Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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~Chieko Okawa~

Main Road
Death count: 1
Reset Count: 4



Chieko mostly kept quiet, trying to steel herself for her job here. How was she going to do this? It wasn't anything...technically illegal she'd be doing, right? Just get in, confirm its presence and then get back out, right? Then she had to find Fritzi before noon. How could she get everyone out of this without any more violence or underhandedness. Quill, Chiyo...maybe even Fritzi. That was what she was trying to figure out, but how could she do it? The human sighed, pulling her scarf up around her mouth. For now, she'd play it safe. Lay low. Not look too out of place or suspicious.

Just find the seal.

That's all she had to do.

She'd confront Fritzi at the end of all this.

Once inside, Chieko stuck with Grisia and Aer, at least until the top of the stairs. She couldn't look too overly eager, right? At least, that was her thought until she heard Vertti mention the seal. She cast a glance towards the aristocrat, unsuccessfully trying to hide her obvious interest in the subject and quickly trying to look in the opposite direction. For now...she'd wait. Wait and see if she could find an opening to see it for herself.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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The barricade


Aer, Crunch, Mono, Irene, and Vasilis had gathered by the front gate to do battle with the incoming cultists. But I ain’t writing that shit lolz,




Vertti’s household


The vertti household was quiet on the outside. At least, there was no fighting yet. They could hear the sounds of steel clash and arrows fly from the top of the barricade. Everyone was dug in pretty deep and had no intention of letting a single cultist inside.

That was before a special gust arrived.

A strong gust of wind blew several archers down from the barricade. Those that didn’t fall ran from incoming projectiles. All manner of weapons from axes to spears rode on the incoming wind. This was a tactic the foreigners were all too familiar with. Before long, the attackers made an appearance on top of the barricade.



Fritzi wasn’t even trying to hide her real identity anymore. She was dressed like she was at the market, and didn’t seem to care who saw her. ”Wonder if Chieko located that seal for us.”

Quill walked by her side. Nobody was attacking them because they were too busy protecting themselves from other bandits. “I always had the impression she was going to turn on us one day. We’ll know once we approach her though.”

”Chiyo thinks the cultists are funny, allying with them made this too easy for Chiyo!”

Fritzi chuckled. ”Still, we need to remember our promise to Chieko. We can’t kill any of the foreigners. Of course, that changes if she’s betrayed us.”

“Not killing them and not hurting them are two different things though, right?” The metal on Quill’s club started to glow a cherry red.

Fritzi chuckled. ”Nothing wrong with a little lasting damage.” The trio suddenly bolted for the Vertti mansion, cloaked by the chaos spilling into the area. The servants inside weren’t armed. They clambered to the walls, hoping to be spared.

”Chiyo would like to play with them.”

”Focus, Chiyo. There will be plenty of people to fight once we get closer to Vertti. ” They were headed towards the stairs. They hadn’t spotted Flame yet, but Chiyo was eyeing the servants carefully. It wouldn’t be long before he was discovered.






Gris noticed the nondescript projectile and threw up his arm, causing a wind barrier to form in front of him. The wind was just strong enough to send the projectile over his shoulder. He stopped his charge so that he could locate the person who attacked him, and set his eyes on Alistair. ”What is the meaning of this?”he growled before looking at the haughty man.

Sandra turned from Belrigger to look at Alistair. Like Ashton, he felt something when he looked at her. But it wasn’t the same feeling at all. Her aura felt peaceful, if not alluring. Looking at her was like looking at a childhood friend or an old flame. It wasn’t so strong that it could dominate Alistai’s will, but he could notice this strange sensation. ”Alistair? What are you doing here?” She fret her brow. ”The cultists are going to attack any moment. You have better things to do than save this monster.” She raised her sword, and a wall of fire cut off Alistair from Ashton.

Odessa nodded to Alistair. "I can try to paralyse her or master Gris, Just give me an opening." She was shaking. "Also, her color is really dark. You need to stay away from her if you want me to do anything."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Flame Brooks

Flame had gone to the Vertti mansion, expecting Grisaia and Aer to be with him, along with Chieko and Aerith. But all except for perhaps Aerith had gone on their seperate ways, and now Flame was close to the stairs, waiting for those who had gone on to Lady Vertti to come back. It was then that he detected the reset to just less than an hour ago, and knew that the 'checkpoint' had moved again.

The reset gave him another chance to do more than just wait for things to happen, and he followed Chieko to the top of the stairs, where Grisaia and Aer hopefully were. Thus, when Fritzi and her cronies broke in, he might be able to see them approaching said stairs.

Looking at Chieko, Flame said to her, "So, your allies? If so, I'll follow your lead dealing with them."

Ashton Andrews

Ashton felt it, the reset, and knew that the 'checkpoint' had been moved forward, as he was still facing an angry Gris Art Fortye while Belrigger fought Sandra Fotos. And of course, there is still the risk that he might have killed innocent civilians and that wasn't undone. Hubris. Naivete, All those were his sins and he was not going to run away from them. Blood was on his hands and all that was needed was to move on and atone.

Then Alistair swooped in at the last moment, saving the boy's life. Ashton smiled, and shouted anew, "Sandra Fotos is an Artificial Witch! If Captain Crunch is nearby, I need to tell her again and again! Also, we might need people to play the Sword Saint, Dragon, and Sage -"

He was cut off from Alistair by a wall of fire, but hopefully fire didn't cut off sound. So Ashton continued, "As I said, Sandra Fotos is an Artificial Witch! The most powerful of them all! You and Belrigger cooperate to destroy her, then we can all restrain Gris until we can convince him that he was being manipulated by said Artificial Witch!"

And yes, he knew it contradicted what he had said earlier about potentially needing a Sword Saint, Dragon and Sage. Not just that, but Ashton realized how preposterous it was that the Artificial Witch of Envy can be destroyed this early - While life did not run by narrative tropes, Ashton knew that his allies were not in an advantegeous position. Nevertheless, he can still try, right?
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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~Chieko Okawa~

Main Road
Death count: 1
Reset Count: 4



She supposed this was the logical outcome.

Before she could make a decision, Fritzi and the others made their way into the mansion. This was not what she wanted. This was not what was supposed to happen. Ugh, was there no other way? She didn't want to fight, she really, really, didn't, but was it the only thing to do?

...right, focus. A fight hadn't been decided yet. She could still change this. She could still save everyone. She just needed to stand her ground. She cast a cold glance towards Flame. Well at least he wasn't going to be doing anything to mess this up. Probably. She didn't have the confidence she could work this out as badly as things were progressing.

"...Quill." She addressed Quill first, gaze lingering just slightly on the Oni. Out of the three of them, Quill was the one she really didn't want to fight. Not because she wasn't sure she could take the Oni. Quill was was a friend. At least, Chieko considered her as such. She was a little rough, sure, but she didn't think Quill was a bad person and if she were to be honest, she felt closer to her than most of the others from earth. "Chiyo. Fritzi." She didn't move, doing her best not to let her fear show.

"You're here." She inhaled, standing at the top of the stairs. The sounds of combat outside were audible. "It's about time you showed up. Keeping me waiting is rather rude." She paused, using that same facade she always did when she was nervous. "Is this chaos what you wanted? This loss of life and the utter disregard for peace? If this is what you want for this world, Fritzi, I can't stand idly by and watch as things happen, unlike you." That last bit slipped out somewhat unconsciously. "So tell me. I know roughly where it is, and if you get it...will that be the end of this?" She turned her gaze towards the ground. "...I-I don't want to fight any of you, but I can't let something like this continue to happen."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Tenma Tendo
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location: Vertti Household

Grisaia was always the one to follow orders, even if said orders wouldn't benefit the Mistress. Despite wanting to stay by her side, Vertti asked him to keep guard outside of her room. It was a simple task, really, just make sure that no one would enter until she was finished acquiring the royal seal.

Or at least he thought it wouldn't be difficult.

Many, almost countless times, a searing hot anger poured into his veins. The stench of death and revenge clung to his body as he personally couldn't hold back from retaliating against someone who was once a friend. It was something he thought he could never forget, especially since he could've easily prevented the circumstances, something that would stick with him for the rest of his life, but as his master died in front of him over and over and over again, Grisaia was forced to relinquish the grudges and memories he normally wouldn't in favor of standing guard in front of Vertti's room.

...

...It was a simple task, really...

While he had no intention of eavesdropping, the rabbit boy couldn't stop his ears from picking up the conversation happening on the other side of the door. Vertti told him not to trust Mie...that she wasn't someone they could call a friend. So why were they talking to each other as if this was the norm? Every cell in his body screamed to go in and protect the Mistress, but his mind remained focused on the order given to him.

Contracts, bargaining, and even...wait, did he hear that right? Although now really wasn't the time for such things, Grisaia felt like he heard something he probably shouldn't, expression neutral and almost a little downcast. The two in the other room continued on as if Vertti's life changing question was never even mentioned. He probably zoned out after that, because when the crystal eyes boy came back to, Mie accepted. This...this was happening too fast for Grisaia to honestly comprehend. It sounded like a political friendship with benefits more than anything else. Was the blonde really too dense to realize they harbored at some romantic feeling for each other? And, finally, the most important question in all of this...

Was he suppose to call Mie his mom now?

Too flustered to think about it any further, Grisaia pushed the thoughts and feeling of not getting a say in any of this out of his brain, his eyes moving to something he could distract himself with. Fortunately, well more like unfortunately for him, everything seemed to be in order. Adhara nor Anubis have reported anything of value, and no one seemed to be acting out of the ordinary from where he was looking.

The blond opted to hesitantly knock on the Mistress' door instead, a slight frown tugging at his features.
"...I-Is everything alright...in there?" He mumbled out, still unsure about how to take what just transpired.






Just as the young girl said she would, Eiko traversed the skies, her flight path being a clockwise circle around the barricades as well as Vertti's household. Because of how reinforced said barricades were, Eiko didn't have to worry much about any cultists running around and instead helped a few stragglers find their way to Vertti's. Everything had been relatively okay until her attention was pulled to something far past what she was restricting herself to. Of course the cultists weren't going to give up so easily, readily prepared with siege engines, catapults, and trebuchets, probably getting ready to charge into the city.

She needed to go alert the other about this...but the panic it could cause would only make their situation worse. If anything Eiko could get herself a better look and see where exactly they were planning to strike before spreading information. And that's exactly what she did. Steeling herself by offering a prayer to Od Laguna, Eiko flew towards and past the city walls, only to let out a squeak at the sight of a magical wind carrying the weapons of the cultists over the walls, onto the unsuspecting people guarding said walls, and through a bit of her flight path if she was still following it. Eiko didn't take the time to see who or what caused that wind as she instead hurried towards the group of cultists arms with the ranged contraptions and siege engines, hoping to at least get a better idea and disrupt them from potentially causing any harm.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Vertti’s Room


"Love? Is that what you're calling me now?" It hadn’t even been a minute after Vertti slid that seal on Mie’s finger and she was already calling her pet names. She wanted to get more information about the purple giant Mie had been contracted by, but she was still taken back by everything that happened. Technically nothing was set in stone yet. There was all kinds of paperwork and a ceremony to go through. Vertti was just now starting to think about the changes that would have to come. Was she Mistress Yukima now, or was her spouse Mie Vertti? Did Lugnica recognize marriage between two woman? Vertti hadn’t ever been the romantic sort. She took a husband to expand her family’s influence, but otherwise hadn’t spent much time pursuing romance. Maybe Mie would be happier with a different arrangement, but she seemed to enjoy the idea that they were a couple now. There would be more time to worry about that once there wasn’t a siege going on. She'd need to think of a cute name for her though.

A knock at the door, Grisaia’s voice. Vertti power walked over to the door and threw it open without saying a word. Grisaia’s arm was still in knocking position when Vertti wrapped her arms around him. "Ah!" She started to laugh, both out of relief and the absurdity of the situation. "Alright Grisaia, something has changed." Vertti sat on the side of her bed. "I know I told you that Mie couldn’t be trusted, but that was over a little miscommunication we had earlier. We do have a bit more to discuss." She looked to Mie and nodded. "But it’s more or less been sorted out and everything’s going to be fine." She looked back to Grisaia. "She agreed to look after the seal for me." Vertti wasn’t being dishonest with Grisaia, but this would be a lot easier to explain to him later once they talked over the fine details. She just hoped he hadn’t listened in. That would have been embarrassing.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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Mie Yukima

Vertti's Manor
Deaths: N/A



"Fufu, what's the matter?" Mie giggled, sliding the contract up her sleeve. "Would you prefer I call you my little butterfly again? You seemed to like it last time." Despite her joviality, it was only a show as always. Honestly? She wasn't sure if this was a good idea. Most of her ideas, in fact, could be counted on some spectrum of reckless and half-planned, but this had to be one of her most reckless decisions in a while.

She didn't trust Vertti.

How could she?

She was used to people lying. People scheming. Using others. People backstabbing others. Quite literally in some situations. The fox wasn't sure if Vertti wasn't using her for something. She had the royal seal turned into a ring for Laguna's sake, and had given it to her. Considering what was going on, with her was the safest place for the seal. If Vertti wanted to stop it from being stolen, that was a plan about reckless enough for her to try. Get on someones good side and had off the item to them. Every single thing in her body was still telling her to shank the aristocrat and run off like the scared fox she might as well be in the grand scheme of things.

But...For once. For once in a very long while. She'd give someone the benefit of the doubt. She was fairly certain she'd just end up getting hurt, but sometimes, betting against the odds worked out alright in the end.

"Oh hello little Rabbit." Mie gave him a friendly smile, picking up the knife she had discarded earlier from the floor, sliding it back into its hiding spot under her maid uniform. "Don't mind the knife. I was just playing a game with the butterfly here, fufu...that said, it seems like she had me all figured out from the start and told you too." She sighed, frowning lightly. "I'd ask who ratted me out, but I'm beginning to think I was just sloppy somewhere." Taking a seat next to Vertti, Mie waved a hand dismissively, replacing the mask in her dress. "Not that it matters now." The hairs on her tail were standing on end. Something felt...off, but she couldn't quite place it. This objectively should be one of the safest rooms in the house as long as she was here, yet she still felt mildly uneasy.

...actually.

Mie took the ring off her finger, sliding it into one of her pockets. Best not to advertise its location for now.

"So, you said you didn't want me killing anything now," Mie looked up at the human. "But I don't suppose you'd let me join in on the fun racket out there, hm?" Giggling lightly. "Taking out threats before they get to you is the best way to do it, you know. I just so happen to be an expert in that."
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Tenma Tendo
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location: Vertti Household

Grisaia opened his mouth as if he was about to say something once the door swung open, but as the all too familiar embrace enveloped his senses, the blonde could only freeze and allow himself to be pulled into the Mistress' room. He'd never been uncomfortable in there until now, seeing as he awkwardly remained by the door, eyes following every form of movement in the room; unbeknownst to the blonde, he was exhibiting traits of when he fist came to the mansion.

The couldn't stop the twitch of his right eye when he saw Mie collect the knife that was originally discarded on the floor, nor could he stop the drooping of his ears when he realized they weren't going tell him what happened a few minutes prior. Did they really not think he couldn't hear what they were saying?

He's a fucking rabbit for crying out loud. The size of his ears should be enough proof!

"...You gave her the Royal Seal?" He asked, hoping he didn't hear that correctly. He'd still had some faith in Mie even after Vertti's words of warning, but giving her something so important was just asking for it to be stolen. And not only that. "...And you want to go and fight the enemy with the seal in your possession?" He couldn't be the only one hearing this, right?

Pinching the bridge of his nose with a gloved hand, Grisaia let out a tired sigh, the magic being taken away from him as well as the sudden turn of events was actually making him want to curl up in a corner and die.
"Well, Mie, if you intend on going out there, Adhara could use some help protecting the northwest quadrant of the barricade." Despite the hint of jealousy dripping from his words, there was no point arguing. He'd just be the good little servant he ways has been and let those above him take the reigns despite letting the fucking fox leave the estate with the Royal Seal being probably the worse possible thing that could happen.






As Eiko got closer to the siege equipment, she could see that they were all fairly standard in design. All constructed out of the usual materials. They were clearly set up to fire on the noble district, but Eiko noticed that something was missing. They didn’t have any ammo available. There were no rocks or other items that could be used to fire. If they had a cultist capable of making stones to throw, they weren’t currently making ammo for the siege engines.

The few cultists that noticed Eiko flying closer didn’t make any sudden movements. They just stared at her from under their cloaks.

Taking the chance as the lack of ammo and her earlier encounter with the cultists wasn’t nearly as bad as she thought it would be, Eiko lowered herself to the ground a few meters away from the cloaked beings. Emerald eyes narrowed in disdain as she held her staff out in front of her as a warning.
"Hey! Just what do you think you're doing?!" She hissed while approaching, a faint yellow glow beginning to coat her body.

The cultists looked at each other before locking their eyes on Eiko again. They might have been passively watching her when she was in the sky, but now they saw an opportunity to strike. They drew daggers and swords before wordlessly charging towards Eiko. They were not deterred by her intimidating display of magic.

Never one to kill even if the ones opposing her truly deserved such a fate, Eiko flapped her wings only barely to pull her feet off the ground before dashing forward with the intent of incapacitating the cultists coming after her. Her staff immediately transformed into a lance with the flourish of her wrist, wings flapping once more so that her upper body was much higher than her enemies'. The young teen proceeded to swipe and shank at the cultists, only ending her assault once they crumbled to the ground. Her path of attack was clearly leading to the equipment, her next intention being to destroy said equipment before reporting back.

The cultists fell easy enough, if not knocked unconscious, maimed to the point where they could no longer fight back. The siege equipment was sturdy, but with no one to stop Eiko, she could ram her lance into the contraptions as many times as it took. After a few solid hits, the first catapult caved in on itself. The trebuchet just needed a solid hit to its pivoting point to cause the whole thing to crumble.

Before she could go any further, the wind abruptly blew her back towards the city. At least Eiko thought it was the wind at first, but she could feel the wind rushing over her wings and it was moving in the wrong direction. Something was pulling her back, but she couldn’t feel any force exerted on her body aside from her momentum suddenly changing. She came to a stop mid-air over the top of a building, where two stony hands came out of the roof and took hold of her ankles. That was when he stepped into Eiko’s field of view.



”What are you doing!? Can’t you see I’m trying to free the witch from this miserable tomb?” He drew back his hand. ”You insufferable…” He looked down at Eiko’s chest. ”What are you doing here? I thought you were with Lust!” He shrugged. ”Well you did help me spot her I suppose,” He shook his finger. ”But I’m not going to be nice to you if you keep disobeying me like that.” He flicked his eyes up at Eiko. ”So yea, honestly. What do you think you’re doing? You could have set me back.” He growled.

Eiko was still trying to comprehend what just happened in the span of only a few seconds. Of course she attempted to break free from the harsh hands grabbing her ankles, but with how this man was acting, there was no point in trying to escape. Ensuring her feet were planted atop the roof she was now connected to, the emerald eyed girl chose her words with a straight forward mindset.
"Lust? Witch? ...What do you think I'm trying to do? If you try and use that equipment, so many innocent lives will be lost!Who do you think you are to jeopardize that?!" She hissed, knuckles turning white as she gripped her lance. It probably would've been better to play along with whatever the hell this guy was saying, but Eiko would never turn again the people, not even for a second!

"I don't know who you think I am, but..." Trailing off as she brought her lance down on the stone hands restaining her, "you're not going to get away with this. Od Laguna demands that you don't."

Vaux hopped backwards. ”Oh, are you wrathful too? Do you wish to punish me?” He threw his hands up in the air and laughed. ”You’re just a child throwing a tantrum. Wait until you get older. Let that hatred fester!” The building started to shake. Eiko could hear the sound of stone cracking, and two golums emerged from either side of the building. They had long, slender bodies, but were covered in large spikes. ”Wait until you’ve lived a life as long as mine. You’ll hate everyone. You’ll hate your family, your friends, You’ll never be able to stop being angry!” A third golum started started to form directly under the arch-bishop, elevating him higher into the air. ”Your pathetic display of anger embarrasses me. I am Vaux Maximilianus, Divagro von Theodoric und Hieronymous, and I will show you what it means to be mad!” All three golums lunged forward, hands outstretched to crush Eiko in their grasp. ”Od Laguna can suck an egg!”

"Suck a--" It was one thing to call Eiko a child. One thing to restrain her and talk down to her like she was nothing. One thing to even threaten her own life. But no one...no one talked about the great Od Laguna, the one she's spent most of her life praying to, in such a disgusting manner. Having no time to respond, Eiko's staff shined the same color as her body as the bladed side of the lance flattened out and thickened into the heavy side of a hammer. Chipping enough away from the hands that were holding her still, Eiko broke through with her strength alone, using that power to increase the momentum of her swing at the one of the hands attempting to clamp down on her.

Her hammer came crashing sideways on one of the golum's hand, giving her enough room to fly out of the line of fire. Instead of escaping, the girl stood her ground at eye level with the source of the attacks, eyes wide and almost crazed due to the sudden attack on both her life and god.
"Take it back..." She growled, gritting her teeth harshly as she slowly but surely approached the elf man, whether or not he sent his golums after her or not. "You have no right to spout such nonsensical dribble about me, but don't you dare think I'll let you go after tainting our Great's name with your vile voice. Vaux Maximilianus, Divagro von Theodoric und Hieronymous, t-take it back...TAKE IT ALL BACK!"

The magic surrounding her body started to flicker like a light the more heated she got...
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crusader Lord
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Aerith Hastings


-Vertti Mansion/Household-


Resets: 5

Deaths: 4





It was a moment that left the dark-haired girl with mixed emotions. A feeling of "oh hell not this again" among other things, tugging at her mind somewhat as she had approached the Vertti Mansion with a sense of deja vu lingering in her body. Her own footsteps as she approached were seemingly drowned out too even her own ears by the clanging uproar going on, though one name rang in her mind. Chieko. She had to help her, or at least try to do so better this time around. Hiro was dead. Alistair was probably fighting, the last she'd seen of him. Utter chaos had broken out, and she was unsure if there were any do-overs to be had anymore at this venture.

The door to the mansion had been open on her arrival, though as Aerith very softly stepped inside she found herself walking into the middle of something Servants against the walls, as if clambering for escape from...oh. OH. Before her, seemingly talking among themselves at the moment and walking towards the stairs, was a sight that brought many old and recent feelings into the forefront. And, perhaps, some pent-up anger as well that kept her staring on for a moment as she watched on from behind a column inside the mansion. This, until Chieko stepped up at the top of the stairs and spoke down to the trio.

But once the other girl was done, Aerith felt three works roll off of her tongue in succession.

"...Shamak. Shamak. Vaelos."

Three words. Three spells cast in succession as Aerith entered the mansion. One spell to make Chiyo unable to sense where they are, however they could still feel the ground and sense what's happening to their body. Another spell of the same cast on Quill. The third was different however, being cast on Fritzi to impart a "speed/agility down" debuff. Simple as they were, and as unsure as Aerith was that they'd help fully, she had a grudge against these three. Especially the two next to Fritzi...both for her, and Hiro's, sakes.

She and death had become close associates, virtually intertwined by this point. But unlike the last time...she would be fighting against it till her last breath was taken. There was too much to lose here.

Aerith would even drown herself in this power of hers, yin magic and this 'authority', or whatever else it took right now. Even if she became a witch herself in all of this mess and chaos, she would succeed in her goals at any cost. She would find that love she sought, genuinely. She would save Chieko, and the innocents of this city. She would uncover the truth of the witches, and Od Laguna, and this world.

There would be no more running. Not this time.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Vertti’s Room


Vertti had been around Grisaia long enough to be able to pick up the subtle cues of his emotions. He was very good at pretending to be calm, but she could tell he was anything but right now. "Ahem." She she pretended to cough into her hand. "I’m not concerned about the seal right now. Mie’s hands is the last place anyone would expect to find it. Having said that…" Vertti stood up. "I’m not sure it is wise to have you to assist in a fight. Knowing who sent you, I can’t help but feel this was all staged somehow. Like he expected this to happen." Vertti held her chin. "I don’t want to see anyone in this room get hurt. Maybe it’s selfish, but I’d feel a lot better if we all remained together." She looked to Mie. "Not that you’re going to listen to me anyway. You’re going to do whatever you feel like." Her eyes swung over to Grisaia. "You’ve always had this household’s best interests at heart. If you feel Mie needs to be watched over, you may go with her." She closed her eyes. "I feel that I would be the most helpful hiding, as I’m sure the demihuman bandits will be looking for me. I shall remain here unless you think otherwise, Grisaia."



As Chieko spoke, Quill only lowered her head to look at a spot on the floor. The metal on her club was glowing red, and a shadow masked her eyes.

Fritzi lifted a finger to her lips. ”Ahhh, again with that condescending tone. It’s a wonder nobody broke your jaw yet.” Fritzi’s tail was wagging side to side. ”I’m not a fortune teller, so I can’t say when the war is going to end. I’d like it to be as easy as electing a demihuman, but I doubt it’s going to be as easy as taking Vertti’s seal.” Fritzi placed her foot on the first step. ”But I do have to ask, since you brought it up. This ‘something like this’ that you ‘won’t let continue to happen,’ what exactly are you talking about?” She took a second step. ”Because if you mean things like cultists taking to the street and killing poor, innocent, fat and wealthy humans? I can’t say for sure that will stop.” every word was delivered by Fritzi’s smiling lips, she took another step. ”But you know what will stop? The prejudice behavior. Donovan will be allowed to pursue a doctor’s licence and gain access to life saving medicine, Quill will rest easy knowing that humans won’t be permitted to take turns with an entire village of non-humans, and Chiyo won’t be ostracised just because she was adopted by demihumans. Once this war is over, Lugnicia will once again know what equality is. And you’re split up on this because of, what exactly? You want to save a few aristocrats held up in their mansions, drinking tea while their demihuman servants polish their boots?” Fritzi shook her head. ”Isn’t it a shame that heroes don’t exist? If only it were as easy as picking up a magical sword and slaying a demon. I get the feeling you’ve read a lot of stories like that.” The wolf girl scoffed and placed a hand on her hip. ”Sorry if that was a little long, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances. Now, tell me where the seal is or ready your sword.”

That was when Crusader Lord finally posted, and Aerith made her appearance behind them.

Quill held up her hand in front of her face. “Well, that’s not right.”

”Chiyo doesn’t like the look of this!”

Fritzi flashed over to Aerith’s position and shoved her into the other room with a debilitating gut punch. Fritzi then appeared to vanish altogether, leaving Aerith in a room filled with cowering servants.

“What’s going on?” Quill had stopped laughing, as did Chiyo. Though they appeared to still be blind. “I don’t know what kind of sorcery you’re pulling Chieko, but I’m not going to fall to such cowardly tactics. Elgoa!” The metal bands came off of her club and hovered behind her back. “You were only ever stronger than me because my horns were cut off. Fortunately, I have a replacement.” She tapped Chiyo’s shoulder, and the girl stepped in front of her. “Together, Chiyo and I are stronger than I ever could have been.” Quill took a step folward, and so did Chiyo. Or was Quill following Chiyo’s lead? It was impossible to tell. An amazing feat considering what they were both experiencing. “If you’re going to attack us, do it before this curse wears off!” Chiyo and Quill bolted up the stairs. The two remained close to each other, as if an invisible rope was tied to their limbs.






Gris jumped over the wall of fire. ”Want a peice of me? Fine, you’re going to get it!” Alistair and Gris’s spells collided in a fantastic display while odessa could only watch.

"Ahhhh." Odessa was also lobbing spells at Gris, but he was managing to avoid them. "This guy knows what he’s doing." She looked through the flame wall, "Ashton, do something! I’ll create an opening if I can get a clear shot."

”How many woman does that man have acess too?” Sandra fret her brow. ”He’s not even a very good dancer. Well whatever!” she pointed at Ashton. ”You’ve gone mad. You can’t even believe your own eyes. ” She picked up her banner with both hands. ”Only one thing to do with you now.” when she brought down her banner, a giant nova of fire blasted outward in all directions.






”You got my entire name down already? That’s amazing!” The golum’s shattered hand fell to the ground in pieces, but the stump soon grew more fingers. Vaux had to have mastered his magic if he could do all this without incantations. ”You can only be that focused when you’re angry.” The golem beneath him continued to grow, keeping Vaux above Eiko’s altitude. ”All the same, I will not take back a single word I’ve said. The words I’m speaking are gospel, you’re just a filthy nonbeliever worshiping a false god.” The archbishop dove off of the golum’s head and descended towards Eiko. Large diamond claws formed around his hands as he approached, clearly planning on swiping at her.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Flame Brooks

"What am I?! Chopped Liver?!" Flame made his presence known as he stood beside Chieko, turning to her. "It seems negotiations have failed."

Then to Fritzi, "I have had enough of your warmongering nonsense! We get it, you're victims. And we get it as well, sometimes brute force is needed to achieve noble ends. But this is not one of those times, you fucking hypocrite! Sowing terror, massacring people who aren't just fat aristocrats, and setting fire to large portions of the city, this stops being the way after a while!"

Flame cupped his right palm, before saying, "Goa." A fireball appeared, ready to throw at Fritzi unless Chieko wanted the fox-woman's head herself.

Ashton Andrews

"On it, Jiwald!" Ashton said as he focused his magic on his paring knife, holding it forth, running at the nova of fire, hoping against hope that Odessa fulfilled her promise - Believing in her. Should Odessa make an opening, he ran straight at Sandra, stabbing at her with full force, his weapon held in both hands to drive it into her with as much strength as possible.

For Hiro. For Flame and Alistair, Chieko and Aerith, and everyone involved in this. For the people involved in the games of these Artificial Witches.

Please, Od Laguna, or God if you exist, guide my blow! Just for once, let me stab the right person!
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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Mie Yukima

Vertti's Manor
Deaths: N/A



"Fufufu, well, it seems my little butterfly certainly does know this little fox." The only question now was, What to do, what to do? "If this is all set up, then wouldn't it be best to split up, hm? I'm not good on a team anyways. You'd both get in the way." Mie hopped off the bed, tail swishing idly behind her as she looked over her options. Sounded like there was a commotion from further down the hallway. Quite close...if she were a responsible fox, she'd stay put and make sure Vertti didn't get in trouble.

"Don't worry. I'm just going to take a walk around the mansion." Mie dismissively waved a hand. "I'm not worried about whatever it is going on out there." Playfully twirling a knife in her hand, Mie walked past Grisaia. "...if you want my advice, you should stay close to Vertti." That was the last thing Mie said before she bolted, dashing out of the room and leaving the Rabbit to catch up if he could.

If this was set up or planned, then there was a definite chance that purple skinned bastard was going to try something else. Could she stay and guard Vertti herself? Certainly. But at the same time, she had the seal. It was the safest with her, and safest not being anywhere near Vertti - where people least expected it. Did she care in the long run? Nah, not really.

Mie bolted down the hallway, expertly dodging past the ensuing commotion on the stairs, just long enough to get a very good look at all involved. Those humans seemed to know what they were doing, but before they could say anything to her, Mie already bolted by with the quiet swiftness any trained Shinobi should.

Something smelled off. It seemed like this area was fine for now, and while something was going on with the roof - whoever was up there must be having an extremely fun party - she wasn't concerned. What was it? What was causing her blessing to act up like this? An ever looking sense of threat.

Whoever this vermin was in her new mansion was going to get quite fun greeting party as soon as they showed themselves.


~Chieko Okawa~

Main Road
Death count: 1
Reset Count: 4



Chieko was growing more and more furious by the second. Each word of Fritzi's just rubbed her the wrong way. Equality? This wasn't how you got equality! Certainly sometimes a hero needed to use force to solve things, but this wasn't doing anything but needlessly hurting people! She wanted to say something. She wished she could say something. Say words, do anything to talk them down, but once again it seemed as though someone else made the decision to fight for her...and once again, it was Aerith trying to do something helpful.

She couldn't say anything to her this time.

"Hmph." Chieko slowly removed the scarf from around her neck. Calm. She had to remain calm. "Well said, my rival!" Ugh, she felt horrible. This wasn't how she wanted things to go, but she had no other choice. "You talk of peace and equality, but this isn't how you achieve that! You'll just spread fear and hate, more of it!" The Japanese girl drew the heavy club at her side, gripping it tightly with a hand. "You say heroes don't exist - but you're terribly wrong." With a flourish, she pointed it at Quill and Chiyo. "With this cursed anger I feel at my own weakness, I shall become a hero. I will sever all reservations I have about hurting someone I consider a friend, I will pick up this mantle, and I will save everyone." Her focus was solely on Quill and Chiyo. She'd disable and disarm them first. Whatever came next, she could decide then.

"Ulgoa." A fireball formed in Chieko's left hand. Slowly it expanded, a solid wall of fire forming in the shape of a shield - until she slammed it right into Chiyo, hopefully stopping their advance right at the top of the stairs. She followed it up with a wide swing, aiming to knock Quill right over the head with it.
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((Collab Post between Letter Beem BrokenPromise, and FamishedPants))

Before Gris could get too close, Belrigger slammed into him and knocked him off course. The two disappeared down a street. This gave Alistair enough time to throw up an ice shield around Ashton.

"I ascend!"

But the ice shield was melting quickly. Not only because of the fire nova, but because she had a lot of heat flowing around her. But ashton was able to throw his knife at this range, and slice her arm. That was all the distraction Odessa needed.

"I hope this works!"

Using dark magic was always incredibly risky, because some people were just too magically potent to be affected by most of it. Fortunately, Odessa was not an ordinary spirit, and she managed to get Sandra under control. Sandra sunk to her knees and her weapons fell from her hands. The heat and fire around her started to dissipate. It seemed like whatever Odessa was doing, it was working.

”What is the meaning of this?” Sandra said through grit teeth. Alistair, you’re helping a murderer! He’s not like the rest of you, he’s been brainwashed by Od Laguna to attack me on sight. Why else would he be prioritizing me over everything else going on? But there wouldn’t be much time for debate, as Sandra’s body was being swallowed up by the earth.

"Who’s doing that?" Odessa cried.

”That would be me!” Vaux landed in front of Sandra. Her head and arms had been covered in earth, and only her torso was visible. The churning earth had sheared the armor off of her stomach, exposing her white flesh. ”I had my doubts as to if I would be able to subdue the witch myself. She really didn’t want to join all of her sisters, which we rounded up years ago. I had hoped lust would weaken her to the point I could capture her alive, but you fools were able to do that for me! We finally have them all!” With a laugh, the rock Sandra had been pulled into started to take shape. It was a throne that Vaux promptly sat in, where Sandra’s exposed stomach was used to cushion the back of his head. ”Oh now that feels nice!” The throne was raised into the air by the massive golem it rested on top of. ”Now let’s try this: My golem, AND the witch’s fire magic!” The golem roared as fire poured into its body. Magma flowed along the outside of it’s body like blood vessels would inside someone’s arm. The golem was soon encased inside the same protective heat barrier that Sandra was. ”Thank you for reuniting me with my love, gents.”

"I think you’re going to need this." Alistair cast a healing spell on Ashton, restoring him to perfect condition. He could use his perfect self again if he wished.

”And now, you can all perish!” The golem stomped iots way towards Ashton, attempting to burn everyone up in it’s aura of heat and fire.

Transforming into his ideal self, Ashton rolled his way out of the golem’s path, even as he processed the information quickly. Sandra was a Witch, but opposed to the High Council. And now his actions have made things worse by benefiting the latter, and the Cult were one step closer to ascendancy. But thankfully, he had a plan.

“Change of objectives!” He cried out. “Alistair and your Spirit, keep that Golem distracted - I’m rescuing Sandra!”

Ashton didn’t have to announce that last part, in fact, he may have even compromised the new objectives somewhat by alerting Vaux. But he felt that he had to reassure the person whom he had unwittingly betrayed, a person who, though an Artificial Witch, clearly did not want to be a pawn in a truly evil plan.

As Alistair hopefully followed the changed objectives, Ashton used his ideal form’s enhanced abilities to climb up a house and onto the rooftops - When he was on them, he began running and hopping towards Vaux’s position on top of the golem, then leapt high towards the throne the Archbishop sat on, aiming a kick at his smug head, even as his hands and arms were held back to defend against any counterattack, or perhaps even attack in turn.

And there was a counter attack.

Although Alistair and Odessa were able to keep Vaux occupied, He was able to throw up a wall of flame on Ashton’s approach, which the boy was able to dive away from. ”What are you trying to do?” he laughed. ”You must be mad if you think you can kick Vaux Maximilianus, Divagro von Theodoric und Hieronymous when he is commanding so much magical energy!” Several stone pillars coiled around the throne, protecting Vaux from further attacks. ”I could burn you to a crisp before you even get close!”

Alistair cast his stimulate spell on Ashton, which boosted his capabilities even further than his ideal self would normally allow. And it happened just in time, as the dirt under Ashton was starting to turn into smaller golems, reaching out for the boys limbs.

Ashton cut with the enchanted daggers that came with his ideal form, severing the hands and bodies of the smaller golems, before leaping up to the rooftops once more, darting and feinting at Vaux’s position, trying to test his readiness. He’d wait to leap for real, trying to time his next job with Alistair’s next major attack, hoping to get through the pillars and the fire and rescue Sandra.

Vaux did not move from his throne, instead relying on his magic to defend himself. When ashton threw a knife, it would be blocked by a wall of earth. When he attempted to jump in, his flame aura would flare up. He was relatively safe in his current position.

But just because Vaux wasn’t moving didn’t mean the giant golem he was riding wasn’t. It took large, monotonous steps towards the wall of the city. A man would never get anywhere moving like that. But the massive golem could clear several city blocks with a single step. He had what he came for, and there was no reason to stick around.

Thanks to the ‘stimulate’ spell, Ashton was able to keep up with the giant golem, feinting with fake jumps, throwing the occasional dagger, but not making any headway. With every step the golem took, the boy’s chances of redemption faded away, even as he found himself without options. Or did he?

Shouting at Vaux, Ashton revealed his trump card, “Hey! Cultist! Wanna know a secret?! I and my group of ‘foreigners’ come from -”

The unnatural fear washed over Ashton, but the young man powered through it as he continued to speak to Vaux, hoping that the chaos of the battle was such that no one else overheard, “I and my band of foreigners come from another world, thanks to the Artificial Witches! And the Witches’ powers allow us to reset the timeline when a specific one of us dies!”

”And what of it?” The entire golem turned around to face Ashton. ”You know what? I think you might be just as mad as I am. That’s the only way you could possibly spill your secrets like that, or believe them!” He cackled. ”I wonder if you know his name too? I can’t say it, but you know who I’m talking about right? Oh yes, you must be mad if you know about him.” He folded his hands together. ”I’m not sure what the point of your secret was, but I think that someone like yourself should come with me!” And so he swung his hand, and Ashton’s body was pulled to Vaux’s side, within the heat aura.

”Jiwald!” Ashton shouts, trying to enchant his body to withstand the heat aura, he was prepared to strike Vaux with his daggers, hoping to kill the Cultist. If he was injured by the heat aura enough to revert him to his normal form, but was still conscious, he’d try and use what knowledge of unarmed combat he received from Bellrigger to punch Vaux’s lights out and strangle him to death. And if he was knocked unconscious by the heat aura, which was always a possibility, Ashton hoped that he’d be imprisoned with Sandra Fotos - He was not good at planning escapes otherwise. In fact, it was a blind spot.

But it wouldn’t come to that.

Ashton’s aura was able to hold out just enough to get him close and stab Vaux in the chest. He screamed and fell backwards off of the golem, and the fires seemed to die down instantly. But while Ashton was able to resist the flames for a time, it caused enough damage to make him revert to his normal self. But he would not be harmed further by the flames. The stone around Sandra broke away, and her unconscious body came tumbling out. But it wasn’t just Vaux’s throne that was collapsing, the rest of the golem would fall too. Ashton needed to get down safely, and without the help of his ideal self.

Ashton quickly grabbed Sandra’s falling body with his right arm as he said, “One... More… Jiwald!!”

This last buff gave him more strength as he carried the ‘Artificial Witch’ bridal-style, trying to do one rooftop-hop with only Belrigger’s training, his own relatively-fit body, and the strength of his remaining magic - The latter was still further enhanced by Alistair’s ‘stimulate’ spell.

If he landed on a slate roof, if he managed to not fall, if he managed to successfully rescue Sandra even with her additional weight, Ashton would lay Sandra down to rest, mumbling, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

Ashton had cleared the obstacle, just in time to watch the golum collapse to the ground behind himself. The lower half of Vaux’s body was trapped under the rubble, and Alistair and Odessa appeared to be approaching him. But the sound of a thick leather boot stomping the ground caused Ashton to turn around. Gris was standing before him. His arms were folded, but his sword was no longer drawn.

Ashton said to Gris, “Why… Aren’t you executing me right now?”

He then looked around to check on Sandra’s unconscious form, instinctively trying to see if she was all right. If she was, he’d turn to Gris once more, undefeated but utterly exhausted, and try to stand up on the slate roof.

“If you still must insist on killing me,” he said as he curled his fists, “Let me face it standing up, as I said before.”

Gris stepped past Ashton and picked up Sandra. ”Boy, let me just be square with you.” He had Sandra over his shoulder. ”I have no idea what is up with you or any of your friends. You teleport all over the place, trouble seems to follow you wherever you go, I just, I can’t..” He sighed before stepping away from Ashton. ”I knew flame was seeing you. I’m a little burnt that he would do something like that, but it’s clear people look up to you and trust you. Even that young man down there. Alistair was it?” He pointed at him. He seemed to be watching Vaux struggle to break free, but if the giant ice spear was anything to go by, he planned on ending him. ”There is no me and you anymore. But it’s clear that trouble has a tendency to follow you wherever you go.” He started to walk away. ”Let’s regroup with your friends at Vertti’s mansion. Once you do that, I want you all to leave. I don’t ever want to see your lot around here again.”

Ashton couldn’t help but chuckle as he said, carrying Sandra bridal-style once more, “To be honest, I’m sure many of us would like to return home and never think of Lugnica again once this is over - Let’s go.”

He then follows Gris.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Chieko was able to easily land her shield bash on Chiyo. The girl couldn’t see, and her daggers hardly possessed the ability to deflect such an attack. With a yelp, she was thrown backwards into Quill. The oni instinctively wrapped an arm around Chiyo and jumped backwards down the steps, landing at the base of the stairs.
 
”Owowowowowowowow!” The little girl cried. ”She seems serious.”
 
Quill blinked a few times. Her vision must have been coming back. “We should have known better than to do something so reckless, but it won’t happen again.” The two assumed a stance again. Chiyo had climbed onto Quills shoulders and crouched like a frog. “We’re getting up the stairs this time!” Again, Quill sprinted up the stairs. Half way up, Chiyo threw one of her daggers at Chieko’s head before leaping off Quill towards Flame. Chieko barely managed to dodge the knife, the sharp object grazing her skin lightly. The oni let out a war cry before the molten steel behind her surged forward as four multi-pronged tridents. She held her club behind her head, waiting to swing.

This time, Flame was ready, transforming his fireball into a fiery whip instead, ready to parry any attack Chiyo and Quill made while keeping the latter two at a distance. Another fireball lit up in his left hand, weaker due to the lack of a spoken spell, and he launched it at the two foes as a counterattack to further push them back and down the stairs.

“You two are not the only ones who can fight in tandem!” he shouted. 

The fireball was noticed, and Quill was able to move one of her molten spears in the way of the blow. It caused her to flinch slightly, but she was a tough woman. Weak magic wasn’t going to have much of an effect on her.

“I can't let you pass, Quill, and if you won't stand down I'll make you.” Chieko readied her own club, ready to deflect Quill's own while using her shield once more to stop the molten tridents.

Chieko’s shield was more than enough to repel Quill’s tridents, but she wasn’t the target of all four of them. Quill thrust two of them into the steps under Chieko’s feet, causing the wooden floorboards to catch fire. “Algoa!” The spears were becoming liquid again, and seeping up through the floorboards as molten metal. All the while, Quill was still trying to press through Chieko’s shield. 

Flame wasn’t fairing much better. Chiyo lacked any magical capabilities, but a close quarter fight fell squarely in her area of expertise. She landed on the ground and rolled backwards under Flame’s burning whip, as well as flame himself. Once she was behind him, she extended both of her legs and kicked flame down the stairs. ”Chiyo doesn’t like hurting friends, but…” She quickly retrieved her second knife and dashed towards Chieko. She had quite a bit of momentum, and Chieko would only have a moment to deal with the incoming threat.

Flame managed to right himself by grabbing one of the steps, badly bruised by Chiyo’s moves but not gravely injured. Standing up once more, he raised up his right hand, formed another whip of burning fire, and swung it at Quill’s right leg, hoping to curl its length on the latter. If he succeeded, he’d try and pull the Oni off her footing, or at least distract her from her attack on Chieko.

Fighting in tandem was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Chieko ground her teeth together. This was going slightly against them. Chiyo had rolled past Flame, trying to get to her. She couldn't fight the both of them like this, she was good, but – no, she could handle it. Even if she had to give a little.

Chieko allowed herself to step backwards, enough to let Quill gain some ground. Hopefully avoiding Chiyo's blow, while her momentum carried her forward enough so Chieko could land a gut blow on her with her club.

Chieko’s sudden shift in targets wasn’t something that Chiyo expected. She attempted to deflect the blow, but there was only so much two daggers could do against the heft of a club. The club was able to push past the daggers and nail Chiyo in the rib cage, possibly even her left arm. To that end, Chieko’s gambit seemed to have worked.

The caveat was now Quill was on equal footing with Chieko. Flame attempted to slow Quill down, but he paid for the delay by being dragged through the fire and molten steel below her. With a whimper, Chiyo trapped chieko’s club between her torso and her arm. Quill drove her heel into Flame’s sternum before running towards her adversary. Though the molten puddle was moving faster than she was, setting the floor ablaze as it raced towards Chieko’s position.

It seemed the only good thing about Flame’s position was that his face had avoided the fire and molten steel, although the rest of his body needed medical attention. Now prone on the stairs, the boy didn’t give up as he lifted up his free left hand and lashed out with another fire whip, this time at Chiyo’s right arm, hoping that a delay would affect the small ‘girl’ more than it would Quill.

“Goa!” Chieko turned her palm towards Quill, blasting a fireball in her direction in hopes of slowing her down just enough to let her disentangle herself from Chiyo. It hurt to attack Chiyo like this, but she had to do it no matter how good little sister material she was.

Ahem~

Chieko slammed the bottom of her foot into Chiyo, while pulling back on her club so she could use it to fight Quill. What was Flame doing? She couldn't let it distract her. She had to – she had to win here.

Chiyo cried out in pain as she was burned and then kicked. The frail girl was using the last of her strength to deny Chieko her weapon, but that strength faded between the two attacks she suffered. Chieko was able to pull her club free as the girl collapsed to the floor. 

“Filth…” Quill dropped her club and used both of her hands to seize Flame’s outstretched hand. With a quick squeeze she broke every finger on his right hand before swinging him up at Chieko in this confined space.

At least Flame can content himself with this - That he had at least helped incapacitate one enemy. Note now that he couldn’t do anything against Quill using him as a club, though, so he waited for his body to hit Chieko’s or the staircase.

Chieko, unprepared for having Flame tossed at her barely managed to catch the boy. With a grunt, she planted her feet firmly in the floor, wrapping her arm around him. In one motion she tossed him to the side not quite having the luxury of being gentle about getting him out of her way. She didn't have much time to bring her weapon up to try and defend herself from Quill's attack. Quill did not have a weapon, but she was close enough that it hardly mattered. Her weight was enough to knock Chieko to the ground. She sat on top of her and tried to punch her out, interchanging between left and right fists. She kept screaming “Goa! Goa! Goa!” over and over again as her molten steel attempted to coil around Chieko’s legs. 

Flame was pretty roughed up and badly burnt, and he might have broken an arm. But his other arm - He was too un-lucid to see if it was the right or left - was pointed in the rough direction of Quill, and with one more cry of ”Goa!”, sends out a strong stream of fire at the Oni as she punched a hopefully prone Chieko - Even with Flame dazed, he can still see Quill’s raised profile.

This should catch her by surprise. This should save Chieko’s life.

“Gah!” Chieko shouted as she was tackled by Quill. All she could do was hold her arms in front of her face – but purely playing the defensive wasn't going to get her anywhere. She could feel the molten heat on her feet, and each punch Quill made she felt each sweltering blast of heat more. If she got a little burned – fine then. Reaching a hand up, she attempted to grab one of Quill's hands with her own. The other shot forward, open palm as she took one of Quill's punches right to her face. “GOA!” An explosive blast of fire escaped from her palm. That was all Chieko could say before Quill’s fist dislocated her jaw.

The oni threw back her head and screamed. Chieko’s flames weren’t a direct hit, but the flames seared the side of Quill’s face, moments before Flame’s attack batted her from the side. The oni was thrown from Chieko and tumbled down the stairs before coming to a stop at the foot of the stairs. She didn’t show any signs of movement. 

”Mmmmm!” Chiyo was attempting to crawl down the hall, but she was progressing slower with each passing second. She had dropped both of her daggers, so it wasn’t clear what she was going to do once she got to her target.

The molten tendrils that hovered over Chieko’s legs would never touch her. With Quill’s defeat, they seemed to have cooled into solid metal. Sharp, but  no longer an active threat. 

And Flame chose this time to go unconscious, satisfied that he had saved Chieko’s life and she can deal with any remaining enemy…

Chieko shakily rose to her feet, breathing heavily. Ugh, she hurt all over. She was pretty sure she was badly burned, but she couldn't rest quite yet. She needed to make sure...Looking to Flame, she quickly made sure he was still alive. Good, he was. She glanced down the stairs towards Quill. She clenched her fist, resisting the urge to make sure she was still alive as she ran over to Chiyo.

“...Chiyo, that's enough.” Chieko positioned herself in front of the small human. She wasn't taking no for an answer. Wincing lightly in pain, Chieko picked up Chiyo in her arms, carrying her princess style back down the stairs, before setting her down next to the down Quill.

“Just...rest, okay?” She patted her on the head.

The small girl was laying on her back with her hands folded over her chest. She fret her brow at Chieko. ”Why are you being nice to Chiyo?” She grumbled. ”I don’t get it, but if you insist.” Quill’s fingers twitched. She was just barely on the verge of consciousness. Chiyo reached for her hand.  ”If we survive this, we’ll have to do it again later.” Chiyo pulled her hood over her eyes before laying down her head to rest. 

Chieko frowned, patting Chiyo on the head. Argh, how was she going to solve this? She didn't want either of them to be arrested or - She'd figure that out when she got there. Chiyo was already out, and Quill seemed equally out of it. She walked back up the stairs to where Flame laid. Still unconscious, huh?

“Hmph.” She reached down...and promptly smacked him right on the side of the face. “Are you just going to sleep, rival!?” Chieko shouted loudly. “We won this battle! On your feet and enjoy the spoils!”

Flame woke up, grouchy and drowsy, before mumbling as he got up, “Do you know how to set a broken arm?”

He almost swooned again from the pain.




Aerith had been knocked down, but not out. When she returned to her feet, she could see she was in the dining room. This was made evident by the long rectangular table going down the center of the room. All of the servants had fled, and the only person in the room other than her was Fritzi, who had seated herself at the other end of the table. She was pouring herself a glass of wine with one hand, and the other was propping up her head.
 
”I knew I hadn’t seen the last of you.” Once the glass was full, Fritzi tossed the rest of the bottle over her shoulder. It shattered, but the noise could hardly be heard over the fighting in the other room. ”I wonder what we’ll do while Quill’s busy in the other room.” After giving her glas a slosh, she took a sip. ”You know nobody likes you, right? Not me, not even your own allies. Even I can see that.” She set down her glass and pushed it aside. ”It’s because you’re selfish, Aerith. In the short time I’ve known you, you’ve burned down a clinic, attempted suicide, and aborted a dialog between two parties that you didn’t want to see joining forces. You see the problem here?” She stood up. ”All the same Aerith, I do like you. Not the way you claimed to like me, heh, but you don’t seem like you’re intentionally trying to be this way. I’ll never forgive Ashton, but I can forgive you.” She dragged her hand along the table while she walked towards Aerith. ”I’ll give you a chance to surrender. If you become my hostage, I’m confident I can talk Chieko into letting Quill take the seal. Then we can avoid any more pointless bloodshed.”

Hooo, so that's what was going on. It wasn't long to track down what was making her feel so...twitchy. So anxious. Fufu, seemed like Fritzi had some amusing secrets as well. Two knives left her sleeves as she landed in the doorway to the room, aimed right for Fritzi's head.

The wolf woman vanished from sight as soon as the daggers came close to her head. Once they hit the far wall, Fritzi reappeared. 

”Not the first time someone’s tried to kill me.  The whole ‘nail ‘em while their doing a monologue’ trick is something I’ve come to expect.” The room started to vibrate, and there was a metallic clanging sound coming from the pantry at the far side of the room. ”Seeing as you’re in the mood for knife throwing…” A gust of wind blew the door to the pantry off of its hinges, and every utensil inside was blown out as if fired from a cannon. Not just knives, but pots, wooden spoons, and anything else a servant would need to prepare a meal was flying towards Mie.

“Heh.” Mie grinned under her mask, superior agility avoiding several blades as she dove behind the table, rolling along the floor under the table. Using her momentum, she leaped up wards as she came to the end of the table, aiming one of her blades right for Fritzi's neck. ”You're pathetic, you know that?” She taunted in a bored, disinterested voice.

Mie was swift, But Fritzi’s movements, if they could be called that, were more akin to teleportation. She was actually moving though. Not just anyone would notice, but Fritzi was definitely running around the room instead of teleporting. Her shes had gotten dirty, and she was leaving behind footsteps every time she “teleported.” But the result was the same. Fritzi could move out of the way as soon as the projectile left Mie’s hand. From Mie’s position under the table, she couldn’t tell where Fritzi was. That was, until she started walking on top of the table. 

”Pathetic is what humans have been calling our kind since we were born, Mie. You’re not going to get under my skin by uttering it now..” The tools that flew past Mie earlier had fallen to the ground. She could see them, scattered around the table in all directions. ”I am curious as to why you changed sides. I don’t think you ever believed in our cause, but this is going to hurt your reputation as an assassin.” She stopped walking. ”It’s not too late to make amends. I won’t hold back if you insist on defying me.” All of the items started to vibrate, and Mie could see the table cloth flutter in the swirling wind. 

“What can I say, my foxy friend.” Mie grinned. Ah, ah, she wasn't teleporting..just moving extremely fast? “I've never been good at doing what I was told...besides, throwing a little chaos into the mix is fun.” Now how to figure this out. Her eyes shifted from side to side. She had some ability to levitate or throw something? Or was she simply moving extremely fast it looked like she was? “Besides...don't act like you're better than the humans.” Mie exhaled. “Humans, demi-humans...we're all the same sort of scum.” Mie dashed out from under the table – being caught in a confined space with potential flying weapons would be bad. She immediately launched herself into the air towards the nearest wall, spinning and pushing off of it as she launched a knife in the last direction she heard Fritzi in on the table.

Mie’s aim was true, but all Fritzi had to do was “teleport” out of the way before Mie hit her.  ”If that’s how you feel.” While Mie was no longer trapped under the table, her trajectory placed her directly over the table, and thus surrounded by potential projectiles. Mie normally would have just flown through Fritzi’s position to the other side, but she was caught in a whirlwind, spinning in place. It forced her against the ceiling, and the spinning winds were starting to draw the kitchenware swirling towards Mie. 

Aerith couldn’t afford to stand idle any longer.

She had mostly been trying to figure out how to defeat Fritzi through all of this. Like Mie, she noticed that Fritzi was just very fast and wasn’t actually teleporting. But there had to be some strange rule in how her power operated. She always used her power to escape or catch up to targets, but her attacks always came at normal speed. Otherwise this fight would have been over already. So she can only walk and run fast. But she was able to move on top of the table. If that was true, how was she able to accomplish that? Can she jump too, or did she step up on one of the chairs? It didn’t really matter. The important part was that Aerith never saw Fritzi “teleport” out of sight. So she was only capable of moving short distances, probabgly to areas she could see. That meant that Fritzi’s powers were based on sight. Aerith believed she had what it took to turn the tables. 

"Shamak!"

Aerith started by casting her weakest spell, one that did nothing but threw black spores into the air. Fritzi was swirling the air, so the spores were being dispersed about the room. But she cast it again, and again, and soon it was becoming difficult to see more than a few feet in any direction. This was draining on Aerith’s mana, but she wouldn’t need to hold it up for very long to win the fight. And just to give Mie an extra advantage, she activated the authority of wit. This caused both Mie and Fritzi to start laughing, and Fritzi’s wind storm ended. Not that she could see it, but she could hear the kitchenware clatter to the ground and no longer hear the wind. The main reason Aerith did this was so that Mie, while blind, could find Fritzi among the black smoke. Aerith prayed Mie would end this battle quickly, as she wasn’t sure how long she could hold up the authority of wit or this black fog.  

“How I feel, huh?” Mie's dagger missed, and she landed back on the floor. “How I feel...is that you're messing up my stuff, and I really, really, don't like it when people do that.” The black fox grinned viciously, intending on pouncing once more, but it seemed like the human finally had the guts to do something. Black spores filled the room, cutting visibility...and, was she laughing now!?

“Ahaha! I don't-ahaha-I don't know what the hell this-ehehe, magic is but I’ll take the opportunity-!” Mie managed to breath out. She could hear it. The kitchenware clattering to the ground. Fritzi's own laughter. Mie leaped forward, having already mostly memorized the layout of the room. She made a beeline for Fritzi, her knife stabbing forward into darkness.

It was too risky to join Mie. The two demi humans were likely aware of their positions, and would be attacking each other. She could hear the two cackling, their voices moving closer to each other. Aerith groaned as the last of her mana reserves were drained away. She wasn’t sure how long she could keep this up, but it was imperative that Fritzi wasn’t allowed to use any of her magic. She didn’t know Mie for very long, but she seemed to favor a physical approach. She could hear the sound of limbs flailing, steel hitting steal, and then one of the laughs were silenced.

It was Fritzi.

Just to be sure, Aerith held up everything for a few seconds longer before dropping her spells. She collapsed to her knees as the black dust swirled away into the air. When she looked to the two combatents, she could see Fritzi leaned up against a wall holding her chest, and Mie was sitting on the floor with her arms spread, bloody dagger in hand. If she had to guess, Mie had been kicked or punched away shortly after stabbing Fritzi. Even in her weakened state, Fritzi still managed to smile. ”I don’t suppose.” She inhaled. ”You’ll consider my offer, will you?”

“Aha,” Now that she wasn't laughing, Mie simply gave Fritzi a sadistic grin. “Begging are we? How boring.” Mie leaned in a bit closer to Fritzi. “I was hoping for a bit of a show, but you’re not even trying to defend your position...which means you’re just a pathetic, sad, hypocrite. At least take pride in your life and gracefully accept your end.” Not that if Fritzi tried, she’d give her any other response.

Aerith growled before walking over to Mie. She practically tripped over her own legs on the way over. She was not very magically potent, but had some of the strongest spells among the foreigners. Authorities were nothing to sneeze at, even weak ones. Once she was standing over Mie, she gestured with her hand. "Hand me the knife." There was an intensity in her eyes that only someone as downtrodden and beat as Aerith could possess. "I’m ending this!"

Mie was about to end it herself, but Aerith made a rather amusing suggestion. Well then. Mie smiled. “Eager, aren't you?” The fox chuckled. “Well alright then. Go on. End this hypocritical fox.” She handed Aerith the knife, watching what she would do eagerly.

”Wolf, actually.” Fritzi chuckled until she started coughing. ”Mmmm, so Aerith is the one who takes my life?” she sighed. ”I suppose this makes the most sense. You attempted to kill yourself, that’s when Ashton decided to kill Hiro. I suppose in an indirect way, you’ll be responsible for both of our deaths.” Aerith was making a low growling noise as she neared. Her short hair was hanging in front of her eyes. ”I hope you’ve gotten better at killing people, that attempt on yourself was messy.”

Aerith held the knife against Fritzi’s neck. "Back then, a week ago, you said I wasn’t the very best. That I wasn’t your type." She bent over in front of Fritzi and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Back then, a week ago, you said I wasn’t the best. That I wasn’t your type." She pressed the knife a bit harder into her neck. "Do you still feel that way? You felt something for me back then, right? You had to!"

Fritzi sighed. It was hard to say if her breathing was labored because of her wound, or some emotional connection to what Aerith said. ”I had no idea you were this lonely Aerith.” Fritzi let her head fall against the wall. ”This entire time I thought you stuck by your friends because you genuinely cared about them. But that’s not it at all, is it?” Fritzi leaned folward, Aerith held the knife against Fritzi’s neck, but found her hand trembling as they came closer. ”You’re a giant fuck up who hangs around people in the off chance they’ll notice you. You have nothing of value to offer, and bring down everyone around you. I’m right, aren’t I?” Aerith’s hand was uncontrollably shaking. She needed to put another hand over it just to keep it somewhat steady. Fritzi leaned against the wall again. ”Just kill me, Aerith.” Fritzi smiled and closed her eyes. ”Free me of this world where you linger. Send me off to see Hiro in the afterlife.”

Aerith bit her lower lip. She had no thoughts, her body was opperating entirely on emotion now. She drove the knife into Fritzi’s neck, only to pull it out and stab again. Over, and over, and over again. Aerith screamed, and crimson ran down the length of her arm, but Fritzi herself never stopped smiling, or otherwise made a sound. If it weren’t for the gaping hole in her neck, she might have looked like she was having a peaceful dream. Aerith stepped away from her body and turned to face Mie. There was some blood splatter on her face, and she was on the verge of tears. "You love me right?" Without wasiting for a response, she held her knife out against the fox girl’s neck. "I saved your life!"




W H E R E E T E R N I T Y E N D S





Chieko, Flame, Ashton, Alistair, Aerith, and lady Vertti all found themselves in that dark space again.

"Oh, I should have known." Vertti folded her arms. "Of course you’re all from the old world."

"What’s going on?!" Aerith was still drenched from head to toe in blood. "Are you here Joy? Fritzi?"

”Pretty sure you escorted that last one out of this world.” Lord talus appeared in a swirl of smoke. ”The game has neared its conclusion. The last votes are being tallied, and we’ll have a winner announced shortly.” He turned to face Vertti and bowed. ”You’ve just lost your ability to return by death. I’m so sorry.” Vertti only groaned in response.

Alistair extended his hand towards Flame, and he could feel healing energies gradually repair his arm. He was unlikely to fully recover any time soon, but it was better than nothing. "Do you have any idea what’s going on here?"

"Unfortunately." Vertti turned to look at the others. "Lord Talus is a spirit I encountered shortly after arriving here. He’s able to facilitate the love of the witches. That is to say that he can bring other worlders to this world, and grant them the ability to restart the world on death." She narrowed her eyes before looking at Talus. "He cannot give the love of the witches to anyone who they do not truly love, however, which is why he is not capable of having it. That’s why he chose to make a contract with me."

Alistair groaned. "So we were all called here to replace you? Why does he need to do that."

”I can answer this one.” Talus chuckled. ”I find the direction Vertti is guiding the world in to be distasteful.” he raised a finger into the air. ”To move things along, lets just say I’d like to see a bit more war in the world. It was a nicer place when the population was just a few thousand. There wasn’t room for hatred over things like race and creed.” He took a step towards Ashton. ”This game was set up to show the witches a more attractive option. It was hard to get lust to abandon Vertti, but she came around once she showed interest in Mie. Oh, that went deliciously well!” He looked at everyone else. ”Ashton and flame are only here by the will of Odd Laguna, which means that my next host will be one of you. Chieko, or Alistair.”

"What about me?" Aerith stumbled towards Talus.

”Oh, now you are a sad story.” He chuckled. ”So after your little thing with ‘Joy’ she got bored of you. You see, Vainglory is like that. She just wanted you as a challenge, and once that was done, she was ready for something else. It was rather disappointing, even the witch who originally wanted you here lost all faith in you. You’re nothing now.”

"Nothing…" Aerith hung her head. Talus stepped up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders.

”It doesn’t have to be that way of course.” He chuckled. ”The only reason why you’re still here is because they feel you are worth considering. But if you removed either Chieko and Alistair from the equation, you could take their place.” He leaned in close to her ear. ”They would all love you.”

"All…Love?" Aerith looked at her knife.

"I don’t think we can reason with her." Vertti walked up to Chieko. "If she manages to kill one of you, Talus will kill Aerith and make a contract with the one who survives. In order to end this we have to deprive him of his mana supply." She sighed and closed her eyes. "He’s contracted to me, and my death won’t reset the world any more. So…"
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Ashton Andrews and Flame Brooks

As Flame slept, healing, Ashton listened as Lord Talus revealed his plan, and he did not like any of it. He was still too injured to transform back, and he had lost his last weapon. But he would not let this spirit win, he would not let him turn his friends against each other. He looked at Alistair, his mouth opening to ask for healing - And he received it almost instantly, a wash of rejuvenation coursing through him as the boy found the strength to transform once more. This ought to be enough, this ought to give him the strength once more.

"Jiwald," Ashton said as he transformed once more, his hair and eyes white and teal again as his body was clad in a black-and-white costume that acted as mystic armor.

But most important of all were the daggers he held, daggers conjured out of the ether in order to claw and stab at Lord Talus as the boy shouted, "Never again!"

The old him would have tried to get his way using words, to try and mine information out the situation, and indeed there were occassions that called for that. But he'd leave those to Flame now, and Flame was asleep. No, Ashton would take direct action this time, attacking Lord Talus himself before he can say anything, before he can open his mouth to spew more slanted truths.

But that did not mean that he had lost all wisdom, as Ashton planned to throw himself sideways - right or left - should Talus make a gesture to smite him with a spell or curse.

Let Alistair reveal the fact that Sandra Fotos was the Artificial Witch of Envy. Let Flame be the one to make deductions based on that fact and plot the group's next way forward. Ashton knew that someone had to take direct action in this time of uncertainty, someone who had already washed his hands in innocent blood, no matter how he had actually thought it'd be temporary.

He was more expendable than the others. More expendable because he had something to be punished for, while the rest were innocent.

"Never again!" he blurted out as he kept trying to stab Talus.
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~Chieko Okawa~

THE VOID
Death count: 1
Reset Count: 4



This was...just too much.

Chieko tiredly stared at everyone present. At Vertti. At Talus. Flame, and Ashton. Alistair.

Aerith. Maybe if she hadn't been quite so hard on her. Maybe if she had been a bit nicer things wouldn't have ended up like this, but what could she have done? If she hadn't done things the way she did, then she wasn't sure if she would have made it herself. She turned her gaze exhaustedly towards Ashton.

"...idiot." She grunted, hefting her club, Glancing over to Vertti. She didn't know her very well. She understood Vertti was probably a nice person. Probably the nicest person she had met in this entire adventure...but what were their options? Fighting Talus was not a fight she thought she could win. He was obviously something beyond them. Something that they couldn't yet touch...but she couldn't bring herself to raise her weapons against Aerith, and she really didn't want to do the same to Vertti, either.

Why? WHY. Why did someone have to die?! She could save them, right? All of them, she could she just...just...was too weak to do it...

"...will killing you solve all this?" Chieko couldn't look at Vertti. "...I know we don't really...know each other, and I really, really, really, don't want too...but will it?"
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Alistair Archibald was usually a benevolent and tolerant man, but there a three things he simply could not stand: People who stood in his way, people who insult him, and people who forced him to make hard choices.

Of these, Talus was all three.

Alistair Listened to everything that was said. It was a lot to take in, But he understood the gist of it. Chieko and him would essentially be replacing Vertti. Talus wanted a new host, presumably because in order to forward his plans.

But it seemed like Talus was vulnerable right now. Not physically vulnerable, as Ashton was proving. Talus didn’t possess Fritzi’s speed, but he was able to dodge every attack Ashton threw at him. He didn’t know how long he planned on toying with Ashton, but this was good. He was underestimating them, and letting himself get distracted. ”Such a tiny knife, I have to wonder if it’ll even break my skin.”

While he found Ashton’s bold move pleasing, he was put off by Flame’s choice to take a nap at this time. He wouldn’t have wasted his mana on him if he thought he was just going to collapse on the ground. Ashton was a man of action. He despised weaklings, people who would nap when there’s work to be done.

And then there was Chieko, who fell somewhere on the line. It was clear she was stressed to her limit. Alistair was too, but he was a bit better at hiding it. She asked Vertti if killing her would really solve everything.

"I believe so." Vertti placed her hand on her chest. "It’s in our contract. He’s defective that way. Something that happened to him after encountering the witches. He can only draw his mana out of one person at a time. If you kill me, he will die shortly afterwards."

Alistair was not sure how Chieko would respond, but he chose to give his input on that plan. "No! Now’s not the time to be dead!" It was just principle. Ashton thought killing Hiro would reset the timeline, but it ended up just killing him. He wasn’t going to let someone else die and hope the magical mumbo jumbo all worked out okay. He approached the two girls and spoke in a hushed tone. "Killing Vertti is exactly what he wants, that’s why he’s getting ready to trade hosts. We don’t need to kill his current host, we need to make sure the witches can’t pick any of us." Alistair groaned. He just needed to understand the game better. "I take it the vote has to be unanimous? It seems like Lust’s vote was holding things up for everyone."

"Excluding the witch of envy, the other eight have to all agree on one, yes."

Alistair folded his arms. "Hey ladies!" Alistair spoke in his normal voice. "Are you watching this?"

That was when the shapes of the witches started to appear all around them.

”I, wouldn’t, miss, you, for, the, world, Alistair.” Sloth hovered over Alistair.

”Chieko has always been my favorite.” Gluttony ran her hand over her stomach. ”I would not miss her for the world.”

"Well, there you have it." Alistair looked at his companions, speaking quietly again. "The reason why Lord Talus is pulling such a risky stunt right now is because he’s trying to force the witches to pick one of us. The fact that Vertti is here with us means that she can still be nominated. All we need to do to claim victory is make sure the witches don’t pick either of us and instead pick Vertti."

"That might work." Vertti nodded. "It’s worth a try. I’ll see what I can do."

"We can deal with him once the game ends. Meanwhile, I think I know what will make Lust happy." Alistair stepped over to Chieko with a finger raised in the air. "Chieko." Alistair said a bit louder. "We might not survive this. I’ve encountered a lot of woman since I got here. However…" He wrapped his arms around Chieko and kissed her on the lips.

”Noooo!” Lust cried. ”It’s like Lin all over agaiiiihahahaaaan…”

Gluttony chuckled before placing a finger on her lower lip. ”I actually think my opinion of Alistair has improved a bit.” she giggled. ”It’s hard to pick between the two now.”

While all this was going on, Aerith trembled in anger. "What? Where did this come from!? You could have held me like that!"

Disappointing. It didn’t even bother Alistair that he might have to kill Aerith. Not that he looked forward to it, but she didn’t have a single redeemable quality. She was human garbage, and the fact that she wanted to kill them for a shoulder to lean on. Not that he would do so willingly, of course. That would be giving into wrath after all.

"Survive, Chieko!" Alistair turned to face Aerith and started flinging ice spears. It seemed the two of them were racing against the clock to disappoint as many witches as possible.
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Ashton Andrews and Flame Brooks

Flame had been awake for the past few minutes, but already he was feeling disappointed by himself and yes, his boyfriend. Getting up, he shouted at Ashton, "Ashton! Alistair has developed a clever plan - Now let's help him in it!"

He was subconciously aware that Alistair also shared his feelings of disappointment in him, and a thirst to make up for it burned in his heart as he walked over to where Lord Talus was, then said, "Oi! Evil Spirit! I doubt the Spirit already contracted to Alistair would be happy to hear she has competition - She hates people like you!" Then to Alistair, he said, "Try and summon Oddessa here - It may prove to be the turning point!"

Ashton, having already walked to beside Flame, said to him, "Sandra Fotos is the Artificial Witch of Envy - She isn't part of this throng because she ran away from the High Council Cult but the cultists are still after her! I made sure she still isn't part of this throng - Can you use that fact against these guys, Flame?"

Flame smiled at that, then said to Ashton, "If we aren't still in trouble right now, I could kiss you." Then he turned to the throng of Witches and said, "Hey, you gals want to be free from the High Council and this guy?" He gestured to Talus. "Well, even if you don't, I think I can convince you all that you all should pick Mistress Vertti!"

His grin widened, "First up, you loathe us, right? Me and Ashton? Well, Alistair is our best friend and Chieko is our rival - Or at least my rival. We regularly come in contact with them and get our horridness all over them as well!" A pause. "Not to mention this tiny fact: If they do end up your chosen, we'll just persuade them to do things that Talus and you all won't like. We'll make them fall in love with other people, we'll make them pick practical but boring solutions to the problems they face, we'll do anything to make sure they don't give you a good time if you pick them!"

A chuckle, "Vertti, on the other hand, will continue to face trials and tribulations even in her quest for peace - That is still true. And if you send us back home, with Hiro brought back to life, hopefully, then she'll face those trials and tribulations without help from any of us."

Ashton then picked up from where Flame left off, "Add the fact that your sister is still alive and at large and if she doesn't have her own sinister plans, others will still be gunning for her and Vertti has to keep them from succeeding as well. So that's more entertainment!"

@BrokenPromise@Rune_Alchemist
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~Chieko Okawa~

THE VOID
Death count: 1
Reset Count: 4



She didn't like it, but if it was going to just...stop everything, even for a moment then she'd do it. Her hand tightened on her club. Sometimes a hero had to make hard decisions, of course, that was jut how things happened, wasn't it? So obvious -

"Huh?" Before she could go through with it, however, Alistair approached. She hadn't known him for long, or very well for that matter. He struck her as an incredibly confident and insufferable human being, and she wasn't particularly eager to be around him. But even she knew it was better than to simply ignore someone in this situation. In fact, he spoke well, and his assessment of the entire situation made sense. "...I see! That is indeed an excellent course of action." Really, what was she thinking! She almost did something she'd most certainly regret later.

Still...

She glanced over to Gluttony, remembering their first meeting. Back when Aerith had...and Hiro had died...to say that Chieko was 100% behind this plan would be false, but she wasn't selfish like that. Gluttony seemed nice, even if she really didn't know much about these witches. They seemed like they were here to cause trouble a bit, but she didn't want to make any hasty decisions. If they wanted to get out of here, then she needed to follow through.

"Eh?" She was distracted when Alistair walked over, and before she could say anything, she was given a kiss right on her lips. Even before Alistair pulled away, Chieko's face turned a shade of bright red, and as soon as she was released she stumbled backwards.

"Y-you-! Y-you!?" Chieko glared daggers at Alistair. If he hadn't just come up with the best plan here, she'd kick his ass and feed it to a demon beast. "You're lucky I'm in a good mood!" She gripped her club, taking a defensive stance. Fine, if all she had to do was survive, then she'd do exactly that. "And that I am an incredibly forgiving Hero! I'll finish this without even breaking a sweat! Aerith!" She called out to the other girl.

"...you saved me when we were first here. You and Hiro both, Pulled me to my feet, dragged me out of that alley...I never thanked you for that, did I? In fact I only was angry when you put a wrench into my own plan - and for that I am sorry...but I can't let you do this." She narrowed her eyes. It was only a courtesy, but she would do it anyways. "Drop your weapon and I won't let Alistair rough you up too much!"

...maybe she was selfish for wanting to save everyone, but that was fine, wasn't it?
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E N D O F A N E M P I R E




Flame Brooks was not among Alistair’s favorite people. Alistair always respected people who could take charge of their lives and stubbornly refused to bow down to their oppressors. Essentially, people who had walked a similar life to himself. Seeing him rest on the floor did not make the haughty young man happy. He had thought that if Flame had done anything else, it would be better than just succumbing to the urge to sleep. Alistair was proven wrong. Flame was able to hear what Alistair was whispering to the few people who needed to hear his plan for it to work. He then stopped Ashton from distracting Talus, made Talus aware there was a plan, and then proceeded to talk about things that even Alistair didn’t understand. Alistair had worked so hard to try to dig out a victory, and yet…

But Flame wouldn’t have much time to parade in front of the witches. Talus was no longer distracted and was made aware of the plan. In a flash, he appeared behind flame and drove his hand through the boy’s back. Talus’s arm was emerging from the front of Flame’s chest, covered in his blood. He was able to witness the giant hand turn around and make an “L” symbol over his head as the light faded from his eyes.

DEATH COUNT: 279


With a snap of his arm, Flame’s lifeless body was cast to the ground.

”On the other hand, That is to say the one that went through Flame’s chest, I could just remove them.” He chuckled. ”I wonder what made flame think I didn’t have the power to do that. The two of you are entirely expendable. Mere pawns of Od Laguna. You’ve served your purpose.” He turned to look at Ashton. ”And now you can be removed.”

Alistair might not have liked Flame, but he wasn’t happy that he was dead. In the end, he was just trying to help. Alistair was so distracted by Flame’s interaction with the witches that he left Aerith mostly unattended with Chieko. Not like raining down suppressing fire was going to help her case any. Aerith might not have looked very threatening, but Alistair knew she had some fearsome power. If Odessa didn’t like her color, she must have had the power of a witch. He didn’t want to find out what it was, even if he was confident in his ability to use spells. Ashton had just been through a gruling battle, and lost Flame. Chieko looked like she was at her limit as well.

"Is that so?" Aerith took a step closer. "Funny how you only get around to saying it at a time like this." Her hands were shaking, but she didn’t release the knife. "We have a bit in common. You want to be a hero, I want to be a lover. You see? We both want to be liked." Her breathing was becoming more ragged. "Why didn’t you ever try to save me?" Her eyes dropped to the knife. "I don’t know what to do. It seems like whatever I do, it’s always the wrong choice. Is it even possible for me to make good choices?" She held her head and fell to one knee.

Vertti had run up to Flame’s corpse and was attempting to heal him, but it was a futile endeavor. Her magic was too weak to perform a miracle like this. Blue light lept off of her fingertips and into Flame, but it had no effect. "Come on." She whispered to flame. "You have to get up now." Vertti bit her lower lip. "Any time someone dies, there’s someone who’s going to cry for them. No matter how insignificant you may think you are, there’s always a pair of eyes who cries for someone." Her jaw trembled as she watched his unmoving body. "How many more times is this going to happen?"

The witches looked conflicted. They were talking among themselves, paying no mind to the scene that was unfolding before them. Finally Melancholy stepped out of the group. ”We have come to a decision.”

Talus looked away from Ashton, as if he had forgotten he was even there. ”Really?” He cracked his fingers. ”So who did you decide on? Simply give the word and I’ll make it happen.”

”We have selected all of them.”

Talus blinked once, then laughed. ”That is not how the game works. You must choose one of them.”

”You know I have a flair for the dramatic Talus, so let me explain.” She marched over to the giant. ”Love is not something that you can just force on someone. It’s clear that the canidates in this room are all acting strangely, they wish to force an outcome with all their heart. Since we are unable to come to a decission, we have decided to take the option that will make everyone the most happy.” Melancholy pointed to Vertti. ”We have selected Lady Vertti as the winning candidate.”

Talus was unmoving. His body looked like it was engulfed in a black flame, but even that flame seemed to freeze. Alistair looked between his remaining companions to see what the giant was going to do next. That was when the giant laughed. ”Let me see if I understand this.” he gestured with his hand. ”You are unable to make a choice, so you’re going to choose the one that you don’t want? The one that made the lot of you construct this game in the first place?”

Melancholy rolled her eyes. ”Not to put tooooooooo fine a point on it, but the majority of the rules for this game were made by you. Undoubtedly to exploit us for your own gains.”

”You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying.” Talus’s smile turned. ”The lot of you are witches, and yes, we love you very much. Those of us at the high council. We made you ourselves, brought you up, watched you mature for many years, and put you here so that nothing could hurt you.”

”A prison, essentially.”

”Exactly right, Melancholy!” The flames on Talus’s head seemed to get bigger. ”You’re pissing off the one person who has complete control over your lives. The fact that you can see anybody is because I am here to let it happen. So let that sink in.” Talus stood up straight. ”Do you still want to choose Vertti?”
Melancholy turned away from Talus and looked at the other witches. With a nod, she looked back. ”Do I stutter?”

Talus looked around at everyone. ”So this is it?” He swung his head around. ”I endure the war, I watch my family die, my kind pushed to the brink of extinction…” He turned to Chieko. ”Watch them sully my name, mock me…” He turned to Aerith. ”Then they have the nerve to call me a monster…” He looked to Alistair. ” And then after holding on to-”

”Yes Talus, it failed.” Melancholy folded her arms. ”You orcastrated a game you were sure you’d win, and you lost. Now, make Vertti the permanent sentinel again.”

Talus lifted his hand to point at Ashton, and all of the witches shifted. It was clear that if Talus didn’t do what they wanted, there would be some resistance. The giant mouth turned from a hidious scowl to a twisted smile. He moved his hands over the sides of his head. ”I won’t give you the satisfaction.” And with a loud crack, Talus’s head turned into a fine black mist betwean his hands before sinking to the ground. Even though there was no wind, his body blew apart into ash. The void shook, and everyone felt their grip on reality weaken.




Alistair had barely regained consciousness when he felt a hand smack him. "Gah!"

”Gah!” It was captain Crunch, kneeling over him.

Alistair cleared his throat. He never liked being touched, but again, he couldn’t fault the woman for trying to bring him back. "Where is everyone else?"

When Crunch stood up, he could see that he had been moved inside the Vertti household. Chieko was there, as was Ashton and Mistress Vertti. There were servants everywhere and a few mages trying to heal the wounded. Crunch remained with everyone to tell them what had happened. After crunch came back from the siege, she found most of them thrown about the room. Apparently Mie and Aerith had killed Fritzi, but she had enough power left to unleash one last spell. It seemed to be the reason why everyone in the mansion had been knocked unconscious. However, there appeared to be no lasting damage to the people or mansion.

Fritzi’s body was found in the kitchen, allowing the authorities to confirm that elder sibling had died in the siege. Vaux’s body confirmed the presence of archbishop activity in the region, and its ties to the demihuman bandits. Crunch is pretty sure these were two separate groups working together, but wishes to sell the story that the demihuman bandits were just a front for the witch cult and not a separate entity composed of disgruntled demihumans. This would remove the demihuman’s association with the bandits and shield them from even more prejudice. She’s also requested that everyone keep Fritzi’s true identity a secret. She was a beloved member of the comunity, and it would do a lot more good if everyone believed she was killed protecting the mansion.

"That’s going to be hard to sell to Mie." Vertti groaned. "I’ll try talking with her."

There were sightings of Aerith fleeing the mansion just a few minutes ago, but no one knows where she is now.

”I’ll take it from here.” Sandra stepped in front of Crunch and looked at the foreigners. ”You four, follow me.” None of them felt like moving, but it was a relatively short walk to Vertti’s study. Once there, Sandra locked the door behind them and stepped behind her desk. ”Alistair, Chieko, Ashton, and Vertti. I’m pretty sure most of you know who I am, but I’ll introduce myself again just in case.” She placed a hand on her chest. ”I’m Sandra Photos. I’m a very accomplished pyromancer who has their own division of cat boys who works under her. But all you need to know is that I am the new Witch of Envy. I know about what you guys did, and I’m really glad Talus is gone now. I’ve waited a decade or two for this to happen.” She sighed. ”I was seperated from the others because they didn’t want a repeat of last time. The witch cult that is. They tried to seal me away, but I managed to escape and I’ve been opposing Talus’s game ever since. It’s a long story, so I’m just going to get to the point.” She leaned over the desk. ”I have two goals. One is to stop the high council, and the other is to undo all of the nasty shit Talus did. Where I’m a little conflicted is to what should be done with the lot of you. So here’s the scoop.” Sandra folded her arms. ”It is possible for me to send you guys back to your old worlds. Sadly, there is nothing I can do for Hiro. Fortunately for Flame, the game ended in time and Wrath was able to save him with her authority.” And as if on cue, Flame walked through the door. He must have had keys because that shit was locked.

SUKKAH: 278


”Which reminds me, I have lost contact with my sisters. Without Talus, they have no way of observing the world at large. His was done without the approval of the high council, and I doubt they will risk following in his footsteps. Especially seeing as Talus failed. But I’m getting off point.” Sandra leaned across the desk again. ”You can go back to your own world. Your real world with your families and friends, who are probably looking for you. You’ll wake up somewhere and think whatever you want to think. ”

"Or we take the red pill?"

Sandra snorted. ”What red pill? The only other choice is that you can stay here. If you guys like opposing the cult, there’s plenty of cult left to fight. But you’ve already laid the ground work. The high council lost big today. The kingdom is only going to get stronger now.” She closed her eyes. ”This isn’t something I can freely do, mind you. This is a permanent choice you’re about to make. It’s only been a week so I can easily send you back to your own worlds, but it’ll be a lot harder as the weeks turn into months. So you guys need to decide what you want to do, preferably now.”

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