But on the 20th ring, there was an answer. “Gah!” Oros practically gasped into the phone as she picked up. She just breathed into the phone for several seconds before responding. “Sorry Willy, you caught me while I was in the shower. ” She still sounded breathless. “Did you get me that negotiation?”

"Yes. And a spot." He said, sighing. "Better make a good offer."

“My offer will be the best offer in the history of offers made to the Mint. Your boss would be foolish not to take it.” Reaver could hear something sliding open on the other end. “Do you guys like to dress up for these negotiations? I dunno what to wear. If it helps, I have a pair of white underwear and then this daring little black frilly thing with purple laces. Also knowing where and when to meet you would be good and shit.”

"Anything will do. That's not the important part." Reaver sighed. " 20's Dry Law film kind of look if you are interested. I will text you the coordinates." He added. He made a mental note to warn Al about the offer being fishy.

”You guys like to roleplay even during serious negotiations? Well, I mean I guess we’re all being roleplayed, but-” There was a burst of static. ”Alright, they probably didn’t have underwear back then, so that answers my most pressing question. See ya later, Willy!” The call ended with a click.




At a remote location some time later, the rendezvous was to take place. Reaver was there with Betty, waiting for the other party to arrive. Of course, Al was monitoring the scene through hidden means.

“If there’s trouble, you know what to do,” was his last message to him before signing off.

Reaver sighed, as he stood in his best looks. Hopefully that shameless girl would show up in time. He nevertheless kept a firm grip sword in hand.

The mob boss had picked a misty back alley that you'd expect some shady person to pick as a place to conduct their business. There was old brickwork on either side of him, with a patina of moss and mold growing over the graffiti covered walls. There weren't many classy places left in Penrose to conduct business. Reaver would just have to put up with the smell of refuse coming from a nearby garbage can until Oros arrived.

Which would not be long, as it turned out. Or perhaps she had been here the entire time and just now decided to show herself.. Oros stepped out from behind a chimney and jumped into the alley below. She still very much looked like herself, but she did dress for the occasion. Her pink hair spilled out of a baller hat and poured over her shoulders like a tumbling river. A pair of black suspenders held her pants up, and rested on the shoulders of her dress shirt. Her tie fit around her neck like a noose, lightly obscuring her cleavage. Oros was generous enough to leave the top three-four buttons of her shirt undone. If Reaver was unable to tell by how “springy” her breasts appeared, he could visibly see she wasn’t lying about what she was going to wear under her dress shirt. But Oros did not look like someone who was here to fool around. Her gaze was sharp, and the corners of her lips were curled towards her chin.

”Where is your boss?” They aren't just handing her over, are they?”

“He’s… overseeing.” Reaver said, briefly looking to any shadow corner he could. “He is the… discrete type.” Reaver added, shrugging.

”I think you meant to say the cowardly type.“ Oros grit her teeth and pulled on the brim of her hat. ”This just feels like a huge waste of time, but whatever.“ She shoved her hands into her pockets. ”Right, so here’s the deal. I have something to offer and you have something I want. Problem is I know Mint far too well, and coin brokers just love to send their minions into situations they don’t fully understand. This is a huge red flag because while your boss could easily confirm that’s Betty you’re with, it’s much harder for you or I to do.“ Oros reached for her hip and drew her black katana. ”Fortunately, I do have a way to verify that’s Betty. But you’re going to have to move her a little closer to me.“

"Please explain in detail so we may accommodate. Drawing weapons can be misunderstood." Reaver said, unfazed.

”This sword is a mystic tool.” She gave the blade a shake. ”And I’d like to confirm that she’s not just someone posing with a disguise or has some other enchantment placed on her that might fool my sword. For that, a closer inspection is necessary.”

He gave a thought, as he grabbed Betty’s shoulder, and drew closer to Oros, his other hand noticeable on his own sword. “It is reasonable. You may proceed.” He said, allowing Oros to draw closer to him.

”Thank you.” With a nod, Oros glanced into her sword ”Why, it seems that the Mint has not betrayed my trust! This is truly a surprise. But that begs a question.” She lowered her sword before taking a step closer to Betty. ”Why do her up in so much makeup?” She extended her hand to stroke Betty’s face. ”Does she really need it If she needs so much...” With a sigh, her hand came to rest on the girl’s neck. ”…Maybe she’d look better without her head.” Her hand turned into a crab’s claw and clamped around Betty’s neck with as much strength as she could muster. A normal human’s head would pop off their shoulders almost instantly.

A barrier would impede Oros from fully enclosing Betty, just as Reaver pulled her away. “If you break her, you had better pay extra. You’ve got your information.” He said, his sword skillfully drawn as she pulled the girl away.

”The hell are you talking about?” Oros looked perturbed, but wasn’t holding her sword in a way that suggested she would attack. If anything, she seemed fairly relaxed. ”Look, I don’t know what your boss is planning, but Betty has a soul stone, one that happens to be in Penrose at the moment. Cutting her head off is practically one of her features! Not to mention her brain is probably filled with vampire cooties right now. Separating her head from her body might free her from the mega mind whammy she’s under.” Her claw turned back into a normal hand. ”By the way, I was there when Vippy and you botched the cardinal assassination and killed Cindy. If Vippy can fool all those people with magic detection, who’s to say my sword isn’t impervious to such forms of magic?” She shook her finger at Reaver. ”I’m also going to call bullshit on you having enough time to block a surprise attack with your sub optimal AGI and MAG, being that they both pail in comparison to my AGI and STR scores.” She placed a hand on her hip. ”You still wanna deal?”

“Then you must have said at first. I have been gracious alone to allow you a check, but no further. If you keep changing your mind like that, It’s not going to work for a deal.” Reaver said, in a defensive position, holding Betty close to him. “State your offer.”

”I’m gunna kill Penny.”

“That’s a declaration of intentions.” Reaver said. “Those don’t have much value.” The Mint agent sighed. “And each moment passes, I doubt your lip promises. My boss is even less accommodating than that” He frowned. “Give me a real offer.”

”Maybe to you, but when your friends ran away It was pretty much just me against Penny and her friends. I took her to the overcity. Then to my Patron’s realm. Though it turns out patrons aren’t all that strong these days.” She spun her sword. ”I don’t see the problem. The Mint clearly wants Penny done away with. Betty has no real value to anyone ‘cept me. But with her on my side I can ensure Penny’s death is an absolute certainty.” She shrugged. ”Though if you doubt me, what’s going to happen? Worst case scenario I die and take some Cradle agent with me.” She threw out her hand. ”What? Do you hope Veronica gets emotionally compromised and does something reckless? She left Penrose buddy. Betty’s just a pretty face now, and I doubt anybody wants a doll without a soul. You can dig plenty of those up. She has no value.” She rested her sword on her shoulder. ”You want to feel like you got something out of this? Sure, I can call myself a Mint agent if that makes you all warm and fuzzy. ”

“We would appreciate all the Cradle info you’ve come across.” Reaver said in return.

”I bet you would. I imagine as soon as I turn over Betty, they’ll see me as an ally they can tell everything to.” Oros rolled her neck until it cracked. ”Does that mean you’re interested in hiring me?”

“Hm.” Reaver stood by. “I’m just a middleman, let me do a quick check with my superior.”
Reaver put a hand to his ear for a couple of seconds, and then nodded.
“Al says the Mint is willing to write up a contract regarding possible future cooperation with the goal of undermining the Crimson Cradle.”

The corners of Oros’s lips flicked up into a smile. ”Well, I’ll have to read the contract carefully. If there’s nothing underhanded in the fine print, I don’t see why I wouldn’t sign it. So long as you give me what I want.”

“We have a deal, then.” Reaver said, as he began to discuss the logistics of the contract signing with his boss, Al Scarpe.

Not long after, Al himself appeared, as if he had been whisked there by the winds of darkness itself.
“What would you be having then, miss?” He spoke, and a paper made of shining gold appeared in his hand, a pen in the other. “The Mint is able to provide various goods and services.”

”Just Betty, that’s all I really need for the moment.” She stood beside Al and watched him write the contract. ”Maybe once I get set up I’ll have to rent Willy some time, but for now Betty will do.”

Reaver watched intently, muttering something about women and luck under his mouth, as he looked at Betty.

Al nodded. “Betty it is then.” He wrote something into the paper, and it shimmered as he let it go, letting it float over for Oros to read.

In exchange for receiving Diamond 11037 "Betty" in their custody, the signee for this contract will hereby provide the Ebon Mint with the currently possessed information on Betty and the Crimson Cradle, to be handed to Reaver in 24 hours after the contract is signed. The information is to be handed out as a written report or recording. As a bonus, the signee will receive a Black Coin.

Al then spoke up. “Very simple terms, yes? If you accept them, you may sign it.”

”That’s a rather strange call-sign for Betty Biohazard.” She looked between Al and the contract. ”Well whatever. You guys are mega Chunni,and that’s okay.” She took the pen. ”By the way, why do you guys need to know more about Betty? She’s like, right in your custody, isn’t she?”

Al lit a cigar. “Nothing more than a simple query, miss,” Al then answered. “We are curious to know about your association with Betty, as that is relevant to our interests.”

”Oh, hah, well, that’s kind of embarrassing.” Her hand hovered over the paper. ”I really hope she doesn’t remember any of this. It’ll make it kinda weird if Cradle decides to peek inside her head, ya know?” Her hand was still hovering. ”You can wipe her memories, right?”

“Any classified memories will been removed of course,” Al stated, as matter-of-factly as stating the weather. “There should be no complications with her returning back to living as she has before.”

”Alright, thanks for the reassurance.” With a few flicks of her wrist, the contract was marked with a large “M.F.” She handed the pen back to Al. ”There we are. Now what?”

Reaver looked at Al, then at Oros and then at Betty, before releasing her. “Enjoy your Betty. Do write the report nice and tidy.”

”Writing’s for chumps. You’ll get a recording, and only after the delivery. That’ll hardly take 24 hours.” Oros was full on grinning now. All signs of her aggression from before seemed to have vanished.

“Naughty.” Reaver said.

……









This thing on?

Hah! I’m kidding, I know it’s on.

Anyway I’m not sure who’s going to be listening to this. If I had to guess I’d say Willy would give it a listen before passing it off to big Al. Maybe someone else? I don’t care. I’m gunna pretend I’m talking to Al because it’s his contract and shit.

*BZZZZZZZT*

So what was it again? “Currently possessed information on Betty and the Crimson Cradle?” This shouldn’t take too long.

*BZZZZT*

I guess I first talked with them on Glimmr. Tetrad was trying to see if anyone in Penrose would be willing to try and track down Betty Biohazard. I think there was a post by a “SUPER_SLEUTH_789” that said she was retiring, and don’t know why, but I just knew I had to help. She was standoffish at first, but I earned her trust. We knew some of the same magical girls, had some of the same ideas about Penrose. I’m actually pretty good at telling people what they want to hear, haha!

*BZZZZZT*

This was where I learned that Veronica was leaving Penrose. Apparently she’s leaving for a long long time, and may not even be coming back. She’s not even the head of the Cradle anymore. Passed it off to some other girl. Gotta admit, Tetrad’s good at playing the intelligence game. She didn’t tell me anything more than what I needed to know. She let me know that she had a thing going with Willy, and that I could maybe use that to get her back. But I didn’t wanna be a gopher, I wanted to get something out of this. So I agreed I’d do it under the condition I could borrow her sword arms for a while. There were no problems, a deal was struck.

*BZT*

Later that same day, Binky walks into my hotel, looking for work. Pretty random, but I guess he showed up to receive Betty and make sure she was okay. Gotta say, I’m almost surprised she was the real deal. OH! But the contract says I’m only required to tell you currently possessed information, so I guess you’ll have to lend me Willy at a later date if you want to know more. But yea, genuinely surprised you didn’t try to dupe me Al. Hopefully your underlings learn well from you. Keep being classy!

*BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT*

Only other thing I really know about Cradle is that Tetrad, Trixy, Veronica, Maria, and Blair are all outside of Penrose. So their presence in Penrose should be a bit smaller now. I’ll see about being buddy buddy with the new boss. From what I heard she’s a witch of some kind? I dunno, I’ll likely have more for you next time.

Oh, and Samantha doesn't like being in a swimsuit. Maybe that can be used against her?

*BZZZZZT*

Now for Betty and I. Well, I hope you’ve got a box of tissues beside you Al, not for crying though.

So I kind of use to do this thing where I visit other realities. I enjoyed sampling the local cuisine, you know? Like, have you ever gone to a party, and the party is just full of beautiful people, and you just wanna take all of them home with you? But since you know that would never work, you just kind of, relive that party over and over taking someone different home each time? I basically did that with Penrose.

*BZZZZZZZZZZZT*

Now I’m not the type of person who gets attached easily, but some of those people were better than others. I’m sure you have your preferences, Al, it was like that. Maybe you liked the cut of a girl’s dress, or wanted to examine a guy’s tommy. I don’t judge. Well, Betty was the one girl that both excited and infuriated me. Like, she’s the one person who doesn’t have a single selfish desire in her body. When I wanted to romance up Veronica, I just had to help her dominate the world, or do everything Chloe wanted to a T. You remember Chloe, right? Wild girl. You were pretty selfish too, Al. That’s fine though, that’s what makes the world go round. Anyway, Betty wasn’t like that. In order to make her think better of me, I had to help other people. Helping an old man cross the street, donating to those less fortunate, defending the weak, sure, some girls like nice people. But even on a personal level, any time I got her a gift, she would always say something like “Well why not give it to X, since they need it more?” At first I thought she was brushing me off. But then, heh, well this is a Christian forum, so I won’t go into details.

*BZZZZT*

But she always kind of frustrated me because I could never do anything nice for her. Even when we made love, I felt like it was something she was doing for me. So I guess this was sort of my way of doing something nice for her, even if it’s not the same Betty...and...yea… See? I told you it was embarrassing! Haha!

*BZZT*

Man, she is going to be soooo useful when I go to kill Penny! Normally I wouldn’t care, but it’s harder to do the deed as a normal magical girl. This is the ace up my sleeve I needed. And Willy handed over that coin, too, you sly dog! But I’m not interested in going full Mint. Though I guess a lot of people have said that, huh?

Sigh...

Al, why are you guys bullying Cradle? Beacon is running around with the Ascendancy, becoming more powerful than ever, and you’re over here trying to crush a tiny indie upstart. What you’re doing is the equivalent of Myspace trying to put icanhas.cheezburger.com out of business because they think that’ll give them a better chance at Facebook. It ain’t gonna work, buddy. Beacon has the Ascendancy and Penny up their sleeve. and you want to mess up Cradle’s shit? This is why they totally ignored you all season long. You guys should put aside your differences and combine your edgelord powers to take on the real enemy.

Well whatever. No sweat off my balls. You keep handing me people and I’ll keep feeding you information about Cradle. I’m pretty sure I have their trust now. If you wanna make contact with them though, you know who to call.

Oros, out!

Forget if I ever showed their full sheets to GMs, so here they are now.





Faith and Sammy enjoyed their snowball fight, but all good things must come to an end. Nuncio eventually arrived with a car. Faith sat in the back seat by herself, while Sammy sat up front with Nuncio

”You dames have a lotta fun?“

Sammy was dumping snow out of her hat and onto the floor. ”I can’t deduce how they were able to hit me. I had every advantage and my logic was sound. I suppose that’s two mysteries I didn’t solve in Penrose.“

”It was nice to see them one last time before we left.“ Faith said, not sounding at all happy about it.

”I notice that you’re sad though.“ Sammy looked over her seat. ”My next case will be to find where your happiness has run off to.“

Faith waved at her friend. ”Oh-ho~! It’s right here, it’s just, well, resting a bit.“

”I work 24-7, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if your happiness isn’t working as hard as my deduction skills are.“

While the two had a friendly exchange, Nuncio was alone with his thoughts. He had been a Mint agent for a long time, and it was likely that they wouldn’t forgive him so easily for this. But Nuncio didn’t feel like that was his fault. Al was the one who refused to let him see Sammy. Al was the one who put Viper in charge of getting information out of someone who gladly would have told Nuncio anything. Even if Nuncio was in the right, the Mint had a reputation to uphold. He would have to have one eye looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. Faith and Sammy weren’t safe either, at least as long as Nuncio was alive. But the magical girl business wasn’t an easy one to get out of. It wasn’t like killing himself was going to fix the problem for everyone. They’d still try to do something with his friends. Their future was uncertain, but there’s just one thing Nuncio had to do moving forward.

He had to tell the truth.

Not just moving forward. Sammy and Faith needed to know what he was. It was the best way to prepare them for the new life they were going to lead. Not now though. Once they got further north, he’d tell them everything. How he was a mint agent, and how he was changing, and how they were all targets. It was going to be hard, but he was also looking forward to getting it all off of his chest. At the very least, Sammy would understand Nuncio didn’t go missing to fool around with girls. That had to be a good thing.

Right?

The Escapees ~ Fin







The end of another chapter.

Su had been around for a very long time. Or at least, her memories had been. Regardless, she had at least fifty years on most of the magical girls in Penrose. When she was younger, it seemed like the weeks lasted forever. Now the few months she spent in penrose flew by like they happened just yesterday.

But what an eventful time that had been. She followed Boteg and Amber into Penrose. In those few months, she had lost Amber, gained Helga, slew many monsters and discovered the presence of more golden dragons. All exciting developments that turned Su from a flighty bird into a strong woman. Her contributions to Penrose were small overall, but she contributed nonetheless.

The only regret she had was leaving her promise to Mariette unfulfilled. Su would have loved to take Mariette into her arms and show her what real parents were like. But Su realised that it was a selfish wish. She always wanted to be a mother, and Mariette seemed like someone who could use one. But Mariette was still figuring herself out, and Su got to be a mom for Mika. It was a feeling she wanted to experience longer, but that was what motherhood was. While Su would never consider Mika anything but her daughter, children grow into adults and require less supervision from their parents. There also comes a point where a parental guardian can inhibit growth, and she didn't want to do that to Mika. Even if it wasn’t everything Su wanted to do, she could hold her head up when she left Penrose.

”That was lucky.”

The day Su planned on leaving, she was approached by a magical girl that was interested in running the hotel in her absence. It wasn’t really worth anything, given how far real estate in Penrose had plummeted. But it was nice to have a prospective magical girl willing to run things for her. She really didn’t want her clients to become ensigns in Penny’s personal army, or worse, mint agents. Time would tell if this was the right move or not.

Boteg had taken his true form. A massive golden dragon with wings longer than some buildings are tall. Su and Helga had climbed onto the great creature, who flew into the night sky. That night they left their woes and regrets in penrose, and soared to a brighter future in the north.

Boteg’s Scares ~ Fin






C R A D L E


Tetrad, Trixy, and Veronica were at the edge of Penrose when they stopped walking. ”Is something wrong, Veronica?” Trixy looked to her former employer.

Veronica was silent for a time. ”No.” She fret her brow. ”I’m just surprised at how quickly Maura has become, how shall we say, comfortable using my powers.” She looked at Tetrad. ”You’re all squared away?”

”Of course!” Tetrad winked. ”Found someone who was able to take care of everything on Glimmr. She’s a friend of Emily’s so that was cool. Did you make out alright, Trixy?”

”Yea!” Trixy grinned. ”I got to talk with the magical girl back when I was a famil-”

”We can continue this conversation in coms if need be.” With a groan, Veronica placed a hand on her head.

Tetrad walked up behind her. ”Hey, are you okay?”

”Just a migraine.” Veronica continued to walk. ”We won’t see Penrose again for a very long time. It’s possible we will never return. Are you fine with that?”

”Yea.” Tetrad shrugged. ”I never got to do anything with Samantha, but I still feel like I did okay. I can’t wait to see Elvira at the outpost base!”

”I only regret that Samantha and I couldn’t leave together. But I’ll manage.” She took a step closer to Veronica ”How about you?”

”I don’t know, really. I suppose I would have enjoyed a final confrontation with Justine, I would have found some catharsis before crushing her skull between my fingers. I can practically see the whites in her eyes expanding as my thumbs plunge into her irises, and the blood runs down her face like candle wax. All sensations dulled by pain, her ears deafened by her own screams, and her world eternally devoured by darkness. ” The corners of her lips were starting to curl into a smile, but then she straightened out her face. ”The present outcome was not to my taste. The fates conspired against me these past few weeks.”

Once they cleared Penrose, Tetrad looked to Veronica. ”So what are we doing now? If we’re going to be gone for a while, we’re doing more than just getting you surgery.”

”Yes, I may have to start working on a new squadron. We’ll patrol the area around Penrose. It’s hardly the only place where things this bad crop up.” Veronica pulled Trixy and Tetrad under her arms before smiling. ”How does the title Garnet Gemini grab you?” And then they sunk into the depths of their shadows.

The Old Gang ~ Fin







"All my friends are gone."

— Oros


Oros sat behind Boteg’s desk, running her fingers across the smooth mahogany surface. She didn’t really have a need for a hotel, but the place had carved its way into her cold, dead heart. Even if it wasn’t this world’s Boteg, Helga, or Su that she remembered, it was just as effective at stirring those old memories.

"Raugh!" She placed her hands on the sides of her head. "I’m running out of time!"

She was, too. The end of the season wasn’t too far away now. Maybe one more event before the entire thing came to a close. That was probably when the end of the world was going to happen. She needed to do something before that came to pass. Not only had she failed to get in touch with the Mint, but she was wasting her time here, reminiscing about moments that had long passed.

It wasn’t all bad though.She had encountered Tetrad and managed to get some sweet sweet intel that might help her get what she wanted. Only time would tell if that actually played out into anything.

”Excuse me, miss!” One of the maids entered the office. ”Are you ready for the next interview.”

While it might seem like easy work just owning a hotel, The fact of the matter was that not only had the owner left, but his two best managers. Oros was perfectly capable of collecting money, but she’d need some people who could manage things for her. The employees were lost without someone to guide them.

Oros composed herself before responding. "How many people are left to interview?"

”Well, um!” She looked out the door. ”All of them. Pretty much every employee and guest wants to be a manager. Some of them are having trouble making ends meet, so a new job is a great thing for them.”

"I’ve interviewed twenty people, ma’am." Oros stood up. "Half of them just wanted to flirt with me, the other half had no charisma whatsoever, and all of them were a waste of time."

”I’m sorry ma’am..”

"We need a way to screen them." Oros poked the table firmly. "I want two managers. I’m looking for confident, independent people, you know? The type of people who command respect when you see them. I’m not looking for a stone faced god, but someone normal. Preferably someone who doesn’t have a bunch of mental mutations. They need to look nice,and that means clean. If I see one more bitch in a bikini I’m going to scream. No piercings, no tattoos, you know how Su ran things."

”That’s rather strict.”

"Well I only want two, so there had better be at least that many out there who match tha.."

”Alright I got it. So no one gets an interview unless they look clean, friendly, and dependable.” She turned to leave. ”No exceptions at all?”

Oros sighed. She didn’t really care if the hotel did well or not. Any moment and the calamity would start. But if she was going to hire people, might as well make them people she could tolerate being around. "If there happens to be any cute, innocent looking types, I’ll give them a look over. You know the type, submissive or naive. Not a mean bone in their body. I don’t care if they’re a boy or a girl, but I’d prefer something with a small chest, okay?"

”I think I can work with that.”

"Thank. Jebus."

The maid departed for a bit. Usually she came right back, but this time it was a full five minutes before she returned. ”We have the next one.”

"Alright, send her in."


What animal has the most nipples?

Turns out it's a shrewish short-tailed opossum, which has 27 nipples. There's one in the center of it's belly, and the rest circle around the center.


“YES! New banner is online! Too bad Reevee doesn’t get one!”

— Oros


Rites could be delayed for a while, but never wholly postponed. Reaver grunted as he made a mess of one of the assorted trees planted in one of the small green areas of Penrose, far from prying eyes. He sunk the knife of the bovine sacrifice, as he kept tossing viscera after viscera.

“Praise Odin.” He just said, as he looked at how bloody his hands were, before sighing. “Well, I guess it should do for now. Pity I can’t get human sacrifices as often, though. There’s always a downside to this kind of stuff.” He whispered to himself as he tried to find some place to clear his armor off the grime and dirt.

Fortunately, Reaver had the foresight to bring a bucket of water to the sight of the sacrifice. If he was going to fulfill a rite in secret, there was no point in walking around Penrose all covered in blood. There were enough things to be wary of like invisible sentries, scrying spells, artifacts that could see the future and past, and just nosy magical girls who would jump at the chance to “avenge’ something. Bringing his own bucket of water along reduced his chances of being detected considerably.

Though trying to do something in secret was a fool’s errand in Penrose. Regardless of the steps taken, it was difficult to fully avoid detection. Maybe some girl with beast magic would pick up the scent of blood. Maybe one had the ability to detect Mint activity in their proximity. Maybe, just maybe, they were in a collab, and being interrupted was a damn certainty.

Oros was attracted by all three. Or at least she would have been, but their player keeps forgetting Oros doesn’t have the power to sense Mint agents anymore. Though there might have been something else that lead her this way. You'll just have to keep reading to find out. Regardless, the smell of cow blood was a curious one. Cows were a rare smell in urben areas like this one.

She did not hide her presence. Oros sniffed her way into the forest before coming across the dead cow. ”Man, these modern art pieces are pretty crazy these days.”

Reaver’s head turned to face the newcomer, appraising her with an inquisitive gaze. Not too bad in the looks department. The snappy comment showed some kind of mischievous spirit, as he raised a finger, before answering.

“A good assumption, but not entirely correct. This kind of modern art is hardly modern, in fact it’s Iron Age vintage, my lady.” He said as he did not pretend to hide what he had done in the slightest. Snappy comments would have not interrupted a sacrifice ritual, so he was that willing to accomodate. “Lifeblood is a common token for those beyond mortal influence.”

”Well, I can only discern so much from the nebulous description of it. Which is probably just as well, since the Grand Magistrate thinks this Realm of Patrons is PG-13 and shit. Or I guess K-12, whatever their equivalent rating system is.” Oros pulled her blade out of her sheath and looked at it. She raised an eyebrow. ”Oh yea, I thought you looked familiar.” After letting her sword slide back into its sheath, she turned to face Reaver. At no point during this exchange did she look happy, or even pleased. ”Guess there’s no point beating around the bush. Willy, right? I’m Oros. More importantly, I'm a messenger. Are you ready to resolve your weird deal-thing with Luna?”

Reaver raised an eyebrow, and folded his arms. “I have a deal with someone called that, yes.” He said, his tone neutral. “However messengers are not part of it. I will listen, but I’m not beholden to uphold anything without proof you’re speaking on her behalf.” The knight casually stated.

”Sure thing, buddy.” Oros shoved her hands into her pockets. ”Honestly, I think this whole thing is pretty weird myself. Like this is the internet age. All she needs to do is ask for your Discord or Glimmr handle and then you guys could stay connected. Buuuuuut I’m getting a pretty fat bonus out of this, so I’m not going to ask many questions.” She blinked a few times. ”Actually, that cow smells pretty good. You’re not using it anymore, are you?”

Reaver tilted his head. “Let me ask my patron.” He said, blinking for a few seconds. “I guess a couple of choice cuts it’s not out of the question. Would help with the cleanup.” He said, while unsheathing his sword and extracting the sirloin out of the cow. “I’m going to take some for myself so here you go.” He said, as he handed the bloody choice cut to Oros. He refrained from simply asking Tetrad’s handle himself.

Messengers had to eat too. Not like he was in a hurry or something.

The hooded magical girl examined the meat she was being offered. Her nose wiggled as she sniffed the cuts, before her mouth opened and shifted into something far more akin to a wolf, if not Fenrir itself. Her maw clamped over the entire mass of meat. Naturally, Reaver’s hand was inside the beast’s mouth as well. Unlike with Balder, her fangs did not pierce his flesh.Her tongue weaved between his fingers and cleaned every scrap of meat and blood before she pulled her head back. It only took a moment for her form to return to normal. It seemed not even a smile would bring a smile to her face.

”Right, where was I?” Oros Tapped her chin. ”Yea, she wanted to save Betty. I guess you guys have her or some shit? Gotta stress that I didn’t ask too many questions.”

“Betty, huh… Doesn’t ring a bell.” Reaver said, trying his best to keep his poker face. That was some technique in all of the licking. He said, as he tore a chunk of one of the carcass’ legs and began chewing on it too. With a healthy swallow, he then cleaned his mouth.

“So She wants a certain Betty back. Hm.” Reaver answered.

”Not just any Betty back, Luna begged badly before beseeching a begger a bounty to breech a boy for a bombshell babe bequeath the title Betty Biohazard back. She’s a Cradle agent or something.” Oros seemed to be making hand gestures, but it was impossible to see them as her hands were still in her pockets. ”I can’t really tell if you’re being like, coy and shit or if you’re really oblivious. I’m not a mind reader, you know? But Veronica is, and she had a pretty good look inside Justine’s head. She’s pretty sure Justine handed Betty over to the Mint, and you happen to work for them too I guess?” Oros pulled her hands out of her pockets and folded her arms. ”So what do you think? Luna seemed to think you’d want to help.”

“Mint, huh.” Reaver said. Plausible deniability and all that. “I could help yes, but I do need proof. After all, we have never met before. And just knowing the real name is not enough. What I promised to her was a serious binding commitment. You should understand.” He said, as he folded his arms once again. “If I were to accept it, It is likely to cause trouble.”

”Hold on, I think she did give me something.” The girl reached between her breasts and presented a rare magic the gathering card. While it was rare on its own, it had more significance to that than Reaver.

Reaver took the card on his hand with a snapping movement, and stood there wide-eyed for a second. He traced with his fingers the shape, the form, the writing. Even every little dent the card had. Memories of the past flew into him. This was his most valuable card, that she had lost to the girl that had been his first crush. Once upon a time. He smiled, remembering fond memories.

“I guess that woman will be the end of me, then.” Reaver sighed, before handing the card back. “Hope she is worth all of this trouble.” He said, before handing the card back. “Man, and I was getting the whole dark knight thing going on.” He said to himself, breathing deep.

“Alright, I will stake my life on this, then. Tell her that.”

”This is not some one man crusade you’re going on, Willy.” Oros kept her hands in her pockets, making no attempt to recover the card. ”I will negotiate for Betty’s release, I just want you to set up the meeting. Maybe put in a good word for me or at least be there when they show up. I think I have something that the Mint would find worthy of their time. Though if you’re that eager to enter the halls of Valhalla, I won’t stop you. ”

“Understood.” Reaver said as he pocketed the card. He tilted his head in a thoughtful manner, before eyeing Oros up and down. Especially the legs. Maybe… She did look a bit like the type of woman he had spent company with.

“I guess, our business is complete then my lady.” He said, performing a courteous bow to Oros.

”For the moment, anyway.”

“Would it be so impertinent to ask if my lady would be available after this?”

Oros raised an eyebrow. ”For?”

“Well, you seem to have built...quite the appetite. And I would be delighted to invite you for a refreshement.”

She stared blankly at the berzerker, blinking only occasionally. After a few seconds, she closed her eyes and rolled her head from one shoulder to the other. ”I’m sorry. It’s been a very busy few days. I just tracked you down to whatever the hell this is supposed to be. We ate, discussed our objectives, and I can’t tell if this is an offer to hang or a booty call.”

“The former.” He thought it’d be rude to mention the latter.

”Oh, alright.” Her eyes trailed to the floor for a moment, then flicked back up to Reaver. ”You’re sure?”

He raised his eyebrow. “The last girl I told to step on me ran away. It’s better to start easy.”

”I wasn’t being serious. We can hang for a bit, but I don’t have a lot of time these days.” Oros pulled out her phone to look at something on it. ”Before we get too ahead of ourselves, you’ll probably need to get a hold of me at some point. So my number’s REDACTED.” She looked to Reaver again. She hadn’t smiled once since she got here ”Alright, let’s go.”

"Excellent. I know a place that serves decent drinks. Bit of a rundown area these days...follow me my lady."


This was not Maura’s first time in Veronica’s interdenominational mansion. This was not her first time alone in Veronica’s interdenominational mansion. This was her first time here as Veronica’s superior.

”Thank you for meeting with me, Maura.”

Among all the red, there was a small white table between the two of them. If there was anything Maura wished to eat or drink, Veronica could pull it out of the cradle and lay it on the table before them. Veronica had given herself a glass of white wine, which she held between her fingers.

”Now that the cradle is yours, what do you plan on doing with it? What will you do next in Penrose?”

Maura hummed in thought. "For the longest time, Penrose has served as the most noteworthy hotbed for magical activity. Even now those numbers are higher than what even I anticipated." she held the side of her head in one arm. "Though it's hard not to notice the drawbacks to such numbers. Justine's attacks, Soth's ritual, the current fight with Ascendancy and our corrupted kin. Even the ambush on Mariette's mansion almost costed us more lives than what's concidered 'Just'." Maura looked back to Veronica with furrowed brows.

"Again and again, Penrose and those within are subjected to incidents such as those, which could escalate into catastrophic events that can make even a god faint. And it won't get any better so long as those self-righteous vermin, or the damned mafia keep hold on the town." She straightened herself up.

"We have to take back Penrose. Take back our home, before the worst comes to fruition..." For a moment, she appeared worried at her last statement.

”Your conviction does not suprise me, but it is always a pleasure to see regardless.” Veronica sipped her wine before setting her glass down. ”I won’t dally then. Maura, my surgery isn’t complete. I dare say that coming back before it was complete may have caused some, how shall we say, problems.” She pulled back the collar of her vest, and there was a purple gash with light glowing inside of it. ”My condition is not life threatening, but it may be if I do not soon return to Binky.” She let go of her shirt collar. ”I need to go back, and I need some of your agents to help me get there. They may not be able to return for a while.”

In all honesty, Maura wasn't surprised Veronica had to leave for awhile longer. But seeing her open wound made the necromancer even more worried. Then the topic of Maura's agents going with her came up. "Who do you need?" She didn't hesitate to ask.

”At least Tetrad.” Veronica folded her arms. ”But I would feel better if I also had Trixy or Sam with me too, as they are a bit more reliable should things go south.”

"Understood. I'll let them know, asap." Maura nodded, ready to call the three through the magicoms.

”No need to bother them now, I just wanted your blessing before I approached them myself.” Veronica nodded. ”But I’m glad it’s not a problem. Even if I’m out, Viridian will be around to keep magicoms and the cradle active for you. With your own shadow magic, you shouldn’t have much difficulty using the cradle as I have.” She extended her hand. ”Thank you, Maura. I feel safe leaving things in your hands.”

With a smile, Maura shook her hand. "Of course, I hope I can make you all proud."




Veronica didn’t exactly have the power or authority to call a cradle meeting herself. Fortunately, Silhouette, Trixy, Tetrad, and Eliza respected her enough to come to a meeting with her. It was right in the Golden Trove, as most of the girls had a room there. They had met up in the game room, which was presently vacant aside from those who arrived.

”Thank you for coming, everyone.” Veronica stood behind a pool table. ”I hope the food is to your liking. It is not something I usually partake in, but I understand pizza is a favorite of most.”

Tetrad already had a slice on a paper plate, which she held in both hands. ”Glad to see we suffered no casualties. Even better that Justine is in the bag. Or should I say space?” She chuckled darkly. ”I just regret I couldn’t be there.”

”You were doing your job, we did ours, no reason to feel bad.” Trixy was already on her third slice. She didn’t need a paper plate, she had an entire pizza box to herself, and just tossed a slice in her mouth now and again. ”Also if anyone wants pepperoni and mushroom, let me know! It’s really good!”

Sam spoke up. "Since you're offering, Trixy, I would like a piece."

”Save room for pineapple.” Tetrad grinned.

”To get to the matter at hand, I must return to the outpost, and I will need some of you to accompany me. Tetrad is coming regardless, but I would like Sam or Trixy to accompany me as well, if not both. I have already gotten Maura’s permission, I just wanted to hear your input.”

Silhouette got her hands on a plate and a piece of pizza, which she had just taken a bite of. She wiped any grease off of her lips and, of course, swallowed before she gave her piece. "Are we going to leave immediately?" Sil wondered. "I had plans with... well, it's nothing important. If our leader has given her permission, then I can depart whenever you please." Of course, given her unhidden loyalty to Veronica, it was unlikely anyone really believed that a lack of Maura's blessing would matter to Sam.

"Is there anything we need to do while you're all away?" Eliza asked, stepping over to the dart board.

”I do not believe so. If something comes up, we are all connected by the magicom network.” Veronica hadn’t eaten any of her pizza yet, but she was looking at it, cautiously.

Tetrad sighed. ”Might as well say we’re all connected by the Cradle. Or whatever Maura wants to call us now. Regardless, I’ve got nothing going.”

”Hold on!” Trixy lowered her box of pizza. ”We just got done with the mission! Are we really going to take off so soon?”

”I’m afraid my wounds are only getting worse.” Veronica’s eyes flicked over to Trixy. ”Leaving soon would be optimal. But I must stress that I don’t need everyone. Tetrad and one of you will do. If Sam has other arrangements, she can remain here for the time being.”

Despite her earlier declaration of being ready to leave as soon as Veronica wanted, Sil couldn't keep a bit of the relief from seeping into her expression at the possibility of staying behind.. "If you believe you only require two of us, then I admit I would prefer to stay here to deal with a small problem of mine."

Small problem? Is it a personal matter?" Eliza asked Sam, not looking away from the board as she started to throw darts. For every bullseye she got, she'd take a step backwards.

Samantha nodded. "It is. But I don't expect it to cause any interference with any duties I am assigned. I would prefer if we could leave it at that."

Eliza took a few extra steps back this time though, as Trixy hugged her from behind, causing her to flinch. ”This is so sad!” Her voice was cracking. ”Please set things in Penrose right, and get Betty back for us! She’s still missing!” After inhaling, she threw her arms around Samantha and started bawling. ”Don’t you die on me, Sam! Whatever you’re doing, your life isn’t worth it!”

Tetrad was there to pull the maid off of her girlfriend. ”Hey, this is Silhouette we’re talking about! No way cradle’s #1 is going to get done in by some personal drama.”

Putting down the plate she nearly dropped after Trixy's emotional outburst, Silhouette looked at Trixy. "Tetrad is right. I won't die. Now isn't the time for that anyways." she looked to Trixy, then Tetrad, and briefly Veronica when she was brought up. "Of course, that goes for you two as well. Well, there's three of you. But I can't imagine Veronica needing me to remind her of that."

”It’s true.” was all Veronica said before sampling her pizza.

Eliza sighed, and pulled Trixy into a side hug. "If I didn't want to set things right, I wouldn't be here now, would I? Don't worry, we'll handle things here and get Betty back." she reassured her.

”Eliza…” Trixy sniffled before hugging her back again. ”When we get back, we’ll celebrate! I’ve got faith in Maura and all of her girls too.”

”Oh well.” Tetrad let out a sigh before turning to Veronica. ”Mind if we take a small detour? I’d like to see someone before I leave.”

”I do not wish to walk around Penrose while the mint watches. But I will need a moment to prepare my leave.” Veronica was already working on her second slice. ”Should you have unfinished bushiness that can be taken care of on short notice, you will have time for it. But I urge you to complete it quickly. However…” Veronica looked to Trixy. ”I have something to show Trixy before we make the trip anyway.”

The maid’s eyes shot open, still embraced in Eliza’s hug. ”Huh?!”

”I just need to tell someone farewell.” Tetrad picked up a dart and casually flung it at the dart board Eliza was shooting at. Despite being a half hearted attempt, she managed to nail the twenty zone just outside of the bullseye.

"Nice shot." Eliza chuckled.

”Someone, hmmmm?” The former cradle mother shrugged. ”Seems we all have our secrets. Despite that, we can still trust each other.”

"Trust is something everyone vies for these days." Maura appeared by the pool table, pizza slice in hand. "Yet at the same time, most would rather take trust for granted, like love or hope. Regardless, it's what makes us more humane than them, no?" she smiled.

"What are you doing here? I thought you were busy." Eliza's eyebrow rose.

"Ah, just wanted to see everyone off, that's all."

”Apologies, Maura. I had only meant to throw a party with my closest agents before setting off. Had I thought you wanted to join us-”

Tetrad giggled. ”It’s weird to see Veronica acting so humble. I guess everyone has a superior at one point or another.”

”Do not forget that I’m still your superior, Tetrad.” She looked back at Maura. ”It seems Sil will be remaining with you for the time being. Tetrad and Trixy will be enough to watch over me.”

Trixy managed to hold back her tears when she wrapped her arms around her new boss. ”Boss lady.” She rested her head on her shoulder. ”It wasn’t long, but I’ll cherish the time we spent together!” Veronica only groaned at Trixy’s melodramatic behavior.

"It's alright, really!" Maura reassured Veronica with a chuckle. Her eyes widened a bit when Trixy hugged her, then she hugged back with a smile. "I'll miss you too, Trixy. Update me if anything happens, okay?" She then moved to pull Tetrad into a side-hug, ruffling her hair, then hugged Veronica as well.

"Be careful out there, okay, Ronnie?"

With Veronica and Tetrad under both of Maura’s arms, Trixy shoved the rest of her pizza (box included) before reaching out for Sil and pulling her closer. Tetrad only shrugged her shoulders before pulling Eliza into the group hug as well.

”Ronnie?” Veronica averted her eyes, still holding onto her pizza crust. ”I will. I most certainly will.”

Samantha appeared uncomfortable with the hug but didn't attempt to pull free of it. She awkwardly settled into it, instead. "Jeez, there's no reason for such a dramatic separation." A soft smile creeped onto the girl's lips.

After a moment, Maura pulled away from the hug. "Well then, I'll let you all finish up here." she moved to the nearest shadow to leave, still smiling.

With the group hug’s initiator gone, the other cradle agents slowly released each other and looked in her direction.

”She is somethin’ else!” The eyepatch kid sighed.

”Wish I got to know her better, but I’m sure we’ll meet up again later.”

Veronica watched Maura leave. After she left, she pushed the rest of the crust into her mouth. She didn’t speak again untill she finished swallowing. ”Trixy, Tetrad, we leave in twenty minutes.”

”Yes ma’am!”

Samantha chose this time to pull Trixy off to the side for a small talk, but found that she couldn't speak how she wanted. More than once, she opened her mouth as though to say something, yet stopped. Eventually, a hand rested itself upon Sam's shoulder. Partially startled, she turned her head to see who it was.

"Ah, jeez! There's no need for such a dramatic separation!" Shade chided the timorous assassin with her own words."Use your big girl speak!"

Samantha didn't seem to get upset at Shade unlike usual. Instead, she merely faced Trixy once again. "...erm..." she took a breath in. "Well, I just wanted... to remind you to be safe, is all."

”Yea, you already told me that." Trixy forced herself to smile. ”But I'm glad I'm not the only one who's concerned right now. If magicoms don't do it for you, we can always talk over web cam."

Samantha clearly liked the idea, agreeing with a nod. "We should. It also wouldn't be impossible to excerise together that way, or..." Sam stopped herself. "Well, it doesn't have to be active and boring. It'd probably be more enjoyable to watch a movie." Her eyes never left Trixy's, and there was a very faint red tint to her cheeks.

Trixy briefly looked over her shoulder, probably to make sure no one was looking too closely at them. ”Well, we’re going to spend a bit of time apart, right?" She placed her hand’s on Samantha’s shoulders. Her eyes closed part way as a toothy grin crossed her face. ”We can do all that stuff and more." Trixy’s voice got quieter as she came closer to Samantha. ”We just need to take our time."

As she gazed into Trixy's eyes, Sam reached across herself to place a hand atop the one Trixy had on her shoulder. Her eyes never wavered for a second, despite her clear embarassment. "I would enjoy that." Sam paused, took her hand off of Trixy's, looked away for a second, and then presumably pondered something before looking at Trixy once more. The little distance between the two was swiftly closed as Sam gave Trixy a quick peck on the lips.

"!" Shade was still nearby, but had been standing off to the side out of respect for the two. Of course, she wasn't able to remove herself competely and happened to catch the kiss. It clearly surprised her enough to leave her mouth open, with a small, amused grin.

"...Sorry if that was too sudden," Sam apologized, something she seemed to do quite often when she was dealing with love or emotional situations, in contrast to her otherwise aloof or curt appearance.

...So she was naturally underprepared when Trixy was unresponsive. Her eyes had massive hearts in them, and her head was hanging backwards as if she had suddenly lost the strength to hold it up. ”It was just the right amount of sudden!" She lifted her head and pulled Samantha into a hug, gently nuzzling her head against hers.

Shade wasn't the only one who had taken notice. Tetrad and Veronica were also watching. It was hard to ignore with how dramatic they were being. The gambler turned to Veronica. ”I'm not separating them this time.” She said with a wink.

Veronica seemed nonplussed, gazing at a wall clock before retrieving another slice of pizza. ”Nineteen minutes left.”
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