Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"I’m sure you don’t have any intention of stirring trouble, do you? After all, I don’t think you plan to extend your stay here indefinitely. Don’t worry with pleasantries either. I’m not on duty right now so, at the moment, I’m a simple citizen of the Imperium much like you. We are all born equal under the eyes of the Imperator. Now, let’s go before the lunch gets cold. You too, Lorelei."
Lady Asgard

"I have no intent to stir up trouble. I'm definitely not one for violence, rather one for talking, and I mean no harm with my pleasantries. I'm a stranger in an unknown land, and I only want to honor two ladies of your stature with as much admiration and praise as you deserve." Akiko explained with a smile on her face.

Then the visions hit.

"Ngh..." The visions that Akiko saw in her mind were definitely something that helped her clue into Eleonor's personality. It was FAR more than the visions she had of anyone else, including Lorelai. This world was an illusionary plane within the Tower, but could it be possible that Eleonor was more than the Tower had let on? Still, addressing what kind of noise she just had wouldn't be a bad idea. "S-sorry if anyone heard that. Sudden headaches come on and off for me, I should be fine."

As the bard and the political figures neared what could be assumed as Eleonor's estate, Akiko noted the maids in their dresses and scarred skins and pondered on that for a moment. It wouldn't be out of the realm of reason to assume these maids had been promoted to a higher position from being a soldier, hence the scarring and loyalty to Eleonor. It was a working theory, but it was certainly one that made sense.

Reaching inside, it was just as Akiko had assumed from the outside of the estate. Older, but still a homestead. Certainly she was expecting more of a castle to befit someone called "Lady Asgard" but this wasn't too far from the boat. These maids, if her theory was correct anyway, would definitely be equipped well-enough to handle any intruders or threats if the situation arose. Alas, there wasn't much time to dwell on the introductions.

"This way everyone. The weather is too fine for meals in doors."
Commander Lorelai

"Agreed." Akiko simply stated as she followed behind Lorelai and Eleonor. As much as she wanted to explore the manor and try to figure things out for her own sake, she just sooner would not end this meeting with her hightailing it out of here because she entered Eleonor's chambers.

The lunch area was, simply put, unsurprisingly elegant. It wasn't that Akiko was ungrateful (not that anyone could tell), but she was just unsurprising. It was elegant, fantastic, and absolutely decorated with a red hue of many, many strawberries, but it wasn't anything outside of what Akiko was expecting. She was still going to take it in, though, if only because she needed to keep up her act. "Heavens, you both show quite the generosity for a stranger such as myself, allowing me to sit with in the presence of two of the Imperium's finest over lunch."

"Do not hesitate to ask for of the maids if you find yourself in need. Milady's generosity has been extended to you, so do not let propriety halt you here. Sit where you may."
Commander Lorelai

Lorelai took the seat to the right of the head of the table, and assuming there was no other person joining the three for lunch, Akiko calmly sat down at the left of the head. It seemed only fitting for both symmetrical and practical reasons. Though, she certainly did have to ask something to both of her hosts.

"I do sincerely hope I'm not overstepping my boundaries by asking, but if it's no burden on you, may I perhaps inquire as to why you two of radiant prestige are extending such kindness to a stranger like myself?"
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by TheWindel
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To say the White Masks drew attention in the tavern was an understatement. A good number of the individuals gathered gave a glance or two but that was to be expected when newbies were abound, especially those as young as this lot. Much like Maria, they all wore similar clothes with etches of red stained on their dark garbs. It could be inferred they too were hunters much the same as Maria, though what their prey was, only she would answer.

All the same, not one dared to encroach at their able, let alone approach when Maria was sitting front and center. Instead, they went back to their food and drink or for some, their weapons. Assuming Maria’s request would be granted by the White Masks, they would have little time to waste. No doubt the huntress prepared for a hasty start towards their goal, an establishment located well off and away from the rundown town and into the darker half of the world.

Rumor spoke of a chateau in the far countryside that housed the more than unnatural horrors of this world and where blood flowed freely like ebbed rivers. Of course, Maria was free to choose if she’d let the White Masks know that bit about the danger. Her ride was waiting for them outside whenever they chose to begin their task. It was a chariot that reeked of rotten wood and stood still just at the tavern’s entrance.

A withered, hooded form sat at the very top, reins held in both hands to control the tempered creature pulling the transport. It resembled a horse more than anything else, though both sides seemed nearly identical to each other. It was difficult to say what was…off about the creature, but it was as if someone had taken two sides of a horse and stitched them together, at least in the face. Body-wise, the creature had both pairs of hooves, eight legs in total sprouted from its larger than life frame.

Much like its master, the “horse” waited patiently for Maria to emerge. Whether she would come out with prey or allies was up to her to decide. Anyone who came too close to the wagon that wasn’t permitted were harshly hissed at by grating teeth, the two halves of the “horse” whinnying loudly and putting up a fit. Therefor, not many tried to get too comfortable with the chariot waiting around, going out of their way to walk around the rider and the beast.

Hidden 30 days ago 30 days ago Post by KoL
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"Of course you won't cause any trouble. As a judge, I'm proud in my ability to be a good well... judge of character. I wouldn't invite someone who's an obvious miscreant for lunch, would I?" Eleonor said as the trio arrived at the mansion and took seats around the table. "Now that I think about it, this whole formality is bugging me, maybe should I get a round table? It's much better for us to understand one another when this social barrier doesn't exist," she added, thinking out loud in a jovial tone.

"Putting that aside, I have a request before we explain the reason Lorelai came across you," Eleonor said as they were served by the maids. "Would you mind sharing some of your stories with us? I know it may not look like it, but it has been a while ever since I was young and carefree enough to travel on my own," she asked, smiling in an enigmatic way before taking a piece of roasted lamb on beer sauce in her lips.

"Oh, but please, don't let that distract you from the food. Sheep and beer are the local specialties. Until you had Rivenwood's lamb on beer sauce, you can never say that you know what lamb is truly meant to taste. For a traveler, this experience is certainly worth far more than any gold, right? Furthermore, I'm very proud of the work of my household members," Eleonor said in a kind voice, flattering her servants, before taking a second bite.

Whether or not Maria did even registered the presence of the other Hunters it was something known only to her at first. Naturally, most of them wouldn't even bother approaching her on a normal occasion, much less when she was doing business.

However, just as their unexpected ride arrived at the tavern's door, she rose to her feet, placed a small vial containing a deep crimson liquid on the table, and said, "Very well then, our ride seem to have arrived earlier than I expected. Nevertheless, just like they say: 'There's no time like the present'. So, we may as well get going already, right Ladies?" to her guests before tipping her hat at her fellow Hunters of the night.

"While we are on our way, maybe should I explain a few things? You may even call it a newbie Hunter's tutorial if you will," Maria said as she got in the black carriage nonchalantly, followed by Sherry, whose enthusiasm didn't seem to dim even though she got quite a scare when she laid eyes on their means of transportation.

On the way to the chateau, the Old Huntress spoke about the basics of this world: how Hunters worked, what kinds of misshapen nightmares they slayed, the three types of magic most creatures in this world employed—the rage of fire, the curse of shadows, and the corruption of blood—and many other more gritty aspects of the life in the World of Wasted Dreams.

Sherry listened to it all with attention, occasionally taking notes, or posing questions of her own. By the time she finished writing it all down on her journal, the carriage had already arrived at their destination: an ominous looking Gothic style castle built on the crest of a spiraling hill. The crimson moonlight came from behind it and bathed the cobblestone path that waded through a grove of desiccated trees at the foot of the hill all the way to the wrought iron gates that guarded the surprisingly-well-cared-for rose gardens in front of the castle.

"Woah, that's really something! I bet you could throw a hell of a Halloween party in a place like this," Sherry said.

It indeed was a sight to behold. But, even more curious was the mysterious card they would find laying face down on the dirty road, right after the carriage left the group behind, going off to do its sinister business at other venues of this hopeless world.
Hidden 26 days ago 26 days ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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Caprice retracted her hand and flipped away the card she was twirling when Marie rose to leave on their transport, her face impassive behind her mask. She followed along to their ride.

"Oh, I do believe I've heard of this sort of steed before, was it.. Sleepnor? Slipnear? Aw... can't quite place it." Caprice didn't seem too dissuaded from the eight-legged horse, instead trying to eagerly guess its inspiration for a little while before giving up and joining Marie.

"Mmm, each sort of magic seems to have some sort of limiting factor or weakness. I wonder if mine has one that I've not discovered yet." Caprice summoned three gumballs, one bright red of swirling churning tides, one charcoal black of clouds blotting the starlit sky, one iridescent white as of brilliant flame, juggling them with impressive sleight of hand, considering that she was on a wheeled vehicle pulled over uneven streets by horse. After a little bit, she caught the three in one hand. "Which takes your fancy of the three, if you follow the rules of this place?" She offered to Marie the gumballs.

"The skies seem well patrolled, if those bats call any soul master. Would we fare better with a terrestrial entry?" Caprice noted the flying mammals showing brightly framed against the backdrop of the bright moon, her attention focused on the castle in front of her.
Hidden 25 days ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Lorelai


The maids waiting in the periphery briefly beamed with joy from their Lady's praise before a cool mask of decorum re-asserted itself. A state that was almost surreal as one promptly caught a cat as white as snow and exceptionally fluffy trying to slip out the patio doors, cradling it in her arms without cracking even a smidgen from her professional state. Not even as it rolled onto its back and demanded its belly be rubbed, which she did.

Seated at the table, Lorelai could allow herself to bask in the glow of Eleonor's words without restraint, her posture growing lax as a warmth filled her cheeks with color. A touch of reproach rose up as her Lady off handedly mentioned replacing the long table, but neither she nor the maids were very inclined to do so. They had plans to see those seats filled, and they would see it done one day.

Fortunately for Eleonor she moved on, prompting their guest to regail them with more tails of her journies across lands near and far. The Knight looked eagerly to the minstrel, only to catch sight of a drip of beer sauce working down the arch of Eleonor's chin.

Ignoring any propriety that some would hold onto before guests, she bent over the table and dabbed her napkin upon the lady's messy lips. Honestly, milady, must you be so comfortable you care not for your own appearence?

Her thoughts had her lingering for a few moments longer then neccesary, her fingers upon Eleonor's lips tracing the delicate arch beneath the cloth of her napkin before she drew back. Lorelai's own expression had grown a touch giddy and she feigned a cough into the same stained cloth before facing Akiko once more.

"Pardon my interruption. Please, do tell us more of your travels. Milady can so rarely find stories from beyond the borders of our Imperium."
Hidden 25 days ago 25 days ago Post by KoL
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VICTOIRE BORDEAUX, THE BLOOD COUNTESS

The darkened castle resting in the plane of the supernatural was devoid of modern touch. Perhaps it was testament to the archaic beliefs of its owner, a reflection of her poor taste in design. It didn't stop the new guests from strolling up to its propery however, the White Masks and their guide closer than most would dare approach the wretched estate. However, someone else had adventured before them, little to their knowledge. Even now the mysterious stranger was entertaining the castle's owner, though probably not in the way she would have liked. Deep in the castle's throne room, the member of twilight held no patience for the vampire whore's deceptions.

"I'll ask again, Blood Countess. You're holding a treasure that many would consider to covet of the world; this world, to be specific. Now you can either tell me where it is and I'll be on my way. Or you can answer to a...less patient authority," said the youth. By now he was getting impatient, ironically, tapping a booted foot before glancing out the side of one large window. Even from this distance he saw the presence of newcomers and so turned back to Victoire lofting on her throne like a lazy animal. "Answer soon because you have more people barging into your place."

"Tis impolite to barge into other's residences and demand things from them without even explaning yourself. If you don't try to be a little more clear, I have no way of knowing what you are talking about. I own many valuable treasures, after all," Victoire said as she reclined against her throne, resting her chin on a curled first while staring at the boy in a bored way. "I'm not particularly invested in this realm so if you can convince me, I don't see why I couldn't indulge your request."

"For a vampire, you're not a very good liar. At least, not to someone who has eyes on both the Court and their enemies," the boy mused. "There's a rumor going around for some time. Rumors that the self-proclaimed "victor of the Nexus" pawned a relic just before the last cycle. A treasure that may have been of high value, so to speak. I'm just here to see if those rumors are true." The boy walked as he talked, finding a stray pillar in the mesh of Victoire's overtly designed throne room, only to lean his back onto it and stare up at the bored host.

"So, did you happen to steal something from the Court's experiment? A lie won't get you anywhere with me, vampire."

"If you count the hearts of one too many fair—formerly—maidens as great treasure, I sure am guilty of it," Victoire replied in a completely straigth-faced way. "But, I may be able to recall other acquisitions from that place. Before I say anything else, what is it that you want with this treasure? You don't look like the collector type, judging by your appearance," she added, shifting in place lightly.

"Is it that obvious? Though someone as smart as you probably already figured I'm not here on behalf of the Court. Or the Unilysts," the boy added, noting an iota of interest wafted from the vampire now. "More like a personal project of mine but that's none of your concern. A creature who slinks in the shadows like you wouldn't understand the glory of a revolution. And what I do with it is also not your concern." Now it was the boy's turn to tilt his head curiously, looking over Victoire's form. "So you admit you did take something. It's really not nice to lie to your guests, Victoire."

"One who hasn't been invited can't consider himself a guest, can he?" Victoired said in a jesting tone before flashing a fanged grin at the boy. "That said, I may know what you are talking about, but why would I part with a memento from one of my beloveds?"

"Unless, of course, you could offer something of interest for a trade. Making deals is something us demons are fond of," she said, extending an open hand toward him and beckoning him closer with her index.

The boy's expression furrowed into a frown once the vampire basically confirmed the suspicions, no longer dancing around the subject. "And why would a being like me make a deal with one so weak? I was trying to be nice by just asking you but it looks like you want more than you can chew. Though, I can give you two reasons you'd part with your...gift." The boy shook his head as if thinking to himself, unphased by the harlot's fanged smirk. "Firstly, I know you're clever, Victoire. If not me, then another member of the Court will come hunting you for that treasure. They won't have the flattery of asking first too. And secondly...well, she might get hissy if you don't begin behaving."

At that moment the air in the throne chamber became warmer, denser while a low rumbling slightly shook the interior. What began as a low buzz soon became a large and humid animalistic hiss. The boy glanced up and assuming Victoire followed his gaze, she'd see the obvious problem she placed herself in. Something was crawling idly about on her cieling, but it was no spider or spawn of hers. It was a great serpent larger than any normal reptile, sliding by inversely without a sound until now. Black scales darker than obsidian coated its great length with a single purple streak racing along both of its sides. Despite its dormance, it was clear the snake was peering into Victoire, tongue idly flicking as uncaring eyes showed the vampire's reflection back at her.

"You've met before, right? In the Nexus I mean."

"Ahh... Always being so unentertaining. So typical of your kind," Victoire said in a disappointed voice after letting out a deep sigh. "I was just about to give it to you anyway. But so be it," the vampire said, summoning a carved wooden box containing the item the boy looked for after glancing upwards.

"I'm pretty sure we could have found a middle ground that's ideal for both parties, but my dear Bastion will surely have to forgive me. I had no option but betray her love," Victoire said in a dramatic manner as she commanded a shadow bat to take the box to boy. "I hope you at least can make better use of it than I."

"Oh, I'm sure you would have." No, he wasn't; in fact, the boy was pretty sure Victoire would have wormed her way out of any negotiation if her skin depended on it. But the staring serpent up above ensured there would be no escape tricks this time. Taking the box from the bat, the boy conjured a small reddish portal before placing the prize into it for safekeeping. The pathway closed just as soon as it was opened, the deal complete. "Ordinarily that'd be the end of it. You got your life out of this deal so that's a pretty good gamble on your part."

All the same, the boy eyed up Victoire with a grin of his own. "Of course, I was part of the Court once upon a time so old habits die hard, as the saying goes? I think the worlds would breathe a little easier at night if the Blood Countess just so happens to disappear in the dark." The boy didn't need to make contact with the serpent up high; only a command was needed and thus given to end their "negotiations".

[color=8882be]"Juno, dinnertime."[/color[

"So predictable," Victoire said as the great serpent lunged at her from above. Before she could be devoured, the vampire transformed into a swarm of shadow bats, slipping out of harm's way. She retured to her normal form a few meters away while Juno was left with a mouthful of rubble (which she ate anyway).

"I have no delusions of making it out of this situation. But, I'm sure that it would be uninteresting for you if I at least didn't try it, right?" the vampire said as she snapped her fingers, causing a gust of wind to extinguish the candles that illuminated the throne room and throw the curtains over its large stained glass windows, plunging the hall into a deep darkness.

"Shadows don't impede a snake's senses. Especially mine; she prefers hunting in the dark," the boy mused from his position. His own eyes seemed to glow faintly, the pupils have become more slit and reptilian. All the same, as his Vassal stalked the vampire, he noted the presence from earlier was getting stronger. That was because, while they were scuffling about, the White Masks had gotten closer and closer to Victoire's castle. But among them there was something else of interest, small like a card but no doubt interesting.

"Killing you now is meaningless. Especially when this "you" is supposed to be data," the boy sighed, raising a hand to halt his snake just as she was ready to make the vampire more than undead. "But this was a good learning experience though. Now I know to just get to the point with dealing with the real you. Go ahead then Victoire, call in your monsters to deal with those kids..."

"It seems like you really are a predictable kind. However, I guess that I can't look at a gift horse in the mouth," Victoire said as the finishing blow she expected never came. Sure it meant she would be able to have fun in some other ways, so she couldn't complain, even if she was short of one throne to sit on. "Very well then, go forward my newest servants. Have your way with these petty thieves," she said, commanding the winds to open the curtains once more and summoning a great armchair for herself besides the crater left where her throne used to be.

Once she was sitting agian, she waved a hand, commanding her Servants to go welcome the new guests.

"Are you sure you're not the predictable type?" the boy mused as Victoire went right back to lazing about. He took one glance at Juno, beckoning the snake forward before petting the reptile around its snout. "You haven't eaten yet so I'm letting you have some fun. We have what we want now, one copy at least. There's no rush," he told his Vassal before stepping away into another portal of his own. "Find me when you're done playing," were his departing words, leaving the great snake to do as she pleased in running rampant among Victoire's premesis.

Of course, there was nothing the vampire could do to stop her if she decided to continue snacking on the bloodsucker, even if she was just zeroes and ones. The pack of creatures heading towards the White Masks now were vicious as they were unseen. Because as they emerged from the shadows to barrel towards Marie and the White Masks, the group would find these monsters were insivible to the naked eye. But that didn't deter their hunger one bit.

With the freedom to roam around, Juno quickly found herself wondering what to do. She turned towards Victoire, coiling her large body around the vampire before licking her. However, the taste of death and corruption made her lose interest just as quickly. Leaving Victoire uncertain of whether she should be thankful or insulted that the Snake didn't feel any interest on her.

In fact, Juno may as well have taken a less than interesting meal if there wasn't something much more appetizing catching her attention in the distance. A smell of many sweet treats that made the snake's mouth water and guided her through the dark corridors in search of its source.


Hidden 22 days ago Post by TheWindel
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Meanwhile, the two separated members of the Black Pentacle were well off and on their way northwards. Despite the mountain ranges that loomed in the distance, only harsh weather and arid atmospheres would meet the two and their plus one. Little to their knowledge, they were heading to the further regions from the Imperium’s territory and into the outer rims where crime and villainy were yet untouched by imperial might: Exilia.

Lucky for them, they hadn’t quite entered the badlands territory meant for exiles and other criminals. There was still much greenery to get past from the outskirts of Rivenwood but both girls would notice the ground underfoot become course and dry with occasional patches of sand. That wasn’t even mentioning the fate of their plus one, who, in their time of traveling, eventually woke up. He was a great many miles away from his initial landing spot by now and whether that was good news for him or not remained to be seen.

Unluckily for the female duo, they were being watched. Neither of them could guess the apprehensive tensions between the Imperium and the common folk they ruled over; how could they, when Rivenwood’s inhabitants were docile and meek? Even so, there were many among the shattered world who felt no satisfaction to the way things were run and as such, rebellion often followed. One of this very nature spied Kanbaru and Rose from below a great tree up high.

“Oh hey, that looks like Chen,” the woman said to herself, blade hoisted up and resting against her shoulder. When the two were just beneath her perched spot, she jumped down to land before them in dramatic flair. “Sup. Hey, you two aren’t imperials, are you? Kind of looks like you are when you’re lugging around a half-conscious rebel, y’know?” said Solanne, the Crimson Hound with a suspicious smirk.

Hidden 22 days ago Post by Awesomoman64
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Lin Liao




With their deal all but sealed, Lin arose from the table with the others. The midnight haired woman couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at what Maria had left as their payment. Hopefully that was simply an accepted form of compensation and not the local currency. She would have quite a hard time exchanging that for actual money when they got back to Miso.

Any thought of money was quickly pushed out of her mind at the sight of the carriage’s interesting choice in steed. The disturbing creature had so far topped the list of creepy things she had seen, yet those around here seemed at ease around it. Caprice even began guessing the name of the creature.

“Yeah let’s go ahead and not give that thing a name. Come on.” Lin commented as she grabbed the back of the enthusiastic food mage’s collar and pulled her into the carriage.

The rest of the ride was; uneventful. Not to say Maria’s lecture on the World of Wasted Dreams wasn’t intriguing. Lin felt it compared to one of the college classes she had taken a few years back; very insightful, but not as engaging as say, fighting a horde of animated gravestones. Still, Caprice and Sherry seemed very enthralled, and it helped pass the time until they had arrived at their destination. A destination that was nothing short of breath taking.

“You said it.” Lin replied to Sherry’s observation of the castle. The monk felt a stir inside her as she was overcome with a mix of dread and awe at the sight of the ominous yet equally beautiful stone castle. Yet her attention was drawn away when heard a crack of the reigns and the wheels of the carriage begin to turn. She spun around just in time to see their transportation leaving them.

“Huh. One way trip I guess. Wait, what’s that?” She spoke her thoughts aloud as her gaze turned down from the vehicle, and instead to the pristine card lying on the ground. Without another work the curious monk moved towards the card and picked it up. “Ami, eh?” She said as she read the name printed on the card. “Hope you pack some punch.”

Slipping the card into her bracer, Lin turned her attention back to the castle. “So we got a plan or… Hang on… Do you guys hear something?”
Hidden 21 days ago 21 days ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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"Eep!" Caprice was pulled along quite easily by the far more physically proficient Lin when it had been time to enter the carriage.

"Hmm?" Caprice perked up as Lin noted an unusual sound, before quickly holding still to be silent for a moment. "I'm not so certain. There are so many strange sounds in this place. Where did you hear it?" Caprice frowned, not certain if she could make it out, half-turning on the spot to face Lin. Perhaps Lin's ears were simply keener.

Scanning the area with complete focus, Lin was able to catch the moment a fallen tree branch snapped in two seemingly by itself. “Holy shit! There’s definitely something over there.” She exclaimed pointing in the direction of the broken branch.

"Invisibility Purge!" Caprice declared with dramatic vehemence, holding one hand close to her eye while the other snapped forward, releasing a roiling frothing tsunami of airborne flour at where Lin had signaled, coating the entire direction in the sticky stuff that got everywhere.
Hidden 19 days ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Kanbaru Otoko


The pair plus a stange young man tossed over Kanbaru's shoulder had journeyed far. So far as to see the landscape change and lush fields give way to further barren lands, and a doubt in Rose's sense of direction to settle in the bluenette's mind. The would-be sky pirate was spared a mutiny when a figure leaped down from one of the few remaining trees, it's height an oddity in lands increasingly inhospitable to its kind.

Deja vu struck the former magical girl, finding this woman casually resting a sword upon her shoulder to be what she'd imagine an older, more sane Chie to look like. Right down to the part where she none-too-subtly threatened them for having her associate in hand.

"Rebels? Imperials? Sorry, we ain't from around here. Can't say we'd belong to either side, or even knew who this lug was with." Kanbaru said, hand shifting to give Chen a few hearty pats on the rear before lowering him down between them. If push came to shove she'd rather not be weighed down carrying a potential enemy. "We're just adventerous sorts, and this guy literally fell from the sky in front of us. Like, five more steps and one of would be a pancake on the road, so we'd just been carrying him around till we can hear his side of things. Or find an adventure. Either or, we aren't picky."

Hidden 13 days ago 13 days ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"Well, how can I turn down an offer of retelling my travels from two of such high prestige and radiance?" Akiko asked, internally panicking at everything that was going on. What would she tell them?! The only things that she could really speak on were the weird tavern she saw and all of Eleonor's lif- wait a second... that might work? It was certainly a kind of history that Akiko knew of and could likely speak about, though it might not be filled with the best places to describe... then again, this world had to be shrouded in magical essence, or at least, that's what the past while had told her. Maybe she could just tell them about Miso City? Bah, she had to think as she talked.

"Well... there was a little place called the Rexicorg that I believe the radiant Commander Lorelai had asked me about earlier. While I'm still trying to find the poetry that would match such a place, I suppose that telling a little bit about it couldn't hurt." Akiko pondered aloud before taking a small tankard of beer besides the girls, taking a small swig, and placing it back down gently. Now... was the floating islands what the Rexicorg was full of?

"The place was... honestly, intimidating. The aura it radiated onto any nearby travelers was powerful, though to some people such as my cohort Rose, it was a ground for desperate desire. We had heard legend of the Thirteen Heroes and their relics being stored there, and as such, Rose was desperate to get in there and find one to call her own. As much as me finding my own intrigued me, I quickly suggested that we shouldn't, since it didn't seem that the locals were too keen on letting us stay there for long. Regardless, we managed to sneak a little bit of a peek at some of the sights there. There was a lot of overgrown flora, which certainly made the Rexicorg just that much more beautiful. A place unable to be broken by man's grasp for centuries, if you ask me, and I've still yet to think of the proper words to describe it." Akiko thought for a moment, acting like she was deep in thought before finally speaking. "... one could compare it's beauty and radiance very much to both of yours, milady Asgard and Commander Lorelai."

Akiko let that hang in the air before she sat back, taking another swig of beer before she smiled. "... and you weren't joking about the beer. It's quite pleasant after the long travels that I've been through today with my cohorts. I truly wish that they had come to be at this lunch with us, but alas." she lamented, placing her tankard back down and smiling at Lorelai and Eleonor.

"I also have tales of my home, as well as my experience at this strange and bizarre tavern along the road here, if you really wish to hear about them, be it now or later... honestly, this entire journey has been one big bizarre adventure for me. Not one that someone of my own background should've ever had the luxury to go on."
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Flood Cyber-Phantasy Knight

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Rose quickly followed suit in setting Chen down, brushing her hands off on her shirt as she looked at the newcomer. "Yeah we're just here looking for treasure and stuff. While I do love rebellion, I'm not here to get involved in any political shenanigans. All I know is that this dude fell out of the sky and then everyone started freaking out, so we just picked him up and booked it." Rose shrugged as she looked over at Kanbaru, a nonchalant look on her face as she discussed what lead to them carrying an unconscious young boy through the wastelands. "Anyways, I'm Rose! Nice to meet ya!"

"Hmmm...." The shattered world held no shortage of strangers and wandering nomads. And it wasn't like the two girls tried to fight back or even bring harm to Chen; though she raised an eye when Kanbaru patted the boy on his ass. "Well, you two look like the adventuring sort. But you can't live in these lands without having heard about the Imperium; or the people going against it. If you two are that ignorant, then we got another problem on our hands." Solanne embedded her blade into the ground and leaned forward atop it, giving both of them a look. "If you're not Imperials, how do I know you're not gonna rat me out to some, y'know? Well, I guess it wouldn't be a problem if you two joined the winning side..." she said with a hint of dramatic implication.

"Rat you out? You literally just dropped down from a tree alongside a random road. I don't think they'd care if we told them a self professed rebel was acting like a highwayman." Kanbaru shrugged, bouncing Chen with the exaggerated motion of her nonchalance. Not that Solanne wasn't bringing up good points, their ignorance proving nothing if not being suspicious in what had all the hallmarks of being a volitile political situation. Her brows rose as the red head went from menacing to recruiting on a dime, leaving her uncertain how to proceed. "Umm, you just said we know nothing about what's going on here. Aren't we like, the last people you'd want to just bring in, no questions asked?"

The way Rose's face contorted into an expression of pure disgust spoke volumes about how she felt about ratting people out to say the least, but she was definitely intrigued by the recruitment attempt. "So like, I agree with everything Kanbaru just said and all. But let's say she didn't talk you out of recruiting us out of nowhere, how much does being a rebel pay? Like I appreciate the idea of freedom from rule of law and all that, but I also enjoying having money to buy nice clothes. And money to buy food. And money. Just money in general really." While Rose certainly didn't want to becoming embroiled in a deep war of opposing ideals that had been going on for who knows how long, she really did like the promise of cold hard cash. The adventure on the road to cold hard cash was also nice.

"Ah, but see, people who don't know any better are the best sorts to recruit, y'know?" Solanne flashed Kanbaru a cheeky grin. "That means you can see for yourselves what the Imperium's tyranny looked like. And with no connecting ties to either side, you're the ideal candidates to bring on board." Next she looked at Rose with an answer for her too. "Oh, you get paid lots and lots....and you'll get paid even more when we win and overthrow the Imperium. There's alot to be gained, really, especially on the monetary side." Now whether that was true or not, neither girl had a reference of comparison in this world. "Besides, don't you think the way things are run around here is kind of, y'know, oppressive? You say you're newcomers but you must have gotten some exposure to this land, yeah?"

Kanbaru schooled her features, looking towards Rose to hide her complete ignorance of the Imperium. She'd only seen a handful of armed soldiers on the street, not the full blown colomn of them that had nearly arrested the Black Pentacle earlier, though in doing so she could tell real quick the pirate would be having them hop aboard just for the flagrant promise of money. Probably can't even use it once we leave this world, but whatever floats her boat. "Alrighty then, just what are you looking for from us then?"

"Sweet, I'm in." The moment Soleanne spoke of getting paid lots for overthrowing governments Rose had already made up her mind. And even assuming she didn't get paid lots, that just meant she would have to steal all their treasure as she handed in her resignation form. Win win! "Oh yeah, I think I ran into those Imperium guys when I came here. There was this lady with a big ass dog that could smell lies or something, she was yelling at my group about going to meet a governer or something, but I decided I didn't really feel like it so I just left. She seemed pretty confused by that honestly, didn't expect me to just walk off. Then I met up with Kanbaru again and then the kid crashed into the ground from the sky and then we ended up here! Talking to you! I don't think we caught your name yet by the way." As she mentioned Chen she made sure to poke him in the side, a small groan rumbling up from his chest as she did so. "He does that everytime I poke him, I think he might have broken ribs or something. But he also heals pretty fast, so maybe he's just sore?" Rose shrugged, it wasn't really her business.

Solanne nodded, happy to see two fresh recruits into the Librarian's cause. She opened her mouth to give the bluenette some expectations, which weren't much, only to be talked over by Rose. As soon as she mentioned a lady with a big dog, the redhead paused. Her grin slowly dipped into the opposite direction; the temperature in their small clearing slowly started to hike up in degree and Solanne waited for Rose to finish her spiel. Poking Chen probably didn't help. "Huh. So you met up with the Imperium's top enforcer, yeah? The one that's kind of infamous for all of us rebels? Y'know, I kind of thought you girls were cool. When were you gonna tell me you were totally spies?"

The temperature boiled by now, no doubt leaving everyone in the forest sweating except for Solanne. "Sorry bout this buddy, but we just scored some free intelligence," she said to the downed Chen, hiking her blade back up and pointing it at the duo. This time she wasn't backing down. "Name's Solanne by the way, but your Imperial friend knows me by the Crimson Hound. Hey, I didn't make it up, she did, with her weird fetish for animals. But that's beside the point. The offer's still up just so you know, but I think we're all better off for some forceful recruiting."

"What? No no, seriously. What?" Kanbaru said, trying to grasp the full heelturn that had the now named Solanne turning on them because apparently the others just so happened to meet up with some rather prominent imperials. The irony of the split party winding up on diametrically opposed sides of the war wasn't lost on her, but it wasn't lifting her spirits any either. The change in temperature told her that her precious diplomacy wasn't going to work here, so the bluenette cut right to the chase and lightened her load.

A full twirl on the spot and she had flung Chen hard towards the pyromaniac Rebel, her keyblade summoned to her hand and conjuring a ball of near freezing water to follow up the airborne sack of potatoes. "You really need to work on your sales pitch. Often times people fumble at the end, but you failed spectacularly!"

"Wait, huh? But wouldn't we be like, the worst spies ever if we just walked up to you and started talking about how we just met up with some big important Imperium lady who's also our boss? That doesn't make much sense at all! Is everyone who's ever met with an Imperium guy a spy? I feel like you're logic is kinda funky here..." Rose rambled as she pulled out her newly acquired card. "Well, I guess now's as good a time as any to try this out. Oh man I've always wanted to say this."Rose struck a serious pose as Kanbaru tossed Chen at Soleanne, passing the card over her face as she transformed.

"Henshin!" Her bore a striking resemblance to Chen, save for the distinctly feminine outfit. "Alright, let's see what this bad boy can do!" Rose cried out as she dashed towards Soleanne with katana, whoa she has a katana now, a trail of ice forming behind her as she moved. "Ice powers, neat." She slashed at Solanne in tandem with Kanbaru's blast of water, ducking low while Kanbaru aimed high.

Ironically, it was the duo who struck first, a living projectile hurled right at Solanne. She caught the flung Chen and swiftly deposited him to the side with a, "Sorry", before a hand wreathed in instant fire smacked away the ball of water. The orb dispersed into fresh steam on contact, the water sizzling in the air itself as a reminder of the forest's rising temperature. So great was the heat that soon enough, it'd be difficult to breathe for either girls.

".....y'know, it doesn't help your case using my ally's power," Solanne mused, seeing Rose now wearing Chen's clothes along with her continued attack. "I'm not sure how you're able to steal and absorb someone's Tome, but we've got ways of finding that out-woahh!" Rose even copied his weapons too somehow, Solanne's blade blocking the sword before bursting into a pillar of fire held in her hands. "But that's not too great for you when fire beats ice," she told Rose smugly, rearing back and kicking her with her boot, using enough force to mirror Kanbaru's Chen Bullet.

"Pfft, like I'd let you!" Solanne's boot would meet no resistence, a golden portal swallowing her kick into a treasury dimension that would leave her off balance. Behind the portal the last glimmers of a Serei card absorption cascaded around Kanbaru, her hair lightened to a bone white and a infernal dagger in place of her keyblade. At her command the portal spat Solanne back out, unable to close with her still in it, and the moment it blinked out Kanbaru was dashing low to the ground with her blade out to strike. "Pierce all; Cheater's Blade!"

"I still don't know what a tome is, not the face!" Rose cringed in preparation for what was surely gonna be a solid boot the the skull, only to blink as a golden portal protected her, courtesy of Kanbaru. "Ah sweet, teamwork!"Rose jumped into the air, letting Kanbaru fly under her as Rose did a full three hundred and sixty degree turn and extended her leg. "Roundhouse kick!" Her leg was encased in ice, adding weight and armor to her kick as she moved to kick Soleanne in the face just as she had tried to do to her. She was also working to completely encase herself in an armor of ice, just in case Soleanne had some more tricks up her sleeve.

"Well, shit...." Solanne felt gravity inverse itself as her leg was stucked into a portal. By the time it closed, Rose was walking without a bloodied face and Kanbaru was transformed too. There wasn't time to think, only act. The Crimson Hound slashed to meet Kanbaru's strike, catching the blade in a lock that sparked nearly harsher than the flames she was putting out. "So you both got that trick, huh?" Solanne frowned, noticing that Kanbaru's blade, which was now a dagger, was cutting through hers. "Just how sharp is that-oh shit!" A wall of fire burst from the proximity of Solanne's arm to melt away the iced leg heading right for her courtesy of Rose. With muscles reaming, she pushed off Kanbaru and spun about to leave Rose's kick missing all in one fluid motion.

"Sheesh, you two are starting to make me sweat now. You seem nice enough for Imperial spies so I promise this won't hurt. Much." At this point the air was dense and hot enough to start lighting leaves on fire and the oxygen in the area was rapidly falling to a minium. Solanne kept a spare gaze on Chen, ready to end the fight soon before he was baked to the ground. At the same time, the flames surrounding her grew hot enough to melt through the armor Rose had spent time creating.

A surge of unbridled glee tore through Kanbaru just as keenly as the Cheater's Blade began to do with Solanne's massive sword. Just a few more inches and she'd have comprimised it beyond use, but the Crimson Hound wisely backed away and deprived her of the easy victory. The heat swelled to new heights, Solanne seemingly unaffected by her own magic. "Gaah, this place is turning into an oven. Rose, we need to take her down, now."

Taking the lead once more, she brandished her devilish dagger for another lunge, face twisting from the effort to take a single step closer when the height was a near wall. It was a fresh hell, the metal bits of her own attire burning angry welts against her skin till even she could take no more. With a scream Kanbaru's arm whipped straight back, hurling the Cheater's Blade into one portal while her other hand rose up, blasting a torrent of freezing water towards Solanne. It evaporated instantly, a plume of fog existing for scarce moments before even the vapor vanished, but it was cover enough to mask the portal opening behind Solanne that ejected the projectile dagger towards her back.

Rose landed on her feet quickly, sweating as Solanne turned the battlefield into what she imagined the surface of the sun to be like, but worse. "I'll keep her attention, just do some sneaky stuff." And with that Rose activated the second part of her new powers, regeneration. The way Chen used it was to regenerate from wounds and grow plants, but it was so much more than that. It was the ability to regenerate anything, creating something from nothing. So as Rose focused on her katana, forming ice around it to make it even longer than it already was, she dashed towards Solanne head on, her blade turning into a spear of raw ice as she stabbed into the heat with all the energy she could muster. And even as the ice melted rapidly, it regenerated from nothing, a constant cycle of cold and hot whipping the arid dirt around them into a frenzy as a small tornado formed around them.

"I am the storm! Now fall as I pierce your heart with justice!"Damn she always wanted to say that. Eat your heart out Kamen Rider, Freedom Pirate Rose just did a signature attack.

"An attack like that won't work," Solanne called out to the staggered Kanbaru, frowning as her flames reacted in their natural way. That meant the pulse of water that met it head on was reduced to a fresh mist, albeit one that was rapidly deteriorating from the heat. But it was enough of a distraction to count; by the the time Solanne's sights were brought back, she noticed the dagger in Kanbaru's hand was missing. Then she noticed the second girl charging right for her with a melted popsicle stick. "You ready for a tan?" she said, more than eager to burn Rose alive with an explosion of fire and heat the closer she got. Her endeavors came to a halt as a pain much hotter than her flames pierced her from behind.

"Gahh!" The pain suddenly doubled as Rose's attack made contact, a blade sticking out of the Crimson Hound from either side. Sword falling out of her grip and her knees buckling to the forest floor, Solanne desperately tried to wrench the dagger out of her back with her armored hand while the other burned Rose as it grabbed for the girl's wrist, still holding her spear. Even so, the distraction and rising blood was enough for the flames to slowly die down and the forest's temperature to dial back to normalcy, if not a layer of sweat on everyone but Solanne. The leaves that caught on fire turned to ash as the rebel bit down through the pain, ignoring the blood seeping from her front and back.

Their gambit worked perfectly, bringing down not just the Rebel but the flames that proved the greater threat in their fight, even with Rose and Kanbaru's seeming elemental advantage. She ejected the Henry card, dispelling the dagger in Solanne's back amid a wave of airy motes of light even as her keyblade was held before Solanne's face with an air of finality. "That's enough, Solanne. You may have powerful flames, but you've already demonstrated you are unaffected by them. I just need to squeeze off a burst and your lungs can boil or freeze with you unable to lift a finger about it."

She eyed the hand reached out to Rose sternly before aiming the blade to the grass between them. "But we aren't spies, and we aren't going to be the Imperium's assassins just because they've made you too wary of strangers. Now, can handle those wounds on your own or do we need to bandage you before we start getting compensated for this?"

"I'll just do it myself, don't worry about it." The burns on Rose's wrist vanished quickly enough, barely lingering long enough to hurt as Chen's insane powers of regeneration dealt with any wounds she had been dealt. Rose dispelled her weapon in turn, returning to her normal form as she pressed a hand to Solanne's bleeding wound. While it would initially hurt, having a hand placed on a fresh stab wound, the gentle relief that flowed from Rose's hand would surely be enough to calm the raging hound as she cast Cure. "But seriously though, seems like a terrible idea to just go around and talk about Imperium guys we ran into if we really were spies. I hope you're not behind recruiting, because you seem pretty bad at it." Soon enough the wounds were fully healed, leaving Rose touching bare skin for way too long.

"Anyone ever told you you're pretty hot? In both senses of the word, if you catch my drift." Rose winked at Solanne as she slowly disengaged from touching her, the tips of her fingers lingering just a moment longer as Rose winked at their former opponent.

Solanne gave Kanbaru a glare in addition to rolled eyes. "That doesn't explain how you can use other people's powers," she pointed out, noting how a card ejected right out of her body in a glow of light. Before she could answer about her wounds, Rose took the initiative, healing both herself and the Crimson Hound. Solanne gasped lightly before feeling the seering burn in her back and front dissipate away, blood stopping and flesh sinewing itself back together. The blatant flirting wasn't lost on her and she stared at Rose with a raised eye at the compliment. "Well, you're not bad yourselves when it comes to combat, despite being strangers. And my sales pitch totally still applies if you two hadn't just outed yourselves as some kind of Imperials. Like I said, people can't just steal other people's Tomes. Not that I know of..."

"I'm going to assume Tomes are your source of magic? Look, we're really, really foreign. We've got our own system and stuff." Kanbaru came down to a knee, resting a hand on Solanne's shoulder to try and get across how non-threatening they were right now. "We aren't spies. I could keep argueing that, but I doubt you'll just take my word on it, so let me ask you; Does it even matter? If we aren't spies, you get help. If we are, you have your eyes on two sexy spies who are still helping you to keep up some kind of cover. If you spilled anything to people you didn't trust then frankly they's just on you guys."

"You're smoking hot. Don't make me need to bruise that bod of yours. It's a crying shame!"

"Listen, I'm gonna lay out just how foreign we are. We came from this little island nation called Japan right? It's got it's own powers, we've never even heard of wherever the hell we are right now! We saw this crazy tower one day, decided to go into it for whatever reasons, I was doing it for adventure. We found these weird ass cards, we don't know the people on em, but the cards give us powers that I'm assuming are related to said people. That's all we know, we don't know anything about the Imperium, about any rebellion, I don't know who this guy is, I don't know who you are outside of your name, and we aren't spies. That's that." Rose let loose an absolute torrent of words as her annoyance at Solanne's paranoia reached its peak, the sheer backwardness of what she was saying driving her insane! "Now stop talking crazy and go back to being sexy and mysterious! We already agreed to join you, I'm just here for money and adventure! I could not give less of a fuck about your horrible dystopian society! As long as I get a fun time, I'm down for whatever!"Rose leered at Solanne blatantly as she said this, smirking as she ran a hand through her hair.

"And I do mean whatever."

Once again, before Solanne could answer Kanbaru, a wave of verbal vomit by Rose was expunged instead. It didn't help the girl was speaking a mile a minute for every word, but even her words made no sense. Japan? Magic cards? Well, that had some evidence to it with their fighting style, but the rest of it sounded as mad as Lorelai. "Ok, I believe you," she said flatly. "Not even my sister can make up a cover story that blatantly false. But yeah, sure, you're from Japan." She winked as she repeated the foreign word on her tongue, catching onto their clear-cut cover story that baffled even her. That said...Rose's hand made her realize just how close the two girls were. With Kanbaru's hand on her shoulder and Rose stroking her crimson locks, she nervously settled back.

"Er...what kind of whatever are you thinking about, Girl Chen?" Then she realized Kanbaru also commented on her body and suddenly she began to question the real intentions. Just because they weren't Imperials didn't mean they were morally sane.

The bluenette was just as staggered by Rose's verbal assault as Solanne, surprised she'd even make the attempt of explaining their actual origins when they sounded so far fetched to the layperson. Still it seemed to appeal to Solanne, finding the notion so absurd no competant spy would even consider spinning such a yarn. This left the red head to face the implications of what both girls had heavily hinted at, and after Rose's avalanch of words, Kanbaru was keen to make the next move.

"The kind that ends with us sans our clothes and very, very satisfied." Kanbaru purred, leaning in with her hand drifting back to craddle Solanne's neck while her lips brazenly pressed to the more mature woman's. Her tongue beckoned for entrance as their lips met, yet she waited for the redhead to respond before going onwards.

Her suspicions were confirmed in the broadest way possible, lips taken by Kanbaru's in little time. The only warning she got was a deep-rooted purr before the blunette made her move, lips nearly singed by the depth of warmth radiated off the Crimson Hound's. Needless to say, she was quite surprised at the boldness, staring at Kanbaru. "Great. I get two molestors instead. I think I'd rather you two just be Imperials," she panted, wiping her lips with a sleeve that doubled in hiding her red cheeks.

The Crimson Hound wasn't exactly responsive, but Kanbaru enjoyed what taste she got while it lasted before she leaned back. "Come on, molestors? It's not like we're tearing your clothes off here. You can just say no if you really don't want too. Though sheesh, it's kinda insulting to get a non-response like that. Hmm, or maybe you like being in control...is that it?"

"Yeah, it isn't molest if we're all consenting adults. So are you consenting or what, I need to know so I can start taking my clothes off, lots of buckles and clasps on this bitch." Straight to the point as always, Rose leaned back out of Solanne's personal space, tousling her own hair as she mentally noted where each and every buckle on this damn uniform was. Or maybe she could magically dispel it? That would be convenient.

"It's kind of insulting to just expect free sex out of a few compliments too," the Crimson Hound retorted. She glanced over at Chen, only to see the boy was still unconscious. In hindsight, it made sense; any woman would have been this needy when lugging around Chen all day. Seeing that he wasn't waking up any time soon, she huffed. "Yeah, sure, I consent. Your friend there is already ripping her clothes off," she said, looking at Rose fumble around.

Hidden 10 days ago 10 days ago Post by Gardevoiran
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"My, this has been a fine meal, but I feel we should let our guests to retire to their room to freshen up some after the long journey here. Really I should have offered first, but the timing was so perfect..." Lorelai said, rising from the table as the maid's darted in, whisking away the remnants of their meal without complaint. Her expression was bubbly as she turned to their guest, extending her arm out in offering to lead the bard inside. Arm in arm she took Akiko up a flight of carpetted stairs that sank an inch with their every step and down well appointed halls dominated heavily by shades of red and a dulled gold accenting the many fabrics and tapestries.

"We don't have guest quarters, so you'll be lodging in the same wing as Eleonor and myself. We're actually just two doors down." The knight said, leading Akiko in to a lavish suite, it's opulence outweighed only by the over-riding philosophy of comfort is king. Eleonor could not help in displaying her wealth as due her station, but she made certain her most cherished home was one of creature comforts. Lorelai wore a wistful smile as she eyed the sheets of Akiko's bed before her gaze turned to empty armor stand propped before the window. "This was my room before I came to share Lady Eleonor's, actually. It will serve you well."

Akiko followed behind, cautious of the generosity of Lorelai all of a sudden. It was polarizing to see this commander turn from such a tough looking customer into this generous host to someone who was foreign to Akiko. It made her hesitant, though she did continue with the act for a little longer, if only to see where this would continue. What was even more surprising was at the end of the walk they had arrived in a fancy room, one that she wasn't expecting she'd ever stay in. It was quite literally a room fit for a queen, and it was staunchly decorated in the finest of luxuries available to... really, anyone.

"Wow... t-this is quite something. Certainly not something I've ever seen." Akiko was shocked. She was surprised that these two would offer such luxury to her. She didn't even know what Rivenwood was before today, but now she's in with the most powerful people in an entire region... though, for how long "Hold on... what do you mean by it will serve me well? By the sounds of that, I'd say you've taken a liking to a mere bard such as myself."

"Th-Think nothing of it. I only meant this is a fine place to rest come the evening. We may take pride in offering our serving staff fine accomodations, but they wouldn't be appropriate for a guest." The knight stammered, turning away from Akiko as she absently scratched at her cheek. Her entire posture had shifted, making her seem so much smaller in comparison to the woman who had led the bard upstairs, even with the armor rattling against her frame.

"You're a very fine lady in your own right, but I have Eleonor and, well, I very much doubt one would have cause to want...this." Lorelai gestured to herself, calming her beating heart with a loud exhale and turning to Akiko with a strained smile. "Was there anything you needed? The maids should have left everything fully stocked, but if there are any requests I'll bring them down personally."

"There's nothing I need, other than you not being so hard on yourself," Akiko's face washed into a smirk as she sat down on the bed, watching Lorelai all the while. "Some bards are known for their loaded linguistics, and while it's true I might have swindled a few tavernkeeps in my time trying to come here, I am very sincere when I do say you are quite attractive in your own right." She flopped back onto the bed, her hair sprawling out on it beside her as she kept looking. "So... I guess what I'm asking you personally, is to stop being wrong, and accept that you're radiating in your own way. A way different to... is Eleonor referring to Lady Asgard? I'm afraid I've never heard her first name."

As she waited for a small response, Akiko pulled out her Smitten Kitten card and fumbled around with it in her hands for a little bit. It was a little perplexing to her, she had to be honest, but she could... absorb it? Maybe she should try that. After all, who doesn't like a cute catgirl to talk to?

The knight paused, feeling conflicted as the bard flattered her with that same sincerity Lorelai had been eating up all day. It seemed only polite to refuse such things as Akiko's obligation to say to her host, but a small voice inside her reveled in the praise and left her blushing while the Bard got comfy on the bed. "I, umm, Asgard is Lady Eleonor's official title. Her given name is Eleonor. Most people only know the former, and she is a special person to me as well, but Lady Eleonor is the one who I serve outside my official duties..."

She paused, looking now to Akiko and finding her twirling a curiously ornate card. Wanting a closer look she came to sit on the opposite side of the bed, leaning in to see what looked to be a cat girl of all things. "Some sort of tarot card?"

"... um... not exactly." Akiko answered before she thought about thing. Eleonor's memories had tomes in them, which seemed to contain some amount of magical energy within. Who's to say the card she was holding was different? "The people around here use tomes for magic, if I'm not entirely mistaken. This is somewhat like that, though it's slightly different... and I've never used this before, but there's a first time for anything, right?"

A moment of hesitation passed before Akiko brought the card down onto her chest, pressing it to her softly before trying to understand how to absorb cards. Did she just... think it? How does absorbing a card work...? Her questions would quickly be answered as the card shimmered in a pinkish glow, fading away quickly into nothingness before Akiko's head became adorned at the top with a pair of cat ears, appropriately scaled up to match the size of her head and face. A bit lower on her body, a long tail curled up over her legs and knees, staying still excluding an occasional flick to seemingly find a better position.

"... I-I'm going to be honest...." Akiko said before she looked at Lorelai again. "I thought that was going to hurt. A lot."

Hidden 5 days ago 5 days ago Post by I Need A Name
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The air was crisp that morning as Akiko strolled back through Rivenwood. Most businesses had only barely opened up, though none of them had interested her at all. There was only one thing on her mind at the moment, and that was finding Eleonor's relic and getting it back to her safe and sound. There were multiple reasons for doing so, though there were two main ones. The first was to pay back the generosity that Eleonor and Lorelai had extended the day prior. The second was the prospect and hope for power. She already had Lorelai's card, but how about getting the entire Rivenwood Constabulary under her belt? That'd be quite the treat.

So, she wandered, a cloak obscuring her cat ears to help her blend in better as she wandered, and in pursuits of anyone who seemed similar to the thief that the group had narrowly missed the day before. With any luck, she'd find them. After that, it only became a matter of talking.

Stalking outside the same house as before; stealing from the same location just couldn't be justified in her mind. Though as luck would have it; she wouldn't have to. Watching her target take leave so early in the day and helplessly alone was going to make her quest a simple one. "Anti-magic. Hold Person." Two primed, simple spells was enough to get Akiko off the streets, so long as she acted before the rush of the day.

It was a simple task to follow the girl from behind, even if the rogue couldn't figure out where she was ultimatly headed, but eventually she was close enough to act. Throwing her set of spiked bollas to deliver her two spells on the girl.

"Out of the way mistress!" shouted a random passerby from in the middle of the crowd, swiftly stepping forward to catch the spiked bolas on him instead of the target. Akiko turned around at the sound of a voice and smiled at the cloaked figure of Selene, pulling her hood off her head carefully to preserve her ears and look at the thief in full awareness.

"Hello, thief," she started, raising a hand to snap as multiple more disguised soldiers drew weapons, each one turning to form a circle around Selene. A trap this was, and a trap she fell into. Though, the catgirl watched carefully as everyone surrounded the thief, no actual townspeople being in the midst of this operation.

"Here's the situation - everything will be civil, so long as you don't attempt to fight, and as long as we talk things through. I would rather not see you hurt in any regard."

Just as everything was setting in, Akiko's eye glinted as she took a long look at Selene.

Visions of Selene's life would play for Akiko on fastforword. Visions clouded with a grey, dull fog filled with uncarring desire. As a man, signing away his life's earnings before murdering his twin brother. A small woman hidden in the shaddows; sharing a passionate kiss in the dark alleys of the night. An old hag in religious cloth; decending down the steps into a room full of religious artifacts. A black mist drifting into a mansion to find the only source of color in the whole insight; a red relic pulsating at Selene in her mind.


"Oh-ho? Have me surrounded do you." Selene remained motionless as she was surrounded. Everything about the rogue hidden beneath her shredded cloak. Her mask hiding her non-existant expression of feelings on the situation. [color=Silver] "If you want to talk, talk. But I'm sure I have something of value to you if you gone to all this trouble to capture me. I suppose it would be fair to say you have something I'd like as well. Who will get who's treasure is yet to be seen. And; you're not going to hurt me in any regard."

Akiko’s eyebrow raised as she listened to Selene. ”I’m fairly sure you know what I’m looking for, and as for what you’d want from me, name a price. I’ll tell you if I have it, and if I don’t, I can tell you where to find it.” Akiko’s voice was smooth, carrying only the weight of her wanting to keep this encounter civil. The only issue is what sort of item Selene would be wanting in exchange for the Relic.

"Concidering where you spent your night yesterday, I can assume what you might be after. Though you might be disapointed to hear that I have no intention of giving away anything without payment rivaling 10x the price. You, on the other hand, should have a magical card on you, if you haddn't already lost it between my last scrying. Though any price other than free is too rich for me when I can just simply take it from you like I do everything else. Still think you can tell me the price?"

”We’re both slices of the same brand, it seems,” Akiko said with a straight face. She took a step further and pulled out a card, showing the ornate back of the card to Selene. ”I do have a card, however it would very well not be worth your time trying to take mine. Smitten Kitten isn’t exactly the most cooperative,” Akiko put her card away into an undisclosed area before she continued talking. ”With that said, I do happen to know where you can make a better score. Before we continue, though, I wish to see the object that I’m looking for. Just so I know that I’m not arguing with a con artist.”

The rogue still didn't move, though at her feet spawned the relic seemingly out of nowhere. "Ah~ I suppose its safe to say that this is not the real relic. As you have me surrounded, its only right that I wouldn't keep somehting so valuable on me everytime I stuck my head out on a job. At the best, it'd only slow me down in a rush. The fake relic would fade out of view as Selene would continue to stand motionless. "If I may be so bold, what say you to traveling with me closer to the relic to continue our deal? Alone, of course. No more of these guards surrounding us. I always prefer to discus these matters with a little more secrecy than the middle of town."

”... see, I would like that, but how do I know you won’t try to swipe the card I have away as we walk?” she asked. She had the cards, and she didn’t want to lose them to this thief from the Tower... though, maybe allying with her wouldn’t be a bad idea? Watching out for each other wouldn’t be a bad idea in this place, after all.

"I suppose you don't. But if not, then we're done here." Selene would begin to glow with a firey aura. Heat radiating off her still form; growing more intense as magic thickened the air around her. A heat that could reach all the guards in the area and was no doubt surrounding Akiko. "And I suppose you're not going to just let me go are you? Or must I cripple another one of your firends as I force my escape?

Akiko raised her hands up in the air to each of her sides before she spoke next. "Calm down. We can compromise on this, no? Let's cool this situation down." Akiko spoke as calm as ever, despite the overwhelming heat definitely challenging her composure. "I'll come with you to where you've stored the loot, just me and no guards. However, I don't want to walk in front of you, and I would prefer to always have line of sight on your hands, just so I know you don't try anything. Fair?"

The heat disapeared, traces of magic gone from the surrounding air as the rogue moved. Raising her arm to point at another, real Selene off at the other end of the alley before the image dissapeard from in front of Akiko. The Selene in the alley opened a side door and showed her hands, gestering to Akiko to walk in when she was ready.

"... you sly... everyone, weapons away and stay nearby. If I need you, I will let you know. Otherwise, Commander Lorelai will be informed of your good work." Akiko addressed her troupe of soldiers, each one dispersing towards their own ways. Akiko waited for a second before walking towards the alleyway, opening the side door and walking into where Selene was laying low. No guards followed, and if any noted that it'd be there where Selene set up shop, any who attempt to gain entry would be met with a quick summon of Lorelai.

"Why is it that you want this relic? Drawn to its power like everyone else?" Though as a show of good faith in her target, there in the middle of the table where Selene sat, was the red relic she was after. "I believe you have information for me? Or have you something more to offer? The rogue sat back, leaning on the back legs of the chair as her boots rested on the table's corner. Mask staring blankly, watching Akiko's every move.

"... I'm assuming that you speaking freely is a sign I can do so too." Akiko said as she pulled out what would be the Smitten Kitten card, placing it face-up on the table to reveal it's featureless front. "Smitten Kitten's no more. I accidentally absorbed her permanently into myself last night, and I found that out this morning when I noticed a girl grabbing my tail." Akiko explained, watching Selene all the while. "We're both not from this tower, but we both know these cards can be fairly good in the hands of users. The other two girls I was with, I know one of them has a card. Though, I do have some information regarding how she got hers. Information that'll get you a card possibly better than Smitten Kitten ever would be to you."

"Oh? And this friend of your's with the card. Have they absorbed their's too?" Selene offered Akiko a chair, though she didn't have any refreshments to truely be a good host. "Naturally, I'll want this information as well. But.... I suppose.... If you can help me get my own card with this information of your's, I'll gladly hand over the relic to you. Whatever your reasons."

Akiko sat down, holding her tail in her lap as she answered. "The two girls did not come with me to see Lorelai and Eleonor. It was only me who joined the two for lunch. That being said, both might have cards now, and I can point you in the direction of where one of them went, though I can't do much other than that." She paused to remember before speaking up once again. "My friend received a blank card after our first encounter with this tower. There was the tavernkeep, Cait, who exchanged her blank card with a brand new one. I'm not exactly sure what card she got, but since I don't have any use of this blank card, I was considering using it myself whenever I left this part of the Tower to move to the next."

"I'm willing to trade you. This blank card, able to be redeemed by Cait to obtain another usable card, and the direction which my friends must have gone to, in exchange for the Relic you received out of a dirty deed." Akiko held up the blank card in her hands, inspecting it herself one last time before she added onto the deal. "It's a mutual gain. I can get the guards off your ass here, you get a card with potential, and I get the Relic in my own hands."

"Except... I have a way out of this mess already. And with you so trustingly enter this shack by yourself I could just take that card myself and flee as I always do. I'm used to keeping myself out of sight from the guard; and you already gave me a name: Cait." Selene stared Akiko down in silence for a few moments before sitting up straight. "Deal." Holding out her hand to recieve the card; she pushed the relic forward in offering.



Akiko raised an eyebrow. "Is this the real Relic?" she asked as she held the card in her hand.

"If I said yes, would you believe me? And conversely, how would I know this card was truely Smitten Kittens? What if as soon as I take it, you lose the part of her you absorbed?"

"I haven't been here long enough to make duplicate cards, and I guess we won't know until we make the trade." Akiko said as she placed a hand on the relic, placing the blank Smitten card in Selene's hand, but not letting go. "If these relics are real, I should feel the power, no?" Akiko questioned as she tried to feel the power within the relic she had her hand on.

Selene let go of the relic as she slipped the card out of Akiko's grasp. The relic was real, though Selene only had a few more seconds to safely get away and continue on her journey. Slipping a pair of cuffs around Akiko's wrists, she was locked to the table and the shack was surrounded by a wall of force. "Enjoy yourself, may we never meet again. I doubt the cuffs will hold you, though the wall will only last a few minutes tops." A portal opening up behind Selene as she calmly steps through, closing on her leave.

"... sayonara." Akiko calmly said as she stopped using the relic. There was a sharp sting, but the pain quickly subsided. It was the real thing, and exactly what Eleonor was after. The only issue now was she had to get out of this shack and get back to the manor. The first step in doing so had Akiko place the relic away in a safe place, before she drew her shortsword and looked down at the cuffs of the table. She took a breath, then swung at the chain keeping her to the table. No dice at first, but with a few more swings, the chain gave way and Akiko's hand was freed from the restriction. She stepped out of the shack a minute after, the wall dispelled. In her hands, she held the relic that Eleonor was looking for. She had it, and the only thing left to do was return it. It had a pleasant shine as Akiko held it up to the light of whatever sun this was.

"Alright Eleonor, I've got the Relic you were after. Let's see if you'd be willing to part with your knight~."

With relic in hand, Akiko walked back towards the manor where Lorelai and Eleonor awaited her return.
Hidden 5 days ago Post by TheWindel
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A yawn fluttered from the boy's lips as he rubbed his eyes, kicking his feet back and forth through the air as he sat down on the ornate chair decorated with velvet and pillows aplenty. It was a very comfortable chair, he could tell because every time he bounced in it his butt didn't hurt at all. It probably wouldn't hurt if he took another nap, maybe when he woke up he would be somewhere that wasn't here. It was a really spooky place after all, all dark and lit with candles, spiky stuff all over, black furniture with red accents. No place for a child to be, no place at all. "Yea, I'm-" He interrupted himself with another yawn, his eyelids drooping as he rested his head on the pillow he carried with him everywhere. "I'm gonna take another nap..." Scarcely a moment had passed before his light snoring echoed through the empty room, the pitter patter of rain being the only other sound in the lonely castle.

The rain masked the slow and heady footsteps approaching the sleeping child. There was a confidence in the newcomer's step, one picked up only by someone who was awake; of which the child was not. The fighting outside the castle where a strange group were fighting off invisible creatures didn't seem to warrant care from someone who wanted a nap. Nor did it concern the newcomer all that much either. "Hey, wake up. No kid's supposed to be sleeping in a place like this," came the words belonging to someone new. Hands in her pockets and the look of boredom painted on her face, she wakled up to the boy's chair, very tempted to tip the furniture over to get a response. "Can't be bothered with this..."



"Wha?" He had barely even gotten a minute of sleep in before somebody came by to check on the child. She was completely correct of course, not that it mattered in the slightest. They were in the Tower after all. "O-oh. Hey there miss. I'm Touka, it's nice to meet you!" His voice picked up a little near the end there, but soon he was yawning again. "I'm sorry, I'm feeling kinda tired right now. Could you wait like-" Another bout of rubbing eyes as he began to melt into the soft and comfy chair with all the velvet and pillows. Whoever owned this chair had really good taste in chairs, this was a good sleeping chair. Touka was already zoning out, his eyes slowly closing even as he stared directly at the blonde lady who was talking to him. "S-sorry. Could you gimme five minutes, I'm really tired." He was clearly struggling to stay awake just to talk to her, his legs swinging back and forth in an effort to keep himself awake, a losing battle to say the least.

"What are you, some kind of lethargic?" The girl didn't expect an answer to that question, not when the boy was already falling back to sleep. But she had a feeling that he had to be, lest he wouldn't be ignoring her in this way. Whatever. The temptation to shove him off his seat and claim it for herself was overidden only by an uncaring apathy. It wasn't her business if he wanted to be bait for the monsters of the dark. She'd have rightfully left his ass then and there too were it not for the strange scent she was getting from him. "Eh? You're from outside the Tower too. Now why did this place bring in a literal kid here..." A second was spent to ponder this. "......" This time she did tip the chair over, kicking at its legs from an angle to lurch the furniture forward sharply.

"What's a lethargic?"Touka asked sleepily, having moved on from kicking his legs to fluffing his pillow absentmindedly. It was quite the worn old thing, looked like it would fall apart next time it got washed. But something about it also called out to the woman, like it was just the comfiest thing in the whole world. Maybe that's why Touka was always so sleepy, just looking at it for too long would probably make someone drowsy. "O-oh! You're from outside too! I came here looking for my mom!" Finally, something managed to penetrate the aura of sleepiness that permeated the kid, his eyes opening and shining as he explained why he was here. "So why are you-" The question would go unspoken as she decided to kick his chair out from under him, sending him tumbling forward to the floor. In a weird stroke of luck, he landed perfectly on his pillow with a small grunt, not suffering any harm from the act of unprovoked violence. A few seconds passed in silence, before the woman would hear the muffled sound of snoring as Touka fell asleep on his very comfy pillow. He rolled over slowly, his arms outstretched and bumping into the woman's leg as he repositioned unconsciously.

"....this kid's hopeless." The girl looked down idly at the boy. In the time she'd wasted conversing with him, she got no closer to achieving anything aside from knowing the Tower chose its victims out of random nature. Well, it wasn't her problem; even if that pillow did look pretty comfortable. Moving her leg away, she walked past the drowsed boy. "Name's Shuro kid," was the last thing she'd say to him before walking on off. The sound of movement in the shadows was concerning, especially in a castle of Victoire's stature. But she wasn't playing babysitter and she figured if the kid made it this far, he could handle himself just fine.

As the echo of her footsteps faded into the distance, the sound that replaced it was that of snarling and growling beasts that prowled in the dark. They roared in unison, each one eager to tear apart the fleshy child that invaded the home of their mistress. Yet each one was silenced in unison as a force pulsed from Touka, a razor sharp... something, tearing them apart faster than the human eye could track. A spare thread hanging from his pillow slowly retracted back into it's tattered home and Touka mumbled something about angels under his breath. His dreams were soft and filled with wonder, even as the dark of the castle sought to swallow him whole. And far away, a malicious devil watched her charge with amusement. This would be a fun game.

Hidden 21 hrs ago Post by Gardevoiran
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Gardevoiran Reading or remembering, not both.

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The path from Rivenwood to Eleonor's mansion was a short one, but that didn't mean the shattered world stopping turning. People went about their lives, rebels continued to undermine the authority, and the Imperium continued to have its eyes everywhere. Despite the bustle of Rivenwood's daily occurence, the world seemed to almost not matter in a blur in comparison to greater values. Such was the case for Akiko, who now held the power of the Red Relic in her hands. And with it came those who sought interest in such things; it was roughly around Rivenwood's entrance where people were less heavily clustered that a voice called out to her from the side.

"You're not from around here," it said, broached with finality as if already knowing the answer. The voice's owner stood to the side as he observed the girl. "You must be a traveler among this land. In your short time here, I've already heard interesting details about you, Akiko."

Akiko's glance observed the cloaked man, scanning him up and down as he addressed her and what she had done since she entered the shattered world. She turned to face him directly, stopping in her tracks as she watched him closely. "I'm touched. Word in this town does spread quickly of a stranger getting to eat with the local political figures." She stepped closer to the man, hands at her side, and with a hood drawn over her head and ears. "Interesting thing is, only Lorelai and Asgard know of my name, save their soldiers. So how did you get a hold of such information, I wonder..."

"How unfortunate Asgard doesn't refer to her superiors. But in the presence of strangers, who may blame her for revealing information without foresight." The masked man didn't move even as Akiko drew closer to him. "Information passes by me easily and quickly without fail. As the Imperator's advisor and most efficient operative, all things are seen by me, and thus, all are known by the glory of the Imperator. Your arrival is no different."

Akiko raised an eyebrow at the man before she spoke again. "Must be fun, being the advisor. You must get to meet so many different people around this world. Boy, I'd like to have such a luxury. Alas, I'm afraid I've got business to attend to with Asgard and Lorelai, since they assigned me to a task that was critical. Being an advisor to the Imperator, I'm sure you already know." Akiko explained herself, winking at the Advisor and trying to check what was beyond that mask of his.

The man didn't answer her response, as if waiting for something to come and pass. There was a brief shot of pain that spliced into Akiko's eyes, despite no physical intrusion occurring. It burned sharply, like a knife slowly dropped into her sockets from the inside out. It lasted as long as her Gaze gave, only to disperse once five full seconds had passed, as if the miasma of pain parted away, allowing her to see what lay beyond the mask. As always, nothing made sense, more so than her usual sight granted by the ability.

For every second she watched, the pain returned, growing harder and hotter as if daring her to continue her journey into the unknown. Even then, there was only a green smudge around Akiko's vision, blurred and unable to be made out until one image slowly bled out into the center of her vision. Blobs and colors mished together, only to form the visage of a girl smirking right back at her.

"I can see you."

The pain doubled in velocity to the point where any sane mortal may have torn their eyes asunder.

Akiko's eyes fluttered as she tried to keep them open, gazing further and further as she felt the immense pain in the back of her head. What... what was going on? How powerful was this guy, and who was that woman? She felt like her eyes were being eaten while they were still in her head, a fork jamming into her eyes harder and harder, going back for another bite over and over, but she clenched her teeth and stepped closer to the man. As she stepped, she kept her eyes open to continue her Gaze, trying to pry what was down beneath to the surface.

"Are you trying to see past my sights, Akiko? It's rude to be this close to people, so I've heard." Akiko was met by nothing but the same pain, this time increased enough to physically force her back. All the same, the masked man stood resolute and unaffected while the images Akiko strained to see dissolved back into blurry messes. But if she really wanted to try harder, to dare to see past the cloud, perhaps there was something more for her to discover just beyond the unseeable....

"Gnh..." she felt the pain grow, felt her instincts back down, and grunted audibly as if she couldn't manage to hold back a scream, but still, she persisted. Despite the obscene pain, her curiosity needed to delve deeper. She had to know what was going on, but whether she could keep it up for long, she wasn't sure. She knew she could probably push a little further to see the next layer, but if her eyes gave out after that she knew there wasn't going to be another effort.

Akiko would be rewarded with the image of herself. And much like the current her, the one she saw with her sight recoiled in pain, hand clenched to her head as pain wracked her mind from an unmovable force. "Grrgh! Son of a bitch!" she'd hear herself say before the same pain came right back around and forced her Gaze to end once and for all.

"How unfortunate of an ability," the masked man mused. "To what use does it serve when you go around freely tossing it out at every person you encounter."

Akiko held her head as she regained her balance, staring up at the man and wiping the tears from her eyes. "... w-what are you?" She asked, her voice clearly a bit stained from being near a full fit of crying. No words could describe that pain she had just gone through.

"I'm Nobody. Somebody born from Anybody that may become Everybody. But you may call me the Jester." Despite Akiko's shriveled form before him, he reached forward, a gloved thumb pressed to her cheek. In one clean move he swiped away the tear running down her cheek. All the same, his own eyes peered into her behind his mask. "I would like to ask you a question, Akiko. If you would allow me your time."

She stood from her knees, staring at this 'Jester' with confusion in her eyes. A man, speaking in philosophies and riddles, clearly not with any desire to hurt Akiko. For some reason, though, he was interested in something that she could explain. She lowered her other hand, keeping her eye closed as she responded. "W-what's the question...?"

"Why did you try to see within my past." It was a simple enough question with, in theory, a simple enough answer. But whether Akiko would be honest in such dealings remained to be seen, at least to the common eye. True to his word, the Jester waited patiently for his answer. If that meant Akiko needed time to breath easy and compose herself again, so be it, though her hood had since fallen aside by her stumble, revealing the cat ears beneath. The Jester cared naught for them, waiting for his answer.

Akiko took a breath before she considered her answers. She didn't have a clean cut answer prepared, but she could try and piece something together, hopefully such that she didn't get in hot water with the Jester here. "Learning as much as you can about someone is a way to make conversations less confusing. I-I wanted to see what I could learn." She thought for a moment before squinting at the Jester. "And you... you don't seem to be wholly the Jester, if that woman from the Gaze is any evidence of that theory..."

"As I told you. I'm Nobody. And yet, I am Everybody, but still, Somebody. And Somebody can be Anybody." The Jester leaned down until he was bending towards Akiko's level. Their gazes were even until they weren't anymore, Akiko staring past the Jester as the masked man had suddenly grabbed her into a hug, arms wrapped around her frame. "And now I'm Somebody~" The voice that spoke past Akiko's ear was distinctly more feminine and the weight pressed into Akiko was lesser than before. If she looked down, she'd see the body of a girl clinging to her, wearing the same dress as the one in her vision.

"Bodies change, but the right ones can convince the right people to the right answer."

Akiko was taken aback, but didn't leave the hug, though it was unclear if she didn't leave out of fear or enjoyment. "My answers were honest." Akiko felt around her outfit for the Red Relic, finding it and sighing gently with relief. "What do you mean by the right answer, O Jester?" she asked, just a hint of sarcasm reeking from the last little bit of her sentence.

"Did you think me as a petty thief? Oh, but you do have rotting luck concerning people with masks," the Jester mused. She slowly unlatched herself away from Akiko, a smile etched to her face. "Interesting. You didn't flee or run away even as my shape changed and our distance was closed. Be it out of choice or chance. And yet, the right answer lays all around us Akiko. It lays in me, and it lays in you too. There's a desire within you, isn't there. You may not see it, but I do clearly, even without your ability."

Akiko raised an eyebrow at the Jester. "It's not that I think of you as a thief. I just can't be too careful regarding the safety of this Relic." She sized up the Jester in her head before she realized what the Jester had actually said. "What do you mean by a 'desire' inside me...?"

"Oh? Haven't you wondered why was it you were brought into this place and land? Why the Tower chose you." The Jester leaned into Akiko again, if only to keep her words hidden only by their proximity. "This Tower chooses not out of random, but of reason. For someone with such foresight in ability, you're blind to your own potential. Aren't you the least bit curious about yourself~?"

"Of course I am, but please excuse me for being a bit skeptical on how far I'll go in this place." Akiko responded as she placed a hand on her ears and hair, straightening everything out again before she looked back at the Jester. "And also forgive me for being skeptical of what a stranger that is aware of my abilites says."

"A jester serves at the side of the Queen. Am I not worthy to deem such values upon you, the most capable of doing so?" The Jester dipped closer until their noses were almost touching. She maintained the position for a few seconds before backing off. "From the very start of our conversation, you held confidence in my presence. Even under strain of pain, you continued to push yourself and held your head high in face of my wonderful powers. There is no doubt to me, Akiko Miazaki; you were born to lead~"

Akiko held a neutral expression to the Jester as she listened, remembering the pain and instinctively placing a hand against her eye. "I'm touched." she statically commented, clearly being sarcastic yet again. "From the sounds of things you're making me out to be a queen. A queen of what, however, remains to be understood." The catgirl folded her arms together as she kept listening to the Jester.

"Indeed, the queen of what. Who's to say for certain, neither you nor me. But that means your path is open to any number of variables." The Jester stood up from her spot, offering a hand up to Akiko. "If you'll allow me, I'd like to personally look into your journey myself. You are someone who provides great interest to me and I look forward to what more you can seek to conquer in your time in this Tower. Perhaps this humble jester will find new authority to follow provided the right examples can be made."

Akiko looked at the hand, considering the thought of taking it, but simply stood up on her own. Dusting her dress off, she looked to the Jester. "If you care to follow in my adventure, then I highly doubt that I have the power to stop you, nor would I want to with my own hands. Do with that knowledge what you will, Jester." She flicked her ears back and forth before she looked back at Rivenwood. "Surprised you're not going after someone like Rose or Kanbaru. No doubt they've gotten up to more interesting shenanigans than I have."

Despite Akiko brushing off the assistance, the Jester's smile didn't falter. "Who knows. Their adventures may tie back into your own. As I understand, you three are still part of a Guild and are connected by more than just fragile bonds. Now then, let us go forward to Lady Eleonor. I too have much business to discuss with her." The Jester held her hands behind her, walking alongside Akiko with an almost-bounce to her step.

"Yes. Let's." Akiko drew her hood back over her head as she led the way to Eleonor's manor, unsure of how to feel about her new traveling companion. For the time being, she would hopefully bode to be a useful asset, but only time could tell whether Akiko would truly be this queen she spoke of, or merely another peasant. Regardless, the future made her feel somewhat uneasy.
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