Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by FamishedPants
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J u s t i n e



"I descend! Fwahaha!"

— Stien



Through the third portal came an unfamiliar young woman wearing an elegant blue dress and a plain red Santa cap. Although she remained mostly expressionless as she quietly observed her nearby surroundings, the girls whom she glanced over would feel an overwhelming strength of will radiating from her as she did so. She would take a few steps forward before her eyes came to rest on the very girl that had wished for her return, Hilaria.

"Stien...?" Hilaria barely had a voice as she called out to the girl in pure disbelief. The moment was a rare one, as the emotion on Hilaria's face was genuine, rather than the whimsical, fabricated norm. Tears began to form in her eyes.

The blue-clad girl took a careful step forward, seemingly unmoved by the imminent mess Hilaria was presumably about to become. Hilaria would pitifully call her name twice more between sobs before Stien's expression snapped into a smirk in less than a second, and she disappeared from sight in even less time with a loud crack that was reminiscent of thunder to a degree, and more than enough to startle the skittish and rattle nearby items.

"FWAHAHA!"

A loud, hearty roar of laughter erupted from beneath Hilaria, who was now partially suspended in the air thanks to an effortless bear hug Stien was giving her. The act had knocked any and all air out of the knight's lungs and so she gasped for air when she was finally released, earning a loud slap on the back from an amused Stien, who laughed yet again.

"Do you persist only to spite those who believe with time comes change, Wisa? Centuries its been! Yet your impression of a baby chick is as flawless as ever!"

Hilaria took a few more moments to gather back the air stolen from her lungs before shaking her head fervently. "H-Hilaria isn't a baby chick...!"

"Hard to believe when you're narrating your own dialogue and forgetting your name! Fwaha! Have you suffered a head injury, perhaps?" Stien seemed to be having the time of her life, and Hilaria began to redden in embarrassment. "Tell me! Why have you adopted a pseudonym, Helewisa? Noble that action is not!"

Hilaria sheepishly rubbed the back of her neck. "U-um, well... Hilaria did forget her na--"

"FWAHAHA! SO YOU TRULY DID!" Stien slapped her knee. "What a joy! Then allow me to solve the riddle of why you're speaking as you are! Is it because you think you'll do the same thing again?"

"Ye--"

"FWAHAHAHA!"

Stien took a few more moments before she calmed down enough to speak again. "I have been here not five minutes and already you've blessed me with a wonderful time! Are you trying to make up for time lost? Shall I reward you?" she asked, leaning closer to Helewisa, a coquettish grin forming before she planted a firm kiss on the knight's lips. "Were this a more private reunion I would grant you more, but we'll just have to make up for it through other means."

Helewisa was blushing profusely by this point but nodded. "Um, there's some things going on. We could try catching things, join the snowball fights, sled, or even have a competition to make a snowman." Wisa informed Stien, who thought for a moment.

"They all sound so delightful. But that's to be expected when you're with the one you love, so normally I would care not what we do. However..." Stien managed to catch a glimpse at the intense snow fort battle taking place. It clearly piqued her interest. "Shall we start with that? A test of physical prowess amongst other party-goers sounds like it would bring much joy!"

"...sure! I would love to." Helewisa agreed, a small yet warm smile finding its way onto her features.

Moments later, a loud, boisterous laugh preceded the sudden launching of snowballs at any and all other competitors. "FWAHAHAHA, WE DESCEND!" And so, Helewisa and "Justine" joined the snowball fight.
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Gaia continued to glare at the Lord of Change as the strange being gave its response, before turning her back to the creature and rejoining Connie and Shane.

“I do not believe we should entertain the twisted whims of this abominable creature,” she declared. “It clearly wishes to toy with our emotions, and I, for one, shall have no part of it,” the verdant girl added, stating that last bit in a louder tone, so that the Lord of Change would be sure to hear.

“B-But, Mia…!” Connie pleaded, her eyes filled with worry. “W-What if i-it’s the o-only way F-Faith can c-come? I r-really w-wanted to s-see her, a-and g-give her the p-present we m-made…”

“Connie…” Gaia sighed. “We don’t even know if we can trust what it says,” she added, placing a comforting hand on her friend's shoulder. “Even if we win its stupid game, it might just create a fake version of Faith, rather than reunite us with the real one.”

“I-I know…” Connie replied softy. “B-But, w-we can at l-least try, r-right? I-I mean, I w-want to b-believe that F-Faith’s still g-gonna m-make it, b-but, w-what if she d-doesn’t? W-What if t-this is the only w-way?”

Gaia frowned, before retrieving her phone and typing Faith’s name. “Okay, little sister,” she added, giving Connie a resigned smile. “I suppose we can give it a shot.”

“Oh, thank you, Mia!” Connie cheered, before quickly typing Faith’s name on her own phone as well.

“Well, I guess all we can do now is hope for the best,” Gaia observed after they had both sent in their votes.

A short while later, and it became clear that the best hadn’t happened. Although Gaia was somewhat glad that they would not have face the potential of dealing with some twisted facsimile of Faith, the verdant girl’s heart still ached for Connie.

“F-Faith wasn’t picked…” the timid girl sighed, her once-cheerful countenance taking on a significantly more sullen expression. “I g-guess we could just m-mail her present, b-but it w-won’t arrive until a-after N-New Years, a-and we d-don’t h-have her a-address…” at this point, Connie began to sob softly.

Seeing her best friend like this was enough to make Gaia want to punch the cause of Connie’s sorrow in the face. Repeatedly. And although she couldn’t actually harm the Lord of Change (in Dan’s dimension or anywhere else), she was determined to tell it some very choice words. Unfortunately, the moment she turned around, the twisted being winked out of existence.

Yeah, you better run, you fucking pile of shit.

Gaia’s withering glare became even more intense when she noticed that the creature hadn’t even bothered to take the plushy Mariette had given it.

What a dick

Gaia’s seething fury was interrupted a moment later when Connie gave an excited cry.

“Mia!” the gentle girl called, while pointing to the far side of the room. “I-It’s Oros! M-Maybe she can give our present to Faith!”

Oros… Gaia hissed, her anger having flared back to blazing life. The verdant girl’s mouth twisted into a snarl most unbefitting of the normally serene Daughter of Mother Earth as she followed Connie’s finger to where the pink-haired girl was sitting with two friends.

Gaia’s mind drifted back to the last time they had seen the obnoxious beast girl, when she had spent some time recovering in their room after suffering some kind of ambush. The ‘visit’ had gone well enough, but Oros’s departure had made such a racket, it had attracted the attention of a member of the orphanage’s staff, Ms. Bronson. When Ms. Bronson came up to their room to question them, Gaia had been forced to transform, sedate the woman, bring her outside, and place her under the same tree they had found Oros. Reassuming their mundane forms, she and Connie had then woken the woman up and told her a story about how they’d seen her pass out from their window. Although Ms. Bronson, having had her memory wiped by the same pollen used to sedate her, had thankfully accepted this story, dealing with her was still a major hassle for the two friends, and one that could have easily been averted if only Oros wasn’t such a monumental jackass.

At least as far as Gaia was concerned.

And now Connie was heading over to where that stupid bitch was sitting. Gaia wanted to stop her, or perhaps be with her for emotional support, but she ultimately decided against going over. Connie needed to start doing these things by herself, after all, and in her current mood, the verdant girl’s presence would probably do more harm than good. Not only that, but there was someone else who was far more deserving of her attention, someone she had been regretfully neglecting, up until now.

“So, Shane,” she said, turning to face her date. “How about we get some refreshments?”







“H-Hi Oros!” Connie greeted once she’d made her way over. “M-Merry Christmas! Oh! A-And is t-that you, Emily?!” she added, her eyes brightening at the sight of her other friend. “Y-You look s-so c-cute in that outfit, I a-almost d-didn’t recognize you! Umm,” she mumbled, as she retrieved a wrapped present from her sack. “I w-wanted to g-give this t-to Faith, b-but, I d-don’t t-think she’s c-coming, s-so, uh, c-could you g-give it t-to her w-when you s-see her n-next?” she asked Oros, handing the pink-haired girl the present. “I-It’s a s-special banana t-tree that M-Mia made,” she explained in a whisper, as if Faith herself might somehow overhear. “I-It’s k-kinda s-small, b-but it’ll g-grow a n-new banana as s-soon as you b-break o-one off. I k-know F-Faith really l-likes bananas, s-so, y-yeah…” Concluding her ramblings, she gave Oros a shy smile, her cheeks reddening from embarrassment.








“Wowie zowie~! Magical Dream Princess found Penny Wenney~! (giggle!)” MDP exclaimed upon being greeted by the mechanical monarch (although she didn’t look quite so mechanical at the moment). “Yaaay~! Like, Magical Dream Princess would totally wotally wuv to team up with you~! (giggle!)” she added, clapping her hands together excitedly.

The next moment, Amanda, who had apparently (and quite impressively) managed to hold on to her drink while being dragged outside, got a text from someone named Cerise. Upon asking who that was, MDP was told that she was one of Amanda’s friends who had since passed away. Subsequently, the whimsical girl learned of the game some crazy looking creature called the Lord of Change was playing, wherein one could be reunited with a friend or loved one, even if they had died. MDP herself had received a text from Karen, but although the tentacle girl gave great hugs, MDP felt it would be better for her best friend in the world to be reunited with someone she’d never get to see again otherwise. And so, despite Amanda’s initial objections, MDP had voted for Cerise, while Melisa had been kind enough to vote for the dream magician’s other friend, Cereza. (it should be noted that it was only thanks to Penny’s efforts that their small, unmoving, group wasn’t hit by any snowballs during this time)

When the winners were finally revealed, MDP gave Amanda a big hug. “Like, we did it, Pastel-chan~! (giggle!) Well, sorta…” she added, in a more sullen tone. “Like, Magical Dream Princess is super duper sorry that Cereza Weza couldn’t come too, but, like, at least Cerisey Wisey is heresie, so, like, you should go see her~! (giggle!) We’ll be okie dokie out heresie~!” she added, as she pushed Amanda in the direction of the lodge. “Just promise womise to have lots of fun together wether, okie dokie~?”

No sooner had Amanda departed, then Melisa noted that she wasn’t a big fan of snowball fights and instead would try and collect some snowbuns.

“Awww…” MDP pouted, somewhat sad to see the doll girl leave so soon. Quickly brightening, she added, “Like, that’s okie dokie~! This way, Magical Dream Princess can have Penny Wenny all to herselfy welfy~! (giggle!) Like, good luck, Melisa Wisa~!” the whimsical girl called as her diminutive friend rode off. “Magical Dream Princess hopes you find lots and lots~! (giggle!) Bye bye for nowie~!”

Twirling around, the whimsical girl cheerfully skipped over to where Penny was building her snow fort. Upon reaching the imposing edifice, she struck a coy pose, clasping her hands behind her back and swaying from side to side. “Like, can Magical Dream Princess pretty pretty please come insidey widey~?” she asked, smiling up at Penny as a blush colored her cheeks.

(And at some point after this, Hilaria and Other Justine apparently show up)
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by FamishedPants
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"Don't eggnog it till ya try it."

— Emily


It would be a lie to say that Emily was all sunshine and roses considering the rather aggressive start Samantha had at the beginning of the party. It also weighed on her that she could not do anything for her friend, and trying while she was ignorant would likely only cause more problems. So, Emily could definitely be in a better mood. Thankfully, Oros knew exactly what could cheer Emily up, and so the eggnog they were now drinking took the edge off. She also appreciated the hug.

When her phone chimed, indicating she had a message, Emily read the text that read:

Lupa
“Hey kiddo! How’s the party?”


Emily's expression lit up. After how suddenly Lupa had left, Emily was glad she was well enough off that she could message her. But the flame-spec did feel a tinge of sadness at the fact she couldn't speak to the girl personally.

Emily
"It's wonderful, thanks for asking! How have you been doing?"


When the Lord of Change sent a text revealing that her own text wouldn't reach Lupa, Emily deflated. She managed to listen to the Lord of Change's explanation of the game and how she could possibly get someone to this party who normally wouldn't be able to attend. Even those who were dead. Naturally, her thoughts dwelled on her deceased sibling, whom she wanted to see more than anyone else in the world. She would give almost anything to reunite with her sister... but at the end of the day, this was a promise made by a horror that was openly looking for despair.

Ignoring a once-in-a-lifetime chance was not an easy thing to do, but she decided it was for the best. Even if she won, it might no be her sister. There would be some catch, like The Monkey's Paw.

That was her justification, but she still needed a distraction. Emily immediately downed a couple of cups of eggnog. She would never hold a candle to Hilaria, but that was quite a bit for Emily to drink in such a short time. "O-oh, I should be a bit more careful..." she did not want to drink too much and get sick, like usual when eggnog was involved. And it was a good thing she slowed down, too, as Oros inquired about what they should do. "Um," Emily thought about keijo and her belly full of eggnog and no food and made the wise decision to avoid that combination. "Maybe we should stick to the harebingers?" she suggested.

Since she was intentionally avoiding the Lord of Change's game, Emily didn't immediately see who had come to the party as a result of it. Instead, as she waited to see what the others wanted to do, she spotted Connie approaching them, and then greeting her.

"Yes, it's me!" she confirmed with a welcoming smile. "And thank you, Connie! You're looking very pretty yourself! It's good to see you!" Elated to meet another friend, Emily's smile only widened. Despite their interactions being minimal, it somehow felt wrong to see just Connie. Curious, Emily tried to spot her other half, only to instead spot someone else instead. "Um, please excuse me!" she asked of the group, hurrying off towards the girl who left the first portal created by the Lord of Change.

"Tetrad? Tetrad!" Emily didn't seem interested in the other girls. "Hey, is it actually you?" If she wasn't stopped, Tetrad would find herself being hugged by the fire spec, as if she had completely forgotten the skepticism she had displayed for the Lord of Change's powers earlier.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Ariamis
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“Glad you like it, Sparky-chan,” Sakura said as she grinned, amused by Lily’s reaction to him, and accepted the hug without further fuss.
He then gave a thumbs up to Alex.
“Eh, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world,” he said, forcing a smile. He then shook her head in response to Lily’s question.
“Not a coin. I happened to meet a wish-granting genie, and, well...You can figure out the rest.”

Lily’s lips curled into a circle.
“Ooh! You met the twins!” Lily took Sakura’s hands, causing him to lift an eyebrow.
“They also granted wishes me and Alex made!”

“Yeah, about that...” Sakura was about to interrupt as she pulled off Lily’s hands off of hers.
“They’ve combined. Now she’s one lady, and not a bad looking one either. I think I saw them over there.” She casually pointed her thumb behind her, to which Lily gasped.

“Oh! I didn’t realize! Thanks, Sakura! I’ll go talk to them now, so see ya later!”

And with that, she was off, and Sakura sighed in relief.
“Man, Sparky-chan is genki as always...” She glanced to the center of the hall, where Alex had went off to talk with Justine.

“Not going to bother with Juice Time. Hmm…” She spotted one of the new arrivals,m and he had a warm smile on his face.
”Now that’s more like it.” She went over to Tetrad, who was currently hugged by Emily, and flashed a winning smile.
“Well hello there, ladies. A fun party we’re having here, right? Can I get you two drinks?”
He asked, having shifted his gaze to Tetrad’s prominent physique.



Lily was happy that her little joke went well with Mariette, and she waved goodbye as she quickly left the party. With that, Lily started bouncing around the party like a caffeine-infused squirrel; she went once again over to Ruby, and shook her hand.
“I heard from Sakura that you’ve changed! You look so beautiful now! Congratulations!” She then put a finger to her cheek.
“But, uh, what should I call you?”



Dina finally managed to breathe a sigh of relief and take a seat as Ruby momentarily took over in the party handling. She poured herself a red cup of the nearest drink she could get her hands on, and sipped on it in a regal manner, pinky held extended. The arrival of Patrons was not something she had accounted for, especially a Lord of Change, and she needed a break from it all. That was when she realized what she had drunk. “Wait, is this...glögg? It’s...Not bad, actually. I have to remember to collect any leftover stock.”



Sann was not pleased by Dan’s intrusion, and was very close to outright eviscerating the aggravating animal. However, she knew she would only be further humiliated by Odin. She resolved herself to think this was a test, a trial of endurance for her. If she passed it, she would prove herself worthy of being included among the ranks of the choosers of the slain.
That was when she noticed something brewing outside the lodge, and she gave a wicked smile.
“Yes! A battle!” She then headed off to join the snowball fight, causing Dan to fall off and bounce on the floor.
“Hm...I guess I’ll go check how everyone’s doing now.”



Kimble and Alicia stepped outside after Dan’s parting words; just as the view through the windows suggested, a whimsical world of snow awaited them...And the sight of dozens of snowballs rapidly flying through the air, in all kinds of directions, making for a chaotic scene.
Kimble looked mildly surprised.
“Oh wow...Things have gotten intense here. Well, it’s expected with us magical girls, hah.”
She nodded at Alicia’s suggestion with a big nod.
“Yep, let’s go!”

Thus the two began to traverse the island. As they expected, it was a breath-taking vista of plains covered in glittering snow, and pine trees with green leaves visible underneath the layers of frost. The island’s center was dominated by three tall hills, each of them seemingly devoted to one of three sports; downhill skiing and snowboarding, ski jumping, and sledding. All three of the paths seemed to end up converging at the lodge. It was then when they noticed that there was a ropeway that led to the three hills, as well as a ropecar colored blue and painted to look like Dan with snow goggles on his head. They also passed by a familiar domed building, causing Kimble to reminisce.
“I still remember the thrilling final match you had with Amaryllis and Tetrad. I could barely hold on to the edge of my seat. I wonder if anyone’s going to try that silliness again.”

They two met Snowbuns on their way, and Kimble crouched down to pet a couple, giggling as the balls of white fur wiggled their tiny noses. They saw how dozens of Snowbuns were hopping in a large group towards the petting zoo.
“Looks like people have already started collecting Snowbuns.”
Kimble then giggled at the sight of Melisa, who they spotted leaving the lodge; as she was riding the turtle, she was accompanied by a group of Snowbuns who hopped after her.

Dan then appeared there, and clapped his fins; he was struck by inspiration.
“Ooh, I know what this needs!”
He cast a spell, and the Snowbuns transformed; they now wore old-fashioned red soldier hats similar to that worn by Melisa, only with less decorations. They waddled in unison, seemingly mimicking a marching army as a platoon’s worth of them moved in unusually organized rows. Some now blew on tiny little trumpets, and others were equipped with a tiny harness that held instruments like drums played by a pair of doll hands or one that held tiny toy muskets, turning Melisa into the commander of a Snowbun military.
“Now go forth, Colonel Melisa. May you bring Christmas cheer to us all,” Dan spoke, saluting her as she went forth on her quest. Kimble could only smile at the wholesome exchange.
“How cute!”

After some time, Alicia and Kimble arrived at a field where many blocks of ice had been gathered from the nearby shore, as well as a small shack. She looked at Alicia while holding her hand.
“This must be an ice sculpting place. I’d like to try making a sculpture!”



As the party had begun in earnest, a portal had appeared on the upper balcony, accompanied by a person stepping out of it. Dan had immediately arrived there.
“Welcome to the Christmas party! Um, I hope you’ll enjoy your stay,” he said, only to be met with silence. Dan seemed to sweat a bit.
“Well, if there’s no questions, then I’ll be attending to the other guests. But please let me know if you’d like some nice cocoa or eggnog.”

The person looked down at the party on the first floor.

“That won’t be necessary.”

Then, they walked away, causing Dan to make a worried sigh.

“...I hope this works out.”
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Card Captor
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"Things are fine" Alexander answered Justine "We're dating now" He trailed off, suddenly remembering how bad he was at small talk. "I'm actually kind of amazed to see you here, considering you seem all alone. I know I wouldn't even have bothered if I didn't have Lily" Interrupting him, were his three animals, Bob and Tim rolling a slowly growing snowball around by running on top of it, with Dave flying close behind "Hey, Don't run into anyone you idiot!" He called out to the animals before sighing "Weirdos. Anyway, speaking of Lily, does she know you're here? I bet she'd be happy to see you. Which, granted, isn't saying much. But considering how down you look, I think you could use at least one person excited to see you."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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“Bitch be stealin’ my hoes!”

— Oros


Oros wasn’t at all disappointed that her vote didn’t go through. She had a pretty good idea Eden wouldn’t have shown up anyway. She had just originally been designed with Eden in mind, and it was a little upsetting that they’d never get to meet. Such was the way of play by post roleplays. What did irritate Oros however was that she was in squeezing distance of both Em and El, and Em ran over to some bimbo who wasn’t even a PC anymore. But this irritation was short lived, as Oni came wandering over to her.

“Hey Oni!”

Now Em was sickly sweet, something Oni couldn’t quite live up to. But there was some naivety there, and her shyness made her that much more endearing to the hotel owner. Oros’s heart skipped a beat when she was handed a gift. She examined the careful wrapping job, and was prepared to open it herself when Oni mentioned who it was for.

“…Oh yea, her.” The corners of Oros’s smile twitched. “Yea, bananas. She’d really like something like that. We share a patron, so locating her shouldn’t be too hard.” Her eyes suddenly became very big. “So what did you get me?”

Oros could sense El was uneasy about something. She was aware of the newly arrived guest. Personally, Oros didn’t really care about some secret reveal character during an event. She was already the coolest character at the party, paired with El who had to be the best dressed out of everyone there. But if she had to go… “Guess we’ll meet up later for fun stuff?”

”Hey ah-” Tetrad looked around nervously. ”I mean, yea? I’m pretty sure I am. What’s with the emotional response? It hasn’t even been two weeks since I left!” There was no way Tetrad was going to escape this bear hug. It’s a known fact that the glomp of a cinna-bon is inescapable. ”Guess if I was thinking I’d have invited Trixy. She really wanted to see Betty again, not like they haven’t been texting each other non stop. Speaking of, I should probably Personally thank Oros for-” It was a bit difficult to figure out who was speaking to her, given that their pronouns seemed to switch mid-paragraph. Come to think of it, didn’t some other attractive “woman” come on strong like that? ”Hold on.” She fret her brow, ”are you cross-dressing?”

@Majoras End@FamishedPants@Ponn[@Aribaby]






”My Figma came today. Now I’m the main character!”

— Betty “Biohazard” Barton


It wouldn’t have been so bad if Betty’s vote had just not been picked. But it had been picked, and then she was told that her vote was forefit because apparently some horror with the power to control causality somehow couldn’t bring Kate to the party. Furthermore, she was not allowed to make another vote. Why had the Lord of Change chosen to have her recieve a text from Kate if it wasn’t someone they could bring to the party? Betty was sure her jaws were going to crush her teeth, but she just couldn’t relax. Fortunately, the events from before were so exhausting she didn’t have the strength to get upset about it anymore.

”Maura, I’m going to go see if I can catch a bunny.”

Catching a harebringer was likely more aggravation than it was worth, but Betty needed something to focus on. She always did better when she had a clear objective or goal to accomplish. She didn’t wait for a response before leaving.
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The icy island was teeming with Snowbuns, bouncing and bounding here and there, as if the place had been overrun with the fluffy creatures. Mariette saw from her high vantage point that they seemed to cover the island from end to end. However, when she activated Absolute Direction, she was met with a straining result; hundreds upon hundreds of signals popped, each dragging her to a different location simultaneously. Before her headache could develop further, she turned it off, having decided to save it for when it was necessary.

But as she looked, she noticed something peculiar; in an open field to the north, she saw a stack of Snowbuns; like a totem pole, they each sat on top of one another. And at the bottom of the stack was a different-looking Snowbun; it had shiny, copper-colored fur, and seemed to enjoy carrying the stack as it bounced, moving in a circle around the field, with the stack of Snowbuns swaying above it but not falling.

Mariette was lying in a pile.

She’d found the easiest way to gather the friendly animals had been to open portals for them and let them come to her. There were Snowbuns everywhere. She was petting them, patting them, they were so fluffy. They were inspecting her and she was inspecting them back. She really didn’t need more. Her happiness-receptors had exploded. This was already heaven.

Yet, when she opened another portal to let more through, one of them refused. Curious about this development, Mariette peeked sideways. That one… that one was different. Hm. Mariette got up on her knees, petted a couple dozen Snowbuns, before stepping through a portal to face the different Snowbun. She walked closer, and squatted to peek at it if she got close enough.

What was this one? Was this one of those Dan had…?

The moment Mariette stepped into the snow field upon leaving the portal, she dropped; the powder snow was piled deceptively high over what must have been a pit, and hid the surface under it, causing Mariette to sink into it, up to her head. As a result, the snow happened to cave in around her, causing her legs and arms to become momentarily stuck.
Then, Mariette heard the sound of mischievous giggling mixed with the chittering of a lagomorph, and saw as the Harebringer approached, a smug smile on its face. It bounced on top of the same snow Mariette fell through as if the copper Snowbun was as light as a feather. Then, as it came close, it jumped on top of Mariette’s head to mock her, weighing incredibly light, and then off her before she had time to dig herself out of the snow. It then continued bouncing around the field as the other Snowbuns on top of its head also giggled.

‘Ah-!?’ Mariette cried out in surprise as she plunged into the snow, blinking in surprise as she got herself down all the way to her neck. That, uh. That was unexpected. Then the strange hare jumped closer, and- uh, jumped on her head. Mariette wasn’t entirely sure how to process that before it jumped off through the field, somehow still balancing multiple Snowbuns on its head. Mariette was confused.

Though, it wasn’t like her current situation was a predicament. Her tentacles burst forth under the surface of the snow, and Mariette pulled herself down under the surface. Using her tentacles to dig and feel ahead, she made herself into an undersnow predator, manifesting a portal over her nose to breathe and another over her eyes to navigate from above, Absolute Direction helping her keep track of herself after her target from underneath the snow, her tentacles ready to shoot out from under the snow to try to snatch the hare…!

The Harebringer seemed oblivious to Mariette as she tunnelled through the snow like a many-tongued worm, using her small size and magical prowess to her advantage. The copper bun sniffed the air, wiggling it's adorable little nose just as the tentacles burst out, kicking up snow everywhere and obscuring her vision of what exactly had happened. She noticed something wriggling in the grasp of her tendrils. When the snow had settled again, she saw that she managed to catch one of the Snowbuns that had ridden on the Harebringer's head. The real one kept bouncing around, blowing a raspberry at Mariette; it now had a reduced stack of two Snowbuns instead of three.

… Hm. Were those Snowbuns on its head get-out-of-jail cards, and she had to catch him three more times to actually catch him? Now he’d be more wary of attacks from below. Perhaps Mariette should have saved such an attack for later. No matter. She gently brought the Snowbun in her tentacles grip to her hands, where she gently petted it and smiled, before turning her attention to the Harebringer.

It was time for some good old-fashioned tentacle hunting.

Portals opened around Mariette, and portals opened around the Harebringer. Tentacles reached out to attempt to catch him again. She used her Awareness to try to predict where he’d jump to, and would attempt to open a portal there ahead of time so another tentacle would catch it there. Even if he escaped from that enclosure, a new array of portals would open in his new position. Mariette was a relentless predator when on a hunt, and getting away from her just didn’t work very well. Let’s test this little soul’s agility, endurance and perseverance. Mariette could do this for a long time…!

The Harebringer, now knowing to expect tentacles to burst out in an attempt to catch it, expertly dodged the first few tentacles that lashed out from portals. However, new portals opened fast in the locations he dodged to. Eventually, the copper Snowbun was forced to eject one of the Snowbuns on its head to escape. Now reduced to only one Snowbun on its head, it was visibly angry, with cute furrowed eyebrows. Now it was no longer hopping as fast as before, bouncing around at the speed of a regular Snowbun, seemingly easily catchable by regular means. However, the trick was revealed when Mariette sent more tentacles after it; the tentacles suddenly slammed to the ground around the Harebringer, and turned slow and lethargic. The Harebringer used a spell to create a gravity well centered on itself, causing the tentacles to be burdened to the point of being too slow to catch the Harebringer, no matter how many Mariette would summon. Curiously, both the Harebringer and the Snowbun on its head were immune to the effects. Snowbuns also began to gather around the edges of the field in droves, seemingly curious about the magical hunt that was taking place.
The Harebringer spotted the girl in the distance, and turned to wiggle its fluffy tail at her with a “Hmph!”

Mariette stared curiously at the creature from a distance. A gravity-spell? Impressive. That would make trying to capture the hare an insurmountable challenge for most girls. The challenge was to catch, not harm, the hare, so shooting magic into the field wasn't an option. However…

A large portal manifested over the hare. You know that snow deep enough to burrow through? A enormous quantity of snow suddenly fell like an avalanche down with the enhanced gravity right on top of the hare’s head. It wasn’t the only snow, though. Throughout the landscape, sinkholes in the snow formed as portals took the snow and avalaunched it at the hare from various directions, intent on using the hare’s gravity to create its own compact prison. Even if the hare managed to escape, Mariette just had to move the portals, trying to create a whirlpool of snow from varying directions to center at the elusive hare.

The portal girl absently stroked the Snowbun in her arms as she watched the snowy trial of the Harebringer.

The Harebringer blinked as it looked up at the portal that opened before it, and then chittered in surprise as snow dropped heavily over the creature. The Harebringer ejected his last Snowbun and managed to jump out of the way, only to be caught by snow that circled around it. Caught in a white vortex, the Harebringer fell back to the field, and ended up buried by a big pile of snow. Though Mariette no longer saw the Harebringer, she could tell with her magic that the magical Snowbun was still in the pile.

With that, it was time to do something else that was in her magical arsenal that she’d never done before. She knew she had the ability to manifest weapons of light, but she’d never had any use of it, until now. Focusing her magic power, she manifested a Lasso of Light, and then let one of her tentacles grip the hilt because her own arms wouldn’t have been strong enough. The tentacle lashed out towards where Absolute Direction pointed her, sending the top of the lasso spinning, piercing through the snow with light-energy, before aiming to tie tightly around the Harebringer’s torso, so she may restrain it on a distance without the need to enter the gravity-field herself.

Mariette threw the golden lasso of truth, and like Wonder Woman, successfully caught the Harebringer through the snow. However, as Mariette began to pull, she heard a loud chitter, followed by an explosion of snow, as the Harebringer unleashed it’s most powerful magic; it cast a spell of reverse gravity that quickly spread to the entire field, catching Mariette in it as well; she was now forced to hold on to the golden lasso as she now began to fly up alongside the huge quantity of snow that rested on the field, as well as a few Snowbuns who didn’t hop away fast enough. But there, Mariette saw her quarry; the Harebringer, with no hands to remove the lasso, wiggled and struggled, it’s copper fur standing on end from being agitated, doing everything it can to avoid being petted. The gravity then began to turn around the field in various directions, and Mariette began to spin with the Harebringer at the axis, the golden lasso the only thing keeping her steady as a snowstorm practically raged around her.

Mariette positively vaulted as the gravity explosion took place, its power far exceeding her previous estimates. Her tentacles gripped around both her and her lasso of light, keeping her from being completely blown away. This… this was bad. Even if she opened a portal directly to the hare, she couldn't oppose the gravitational force to reach through it. She needed… some form… of push…!




@Ponn@Shifter_Master

‘MAGICAL DREAM PRINCESSSS…!’ Mayra excitedly called out at the appearance of her new friend at the snowball-fight. ‘I see! You seek towards Penny, the strongest Magical Girl here, thinking it would give you safety in battle. I see, I see,’ the draconic girl nodded sagely, regardless if this was the case or not.

‘But, your judgment is misplaced! For I have created the ultimate weapon to breach the walls of her fort! HERE!’ Mayra excitedly lifted… A positively gigantic snowball she'd taken a temporary leave from the battle to create. ‘With the Mega Snowball, I will bring down the entire fort in a single swoop!’

‘MEGA…’ Mayra held the gigantic snowball with both hands behind her, comically undersized in comparison.

‘… ULTRA…’ Mayra shot a burst of fire magic through her, glowing red, smoking and grinning with a sound like revving an engine.

‘… DRAGON…’ Mayra started her swing, fire bursting from her elbows and legs as she started spinning like a blur with the giant snowball!

‘… THROOOW…!’ she finally called, letting go of her giant snowball that was sent surging with intense destructive force towards Penny's fort…!

Then a portal manifested and ate the snowball before winking out of existence.

‘… Whuh?’ Mayra made a confused sound at the end of her throw pose.




The snowball slammed into Mariette's awaiting tentacles and sent her flying at the Harebringer. With panic in her heart she used the force of the escaping snowball that came out of the portal behind her to propel her through the gravitational field, crying from the intense force on her relatively weak body, desperately holding her arms forward in order to catch the Harebringer mid-flight…!

Propelled by Mayra’s Mega Ultra Dragon Throw, the snowball unleashed an explosive force as it went through the portal and struck the tentacles; like a trampoline, the tentacles in turn bounced Mariette, sending her flying just far enough for her to grab the Harebringer with her remaining strength; the creature’s eyes were wide as Mariette managed to push through the insurmountable odds, and it chittered in a fit of despair before finally succumbing to its defeat as Mariette’s hand finally landed on its head.


The Harebringer...was petted.

And the moment it was petted, the Harebringer turned docile; it ended the spell, and gently lowered Mariette down to the snow field, as it now rested in her embrace, clearly tired.

Mariette gasped as her hand reached the head of the hare, felt as if a magic blast went through her at the impact… and then everything went calm. She gently held around the Harebringer, breathing heavily as she drifted down into the snow. The girl calmed down slowly, gently petting the hare, her eyes wide from the alarming experience she’d just gone through. But… she’d gotten her price.

On staggering feet, she slowly stood up, ensuring to have her tentacles test for a stable foothold. She then opened a portal, wandering through it to the grove where she’d stacked the mountain of Snowbuns she’d collected before facing off with the Harebringer. There, surrounded by all her Snowbuns, Mariette simply sat down with her back against a tree, abscently petting the Harebringer in her lap while all her Snowbuns gathered around her to keep her warm in this frozen environment.

There, at least for now, she’d relax. For just tonight, she was the Princess of Bunnies, with nary a worry in the world. There, for now, she’d rest.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Majoras End
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Majoras End Oyasumi~

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I've got to get a proper banner.

So, Eliza and Maribel were some of the few who won.

With everyone else doing their own thing, Eliza opted to stay by Oros and Emily. Idly drinking a mug of hot cocoa (With a bit of ale. She doesn't get drunk easily, but whatever helps she guessed.), she'd keep an eye on everyone else just in case something else crops up. Maura was probably stressed out, so the christmas tree-looking witch was willing to step in just in case. Atleast to salvage the night for everyone else, and her date. She hated how things have gotten so...predictable, references to her powers aside. How annoying. Well, there was one thing she didn't predict.

Eliza glanced over to Justine. As much as she wanted to 1v1 the catalyst of two events that brought others trouble, and as much as she'd like to take her own swing at Maura for the patron's choice, she couldn't help feeling pity for the now-remorseful girl. Especially with the, uh, reception her mere appearance was getting.

Why bother getting angry at this point? There are more important matters than that. If Jenna didn't purify Justine, Eliza was sure Maura would be okay leaving her in the Cradle. Alas, fate seemed to have other plans.

Such as the mysterious guest that caught Eliza's eye.

Now, Eliza was hoping not to ditch Oros so suddenly, but she had her suspicions. Her eyes narrowed once the guest walked away. When she was addressed, she downed the rest of her hot cocoa, and looked back to Oros with a smirk. "Don't worry, I'll try to make this quick. Just wanna make sure this new guy doesn't try anything funny." She winked, getting up from her seat to go upstairs. She'll bother Cerise and Tetrad later.

Even after the little heart-to-heart between her and Betty, Maura still felt a bit uneasy. She'd try not to think much on the comparisons, but what the hell was she supposed to do? Ignore the glaring elephant (elephants?) in the room? If actually caring made her weak, she can't exactly help it. Death has atleast a bit of heart! When they were back inside, the Lord of Change was explaining how his game worked. People put their votes in, and the horror did his thing. Maura would try and comfort Betty when her vote was discarded cause Vocab noped out, wuss. But in the end, neither of them won.

Maura couldn't help but sigh. Not just in relief, but she guessed some part of her wanted Veronica to be there with them. As much as she didn't want to deal with her reaction to Justine. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Though Maribel being one of the winners worried her. Who would she want to invite? Reverie? She was brought out of her thoughts when Betty went to go catch one of those Harebringers outside.

"Uh, good luck then! I'll check on you in a bit!" Maura called out to the bodyguard as she left. Once alone, she'd let out another, more tired sigh. "Everything is fine. You got everything under control. You're not making a terrible mistake being here..." She tried to reassure herself. She'd check up on Justine, see if she was doing okay. Then she went to go find something to do. Probably something no one was doing yet. Maybe one of those stage performances?

Amanda slightly frowned when only one of the twins was able to join them. But she quickly shook it off and smiled at MDP. "Hey, don't worry. One of them's good enough-" Once more she was interrupted by MDP literally pushing her to go see Cerise. A bit confused, she looked over to Valerie who shrugged in return. Together, they hurried back inside.

"Yo! Cerise?! Where are ya?!" Valerie called out.

"Val?? I'm over here!"

When the two approached Cerise by the portal, they could see her talking to another girl nearby.

And now they felt kind of awkward. Amanda and Valerie looked at each other, not knowing who should talk first, then back to the lone twin.

"Hey, uh...it's been awhile has it?" Valerie asked with a crooked grin, which was then greeted by a warm smile. "Good to see you two are still kicking! How are the others?" Cerise would tilt her head, as if to look for someone. The other girl would walk off to leave them be.

"Same as always." Amanda shrugged, turning her attention to the present MDP gave her. Maybe she wouldn't mind her opening it right now. "Is...Cereza okay?" The magician asked, carefully unwraping the gift box.

Cerise's smile faltered slightly. "Still dead, I guess? Been trying to get her revived since the rave, remember?"

Their eyes widened. So that's how the Lord of Change got her here! This Cerise was if she was the only twin who survived that killing blow!

Well, they couldn't explain that to her, could they?

"Right! Right. Sorry, it's been awhile and I've been busy doing hacking shit. You wanna go get some food? Maybe go find some snowbuns?" Valerie suggested.

Cerise's eyes lit up at the mention of the snowbuns. "BUN."

The android snorted. "I'll take that as a yes."

While the two walked out, Amanda went to go sit down with the present when,

"Amanda??"

Maribel and Lauren were busy talking with Viva when the nightmare witch noticed her opposite. At that point did Rowena return with a bunch of flowers, walking back to her seat to start making flower crowns. A fourth witch also had joined them. Amanda stood there dumbfounded. She knew better than to approach the small coven, for Maura's sake, but at the same time...

"Don't just stand here waiting for crows to appear, come join us~!" Maribel called out again. With a bit of hesitance, Amanda sat down by the group.

The nightmare witch grinned at the dream magician. "You already know about us three, but I'd like to introduce you to Carmen! She's the one I invited here!" she pointed to the brunette Witch of Light, who was casually sitting on one of the couch arms.

"Yo."

Amanda and her would wave at each other, before Maribel introduced the two to Viva. Admittedly, the dream magician felt uneasy by the nurse, but she seemed nice. Then again, so does the small witch group. Eh, she shouldn't worry about it.

"So are we just gonna sit on our asses all night, or are you girls up to cause mischief?" Carmen would speak up with a sly smile.

"Oh my, you're so right! Anyone got any suggestions~?"
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Shifter_Master
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Shifter_Master Atrast Nal Tunsha

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.:⋮Not In Another Castle⋮:.


Penny was content to wait for MDP and her friends to conference real quick to determine what they were all doing. She would pop over the snow mound to sling snow at people every now and then, but that was to be expected in the middle of a snow ball fight. She would give Melisa and Amanda a wave when they both went off to do other things. A little torn between being both glad and sad at such a turn of events. She wanted to get to know MDP’s friends, wanted to be friends with MDP’s friends. But she also was glad that she didn’t have to share MDP’s attention with anyone else for the moment.

“Princess, any castle I own is always open to you” Penny would answer smiling. As a Penny from inside the fort would shift the wall that MDP was next to so that she could enter. Inside the walls of the fort there were five Penny’s, all of which would swap between building up the fort, or attacking with the arsenal of snowballs that would constantly appear. It was also easy for MDP to notice the difference between the Penny’s in here. The Original Penny’s Presence held a weight to it that her clones seemingly lacked. Not something that would be noticed unless Penny and her copies were next to each other but unmissable if they were.

“Welcome to my snowy home” The original Penny would greet, with a half-tired smile. Another thing that was easy to see was that Penny wasn’t as chipper as her copies. That didn’t stop her from also issuing a hug to MDP alongside her greeting. “Glad you decided to stop by”

For a moment however it seemed like entrance to the fort was the worst idea that could have come about, as Mayra’s impressive show of snowball creation was a sight to behold. Even more so since they were a Fire spec girl. The mobile Penny’s hand to stop and just give the thing an appreciative clap. It led to both of them getting pegged with snow, but seriously that thing was impressive.

The fact that Mariette, of all people, stole it for some reason just had Penny cracking up. “Too bad Dragon lady, I’ve still got my castle and my Princess!” A Penny would call out from within the fortress she had assembled. “Better luck next time” she would end with flinging a larger than normal snow ball at Mayra. It wasn’t the same as the ‘Mega snowball’ but obviously inspired by it.




Unnoticed by the participants of the snowy chaos, one Penny walked away from the battle field. With so many of herselves in the area it was impossible for her to miss when Freya ran. At the timing of it and the braking of the phone. It wasn’t hard for Penny to piece together why.

So, she followed after Freya. She wasn’t sneaking or trying to hide her presence, but she knew that there was a chance she would sneak up on Freya anyway. When she did come across Freya and another girl, she didn’t recognize she wouldn’t wait on the edges to be seen she would openly walk over to Freya. The dejection on the lamia’s face was easy to read.

“I take it the Prick’s game got to you?” She would ask moving to sit near Freya. “Was what I assumed when you took off from the game. Wanted to make sure you were okay, but I get the feeling that isn’t the case.”




“Portals and Duplicates” Original Penny would mutter to herself. “All I’d need is a steady stream of Metal and I could be Omnipresent.” She wouldn't bother adding in Portal based Snow strikes, that was just unnecessary. Would make getting to all the events a breeze though.

@PlatinumSkink & @Ponn

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”Why couldn't the octopus join the navy? He was too army! Hah! I crack myself up!”

— Betty “Biohazard” Barton


Betty was on the hunt, ready to pet a Harebringer no matter the cost. Soon enough, she found herself at a small hill ringed by trees, which she found suspicious due to an oddity with the place; it was completely swarming with Snowbuns. There were Snowbuns sliding down the hill, Snowbuns climbing up, Snowbuns shaking tree branches, stacked like totems or even sleeping in little bundles. Some kind of phenomenon was drawing all these Snowbuns here. Then, Betty saw a glimpse of the Harebringer at the top of the hill; it was white like the other Snowbuns, but it wore a bunny-themed army helmet with a playing card sticking out of it. Based on its chittering at a row of three Snowbuns with goofy oversized helmets before it, it seemed to be talking to them, or perhaps even lecturing them.

The Cradle agent’s past woes, from Justine to her breakdown to the Lord of Change’s trick were all out of her mind. right now it was all about her petting one of those harebringers.

She was hiding behind a tree, hoping her pale skin and white hair would help hide her position. Betty had initially planned on a stealthy approach, but the terrain made that hard. It was hard to cover your tracks in snow, which also made a crunching sound when you stepped on it unless you were a snowbun. The trees were a better option, but they were also covered in snow, and so much as a snapping twig could alert everyone to her position. It wouldn’t be as simple as just walking up behind the harebringer and petting them. They were even wearing a helmet, which likely had to be removed before she could brush her fingers across its plush scalp.

But the commando inspired helmet did give Betty an idea. Doing things the stealthy way wasn’t entirely out of the question. Instead of being a ghost, she could use guerrila tactics to get closer to the harebringer that way. All of her bladed weapons had turned into candy canes of varying lengths. They were the perfect tools for pulling critters towards herself. She didn’t have to sneak past an army of snowbuns, she just needed to get close enough to them so that she could take them out, then move on to the commando harebringer before they became too suspicious.

Betty took to the trees. Some snow might fall from the branches, but the trunk of a tree was really the best way to hide her red and black suit. She had rubbed some snow on it, but it wasn’t quite the same as rolling in mud in vietnam. She was ready.

A snowbun had slid down the hill and was getting ready to head back up when a candy cane reached out from the evergreens and yanked it into the branches.

Another one decided to shake a tree for pine cones, only to have a pile of snow fall onto it’s head. Soon it too was scooped up by a candy cane and pulled into the trees.

A pile of sleeping snowbuns was sleeping a bit too close to the treeline. One at a time, they were pulled into the greenery when there were no eyes to watch them.

Not even the totems were safe. The bottom one would get yanked into the trees, and the falling snowbuns would get collected by candy canes held in place by wind magic.

Betty was picking off the snowbuns one at a time. Giving them a pet and returning them to the petting zoo. she planned to do this until she had thinned them out enough to where she could climb the hill without being noticed.

Like a legendary reptilian soldier, Betty solidly snaked her way through Snowbun after Snowbun, the oblivious little creatures having been stealthily taken out by tactical petting action.
As Snowbuns came down the hill to investigate the disappearance of their fellow comrades, even more of them were petted, until only the Harebringer and his trusted soldiers remained.
Luckily, the general himself was too distracted by his chittering to notice the growing silence on the hill, allowing Betty the chance to climb up the hill. However, Betty happened to accidentally step on a twig hidden underneath the snowy coating of the hill; the Harebringer was prepared for sneaking hunters. He turned to see Betty approach, surprised by the disappearance of his fluffy troops.

Betty froze in place. Her eyes flicked between the harebringer and her foot. It was always a bit disappointing when your 100% stealth run was forfeit by something so small, doubly so when you’re supposed to be a Cradle agent. Today it was just a twig, but what if it had been a pitfall trap? What if it had been a snare that did something humiliating like hang her upside down from a tree? What if the snare also reverted her back to human form, and suppressed all of her magical powers so that she couldn’t escape? What if the harebringers had a recipe for Betty stew, and had a spit set up so that they could grill her? What if they were so barbaric that they’d just eat her alive? What if this was all a clever ruse Justine worked out with Dan to have her removed so that Maura could be taken off the map? Clearly, Betty’s screw up was unforgivable, and she’d reprimand herself for it later. Even if the idea of a bunch of snowbuns nibbling her was kind of cute, it was still bad!

Betty steeled herself, preparing for a split second change of plans. She held her candy cane over her shoulder like a batter and attempted to teleport right beside the harebringer. With any luck, she’d knock the helmet off of his head.

For the briefest moment, the Harebringer and Betty exchanged looks, the military-themed Snowbun visibly impressed by Betty’s skills. However, he was not going to be petted without a fight. The moment he chittered a command to his soldier buns, Betty made her move; she teleported up to the Harebringer in a motion similar to punting the round creature as if it was an oversized golf ball. To her surprise, that exactly happened, though it wasn’t her goal, as she aimed to knock a helmet off. Instead, a soldier bun leapt in the way, sacrificing themselves with a teary look as it flew far to the distance, blinking like a star in the sky.

Betty’s eyes traced the snowbun as it disappeared from sight. Her jaw hung lower and lower until the snow bun vanished from sight. The Cradle agent finally looked away, feeling nothing but regret for what had happened. She’d have to see if she could find that snow bun later. But for now she had to avoid thinking about the horrors of war so that she could complete her mission. Her eyes became intense when she refocused them on the harebringer.

Now left to two soldier buns, the Harebringer’s eyebrows furrowed, and a magic circle formed vertically around him; suddenly, a wave of Snowbuns crashed through the portal, piling up like a stream of Cocoa Puffs in a cereal bowl, overflowing to the rest of the hill and knocking Betty back about one-third down the hill. That was when Betty realized what the lagomorph leader had in mind; the Snowbuns began to stick together in a single shape, forming a giant bipedal humanoid construct made entirely out of the fluffy creatures. The two soldier buns popped out of the shoulders of the mecha-like combination, in control of the arm Snowbuns, while the Harebringer’s face popped out of the center of the chest and was in control of the legs. With a chittering command, the soldier bun on the right prepared to slam a massive fluffy fist down at Betty, while the soldier bun on the left pointed a cannon arm at her, shooting a scattershot of Snowbuns.

She had just managed to stand up again when the, hmm, she needed a name for it. Snowbun Prime would have been okay, but the way the harebringer and their soldiers were working together, it was more reminiscent of the megazord from the Power Rangers. Yes, this was the Snowbun Megazord! No, that was still too long. It wasn’t entirely correct but maybe she could call it the Snowazord? Yes! Now that was a name that embodied the ferocious cuteness of the adorable monstrosity in front of-

Betty dodged the shot of Snowbuns that bounced on the snow, and managed to side step the snowazord’s fist just moments before it crashed on top of her. The entire arm compressed like jello from the impact, and the impact kicked up snow onto her. Betty ignored the snow for now and used the opportunity to jump onto the arm and scale it up to the shoulder. The arm’s fluffy, gelatin-like nature meant that she had to be on her toes to avoid getting struck by flying snowbuns. With any luck, she’d be able to pet the soldier controlling the arm.

The shoulder Snowbun’s helmet dropped off after the impact of the punch shook the Snowazord, leaving the little lagomorph vulnerable to a sudden petting thanks to Betty running up the arm of the ridiculous mech and plucking the Snowbun out of the white mass.
The Harebringer seemed to realize that a giant mecha was unsuited in a fight against one as agile as Betty was, and chittered again; now, the mass of Snowbuns bounced Betty off, and transformed into a sphere of Snowbuns, before it flattened into a pool of the creatures. That was when Betty realized the general’s helmet flew into the snow next to her; it had now blended in with the mass of Snowbuns thanks to its white fur. The mass of fluff now slowly began to hop around in an attempt to overwhelm Betty.

it was fortunate that the snow was so soft, because being thrown repeatedly from any hight was sure to rattle her poor brain at some point. And having a working brain was something she felt like she’d need, especially with the absolutely ludicrous number of snow buns hopping around. Maybe it was too late. She had no idea what she was going to do.Panic started to set in as she was unsure how to deal with the problem. She wasn’t a snowbunologist. But she was a Cradle agent. Betty steeled herself again.

The cradle agent picked up the helmet and wiped the snow off of it. She then placed it on her head. it was a little big and sat crooked on her head, but she felt like it it was bestowing some of the harebringer’s power on her (it didn’t, actually). She flexed her fingers and prepared to charge into the pile of snowbuns. But then she had a random though: had the harebringer abandoned his helmet? a pool of snowbuns was intimidating, but couldn’t she just pet them all?

Before she did anything else, Betty stomped, and a gust of wind blew away from her in all directions, scattering the snow in the immediate vicinity. She had come too far to let the harebringer escape now.

The sudden strong breeze caused the tide of Snowbuns to part, like Moses parting the seas.
Chittering noises accompanied the spectacle, as surprised Snowbuns reacted to being thrown around. That's when Betty spotted a Waldo in the crowd; one of the Snowbuns did not chitter or even blink as the wind swept them.

The genuine article? A ruse? Betty wasn’t sure. There was still a soldier unaccounted for, but she didn’t have time to second guess herself. She focused her mana, and with a quick hop, teleported to the snowbun’s position to stroke the rascal’s head.

Betty succeeded in running her fingers through the creature’s warm, fluffy fur...That seemed to stick. In fact, she couldn’t remove her hand from the Snowbun, who now blinked, as if confused by what was happening. She realized that it was the last soldier bun, and he was enchanted by the Harebringer to have adhesive fur. That is also when Betty felt something round and fluffy slam into her back, and turned to see the Harebringer; he was visibly furious, with furrowed eyebrows, frowning mouth, and a red aura that glowed around him.
After the first slam, Betty noticed something strange pop up in the upper right corner of her vision: a bar had appeared titled “STAMINA”, which had been depleted one-fifth after the slam.
Betty noticed that she was beginning to get a bit hungry. The Harebringer slammed again, and that feeling of hunger grew stronger, weakening her; the Harebringer’s final tactic was to reduce her STAMINA to zero and knock her out.

Betty whimpered. It took the harebringer a moment to find a tactic to subdue a slippery opponent like her, but they finally did it. Her impressive agility meant nothing with her hand pinned in place, and she wasn’t going to just blink away after blinking towards the snowbun soldier. Since just her hand was stuck, she could orientate herself differently, but as long as she was stuck to this snowbun, could she expect to pet the harebringer? Her mind immediately flashed to the rave, a moment she could barely remember. She felt just as vulnerable now as she was then. Betty braced herself as the harebringer struck her a third time. This could be the end. Or at least it would be if the harebringer hadn’t underestimated her determination.

Betty’s weapons had all become candy canes, which made cutting through her arm impossible. But she was still able to break her humerus with a single swing. She winced in pain, but had already committed herself to winning at all costs. She gave the harebringer an equally furious glare over her shoulder. Between the last three strikes, Betty had worked out the tempo of the harebringer’s attacks. As the harebringer drew closer, she hopped over the soldier in front of her. She couldn’t go very far, as her hand was still stuck to the head of the soldier bunny, but the sticky snowbun was now between the harebringer and herself. If the soldier didn’t stop the harebringer, what happened next most certainly would.

Betty bit through her bicep while pulling her arm away from her trapped hand. She didn’t have Trixy’s bite, but did have enough strength to tear the rest of her body free. A spray of crimson soaked the harebringer and the soldier. With her determination to win and pain overriding all of her other senses, Betty let out a war cry and Rushed towards the harebringer.

To give it a gentle pet.

The Harebringer expected Betty to jump and avoid its attack, and dodged to the side of the soldier bun, who by now had realized it did not want to be in this precarious position, and began to wiggle in an attempt to break free of Betty’s hand.
The Harebringer dashed hopped to the side of the soldier bun, ready to give one last hard slam to end Betty’s hunt, when something happened even the battle-hardened ball of fluff couldn’t have seen coming; blood. The Harebringer turned away to avoid being blinded by the spray, but when he turned it was already too late: Betty’s hand now rested atop him. At that moment, the Harebringer turned docile, and removed the spells he had made on the soldier bun and the other Snowbuns. Then, it slumped down, partially flattening like a pancake as it now closed its eyes, exhausted from the intense battle.

With a sigh, Betty turned around and fell backwards onto the resting harebringer. She didn’t need a stamina gauge to tell her that her body had been pushed to its limits. She reached for her dismembered arm and shoved it onto her stump. Fortunately, Betty always kept her healing artifact on her person. the tiny lantern’s glow went to work mending her arm back together. Even for a cradle artifact, a severed limb was something that would take time to heal. But the pain was starting to subside as bone and flesh knit themselves together again. Her breathing slowed, and the frenzied look in her eyes softened. It was fortunate she had chosen to wear a lot of red, as Betty wasn’t sure if her healing magic would clean her outfit. She doubted it would.

While her arm healed, she removed the army helmet she had borrowed from the harebringer commando and placed it back on his head. It was a difficult chase, and she wasn’t entirely satisfied with how all of her choices played out. But in the end, her willingness to use desperate tactics enabled her to triumph over her opponent. But with the operation completed, her mind drifted to other things. Maura, Justine, the friend raffle. She found her breathing started to accelerate again.

But wait, the opperation wasn’t over.

She had sent all but 1 soldier to the zoo. Even if this was an intense game of tag, surely swatting a snowbun into the stratosphere was overkill. Betty felt a strange kinship with the soldier. She too had been seperated from her group for a time, and the idea that such a noble creature was still out there didn’t sit right with her.

Her arm still ached, but that didn’t stop Betty from pushing herself to her feet. She vaguely remembered which direction she had swatted the soldier in. Perhapse if she kept walking in that direction, she could find and pet it.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by twave
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Melisa, bolstered by the adorable army at her command, marched her forces, intent on hunting one of the Harebrigners of the Bunnypocalypse. Fortunately they didn’t have to march far, as they soon found what they sought; a large frozen lake, covered in clear ice that resembled a mirror in its reflectiveness. Regular street lights illuminated the lake, and a chain link fence bordered it. And there, in the middle of the lake, a Harebringer could be seen; the silver-furred Snowbun was in an ice skate, much like Mario would ride an oversized shoe, and used it to figure skate around the lake with incredible grace. The Harebringer was accompanied by three other Snowbuns, following their leader in a line, and creating the illusion that a many-segmented caterpillar zigzagged across the ice.

Looking out over the ice the doll girl began to survey the area. It had been a while since she’d ice skated. Thankfully her tiny stature should prevent the opportunity to fall through the ice. After a bit she put together a plan. Firing some magic into the chain link fence she would take control of it and make it fold away and lay down by the lakebed.

Whirling around she would raise her cane. ”Alright everyone, let’s get their attention!” Acting as a conductor she marched them a little bit close and directed the snowbunnies in an orchestral number.

The Snowbunnies nodded, the ones with doll hand harnesses having performed a salute, before they began to play in unison; they played a bombastic marching song that roused the attention of the Harebringer and its followers. It wiggled it’s cute little nose, and slowly approached as it formed an 8 on the ice, though still keeping its distance from Melisa.

Seeing that the Harebringer wasn’t going to get much closer Melisa began to move her marching band further down the bank to give the hare more space and hopefully closer to the bank where the fence was laying on the ground.

The marching band moved as Melisa wanted them to, advancing down the bank as trumpets blared and drums resounded. The Harebringer raised an eyebrow, and slowly followed after; it seemed that it was unaware of the chain link fence lying on the lake shore it was now close to.

As the four puffs got closer the chain link fence popped up like it was spring loaded. Acting like a metal net it tried to wrap and ensnare the lot.

The Harebringer reacted with amazing agility, performing a jumping pirouette to dodge Melissa's trap, followed by two of his followers. However, the third one was not as fast, and ended up ensnared by the net, chittering loudly as it wiggled in a panic. The Harebringer only shook its head slowly, purposefully ignoring the Snowbun's pleas as it retreated back to the center of the lake.

”Aw man.” Stopping their march the doll turned around and ran back to free the bun that had been caught. She would give the fluffy creature a big hug. ”Don’t worry, it’s okay.” She would pet it gently. Seemed like her prey was swifter than she'd anticipated.

Looks like she was going to have to go after it herself. A few ideas crossed her mind, but she really wasn't the greatest tactician. Still, she had to capture the floof. Taking a small amount of the fence she would create blades for ice skates on her feet. Taking to the ice she began to move closer while the chain link fence began to work its way under the ice.

With the skates and a bit of practice, Melisa found herself capable of swiftly moving across the ice, with little wind resistance to slow her down thanks to her diminutive size.
A couple of Snowbuns attempted to follow her, but they ended up slipping and sliding around the smooth ice like hockey pucks. The rest of the Snowbuns decided to surround the lake and watch Melisa. The Harebringer giggled as it watched the bumbling Snowbuns, seemingly unaware of the metal that approached it from the depths.

Melisa would begin to circle and would form one of her cannons. She began to fire in order to try and take control of the metal blade of each skate. The fence would stay hidden for now.

The Harebringer avoided the cannon shots, leaping and hopping with deftness. However, one of the skating Snowbuns following it was hit in the skate, allowing her to control the metal. The Harebringer then realized what Melisa was planning, and turned angry with furrowed eyebrows. It now picked up speed as it skated around Melisa in turn, its skates glowing blue. That’s when Melisa noticed a line the Harebringer left behind, followed by a cracking sound as the ice under her began to split, opening up from the exact pathways the Harebringer took; he attempted to cause Melisa to topple off the broken piece of the ice and into the water below.

The skate she managed to tag would turn off and in the direction of the snowbuns waiting on the bank. It would lightly bump the few that had slid out onto the ice. As for Melisa, on the bottom of her feet the skates morphed into spiky cleets to give her grip on the ice. The fence would make its move and come out of the cracking hole to make another attempt at catching the Harebringer.

The fence snapped up like a hungry alligator, and caught the last skating Snowbun protecting the Harebringer. With the other one having been led to the bank and surrounded by her Snowbun forces, the silver-furred Snowbun was now alone. In response, it chittered loudly in frustration, and stomped on the icy lake, causing countless cracks to spread and break the ice into tiny pieces, including the very island Melisa had clung to; a desperate final move to attempt to send Melisa sinking to the bottom.

With the ice breaking up, Melisa would indeed lose her footing and drop into the water. As with last time she had essentially no buoyancy and immediately began to sink. Waving a hand she would release the adamantium claws she'd been hanging onto. The small objects darted upward and began cutting away at the ice around the Harebringer to trap it on a small piece where the fence could make one last pass.
The Harebringer was taken by surprise as the adamantium claws sawed the ice around him. He jumped, attempting to escape, only to be caught by the very last piece of the animated fence Melisa had prepared. Melisa climbed back up to the bank, where the Harebringer was dragged to, and successfully petted the creature; it turned docile, and restored the ice back to its former splendor, sitting there with a tired expression. The Snowbuns hopped and bounced in cheer for their victory.

"There there, everything will be okay." She would scoop up the silver bunny and cradle it gently. After a little while she would begin to lead her little troop back in the direction of the cabin. "C'mon, let's go somewhere where it's warm."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Flamelord
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Having sent off her text for the other event, Alicia proceeded to put that out of her mind. if she didn't think about it, she would not be disappointed when it didn't work out. As nice as it might have been to see Sylvia again, it wasn't like it was vital. But perhaps that was just the spectre of uncertainty haunting her. Things had changed after she had died, after all.

For now the two girls left the giant snowball fight behind as they explored the island. There was plenty to see, from Christmas trees to frozen lakes in a scenic winter wonderland. You know, the sort you'd see on a postcard or a Hallmark channel movie. It was as some would expect from Dan. The paths seemed to loop back to the lodge, but there were some methods to get over to the hills. All very convenient.

Passing by the Keijo arena, Alicia glanced over to it for a moment before her gaze returned to her companion. "It was certainly intense," she agreed with a nod. "I'd say it was unlikely, but people will do anything for money. So there'll probably be at least one match this time around."

Moving along, they came across some Snowbuns along the way. Alicia let Kimble get them first, though she'd pet them afterwards too. It was only a couple though, nothing compared to the veritable swarm they spotted Melisa with. "That event seems pretty popular," she agreed. Not that she was going to argue when it came to something cute and fluffy.

At last they arrived at a field of snow, one that had many blocks of ice collected upon it. There was also a table set up off to the side with hammers, chisels, and other tools that one might need to craft these blocks into something different than a square. "Sure. Do you want to work on one together, or should we put our skills to the test," she asked with a grin. She was more than willing to make the attempt on her own, and see whose ice carving skills were superior.

@Ariamis
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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“Justine and I with our open mouth face claims catching flies together.”

— Oros


Justine didn’t seem surprised by Alex’ revelation of his relationship with Lily, and nodded slowly to his words.
”I see that she hasn’t slowed down one bit," she added, as she glanced at the green-haired girl from one end of the room to the other. She blinked, surprised by the small animals and the familiarity Alex expressed with them, but decided not to inquire upon it.
”Doesn’t seem like it," she answered his question, as Lily was now over at the Christmas tree, hopping up in an attempt to reach a crookedly placed decoration.
”But it is honestly only a matter of time before we cross paths again. She seems to know nearly everyone here. How enviable..."

Justine’s enthralling weekly post conversation with Alex would soon be interrupted by a girl that wanted to collab with her.

“Hey! Lez-bean!” Taking Betty’s seat was some pink haired punk that wasn’t Sakura. She had looked rather pleased for most of the party thus far, if Justine had cared to watch her. Though even a less astute individual would notice her ‘nog-stash on her upper lip. “So you’re supposed to be pure and stuff now, right? No connection to Father, no longer a monster, ready to repent, maybe get a waifu or three?” she lifted her glass to her lips. “That last one’s for a friend of course.”

By this point Justine was no longer startled by the appearance of sudden visitors, and sighed in relief as she also came to peacefully talk instead of berating her. However, she did look a bit befuddled by Oros’ sequence of questions, and she placed her bat plushie on the table to join her hands together on her lap. She hoped Alex didn’t mind the sudden interruption between their conversation.

”Well, uh...I’m definitely not connected to Father anymore, that much I’m sure of. And I...I no longer feel the same drive that pushed me before. That must have been the influence of corruption. Yeah, these wings are not as powerful as before," she said as she gestured to her back, where her white wings could be seen.
”But, umm, did you mean to say wife with that last question?"

The jovial girl’s demeanor changed in an instant when Justine posed her own question. When Oros’s cup lowered to the table, there was a sneer on her face.

“You mean to tell me you’ve been around the block for five-hundred years and haven’t integrated into weeb culture at all? We’re truckin’ called magical girls because of a bunch of Chinese cartoons for crying out loud! Jesus Christ, your old boss was an ass hole!” Justine leaned back, confused and regretting that she brought the semantics up in the first place. Oros shoved her glass off to the side, and it slid aaaaaaaaaall the way down the table before coming to a stop at the other end. Oros wiped off her nog-stash, and her sneer seemed to come off with it as she was smiling again. “But hey! Now you can get on Glimmr and figure out what the hell a waifu is, you old grandma!” She laughed.

”Glimmr, huh..." She mumbled, clearly having lived in a very different world from Oros.
”I’ve heard of that service. I could try making an account there as well."

“Now I was going to ask you something before you committed that heinous sin right before my eyes, just let me regain my train of thought.” She lifted her finger to her lips and did just that. A few seconds later, she spoke. “That’s right!” she folded her hands together under her chin. “Your reception seems a little mixed, huh? Seems like a lot of your old enemies are willing to let sleeping dogs purify, and then you have. mmmm…” She glanced around. “Most everyone in Cradle hates you?”

Justine sighed. ”Something like that," she answered, and took the plushie back from the table.
”I’d need to prove to them that I can be trusted. Do you know of any good methods to do so?" She asked.

“Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but as a former monster girl who went from being hated by most everyone to loved by most everyone, and a good friend of the Cradle, I’d say that I’m probably the most qualified to help you. Possibly the only one.” Oros placed her hands together in front of her face, like she was praying. “Trust isn’t what you need. Seems like most of the people at this party don’t really care that you almost doomed love and killed Mariette, or that you are responsible for countless magical girl deaths. Understandable really. I mean, everyone’s going to come back in fifteen or so years, and it’s not like you personally executed their loved ones. Besides, it’s really, really obvious you’ve been purified now. All you have to do is not be an ass hole and the bulk of everyone will keep not giving a shit about lez-bean-von-this-smell. Most view the influence of a horror or monstrous mutation as something that is impossible to resist.” She pointed at Justine. “But you and I know differently. While it’s difficult, it’s not impossible, and those who can resist don’t look favorably on those that don’t. Cradle is made of those that resist their dark urges, and they don’t see that strength in you. It’s also important to remember that most everyone else would care just as little had you been killed. But while the bulk don’t give a hoot, you can bet that there are a few people who are right pissed that you didn’t get the ax. Maura’s choice to spare you gave the Cradle a lot of negative PR. You can imagine how shockedthe Cradle agents are. Veronica always put the good of her agents first, and now Maura’s out here trying to do the pacifist route in Undertale.” Oros rolled her shoulders before lowering her hands onto the table. ”You don’t want trust, you want respect. Stop acting like a sniveling mouse. You can regret what you did, but let’s be honest; even if you’ve been purified, those dark desires were always a part of you.” She swung her arm towards the staircase that Eliza had run up. “I could tell myself that I don’t care about chasing tail anymore. But I’ve decided to embrace that part of myself. I just don’t need nearly as much tail as I thought I did. What did you enjoy most when you were corrupt?”

Justine occasionally nodded as she listened to Oros' advice, and bit her lip.
”What I enjoyed most? Well, it's hard to say exactly, but it was the high tension. When I wove those grand plans or surrounded myself with thralls, I felt like a divine being who had the right to mold the destiny of the world. But more than that, when I faced off against my enemies, it was like a great fire was lit in my soul, a never-ending ride of thrills and excitement. It wasn't just about winning or losing, but living the drama."

“In other words, megalomania: The obsession with your own power or delusions of grandeur.” Oros sighed. “But that was then. You’ve been purified, so those desires can’t be that intense anymore. Do you miss anything, Lez-bean? Your mansion? Your power? Your thralls? Your maid?”

For a moment, Justine was silent. A single tear dropped into her bat plushie.

”My sister, Caroline. She has disappeared for what must have been months now. I dearly wish to find her, so that I could release her from Father's curse as well."
She wiped her tears.
”Have you also lost people you'd wish to see again, Miss…?"
She looked awkward as she realized she didn't know her name.

“Oros? Manager of the Golden Trove? Newest sensation in Penrose? Guess they let you go sooner rather than earlier.” Oros chuckled. “But no. I didn’t have any siblings and my parents weren’t around much. Outside of them I’ve never had a relationship last longer than a few months, and I probably never will.” After flashing a smile she scratched the side of her head. “But we’re getting off point. What I’m trying to get you to do is address your shadow self. There’s some dark part of yourself that’s intrinsic to your nature, and ignoring it is what’s holding you back." Justine irked at the idea of coming to terms with her 'shadow self', but Oros continued. “Here, let’s take your embarrassing exchange with Betty and use that as an example. Hold on, this will be more fun with props.” Oros scooped Justine’s madcap up and placed it on her head, which caused Justine to gasp.

”Hey-!" She exclaimed. But Oros couldn't be stopped by words. She then slouched, squared her shoulders, and avoided making eye contact with Justine.

“Do I look like a divine being who has the right to mold destiny to my very whims?” She pulled her hat over her eyes and hugged her pig plush. “I’m sorry Betty, the whole mind whammy thing was just done on a whim for the lulz. I-I didn’t really think it through, and I’m really sorry now that I have to face repercussions for m-my actions. You probably think I care more about what people think about me than actually being a good person. A-and-” Oros exploded with confidence. Her hands fell on her hips, her shoulders were rolled back, and her chest was puffed out. She was also bearing the toothiest grin that Justine had ever seen, and Justine was a former vampire. “You bet your sweet ASS I care what people think about me! I’m not proud of what I did in the past, but I’m settling the score right now! And you wanna know why I mind whammied you, Betty? Because ‘Ronica made it super easy! You’re also a dynamite babe, and in the heat of the moment I thought it would be good to have you at my side. But when I got a hold of myself later, I realized I’d need to take care of Cradle first. So I passed you over to the Mint with the idea that I’d reclaim you later. Phu phu phu phu phu!” She plopped Justine’s hat back on her head. “Wasn’t my second impersonation of you strangely more charismatic?”

Justine couldn't believe how abrasive this girl was...But in her own way, she was trying to help her.

”So you're saying I should be more confident about myself? That I...accept my past as a personal strength rather than a burden?"

She looked down at the table.

”That's surprisingly inspiring."

“Well it should hardly be inspiring coming from me. They don’t exactly air just anyone on the radio. My charisma is no joke.” She patted Justine’s funny hat and straightened out the ribbons. “You’re a bad bitch lez-bean, but so was ‘Ronica, and that didn’t stop people from trusting her.” She looked towards Emily and Tetrad. “Oh shit, they’re all going to ditch me if I’m not careful. ” Oros stood up. “I know I said I haven’t had a relationship last more than a few months, but I’m trying to change that. If your relationship with your sister lasted five-hundred years, perhaps you can go at least half as long with Cradle. But it’s not going to happen if you mope around here.”

Justine nodded, looking a bit better than before.
”Yeah...That’s right, I shouldn’t be sitting here. I should be out there, talking to people. Even if some won’t like it, it means I’m making a difference, that I’m moving forward. Oros, thank you so mu-"

But Oros had already left, off to join her friends. But, Justine didn’t feel bad about it.
Justine clenched her fist.
”My past...I won’t let it shadow me. My future is mine to make. Do you agree, mister Alexander?"




Oros didn't get far before she was stopped by that nameless girl that participated in the Lord of Change's game. She just looked at Oros with her arms folded.

“What? I can't screw around a little bit?” The girl shook her head dismissively and walked off. Oros just smiled to herself and shrugged. She grabbed Emily by the back and hoisted her up into the air. Oros then shook her just enough to force her to release Tetrad, and carried the girl outside. “See you later tit-rad!”

”That is not my name!”

But Oros was too wrapped up in her own thoughts to care much about what Tetrad was saying. “Oh yea, it's all coming together.”

Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Majoras End
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Dance of the Black Swans

Didn't seem like anyone else was on stage. Maura quietly walked up the steps, looking around to see what she can work with. She had the right instruments, and she can adjust the lighting if necessary. But what about back-up?

"Hmmm..." She looked down at her hands. Maura hadn't used more than just her dark magic in awhile, had she? Maybe she could work with something. Maura used spirit magic to summon a small phantom orchestra group. "Right then, everyone, take your places!" the necromancer called out to them, the spirits moving to their respective instruments.

Yet it still felt like she was missing something. As much as she didn't want to interfere with the uniform code of the party, Maura manipulated the magic to give herself the proper attire for her performance. Her brows furrowed in thought, but she shouldn't be overthinking things. She had to clear her mind somehow. Even if it's just for a moment. Maura moved to her position. With a nod to the pianist, she was ready.



The song started off slow, and so did she. Her movements were careful, uncertain, regretful. As if she was reaching out to her past. Her failures. Could she mend it? Must this black swan atone? Was the choices she made right? It felt overwhelming.

But with every step she took, her shadow was right there, mimicking her movements. It didn’t feel anxiety, lonely, or anything of the sort. It just followed Maura’s movements. While her shadow was not judging, it seemed to be getting fed up with the stiff performance. So much so that it stood up off the floor.

Maura’s shadow rose out of the ground like a mermaid jumping out of the ocean. Her shadow started to change shape after it left the ground. It shook it’s hair out, which revealed a bit of color as black tar was flung from her form. Green hair, pale skin, and a black dress that faded into a ruby red. The shadow was even so bold as to wear a jacket along with her elegant dress. The shadow was no longer a shadow, but a separate woman entirely. She extended her hand towards Maura with a smile.

Maura's eyes widened at the appearance of her new dance partner. She had stopped moving, to stare in surprise before looking down at the outstreched hand. She didn't need time to think. A performance had to be given. With a smirk, she took the woman's hand and continued on.

Then as the tempo changed, their movements would follow along, becoming more animate. Maura would make sure they were both in sync. With every ballon, pirouette, and arabesque, ice magic began to decorate the stage around them. Snowflakes seemingly from nowhere, frost and ice creating elegant, strange shapes on the floor below and the air around them. She shouldn't give up so easily, should she? There had to be a reason. There always is. She had to press on, make a new name for herself. And she did. She had always trusted her instincts, why stop now?

While Maura’s shadow had chosen to stand apart from Maura as a different entity, it was still content to dance along, perfectly synchronized with her actions. Though as closely matched as they were, it was always clear Maura was the one leading.

Another shadow looked on from the back of the stage, eyeing the two dancers. It had a massive head and pointy ears. It’s big expressive mouth was mostly hidden from view. But those eyes held enough contempt to scare anyone. Its eyes were lit green with the flames of jealousy, and it retreated from view soon after.

As grand as the ice magic dance was, it was about to be overshadowed. The stage floor became dark, with only ambient light from the ice magic to light it. The jealous shade had become as wide as the entire stage, and was obstructing the back light from the stage. There were a few gasps from the crowd as the jealous shadow opened it’s mouth, revealing a glowing maw. Maura and her shadow were both cast in the mouth’s neon green glow.

Whatever, or whoever had enraged the envious shade remained an enigma. Even Maura was trying to figure things out, yet she treated the shade' intervention as it was part of the show, not stopping for a moment. As the performance reached it's finale, more spirits appeared as back-up dancers; as if they were trying to hold the entity back, and the ice magic became more potent. There had to be a reason. They had to calm it down, somehow. Reassure it, or be forced to take it out.

Though it would soon become apparent that no spectacle of ice or light would put the shade to rest. If anything, the display caused the shadow to bloat with even more envy. It shrieked, it decended, and some of the onlookers gasped too.

Darkness.

But this was just a show, of course. Maura and her shadow were perfectly fine. They had been pulled into the cradle, with an assortment of green lighs scattered around them.

”Howdy Maura!” Viridian replied at last. ”Hope ya don’t mind the intermission. I thought we could talk for a bit.”

Maura gasped lightly when they appeared in the cradle. Regardless, she'd wave back to Viridian. Though her smile faltered when she said she wanted to talk. "If it's about Justine, I already had enough of an earful for the night." Maura said out of slight frustration. Her outfit would turn back to normal for now.

*Smack*

A stray glove had been drawn across Maura’s face. Just hard enough to leave a mark, albite one that would fade in a few seconds. She kept her smile the entire time. ”Got a lotta nerve assumin’ I’m gunna chew you out after a dance. Shucks!” She slid her hand back inside her glove. ”Hope ya don’t mind me takin’ initiative on givin’ ya a lickin’. Figured you’d gave Beacon a shot at ya, wouldn’t mind if I helped myself to one.” She folded her arms behind her back. ”Ya seem lost, and I wanna give you a hand, just like I did with this here stage play.”

Maura comically blinked from the slap, dumbfounded. "...Okay, I needed that." she noted, looking back to Viridian. She tilted her head when the other woman said she wanted to help. "I mean, I guess? I've been doing this for years, long before I inherited all this, so it kinda hurts that the others think I'm foolish for what, taking opportunities? Wanting to care about my agents? Trusting the instincts that got me this far??" Maura would vent to Viridian. She huffed, resting her head in one of her hands. "I shouldn't be screwing up this quickly, y'know? I know the fates are weird like that, but come on!"

Viridian giggled at Maura’s outburst. ”Settle down there, pumpkin. This ain’t exactly a simple matter, we gotta address the pieces. One, at, a time.” She placed a finger against her cheek. ”Let’s look at your outward conduct. Ya say ya been doin’ this for a while, and I trust ya. Ya got yer own girls to worry about and what not. But what makes that so different from the Cradle? And ya do think it’s different, right? Didn’t ya tell Betty and Sam ya never asked to be the Cradle mother?”

Maura hugged her knees in thought. "Well, other than the new resources, I feel like I have to meet the others' expectations after Veronica stepped down. Though I don't even know how high the bar is, I don't wanna let them down." She then frowned. "I'll be honest with you, I would've been fine with my old position. I was surprised when she handed all this over to me. Unsure as I was about it...I trust Veronica. And I trust you. So I went ahead with it. I don't wanna let either of you down too..."

”So the pressure is getting to ya, hmmm?” Viridian stroked her chin. ”Maura, if ya want respect, ya gotta act respectable! Even if ya just as lost as ya agents are, they gotta think their new boss is just as strong as their old one. Ya can’t be tellin’ them that yer in over ya head, pumpkin, it just ain’t right!” She stepped behind Maura and rubbed her shoulders. ”Ya gotta seem cool and collected. Even if everyone’s sayin’ ya screwed the pooch, or ya plans go up in flames.” she folded her arms around Maura’s shoulders. ”Veronica wasn’t so tough, ya know? She doubted herself. She made mistakes. But she always put on a brave face for her agents.”

"Kinda hard to do that when the guilt hits you like a goddamn maelstrom." Despite her mentioning that, Maura smiled. "But...I'll be okay. I just needed to recollect my thoughts. Besides I can't exactly kill Justine twice like they'd want. Not only would that go against my past actions, but the poor girl trusts me too much. Not only would it be too easy, but she may prove useful to us. I was hoping to explain everything properly at the next meeting." she told her.

Once Viridian mention that Veronica herself had doubts, Maura's eyes widened. The veteran Cradle agents seemed to revere the past Cradle Mother as if she was some goddess. But to Maura, Veronica was as human as the rest. Maybe it was cause she didn't understand why, but she respected her as a friend. And she still did. After a moment, Maura spoke up again. "How do you do it?" she'd asked, placing a hand over Viridian's.

”Afraid there’s not much to learn from me, darlin’.” Viridian walked forward through Maura, phasing through her form as shadows tend to do. ”Veronica’s whole reason for bringin’ li’l ol’ me into this world was to separate her personal feelings from her duty. I don’t really remember anythin’ too specific about everyone. I know what they can do in combat and that’s it. Awfully hard to treat her agents as she always had when she can see their every thought. Isn’t that what love is? Just a deep understandin’ of someone else?” She hummed. ”I suppose that’s it for me too. I can be strong because I know Veronica so well. Her every thought is open to me like a book. She has no secrets, and I can’t help but relate to her, ya see?” She looked over her shoulder at Maura. ”You like her too, right?”

"Hm." Maura let her palms rest on her knees."I guess that depends on your definition of 'like'." One of her brows rose.

Veronica’s sister nodded. ”Enough that you don’t wanna go dissapointin’ her, at least.” She turned to face Maura and folded her hands behind her back. ”Let me ask ya this then. Why did ya become a patron in the first place?”

"I'm sure you know what happened with me in the past. To keep that poor soul from dying I ended up making them my first magical girl. When I went into hiding, I had help from them and a few other patrons in getting things set up, get extra help in case I had to fight my sisters. Then I ended up focusing on other things, like protecting Penrose. I usually look for certain traits to ascertain if they'd do well as magical girls or not. Valerie was a hacker of some renown, Amanda was the recent incarnation of the Witch of Dreams, Evelyn was a war soldier to name a few." Maura explained. "Then there's the odd circumstances like how I met Elizabeth, and somehow she's one of my strongest. If only she could stay calm during battle. Guess what I'm trying to say is, I wouldn't have become a patron if it wasn't for my first recruit of sorts."

”Well, that’s a bit of a surprise.” Viridian scratched the back of her neck. ”Regardless, ya ain’t that scared runaway anymore, pumpkin. I know ya handle yourself better around your other girls, but ya gotta just treat the Cradle as an extension of your network.” She drew a knife from her waistband. ”There’s no runnin’ away for ya now. Ya sisters are here, and just as ya gotta confront them, ya gotta confront ya responsibilities as a Cradle mother.” She looked away from Maura. ”Belive in yaself, and eventually everyone else will too.” And then she thrust her knife into an aproaching shadow.







On the stage, the audience saw several snowbuns try to free the dancers trapped inside. Only for the jealous shade to pop like a balloon. There in the center of the stage was Maura, with her shadow holding a black knife up to the jealous shade’s massive heart. It was far more vile and twisted than it’s outward appearance, and it was holding a knife to Maura’s shadow. The two shadows had run each other through. The jealous shade collapsed into dust, and Maura’s shadow fell backwards into her arms. The color left her body, and her black flesh sunk between Maura’s fingers like ink. Her shadow caressed the side of her face before finally sinking into the ground. The black swan was greeted by a swarm of snowbuns as the curtain prepared to draw closed.

Once more, the christmas magic gave her back her ballet outfit. And as the performance ended, once more, Maura was alone. Her tutu faded back to her santa outfit in a burst of dark feathers, and the effects of her magic dispated as if nothing changed. Viridian's dissapearance could cause some concern, but Maura knew she was okay. She took a deep breath, feeling a newfound confidence.

Then she looked down at the snowbuns surounding her.

Maura snorted, squatting down to pet the buns. "My little heroes." she joked, brushing away any feathers that landed on them. Her dear shadow made a point though, something had to be done. So she walked off stage and to the rest of the witches, snowbuns in tow.

Among the audience members clapping as Maura came off stage was a woman in a Christmas themed new years kimono.

”Aw shucks, those snowbuns are the cutest darn thangs…”
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Alexander watched in confusion as a strange girl walked over and interrupted his conversation. 'Weirdo' he thought to himself as he watched her walk away.

”My past...I won’t let it shadow me. My future is mine to make. Do you agree, mister Alexander?"

Justine saying his name drew his attention back to her "I mean...yeah? I'll admit, I'm not the best one to talk to about stuff like that. My own past was really just that of an unwanted orphan, one among many. I'd like to think that it doesn't 'shadow me', but I can't really say that it hasn't shaped who I am today. Most of what I do in my free time is just all the stuff I always wanted to do back in the orphanage. I'm not sure if that means it's 'shadowing me' or not though." He put a quick barrier down in mid air. A small one for him to sit on "Although I probably don't have as much baggage in my past as you seem to, so I'm not sure if anything I have to say is of any use to you. Well that, and I'm not that great at talking to people in general. Hell, the only reason why Lily and I ever got as far as we have is because she's cheerful enough to just ignore my natural grumpiness."

He sighed, as he thought for a few seconds, before coming to a decision "Right, fuck it." He got back to his feet "I'm man enough to admit when I have no idea what I'm doing, and you clearly need some kind of help. So I'm breaking out my nuclear option and deploying a tactical Lily...fuck, did I really just say that?" He grabbed her wrist and dragged her towards Lily "Even if I can't say or do anything to cheer you up, I know someone who probably can. And if I just leave you alone, you'll probably just keep mopping all by yourself"

'And it'll leave a bad taste in my mouth if I just ignore someone like this on Christmas. I blame Lily for that' He added in his head. "Hey Lily, look who I found!" He called out to said girl
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Justine respectfully listened to Alex’ own views, and only glanced aside a single time as she noticed Maura was now near the stage, seemingly preparing for something, before she resumed her attention on him and the barrier he had created for himself as a platform.
”That may be the case, but I still appreciated hearing your take on these things," she answered. She then blinked at his sudden swearing.

”Is something wrong? H-Hey!"

Alex suddenly took her hand, causing her to inadvertently blush as she was brought to Lily.






Lily helped with Maura’s play by arranging the seats for the audience, and was sitting at the front row when Alex called out to her.
“Hm? Alex, who’s this girl you-OH MY GOOOOOOSHHH!!!”
She screamed with her hands on her cheeks squishing them together, her eyes sparkling like tiny stars as she rushed over to the former vampire, performing her signature intercontinental ballistic glomp. Justine’s face had turned a deep shade of red from the very public display of affection.
”P-Please stop..." She pleaded with a low voice, and Lily released her.
“I can’t believe you’re here too, Justy! And you look super adorable! How did you-No, wait, let me guess!” She hummed rapidly as the gears in her head spun in all kinds of directions.
“After the battle, you were found by someone who helped you get purified! I’m right, right, right right!?”

Justine opened her mouth to answer, but Lily suddenly moved her palm to block, causing her to make a cute muffled sound.
“Wait, the play’s gonna start,” she whispered excitedly, just as Maura began her dance. The performance was mesmerizing, with even Dan silent as he couldn’t remove his gaze from the black swan’s graceful movements. Lily also tried to be quiet, but couldn’t help exclaiming low ooh’s and aah’s as the play developed.
She nudged Alex’ shoulder at one point with a smile.
“I remember wanting to become a famous ballerina when I was a little girl.”
She looked over to Justine, who, for the first time that evening, had a serene look to her, and inaudibly whispered something to herself.

Once the play ended, Lily clapped her hands the hardest, having sprung up from her seat.
“BRAVO! BRAVO!”
Justine did not share in the standing ovation, but she politely clapped her hands. Dan then spoke up, addressing the crowds.
“Beautiful, simply wonderful performance from Maura. I could feel the emotion in her every step. But now, it is time for the events, starting off with snowman building and ice sculpting!”
He clapped his hands, and new portals appeared lining the back wall, each with golden letters to title the respective activity.
“Then we will have ice skating, and hill activities like sledding, skiing and snowboarding. To those joining all the events, please check your timetables so you won’t miss out on any!."

Lily looked ecstatic, and took Alex’ hand.
“Alright, let’s go!” But before she took the first step, she noticed how Justine was hesitating.
“You ok, Justy? You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

”It’s just..." Justine fidgeted with her fingers.
”I haven’t apologized to you yet about what I-"
Lily interrupted her with a hand to her shoulder.
”Justine, I can already tell how you’ve changed, and how you want to make amends. I’m an expert on magical girls, so I know how these things go, tee hee~"

Justine was baffled by Lily’s logic, but before she could comment on it the energetic girl had already taken her hand.
”So let’s skip all the boring stuff about you being sad and let’s go have fun already! Yaa-hoo!"

And so, forcibly entertained against her will, Justine had decided to let Lily lead, and so the trio departed for some snowman building.

The activity was held at a regular field, only with large mounds of snow piled up everywhere.
Dan shortly appeared at the snowman building spot to help guide any attendees, distinguished by his long nose having turned into a carrot. Before he even made any opening words Lily was already sprinting full speed with a rolled snowball.
”I’ll make the body, so you make the head, Justy! Oh, and you can decorate it, Alex!"

Justine looked a bit out of her element, but she sighed, lifting up clenched fists.
”A-Alrighty then. Let’s make a snowman to end all snowmen!"



“Only if you want me to miss,” Sakura answered confidently, as he lifted his eyes up to her face.
“Just a moment, please.” He momentarily left, and soon returned with fine glasses in his hands, offering them to both Tetrad and Emily.
“Here you go; two ales. I hear it’s making the rounds,” he added with a wink.



“Let’s make one each!” Kimble answered, and ran into the shed. She then stepped out wearing a hockey mask on her face, and a chainsaw in her hands.
“I look just like a professional ice sculptor, right?”
She asked, and then revved up the chainsaw, and began to work on sculpting her block.
At some point Dan had shown up, an artist’s hat on his head. He was alarmed by Kimble’s choice of tool for the sculpting, but couldn’t deter the girl from continuing with her art piece.
Eventually she was finished, though the result was rough; the statue only had basic flat facial features, and overall resembled a blocky polygon model from an early 3D game rather than an actual person.

“Aww. Bill Murray made this look really easy in Groundhog Day. Well, I guess the character had a lot of practice.”



As the play was making a spectacle in the lower floor, Eliza stepped up the stairs found in a corridor that led from the side of the lodge, and found herself on the second floor. It had less space than the first floor, but enough for people to have a relaxed, quiet space as they surveyed the action down below. And there, in a corner of the floor, she saw two girls sitting by a table as they observed the play.

The shorter girl was dressed in a blue santa costume, complete with an ushanka that snugly fit over her purple locks of hair.
She was the one to notice Eliza as she approached them, and alerted the other girl in a more traditional red santa dress, who turned to look with a lowkey curious expression. Her posture as she sat was perfect as she examined Eliza.

“Can I help you?” She asked with a polite if firm tone.

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'It's times like this that Lily feels less like a person, and more like some kind of force of nature.' Alexander thought to himself as the three of them watched the play 'All I had to do was bring Justine over to her, and boom, she got swept up into. Hurricane Lily indeed. I wonder if this is what charisma feels like?' He was brought out of his musings when he felt something on top of his head. "Huh?" He reached up to grab it, and brought it down to his face "Oh, it's just you Dave" Like he said; he was now holding a tiny and strangely calm owl in his hand "Where did the other two go?" Dave's response was just to blink at him "Right, dumb question. Let me just put you back" Alexander sighed as he returned Dave to the top of his head, who quickly proceeded to make himself comfortable.

Once the play ended, and the applause began, Dave flew away in a flash "The sudden noise must have startled him." he shrugged before turning to Lily and Justine "So now-" but Lily beat him to the punch as she took his hand

“Alright, let’s go!” Justine on the other hand was looking a little more hesitant. “You ok, Justy? You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

”It’s just..." Justine fidgeted with her fingers. ”I haven’t apologized to you yet about what I-"

Lily interrupted her with a hand to her shoulder. ”Justine, I can already tell how you’ve changed, and how you want to make amends. I’m an expert on magical girls, so I know how these things go, tee hee~" Justine seemed a little confused, and before she could counter attack, Lily went in for the finisher ”So let’s skip all the boring stuff about you being sad and let’s go have fun already! Yaa-hoo!"

"It's too late to escape Justine; Hurricane Lily has already caught you. Trust me; I already tried, and have since given up." Alexander snarked Justine as Lily took the other girl's hand and dragged them off somewhere else.

That somewhere else turned out to be a field set aside for snowman building "Huh, come to think of it, I've never done this before. Kind of surprising now that I think about it, since making a snowman doesn't cost anything." Lily quickly proved herself an old hand at this, when she quickly prepped a snowball to form the body of the snowman. She then declared Justine in charge of making the head, and him decorations "Right, let me see. Sticks for arms...coal(?) for eyes and mouth...I think" He tried to think back to his vague memories of see snowmen on TV, while he wandered off in search of things to use for decorations "Or would any rocks work? Well...I mean, they'd have to be the right size I guess. Wait..." He stopped in his place "I'm a fucking idiot!" He held out his hand palm up, and a tiny circular barrier appeared in his hand "I can just use these"

He turned around to walk back to the girls, and almost walked face first into a huge snowball, one two to three times his own size "Gah!" He backed up to get a better look "What in the-Bob, Tim!" He froze upon seeing two very familiar animals atop it staring at him "Did you guys make this? What are you idiots even doing with a snowball this huge!? It's not even a snow 'ball' anymore, but a snow 'boulder'. Is Dave with you?" They just kept staring at him "Fuck it, just...do whatever" Alexander gave up and waved up the weirdness of his pets, and walked back to the girls. When he did, the two animals turned back to the strangely elaborate blueprint of a snow castle laying on top of their huge snowball, as Dave him landed dropping of some evergreen tree twigs, the pine needles still on, before going off to get more.
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Connie was overjoyed when Oros told her that getting her present to Faith wouldn’t be difficult. “T-That’s great! T-Thanks Oros!” she told the pink-haired girl. “I j-just knew you’d be able to d-do it!” Her cheerfulness subsided slightly a moment later, when Oros asked about her own present. “O-Oh! U-Umm,” she mumbled as she nervously searched through her sack. “I-It’s r-right here!” the flustered girl added as she retrieved a rectangular package and handed it to Oros. “M-Merry Christmas!”

If the pink-haired girl chose to open it, she would find a sketchbook, along with a set of high quality colored pencils and a small landscape painting by Connie herself.

“I-I h-hope you l-like it…” the timid girl added softly.

A moment later, Connie yelped in alarm as the sound of a mighty thunderclap reverberated through the lodge. “W-W-What was t-that?!” she stammered, tightly clinging to Oros as she frantically looked around for anything dangerous. When nothing threatening seemed to be in evidence, Connie slowly began to calm down. “S-Sorry a-about t-that…” she apologized to Oros as she released the pink-haired girl. “I-It j-just r-really s-startled me…” she added, her face turning bright red.
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Freya’s face darkened as she heard the announcement, from one of the phones of the other girl that somehow heard what was happening in the main room. The other girl sighed, and Freya grunted in anger.

‘Well, that was a ----- waste of time and care, why the hell did I even bother? ---- horror, playing with my ---- emotions, see, this is exactly why-’ Freya grunted in anger, partly noticing that the other girl had stood up and started wandering away. Freya was a bit confused, but just as the girl vanished out of sight Freya heard someone else approaching. Penny.

‘Penny…’ the monster-girl grunted her name, before spinning around to not look at her right now. ‘Darn straight I’m not okay. Why the hell did I dare to hope? ---- this. I want to tear that horror’s darn heart out and squash it beneath my boot. Some ------ Christmas event that turned out to be. Even if I’d somehow gotten my luck, someone else would have been hurt. What a ------’ Freya pronounced a couple profanities her player isn’t comfortable writing before sitting down herself with a sigh.

‘… So, you just happen to be empathetic enough to just head after me just because I looked bothered? Well, uh, thanks. I’m, uh, Freya. Freya Cameron. … What else did you come here for?’ Freya asked, kind of unsure what to say.






Tullia was engaged in the snowball fight, specifically creating fortifications for Victoria to attack from and just generating snow for Victoria to throw...

When she felt something. A feeling in the air. A disturbance in the snow. A calling from the sky.

She had somewhere to be.

‘Sorry, Victoria. I must go,’ Tullia said, spinning around and leaping off over the fortifications of the icy castle.

‘Wa- TULLIA!?’ ‘Tullia!?’ ‘Where are you going!?’ ‘Tullia…!’ numerous Victorias called out after her as their source of success suddenly leaped away and left the horde of Victorias on their own to fend off the opposition.

Tullia ran through the area, focusing some magic and sending it surging ahead of her, as she leapt and formed ice-skates on her feet. As her feet landed, she glode on frozen snow across the island, driven by a single goal. Finally, she leapt off the last piece of frozen snow, melted the skates and then landed perfectly right in front of a block of ice.

She’d reached the field of ice sculpting. Her home.

‘I… am Tullia Barese, the Cold Sculptor. This is my thing,’ she said, spreading her arms to her sides. A saw of ice manifested in her left hand, and a variety of chisels of ice manifested in her right. No cheating this time,’ she muttered to herself.

She glanced around, noticing Kimble and Alicia nearby. That… that would do.

With the precision of a high-agi girl, she walked around the block of ice and drew the contours of a statue. Then, wielding the icy saw, she cleaved off the excess ice, the saw she created easily cleaving through the ice because ice-girl. Did that count as cheating? Hopefully not. Then, with chisel in hand, she went in, time to carve out all the details…

The thing she created was a magnificent magical girl in an elaborate armour, long, flowing hair and wielding a detailed bow. It was somewhat inspired by Alicia, but Tullia changed enough things that it wouldn’t be recognized as her, except for perhaps through the use of a bow. It should be noted the statue wasn’t exactly perfect, for Tullia’s trying to get better without “cheating”, but regardless this was still definitely a work of art she was working on, some distance away from the others at the field.
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“Quick! LoC! Use your causality-altering magic!”

— Oros


Before the Oros/Justine collab started, Oros had to finish her interaction with the Q-T Connie.

“Oh! Uh, you, you did get me something.” Oros turned the package over in her hands.

The thunderclap didn’t startle her nearly as much as being surprise hugged. Usually it was Oros who initiated this type of behavior. It was fun to coil her arms around someone and squeeze the bejesus out of them. But while Connie had her arms wrapped around Oros’s torso as tight as she could, that didn’t appear to be the intent. Though Connie’s intent was not on Oros’s mind. She was still trying to process what was happening right up until the girl apologized to her.

“Y-yea, thanks. I-I mean not a problem!” A toaster overn appeared in her hand, and she offered it to Connie. “I had a lot of gifts to give out, and I forgot to wrap them. I can get you something else if you’d like. So uh, yea!” Oros looked side to side. “Oh! I think Lez-bean needs my help! Let’s talk later!”

Oros wasn’t sure what had her so flustered, but she wasn’t going to get punked like that again. She took a deep breath, mustered the smuggest grin she could manage, and collab bombed Alexander.

@Ponn




Tetrad had just gotten back to her feet when the trap arrived with drinks.

”Yea, I’m not really in the mood for- wait is that ale?” She folded her arms and pursed her lips. ”Well it would be a shame to let that go to waste. So I guess I’d better take both of them.” Tetrad lifted Emily’s and her own drink out of Sakura’s hands. ”I also recall Emily telling me that she doesn’t do well with alcohol. Well, I’ll make sure hers isn’t wasted.” Tetrad took a sip before noticing everyone was heading outside. ”Guess we’d better see what’s going on out there. Also, do you have a name?” She decided not to question the individual further about their sex. The answer to those types of questions wouldn’t make her happy, she decided. Wonder if Amaryllis is here somewhere. Been a hot second since we talked.

[@Aribaby]




Oros was still carrying Emily like a briefcase, but set her upright when they got out the door.

“Ice sculpting and snowman making? That’s two silver! We should optimize our time by completing these tasks right now! Hell, I’ll even bunny you into my post so that you don’t have to do anything!” Oros took off towards a giant ice cube and pointed at it. “Alright Em, melt this bad boy! Then you can freeze it on my command.”

Needless to say, melting an ice block was pretty easy for an experienced fire girl to do. The block of ice melted quickly, some of it even turning into steam. But it was at this point that Oros was able to get to work. As the ice cube melted, Oros was able to make the water bend and surge in the air as she desired. “That looks good! You know what to do, Em! Work from the bottom up!” On Oros’s command, she removed the heat from the water and solidified it in place. The finished sculpture seemed to be a girl in beach ware. This was Oros’s first attempt sculpting like this, and finer details like a distinct face were not in her skill set. “Ah! I forgot my ponytail! That’s okay, we’re not being scored. Let’s build a snowman!”

Oros didn’t get nearly as fancy when it came to making the snowman. She and Emily rolled some snow balls into snow boulders. Once they had the body done, they decorated it with whatever they could find. Emily found some stones and twigs for the mouth and arms, while Oros reached into her hammer space to get the maido outfit it would wear. Then they just gave it an icicle mow-hawk because Oros thought those looked cool, and that maids should be allowed to be punk too.

“Excellent!” Oros patted Emily on the shoulder. “Now let’s see if we can find a bunny, no more distractions!” Oros placed Emily on her shoulders and ranran as fast as she could, still trying to push what happened between her and Connie to the furthest depths of her mind.

@FamishedPants






”You got the joke right? Army? Because my arm… hurts. I’m in pain.”

— Betty “Biohazard” Barton


Betty managed to hunt the hare and follow the direction she thought she booted the soldier in to the opening ceremony. She missed Maura’s shadow show, and if she had it her way, she would have missed everything else too.

She had already decided that she was going to give Maura another chance. She had told her as much last time they spoke. But that didn’t mean Betty wasn’t still hurt over everything that happened. She didn’t feel like talking to anyone, didn’t feel like being cold, and didn’t even feel like being happy. She could hunt snowbuns all day, but there would always be down time where her mind would drift to unpleasant things. Though she did at least feel like she still had a purpose on this team, which wasn’t something she had when she was crying outside the lodge.

She didn’t like feeling this way, but she wasn’t sure how to move past it. Talking to friends didn’t work, talking to her fellow Cradle agents only did so much, and Justine herself was no help at all. Even isolating herself in the endless snowy expanse on a snowbun hunt was only delaying the inevitable.

Tetrad had always talked to her about how fun it was to lose yourself in a party. To shed off your own identity and become one with everyone around you. For someone as silly as Tetrad, she got awfully poetic about parties. Maybe joining the gathering of people would lift her mood.

So Betty did that, just catching the end of the dolphin’s announcement before everyone got to work. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do first, but also didn’t want to ask an individual for help. The magic of parties was that the hive mind was suppose to kick in, right? Betty should be losing herself any moment now. But she was feeling nauseous. Someone with a really annoying voice was speaking. They seemed to have a stutter too.

”A-Alrighty then. Let’s make a snowman to end all snowmen!"

Now Betty was not a girl that liked to swear. In fact she actively avoided it wherever she could. But if she could swear, she probably wouldn’t have hesitated to call Justine a gamer word then and there. It was just very insensitive for someone who tried to cause two different calamities to say something as heartless as that. Like what, destroying love wasn’t enough? You need to destroy all snowmen too?

Betty was just one girl. It would be had to beat Justine and whoever was helping her. Sure, Justine was probably just going to have them build her a snowman and then laugh about how simple it was without even raising a finger, because of course she would. But Betty was not out of ideas. She noticed a hill not too far away, and had already decided what her snowman would look like. If justine was going to make a snowman to end all snowmen, than Betty just had to make a snowman that went beyond the simple confines of a snowman. A snowman that was something more. A snowlord? A snowgod? A snowtitan? She didn’t know what to call it. But it was going to be cool. With just a single snowball in hand, Betty began her trek towards the hill.
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