Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Flood
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Sonnambula
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As Thomas waited for his teammates to decide among themselves what was what, he could slowly feel himself growing more and more impatient. It was an unusual feeling for him. His mostly docile nature meant that he was usually more than happy to wait for others to make the decisions and then follow them, but there was this burning feeling from within that he couldn't shake off. In fact, part of him felt as though that feeling were almost bordering on anger. And, as much as he wanted to wait for his teammates to officially decide what they'd do next, in his mind the only logical option was to go back up towards Victoire's chambers, whether his teammates agreed or not.

An especially large crash from above that was audible to everyone in the theatre cemented the elimination of any hesitation Thomas had left. He began to pace back towards the destructed entrance from which he'd entered with real purpose in his step.

"Uh, it's sounding pretty intense up there, so I'll run on ahead. You guys can follow if you want, or stay here, I don't..." The boy trailed off towards the end of his sentence, not even finishing what he was going to say, his concentration having moved to retracing his steps from earlier with Caprice. It was clear to the others in the theatre that his mind was elsewhere, and Thomas himself probably wouldn't notice if any of his teammates decided to follow behind him as he broke out into a run. He hadn't even noticed that his glaive had disappeared, and dematerialised back to wherever it had come from, waiting to be summoned again when Thomas needed it. All that was in his mind was what was ahead: the somewhat familiar maze of corridors and stairways that would lead him to the remainder of his teammates, and whatever dark force or otherwise that they were fighting in those chambers.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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For every action, there was in consequence a reaction. Such was the simple makeup of life, the building steps, and these factors applied all the same within the Floors of the Tower. As its occupants acted, so too did the Tower react, ever changing, constantly moving, and never stopping. The first of such fates was Caprice, who’s searching among the theater room revealed very little. It was hardly a hoarding place of Victoire’s treasures, but maybe treasures came in a different fashion. Gleaming somewhere among the useless junk was a hand mirror.

Seemingly tossed away and forgotten, it held with it a certain charm that stood out among the rest of the tossed aside tools. Whether it contained some dormant power was yet to be seen but if nothing else, it would make for a hefty item to sell back at the Dangeki. Nothing else stuck out of interest unless Caprice wanted to rummage around in the theater room some more. By then, Thomas had since left the group, drawn to his own fate by the terrible power emanating from Victoire’s throne chamber. The boy was greeted straight with the sight of the giant serpent terrorizing everyone soon enough, a grander, much bigger version of the snakes he fought.

All of these events and more happened as they should, calculated and predicted by the Tower’s functioning system. Even so-called anomalies like the Snake could be countered with precise action on the part of the Tower’s occupants. And yet, one event suddenly set the inner-workings on pause and delay from how sudden of a conjecture it was. It was brief, passing for just a moment, but it was there; the death of a card holder. The pause lasted for an eternity and for a heartbeat all at once while the Tower located the source of the occurrence. While true, many were likely to perish, and have perished, within the Tower’s walls, there was something off about this one.

The Tower scanned, searched, locating, finding, until the image of Riku’s collapsed and bloodied corpse was noted. Despite her very obvious demise, there still remained sparks of life emanating from her. Curious indeed; so that was it then. In the time it took to ponder, it was the time it took to recognize and categorize the anomaly. Yes, this one would need to be watched. In the likelihood of another passing, she might even be taken in for further studies, though the Tower knew of her source all too well. At this point it was working on a curiosity of its own.

Perhaps that was why it chose to grant her a boon of sorts. Identifying the weakest Serei card in Riku’s deck, the princess, when she eventually woke up from her restless slumber, would find her God of Hornets, Apia card replaced with a new, shining one that burned and radiated with power enough to tear her body asunder and send her right back to the Deathsphere. It was enough to even give the Snake momentary pause as well, flicking its head in Riku’s direction before ignoring her for its true prize. Why would it waste its time with another wolf?

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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Caprice had sought a script or libretto that would explain the action upon the stage. Lore or clues to part the curtains that still shrouded the meaning behind the rules of the game. Alas these mysteries would remain unanswered.

But something about what she did find allured her nonetheless. A little hand mirror. It was not gilded like the valuable treasures that had rained down like a piñata's prize at the end of the last act. It held some charm regardless. Perhaps the shopkeep would buy it anyway but... As Caprice picked it up and stole a coy glance of herself, she found a smile upon her lips, framed by her fingertips.

She had meant to do some reflection after her actions in the last level, surely a mirror would be handy for that? Or perhaps she was simply obsessed with herself? Given the subject of her reflection was her own self-obsession, it was a gnarly knot that twisted itself around her mind. Still, she slipped the small mirror away. She was keeping this one.

The sound of a certain boy's words tickled her ears, and Caprice finally looked up to spy Thomas taking his leave. His words had not communicated the message with Caprice's lack of attention, but his actions certainly did, and Caprice followed him.

She felt a bit tired of running so she decided to skate after him, laying down a path of frozen sugar ice in front of herself to traverse upon candy cane blades. Not exactly as maneuverable a method as simply running in these winding ways, so she lagged a little behind.

Patting the hand mirror beneath her clothes, Caprice muttered to herself, "I suppose this makes me the thief we're trying to catch? Mmm, I'll have to have a bone or two up my sleeve in case the butler shows himself again."

Caprice maintained at least enough awareness to keep a better eye ahead of her this time, ceasing her frosty shenanigans and quick stepping to a halt several yards behind Thomas to remain well out of accidental glaive range.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


Kanbaru, having extensive experience fighting giant monsters, was not one to be kept down merely because chainsaw like scales slapped her with the force of an oncoming truck in the pilot episode of isekai anime. The lack of gravity meant she flew back fast, but it was just as easy to redirect that momentum with the help of her spectral companion as she was spun by an outstretched hand, body whirling rapidly along an unseen axis as she braked to a stop in mid-air.

It took all of her will to swallow down the bile rising from her throat as the world still spun long after she stopped, leaving her disoriented and turning vaguely towards the throne as someone cried out for the strongest there to take something. That unknown object was a Serei card of all things, and it promptly smacked Kanbaru in the forehead.

The knowledge that came with the card left her in more of a daze then her trip through the invisible tumble drier, as it was a face the nun was intimately familiar with and keenly interested in. She pressed against Kanbaru's mind, nosily reaching over her shoulder only for hands to be brushed aside so Kanbaru could peel it from her brow and eye it with an alien sensation of avarice.

This was a card she knew she'd be using in the privacy of the inn extensively if her parasite had anything to say about it, but first Kanbaru was going to put it work against the snake targeting them...

"Waah, did I miss something?" Blinking, she looked down and noticed that adorable princess was rather deceased and, furthermore, that boy Thomas had come from the doorway, effectively pinning the snake between both sides. "Umm, less thinking, more stabbing!"

Springing off from her favorite nun, the card in Kanbaru's hand flashed, garbing her in a brown trench coat and giving her a dreadfully cliche katana. Honestly it made the ex-magical girl think of all the Light Girls she'd found swinging similar weapons and cringe, but it's properties were nothing to scoff it. Bracing her free hand on the pommel she dove down towards the snake one more in a vicious stab with all her body behind it, knowing she only needed to pierce it's hide for the weapon to work it's magic.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by KoL
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Clair took a breath while the others, or rather Thomas, decided to follow the noises coming from up into the castle's ominous spire. Given that they couldn't find any proper goods to 'borrow' around, she had no objection to that move. "Well, I guess we should get going then," she said, agreeing to him before following through.

Nevertheless, by the time the others arrived at their destination, she would be nowhere to be seen. It was almost as if an unknown force whisked her out of reality. Or as if something in the castle rejected her presence. Eventually, the blonde thief would be back to the bar just like everyone else, but for the time being she had her own problems to deal with.

Meanwhile, in her Throne Room devoid of gravity, Victoire finally figured the reason for her migraine. It had to be the Snake. She was sure that she saw it before somewhere else, but her memories were being manipulated by some unknown force.

"A stolen card? I don't remember anything about a... Ugh!" Victoire clutched her head harder as another bout of pain assailed her. She knew she had lost something to a thief, however even trying to think about this Card stolen by Annabel was enough to make her heel in pain.

Not only that, now she was seeing something... flashes of memory about... a tower? Something golden? What in the world could that mean?

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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The card in Kanbaru’s hand, now absorbed by her, instantly crackled with discharged power. The air heated up in the throne room as a new force, one that rivaled the dense pressure of the Snake’s gravity field, made itself known. Large bolts of electricity sparked and hissed off from Kanbaru’s form, adding a new obstacle to those in the room. Each one created jagged, scorch marks wherever they were left as energy continued to gather in the room.

All of it came from the focal point that was Kanbaru, whose transformation gave some identity of the card. However, just before she made to swing her newly summoned blade, a searing pain spread across her hand in rejection before the sword shattered into nothingness. Her attack proving meaningless, the Snake gladly turned its sights on her, the one who now held the Serei card in the room. With its open jaw, it lunged forward, completely engulfing Kanbaru in a wave of dark and spatial flesh. She was gone completely, eaten by the massive reptile.

For a time, the Snake remained content, as if finally claiming the card had turned off some primal instinct within its animalistic brain. But then its irises thinned, as impossible as it was for a reptile, and the heat and static continued to build up in the air. More and more lightning bolts streaked from out the Snake’s form as if it were a living conductor, its flesh and scales glowing with a powerful hum. Just before a stray bolt could incinerate Victoire in heading her way, a dark shadow emerged from just beside her throne, Garou swiftly taking Victoire away into darkness.

It was perhaps the smartest thing to do as soon the snake looked more like a light bulb than anything else. With a final discharge and hiss, the energy building inside it let loose, imploding the Snake from the inside out. Large portions of flesh turned into wispy shadow and immediately the gravity in the room was returned, dropping everyone who was floating. Among the slithering mass of Snake flesh, now fleeing as each formed into tinier, tinier shadow serpents, was Kanbaru. She was returned to normal with the Serei card still burning in her hand among her mess. It was this mess and sight that would end up greeting Caprice, an event Thomas witnessed.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Sonnambula
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Though his concentration was mostly fixated on what was ahead, as he retraced his steps through nearly-identical hallways and staircases, Thomas was still aware of the presence of his comrades behind him. He couldn't quite tell how many were following along, but the staggered footfalls, along with a strange squeaky grinding noise like a blade digging into a slippery surface, indicated at least a couple of them.

Upon reaching the throne room though, the dark-haired boy stopped dead in his tracks, standing dumbfounded at its open entrance. There was just so much to take in. A humongous snake, much the same as the one he'd fought before, only bigger, bared its fangs and hissed in Thomas' general direction as it noticed his being there. Its focus was quickly shifted back to the other fighters in the chamber though, some of whom the young man recognised and some of whom he did not. There was Kanbaru diligently fighting back against the beast basically single-handedly, and he just caught a glimpse of Akiko as she disappeared up above, assumedly to also fight back against the dark serpent. A new girl in witch attire was seemingly assisting as well, aided by an actual flying broomstick and a sniper rifle. Finally, he spotted another new girl with noticeably fang-like teeth sitting on the throne itself and holding her head, as though she were in pain. At once, the wolf man's words from before rang again in his head, as Thomas also noticed the lady's ears. Whether fake or not, those bunny ears probably meant that this was the mistress of the manor.

He didn't have time to notice Ami and Riku at that moment, as his attention from scanning the room was drawn away by two things. First, was the realisation that those battling the snake seemed to be floating. And secondly, was the subsequent realisation that he was being drawn off the ground himself, his body feeling lighter all of a sudden. Was this the doing of someone in the room, or some proximity effect of the snake? His heart began to beat fast as his mind became slightly overwhelmed with everything going on around him. In fact, Thomas barely registered Kanbaru addressing him when she shouted over to him for assistance.

"R-right!" He confirmed back to her nervously, still a little bit confused as to what the hell was going on and who half these people were, let alone having to deal with the prospect of fighting whatever the hell this monster was. By the time he'd summoned his glaive and begun to try and propel himself in the air to help though, Kanbaru had already launched herself towards their foe, fit with a new weapon and item of clothing thanks to the card she'd just acquired.

And then, just like that, she was gone. Swallowed whole by the beast. Thomas suddenly froze, in utter disbelief of what had just happened. Before he could cry out to his eaten ally though, as welling emotions within him suggested he would, something even more bewildering happened. Bolts of electricity shot out from within the snake itself, the great serpent seemingly more confused than Thomas was himself as the boy shielded against the lightning with his weapon. As seconds went by the snake glowed brighter and brighter until it became a blinding light in the room. Thomas looked away and squeezed his eyes shut, the last thing he saw being a shadowy figure lifting Victoire from her throne and carrying her away from danger.

The next thing the boy knew, there was a resonant bang followed by the squelching of flesh hitting the walls and floor. Barely after he'd registered the noises, Thomas felt himself hit the ground. Luckily he'd only had to fall a short distance, but he still gave himself a moment before opening his eyes and getting back up. At once he noticed Kanbaru, standing in triumph around large chunks of what had formerly been the snake as flesh turned to masses of small slithering shadows, in a similar manner to the other snake from before.

Recognising that Kanbaru was probably fine though, Thomas began to make a run for it in the direction that he'd seen the dark figure sneak away with Victoire in, his curiosity and intrigue pushing him forward. They didn't for long though. The violet-eyed boy made it only a couple of metres before he collapsed back onto the ground, lying back on his elbows and panting. His body wasn't used to anything like the physical activity he'd undergone in the past 15 minutes or so, and the near-constant running and the few fights he'd been in had almost completely worn him out at this point.

Of course though, it was at this point that he noticed the other two in the room, with Ami standing near a mangled pile of red on the floor. Thomas gasped inwardly when he realised exactly what that pile was however, once he'd looked at it well enough, his eyes wide and slightly gaping mouth quivering. It was a corpse of a girl, battered and crumpled on the ground with blood spilling out from beneath her, and darkening the shade of her already mostly red attire.

"Why...? Who... who is tha- was that?" Thomas questioned to no one in particular, utterly shocked by what he was seeing. Though he was no stranger to death himself, it was the first time he'd seen a corpse, and let alone one as fresh and in a state like this. Especially when she seemed no less human than the others in the room, including himself. He was freaked out.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by ShadowSunRisen
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There was the sound of steel cutting flesh. A scream of pure agony after. Distorted sound that seemed to come from a world away, a blur of colors that was once Victorie's manor.

Her vision slipped through the veil, as the old familiar feeling of cold death washed over her like a blanket. She'd disappear from this world, again.

---

"So you've died again."

A hovering skull with reflective diamonds for eyes would hang over the princess's shoulder. His name is Piry, and he is a denizen of the Deathsphere.

The princess sat on the stairs of a great mausoleum. The girl is the only bright color among this lifeless world of dull greys and the deepest blacks. It is a world between worlds, the eternal home of the abyss and void. Where gods, mortals, creatures of all shapes and sizes are inevitably drawn to as entropy claims each and everyone.

Riku is more melancholic than depressed. Upset at herself for getting killed so easily, wondering why she took such risky actions when she very well knew the consequences.

"Is it finally time? Will you embrace us, chosen one? You will never fear death again, my dear." Piry would tempt her like a snake. "Embrace this wonderful power you have. Become our chosen. Our sav-"

"I'm not doing that. Ever." Riku would refuse, and give the floating skull a stern look.

"Hehhehe. Okay Miss Reaper." He'd laugh. It was more like his teeth would chatter and shiver. He noted the scythe she held against her chest, standing tall above her.

"You'd need some of our power to continue. You won't make it on your own out there. The void can give you strength. Dark matter that cannot be beat."

The princess is silent, seriously now more than other times considering his offer.

Piry noticed her interest, and would gesture her down the large steps floating in the desolated wasteland. A single dead tree. A sycamore, sprouting up from the cobblestone. On one of it's limp and twisted branches, a bright shining apple hung. It's appearance is hard to look away from.

"I don't like your illusions, Piry." Riku scoffed, finding it tasteless.

"Just a bite of the apple to return to the world of the living. Can't you see how chosen you are with this incredible gift? Your mother was so kind to you."

The princess felt a strong urge to cut Piry apart, but she knew he'd just come back once again. Nothing dies here.

"The world of the living beckons for you. The first voidwalker, our princess. Go again and seize your destiny." Piry would say, with a chuckle once again. It is hard to tell if he is ever serious about anything he says.

After concluding her moment of brooding, the girl would step up. She'd stride past the annoying skull and approach the pale tree, observing it a moment before plucking the apple from it's branch. She'd pause and take a deep breath, and look up to the endless gray sky. Though on closer inspection, it is no sky.

It is a mass of undead bodies. Squirming and gnawing at one another in a giant throng of ghostly human shapes. They are groaning with pain, fear and hunger. The unwanted and forgotten undead, lost of identity and purpose. They cling and draw onto Riku, wanting her to be their vessel and their savior, their avatar for all their angry envy of the living flesh world.

She rejected them with the bite of her apple.

---

Back in Victorie's mansion, the princess's body shook with a strange energy. It was something the tower had never felt before. This black and purple glow radiated from Riku's corpse, which would convulse and shake with it's shocks running through it's body before laying still once again.

There is then a gasp of air, like a first breath when one has nearly drowned. Life has returned to Riku, and she gasped and clutched herself, panting and clutching her pained wound. She slowly came back to her senses, blinking several times and feeling out with her limbs like they had been in a deep sleep. She'd cough and sputter, her wound still aching her. The deathsphere never fully healed her, it always wanted her to come back.

With great effort, she'd slowly come to sit on her bottom, leaning against a pillar. The world is a stew of colors that are slowly taking shape.

Again the princess has rejoined the world of the living, and cheated death.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


"No one told me cards could backfireeeeeeeee-!"

It wasn't the most poignant of final words but they just had to be said when the Bastion card rejected Kanbaru, burning against her palm as her dive turned into a flailing pinwheel directly into the snakes maw. Then darkness enveloped her, wet flesh pressing against her from all sides backed by dense muscle. Blind within the lightless snake, she felt herself sliding down as the snake's throat contracted, shooting her along it's colossal length, only for the card that had betrayed Kanbaru to decide it preferred her to being digested.

Muscle paralysis was a beautiful thing on the scale of a kaiju, especially when it ended in the snake exploding around her without blasting her to bits.

She yelped gracelessly, a wet splat ringing out as her saliva coated ass hit the castle floor and left her feeling intensely grossed out by the heavy goop dripping off her hat and enmeshed with her hair. Catching sight of Ami standing over a cute ex-person, she thrust a shaky, indignant finger out and barked, "You're vore fetish sucks Ami! Next time you can get munched while I pummel a-"

Because the universe loved interrupting her, the princess she was about to mention chose then to spring back from the dead, scampering away to huddle against a pillar and shake off the reasonable trauma of being formally alive, dead, then alive once more. "Well, that's new. Speaking of new..."

She turned a glare down to her palm where she imagined the Serei card would have set her aflame if it could burn any harder. Tightening her hold on it she held the card threateningly over a puddle of snake slobber and hissed, "If you don't cut that out then I'll be dunking you before feeding you to my favorite nun. So settle down and I'll let you out when I've had a chance to take a much deserved bath."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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"My my.... Uhm... Nevermind, nope." Caprice started like she had something to say, but before should say a single thing of value, her words caught on her tongue and she ended up just covering her face.

What had she just seen? What was the meaning of it? Did someone just die and come back to life? Is death real in this place? Are we just special? Maybe it's just them? But the snake kept coming back too? Maybe that means the snake was a person? But the snake didn't come back the second time so maybe it's a lives system? Or it was just built different than other monsters? Seirei cards can rebel?

Caprice was an expert at acting nonplussed but even this was a bit much for her. So she quietly stepped inside, sidled behind Thomas and pretended very hard that nothing was wrong, even if her head was spinning and her steps unsure.

"Oh right I can heal people!" It took Caprice a minute or two of standing there blankly trying to process things before she finally came to a useful realization.

She stepped out from behind Thomas pulling out what looked at first like a rolled up red cloak or carpet. She flapped it, and it unrolled out onto the floor, a long red sugar candy. When it finally stopped within arm's reach of Riku, the last flop revealed a nice arrangement of digestive biscuits with a half chocolate coating. The biscuits, if eaten, would finally live up to their name and more with the minor healing powers Caprice could muster.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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Perhaps it was a sudden and wrenching conclusion to the events unfolding within Victoire’s manor, but it was the finale all the same. Despite the great serpent being slain once more and hopefully for good this time, its appearance and aftermath left too many unanswered questions. If nothing else, a hollow victory was victorying all the same, but even Victoire wasn’t around to commend or condemn the Tower’s travelers. She had long since departed into the shadows with her ward, leaving the rest of the manor eerily silent in the travelers’ wake.

Death had witnessed itself and back again with Riku’s revival, the princess escaping the depths of the Deathsphere only to be brought right back to the Tower. Having awoken right in front of Thomas, her fate was placed on hold as Ami and Kanbaru were no doubt recovering from their own strange predicaments. At least Caprice was there to put aside any doubts of comradery, fragile as they were among the group, with offered sweets meant to heal and mend. For a battle that had come to their victory and the thief discovered, everyone seemed more battered for it.

The Serei card in Kanbaru’s hand that had once rejected her did so again with a sudden spike of electricity zapping out from the card and through Kanbaru’s chest. It wasn’t enough voltage to stop her heart dead though and for the briefest of moments, the virus in her flesh recoiled; not to protect its host but to escape and abandon for another more suitable body. Neither option came into effect as the card ended its surge, remaining dormant within Kanbaru’s grip.

No sooner did everyone gather their bearings did the familiar light of the Tower began to encompass their forms. Much like before, it was the tell-tale signs of their return to the Dangeki Café Club and indeed in no time, all of the travelers, new and old, were displaced from Victoire’s Floor and deposited back into the familiar bar. Even Annabel was dropped into place, landing on a random bar stool as she clutched her hat indignantly. “Well that sucked. Hey whale watcher, gimmie back my card now.”

And so for now the Tower’s travelers found rest.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"W-well... that's at least good to know..." The catgirl finally skulked out of the shadows and back into the light, the snakes finally leaving the room due to someone knocking the stuffing out of them, and interestingly enough, Akiko seemed to be in okay shape. Granted, she looked like she had the stuffing knocked out of herself, as well, but her forearms seemed to be healing just fine, save the blood.

[ The tail blocking seemed to share damage between you and I. Apologies. ] Castle emerged from behind Akiko and slung dust off its forearms. Interestingly, to everyone else but Kanbaru, they'd only see the dust flying off, but Kanbaru could see the whole ghost doing just that. "Eh, it's fine Castle. I'll tough it out. Good thing we learned for the future."

The girl stepped out just in time to catch Kanbaru's rant about how the card rejected her. On one hand, that caught the girl off guard, cards being able to do that. On the other hand, this really wasn't too world-shattering, considering most cards seemed to have minds of their own in the first place anyway. Akiko could speak to her cards even if they weren't out, so a card rejecting her didn't seem to shock anyone's world. Still, something bugged her, and she stepped over to Kanbaru. Maybe if she could s-

And just like that, they were back in the Bunko, and Akiko stepped right into a table.

"KSSSS!" The girl hissed like a cat and stepped back, rubbing her hip that jammed into the side of the table and grumbling. "Yeah, okay, ow." She stepped away from the table and stepped over to the stairs, snapping her fingers towards Kanbaru. No sooner did Castle emerge from Kanbaru's own shadow and address her.

[ Miazaki wishes to speak with you later about that card issue you had, as well as understanding how you are able to see me. She's going to bathe and rest first, so she'll come get you when she is ready. It'll likely be a while. ]

And just as soon it showed up, Castle left, dissipating into a fine dust before completely disappearing.

"I'm taking a bath. We're taking a night here and we'll leave in the morning."
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


As confusing a conclusion as it was at least the Tower floor was more or less cleared, throwing the two groups back to their inn. A perfect time for Kanbaru to release a sigh from the day's trials and promptly stiffen as a wash of electricity shot up her arm and did it's level best to make her heavy hair shoot out like a silver sea urchin. Far from a lethal shock and done more as a protest to still possessing her, the Serei card seemed keen to make her displeasure known in spite of all threats made against it.

"Guh, what a headache I've picked. And don't think I didn't notice you trying to jump ship." Kanbaru grumbled, a intensely baleful eye turned her spectral companion, the faint curdle of disgust brewing in her gut at it's moment of telling cowardice. She dismissed the feeling and the nun with a grunt, instead plastering on a wan smile as Annabel marched up to ask for her card back.

"Hmm, you want the card back. Somehow I don't think you'd be returning anything if the situations were reversed, and frankly, you owe me for poaching Riku like that. I had her dead to rights and you freed her from me. So I'mma sit on this card for a bit and think on it more in the morning." With a careless shrug the whale made to move past her, pausing briefly to whisper in her ear, "Unless you have something to make me feel more....generous~"

With an airy laugh to the room and a wave to Ami and company she mounted the stairs to the private rooms with a stride unbroken by Castle rising from her shadow to deliver a message. Curious but not entirely not unexpected given who weird Akiko was about it. "Sure, sure. I'll be waiting for your call, kitty."

By that she meant she'd be waiting outside Akiko's door, eyes dancing merrily as she heard the raunchy dealings of a knightly Serei and her cat girl summoner. And I thought I was the horny one here!
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by ShadowSunRisen
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With the return the inn, Riku had a moment to breathe after her near-death or well, death experience. She'd stand herself up and observe over her body like she had just regained control over it, Technically it was all still her, throughout her journey between life and death and back again, but the sensation of being alien in one's own body never quite left. Her eyes are distant and her movements are sluggish as she slumped up against a wall, holding her head in her hands to recollect herself.

She was shy of the gathered crowd before her in the inn, dying after all is so embarrassing. Moreso with the context of a battle being lost. She felt so foolish and frustrated, her decision to fight Ami seemed very foolish in hindsight. What had she been trying to prove, she was worthy? To herself she thought she proved the exact opposite.

Something glimmered in her pockets, a strange force calling her and pulling her away from her mental anguish. She'd parse through her satchel, and recover a card she'd been given when her journey in the Tower started. The Serei had a passionate glow, calling out to her non verbally through light ad a small ringing noise. Something lived inside that card, and wanted to seek the princess out.

Once the serei is pulled out and held in the princess's hands, energy began to leak out from it. It would connect to Riku's soul, intertangling itself into her divinity and using it to unleash it's true power. The card's name made itself known to her, Lola. It'd activate the magic inside.

After all of this, Princess Riku was really going to need a drink.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Into the rapidly emptying bar emerged a figure of such immense beauty and charisma, mortal eyes would melt in their sockets just from staring at her exposed abs. Or so Lola would say with a wiggle and a bark of laughter, both of which she did as she formed mid swing of her arm. It curled around Riku's neck, pulling her alongside the decidedly canine woman who led them towards the bar.

As the holder of her card, Riku would know that Lola's greatest strength wasn't in raw might or magical power, even if she possessed both in spaces. It was unfettered confidence that had her swagger up to the bar, commandeer a chair, and pull the princess across her lap to sit with an arm supporting her back.

"Hey barkeep, we'll have the sweetest drink we can chug down in a hurry, and keep them flowing. My summoner as finally figured out how to use me, and we are going to celebrate to her cherry being popped!" She crowed, one hand slapping the counter excitedly before coming up to brush aside the hair shielding the princess' dour face. "And you are going to drink with me for all the times we missed out on, and I won't accept any complaints or you'll be the one sleeping at the bar."

"You already know my name, and I know yours, so we're hardly strangers. That means let's drink, be merry, and make some regrettable decisions that we will have no recollection of come morning. Trust me, I've been where you've just come from and it's not all rollicking Hellhounds and angels bound in chains. Can be a real downer, so you gotta live it up afterwards or there isn't a point in coming back at all!"
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X X X
By the time everyone was back at the bar, Cait and Clair were already done with their business. The establishment's owner acting as if nothing transpired at all.

Meanwhile, the thief was now finally free and taking a bath. Despite the events that happened in the last few minutes, Clair was actually feeling better than pretty much ever. When she was done cleaning up and going back down, she was almost a different person not just because she had done her hair in a different, wilder, style but also because she had a different aura about herself.

Ever since Clair had been bitten by the mysterious dark serpent back at Victoire's, she had been feeling weird, but now she was better than ever. She was certain the next floor would be interesting.
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"...is this working?"

Riku would flop the card around in her hands, staring it down. The princess is completely oblivious to the giant dog that appeared behind her.

"Gah~!" Riku yelped as she's yanked away into the stranger's lap with powerful strength. Lola announced herself loudly and proudly. The princess appeared to shrivel up and grow meeker as this girl's presence dominated over Riku's own. She'd tried to get a word in but Lola would talk over her anyway, her hand coming to rub across the princess's now blushing cheeks.

Finally her pride and backbone spurred her on to make a move, she wouldn't just sit here like some pitiful doll.

"Now wait just a moment! I've no idea what I've just done, but I know I must be in charge of you, correct? I have a certain girl I want to go and beat up. Her name is Ami, and I must restore my honor against her." The princess cut through the friendly banter, right now she only had one thing on her mind. Revenge!

"So we can drink and be merry after we properly punish her, how does that sound?" The princess would cross her arms, and her voice took on an bossy tone as she commanded what she perceived as her new servant around.
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Thomas stayed frozen on the floor, the look of bewilderment on his face growing to one of utter confusion and disbelief as the girl in red rose up from what had previously seemed to be a permanent slumber. He opened his mouth to question what exactly had just happened, and also why no one else seemed to look as completely dumbfounded as he was at this unexplained resurrection, but no words came out. Only a croak escaped past his dry lips before his exhaustion took over once again, and he flopped back against the hard stone floor.

His glaive had since dematerialised once again, perhaps as a sign to him that his intentions of chasing down Victoire probably wouldn't come to fruition at this point. And quickly he realised that he wouldn't have had a choice in the matter even if he'd wanted to go in pursuit, another bright light consumed his vision, his whole body in fact. A light so intense, in fact, that even when he squeezed his eyes shut and covered them with his sleeve, it was still all he could register. Strangely to him though, it felt quite comforting. For within that comfort there was familiarity, though maybe a familiarity he didn't quite recognise yet.

There was definitely a feeling of recognised familiarity when Thomas opened his eyes again though, feeling returning to his body along with his other senses, almost as if he'd momentarily nodded off and then forced himself awake again. He lifted his head from what he quickly realised was a bar counter, and shifted around on what he also realised was a bar stool, before gathering his bearings.

"Back here again, huh..." He muttered quietly to himself, observing the other as they all got own with their own business. It seemed like everyone had something they wanted to do before the next challenge ahead of them. The violet-eyed boy paid particular attention to Riku as she, similarly to Thomas himself not long before, summoned her first Serei. And there was still the elephant in the room of her yet-to-be-explained revival, but he was already beginning to get over it. This was the Tower after all, pretty much everything and everyone here came with their own set of questions that he would ask himself.

He was glad he hadn't been sitting too close to Riku at the counter though, as the presence of her newly summoned ally took over the whole room, or at the very least the girl the canine woman now had sat on her lap. Thomas simply stayed sat where he was, making occasional glances here and there but mostly keeping to himself, fiddling idly with his jacket.

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For all extents and purposes, the Dangeki Bunko was becoming more a residential motel than a café club. That might have been the point of it all, as the more each traveler explored of the Tower’s Floors, the bigger and more diverse their resting area became. As a result, a good many of the travelers went about their own separate ways, including, by unfortunate circumstance, Annabel. “Hey you can’t just swindle me like that,” the huntress said knowingly as Kanbaru gave some lame explanation of refusal. “That’s rightfully mine and you know it.”

But Kanbaru already made up her mind, brushing past the huntress in stride. Her last few words did seem to open some form of negotiation for the future though. “You’re lucky I ain’t got the proper sense to put a bullet in your back,” Annabel said with casual warning before moving away. She had her own deals to settle with anyway and frankly didn’t have time for Kanbaru. No, instead, she strolled right up to Emilia’s shop in the Dangeki and gave her a toothy grin, one arm resting on her wooden counter as if she owned it entirely. “Honey I'm home~”

Meanwhile, Kanbaru didn’t get far before being approached by Akiko and her manifested power. The JSTR was silent at its host’s annoyance, ignoring her entirely; if it was aware of her frustration, it neither cared nor sought to care for it. Instead, it simply flared once as Castle was summoned, the sudden urge to tear it straight from Akiko’s soul rising in Kanbaru’s own bosom with urgency and bloodlust. The moment passed as quickly as it came and no such action was brought out from Kanbaru’s shadow, let alone call for violence. And so, the two went to their rooms for now.

In other corners of the main space, the young princess finally learned the secrets of Serei cards. Of course, by her luck, she was stuck with someone as rambunctious as Lola. It wasn’t long before the wolf had dragged her so found master to the bar, demanding drinks from a chuckling Cait behind the bar counter. As the two “flirted” and she prepared some drinks for them, her eye caught Clair emerging. She winked at the foxy girl and her daring new looks, only to hesitate mid-motion. It was as if she…didn’t quite remember why she felt excitement about her. A shake of her head brought her focus back to gifting Lola and Riku a pair of frothy cold cups filled with liquid as amber as honey.

Unfortunately, Riku’s target of interest was completely ignoring her. Ami was already turning in for the night, walking in the opposite direction of the princess’ shouts and towards her room. Caprice and Rose followed suit, taking the upper floors for their rooms. It left the bar occupied by Lola, Riku, and the sole boy of the group. Thomas kept to himself, no doubt processing what just happened or considering what drink to order.

“Tough day?” A weight shifted beside the boy as someone took the seat next to him. A quick glance revealed it to be Katie, the same girl from just before they left for Victoire’s Floor. She had a different attire, as if she’d been on her own adventures in the Tower, and her look wasn’t of surprise as she noted Thomas with a raised eye. “Don’t think too much of it. Weird stuff is the norm for this kind of place,” she advised.

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