"You were so concerned with whether or not you could keep adding to this collab that you never stopped to think whether you should."
"Yeah but it's kinda funny when it takes four whole seconds between hitting "preview" and it actually giving me a preview, so it was worth."
Park benches were not exciting things to most people. They offer people a place to sit and wait, or enjoy some vista within the park itself. But Oros was captivated by the one she was sitting in. She wore a wide eyed expression and ran her hand along the all metal construction.”Metal has a texture? And it can feel cold?”
Oros was aware that most players had reservations about their characters becoming normal magical girls. Her loss of power was certainly regrettable, but she had gained something else. It had been a long time since Oros could feel anything, and now she was really in tune to all of the extra sensory output she was getting. The cold was uncomfortable, her body ached from her last fight, but this bench felt comfortable
. She couldn’t remember the last time she enjoyed sitting anywhere. Not only that, but it was strangely therapeutic to run her fingertips over a rough metal surface.
As for why she was waiting, well, isn’t that obvious? This is Penrose! Nobody meets through careful, deliberate placement or circumstance. Oros was at a park because she wanted to meet someone. If she was here, someone important was bound to run into her eventually. Wait, wasn’t this an NPC way of thinking? Isn’t the main character the one who runs around to encounter people?
Confirming her suspicions, Samantha appeared immediately as the thought crossed Oros’ mind some meters away on the sidewalk. The sidewalk would lead her next to Oros but it was clear by the glances she cast around her she was looking for something or someone else. For the moment, however, it looked as though they were the only two here.
Once she had gotten close enough to Oros that she wouldn't have to yell, the black-haired girl opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it as if debating on something. She quickly opened her mouth again, presumably deciding on 'why the hell not'. "Are you well? You're making that bench a lot more comfortable than it is...oh,"
she made a fist with her right hand and tapped it to the palm of her left. "You're under the influence, aren't you?"
Oros blinked. Thinking back on it, it was rather short sighted of her to think she could get away with such strange behavior just because she was alone. Fortunately, this was clearly a collab between herself and this other person. She wouldn’t have to worry about a third party butting in. That made her feel safe. “Oh! No. Well, I mean maybe I was? I just woke up and-”
She stroked the bench. “It’s just I can’t believe I fell asleep on something made of iron. Normally benches like this are made to be uncomfortable to lay on to prevent vagrants from sleeping on them.”
She sat upright. “Anyway, the hell are you doing here, Silly? Thought you had better shit to do than just randomly walk around.”
Walking around the park was her way of cooling off when she wanted to separate herself from the others at the hotel. She would have to make an important decision soon, and she was kinda hoping to meet that other girl she often ran into here. They helped her calm down and think, though she wouldn't admit it.
Samantha had been doing some detective work of her own after hearing some concerning rumors. It appeared as though someone was actively seeking her out. They probably weren't doing that for any good reason, so she wanted to figure them out first. Of course, she wouldn't tell this stranger about that. "Please do not act like we're close and give me... a nickname...?"Silly?
There was one person she thought of that called her that, but they weren't here anymore. This girl was probably just saying it was silly for her to be walking out here or something. She shook her head. "Anyway, I'm trying to enjoy a quiet evening. Don't you have something better to do than rub against a park bench? You remind me of a... cat."
Even if Silhouette was an assassin, Oros always felt at peace around her. This was partially because of their history together, but also because she was so fuckin’ fragrant! Mint haters smelled good, Beacon haters smelled good, so naturally cradle agents smelled exquisite! And while she was a bit on the tall side for Oros, that personality of hers sure was infectious. “A cat huh?”
Oros’s lips curled into a smile. “Mmm, do you like cats? Perhaps I should rub up against you instead.”
She leaned over the edge of the bench and took a sniff of that… rather ordinary smelling woman. “Wuh?”
She leaned closer to Silhouette, still sniffing the air around her. “Um, meow!”
She pounced onto Samantha and went on a sniffing spree. Though her brow became increasingly cross as she wasn’t being rewarded with the unique fragrance of a cradle operative."I said you remind me of one, not that I want one! Stop smelling me and get off."
Samantha took the palm of her hand and shoved it into the girl's stomach, providing her an opportunity to break out of her hold. She used this moment to get to her feet, glaring at Oros.
She was upset, but Samantha could only think of a certain person acting like this. Something was up here. "Who are you?"
she would demand once Oros recovered. "Seriously."
But Oros didn’t recover. She laid on the ground howling. Not unlike a spoiled child that was told they couldn’t have an ice cream because they threw their lunch all over the back seat of the car. Only difference was that Oros was at least a teenager (in body) so if there were any authorities around, they most likely would have come running to the woman’s screaming. Oros had not counted on her new form being able to feel pain at all. She had to have gone through hundreds of timelines without feeling as much as a pin prick. Earlier this week she had pulled her heart out of her chest and threw it at an ascendancy girl. Now her organs were crying out the only way they knew how. They were important, even getting a little bruised was a big setback for Oros. She curled her legs into her chest and started to dry heave. This was the worst.
When Oros was done screaming, only the pain remained. Her eyes were watering, and she was desperately trying to fill her lungs with air. “I’m-”
she said between breaths. Once her breathing had calmed down, she closed her eyes. “Pet me.”
Samantha could not remember a more awkward moment occurring in her life up to this point. In this silent park, only the groaning of Oros could be heard and it dragged out far longer than it should have. Sam looked at her hand, then clenched it. There was no way she put more oomph into that hit than she meant to, right? She ended up deciding it would be better to leave that ambiguous, for both her sake and Oros'.
Though the secondhand embarrassment was present, Samantha tried to listen to what Oros said after pulling her to her feet. "Pet?"
As strange as the request was, she went ahead and complied, placing her palm on the top of the girl's head and giving it a rub. It felt familiar, somehow. Everything about this girl did.
She looked Oros in the eyes. "...Mika?"“S-sort of.”
Oros was not able to fully appreciate being pet by Samantha. Her stomach was still a little upset, but it also didn’t make her feel the way she was expecting it to. Normally when something made Oros feel good, it made her feel like taking them to the bedroom. But she wasn’t getting that kind of reaction from this. It just felt nice to have a pair of fingers lovingly stroke her hair. Now that Oros thought about it, she hadn’t even felt that way about Dina after getting purified. Kissing her on the forehead did nothing for her. She had heard that after a few weeks of not smoking, people usually find food tastes better. Perhaps it was the same way with corruption. Only it seemed that there were no withdrawal symptoms, just that she found things pleasant in different ways. It had been too long to know if she had been this way before she took Aigorost’s sword.“I’m not your Mika. It might be easier to think of me as Mika from the future.”
She really didn’t feel like explaining this again. Especially if she was going to get overwritten by some flashback sequence. “I wanted to balance the scales between Beacon and Mint, mostly because a hot piece of ass was waiting for me if I did. But I kind of failed, and I don’t even know if I could fully appreciate the ass I was going to eat in my current state.”
It was more than likely Samantha wouldn’t understand any of this, but that probably didn’t matter.
Samantha looked a lot more intrigued than she did confused. "You're from the future? Then you really aren't the Mika that I've made pizza with..."
Silhouette firmly believed that time travel was impossible for a magical girl. She had countless hours of research and experimentation to back her up, and Oros' wording had given her no reason to doubt her stance. "That doesn't bode well at all, does it?"
Since it was a rare occurrence, Samantha couldn't help but think of many different questions she'd want to ask. How was she here? Whose future did she come from and why exactly did she leave it? But then...“So um, you okay? You and Veronica enjoy your date?”
Sam’s questions left her mind instantly. “D-date…?”
she shook her head, hiding a small blush. “I-I’m with Trixy. Dating Veronica would be problematic…I think?”
Did Mika even know Trixy? Hell if Sam knew. But relationships were difficult for Sam, and it wasn’t like Trixy was helping her understand certain intricacies and faux pas. Most people wouldn’t care to see their girlfriend grope someone else in front of them, but Trixy encouraged it. Samantha might accidentally piss someone off if she and Trixy didn’t work out for some reason and she wound up dating someone else. “Oh! Hah! Trix, right! Yea, that’s right. Sorry, it’s been a while, Pretend I didn’t say anything.”
Oros needed to remember that each of these realities tended to have small differences in them. So it seemed that Silhouette and Veronica didn’t hit it off in this world, but instead she started going out with Trixy. Interesting, given how pants on head stupid Silhouette is with romance. Trixy had to be pretty frustrated, but it wasn’t like she was beating them away with a stick. As perverted as she was, perhaps any attention was enough to make their relationship last.“What about you?”
Sam turned the question around. “You were talking about,”
she hesitated to quote Oros, but sighed and did so anyways. “A ‘hot piece of ass’? What’s with that?”“Oh man!”
Oros hugged herself. “Yea, I mean first she looked like this really cute chick with braids? But I guess she looks like Megumin now? But if you look at her character sheet she still has the old image? It’s really confusing, and I like it.”
She ran her hands over her stomach. “But forget that, she had a really good waffle. I could eat that thing over and over again, with a side of eggs and hash browns, maybe. I normally don’t feel bad about disappointing people, but I dunno about this one.”
Oros wasn’t very good at explaining things to people. Well, at least they tended to not understand. “Maybe you’ve heard of her though. I call her Em, but I think it’s, um, Em-ily?”
That was exactly who Sam had been hoping to meet here at the park. Sam wondered if Mika was toying with her right now. “I’ve seen her around this park on occasion. Very idealistic and weak to pressure? Yeah.”
she answered, assuming that ‘Megumin’ was someone Mika had met after she left and ignoring that bit. It was at this point Samantha wasn’t sure if Oros was being literal with the waffle or if she was making some sort of innuendo that was flying past Sam’s head. She imagined the latter, but merely sighed and crossed her arms. “I’m doubtful she’d hurt a fly, which makes me a bit worried for her.”
As evidenced by earlier, giving Mika a hit when she went too far was clearly the optimal strategy when dealing with her. “I could take you to her house if you want.”
Oros pulled her hood over her head. “But I’d have to stay out of sight. Can’t meet her after failing like that.”
Samantha couldn’t help but imagine Emily’s living conditions. Her attitude betrayed an innocence only one who had lived in fortune could afford. Sam had been wealthy in life but her means of obtaining said wealth had denied her that childishness. She wouldn’t be surprised if Emily lived in some mansion or expensive apartment building even before the evacuation. “You didn’t say what sort of thing you failed at, exactly, but she doesn’t seem like she would mind.”
Sam recalled how eager she was to make a friend. “How nice is her place?”“It’s not really about that. I just don’t want to talk to her about it, Silly.”
Oros would rather die than admit she gave up on something. But telling Silhouette that wasn’t going to make things easier. Come to think about it, it was kind of weird that Oros was even bothering with this conversation. It didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. If anything, capturing Silhouette was a surefire way to get the attention of the mint. Regardless, it was kind of enjoyable. “Uh, I mean, maybe I’ll get in contact with them another way. Then I can tell her I was successful.”
She sat back down on the bench. “Her house is a total shit hole though. Just a crummy apartment, really. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t using food stamps to get by.”“I-Is that so?”
Samantha coughed into her hand out of mild embarrassment. Well, there was a saying about assumptions. She tended to mind it when it came to more pressing matters, but clearly she wasn’t consistent in her application. At least it wasn’t as bad as sitting on a bench, hoping for interaction and wondering why said interaction wasn’t particularly meaningful. Did they even have a direction for this conversation? Really, there had to be some point, right? It wasn’t just interaction for the sake of interaction, right?
Samantha nearly tumbled over after being pushed from behind. Sam turned around to see a girl wearing what were essentially rags. A torn shirt that barely covered her breasts and jeans that were just as damaged, exposing quite a bit of leg. She had bandages wrapped around a leg and an arm, where a small, dried blood stain formed. Despite this, she stood upright and her movements betrayed no signs of pain, except her face, that appeared remorseful. “Hilaria is sorry~! She meant to stop a bit earlier, eheh~”
The sudden shove did seem to irritate Sam, but she shook her head. “Well, watch where you’re going next time.”
Sil then turned to face Oros again, but she didn’t feel the other girl leave. After a delay, she turned around to a smiling face.“...”“...”“...”“...”“...”
Fed up with the silence, Sam growled. “Do you mind?”
Hilaria shook her head. “Oh, sorry~ Hilaria was going to wait for you to finish so she could ask you something~!”“Uh, what? Just spit it out.”
Hilaria grinned. “Hilaria wanted to ask if you were hungry~!”“Wha…”
Silhouette rubbed the bridge of her nose. This girl was quite strange. Not that that was difficult to tell. What sort of weirdo speaks in third-person like that? She also seemed a bit ditzy. In any case, she imagined there had to be some reason this girl started speaking to them. Maybe she recognized Mika? “Do you know her?”
Samantha asked Oros. “Um.”
After staring for a bit, Oros broke eye contact with Silhouette. “No.”
Hilaria didn’t seem to mind much at all. “Mmm, Hilaria thinks she’s seen you, though~?”
she looked at Samantha, interestingly enough. “Steak...Mmm...Why are you steak~?”“...what.” “Oh, Hilaria remembers now~! You were that rude girl near High Steaks, weren’t you~?”
Sam narrowed her eyes. “Rude? You’re one to talk.” Hilaria had shown up to HER collab and HER park and had the AUDACITY to insult her character.
Sam snapped. But that name… she had heard it before. Wasn’t it right across from where she liked to get her coffee? Now that it was brought up, she kinda remembered getting upset at someone over there. Was that her? How’d she even remember something dumb like that? “...I guess? But you bumped into me then too!”
How many people had this girl knocked over in her life?“Hilaria would like a do-over~! She is looking for people to enjoy a nice, tasty meal with~ She would like to invite you two~!”
she explained, even glancing at Oros as she did so.“What reason would I have to do that? Just going to eat with some random girl when I’m not even hu--”
Samantha’s stomach growled rather loudly, and she found it difficult to look Hilaria in the eye “..h-hungry.”
Silhouette really needed an out or something. Thinking on her feet, she crafted only the most perfect lie imaginable. “Besides, we were having an important discussion…”
Her eyes now begged Oros to cooperate.
Oros fret her brow. She got kind of annoyed that Silhouette’s part of the collab would have the audacity to put down their totally directionless conversation, only for her to use it as a scapegoat later when it served her. “What she said.”
Oros pointed at Samantha. “You’d have...”
Hmmm, Oros knew she had to be careful here. She wasn’t omnipotent, but she had an idea that things would get really weird with that girl if they went anywhere together. “What do you have to eat anyway, Hilarious?”
It had been a while since she had actually tasted anything. Maybe this could be interesting.
It was now apparent that Hilaria was holding a grocery bag, almost as if it had been summoned spontaneously. Though she didn’t bother to open it and show them, the indent on the bottom of the plastic bag suggested there were cans of some sort in it. “Hilaria just bought some beans and sauce at the store before it could close, and there should be beef at the apartment, so she could make chili~!”
she offered. It was probably her intended dinner. “Mm, but if that doesn’t sound good she could do something like sloppy joes~”
Samantha shrugged, resigned to her fate. “I’m not especially picky.”
There was no world where Oros could hear someone mention sloppy joes and not laugh like a demon afterwards. Except for the one where Samantha BRUTALLY PALM BLASTED HER IN THE STOMACH.“He- ow. Hah!”
Oros rubbed her hand against her belly. “Well if you’re serving, I’m eating.”
Now Oros was starting to realize why it is always a good idea to be the one running around bumping into people. At least when you initiated, you had an idea what you were getting into. Because she was just sitting around on a park bench, she allowed Silhouette to find her. She could forgive the sucker punch, but then ANOTHER magical girl showed up. She was pretty sure she remembered Hilarious being at the spin the bottle party, but it seemed like after getting purified she didn’t remember her. That was just as well. Regardless, she wasn’t even supposed to be here. This was going to be a quiet collaboration between Silhouette and herself, and now there was a third wheel rolling them to some place to eat. Well, at least it wasn’t like there were three different writers for this thing. That could always get confusing. And that meant the number of characters at the scene couldn’t possibly increase. She knew her
player wasn’t going to bring in anyone else, and it wasn’t like the other player had more character-
Hold on a second.
Oros looked around herself. She couldn’t be a hundred percent sure, but she was starting to pick up on the faint smell of someone familiar. No, it wasn’t possible! There was no way Hilarious could possibly be bringing her to Emily! That just, that, it was just so… Of course something this ridiculous would be done by Hilaria!“Shit!”
Oros raised her finger. “I just remembered I left my check engine light on in my car. You guys keep going, I’ll catch up with you soon.”
Oros spun around on her heel and walked back the way she came.
Oros would find her feet moving, but she was not. The reason for this was Samantha's grasp on the back of her clothes. "You wouldn't abandon our kind host so suddenly after accepting the invitation, would you?"
Sam asked her in a calm, murderous tone. She clearly intended to make Oros suffer with her. Hilaria seemed a bit upset as she watched their interaction.
Oros growled. Her eyes flashed red as she looked over her shoulder at the assassin. She summoned her claws to her hands. Very well, if she wanted to play like this, Oros could oblige.“GAH!”
She collapsed onto the ground and started to roar. It was almost identical to that time in the park a few minutes ago. The yelling, the hacking, curling into a ball, it was all identical. Only at the end of it all, Oros seemed to pass out on the ground.
Giving a confused squint, Samantha watched the act play out in full. Her crimson eyes dwelled on Oros, but Sam didn’t seem especially concerned. Hilaria, however, moved over to get a good look at the ‘injured’ Oros, frowning. “Did you harm her, Hilaria wonders~?”
Samantha dismissed the idea with a shake of her head, and sighed.
Crouching down, Hilaria gave Oros a light shake. “Hey, hey~! Are you dead, Hilaria wonders~?”
Blood trickled out of Oros’s eyes. While it probably looked grave to any onlookers, Oros was just mimicking horned lizards, which could release blood through their eyes as a defence mechanism. “Hilarious.”
Oros whispered. “Hilarious, I’m dying, and I need your help.”
She took hold of Hilaria’s arm as weakly as she could. “You must take me to safety.”
Hilaria’s lip trembled and her eyes teared up as if she worried this would be the last time they would ever speak and she had been holding years of feelings back. “Don’t die~!”
she cried out dramatically. “Now’s not the time to be dead~! We won’t be able to eat together~!”
she scooped Oros up in her arms after making sure there weren’t any visible injuries elsewhere and thrusting her grocery bag to Sam. Picking her up required some effort, however, as Hilaria wasn’t transformed unlike the other two. She started to look around and then when something had apparently dawned on her, she turned to Sam. "Hilaria doesn't know where the hospitals are here~ Do you~?" "No."
Samantha lied, releasing her transformation. "I'm sure she just needs to lay down or even have a bite to eat, that'll definitely help." "Hilaria sees~"
She paused, noticing a small, devilish smirk on Sam’s face come and go like a blink of the eye. She ignored it in favor of helping Oros. "There's a place where she can rest and eat~!"
so saying, she took off with the 'injured', clawed girl in hands. Of course, if Oros had cared to take a gander at where they were headed, she would've found that her ruse did not have the intended effect. “NOOOOOooooooooo...”
They reached their destination almost instantly due to them having already been headed there to begin with. The apartment and the surrounding area could've been a bit less dirty, but the building itself didn't seem like it was going to collapse, so that was a plus, maybe. Samantha didn't recognize the place, but Oros surely did. She'd been here before, after all.
Hilaria rushed to the door to the apartment and gave it a knock in the form of a soft kick with the front of her foot a few times, both her hands occupied by Oros, whom she was still carrying. From the other side of the door, one could hear a muffled yelp, perhaps from being startled, before the person came to the door. After the noise of the chain and deadbolt being unlocked finished, the door slowly opened with a rather face greeting them and then noticing who was in Hilaria's hands."O-Oros!?"
Emily stuttered in surprise, and then quickly motioned for Hilaria to come in. It was only after Hilaria had gone inside that she noticed the third member of their group, Samantha, who seemed just as shocked as Emily when their eyes met. Emily, however, decided to save this bit for later, worried about Oros, clearly. "Come in, come in! Close the door, could you?"
she left Sam with these instructions, which she followed before setting the grocery bag down on the nearest available surface.
Now people were gathered around Oros, who had finally been set down on the couch. "What happened, Oros? Can you hear me?"
Of course Emily being Emily, she wasn’t really alone. Her nature made her a magnet for certain kinds of people, and strays. One of such was a pink haired girl, who had been hovering around Emily for quite a while. First it was because of training, but these days was more of a routine, really. Someone had to keep an eye out for this cinnamon bun… And that weirdo sexy hag of Hilaria, as capable and strong as she was, had the discernment of a hungry boar sometimes. The other ones? Those were new, but one of them also felt familiar.
So Sakura, having finished her important meeting with the toilet, she scratched her back in a very unladylike manner, and eyed the whole scene. “This is bigger than a stray cat, Emily. Who the hell are these people? Hold on - The oppai Miko???”
She then eyed Oros. Not half bad as always, but she had a bad case of bleeds in the eyes? Still the body language was telling something was off. “Okay, step back, I should be able to defib her. “
She began charging her hands with a static jolt.
Sakura would not be able to approach, however. There was something long and sharp being held at her throat. Oros was awake, and holding her sword on the small girl.“There’s only room for one pink haired magical girl in this outfit and it’s- Oh, hey! I feel a lot better now!”
She gracefully hopped out of Hilaria’s arms. “This may look like a sword conjured by a horror whose existence defies all reality and understanding, but it’s actually a personal space stick. I just find sharp tips tend to let people know when they are getting too close.”
The sword seemed to vanish into thin air, being replaced by a roll of paper towels that she used to wipe her eyes with. Yes, the entire roll of paper towels. She was rubbing it all over her face before peeling away the soiled layers and dropping them in a waste bin. “Where was I?”
Oros turned to Emily and froze. Then she smiled. “Wow! Just the sight of you seems to have healed me completely!”
Emily scanned Oros' face for any signs of damage and only when it was clear to her there was none did she breathe a sigh of relief. "Oh, I'm so very happy to see you're alright!""Hilaria thinks so, too~!"
she chimed in. Samantha, however, remained mostly stoic. If anything, Emily grabbed her attention more by the occasional glances towards her. "Um,"
she turned to Hilaria. "Why did you bring her here, though? Wouldn't a hospital have been a better place if you thought it was serious?"
she asked the ancient.
Hilaria smiled. "Hilaria doesn't know where a hospital is~!"
she exclaimed almost like she was proud of it. "We were coming over for dinner anyways~" "I-is that so?"
By the tone of Emily's voice, one could easily discern that this was the first time she was hearing anything about this visit. Still, Emily didn't end up saying anything about it. Instead, she turned towards the dark-haired girl who had been quiet up to this point. "Sam? What a pleasant coincidence! I didn't know you guys knew each other."
Sam nodded. "Penrose does feel rather small at times, doesn't it? Anyway, I am not exactly familiar with your... friend here,"
she motioned with her head towards Hilaria, who had by this point grabbed the grocery bag and entered the kitchen. "She's just really concerned with feeding us for some reason.""She does love to eat with people. I don't think anyone has a bigger appetite, and she comes and goes almost like a stray cat... Oh, but she does bring a lot of her own ingredients and she can cook delicious food, so it's nice having her around."
Emily smiled. "I wish she would at least call beforehand so I could prepare..."
Emily suddenly perked up. "Oh, I need to introduce you to Sakura!"
she urged the little yakuza over and would continue once she was ready. "Sakura, this is Sam. We see each other at the park sometimes.""Hello." "Sam, this is Sakura."
she looked at the girl, as if to say, 'go head'.
Sakura eyed Oros warily. She had underestimated her crazy attitude. Definitely not safe to keep her around Emily. But it was too late to point out. Like mould, the presence of these colourful types seemed to grow and fester. Hilaria wasn’t that bad too. She only appreciated food. But Emily was too lenient.
“Hmph.” Sakura scoffed “She was never that harmed to begin with, Emily”. She answered to Oros cheap antics, before focusing on the newcomer. This Sam individual… did have a different aura than Emily. It was a very familiar sensation. But she had never expected to find it here. She was a capable killer, that much she was sure. Some kind of crook very much like himself, but with a better non tiny girl body. “Well met. If Emily says you’re welcome. You’re welcome.”And don’t overstay it.
Sakura didn’t add, but she kept tense and at the ready. Maybe she should go trim a bonsai for the time being.“Oh man, I was starting to feel unwelcome here. Glad tiny said something.”
Oros stretched her arms. “Think I’ll keep hilarious company, since I’m here and everything.”
She threw back her hood and walked after the abominable magical girl."Oh, okay!"
Emily watched for a second as Oros left, then turned back to Sakura and Sam. "Um,"
she glanced at the couch. "I don't know what Hilaria is making, but there's no reason to stand while she's cooking. Would you like a seat?"
she motioned towards the couch.
Samantha shrugged, moving her gaze which had been on Sakura until now to the piece of furniture. "Sure."
Not that the couch was especially large, but Sam took a seat on the end of one side and there was more than enough room for the other two. "And Hilaria mentioned making either chili or sloppy joes for dinner."
Emily had taken a spot in the middle of the couch. "Is that right?"
she glanced at the two of them. "Would you prefer to vote for it? I could go for some chili, but what about you two?"
Sam shook her head. "I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.""And you, Sakura?"
“Can’t we have some noodles?” She sighed, tired. She really missed cooking her own food. “Chilee it is. At least it doesn’t sound awful.”
Emily heard their answers and then raised her voice to inform Hilaria of the votes. She received an "Okie~" in response, and then Hilaria presumably went back to preparing. "So,"
Sam eyed Sakura, perhaps sensing something similar to what Sakura had. "If you don't mind my asking, how did you two meet?"
Sakura’s gaze did not leave Sam’s at any moment.”Training. Magical bodies sometimes take time to adjust.” She curtly stated. “Afterwards, Emily needs a person who can say “no” because she can’t say no for herself.”
Emily went to object, but Sam beat her to the punch. “She does seem like the sort.”
Sam’s tone was neutral, in contrast to Sakura’s as she commented. “By ‘adjust’, you mean you’re new to all of this?”
“If you spent your whole life as a man among men, this does take adjusting.” Sakura blurted out. Had she ever told Emily about this? She couldn’t remember. But the off-ness of Samantha was keeping her on edge, and prone to not think through. “I didn’t know that.”
Emily confessed. “But I hear it happens quite often. I’m sorry about that since I’m sure it’s difficult!”
Sam nodded. “It is certainly one of the less convenient side effects of the transformation. The ones who aren’t forced to change are lucky.”
Emily faced Sam. “Are you speaking from experience, then?”
she asked. “Oh, but you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to!”
she added, hoping not to offend.
That caused Samantha some pause, but she closed her eyes and ended up answering in the end. “I am,”
she confirmed. “I wasn’t as attached to that form as Sakura seemed to be, but even then I didn’t adjust immediately.”
Sakura’s stern gaze was briefly broken by Sam’s admittal. “...Yeah it’s kind of hard, Emily. One day you’re a father to a cute potato, and are married to a smoking hot wife, the next you have a car accident, and a rat tells you to become THIS.” Sakura said, pointing to herself. “No one ever takes me seriously anymore, I have to go through loops to get sake, and I can’t even fucking reach the counter in some places.” Sakura said. “I’d be crazy if I couldn’t trim my bonsai.”
“Not even a consolation prize.” She muttered under her breath. Maybe if she had Hilaria’s size, she’d not be so grumpy about it. “But I guess that’s the prize of being in the Yakuza. Instead of a pinky I lost… something else.”“Yakuza?”
Sam repeated. “Ah, yes, then… well, my condolences. Suppose even I am fortunate in comparison.”
There was at least at least genuine sympathy in that statement. “And… ‘rat’? A puchuu?”
Emily nodded. “We were introduced by our puchuu, actually.”“So you both…”
Samantha rubbed the back of her neck. “Careful around them. They’re worse than the Mint when it comes to trustworthiness, or so I hear.”
Sakura tilted her head, upon hearing the words. “I know. There’s very few trustworthy people in this world. Like Emily.” She added, her eyes on Sam. “Actually you know what? Chili is bound to get us very thirsty. We should get some more drinks... Tall-chan.”“An honorific? Oh, I suppose you are Japanese.”
Sam shook her head. “Guess it doesn’t matter. Call me what you will. But I could use a drink,”
she agreed and stood.
Emily seemed to jump up too. “Shouldn’t I grab the drinks?”
she asked, but it was almost like she was pleading. “I-I’m a host, after all…”“And I’m an uninvited guest,”
Emily looked dejected but she conceded, realizing Sam wasn’t going to back down.. "Oh, alright..."
Sam found it hard to look at her while she looked upset, and so glanced off to the side. "...Right. We'll be right back, don't look so down."
After saying this, the two exited the apartment and Samantha let Sakura guide her to a secluded place to speak. She crossed her arms, then eyed the tiny yakuza. "I assume you didn't just want me to get you alcohol?"
Sakura did not say much, just a mere “No.”, before her tiny body sprung into action, and dashed forward to deliver a high kick at the tall woman, aiming for the upper section of her vitals. She didn’t hold anything back. Well, if she was wrong, it was better to be safe than sorry.
Samantha was not taken by surprise judging by the explosive snap of her leg to check the kick. It probably didn't feel too great. Regardless, she took a stance by taking a small step forward with one foot, crouching only a little, and raising her back heel. If Sakura had any knowledge of martial arts, she would identify it as the active stance of Krav Maga.
She refrained from retaliating but her crimson eyes suggested she was ready to attack at any second, "Stop before you get yourself hurt."
"Mmm." Sakura, surprisingly, did not press the attack. "Yep, that was it. Sorry, I was baiting you." She relaxed her stance quite a bit. "You've killed people before, have you not, Tall-chan? Fists rarely lie about someone's… temperament." She shrugged.“Only if I can’t help it,”
"Won't hold it against you, tho. I'm not a fucking saint, either. But be careful to not expose
Emily to all of this. She is still at the age where girls think rainbow unicorn shits are cool." She scratched her head. "But I don't think you seem the sort to mouth off, anyway."
Samantha clearly was irritated at the 'test' Sakura thrust upon her. She narrowed her eyes and the warning. "They'll make anyone a magical girl if they can. But I don't have to tell you that,"
she stated as she returned to a more passive stance. "Mouthing off was a foolish and fatal mistake in my line of work, so I prefer to remain incognito where I am able to."
"Let's get some smokes while we are at it too. Can't really get one with Emily around, Tall-san".
She reached into a pocket, retrieving a small card. She glanced at it, and then immediately put it back. "It seems I am 21 or older tonight. But you can pay your own way, yes?"
“Of course I can.” Sakura said to herself, then quickly checking on the wallet, biting her lip and counting the meager money she had left. Umukamui wasn’t really concerned with the standards of living of her magical girls. And cheating in slot machines was near impossible because of her 9 year old body. That left handicrafts and cookie selling at times. And that wasn’t that much money. “Just hold on a second.”
She then ran towards home, once more… surely Emily could loan her a bit of money, right? Without questions… hopefully.
“Emily, could you… umm, lend me some change?” She said, in a sheepish manner. “I’ll make it up to you. I’ll even let you play with my hair.” Sakura said. Hopefully this Sam person wasn’t vindictive and would not rub this blatant sellout on her part.
Emily had been talking to Hilaria when Sakura entered. She immediately turned and looked worried at first, but she seemed relieved once she knew what Sakura wanted. But mostly at the bit about her hair. "Oh, I don't mind!"
she ducked into her room for a second, and then came out with her wallet. "Um, did you need a lot, or? O-oh, and would you be up for going to the beach when you get back?"
“Beach? Uh, sure.” Sakura half acquiesced Emily’s suggestion. Well, that would be a bridge to be crossed eventually. There was no nearby beach around, so hopefully she’ll be spared the embarrassment of being seen in a girly swimsuit. “You’re a lifesaver Emily!” She said, plundering some ill-gotten gains from Emily’s wallet. Also, Hilaria seemed up to something, but she always struggled to see her face from her point of view.
Emily was too happy with Sakura's acceptance to care too much about the funds. "Thank you! Oh, if you don't mind, could you ask Sam, too? Tell her I would really appreciate it!"
“Ask Tall-san? Hm.” Sakura thought for a second. Well, it was worth a shot. Tall people had sexy legs, right? Well, she had been a he once upon a time. Still probably good looking, though. “I’ll try. See you in a while, Emily.” Sakura said, as she then once again departed, to reach out for Sam.
“Tall-san! Thanks for the wait.” She addressed Samantha. “By the way, Emily is keen to go on a beach escapade. I blame oppai baba.” She then leant forward. “She wants you to come, too.”"She wants to go to the beach?"
Sam stopped leaning on the wall she had taken to while waiting. She rubbed her hands together for some warmth. "I didn't think people liked doing that in this sort of weather. Isn't it more of a summer deal?"
she asked. "I'd have to see what I'm doing on the day she wants to even if I wanted."
Sakura shrugged. “You know how these things are. You put the brain in the backseat and fuck around. But It seems Emily is keen on it. I mean, what’s the worst it could happen, that you have to apologize for not being able to come?.” Sakura pitched in. Emily had lent money, and even if she wasn’t particularly keen on this, she had to play devil’s advocate."I suppose."
Sam started to follow the sidewalk in the direction of the nearest convenience store that was still open, assuming Sakura would follow. "But I have bad experiences with the beach. There was this dumb dolphin that forced a lot of people into his weird beach dimension and that's a big reason why Penrose is in this terrible state right now."
She explained while walking. "Since Emily is apparently not new to the scene, I imagine she's aware of this. So to think she came up and asked yo---”
Samantha turned around abruptly. “...she came to you, right?”
"Well yes." Sakura replied. "And that's fucked up, man. Beach dimension hell…" she sighed. "Well at least there would be some bikini babes there I guess."“As long as you’re using your own money and not someone else’s,”
Samantha eyed Sakura for a second, then continued on her way.
The store she would lead Sakura to had nothing out of the ordinary about it. It was open and it was exactly what you would expect, and there was nobody aside from the young adult working there. Before they could get too close Sam stopped. “It’s probably better that you don’t show yourself. Should I be looking for a particular brand?”
Well, technically it was her money now. She’d just repay Emily later. “Uhuh.” She said to Samantha’s chastising. “Penrose’s Flower.” She answered. Yes, it was an awful brand, but Sakura needed to affirm her vanishing manhood once more."I wasn't aware Penrose had its own brand,"
she confessed, holding her hand out expectedly. When Sakura gave her the money, she said she'd be right back and then headed into the store.
About a minute later, Sakura would hear someone yell the word “its fake” followed by a loud thud. Samantha came out of the place shortly after at a brisk walking speed and holding a carton of cigarettes in one hand and a 12-pack in the other. She would then toss Sakura her cigarettes and continue walking, clearly in some kind of hurry. "We probably shouldn't dawdle around her for too long."
“...Did something happen?” Sakura said, as she shuffled to hide her smokes a bit better and began walking briskly. “We still need to get drinks, tho.”"Nothing important. The cashier fell asleep while I was in there. Rough job. Unrelated to that, I probably shouldn't show my face around this place for a bit."
She reached into one of her pockets and retrieved the card from earlier, casting it into a nearby storm drain. "I'll also need to talk to certain someone about their forgeries, but that can wait until later."
Samantha retrieved her phone and after some presses of the keys, turned direction. "There's a Penrose Dollar nearby that should be open if we hurry. We can get drinks there.”
“We need to work on your people’s skills, Tall-san… not that I’m good either.” Sakura sighed, as she proceeded to hurry.
Surprisingly, the visit to the other shop was pretty uneventful. Apparently the clerk wasn’t paid enough to care for fake id forgeries or underage drinking. He wasn’t asleep but he did look like his soul had been stolen or something. Rather creepy.
Both arrived with the drinks in two, as Sakura energetically opened the door.
“Oi, Emily, we’re back!” She said as she opened the door enthusiastically. It was then when her cigarettes’ packet dropped from her clothes. Her eyes bulged briefly before swiping it back to her clothes. She hoped Emily did not see that.
By the time Oros entered the kitchen, Hilaria had removed the contents of the grocery bag, and pulled some ground beef from Emily’s fridge that she herself had placed during an earlier visit. She turned to face Oros when she heard the girl enter. “Hiya~”
just as she said that, Emily told them what she and the others voted for dinner. “Okie~”
she acknowledged. “Did you change your mind, Oreos~?”“I dunno.”
Oros leaned on the counter. “It’s weird. Part of me is filled with regret that I failed, and feels like I should either fall on my sword, or rush out there and get to hunting.”
Oros sniffed the air before turning around and resting her elbows on the counter. “But it also feels different in here, you know? Like maybe there’s more to this magical girl stuff than just fighting and banging everything. I’m feeling things that I haven’t been able to feel in a long time.”
She sniffed the air. “I can even smell things. I mean I can hunt prey for miles, but I haven’t been able to smell vegetables for years!”
Oros flicked her eyes off to the side. “I also get the impression that Silly there won’t let me leave. Since Em and tater tot are all occupied, might as well come in here.”
Of course it had also been a very, very long time since Oros had seen Hilaria. As durable as the knight was, Oros had seen her die too many times to think she was invincible. Even if she was more durable than most. ”So uh, you doin’ alright? The thing with Dan still working out?”
Hilaria still seemed to be pondering what to make, but her hands were gliding over the beans as if she intended on picking them up, indicating that she was probably thinking chili. “Dan~? Mm, for now, at least~”
As she spoke, she decided to pull down a pot, and began retrieving other ingredients from the fridge. "Dan wants Hilaria to make people smile, though, so she's not sure if it'll last,"
she explained in a casual voice. She had found a couple of onions by this point and set them beside the rest of the ingredients. ”Yea, making people happy is hard.”
She didn’t really care what everyone wanted for dinner, Hilaria could eat like a horse, and so could Oros for that matter. There was no reason she couldn’t just make whatever and stay out of Hilaria’s way. Oros started to pull things out of her hammerspace to line the counter. An electric burger frier, her own cast iron cookware, the stuff was all in good shape, if well used. ”People can be unreasonable too. Like you meet a girl for the first time and they’re like ‘oh, I only date rich and powerful people.’ So you come back with a dragon’s hoard and the head of an ascendancy elite that you personally executed and YOU’RE the psychopath because you took them too literally.”
She took some of the ground beef and worked it into a patty by hand, while Hilaria began chopping onions. ”Dan is also just really boring. Like what are you even working towards dude? You wanna spread smiles and such, but look at what happened to Penrose because of his bullshit? He won’t preach to ME about happiness?”
She shoved the patty into the electric cooker and flipped it on. Now how did Su use to make them? Yes, she’d just cook them mostly, and then finish cooking them in the pan. Then it was just American cheese followed by a heap of bacon and mushrooms. ”Whatever, having access to the beach dimension is cool. So is the ability to pin your opponent with your tits.”
She set a pan on the stove top and cranked it up to medium high.
Hilaria threw in the onions she had been chopping along with some beef she had prepared into the pot. “Mmm, Hilaria finds every patron pretty boring~ They tend to get repetitive once you’ve been with a few, even a horror. It’s all excuses, lies, hypocrisy, ignorance or,”
Hilaria opened her mouth and made some noise that didn’t sound physically possible to make by a human, presumably to mock a horror. “...but Dan has good food so he’s better than most~!”
she explained nonchalantly. With the stove on, Hilaria began breaking the beef up, but stole a glance at Oros’ project, before continuing. “Hilaria thinks you’re better off ignoring the people who want material items as a requirement for affection~ They’re the ones that cheat~!” ”I dunno, I think when magical girls more or less live forever, it’s less a matter of ‘if’ and more a matter of ‘when’ they will do something.”
The burger had been shocked into submission, but it needed to be browned up a bit. The bacon was sizzling away in a pan, and would have the mushrooms added to it at the appropriate time. Everything needed to be ready at the same time to make the perfect burger, so that meant she had to start cooking things at the right time. She moved the patties into their own pan. ”Anyway, I don’t really care what other people do. If one of my flings wants to fling with a bunch of other people that’s cool. It’s like I always say, having sex with everyone makes you a slut, but having sex with everyone but me makes you a bitch!”
She looked at Hilaria. ”I don’t think you can get screwed so long as they’ve given you a reason to provide them anything.”
Hilaria was letting the meat and chopped onions cook. She seemed pretty interested in those burgers, but then Oros said a certain word. “Shh~!”
she placed a finger over Oros’ lips. “Hilaria doesn’t want Emily fainting before she eats~”
she peered over at the others, and it seemed like they were too busy talking to have heard. Hilaria gave a sigh of relief as she removed the finger. “Well, Hilaria was just giving friendly advice~ But you are a bit less ignorant than she would think if you understand that such behavior is inevitable~”
she complimented? “Hilaria takes it carnal pleasures are your hobby~?”
The question caused Oros to pause longer than she should have. ”Mmmm, It’s one of my hobbies.”
She dumped the mushrooms in with the bacon. ”The three F’s are my hobbies: Fighting, feeding, and fucking.”
Oros said that last part a bit more quietly than normal, just in case that would make Emily faint too. ”I’d still like a real damn partner though, you know? I mean being able to sate all of your desires is one thing.”
Once she was satisfied with how everything had been cooked, she layered everything onto a bun. Meat patty, slice of American cheese, crispy bacon, and mushrooms that were moist and lightly battered in bacon grease. When she put the top bun on, it pressed some of the mushrooms out. With her creation done, she took a bite out of it. ”Mmmmmmm! Just like mom use to make!”
She set the burger off to the side and prepared to make another one. ”How about you, Hilarious? You’ve gotta have wants aside from just eating and saving people, right? Maybe a desire to get stronger, or go on an amusement park ride?”
Before speaking, she once again eyed the burger. Her eyes seemed to light up a bit more than usual. But she addressed Oros' question. "Mmm, nope~ Hilaria's lived long enough that she probably would be the strongest magical girl~ Some people think that sounds good, but in reality, all that does is attract attention from bad people~"
Hilaria explained. Her eyes moved up to Oros'. "Oh, wait~ Of course, Hilaria does care about more than food, even if she only recently realized that~ One is family, and the other..."
Hilaria leaned close enough to Oros that she could see every bit of Hilaria's chest that she could while there were clothes on. The girl reached into her shirt, between her breasts, and then produced a bottle of something. "...is to repay the kindness others have shown her."
It was only now that Oros could see exactly what the bottle was.
Oros blinked a few times. ”Huh?”
She took a closer look at the bottle. It was familiar to her. Dan gave away this particular brand of lotion in his beach dimension. Though its significance was lost on Oros. ”Well, I dunno what I did to deserve this, but thanks, I guess?”
She reached for the bottle. ”If it gets too sunny, I’ll be sure to put it on.”
She reached for the bottle so that she could stash it in her hammer space.
Hilaria pulled it away. "Oh, Hilaria won't let you worry about that~ She knows how difficult it can be to reach every place~"
she smiled. "On a completely unrelated note, are you a fan of the beach~?"
The gears in Oros’s head started to turn. At first, Oros thought Hilaria was just happy to be in the presence of a good burger. But it was becoming evident that it wasn’t Oros that Hilaria was trying to help out, it was Mika
. And while her actions over the beach vacation varied between timelines, it wasn’t hard to picture what Mika might have done to Hilaria in this one.
Oros felt conflicted. Anyone who read this far into the RP likely knows that Oros isn’t one to shy away from any type of intimacy, and no longer being a monster girl didn’t remove that. But Hilaria wasn’t really her type. She did have that cute personality, but getting dominated by someone so thicc just wasn’t her style. Well, she might enjoy it, but she also might not
enjoy it. She was a lot more sensitive now, and Hilaria looked like she lacked, erm, finesse. If only Mika had played with Emily that day.
At least Oros was stronger now. She wasn’t a monster, but her strength was on par with Hilaria’s. I mean, they were both 16, and while she wasn’t as durable, she was swifter and was confident that her ability to change shapes would let her escape anything the giant woman could muster. A confident smile crossed her face, and she picked up her burger. ”So you think you know who I am, eh?”
She ate the burger in a single bite. Su always said that it was better to chew your food, but it always seemed like you got a lot more flavor when you finished off the whole thing in one bite. ”Very well, Hilarious. I consider you a worthy opponent!”
She pumped her fist. ”Our battle will be legendary!”
Her hand reached for one of the cast iron frying pans. That combo suggested in the patch notes looked like it might slow down Hilaria long enough to escape.
Oros had made two fatal mistakes: One was thinking that the devs ever knew how to play their games optimally. The other, of course, was assuming that Hilaria, who had been alive for millennia, wasn't skilled with her hands. It would seem that in none of her alternate timelines did she ever successfully pursue Hilaria. But back on track…
Hilaria might not have been able to keep up with Oros' speed, but she was capable of doing something a lot more effective. "Stop,"
she ordered. "This isn’t Hilaria’s kitchen. Please do not cause a commotion."
There was a weight to these words suggesting that Oros was about to cross a line she probably shouldn't.
The pan hovered beside Hilaria’s head for a moment, trembling in Oros’s hand. But after a moment of thought, she retracted the instrument. ”Yea, that wouldn’t be very good. No point making a mess of Emily’s home. Gotta say, it’s really weird to see you acting all sensible and shit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this.”
She scratched her chin. ”Since you’re in a serious mood, maybe you can help me after all.”
She set the frying pan back down. ”I do like going to the beach, but not if it’s empty. Having said that, it’s better than this frozen ass hole we call Penrose. So maybe we can all enjoy some sunshine on this cold, lonely night.”
She looked back in the direction of the living room. ”Not to mention it’s been a while since I’ve seen Em in a bikini. Tater tot probably wouldn’t look too bad either.”"Dan's always looking for company~"
she immediately returned to the more cheerful Hilaria once it became clear the kitchen wasn't in danger. "Hilaria doesn't mind, but that depends on the others~"
Hilaria moved over to see what the others were doing, only to find Emily was alone. "Did they abandon you, Emily~?"
Emily nearly hopped up. "O-oh, no! They went to get drinks, that’s all! I don't think they'll be too long!"
The ancient seemed a bit skeptical of this but soon shrugged. "Well~ Oreo wanted to know if you guys wanted to go to the beach to eat and relax~?"
Emily seemed a bit confused. "Uh, the beach? Isn't it late... and how far away is the nearest beach, anyway? Um, I'm just not sure..."
Hilaria narrowed her eyes but still smiled. "Emily, you know Hilaria's patron is Dan, yes~?" "A-ah, wait, that's... right..."
Clearly embarrassed, Emily looked away. "I-in that case, y-yeah. But only if Sakura and Samantha want to."”Well, looks like one of them is here.”
Oros figured it was probably best to let Emily handle Sakura as much as possible. She got the impression she’d say no outright if she asked her themselves.
Emily did end up asking Sakura, and also apparently giving the small girl an allowance? Hilaria didn’t care about that part, though. Instead, a moment later, Hilaria turned back to the aspiring chili and checked on it. "Sakura says yes so that only leaves one, but probably the least likely one to accept~"
Hilaria turned back to Oros. "But Hilaria isn't particularly confident she'll comply~"”Well, I’ve got a plan if she refuses.”
Oros chuckled darkly. ”I know all of her weaknesses.”
She resumed cooking another burger. ”We’ll just have to wait for her to get back here before I go through with it.”
She froze in place while the burger zapper was doing its thing. ”Hilarious? You said that you realized your family was important to you. Was that like a real family or just your friends?”"Thee jest?!"
Hilaria broke character for a second. "O-oh, wait, Hilaria did say that, didn't she~? My, how embarrassing~”
The giggle that followed sounded rather fake. She seemed to realize she wasn't able to pretend she didn't say it. "Ah, well, Hilaria guesses that part came out subconsciously. It is only her sister that she cares about~ Hilaria has no friends."”That is… very unfortunate.”
Oros threw a few more slices of mushrooms in with the sizzling bacon. ”If I can’t get Silly to come along, perhaps we can go to the beach ourselves. I would like to go back there at least one more time.”“If you really want, Hilaria supposes she could take you~”
Hilaria watched the pot of chili. It probably wouldn’t be too long before it was ready to eat. “Hilaria looks forward to seeing your strategy, though~ Sam seems like the negative Nancy sort~”
Oros did not have a response for her plus sized companion. She continued to make burgers in silence.
Everyone was seated around a fairly modest sized table, but it was stacked to the brim with goodies. Hilaria’s chili sat in the center surrounded by a hedge of burgers. It was an unusual arrangement, but those with bigger appetites would welcome the additional food items. ”Now that’s a meal.”
Oros commented out loud before sitting back in her chair. ”We could say grace, but since every god we know exists I think the best thing we can do is ignore giving any of them reverence to make it fair to all of them.”
Oros dipped her burger into a bowl of chili she had scooped out for herself. ”So the beach, was that something that any of you felt like going to?”
Emily was not about to let anyone else take her job as a host and so she ensured that everyone had a bowl of chili sitting before them. Hilaria, however, had scooped a little bit more into hers while Emily was busy with the others. Once Emily was done, she took a seat and got herself a bowl as well. "I'd love to hang out with you guys there, but..."
she glanced at Samantha expectedly.
Sam was inspecting her bowl of chili, initially oblivious to the unspoken question. Her eyes almost seemed to glow as it scanned the food, apparently looking for something. This act seemingly irritated Hilaria, who spoke up. "Hilaria isn't the subtle type~"
she informed, causing Sam to look up at her. "And it wouldn't do to keep Emily waiting~""Huh?"
Sam's attention was now on the girl who was, somehow, still smiling. "Oh, well, the beach..."
she scratched the back of her neck. "I'm not exactly a fan of it, I'll be honest. Not since... the incident."
“Uh, you mean that about being trapped with a bunch of girls with bikinis for months?” Sakura said, greedily pigging herself out on the food, and being so brazen as to attempt to steal a couple of burgers from Hilaria while she was speaking. Nobody had told her about the burgers. “I mean, It’d suck a bit. But then again seeing oppai baba in a bikini must be quite the sight.” She added. “To be fair, beaches aren’t my thing either, but I can find the freshest fish for sashimi there soo…”
On the outside, Oros looked a little blue, somber even. To the physical eye, she would look genuinely saddened by her companion’s unwillingness to partake in something like a romp on a beach. But deep inside Oros’s blackened heart was a demon, and it was grinning ear to ear. This demon did not know what playing fair was, only that it sought out victory at any cost. And with the chips as they lay, it was time for Oros to snatch up what she yearned for.”I have to tell you something, Em.”
Oros placed her hands together. ”You noticed that I look a little different, right? That’s because the magic in my body has been altered.”
She closed her eyes. ”It’s been changed in such a way that I can no longer return to my home. Through purification, I have effectively been exiled from my home. There is a very real possibility that I may never return.”
She used her finger to wipe a tear away from her eye. An honest to god, real tear. ”While it was not a happy place, I will not be able to return to my parent’s grave, which I try to visit on the anniversary of their death every year. I do not believe I will be able to make it back this year, or possibly any year.”
With a loud snill, she slid closer to Emily. ”A-anyway, I don’t want to ruin everyone’s dinner, so I won’t speak of it again. I just wanted you to know that I’m really, really grateful we met that day. Even when I had so much, you still had room in your heart to feed me your waffle.”
She pulled her into a tight hug. She looked at everyone else at the table. ”I consider each and every one of you friends. But if you guys don’t want to come to the beach for any reason, that’s understandable.”
She rested her head on Emily’s shoulder. ”But I think I can be happy as long as Em is there with me.”
To nobody's surprise, Emily tearfully returned the hug. "Oh, that's so very horrible! I'm sorry to hear that! Of course, I'd love to go!"
she cried. The story had seized Emily's sympathy undoubtedly. The same could not be said about Samantha or Hilaria, however, as one was busy trying to hide bloodlust towards Sakura for stealing her food and the other was busy rolling her eyes. "A real tear-jerker."
Sam scoffed, seemingly unmoved by the tale. She scooped some chili up in her spoon and ate it.
“Girl had it rough it seems.” Sakura said, as she focused on the chili. That bloodlust was much more abnormal than she had initially expected on the silly Oppai Baba and she didn’t want to risk limb for food. Nevertheless, the display the other oppai Miko was doing on Emily… she felt something was odd about this. Emily was being Emily, but Sakura couldn’t help but to remember how easy it was to get Emily to do something when acting cute. Her eyes went from Emily to the Chili bowl, to Hilaria’s burgers, to Hilaria’s other burgers
, the clingy Oros and finally, Sam. “You deserve to have all our support. We will make sure that you and Emily don’t feel alone
.” The tiny magical girl said.Come on, Sam, no bikini humiliation is enough to deter us from saving this cinnamon bun from being roped in the insanity of these two!
She thought herself mentally, hoping the stunted assassin would at least get the not-so-subtle hint. “Right, Sam?”
Sakura could hear Sam's expression saying, "The hell are you on about?"
, and the girl opened her mouth so that the other could, too. But just in that moment, she looked up to Emily, whose bottom lip had begun trembling in anticipation. Sam looked away for a moment. "I don't think..."
She looked back up, greeted with the same sight. "It's not really something I..."
Emily's lip trembled again. "...I suppose...I can..."”Wooooooowwwwwww...”
Oros kept one hand on Emily as she cast her eyes over Sakura and Samantha. ”Well I’m glad you two are willing to join us even if it might not be something you normally wanna do. I’ll make sure the event is extra special for everyone.”
After winking at Sakura (or was it Samantha?) she turned to Hilaria. ”Don’t worry too much about the burgers, Hilarious. I can always make more. Especially if we have access to Dan’s food planet.”
Hilaria shook her head. “Hilaria doesn’t think we should rely on drugs tonight~”
she declined, before resuming her meal.
"How kind of you." Sakura said, glaring daggers at the blatant hand on Emily. There was something called personal space. Her eyes rested on Sam.I am risking a lot of embarrassment with someone I just met. And she feels under the weather. Maybe i will buy her some booze and spar with her after this… it won't be easy…
As she was eating, Samantha’s pace began to slow once she noticed Sakura was eying her again. She swallowed her food before trying to speak. “Did you need something? Oh, wait. I should probably ask:”
she looked at the rest of the group. “When was this beach trip planned?”“Huh?”
Emily somehow managed to pry herself away from Oros for a moment. “Did Sakura not tell you?”
Sam shook her head in response, adding a firm “no”. She held a troubled expression for a moment.
Suddenly, another voice answered. “It’s tonight~!”
Hilaria spoke, having finished her portion already. Oddly, she did so without making a mess of herself. “As soon as everyone is ready, we can go~”“...you mean right now? At this current moment?”“Yup~”“...at this time of day? localized entirely in this room?”“You betcha~”
She pleaded with her eyes for someone else to make sense of this as she was clearly befuddled.
Having been pried off of Emily (who she would have released her had she only asked, you degenerate) Oros leaned over to Samanta. ”Oh come on Silly! You don’t have to literally pretend to be the nickname I gave you.”
Oros’s smile was a little wider than it should have been. ”What beach is there that could be sunny at this time of night that we have access to?”
She scooted behind Samantha’s seat so that she could whisper into her ear. ”I know you heard me talk about Dan’s food planet. I wasn’t talking about just any Dan, Silly. Surely you know of a swimming mammal that goes by that name?”
Samantha inhaled deeply, then exhaled. That was all she did before asking, "But why?"”Because we’re in a frozen shit hole right now, and a warm beach where everyone gets to wear a-”
Oros erupted into laughter. ”You know why I want to go, but regardless of what type of person you are, I don’t see what’s so important in Penrose. Aside from a few places to eat, the place is a ghost town. ”
“You mean that place where those people get abducted, right. And you want to send Emily there. Of course you’d not tell us, because we would say no.” Sakura cut, her glare visibly sharpening. “You didn’t mention it was that place.” She said, as she eyed her chili bowl. “Fucker.” She restrained herself from punching the table. “I will go, because Emily asked of me. But Sam stays. I’m not willing to put her through that wringer. It doesn’t feel alright.” The tiny girl frowned.”I didn’t think we were being all that subtle about it.”
Oros folded her arms. ”But I think Silly is capable of making her own choices. She certainly doesn’t need a tater tot telling her what to do.”
Oros took her seat. again ”Dan can’t mess up that bad twice in a row. Besides, if things did get out of hand, which they won’t, wouldn’t you rather have Silly with us?”“It’s alright, Sakura. I appreciate your concern.”
Sam gave up. “I already knew deep down, I was just holding on to the hope there was a second dolphin with a beach. I’ll go since I already said yes. I’m just not sure it’s worth it...”
Sam clearly had more to say, but as if a frightening thought crossed her mind, her face went a little pale.
Emily was delighted, evidenced by the warm smile she wore. She did seem concerned by how ghastly Sam started to look. Naturally, she tried to cheer the girl up. “Oh, thank you! It’ll be worth it, I’m sure about this! You don’t have to worry about a thing!”
The girl promised, even giving a small clap in excitement. “Yeah, sure…”
It didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Sam, however.
Oros would find the most giddy member of the cast looking at her gleefully. “Looks like we’ll all be there for you on the beach! Um, If you need something though, let me know.”
Not too many moments later did Hilaria stand from the table abruptly. “Wonderful~! Since we’re going, Hilaria will make the portal-”
She smiled at Emily. “-outside~! So if she could have you guys bring the food with you, she’ll do the rest~”
She left the apartment immediately after that, and Emily stood up in response. “I’ll grab the pot! If you guys could bring the dishes you were using, then we’ll be set!”
The group entered through the portal and ended up at their destination. There wasn’t really anything unique about this, other than the fact that they would notice they were in their swimsuits, and of course that the weather was a lot warmer than before. Humid, too.
Hilaria was a few steps ahead of the rest of the group, gazing around the place, as if looking for someone. “Danny~? Danny~? Are you there~?”
she called out. Meanwhile, Emily was looking at everyone else as they entered to make sure nobody was left behind, while Samantha, despite having gone through the portal as Emily could confirm if need be, had somehow disappeared the moment there weren’t eyes on her.
Oros stretched her arms as she walked through the portal. For those who can’t remember how she looked, or if you are reading this RP long after the URL has been corrupted, it was a white, frilly bikini. Accompanying her attention grabbing swimsuit was a larger than life sun hat, which was decorated with a pink ribbon.
Once Oros was done stretching, she looked at Emily. ”Woah! You make that swimsuit look really good Em! You might wanna think about being a model or something.”
Emily’s response was to turn a little red and mumble something in embarrassment, before letting Oros turn to Sakura. ”You um, you like pink, huh, Tater tot?”
Sakura, for her part, was too busy screaming internally to gaze at the other girls in a bikini, looking at how herself had been given the most horrid pink swimsuit she had the displeasure to see. The fact that her body was far too underdeveloped to even fill it out only added insult to the injury. She had been addressed by the Oppai Miko, and after a few moments of staring at how well the other girl filled that out, she spoke.
"No. But my patron saw fit to give me pink everything to make a pun on my name. I hate that rat." Sakura said, not liking being called tot by the other girl. Rage was however, winning over the feeling of shame as she clenched her fists in defiance. She would not run away. She was going to keep tabs on Emily, and perhaps make sashimi out of the sick fuck who ruled this place.
Dan appeared shortly after Hilaria called out to the Lesser Force in a blue swirl of magic. This time he was back to wearing his sombrero. “Hilaria! How good it is to see you again!” He squeaked in joy. “And you brought new friends! How wonderful!” Dan teleported next to Sakura, and the pink-haired girl would realize he was tiny enough even for her to be taller as the being excitedly took her hand for a handshake of a kind with his fins. “My name’s Dan the Dolphin, but you can call me Dan for short! Welcome to Isla Paradiso! Now, what can I get you, miss? Maybe a strawberry milkshake? A raspberry ice cream? Oh, I know, a blueberry pie!” As he listed the items, they appeared floating behind him.
“Dolphin Sashimi with a side of shut the fuck up.” Sakura said, her irritation just growing at how the little shit who kinda remembered him to the rat, but dumber, had appeared before her. “You got any hard liquor over here?” She then said. If there was one thing that could keep her going onwards with such pink cutesy smorgasbord of a swimsuit, that thing was liquid courage.
Dan was aghast, his beak open wide and eyes popping out in cartoonist fashion. "Aah, good heavens, the vulgarity! And I thought you'd be a sweet girl with the pink palette!"“Sakura!”
Emily raised her voice, but only slightly. If it weren’t for the pot in her hands, she probably would’ve put them on her hips. “Please do not be rude to Dan! He is kind enough to let us come here.”
The brown-haired girl looked at the dolphin with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry about that, but thank you for having us!”
Dan managed to smile again despite the shock, and nodded to Emily. "I-It's fine. I sometimes forget how some of you can look much younger. Anyway, I'm happy to see you again too, Emily."
Before she decided to butt into the conversation, Hilaria could be seen looking around, perhaps searching for something. Apparently giving up, she spoke. “Danny, Hilaria made some chili and you should try some~! Oh, and somebody wanted to see you very badly~”
she waved Oros down. “Didn’t you~?””Hmm?”
Oros had set up all the cookware on a table, and had a propane cooker set up to resume heating stuff if needed. But she wasn’t tending the cooking station at the moment. She had a flood light in both hands, and was shining them directly into her shadow. ”I don’t think I ever said I wanted to see Dan specifically.”
She swung the lights over to Hilaria’s shadow. ”But it is nice to hear your squeaky, cartoon voice again Dan! If only there was a way to make it come through text better, everyone could hear it!”
She aimed the lights under Sakura and Dan. A broad smile came across her face as she walked over to Emily. ”But since you’re here, maybe we can play a little game…”
Oros moved the light into Emily’s shadow, gradually illuminating it. ”Once we’re all accounted for.”
Some sound similar to a mix between a squelch and a groan, came from Emily’s shadow once the light was shone on it. Emerging as if made from tar, Samantha stood up now wearing her swimsuit and glared at Oros. “You’re such a mea--”
she cleared her throat. “--um, I’ve returned.”
Sam announced. “We’re all accounted for.”
Despite initially being confused about the shadow thing, Emily perked up. “Oh, that’s great! But,”
she looked at Oros. “What game are we playing?”
she asked, unconsciously handing Hilaria the chili pot when the girl held out her hands. Hilaria proceeded to place it on the table as the rest figured out what they were going to do.
"Chili? Oh hi Samantha!" The dolphin-like being squeaked in surprise, followed by waving his fins to greet Samantha! "I love chili! The spiciness feels like a party in one's mouth! I can't wait to try some!" He turned to Oros when she spoke to him, and smiled. "Well yeah. It would be a lot of work to link a voice clip to every line of my text, wouldn't it?" He answered, seemingly sharing in Oros' strange perspective on the word. "I gotta say, you remind me of this one really nice catgirl. I sometimes wonder where they are now." ”I’m sure she’s continuing her misadventures with her friend. Though I’m sure your memory is in her heart somewhere.”
Oros rapped her fingers on her collar bone. ”You can just call me Oros. It’s simpler that way.”
Dan then blinked, having realized something. "Oh, right! You asked for hard liquor, right?" He clapped his fins,and a glass appeared floating before Sakura. "Here you go, some hard apple cider. Don't drink it all at once, ok?"
Sakura eyed Emily before letting a frown. Or at least it would be, if her frame didn’t make it an automatically indignant pout. Sakura winced slightly at seeing Samantha. She should not have trusted any word that came from Oros’ mouth. How come Emily was led by this girl by the nose? It was painful to watch.
And there was the cider. She raised an eyebrow at the gesture, before taking the glass and fought the temptation to shower the dolphin in the beverage. Emily was right in the regard that despite these individuals pushing a lot of buttons, at least the cartoonish Lesser Force was forthcoming with his help. So she just drank it in one go, and sighed.
“Oh whatever, let’s get this over with.” She said, eyes with a tired expression.
Oros counted everyone present. Her finger jumped off their heads from a distance one at a time.”Silly, Hilarious, Em, Tater tot, Dan, And yours truly! Why, that’s six!”
She grinned and placed a hand under her chin. ”Well we could play anything! Volly ball, hot potato, cards against humanity, tug of war, but what might be an interesting game to play is… KAAAAAN JAAAAAAAM!”
Without waiting long enough for anyone to react, Oros suddenly looked really flustered. ”Oh my! Don’t tell me no one’s heard of it!?!? Well, it goes something like this.””So yea, you just kind of take turns throwing frisbees at something that’s vaguely shaped like a 55 gallon drum, but smaller! So we could split up into three teams of two and play a few games. We’d just need to decide on teams!”
Oros looked over everyone again. ”Well, since Silly, Hillarious, and Em are all controlled by the same player, they should each be on different teams.”
Oros pointed at Dan. ”You’re Hillarious’s patron, so you two would be on the same team.”
Her hand swung over to Sakura. ”Silly and you have both been giving me the stink eye since I showed up, so that means you two should be on the same team.”
She threw her arms out to the side and walked straight towards Emily. ”Which means Em and I get to be on the same team? Isn’t this a great arrangement everyone? I know it is!”
“Only to further your own goals.” Sakura said. “Why don’t let Emily choose for once which game and whose team she wants?”
Hilaria flexed her arm. “We’ll win this, Hilaria knows it~!”
Samantha even seemed to get energetic, giving a thumbs up to the idea, but she didn’t say anything.
Dan was excited, two stars having replaced his eyes. “Kan Jam sounds awesome!” He transformed on the spot, taking the bluish-hued form of a fantastical female. “I would love to be Hilaria’s partner this time.” Her warm gaze turned towards Emily. “Unless Emily would like to play something else?”
Being put on the spot so suddenly, Emily got a little flustered. “O-oh, I’m fine just doing something we can all enjoy!”
she pushed her two index fingers together, not used to this much attention. “I, um, can go with anyone, really.”
Emily seemed to hesitate a little before asking, “Did you not like your pairing, Sakura?”
Sakura folded her arms. “To be fair, it would be nice to be paired with you. Never a dull moment.” Sakura added. “Just pointing it out that nothing is as clear cut as oppai miko-chan wants. Kinda pushy towards her trying to have quality time with you above everyone else’s.” The pink haired girl said. “Tall-chan’s alright by me. She seems to be more sensical than most things in this dimension-beach thing.” “Thanks!”
Sam said with a rather strange amount of glee for an assassin.
Oros wasn’t paying much mind to Sakura’s rant. Instead she was eyeing Samantha with wide open eyes. Though as time progressed, her eyes started to close again to a more neutral position. ”...Well, I don’t really appreciate attacks on my character, Tater tot. You don’t see me complaining about how much time you spend with Em. Yet all the same, I think you would take issue with a foul mouthed brat being Em’s sole room mate. Honestly, you sound like a mobster sometimes.”
She spun on her heel. ”Maybe it’s too soon to all play a game together. we should get to know each other a bit better! Come on everyone, look at this!”
Oros distanced herself from everyone and pulled several large sacrificial
alters out of her hammer space and lined them up side to side. ”I’m actually a photographer! Well, as a hobby. I really like taking group selfies, and the beach is one of my favorite places to do it.”
A stack of papers appeared under Oros’s hand. ”Alright, let me just go through these real- whoa! That’s a spicy one, haha!”
It took Oros only a few seconds to go through the stack, at which point less than half of the pictures remained. ”As I was saying, I like to go to the beach and take pictures with myself and other people. So um, here’s a few of my favorites.”
The first picture that Oros set out was a pretty standard self portrait of a couple. Oros was gleefully smiling, with one arm extending out of the frame towards the camera and another coiled around Mika’s waist. The cat girl seemed to be enjoying herself, holding two cups of fruit punch and sipping both of them through curly straws. It was also evident by the alien sky that these pictures had to have been taken in a world similar to Dan’s beach dimension.
Emily had been wearing a rather anxious expression while Sakura and Oros had a spat, but was calming down. She peered at the photos and smiled. “You really like taking pictures?”
she asked. “Um, it’s a good photo! You both look so happy!” “It is very wholesome, isn’t it?”
Sam agreed, even smirking along with Emily.
Meanwhile, Hilaria had been rather quiet, but she did come to see the picture. Her expression betrayed a mild confusion and she opened her mouth to speak, yet stopped herself. As her typical smile returned, she nodded profusely. “Must have been some really good fruit punch~!”
Sam looked at the ancient weird. “You think it’s that!?”
but all she saw in response was that Hilaria grinned mischievously.
Dan frowned as Oros had a change of heart, and transformed back to dolphin form. “Okay then, let’s see it...Ooh, so pretty!” He exclaimed in awe upon seeing the picture. “What a fun place! I would definitely like to visit there someday. And that fruit punch looks super delicious too! Actually, how about we all have some fruit punch together?” With a clap of his fins, coconut mugs with decorative umbrellas appeared for everyone, filled with sweet-smelling fruit mixes.
“Let’s have a toast to all of us for having gathered here for a fun day!”
“Pictures. Bleh.” Sakura grumbled as she just eyed it just to afford a minor courtesy, as the oppai Miko kept losing points in her eyes in that regard. “You call me a mobster, then decide games are not worth your time, so you shove us with pictures. You make me fucking sick.” Sakura added as she eyed the Dolphin.
“No, not for me. I’m leaving.” Sakura said, obviously feeling the exact opposite of Joy at this moment.
Oros suppressed a growl, and didn’t stop layering pictures across the alters. She did briefly stop to accept a drink from their gracious host. ”I didn’t say I wouldn’t play. I just thought we could all talk a bit before engaging in a competitive sport. No one’s stopping you from sharing your hobby, ya know?”
Most of the pictures Oros set out were largely the same. Various pictures of her posing with someone else on the beach. Her pose was almost identical in each frame. In fact, it would be conceivable that she was photoshopping herself were it not for the fact that the lighting on Oros’s features seemed to change from picture to picture. Most of the people she was posed with looked familiar, even if no one present had actually met them. The most different looking picture of the bunch was one with Lily, or at least it looked like Lily. She had her arm wrapped around Oros’s neck and had her pulled close. It must have been rather sudden, as Oros looked like she had been caught unaware, and the camera's angle was a little off.”But hey, I’m willing to compromise.”
Oros set down the last picture, but she held her hand over who it was with. In fact, Oros’s pose was even a bit different. She seemed to be using both
hands to hold whoever was on the other side. ”If Tater tot isn’t going to stick around unless she plays with Em, I’ll let her play a game with her. Hell, I don’t even need to be in the first game. We can play a few times and this way everyone gets to play with everyone.”
She rubbed the bridge of her nose. ”But if we’re going to do that, we’re going to need one more player.”
When oros turned around, she hoisted herself onto the altar and sat down on top of the picture. ”Hey Silly.”
She looked directly at Samantha. ”Wanna summon your ultra cute twin? Playing games really seems like her style, and I’m sure she’d love to join us.”
The corners of Oros’s lips lifted slightly.“Ah? Eh?”
Sam was a deer in the headlights after Oros asked the question. Once she had recovered, she began to fidget. “Um, well, the thing is…“
Pressing her two index fingers together, she apparently struggled to find the words, casting an occasional glance at Emily, or rather, somewhere beneath Emily.
Emily until this point had just been relieved to see a compromise hopefully being considered by Sakura, while Hilaria took interest in Oros’ idea. “Twin~? Does Sammy have a sibling~?”
she looked upon Sam with interest. “Um,”
Emily piped up. Even she could notice the looks Sam was giving her. “Is something the matter?”
she asked, innocently.“No! It’s, uh,”
she ended up backing away from the group a few steps, a bit overwhelmed all of the sudden. “Erm, how do I say this…?”
For the observant eye, it wouldn’t be hard to catch that Sam was lacking a specific trait beneath her.
Dan had observed the group silently after the toast, feeling that the tiny bit of tension hadn't fully cleared yet between the girls. “It’s okay, Sammy!” He intervened, giving her an encouraging smile. “I can get us enough players for the game.” With a clap of her fins, he created a portal, out from which plopped down a mermaid; she seemed to be sitting at a rock and basking in sunlight. “I would like to introduce you all to Neito, my friend from the sea!”
Neito seemed frightened at first, until she recognized Dan. “Oh, hello there. It is good to see you again, Dan. But, why did you-”
“Oh right, first we’ve gotta give you a makeover!”
Dan zapped her with a blue beam, and she transformed; her fish tail turned into a pair of human legs, and the fins on her head also disappeared. As a result, she transformed into a fully human girl, with no piscine qualities.
“KIAAAH!” She screamed, and stumbled backwards into the sand in a soft thud. “W-what is this? Where is my tail?”
Dan dropped down next to her and smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll turn you back later. But now, let’s play some KAN JAM! Oros here can explain the rules to you. Hilaria, Sakura and Sammy, let’s set up the goal drum and other stuff!”
“Uh. A mermaid. Wonder if eating her will make me immortal.” Sakura said offhandedly. ”Sounds like Tater tot is interested in Tuna, Maybe she can explain the rules to her.”
Oros stood up, but the picture had adhered itself to her backside. But she didn’t seem to care about that. She was far more interested in Samantha. ”You know, it’s really hard to tell if you’re Silly or not. You look just like your twin, and without your text color edited in because Dalton added it in last, I’m none the wiser. I guess you could say that you two could swap places if you wanted to. And with your aversion to being seen in a swimsuit, It would make sense if you did. ”
‘Samantha’s’ nervousness only got more pronounced. “Eh?! No, no! She--erm, I would never do such a thing!”
Oros stroked her chin while looking at the mini BBQ that had been set up. ”I did shine a light on everyone’s shadow, but not everything. The chili pot managed to miss my inspection. Em was still holding it, and she passed it off to Hilarious. I suppose that means your twin could be hiding in either of their shadows, if not around the BBQ area.”
She pointed her flood light at Emily’s feet. ”But let’s follow your eyes and see where that gets us.”
When Emily’s shadow began to make strange noises and contort, it became clear that Oros was on to something. Emily herself, seeing yet another creepy thing in her shadow, yelped in surprise, which caused an outline of herself in flames to appear and then disappear immediately and fully illuminate where her shadow had been. “O-oh, wow!”
Samantha, the real one, now appeared beside Emily, covering herself as best she could with her arms. She, naturally, didn’t seem pleased at being revealed. “Sam! Are you okay?”
Emily asked genuinely, unsure what to make of the expression Sam had on. “N-No.”
After saying this, Sam would disappear spontaneously. Yet, a second later her voice could be heard from behind the other ‘Sam’, who was smiling now. “It’s still just as ridiculous as before…”
Her double turned around to look at her. “Welp, I tried. But what’s the deal? You look great! Whaddya got against swimsuits? Jeez!”
she turned back around. “Oh, uh, hello everyone! Since the ruse is up, I guess I can properly introduce myself! You can call me Shade, and I’m basically Sam’s sister~!”
she hopped. “I’m very pleased to meet potential fans~!”
Sakura’s eyes went from sourness to mild surprise upon seeing the duplicate. “A kage bunshin, huh? That’s stuff for ninja movies.” She said, attempting to prod the solidity of the new duplicate’s ...rear. She would find that it jiggled a bit, like any posterior should.
Oros lightly swatted away Sakura’s hand. ”Hey! You wanted to scramble Em’s eggs, right? Quit being so damn greedy!”
She cleared her throat before looking at Shade, while the mermaid blushed profusely in the background with her hands over her mouth. ”Aid and Silly! Alright!”
She clapped her hands together. ”Firstly, I gotta tell Silly that she should get used to parading around in a swimsuit. Especially if you plan on doing anything with Trixy. Also, you’re a nine outta ten babe, so there’s no reason to be shy.”
With a wink, she reached behind herself. ”Also, I’d like you to sign this for me. I’ve been a pretty big fan of yours.”
She pulled the picture off of her butt and handed it to Shade. ”Also, with Aid and the tuna here, we have enough players to make four teams! So Tater tot and I can play separate games without anyone feeling left out!”
She placed a hand on her hip. ”This is the greatest!”
Oros sipped her drink.
“T-Tuna?” Neito exclaimed in befuddlement, and Dan pat her on the shoulder. “I-It’s just a playful nickname! Anyway, let’s play!”
To the best of their abilities, the cast enjoyed their odd beach getaway. It was a nice reprieve from the harsh, cold world they came from. It didn't even seem like Sam regretted her choice of coming back here, but it would be a lie to say she entirely adjusted to being in a swimsuit. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and so they did. Slowly, things began to wind down.
Shade was busy trying to get as much socialization in as she could, and would joke around with whomever. Samantha, however, was busy waiting for a portal out of the place when Emily approached her. "Um,"
Emily was smiling since the start of their games, and right now was no different. "Thank you for coming, Sam! I had a lot of fun, and I really do appreciate it!" "Hmm? Oh, well, you're welcome, I guess."
Sam didn't seem to think her attendance warranted any gratitude. She rubbed an arm. "Suppose it wasn't a bad change of pace, either. I wonder if I should've called..."
Sam trailed off on that thought and Emily tilted her head. "Ah, it's nothing. Anyway, good to see you enjoy yourself. I'm not sure about Sakura, but it doesn't look like anyone hated it."
Emily shook her head fervently. "It went really well, I think! I could ask Sakura later to be sure, though."
The kind girl looked back at Hilaria, who was simultaneously conversing with Dan about something as well as picking up the dishes they'd brought over. "It might be rude of me to assume, but I don't think Hilaria would mind doing this again, at least. It was definitely better than the last party I went to..."
Uncharacteristically, Emily's expression darkened. "Is that so?"
Samantha recalled the Rave and how things went out of control there. She imagined that was what Emily was referring to, so her poor expression was understandable. Even Sam lost her cool back then, too. "Sorry to hear that. But you know, there's this Christmas party coming up soon, have you heard about that?"
Sam pulled out a magical envelope from... somewhere.
Emily nodded, retrieving her own magical envelope. "Sakura gave me an invite before, so I don't need one. Isn't she kind? Um, but thank you for asking!"
she bowed politely. "So, does this mean I'll see you there?"
With the envelope unnecessary, it was stowed once more. Samantha sighed at Emily's question. "Parties really aren't my thing,"
she looked Emily directly in the eyes. "I can't promise anything, either. But if I can attend... I'll consider it, at least."
At this time, Hilaria had finished grabbing everything she wanted. She called out to everyone and then created the portal back to Penrose.