Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


Whether by fortune, whimsy, or some hereto unseen plot of Harley's, Thomas was spared from grisly retribution and Kanbaru further relieved from being covered in his guts, as she held little doubt being buried against her breast would keep the offended party from taking out her ire in an immediate fashion. With her powers getting the blood out would be a cinch, but the smell has a tendency to permeate if the meat pinata erupts this close to oneself.

"Oh, so you calmed down, huh?" The JSTR host chirped, feeling how Thomas had forcibly quieted his struggles and now asked for release in a sensible manner showing he was actively containing himself. Which was good for all parties involved, even if Harley and Akiko had walked off leaving the two by their embarrassing lonesome among the throngs of casino goers.

"To answer some of those earlier questions, we are in Harley's Casino. It isn't part of the Tower, in fact, it's the complete opposite of the Tower. Entirely opposed faction to it, and not the kindest to those unaligned. Fortunately you sort of are in a roundabout sense. What with Marianne and all....by the way, when did you become the meat puppet for death itself? Eh, never mind. You can tell us about your love life later."

She waved aside concerns of possession, as the hypocrisy of calling him out on it would have chocked her to death on the spot. Though Kanbaru was reasonably certain no one had a parasite as adorable and agreeable as hers! With a nod to herself she beamed at Thomas, hands moving to smooth out his wrinkled lapels and tug his sleeves into place. "It's owned by that woman you were getting snippy with, and we seem to have gotten here when the entire Abyss floor collapsed and we got shunted out of the Tower. Think of this place like an embassy of sorts, unwanted by the Tower, but tolerated without retaliation. And we just fell across the fence."

A small part of Kanbaru acknowledged she hardly knew Thomas at all, but it was nostalgic to be laying down information for less informed juniors, drawing up images of the good ol' days. If she squinted she could almost see a familiar face. Then...a familiar voice. Once she opened her eyes a vague resemblence turned into a clear face.

Surprise. Disbelief. Her face went through a lot before setting on an outpouring of joy at seeing a fellow from the Detention Club standing before her, and before Apia had a chance to move two arms had enveloped her waist and hoisted her airborne, spinning her around the jubilant whale who had for once not buried someone in her cleavage.

"It's really you, Apia! Not data but the real Apia! This is wonderful!" Her cheers may have made her warnings to Thomas ring hollow, but a little hypocrisy could surely be forgiven in her excitement.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"Absolutely." Akiko nodded as she and Harley left the company of the group, arriving at a more secluded area of the Casino. Secluded was, of course, a generous term considering the hustle and bustle, but assumedly nobody would listen into the conversation Akiko and Harley were having.

The cat let out a sigh of relief as she looked back at Harley. "Do forgive me, I have still yet to fully understand the intricacies and orders of the Court and the role that Jesters fulfill. I imagine I shall learn of it in time, but of course, we should probably discuss business before pleasure." Akiko placed her fingers together, hands placed against eachother in a formal position as she addressed the Vassal of Luck herself.

"While I understand that this Casino is not inherently tied to the complexities of the Tower that we've been in for quite a while, I do still feel the presence of said Tower around. If you'll indulge me, it would be sensible to assume that heading towards said presence would be, in a way, the path towards conquering this as a floor?" Akiko tilted her head slightly in an earnest gesture. "Not that I've any desires of doing such a thing, of course. This is your domain after all. I just wish to ferry my 'allies' towards their next destination within the Tower, and I'm assuming that would be the way to do it."

With a flash of her red eye, she cocked her head suddenly in a direction before straightening out. "And do forgive me if I... tick, like that. I'm fairly sure the sudden surge of power is something I'll yet learn to control."


"Guf-" Apia was bonked by the green haired girl but brushed herself off and recovered easily, addressing the girl with a genuine kindness. "No no, it's okay, I'm not bothered. And... uh, you also seem familiar, but I'm afraid I'm quite bad with names. Uh, I'm-" and it was at that exact moment, Apia was struck by a whale.

"It's really you, Apia! Not data but the real Apia! This is wonderful!"

She giggled at the realization from her old friend, smiling at the spinning around from Kanbaru's grasp. Apia leaned down and gently placed a kiss onto Kanbaru's forehead, a sign of her happiness as Kanbaru (assumedly) would put her down, and for a moment she let herself ignore Yui. "Oh honey, I can't believe it's you! I was so worried when I couldn't get ahold of you or anyone from the club!" Apia put out her hand as she counted off names. "Not Touka, not Ami, not even Hana. Nobody's talked to me since the magic left Miso. I just..." She grabbed hold of Kanbaru's hands and jumped a little excitedly. "I'm so glad to see you! Oh my god, there's so much to catch up on, it's been years!"

She then heard a small buzz from a bee next to her shoulder and turned back to Yui. "Oh! I'm so sorry, I got a little forward there! I'm Apia, and you are...?"

On Yui's shoulder, whether she noticed it or not, the snake that had been accompanying her stared at Kanbaru and Apia with varying levels of interest, particularly landing on Kanbaru with a tongue flick accompanying its newfound interest.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by TheWendil
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Truth be told, there was nowhere private in the Casino, not truly. Not when all aspect of space was caught by Harley’s ears, seen by her eyes to do as she pleased. All the same, this realm was inherent to people like her. Despite the chatter and noise around them, there would be no ears listening to their discussion, not even Kanbaru; not unless Harley wanted her to. For now, the Vassal saw no need with the whale caught up in her apparent high school reunion or whatever it was going on over there. Harley paid it no mind, mismatched gaze slipping back to Akiko.

“Oh, we’re not with the Court. Not really. We Jesters have a greater calling of the divine. Call it like this….we’re the executive board who call the shots to my Court,” Harley said smoothly. She reclined back in her chair, lazed and outstretched like a cat taking its time. “It’s no surprise you feel the Tower too. Those Demitroop dummies never think to look under their own noses to find this place. Hilarious, I know, but that’s the merit of fools and the court of liars. Though, you can’t conquer this place as a Floor.”

Harley waved her arm about, emphasizing the brunt and scale of the Casino behind and around her. “That’s not to say I doubt your intentions dear. This place isn’t part of the Tower so you’re already outside it. Congrats! You escaped! You made it out, nice job!” Harley cheered with a round of applause. “Though, if you’re talking about ferrying allies or whatever, you’re sounding like you want back in the Tower. You really want that? Or are you dumping off some non-essentials, if you catch my drift. Either way, you must be crazy to want to go back to that thing and I like it. Crazy and stupid is the cut brand of winners in a gambling world.”

Harley leaned forward in interest with a gleam in her own crimson eye, not at all offput with Akiko’s own gaze and statement. “I don’t have a problem pointing you the way back to the Tower if you’re just dumping these other brats sweety. Just make sure that’s what you want before folding your entire hand.” The talk of folding one’s hand was rather ironic when, just a good distance away, Riku played all the tricks she could have possibly used.

For a moment, for a brief moment, the bunny girls paused. They actually considered Riku’s defense when she mentioned Kanbaru’s name, their calculated minds sifting through faces and memories to find if the girl was a VIP guest. And then she kept rambling about Kanbaru stealing things and that earned her a swift smack to her lips by a bunny’s palm. The bunny girls continued dragging her away backstage, hands smothering her jaw to keep her foolery muffled and silenced and from bothering the real guests.

Katie watched all this with a sigh, knowing she’d have to save the hapless pup. Again. She wondered if she was going to have to barter for her body and soul in some form. In any case, she passed a glance at Erika with something else written in her gaze. “I need to talk to you. After we settle whatever debt that idiot’s built up for herself,” she told her cousin. It was rare enough for her to bring up a subject to the blonde, rarer still with a tone that noted just how bothered Katie was by something.

Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by ShadowSunRisen
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"So yeah you see you really should just let me talk to your bo-"

Is all the princess can manage before being forcibly silenced by the devoted bunny attendants. She'd try and launch a kick or two and run away but the high heels on her feet and the arms gripped around her own would prevent her from going anywhere. She'd stomp and complain into a hand, looking out to Katie or anyone nearby but the black haired girl had become distracted with Harley. A calculated move, no doubt.

"Lhht ghh!" it's all she can manage to say as the bunnies disappear with her into the backrooms of the casino.

Harley's goons only gave sweet giggles to their captured prey, finding no qualms with dragging her out of sight and sound. For a time she remained just like that, an enigmatic anamoly and gone from the world. But eventually some of the Casino's lights dimmed and two larger spotlights illuminated on a grand stage near the bar. Harley paid it no mind and to those engaged in their gambling and own activities, the spectacle was just another reign of madness in the dimension that tested one's luck.

Dramatic fog seeped at the stage's floor, the stage raised a few feet higher from the crowd for all to see. Then a circle opened up from the floor and with it rose a long metal pole pointing to the heavens. Leashed to the same pole was Riku in her ridiculous bunny disguise now turned worker's uniform, upper body cinched and wrangled in harnessed rope with a loose leash at her ankles; just enough to give the girl room to happily hop around and perform for the guests. Naturally her blabbering jaw was sealed taught with an expensive looking toy meant for the backrooms, fat red orb jutting her lips and attached as tight as the linked chain leashing her to her stripping pole,

"Hurhhff, ghut thhs hhuf!"

Riku wouldn't stop blabbering even with something her mouth. She'd hop as she was forced to, red faced and embarrassed at how the bondage she had been placed in was very fitting for her failed disguise. She'd strut her stuff down the fashion way, forced to become a showgirl as every swish of her restrained body became an attraction for the guests. She'd glance over the audience with panic and hope someone from the team was around to stop this charade. She'd swish and sway against the metal pole, its cold touch making her very uncomfortable.

As Riku danced her way across the stage, the length of the chain always reminding her just how small her freedom was, the giggling of the bunnies was never far from her ears.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Sonnambula
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Thomas stumbled out from Kanbaru's grasp, blinking profusely in order to adjust from the void of the whale's cleavage to the aggressively vibrant lights of the casino around them. He was visibly flustered, his cheeks pinkish and toasty, violet eyes darting to and from Kanbaru as he tried to find the words to follow what had just happened. He wasn't so distracted that he wasn't able to pay attention to the words coming from the girl's mouth however, nervous thoughts about who might've seen the 'little blip' between the two put aside as the details of their location was divulged to him.

"Isn't part of the tower..." He echoed Kanbaru's phrasing in a murmur to himself, this revelation giving Thomas much to ponder about. As the new information occupied most of his mind, most of what followed from Kanbaru afterwards was lost on the boy. Right up to the point where he heard the words 'love life' which, like with most teenage boys, snapped him right out of whatever train of thought he'd been in previously to focus on whatever was being verbally flung his way.

"M-my what?" Slightly flustered and confused again, he shrunk back a little as Kanbaru stepped towards him again, half expecting to be lost in her chest for another smother session, before finding her neatening out his crumpled jacket. Sometimes it did well to remind himself that his teammates were still just people, capable of normal acts of kindness like anybody else. For the most part at least. "Oh. Thanks." He said finally in a much calmer, if not slightly nonplussed, tone, while Kanbaru fed him more information about the mysterious casino and its perhaps even more mysterious owner.

By now Thomas was getting enough of a picture that it dawned on him that being out of the Tower presumably meant being out of reach of his purpose for being there in the first place. Out of reach of the answer to his origins, his family. While Kanbaru was seeing images of nostalgia, a very different picture was painted within Thomas' mind. If he had to go back home empty-handed...

It was at this point that Apia arrived onto the scene. Presumably an old friend given the way Kanbaru suddenly reacted with an eruption of joy, and perhaps the boy even would've smiled at bearing witness to the reunion, but his mind was on other matters now. If that woman, Harley, was the owner of this place then she had to know a way out, right? If he was lucky maybe he could get a ticket right back into the Tower, solo or not. For better or worse, probably worse, the boy was preparing to move towards Harley and Akiko, who presently seemed to be deep in discussion. He was planning to take a lighter approach this time, having learned from his bluntness earlier, but still. Probably for the worse either way.

In any case, all plans were put on hold as, out of the corner of his eye, Thomas caught the glimpse of a struggle a medium distance away behind a swarm of gamblers. Notably, he saw a lot of bunny ears perking up and down, side to side in what seemed to be a scuffle against another figure in bunny ears. Someone in red. Someone who let out a piercing, though clearly muffled, mumble in a tone that seemed oddly familiar.

"Is that...?"

There was a moment's pause for thought and consideration. And then just like that the boy was off. He'd rush away, probably in an oddly sudden manner for the others who were not aware of the young fellow's thought process, nor the goings-on elsewhere in their vicinity, weaving through groups and crowds towards where he'd last seen the group of runaway rabbits. The familiar faces didn't stop there though, and luckily for Thomas too, as he found himself passing through into a small clearing that surrounded a bar, at which was sat Katie with a characteristically irritated look on her face, along with a blonde girl he didn't recognise. At least he didn't think he did. The boy approached her quickly, giving no mind to making himself known before he began speaking to her.

"Katie! I think Riku-" Thomas stopped himself after a moment, realising before he'd even gotten within two metres of her the look and response he'd be given. "I'm guessing you already know, right? I'll follow your lead."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by KoL
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Erika Reinhardt

Erika struggled to keep her laughter in check as she watched the bunny attendants drag Riku away while the thieving Princess —if her origin story can be trusted— tried to convince her that she wasn't the suspect they were after. It was quite the enjoyable scene to witness, the perfect distraction from the worries brought about by Katie's overly cautious attitude.

"Oh? Taking me seriously all of a sudden? That's rare of you," Erika said as she followed her cousin as both of them went after the kidnapped Princess. "Almost as rare as the dragon saving the Princess, don't you think?" She joked.

When they arrived at their destination, Erika couldn't help but wonder where all those old, ugly bastards dotting the crowd came from. Perhaps Harley had a thing for them? At any rate, it seemed like Riku would indeed need a hand to solve her problems. "So, do you think we should just barge in there and take her, or... would it be better if we played along this place's rules? If you catch my drift," Erika said as she drew a stack of cash from coat's pocket and slid a bill down one of the bunny attendants' cleavage, to show her appreciation for a drink she had been served right as they came in.

Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by FrogRFlowR
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The green haired girl was about to say something when Apia turned around very suddenly to speak to someone else they bumped into before. The two began conversing, leaving Yui on the side for now. There was something to say about such an everyday kind of awkward situation happening in such a... not-everyday kind of place.

But wait; Club? Miso City? Kanbaru? If Apia seemed kind of familiar - Kanbaru was well remembered by Yui. Once being in that Club as the...vice president? Something to that effect. More importantly she had been close to Touka. Excited at the possibility of having a first lead, Yui nonetheless remained near motionless politely waiting for them to be done talking before she could prod them again. Though, she wouldn't even have had to do this thanks to a little Bee near Apia.

Yui smiled as Apia spoke to her again and from her forearm to her extended hand, a Flower sprouted in full bloom, offering the bee some pollen as if to thank it for it's attention. "Charlotte seems to be interested in the both of you, I think." she said with a smile, a bit surprised at the snake's interest as she did not know Cherlotte this well yet herself.

"D-don't worry, it's fine! My name is Hum..." she seemed to hesitate for just a moment, both hands joined together as a sign of potential stress as she looked over Apia's shoulder at Kanbaru still there. Yui had no idea what happened to the club members, all she knew is they had fought before so this was a bit awkward.

"My name is Yui Oba. Sorry, but I couldn't help but hear you come from Miso City? I do too. In fact, I came here looking for my sister...Touka. I was told here was a good place to begin my search." she looked above Apia's shoulder at Kanbaru again just to aknowledge her; "Hi Otoko-san...long time no see. Though, from what I hear you may not know much more than I do..." Yui added, seeming a little downed by that realisation.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


It was only once she'd stopped talking she realized the magnitude of what she'd just laid on the poor oxygen deprived young man, and that perhaps he wasn't too ready for it. His pink eyes didn't seem to fully grasp everything that was said and were quickly wandering off, passing over Kanbaru's shoulder in the direction she knew Harley to be.

The buzzing of a very happy bee pulled her from deciding if she should let Darwin's Law work itself out naturally or intervene to save him from Harley again, settling for the former in the face of a connection to her past already in her arms. Beaming openly without any sarcasm or avarice to poison it, Kanbaru felt herself relax in spite of the blaring Casino atmosphere as the familiar Dark Magical Girl was at her side.

"Yeah, it's been awhile. Who'd have thought you'd come here as well when you aren't even a Court Affiliate." At least, Kanbaru didn't feel any of that on the bee girl, and it was hard to hide that sort of energy when you'd been close enough to kiss. "Oh, and whose this little missy-"

In spite of Yui's innocent appearence Kanbaru had no warmth to share for her, expression frozen before she curled an arm around Apia and pulled her just a little bit away from the green haired child of nature. "I remember you, Yui. More specifically I remember you not being there for Touka. Leaving her alone in the dark, brooding and toiling and plotting to fill a hole in her heart that ached so bad she split herself into two people. Then when the Magic went and that loving, caring, outgoing other half just dies on us, Touka still didn't have a sister."

The whale wanted to lay into Yui, dredging up the bitter feelings she'd nursed towards the light magical girls, but it paled to her feelings for the one responsible for it all falling apart. She swallowed, eyes closing and chest feeling with a great breath to calm herself. As she settled her hair shifted to its natural blue and when her eyes opened they shined like the sea under a cloudless day. Reaching into her cloak she pulled a bag of clinking gold from her pillaging of Umbra Academy and held it out for the JSTR to materialize and accept. "Take this and go buy Riku off that stage before a bidding war starts. You can have first bite at her till I catch up."

Only when the friendly parasite had gone off to secure a shamed princess who was certainly not going to enjoy the nun's non-existant mercy did she fancy addressing the former Miso residents again. "You want to find Touka? So do I. When I get out of this place and the Tower, I'm going to have to find the deepest, darkest hole in the world, because that's where she went. It's where she always goes when there's no one left to hold her back."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"Well, when you can see through the many realities and have time at your fingertips, you grow sure of things very quickly." She giggled. "And besides, one has to lay their cards on the table to actually win at poker, no? It just matters how those cards land~." Akiko smirked as she did give way for a second thought. The only one she'd truly miss in this Tower that held a solid chance of her not seeing again was Riku, but then again... sometimes that's how reality goes. You can't win every time, can you?

"I'm done with the craziness here. Kanbaru's held down, but I'm ready to seek beyond. It's time to leave it behind." Her demeanor straightened out into a seriousness that she didn't show a moment prior. "Which way do I go to cash out?"


"Wow, haha, Kanbaru that's kinda forward." Apia asked in a sheepish way, feeling a little awkward at the accusatory tone that Kanbaru was taking with Yui. "That was years ago, and besides, it looks like you two share the same goal if you think hard enough. What better opportunity to make friends than a common interest?!" Apia giggled a little softer, almost adorably so. "Almost like you two are drones working to save a queen? Ooh! Fun!"

The bee above her shoulder buzzed again as she got back onto another topic. "Ah, yeah! The Court! Funny story about that - I am actually being trained by Uathach!" Apia squealed happily as more bees flooded around her, from under her dress bottom mostly. "She let me keep my life in Miso, and I get to study magic once again with her guidance. I also get some fun perks, like some... interesting vacation destinations." She bounced a little, bees flowing around her in a fun pattern. "She said I reminded her of someone - a mutt of a vampire, as she described."

Apia's bees buzzed a little as she turned to look at Yui, focusing on her snake. "And who is this little sprig?! She's well taken care of!" Apia geeked over the small Charlotte as the snake kept her eyes trained on Kanbaru, her gaze absently following Kanbaru's ghostly friend with a flick of her tongue before returning to the two girls with nary a thought in her head, now following a bee without a single question.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by TheWendil
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“Is there a problem here?”

An impossible chill tickled the souls of those gathered but it felt almost warm in its familiarity to any other Jester. A gloved hand gently clapped Yui’s shoulder from behind, its grip subtle but firm in keeping her in place. The hand’s owner looked down on the green girl, a serrated smile aimed her way before she looked to the now newly reformed bluenette. The face was familiar; in fact, she looked all but identical to Nephy. But Kanbaru could tell this was not the undead samurai. Something was off, something was changed, and the familiarity grew.

Pale blue eyes stared through Yui now like a feral predator. The exact circumstances were unknown to any around but Harley and perhaps the JSTR, but this was no Nephy. The pulse of the Jester’s creed, of Zoroa’s touch, emanated in whatever was left of a heart the wolf held. “Is she bothering you?” Mastephos repeated to Kanbaru. Her grip on Yui’s shoulder tightened just a little. Kanbaru’s observations on the two former Magical Girls weren’t entirely correct, as pointed out swiftly by Apia.

The bee girl held Uathach’s mark claimed on her soul while the green one oozed the scent and floral natural of the Vassal of Nature. At least one of those two had less leniency in Harley’s Casino by association. “If she’s bothering you, I’ll throw her out in pieces,” Mastephos said, the madness of all Jesters now peering at her prey. She waited for any excuse to be set loose.

Harley chuckled further away, observing the scene but not really. Her attention was split between that hilarity and Akiko, the cat girl seemingly resolved to leave the Tower’s journey for good. “Well, if that’s what you want. I’m not going to stop you if you want to waste time somewhere else. But if it’s that princess you miss, you really shouldn’t worry,” Harley said with a diluted sneer. “You can visit her any time you want. Who’s going to stop you? You’re one of us now~”

Her words held the unspoken understanding imparted on Akiko. One of us. So long as she adhered to Zoroa’s philosophy willingly, she could do whatever she wanted. And if not, well, all of that could be taken away in a heartbeat. “You’ll be hunted from now on. That Tower is no longer your friend and the force that controls it will do all that it can to destroy you. But you already knew that huh~?” The Vassal finished her piece, idly pointing in a random direction.

“Knock yourself out kid. If you need any pick me ups, you know how to call your fellow clowns.” Despite her vague instructions, Akiko would instinctively know how to exit the cosmic casino once and for all. Doing so of course would have put Riku’s situation on full display to her. Katie wondered once again how the princess even managed this, not too far away from the stage.

Just before she could make any sort of plan of action, a familiar voice caught her attention and Katie turned to see a boy. “Thomas? I thought you were dead,” she said bluntly, her cousin baffling laughter and mirth beside her at Riku’s fate. “Both of you, listen up. Planning an attack is meaningless in this place when the law is governed by fate and luck. It’s better we simply follow those rules. I trust you don’t mind those sort of expenses, but you look like you already have that covered.”

Indeed, Erika was already wafting away fat wads of cash, passing it by whoever looked cute in her fancy; mostly the bunny maids. “After you buy her freedom back, come with me. There’s something we need to do,” she told Erika in earnest, catching sight of a spectral nun among the crowd. It was better they control Riku’s fate then whatever the JSTR had involved. “You have anything to bid with you Thomas?”

Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by FrogRFlowR
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Though the first interaction with Apia had been kind and sweet, Kanbarus's first two sentences hit Yui like a punch in the guts. Yui, taken by surprise by this, just stared at Kanbaru - blank stare - without knowing exactly just how to react.

"I'm sorry, I--" by the time she began speaking, after having snapped out if it she was just interrupted by the blue haired girl giving more of her mind to Yui.

For a second after that, Yui's old personality surfaced and she had half a mind to just flee this situation. Remembering the discussion she had with Gattica and Bonesword, she pat the little snake on her arm as if to remember herself why she was here - as well as giver herself a bit of courage.

"I didn't know..." A pause.

"For the longest time, I didn't know I even had a sister. And neither did she. Believe me. I tried..." in Yui's mind, flashes of her last encounter with her long-lost sister flooded her mind. From when Yui tried to stop Touka from leaving. Never one to get angry, Yui instead took an apologetic tone when she answered;

"I know you and Touka were close... I am sorry I couldn't help her, but I tried. Once I learned the truth, I really did. You don't know...do you?" The newly ascended servant of nature seemed to hesitate for a second before resigning herself.

"I was with her before she left... before the magic completely disappeared, we were together. I... I tried to stop her - i-it evolved into a fight I couldn't stop!" more flashes of Yui's bloodied and broken body formed in her mind, the parting gift from her sister. Yet, despite that she only felt remorse and sympathy for the fallen Magical Girl. "In the end, no matter what I said, I couldn't get through to her...I'm sorry." she concluded, wiping away a tear. She really, truly felt sad and there was no mistaking it. There was not an ounce of anger in Yui's words, not towards Kanbaru's harsh stance nor towards the sister who almost took her life. She only had regrets, truly feeling sorry she didn't know any sooner - sorry that she couldn't, as Kanbaru said, be a sister to Touka before it was too late.

A small silence probably fell between them before Yui tried speaking up again but heard a voice and felt a hand grab her. Surprised, she turned to see the newcomer seemingly hostile towards her...asking if she needed to be removed?

"I-I'm sorry? I haven't done anything...wrong?"
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


Apia was still the ray of sunshine she remembered from the Detention, that plucky bee that could defang a nightmare with a preciuse thrust and save their pizza night from destruction. Hearing she was a direct affiliate of a Vassal was a sight better then being another Jester affiliate, and truthfully she couldn't have picked a friendlier one to point Apia towards.

She wanted to congratulate her. To commiserate on finding one who would support and actively work to see her grow.

But her eyes were locked on Yui, a tighteness grasping her entire body even as a familiar face took the seaweed head by the shoulder and promised a swift, grisly demise at a word from Kanbaru. A word. A grunt. Even a nod of the head and Yui's journey could end to nothing more then the casual madness of the Casino and it's owner.

"You fought Touka, huh?" But Kanbaru relaxed marginally, the words carrying an almost rye amusement as she quirked her head and tried to look at Yui in a new light. "And you're still alive. She must have seen something to leave you breathing."

"Mastephos, we need an arena. No interruptions and no audience. I require your discretion from the other staff...Apia, you can come along as well. If Yui wants to pursue Touka then she can show me she has what it takes, or I'll retire you far sweeter then she would if she sees you again."




After following the minion that had so recently terrorized the Tower Kanbaru stood across from Yui, her hair still blue with the JSTR seperated from her. The fight before her was personal, and while she fully intended to use everything at her disposal to bring Touka back, this was going to be a measure of her own growth.

"You can use anything you gained by your own strength and actions. That snake is neither but I'll accept it won't leave your side willingly." With a flicker of light the Corpse Collector Serei was absorbed, a billowing coat and hood settling over her. The comforting embrace of a heavy mask secured itself to her face and the visage of Broker of Fortune, Rule Keeper of the Detention Club, loomed before Yui.

The Nephy card shattered and a blade of blackest night fell from sleeve into waiting hand, frost crackling along it's length as a dark vitality surged around Kanbaru in a visible aura of necromantic energy. "If you can't stand to face me here then turn and never let Touka's name grace your lips, for you will never reach her side."
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"Looks like this is the place." Akiko neared a door in the casino after a spell of walking. Interesting, considering everything that was this endless casino, the sight of a door that would be the way out was... interesting to her. Sure, she saw it coming given the recent advances of her abilities into what they became, but she could always be surprised nonetheless.

Akiko pulled the arrow out of her inventory. The same arrow that had given her access to Castle, something that let her conquer the Tower in a way that felt... considerably different than before. A quasi-physical form of her sight ability, a manifestation of her soul, it was essentially her in some way. In a sense, she made it this far with just her own wit. She had some help, sure, but this felt like a first time situation, an unexpected change to the story that had been written a thousand times before.

Yet again, since being in this Tower, she was alone with nothing but those loyal to her and her own wit and strength.

[You're hesitating.] Castle manifested behind Akiko, conversing with her. [Afraid of an end to the story?]

"It's not that. This... it feels like we're getting really close to the end of a story here. What if... what if it's all pulled away from us at the last moment." Akiko lamented, grabbing hold of the door with her hand and choosing to ignore the "Authorized Personnel Only" sign. Then again, that was her in some sense.

[The rules have changed this time. You'll succeed.] Castle floated up over Akiko, hovering there and observing its master as she thought through things. [But if you do this, there's no going back from the decision. You know this, right?]

Akiko chuckled as she pushed the door open. "It's already too late to go back now."


"O-or ignore me, that's cool." Well, the idea of keeping peace was far out of the way at this point. Ah well, cooperation wasn't always for everyone, she guessed. Plus the new arrival of a wolf that seemed loyal to Kanbaru made her... puzzled. Wow, a lot had happened while Apia got therapy, huh.

Then the group moved to an arena, Apia taking a seat in the sidelines as Kanbaru prepared to clash steel with Yui. Apia could feel the theatrics here, whether intended or otherwise. It was slightly annoying that Kanbaru wasn't willing to maybe see past a long-time grudge to focus on a bigger picture, but Apia knew better than to get involved here. She did, however call out from the stands.

"Um... unless I'm missing something, I feel as if you could just as easily talk this out! Maybe not die in a duel!" As hopeless as it was, maybe it'd do something for Kanbaru and Yui. "Honestly, can't believe you're willing to fight someone just as soon as we met after like, I don't know, a few years!"

On Yui's shoulder, the snake stretched out and coiled towards Yui's wrist for security, but it also seemed like a formidable weapon in it's own right. An unconventional one, but it was loyal enough to fight alongside Yui. Especially since it was allowed to.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by KoL
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"A friend of yours? Not too bad looking, I guess," Erika joked when Katie approached Thomas and began explaining their situation. However, she soon came back to her business mood, after a taste of the drink she just got from a passing bunny attendant not too long ago. "Anyway, we probably should talk less and do more princess rescuing, before they decide to take her to another castle if you get what I mean," she said, keeping her cool sense of humor.

"I agree with you on that part. In fact, I think it's strange to see you suggesting doing something with subtlety for once, instead of just taking what you want by force. Am I right, 'Black Beast'?"

Right after Erika made her last comment, she pulled a small plaque with a number from her coat. "Don't worry, though, I came prepared. After all, what kind of bodyguards would we be if we didn't foresee every possibility?" She commented as a number of the other guests also produced similar plaques, right on time for the auction that would determine Riku's fate.

"Thinking about it, I never bought a princess before. Maybe I'll have fun with it."

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A sharp whistled was heard beside Apia, a cold weight plopping itself right beside her. If Mastephos cared for personal space she didn’t show it, saddling up close to the bee girl. “That’s some fancy sword she’s got there,” the wolf commented, snickering knowingly from the Nephy card Kanbaru summoned. “I should know when I have the real thing~” Before she could elaborate, before Apia could even question her, the arena suddenly dissipated like unraveled threads around them.

“Aww what? Lame,” the unhinged wolf said, the seats beneath reverting away. She easily found her footing but caught Apia in her arms in case the bee girl fumbled from the change of reality. If she was an astute guest with even Kanbaru’s grace, she supposed she could let the bee girl free without much mauling. She looked around for the source of their interruption, only to find Yui was gone. Perhaps she was yoinked out the Casino by the higher powers that guided her. Perhaps.

“Killjoy,” Mastephos growled, their environment changing back into the casual atmosphere of Harley’s Casino, Kanbaru standing not too far away. “Hey did that weakling run off after your big speech? If so, she wasn’t worth the time of admission. Should have killed her when I had the chance,” the wolf lightly seethed, motioning Apia to return to Kanbaru’s side.

Further away was Katie’s group and Riku still proudly displayed front and center. "You’re not one to talk you know, ‘Abyssal Angel’,” Katie told Erika with a surprising amount of lightness to her tone. She could have been a lot harsher, she realized. Something else caught her attention, a change in the air that led her vision towards a secluded corner of the Casino. Something was happening that she needed to see through. “We need to go,” she suddenly told her cousin.

She grasped whatever money the blonde had, plaque and all, and thrust it at Thomas. “Buy her back before anyone else does. You have one job, don’t mess it up,” she told the boy firmly. Then she grasped Erika by her wrist and slowly but firmly led her away from the crowd, away from the Casino. “There’s something I need to do. I can’t do it by myself,” she told her cousin quietly.

Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


Without any faction loyalty muddying the waters, Kanbaru had bared her soul to Yui and expected to be met in kind. She expected to win yet held the tiniest hope that Yui may prove herself to be Touka's sister in truth by standing against her.

So the Casino shook with the wrath of Kanbaru as she returned, her open heart spurned by Yui flight from the duel. All around her slot machines set to win and rouse the gambling spirit of customers all failed to match. Dealers who knew the card the player needed was just waiting to be drawn then skimmed past it. Kanbaru's coat and blade fell apart, Serei cards returning to her pocket as she ran a trembling hand down her brow, shielding her eyes from the flashing as she truly savored the sheer vitriol roiling inside her gut.

It was the closest she'd feel to Touka's own and she wanted to ingrain it deep for when she finally confronted Touka and told her that she had no sister.

The moment passed and the patrons fortunes returned to their rigged states, Kanbaru's hand falling away wet with tears she couldn't allow to stain her cheeks even in friendly territory. Mastephos was at her side and returning Apia, something she nodded in gratitude for. "Tell any Troops that see her they'll have their wildest whims made real should they remove that thorn from my side. Your welcome to try as well."

The whale's hand closed around Apia's elbow and the two fell through reality, falling out of phase and coming upon the staging area for Riku's auction. Before it had fallen beneath her notice and she'd left it to the JSTR without much interest, but now there was a pit in her stomach that needed to be vented. An immortal adversary of the Great Game was perfect for that and she raised her hand with a barked declaration, "I will have that bunny for all the plunder on this card!"

Holding up her loaded chit, the stolen wealth of an entire air ship and all that it could carry crushed the opposing bids with a wave of dismay and anger radiating from the crowd. The spoils of Umbra Academy would be well worth the flesh she'd have beneath her, Kanbaru's eyes glimmering darkly all the while.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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It was an eerie change from the casino.

The room was dark, like a clear slab of obsidian with no ridges or imperfections, and it stretched far beyond what the room should have been from the outside, if you could even call it that. Aside from the wall the door was against, the area was devoid of any sort of walls or ceiling. It held more in common with the outside as opposed to anything else. And yet Akiko could very much hear her footsteps as she approached the glowing golden energy that served as the only other thing in this entire place. If she was looking for some sort of core to that forsaken tower, there was little else to acknowledge other than that exact thing.

She was right in front of it. In front of what felt like the ending to a story where she was, somehow, the main character. The apathetic delinquent, sent to a correctional ward for her youth, was nearing the end of her adventure. She was far different than she came in, white hair instead of the strawberry on her arrival, cat ears and tails, and with a stand to boot. Speakng of, the arrow that had given Akiko access to Castle so long ago started to gleam within her hand. She'd seen it gleam before, through all the loops and timelines, but never had she seen beyond it. For all she knew, this was the timeline and loop where everything had changed, and she hardly knew of what was going to be next for her. The endless possibilities made her heart flutter.

Yet, as she stood alone in the silence of the dark room, she felt a presence from behind her. Castle manifested itself at her back, yet Akiko remained staring forward.

"I assume that's the presence of someone here to stop me?" She asked aloud, facing forward.

"That depends entirely on what you're about to do."

The voice was obvious in its discretion. Katie stepped out the shadows, hands in her pockets nonchalantly as another sifted beside her. She had the look of apathy incarnate over her expression, a sight that eventually settled on Akiko. "This looks like the Tower's core, at least, one of them. Now how did you manage to find yourself in here. Then again, I guess that doesn't matter more so than the why of why you're even here. Maybe I'll like your answer. Maybe I won't care."

"Does it really surprise you, Katie?" Akiko asked, clearly enthused by Katie's response. "I'm looking for a way out. This is the most clear way that I can see." The golden glow of the core shone against her pale flesh, the cat finally turning around to face Katie, silhouetted by the golden lining. "I can leave at any time, given recent events, but I think we both know I'd constantly be roped here through some way given how much time and energy we've spent here. I'm looking to leave it all behind."

She raised an eyebrow to the dragon. "What are you here to do? Are you going to try and keep me from leaving, or are you going to let me leave, Pendragon?" Akiko had nary a smile on her face, her expression reading a level of seriousness that cat didn't normally show with her body or appearance.

Katie stared wordlessly under Akiko's reasoning. Her expression was as stoic as ever, a contrast to the indulgement Akiko gave. She finally answered with, "Go ahead then. Why would I stop you from leaving?" She shrugged and turned her heels around, back towards the other girl. "If I were to take a guess, I'd say the owner of this Tower knew your future and wanted to trap a brand new Jester somewhere with constant watch. But that's only a hunch. In any case, if you leave, that means time can flow as it usually does and we can escape this loop you caused. So why would I stop you? Why would I care what you do."

She was already walking away, seeing no real need to pursue. If Akiko did as she pleased, that only benefitted everyone else.

Akiko blinked in surprise. "Interesting." She didn't expect Katie to just let her walk out of this situation so easily. It was almost uncharacteristic of the dragon, indeed. "I suppose a thank you is in order, then." The room was silent for a moment as Akiko hesitantly debated what to do next. What to say. What to do. It was an interesting dilemma, one that Akiko wasn't expecting to have to confront.

"You could come with me." Akiko offered. "Stop playing babysitter to this cast."

Erika followed her cousin without much questions. In fact, she knew very well that trying to haggle too much with Katie wouldn''t get her anywhere, so she decided to deal with things as they came. The context of the exchange that took place before her was cristal clear for the Blonde. She always felt there was something funny about the characteristics of the timelines that flowed through this Tower. This was enough confirmation for her hypothesis.

"I'm pretty sure that's something she would do, indeed. In fact, even these back rooms we are standing now, feel just too convenient, don't you think? If she really wanted to keep a newborn Jester as a Guinea pig, I don't think letting her come to this place --if you can even call it that-- was part of the plan. Of course, I don't think that the temporary hop on Harley's domain was as well. If I had to guess, having the two of you together is completely throwing a wrench on whatever She has in mind," Erika said as she analyzed the situation calmly. In fact, if it wasn't for the disturbance caused by what she could only assume was Katie and Akiko's interactions at the Abyss, even Erika wouldn't have found her way into this place. So, she guessed that this wasn't part of the Tower's landlady's plan was a solid one in her humble opinion.

Katie listened to each girl talk, though it seemed Akiko had little more to add or say. She'd come simply under the pretense of reacting depending on what the new Jester said. Satisfaction with her answer determined her next move. "That sounds like something She'd plan. Evidently, the forces against her work in just as many mysterious and enigmatic ways as her own lofty and delusional goals," Katie said to her cousin. She intentionally ignored Akiko, giving her answer some thought.

"Why would you want me to come with you?" was what she finally settled on, turning back slightly to glance at the cat girl. "If you leave, that means everyone else would follow. There would be no more reason for the Tower to trap us along with you."

"And leave someone who'd want to kill me behind?" Akiko asked jokingly. "I can tell you want out of here as much as I do. The others don't exactly show that same level of desire." The only two who knew and wanted to leave were seemingly Akiko and Katie, who'd definitely had enough of the Tower for many lifetimes. "You don't have to accept, but I also don't exactly know what's going to happen next. Despite what I may appear to be, Harley and my goals don't align as picture-perfect as one might assume. And regardless if I leave or stay, there's still one Jester among us that would cause you issue."

The cat turned her gaze back onto the Tower. "Of course, I don't exactly think Harley would be upset if one of the newest to her little plans was killed." Akiko admitted to the group. "Or this whole experiment. I could kill every person here, for all I know, which... for the first time, isn't that much."

She held the arrow up towards the Core, seeing the golden gleams of the Arrow shine in tandem with the golden energy. "Call it a moment of humanity, call it a lapse of sanity, I don't much care."

"Dead or gone, the result remains the same. One outcome just requires more effort," Katie said in deadpan.

"As for your schemes behind Harley's back, that's none of my concern either. But I do know she sees everything, even beyond you. And if something didn't fit, you'd find yourself more powerless than you ever were before." But that was neither here nor there for her to speak on. At mention of Kanbaru, she only shrugged with a knowing, albeit rare, smirk. "Time works in funny ways; both of you know that," she said to Akiko and Erika. "I wouldn't worry about that. If you're done trying to convince me, you best be going now before I do change my mind. This will probably be the last time we ever see each other, and of that I can't stress my enjoyment enough for."

"Believe me, knowing spoilers about the future isn't that fun. It's all a bunch a unrealized possibilities until you decide to stick with a particular sequence of events or two. That's why even those of us who can do it don't bother that much all the time. With ultimate knowledge comes ultimate boredom, one could say." Erika commented about Akiko's comment that she couldn't know what would happen in the future. In fact, she knew the other girl had an unhealthy interest in knowledge she shouldn't have. She probably had to be thankful that extratemporal awareness wasn't one of them.

"Anyway, I guess I should stop dragging down your not-so-sad parting. I'm sure all of us have quite a lot of other things we'd rather do than stay here and sass each other out," Erika said before turning her attention to Katie.

"I couldn't tell," Akiko responded to Katie before then responding to Erika. "And the experiences of knowing things being boring depends on the observer. I think it's endlessly interesting."

Akiko looked at the girls once more. "I think you should leave the room. While I can't see the timeline here, I'm sure that as soon as I try this, something's coming to stop me in my tracks, be it the Tower or something intent on keeping me in here." Akiko turned back once again, a red flash emitting from in front of her. Whether Erika or Katie stayed was no longer her concern, but she was determined to read the Core by this point.

The arrow gleamed once again, as Akiko jammed it into her chest, the red glow of her eyes quickly overtaken by the golden light once again.

The core of the Tower reacted in kind bathing Akiko in a mass golden light that burned and seethed. It roared with the intensity of its maker, intent on burning the foolish Jester who came so close to its heart into the shadows of nothingness. Katie passively watched, unfettered by the near-suicidal move Akiko indicted upon herself. The light shined in glorious triumph but faltered for a moment. Curious, Katie noted how the light slowly receded away, leaving Akiko gone and escaped from the Tower. Where she expected the aftermath of Akiko core strewn out and taken apart by the Tower's hatred of her kind and the divine, there was simply nothing in her spot.

"She's gone. The Tower let her go. How strange," Katie said, more to herself than her cousin.

But Erika was right, they did have better things to do. They could discuss a hypothesis later, even if she already had an idea why the Demiurge would ever allow its enemy to run free. Maybe, she reasoned, maybe it felt the same as her, that there was no need to do so, no point. Akiko could do as she wanted but she'd never be free from the powers that governed her. Or maybe there was something else in the Demiurge's intent. Who knew, and Katie certainly didn't care to think on it right now. It was as simple as that.

"Let's go Erika," she said at last, turning away and expecting her knight to follow, shadowing the True King.

The blistering light of the reality she was messing with was otherworldly. Ethereal, and terrifying in nature. The forces of the greater powers that be were screaming, trying to pry Akiko from the destiny that she was so determined to make happen, and yet the Jester soared through the blinding sea of possibility with nary a sense of regret. She felt like she was being ripped apart at the seams, yet as her world came into view and away from the Tower, she understood more. Far... far more than she had any right to. Something hardly anyone could have predicted from the start. And it all came to a crashing halt as she slammed into a golden plane of shining water. A sun dancing on the horizon, or at least something that served in it's place. She reached down to feel her body, check if it was there, and aside from the burns she felt she was entirely intact. Cat ears and tails still there, yet her cards were laid out on the water in front of her. Hellsword, Windela, a singular blank one she supposed served in the place of Lorelai... and a ripped one in a blackish void. These cards were hardly magical at this point, rather just small blocks of glorified slate. Memorabilia from her time in the Tower. And yet... she wasn't left alone in this world.

She looked up to see a figure in the distance. She scrambled to her feet to stare it down. Demitroop? Some fearful enemy of the Jesters? Katie, somehow? She wasn't sure, but she was on her own it looked like.

"Who goes...?"

As the figure approached Akiko, it showed little hostility, if any. In fact, it showed excitement and eagerness as it neared the cat. "Hello, Akiko. You made it out I see." Akiko coughed for a moment as she realized who it was. Lorelai, definitely not the same from the Tower, but one nonetheless. "Oh good, it feels nice to not have to immediately fight when something happens. I guess it worked..."

Lorelai nodded, taking Akiko into her arms and carrying her towards a small island crested on the horizon, a small beach house sitting there. "Indeed, but what more is that you're in a place that's yours. I can't tell if it's new or just somewhere that you were spat at, though, but Castle seemed to be busy." The Stand remanifested, looking very different and arguably more ghostly than it already was. Something one of the power-that-were would have to draw sometime, it seemed, to get a proper description. Still, there seemed to be a sense of serenity here. She could relax, heal, and start whatever she had planned next.

And as the house drew closer, Akiko looked into the sky to see strange black lines etched into the infinity. Her Will made real, if she had to put it poignantly.

AKIKO WILL HAVE A WAY OUT
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"... maybe. I-I don't wanna make promises yet though!" Apia said, half-cheefully as the two fell through an infinite space and time, landing in the casino once more, and before the stage that housed a scantily clad girl and a bunch of... what Apia assumed might have been Kanbaru's friends. All were clad in unusual clothes, striking them out from the rest of the crowd, save Riku. Something about Riku was just amiss.

That all said, the Casino was only still stable for that immediate area. As the others would notice, there would be an odd barrier of sorts a small ways out around the group's location, one that would prevent them from continuing further into the Casino itself to cause more chaos. Instead, there was a golden door that appeared against one of the borders that would serve as an exit from the Casino, likely back into the Dangeki or some other floor of the Tower itself.

"Kanbaru, are these your friends?" Apia asked innocuously. "I-I know it's a little shy of me, but could you introduce me to them? I don't wanna just be a random stranger asserting into the crowd." She looked very sheepish, definitely something she never really showed before. Maybe it was because of the confidence she wanted to show in front of Hana, it was uncertain, but it wasn't present either way.
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Riku was terrified of ending up in the whale's possession, maybe a worse fate than remaining in this casino. Unfortunately, Katie seemed distracted with Akiko and Thomas had gone completely missing, likely absorbed in the casino and wearing a bunny suit of his own at this rate.

She'd do her best to hop her tail covered tush across her stage and try to get Katie's attention. Stomping heeled feet against the wooden stage to ring louder than her gagged moans could. With the way Kanbaru was looking at her, she felt her fate was sealed.

Akiko abandoning the team for her own insular reasons had done little to change the princess's predicament. She'd focus on alerting Katie, as anyone else would have their own prerogatives and likely not even attempt to free her.

When Katie returned, she expected this situation to have ended already, done and dealt with. It was to her surprise Thomas was nowhere in sight and Riku was still trapped on the stage. "Are you fucking kidding me," she growled to herself, immediately rushing towards the stage where onlookers and catcallers drunkenly jeered and bid for the bunny princess. Of course, none could have as much wealth as a Reinhardt and with bills flashed from Erika's courtesy, Katie instantly raised up the bidding.

The sounds of disappointment filled the area as none seemed to want to challenge the ridiculous quantities given.

Two guards grab the princess by her shoulders, escorting her to the new 'owner' who'd soon be thrown a bundled bunny that fell into her arms. Riku felt relief and had no more embarrassment to feel at this point. She'd rub her head up Katie's chest and fling drool everywhere as she desperately tried to thank her hero.

About time someone helped me! I thought you guys forgot about me! I'm sorry about the bunny suit, I won't do it again!

Katie sighed, Riku's weight landing against her chest. It took great effort not to push the bunny girl away from how she was drooling. There was annoyance, but more relief than anything else in Katie's form. "Let's get this off you...." Pendragon easily sliced through the girl's binds and wet gag even as the world shifted around them. The Tower was rest, the source of which Katie knew. It wouldn't be long before they finally returned to the Dangeki. Though Riku was still in her bunnysuit.

"Katie what the actual fuck happened in this stupid floor!? This was complete and total ass! A serious waste of time! Like really! We didn't even fight a monster, get treasure, or even learn something about ourselves! We just gambled and I got tied up by stupid bunny people for literally no reason! I was up there for hours, but it felt like days! And then Thomas just leaves me there, and you're flirting with Akiko all the time! And then that whale just looks at me like she's going to eat me! She's seriously weird! Like why do you hang around her that's so weird! And then after that we don't even get cash! Like...whoever Harley is this is literally the worst place in the entire Abyss...or universe. Or whatever it is! It's serio-"

Katie shoved the gag back in.

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