Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Not Fungus
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Elliot Silber

Elliot looked upon the big boss's granddaughter and just let out a simple sigh. He listened to what the others had to say and toned the majority of it out. If they weren't going to get in the way of him and a fight, then there was no need to say anything. Mad scientist's and flamboyant chef's requests can be acquiesced. Although, some of these guys don't believe in Zero Time and all that jazz leading to a wish.

"You guys should dream a little." They should be more passionate about life, like him. Though, these sides of his wonderful companions are beautiful as well. Elliot will accept anyone and everyone.

"That's pretty boring Dunkas, but I'll get a fight out of you sooner or later." He cracked his fingers and knuckles the moment it seemed that the conversation wouldn't yield anything more. He stood up while brushing off some dust and prepared to leave.

"If we're all set to go, then let's go. Handling other crap can wait till we get there. We don't have a moment to spare, yeah?" What he didn't say was how he hoped they'd run into the other families. He couldn't stop a smile from growing on his face.

The challenges, the wondrous battles awaiting him. "Ahaha...!" He could feel heat starting to lick his insides, like a comfortable warm wind blowing from the tropics. He can barely keep himself in check. He needs to go fight something right now.

"I wonder who I'll be able to understand this time," he elatedly mused aloud to himself.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Shard
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Shard I write stuff, and things.

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⚫ Rikimaru Fun House.


Zeke, a rather enigmatic individual to say the least, someone whose reputation was found in the culinary arts, among other peculiar venues. One would be a fool to dismiss the man’s cooking, truly, but knives which had been presented afforded another side to the chef. ”So demanding,” Artemis grinned, his slender fingers tracing across a knife handle which he had been so graciously afforded. Only a moment’s passing was required for emerald energy to lick across Artemis’ digits, where a replica of the item manifested itself into the material world.

”And I will be anticipating your present, Zeke,” the young marksman spoke, a newly replicated trinket dancing between his digits in a graceful display. ”For one does not simply tease another, with Sauerkraut,” Artemis winked, handing the weapon he had brought into being to his ally.

With a stretch, the young assassin rose to his feet, a hand reaching below his jacket to produce a pistol, it’s silvery surface reflecting the surrounding with a polished tint. Retracting then mantel, he did well in reminding himself of the enchanted ammunition within, before once more holstering the firearm. ”I will procure my rifle and make myself comfortable on a rooftop,” Artemis proclaimed, before starting towards the exit. ”Ta-ta,” the boy waved, ”let’s make the best of this Null Time, yes?”

Opening the door, Artemis began on a path up the stairs, with an ultimate destination in mind. Home. It was where he kept his weapons, and one could certainly not trust other faction members with them. Making himself scarce, the boy pushed open the cafe door, making his way into the streets. Zero Time at the very least offered target practice. A silver lining, one might say.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Killy
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Takuto



Takuto wordlessly nodded at Hector's praise. It felt a little hollow considering that his punctuality was just 'exemplary' when you compared it to the others' but he would take whatever praise he could get. Especially coming from him. Having nothing better to do and wait he slumped over a chair and quietly waited for the other two to arrive, which would take a while. Hearing over steps he regained his upright position as Cassius entered the meeting room, quickly moving his gaze away into whatever that wasn't Cassius' general direction. It didn't take much deduction on Takuto's part to notice that he was mad at him, and probably for the petty reason of arriving earlier than him. He turned his gaze into the ceiling once Cassius moved into the chair opposite of him. If Takuto didn't acknowledge he would probably stop bothering him sooner or later.

Thankfully the other members arrived not too long after and the meeting could start proper. It seemed today's mission wasn't going to be a normal one, but to be fair when was it ever been normal?. Collecting soul essence while warding off monsters and other factions was enough of a problem, and now they had to deal with all of those things plus a soul absorbing monster and the veins messing up the battlegrounds. Takuto stretched his arms, this was going to be a pain. Mutated or not the monster was probably still vulnerable to his magic, meaning that it might not be such a difficult task bringing it down, as long as they catch it before he absorbs the other soul veins that is. On the other hand, the monster's nature gives it a giant target behind his back so the other factions are just as likely to hunt it down, which will make going for the kill shot difficult.

With all this, Takuto didn't know if their reduced time limit was a blessing in disguise or another list of trouble to add into the pile. At the very least he would get out of work early, even if it meant that everyone would be rushing towards gathering soul essence. Standing up from his chair he tucked his hands into the pockets of his suit while he waited for everyone to get ready. Five minutes weren't that of much time to prepare, and he was practically ready as he had no magic wands or relics to take out. Which speaking of, Takuto hoped that Hector would place him at a reasonable distance away from Ms.Dozier. As she had a bit of a collection of items and the last thing he needed was having to pay for another broken item.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Polaris North
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Maya Dozier

Current contractor: Akechi family
Location: Akechi Meeting Area

Maya gave Hector a shrug. "Contract says as long as I'm here on 1600 sharp, then I'm golden. Wouldn't want to intrude in family matters by being too early." A little straightforward. A little informal, especially for her contractors who were sticklers for rules and formality to the point of it being a little terrifying. But in Hector's words, she was but a simple mercenary untrained in their ways. However, as long as she isn't truly breaking the contract, then she technically wasn't doing anything wrong.

Once the briefing started, Maya silenced herself and leaned on the wall, idly playing with a throwing knife as she listened. Typical formation, as usual, Maya would help cover those trying to recover the Soul Essence by combating the monsters that resided within Zero Time. But in this case, it seemed like they were going to purely deal with a monster and maybe get a few veins if they could.

But that wasn't really what Maya was there for. All she had to worry about was the monster. Interfamily strife was none of her business. If the families fight amongst each other for Soul Essence, then that's their problem not hers. All she needed was her payment and some momentary protection.

It was worrying that Zero Time was warped enough for their time to be shortened but the Akechi family could likely work around it. Once they were dismissed to collect their things, Maya stayed in her position as she inspected the knife she was already holding. Of course, she can in already prepared. It wasn't like she could store anything in the family's warehouse. She threw it up for a moment and let it stay floating in mid-air, spinning wildly before stopping suddenly and plopping back on her hand.

With that, she slipped it back into her small pack and stretched, craning her head towards the others and offering them a small smile. "Good luck out there, yeah?" She called out, sparing a glance at the other Akechi member who looked like he was ready to kill. "If you guys need any help or just some quick transport, don't hesitate to call me over as always."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Lunarlord34
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Whina looked down at the paper that Dunkas had given her with a blank look. She looked from the paper to Dunkas, back to the paper, back to Dunkas, only to look at the paper again. He...he had it. This entire time. And didn't say anything?!

Her face was closer to the colour of her hair as the girl shakily unrolled the briefing. "Ahaha...of course, um...lets see." Peering at the paper, her sheepish look soon changed. She seemed to grow...pale, all the color draining from her face, including the red from previous. Oh dear.

Oh no. It got worse.

Oh fuck.

With shaking hands, she looked back at Dunkas. She wasn't sure how to take this news. Had he read it yet? Or had he just been carrying it? No, he wouldn't have...she would've seen him have it. The girl was so preoccupied, she hadn't noticed what the others were getting up to, nor the fact that Artemis had left at this stage.

"I...umm...where do I start?" She really wished there were more copies of this so she could just hand it out to the others to read. Did she even have time to explain this? "I'll...I'll text the information through to you all. This is...a lot to take in." She honestly couldn't bring herself to say some of this. How could she explain this monster without the others, Elliot especially, immediately wanting to take it on? Saori might want to do experiments on this unique being, or Zeke might want to cook it to see if it was any good...

Yeah, actually she should try and keep that part a secret. She was certain the Isamu, in particular, would at least be aiming to stop it, so all the more reason to avoid it. The distortions were also a big concern....but not as concerning as this.

"But our main objective will be a Soul Vein located about a kilometer south of here. I'll also text the coordinates." It was also the vein the furthest away from the beast. So, if they had to fight it, it wouldn't be till later. After she had sent the message around.

With edits done to leave out the big soul vein absorbing monster of course.

The girl's ability to absorb the information into the report, analyze it in her mind, then pick and choose what to send to the others, deliberately leave parts out, and then edit it all to make it looks like the full report but just condensed would make people seriously question how this was also the same girl who had just left it on the backseat of a taxi.

Everything's phones would light up with a report on the shorter Zero Time and the location of their target, a small warehouse that housed a supermarkets goods.



With his squad prepped and ready to go, Hector would lead them out of the room, still fiddling with his bracelet, a scowl forming on his face as he mumbled a few things under his breath. Something about useless and late? Squad trailing behind him like some sort of action movie sequence, the air around of the group seemed to shimmer the instant they left the building. The gemstones on Hector's bracelet began to glow in response to the shimmer, as would Cassius' snake tattoo and even Jana would begin to glow ever so softly. Each and every one of them felt a pull on them, before suddenly the shimmering blinked out of existence.

At first, it seemed like nothing had happened. Everything was normal...except for the lack of people in their immediate vicinity. The security guard indoors, gone. Passerbys on the street? Gone. An ominous presence soon seemed to bear down on the group of mages, a similar sensation to all gathered. They had crossed over into Zero Time, Hector's stones opening the gate and allowing all who qualified inside.

"Ms Dozier, Ms Enishi, Cassius, I want the three of you to team up to locate the creature, not that it should be too difficult to do so. Huge glowing monsters tend to stick out I would believe. You have my permission to engage with the creature upon sight, though I do expect the three of you to report your exact location before doing so."

Hector would point to all three of them, especially casting a look towards Cassius when he spoke, before turning to face Jana and Takuto.

"You two will be with me. We'll look to take a nearby Soul Vein before going to offer assistance to the others, if they so need it. Otherwise we will look to regroup and head towards the next Soul Vein." While it seemed silly on the surface to put all his best fighters in one group, he didn't know the strength of the monster in question so it was best to leave the best combat suited mages to deal with it. The Soul Vein nearby also only had a few monsters guarding it, and was also the least...warped. So it was a good start for the man at any rate.





At the drop of a hat, all the tension around Maylis seemed to drop, a smile spreading across her face as she turned to speak with Rena as she spoke up. "Ah yes, I suppose that is true, isn't it?" Clasping her hands together, she looked around at the three gathered mages...and sighed. "I was hoping that the rest would be here by now...hey Dieter, you sure you got their numbers right?"
Turning back around, hands-on-hips the Isamu leader shot an annoyed towards the armored man. For his part in the conversation, he seemed a little startled and frantically brought up his phone and scrolled through it. "I'm certain Mistress Maylis...uhh, they haven't responded yet...maybe they haven't seen it?" Dieter sounded hopeful as he shrugged his shoulders, the situation just making Alister sigh and rub his temples again.

They were off to a great start huh?

"I suggest we just brief who is here, we'll just have to work with what we have Lady Maylis. I'll stay here in case they show up late." They didn't have time to really waste anymore, hence why Alister seemed content with dropping the topic with Maylis entirely. Especially since it seemed they were a little undermanned for the mission at hand.

"Ah, of course. I have some done up and ready for you three already." Pulling out some stabled together pieces of paper, she handed one to each of Rena, Rin and Nass. Within the briefing that Maylis had given them was details on a monster absorb soul veins, distortions within Zero Time and the reduced Zero Time as a result. "With that settled, once you're content with the report I believe we should get moving. The others may already be ahead, but we can make up no problem I'm sure."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Not Fungus
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Elliot Silber

'Wow she is just all over the place, isn't she?'

Elliot looked bemused at Whina's fumbling. He patiently waited for her to calm down; however, it seemed the exact opposite happened. The moment she grew pale was when Elliot's bemusement became interest. She was shaking, but he didn't really understand what she was feeling at all. The ding of his phone made him reactively pull it out to see the coordinates and the information. He looked at the report, which looked perfectly normal and clean. It's a bit odd to him.

"That's strange. What got you so pale and shaking from this info? You said main objective...does that mean there're some side objectives to run through?" Elliot donned a look of confusion as he ripped out what was directly causing him that strange feeling. It's an incongruity. He didn't say it hoping for an answer, but more out of pure curiosity. He then shrugged his shoulders as if to say it didn't really bother him.

He'll devote everything to the main objective unless something critical happens to tear his attention away from it. After the Soul Vein is collected though? He'll be completely free to hunt down what's got the honorable granddaughter in a tizzy. It could be something completely boring, something very irritating or annoying, or it could be something exceptionally exciting. Elliot's curiosity has been activated. At least he can use this has some nice motivation to actually put in some serious effort for this mission.

"Well, whatever. Orders are orders. I'll just go off myself when that's done myself." Elliot huffed in minor disappointment. All he needs to do is to temporarily play the role of a reliable subordinate who completes the mission as best as he can. After that...

Elliot stretched both of his arms high in the sky. All the tension's been released and it's fun times here on out. "That it, boss? Let's get this done," he finished with a grin.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Kestrel
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“Um. Good luck.” Jana nodded towards Kizuna and Maya as she undid her shoelaces in preparation. With this little information to go on, Jana worried about what might be facing their resident combat team. She bagged her shoes, then separated herself a few steps from the group. “Be safe out there, okay?” Jana said, squatting like a frog about to leap. “I’ll let you know if I can find anything.”

For a split second, the air around her feet turned hazy. With a single push, she sprung up as a spark sizzled and a stream of jetblue energy thrusted Jana up in the skies. She only left the scorch marks on the sidewalk in her wake.

Mahoukyo had quickly gone dark in Zero Time. The air was cool, but windstill, and there was but a glimpse of moonlight layered upon the city. The lanterns and room lamps in the city were dim, grey glows. Rather, swarms of white brightened up the streets; they were monsters headed towards what Jana knew were the soul veins. Whereas normally colours would fade and overlay one another, soul veins distorted and separated the light in individual blocks. The closer you came to one of these roots, the more the surroundings reminded her of 8 bit graphics. The exact shapes were to tell from a distance… Yet one stood out clear as day; a blocky, pulsating white light to the north.

Tapping her temple, Jana took a deep breath as she reported back to Hector and the team. “Jana here.” She broadcasted through Hector’s telepathic link. “Spotted the big target up in Issumachi, near Sunadake banchi. We’ve got more monsters incoming from the north and east, but um… I’ve never seen the place so distorted before. It is hard to get a visual on the real thing. The place looks like a Pacman maze from up here.”

Suspended in mid-air, snapped a picture with her phone and sent it to Kizuna. The poor lightning made details difficult to tell, the image would give a general idea of the activity in the area. Jana scouted the other blocks. As Hector had reported, she counted seven Pacman mazes spread across the city. Each and every single one distorting in tiny blocks of colour.

“Hector, Takugo, the vein closest to your location is south in Takaoka chōme. You’ll be intercepted by monsters if you take the main road. Most of them are splitting off from the east highway, but there shouldn’t be many in the alleys.”

For what it was worth, Jana took pictures of the overlay of the city and sent them to their squad leader. It was difficult for Jana to cross reference their positions on the map, but if they had the luxury of time, Hector might better know where to head next.

“I’ll try to get closer to get a better look. Meet you there.”
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by AdmrlStalfos19
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Collaborative Post with @Kestrel
Interactions: Ezekiel Abel O’Brien, Whina Rikimaru* @Lunarlord34, Elliot Silber* @Not Fungus


As she waited for Zeke’s answer to her offer, Saori looked down at her phone and noticed the text that Whina had sent to everyone in the room. It was a condensed version of the briefing that she just had in hand. However, the fact that she decided it had to be condensed in the first place was enough to raise Saori’s suspicions.

"That can’t be all the briefing had to say, surely," she rolled her eyes as she said this aloud.

True, this was the girl that left the briefing behind in which it took Dunkas of all people to recover, but Saori couldn’t deny the possibility that there may have been something Whina may have purposefully omitted for whatever reason. This is why Soari could never trust shorthands…

“Surely, Miss Whina has her reasons.” Zeke casually butted in, though he rolled his eyes. He glanced over his shoulder, then leaned in closer to Saori to whisper, “-but the little lady should practice a poker face. I must say I can’t help but worry for our little family when the boss kicks the bucket.”

"Quite," Saori had to agree with Zeke on that one, with what having been with Whina for the past year at the very least already, "Still, we could use that our advantage if we really wanna press her for whatever she may have missed." No doubt she was musing such a ploy right as she said it.

Zeke frowned. “If you are to bully the girl, you’re on your own.” He sighed and looked at Whina over his shoulder. “More importantly, about our earlier conversation. I do not mind procuring samples in the...” Zeke shifted his eyes towards Elliot Silber, “Most delicate possible condition, but you forget that cooking is as much an art as it is a science. Trial and error demands more than just the single subject, yes?”

"Herein lies the issue; we might only get exactly one single subject each to work with, for all we know," Saori pointed out the obvious problem, "Like I said, it might pay to wait until we’ve captured what we can before we concern ourselves with divvying any of them up. There may be more than one species of monster that comes through Zero Time, so that may affect how we handle this..."

“If that’s your wish.”

Saori too wound up casting a cursory glance at Elliot. He might prove useful in fending off anyone wanting to attack valuable test subjects, while she and Zeke focused on detaining said subjects and bringing them into the base alive. Saori wondered.

"You think it’s worth having him on standby? Y’know, in case those barbarians from Isamu try to butcher our haul?"

Zeke drew the knife Artemis had copied for him and ran his finger across the blade. “Surely, the man has the appropriate talents.” A point he emphasised by igniting the edge of the knife. “It would be a waste if they went unused in such a dire situation… and speaking of wastes...” Zeke extinguished the knife and pointed over his shoulder. “It looks like we’re about to head out. Artemis is already gone.”

"Yes, I see that. One moment," without a second’s hesitation, Saori went downstairs to change out of her bloody clothes and into some clean ones, went back upstairs again, "Alright then; let’s get going."

There was no telling how much time was wasted not getting out into the field already, with what so many discoveries to be had and even less time than normal to discover them.

Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Anakin
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Kizuna



Kizuna smiled in return and hoped for the safety and return of her friend. When Hector declared Kizuna and her team to take on the beast, she knew that it was an Enishi specialty. The Akechi holds the Enishi with their Chainpsyche powers in high regard, to Kizuna, as last as it is detainable, it will be chained.

"Warugaki-sama." Kizuna respectfully kneeled down before the Akechi's strongest fighter. She heard rumors on how bolstering his ego is, the team set-up while favorable felt conflicting to her- fearing that things might not go well. Kizuna will submit to her superiors when she has to and with her chains, an Akechi would always be willing to use an Enishi.

She breathed heavily as this was the first time she's worked with the strongest.

"I am honored to be in your presence, o strongest one! Enishi Kizuna at your service. In accordance to the Enishi's vow to our Lord Akechi, I humbly bind myself to you. My body is your weapon and your will is my command." Kizuna proceeded with the ritual of vows, it's an Enishi-Akechi
Oath between two strangers. A forever Master-Servant relationship.

Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Polaris North
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Maya Dozier

Current contractor: Akechi family
Location: Akechi Meeting Area -> Zero Time

Maya had been assigned to Kizuna and Cassius - only one of which she really did prefer to work with. Cassius was powerful, no doubt about that, but his attitude was one of the worst things that could ever happen to her during her mercenary work. But, a job was a job. Besides, she'd likely just be supporting them anyway so it's not like there's much interaction unless Cassius or Kizuna wanted her somewhere. Even more, if Hector was the one who decided to play chessmaster.

She eyed Kizuna when she swore fealty to Cassius and Maya shifted in her position. This wasn't exactly the kind of position she wanted to be in, so she gave them both a nod and knew that Hector's telepathic line would be enough to keep them in contact with each other so they'd be able to find her even if she slipped away.

So that's exactly what she did.

Maya grabbed Tres off of her back and hopped on and began her trip around Zero Time. It would seem that the other team was already going on for their mission. They had to pick up the pace. Maya was very excited to see what kind of monster they'd encounter. It seemed very dangerous, and she didn't care much for the danger. There was definitely the thrill.

She surfed through the air with her hands inside her pocket as she surveyed the area. She could spot where the other team was heading, and she could also see that there were multiple independents already making their way around. She hasn't seen the other families yet, but it was only a matter of time. But that wasn't something she should really be worrying about. She whistled to herself - Jana wasn't lying, it was like staring at a retro video game.

Hector wasn't lying either. It didn't take long for Maya to spot their target. She wasted no time in relaying it to Cassius and Kizuna as she landed on top of a building's rooftop to observe its movement.

@Anakin @Lunarlord34
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Jangel13
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Dunkas Marcos


He smiled and tried to look sorry for not telling her he had it on him sooner. Truth was he had hoped she at least read it but he assumed to much. As she took the paper he watched how she truly acted when she tried. She looked professional and the fact that she absorbed all the information and sent it through texts quickly showed that his assumption wasn't far off. She may have forgotten it in the back of a cab but Dunkas knew that when she was prepared she could be a leader.

Once he got her text as well he waited till everyone was ready before walking forward out of their hidden den. Dunkas would of course keep his head on a swivel and make sure nobody tried to ambush them while in transit. His only goal was to protect Whina no matter the cost so if she went into zero time then that meant he had to work with the others as the rearguard. He sought no glory and it was a good thing considering some of his brothers and sisters had other motives then to do the job.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Killy
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Takuto



Something that always passed through Takuto’s mind as they entered Zero Time was how much of their experience diverged from one another. Some like Cassius and Jana glowed, but as far as he knew he still looked the same in the brief moments they moved from one dimension to another. What common factor he did share with the others was some sort of pull pushing him moments before the process ended and they entered Zero Time. Maybe it was just him but he could never get used to that last part. It was if something was dragging every fiber of his being downwards.

If that was something unique to him or he was just making a big deal out of nothing he didn’t know, and given how quick the whole process was he tended to forget about it and focus on the mission at hand. Takuto stretched his arms as he looked at the now-empty streets for any sign of trouble. No monsters or other mages insight so far, so good for now at least. The last thing he wouldn’t want would have been to have fought the creature from the minute they arrived.

Takuto felt slightly more at ease now that his little wish from the meeting room had come true. He would take Hector as a teammate any day over Cassius, and now he wouldn’t have to worry about breaking anything too important. Better yet he wasn’t going to be tasked with looking out for the creature, so there was a slight possibility the other team could take care of it before they had to come in to support them.

As Jana finished doing recon over where the nearest soul vein was it seemed they had two options. Either they meet the monsters head-on at the main road and go straight forward or take the alleys where they’ll meet less of them, but might take more time moving towards the vein. “Well boss, what’s the plan?”

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Rinishi Kirizaki
Location: Isamu Meeting Warehouse




Rin accepted the briefing their leader presented them, wasting no time in skimming over it. A time crunch. A little unfortunate, but he’d always been able to work with what he’d been given.

He gave his sister a nudge on the arm from behind. “We’re prepared for this.” He assured her quietly. Meanwhile, he tucked the briefing into his pocket as he lifted his bow off his shoulder and over his head to wield it. It was a rather mundane weapon, but it was one he was comfortable with - and something he could reliably pull to its maximum weight of 80lbs., despite his relatively meager appearance.

“I’m ready” he said to nobody in particular. If there were no other interruptions, he would then make his way out of the room and back into the warehouse - and Zero Time.

His nose crinkled once again as he breached the confines of indoors - heavier rainfall wasn’t far off. He raised his hood, shadowing his face as he caught the thickening droplets with his tail once more.



Onassis Daisuke
Location: Isamu Meeting Warehouse




Father Onassis stood to meet the briefing that Maylis handed out, nodding politely as he took it. He remained standing as his eyes ran over the information. And interesting information it was, indeed. A soul-vein absorbing monster and Zero Time discrepancies. They’d have to hustle, were they to accomplish their desired task.

“I do hope the lot of us are prepared for this, Madam Maylis.” He said, hoisting the satchel he carried at his side. Within it sat several unmarked, as well as some intricately marked, plastic plates - alongside a number of materials to mark them; markers, pencils, chalk, etc. “As normal, I shall do my best to defend you all.”
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lunarlord34
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The older man tapped his chin as information trickled in from Jana's exploits. So the soul vein to the south was certainly the go, but with the group he had assigned himself, admittedly somewhat hastily, it would mean that head-on battles were certainly a no go. While Takuto's magic would fare particularly well, and Jana had some combat capabilities, their leader, on the other hand, had very limited combat prowess. He would have to rely entirely on his gun.

So that meant they would have to stick to the back alleys then. But even that posed some serious issues. If they were to be attacked, then close confines and Takuto's magic could prove troublesome. Gah, where was that imbecile when he needed her?

One deep inhale followed by an exaggerated sigh later, and Hector had made up his mind.

It was time to head outback it would seem.

Gesturing for Takuto to follow him, the duo weaved their way through a series of maze-like alleys. Despite their seemingly troublesome navigation, Hector seemed to be leading Takuto through them at a rapid pace without making a single wrong turn. He had already memorized all the potential routes, whether they be on the main roads or the hidden ones, while he had waited for his squad. He was a man that despised surprises and was a meticulous planner.

He was definitely the type to pack two weeks' worth of crap for a two-day trip.

Only once they had been traveling for roughly seven minutes did he finally stop, raising his hand and gesturing to Takuto to be silent. About five meters ahead of them was a hulking creature that was roughly 7 feet tall, which seemed to be like a fly, with octopus tentacles and tiny wings which seemed several sizes too small. There was no way around it, they would need to fight. However, it hadn't seemed to notice them at all yet...

Meanwhile, in the air, the situation was changing rather rapidly. Clouds seemed to be gathering at a rapid rate in the air the dark city. The breeze was starting to pick up, becoming stronger as the thick scent of moisture soon filled the girl's nostrils. A storm was settling in, becoming worse and worse at a startling rate as if it too was affected by the distortions. Just as the thoughts of landing would appear in Jana's mind, a creature, if one could even call this monstrosity that, swooped down from above at her.

It was a strange combination of a disfigured blob of living flesh, with five massive eagle wings, 4 stumps that looked to be arms that ended in blades of bone and looks that not even a mother would wish to be alive and viewed by others. All in all? A typical looking Zero Time monstrosity coming to attack the mage. It even went to waste its chances of a surprise attack, an unintelligible scream coming from its mouth, which by the way was located on the side of its head.


Cassius looked down at the Enishi, his features unchanged from his scowl as the girl seemed to be swearing fealty to him. "I won't require the services of a mere vassal." Cassius almost instantly dismissed the girl with a wave of his hand. As amusing as this was to him, was this really the time and place? They had a job to do, and he a point to prove. Besides, he was only a branch family member. As much as it pained for him to admit, he wasn't really in the position to take a vassal like an Enishi. They served the main family after all.

"Issumachi? Tch. That means it's heading towards Rikimaru territory." There must be a soul vein in Rikimaru territory attracting the monster. But wouldn't it be heading towards the far closer one to the south? This entire situation was a little bizarre in itself.

"Girl, make yourself useful. Circle round in front of it and stop it from proceeding." Indicting to Kizuna, Cassius frowned, thinking for a moment. Unlike the other two, he would have to travel by foot so he would be the last to the scene. All he would need is to hope the two proved useful enough to stall the creature till he arrived.

The closer Maya got to the massive glowing creature, the more distorted things seemed to become. Even just random buildings and street signs were warped out of shape, some pixelated to the point where no one would be able to guess what it may have once been. But perhaps more importantly, the more monsters seemed to be gathering around this glowing pixelated mass. By now, there was at least half a dozen buzzing over the top of its head as it crashed through a hotel, knocking the large, forty story building to the side as if it was from a Kaiju movie. Had it always been this big? No...now that she was this close, she could see the throbbing vein on what one could only assume was the beasts back. With every throb, the glowing seemed to intensify and the creature swelled in size.



"Hahaha..ha...it's fine. Really Elliot." The strained smile and the fact she was stuffing the report into her leather purse in a panicked rush certainly said otherwise. She seriously would be terrible at poker, or anything of the sort. At least everyone would know when she was lying or not.

Relieved that no-one else really seemed to be questioning it too much, besides a comment here or there, the group was soon on the move. After meeting with Artemis, Whina would shortly thereafter hold up the pouch from her pocket. The little blue, gemstone-like rock on the end soon began to glow brightly as a similar sensation soon pulled at them.

Whina seemed to grimace, the girl feeling sick to her stomach. Honestly, it felt like she was aboard a small fishing boat in the eye of a storm. She went a little pale as she almost threw up her dinner, but luckily the sensation soon faded before such an event could occur. Entering Zero Time had never agreed with her no matter how many times she entered. Thankfully, it was just the equivalent of really bad motion sickness....but still, it was an unpleasant inconvenience.

Saori as well would feel a little worse for wear, a similar or worse sensation washing over the older woman.

As the group got their bearings after entering Zero Time, Whina, in particular, taking a few moments to settle herself before hastily pulling out a small orb from her purse. Fumbling, the girl nearly dropped the delicate machine about four times before finally getting a grip and pressing a small green button on the side.

A detailed layout of their surroundings appeared as a hologram projected above the sphere, with several pulsing dots, amongst several other smaller flashing white dots. Each white dot was moving one way or the other, some in clumps of ten or more or others by themselves. The sphere seemed to be showing them the layout and location of monsters in an immediate 3km radius from where they were.

"Um...so this here is the one we need to capture first." Taking a moment to look over the mini-map she had pulled out, she pointed to a pulsing dot to their south. It seemed to be located in the middle of a residential sector. A park to be specific. Whina remembered many a time as a young child visiting that park...though now wasn't the time to reminiscent.

Though as the group could see, it was surrounded by around roughly five to ten flashing dots. It was hard to tell as some seemed to be overlapping one another. With the group they had, such a number should be easy so long as they weren't overly strong Zero Time monsters.

At that thought, a loud shrill escaped Whina as the entire area around the group shook violently, knocking the younger girl flat on her butt in her attempts to not drop the valuable machine in her hands. She seemed beyond startled and surprised, hugging the sphere close to her chest as she quickly looked around as if to try and spot the source of the shaking.

Was it Zero Time's unstable state causing this? Or...something else entirely?





With no one seeming to have any objections, Maylis, Dieter, Nass, Rena and Rin made their way out of the room, leaving Alister by himself. As they walked, Dieter reached into his pocket and slipped on some rather ordinary-looking gloves...well except for the magic stones that lined the knuckles. Even Maylis was unclipping the sheathed sword from her hip, though she made no move to draw the katana, instead opting to tap the gemstones embedded in the handle. They were arranged in a particular pattern, each of the seven gemstones a different color. Every time she tapped a stone, it felt like a pulse of magic washed over the group.

In particular, this might annoy or make the two shapeshifters of their little group a little more uncomfortable, but Maylis was doing this with a purpose in mind. Once they reached outside, the stones she had been tapping were shining brightly even as the first drops of rain started to fall around the group.

"Once we're inside Zero Time, no one leaves my sight. Understand?" Maylis' tone was like a mother talking to naughty children as the air around them began to shimmer, the stones glow intensifying. "Besides that, enjoy yourselves and look after one another. I'll only look to interfere if necessary." With a smile, each of them felt a powerful pull on them. It seemed to almost be in every direction, yet no direction at the same time.

While Maylis seemed particularly unfazed, Dieter seemed a little under the weather for a few moments before shaking off the effects as they almost seemed to be dropped without ever leaving the group back into a far darker version of their previous location. Almost immediately, the loud crash of thunder overhead could be head as heavy drops began to fall around them. A powerful, chill-inducing breeze cut through anyone not prepared for its sudden coldness as the weather seemed to become ten times worse in the blink of an eye.

No doubt, they had entered Zero Time.

They weren't even given a moment to take in their changed surroundings before Maylis threw her hands up, a blueish sphere quickly enveloping the group before a group of five monsters crashed around of them, slamming against the barrier that she held up effortlessly as she turned to Dieter, looking at the team leader before the man nodded.

"Ok, so Maylis will lower the barrier in about twenty seconds so listen up." The man was already tugging at the ends of his gloves as the stones began to softly glow. "As soon as she does, those monsters will gun straight for her. I'll take the two in front, Rena and Rin take the two on the right side, Nass you take the one from behind. Don't let them even get remotely close is the objective." Crashing his two fists together, Dieter's mood seemed to switch rather drastically. He was always a serious individual, but now he seemed more determined than serious.

"Hell, whoever finishes their monster first I'll treat tonight once we're done ok?" A motivation always proved useful no matter the circumstances, so Dieter hoped that would do the trick for the duo that seemed a little more...cautious about the others. They were a team, after all, a little bit of bonding wouldn't hurt!

As he finished talking, a smile crept across Maylis's features and once the others had gotten into position, she allowed the monsters to smash through and charge towards them. As Dieter had stated, they seemed to be charging straight for Maylis. It was to be somewhat expected if anyone knew anything about these monsters, to them, people like Maylis were like a massive flame luring in moths, or this case monsters.



As the resident shut-in traveled to her nearby convenience store, heavy rainfall seemed to be setting in, the rumbling of thunder overhead signs of what could be in store for later tonight. Luckily it was only a short walk to her designation, but without an umbrella, she would certainly be soaked to the bone before she could reach the location. On her way there, she would pass an alley blocked off by a police car, lights flashing as an officer was tapping off the area, another in the car talking into the radio and shaking his head. Obviously, nothing good had happened or was happening here, but that was hardly her concern or care.

Even if she tried talking to them, the police would just shoo her away after all. They were busy and had no time for annoying passers-by.

Rounding the next corner and she would, at last, find her desired location, the local Seven/Ate/Nine. Once within, a respite from the storm that was beginning to settle in on the city. She wouldn't be the only one inside, though most seemed to be sheltering from the rain, a few customers milled about despite the weather.

Soon after she entered, another person followed suit. They were in a dark cloak, though one could easily see the small frame and stature of the person beneath as it had been belted by rain. Once inside, small, pale hands, presumably from the cold weather outside, reached up as the individual in question removed their hood, shaking loose some damp, light pink-colored hair.

Despite having traveled in that weather, a soft smile graced her doll-like features, the young girl heading straight for the coffee dispenser for a hot drink. The girl was oddly exceptionally familiar, though it was just as tough to place a name to the girl's face. Slotting a few coins in and placing one of the many disposable cups under the dispenser, she rubbed her hands together as she awaited the warm, brown liquid that spewed forth.

Though it wasn't the rich aroma of coffee that followed, but rather the sweet scent of hot chocolate.
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A shrill cry pierced Jana’s ears and she knew; one of the monsters had gotten on her tail. Instinctively, the thrusters on her feet flared up. Jana stretched her arms outward as blue flames erupted from one hand’s palm and the other’s back, rolling in the air to position her for a half loop. She made her descent barely in time as her assailant’s bone scythes grazed her jacket, the shredded fabric stumbling down like first snow. Jana rapidly propelled herself in the opposite direction to gain some distance and perspective on what her assailant even looked like.

The grotesque beast bent the vectors of its dive into a wide turn, readying itself to re-engage. This time, however, Jana had the advantage in altitude. As her opponent charged towards, she spurted upwards safely out of its weapons’ range. With a bird’s view, Jana took in the monster’s anatomy. It had a round body and its erratic flight was supported by five wings. In other words; it lacked the agility to do a quick roll of its own. Pressing her advantage, Jana dive-bombed the beast! Another violent shriek ringed in her ears as she attempted to tackle its back. She clutched onto its feathers, plasma sprouting from every fingertip. But the monster would not have its wings clipped so easily. It shook like a rodeo bull, slamming the self same wings into Jana’s side. The mage was flung off, but alongside Jana the second digit of one of its wings had been cut off. It screeched out in pain as it left a trail of blackscorched feathers in its path.

Now with only a single wing on its left to balance out the three on its right, the monster began its retreat. It rapidly descended, trying to find cover between the buildings of Mahoukyo. Jana followed suit, but the wounded beast extended one of its arms to tear through the windows of the office block. The successive bursts of shattering glass kept Jana at bay, as the monster endured the brunt of it. There were only so many reasons Jana could think of for why a slower opponent would further wound itself: the beast was buying time with its blood.

Jana, still above her foe, accelerated. Her destination was a vertical mock-up sign higher up the building. Landing on the company advertisement, she grabbed onto the steel bars holding it in place. Her plasma melted through, dismounting the big heavy plate just in time to have it snipe and collide with her target’s predicted flight path. The sudden impact smacked the monster out of the air. It crashed onto the asphalt, with the mock-up sign following suit. The monster barely had time to crawl out under its heavy constraints before Jana dove a second time, landing on the makeshift platform between her and her prey. Now without its wings in her way, she could go straight for the killing blow. The beast screeched as if possessed; a shrill noise that was painful to bear. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jana’s hand and forearm enveloped with a bright blue spike of energy which she thrusted into the monster’s skull. The noise finally died down, but even as the ringing faded from Jana’s ears she couldn’t exactly sigh of relief:

“Hector, Takuto, they know we’re here.”

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This wasn't the time to glorify the presence of the strongest one, Kizuna brushed off her dismay. The battle against the Zero-Time monsters has commenced and Kizuna has began to notice the oddities. Pixelated environment?. As nostalgic as it was, the Zero-Time's pixelation effect disgusted her with double innuendos, it's as if the distortive blur has always been straight out of a hentai.

Sooner than they think, the place that the beast set foot was Issumachi, the territory of the Rikimaru.

Kizuna may not have closed the distance towards Maya yet but she can feel the sensation from the ground due to her chain sensor attributes. Immediately, Kizuna grappled throughout the trees and overtake Maya, she witnessed how more monsters gathered in the mass pixelated scene. The chains' grip were bound to a building as a foothold, Kizuna saw the luminous glow from the beast. It was so bright that she had to create sunglasses out of her chains to prepare for the worst.

She stepped back beside Maya to have a better grip on the situation. Kizuna launched a volley of chains at bullet speeds towards the vulnerable spot of the beast's backside. However, the little ZT monsters seemed intelligent enough to protect the luminous stash.

Kizuna opted for more momentum. She swung her chains rigorously in every direction, creating a cage like perimeter around the beast. Only time will tell if the beast may break free from her chains, feeling the terrifying vibrations tingling through her bondage.

The bigger the target, the easier it may be or so they say?

Kizuna sweated profusely.

The sensation of binding the humongous beast was harder than she thought, she can only do so much to hold off such behemoth.

"Maya. Inform everyone quickly and tell them to blast it with everything they got."

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Maya Dozier

Current contractor: Akechi family
Location: Zero Time

Maya looked around, spotting a few large pieces of rubble and destroyed poles that she could potentially use against the monster. It was way bigger than what she had originally imagined but if that pulsating area could be destroyed... well, Maya imagined that it would put an end to the monster. If not, well, at least it would stop growing. She'd rather not tangle with something as bigger than that.

As if that wasn't enough, more monsters were congregating around the pixelated area. Of course, they were attracted to the sentient mana vein. She gave Kizuna a small nod of acknowledgment when she landed beside her in an attempt to attack the monster immediately. However, the smaller monsters had taken it upon themselves to guard it.

For a moment, Maya wondered if the Rikimaru had already mobilized. This was their territory. Allegiances be damned, they would need a lot more firepower if they wanted that beast to go down quickly.

"Big fish spotted. Weak spot's on the vein on its back. It's still growing more and more and it's accompanied by a hell of a lot more little ones. We need all the firepower we got. Engaging now."

With that telepathic message sent to whoever was connected, Maya quickly leaped off the edge of the building before placing the board under her feet and began cruising against the side of the building. She quickly swerved upwards when one of the monsters leaped towards her. She opened her bag and six knives floated out.

She shot the knives towards the monster - towards the vein. As expected, the monsters on its head began clambering to cover it. She would need to pierce through them. Maya quickly circled around to keep herself out of attacking range.

@Anakin @Lunarlord34

Rena Kirizaki

Current form: Human --> Rhino
Location: Isamu Warehouse --> Zero Time

Rena let out a huff as Maylis tapped against her gemstones, her ear twitching in annoyance but she said nothing out loud. What was important is that they were heading in Zero Time. With last reminders from Maylis, the group was sent into Zero Time. Rena wasn't all too bothered but the moment of peace was broken as all of her instincts screamed to move.

Before she could act upon it, a spehe enveloped them and five monsters slammed against it - unable to proceed any further. Rena's ears were already flat against her, ready to pounce at any time. She could barely here Dieter assigning them to each target and Rena changed which ones she should focus on.

For a moment, the promise of a treat seemed to affect Rena as her ears twitched. Free food is free food.

The moment the shield was disspating, Rena was already charging towards the monster. Before they could make a head on collission, Rena transformed into a rhinoceros and slammed her horn against the charging monster and pushed it to the side after realizing that she couldn't overpower it for now. The monster was splayed to the side and she turned, stomping her hoof against the ground before charging once again.

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"Aware? That's giving them too much credit." Hector's fired back through the channel, giving his desert eagle a last look over. "They're far too simple-minded of creatures. Do they know we're here? Of course, but to say they're 'aware' of us is entirely different. They're attracted to Soul and nothing more." He didn't mean for it to sound like a lecture, probably, but it ended up coming out as one. But the monsters found within Zero Time were nothing more than beasts with little sign of remote intelligence. They seemed to swarm and attack, but with no tactics or seemingly an ability to learn or adapt to be found so long as one wasn't outnumbered too severely, they were more a hassle than a real threat. Well, occasionally there were cases of exceptionally strong monsters...but strength didn't equate to intelligence.

However, as if the monster before him and Takuto had heard his comments, what seemed to be ears stood up and twitched a few times. The sight caused Hector to frown slightly before quickly leveling the handgun at the beast and began unloading a few shots into the back of it's head before it noticed them, the creature staggering forward, a strange, softly glowing liquid oozing out from the wounds. But the creature seemed more annoyed than badly hurt as it turned around and snarled at the duo.

It was then that Enishi and Maya's comments came through as the frown on Hector's face deepened. Had he miscalculated by splitting his forces? The larger creature seemed more dangerous than originally anticipated. His group would have to-

It was then that the ground suddenly shook, and violently at that. While the creature was knocked to the ground by the sudden quaking, Hector managed to grab onto the wall to keep his footing, hoping that Takuto would do the same as a blood-chilling roar echoed throughout the otherwise empty city streets. It felt like the air had around them had lost all warmth, Hector could feel his senses becoming number. He could barely feel the gun in his hand by the time a second roar, a more pain-filled one followed some more shaking. Was this the large creatures doing? What on blazes was going on here?!


The creature seemed rather annoyed as chains attempted to wrap around it and halt it's progress, unleashing a roar that chilled anyone who heard it to the core. As if all the warmth in the world had been drained away, and to make matters worse was that the chains that Enishi created shattered from the sheer pressure the roar created.

Something like static could be felt between the telepathic link after the roar. The smaller creatures buzzing around the larger one, as if agitated by Maya's and Kizuna's attacks, went to engage the girls but a sudden force slammed them down into the ground, crushing them like bugs against a windscreen.

A sudden flash of light was soon followed by another roar, this one while having the same chilling effect, was however also filled with pain as a gash appeared on its face. A sudden heavy presence soon seemed to envelop the creature, bringing it to its knees as Cassius came into view on the street. Another flash of light, another painful roar as Cassius kept the creature pinned-or so it seemed as it glowed again. The crushed monsters seemed to be enveloped into the creature as it glowed, the two gashes healing over as it once more swelled in size, visible effort on Cassius's face as he tried to kept the enlarged creature in place.

It was taking him everything he had to keep it pinned...and even now it was beginning to break loose once more. So who was attacking it then? Another flash of movement meant that the attacker had once more attacked from the east of the creature's position, slashing the creature across its face once more before also vanishing to the side at speeds almost too fast to catch with the human eye.


For Jane, while the first roar chilled her to the core, what was perhaps more chilling was that the creature behind her twitched. After the second roar, all the damage she had inflicted upon it seemed to be slowly healing, it's severed wings seeming to start to slowly sitch themselves back together.

Suffice to say, she might want to leave before it finished regenerating. Or maybe blast it a few more times to keep it down longer to go help her teammates, who she now seemed cut off from as the same static sensation could be felt if she tried to contact anyone on the telepathic link. Phones also seemed down.



The shaking only seemed to worsen as a bone-chilling roar filled the air around them, the color draining from the Rikimaru girl's face as she looked in the direction where a soft glowing could be seen in the distance.....wasn't that getting closer to their location? A building slowly seemed to be falling away in the distance as another roar, one filled with pain, brought Whina to cover her ears as the image brought up by her sphere seemed to crack and pixelated, before fading away into nothingness much to the girl's disbelief.

It was almost like...no way. That wasn't possible, right?!

"Ok, ok...change of plans." Shaking her head, as if it was the physical cue to bring herself back to reality and regain some form of composure. "Uh, I may have neglected to mention that there is a larger monster during this particular Zero Time. It was in Akechi territory so I thought it best not to go near it...but it seems to be heading our way anyway." Resigned to their situation, she reluctantly began to divulge the information she had tried her best to hide but had obviously been doing so earlier.

"Artemis, can you get up high to try and gauge the situation? Use this flare to signal which direction the beast is, or if you're in need of assistance, as it seems like any other form of communication is um....down." She looked glumly down at her phone screen. Her signal was absolutely scrambled here.

"From there, uh just try to shoot it I guess? I don't know enough about it to know how effective it would be, but I'm sure you can find a weak spot to target. Or at least some support fire. Otherwise, we'll head towards the...uh glowing over there? It seems to be where the roaring is originating from. We'll need some more information before we can actually make more of a plan of action, so it's best if we see it with our own two ey-ah!" The sudden crashing of thunder above them caught the girl unawares as the heavens seemed to open up without warning, soon falling heavily around all those in Zero Time. It would be best to move as fast as possible now that even the weather seemed to be working against them.





One had barely blinked before Dieter's fist connected heavily with one of the monsters faces, the sheer impact sending the creature flying several meters back before he unloaded a series of weaker, but much faster, punches into the other one, a rather vicious kick aimed at its chest causing a loud and painful cracking noise to fill the air. But neither attacks were enough to fell either creature, much to Dieter's enjoyment as he rained another volley of blows on the creatures, giving them no time to breathe between his assaults.

If the plans laid out by Dieter amused Maylis, then the fact that she just saw a Rhino slam into a Zero Time monster...well, that certainly was brought out a chuckle or two from the older woman. Even if it seemed to push back against Rena before she turned to charge again, the creature also charged in return, the impact of the two crashings together causing the ground to crack around of them. If Rin wasn't quick to help his sister, however, the second monster on the right would slam into her side as it seemed to come to it's 'allies' aid. If he interfered, then it would simply look to target him.

Maylis watched on as Dieter was about to wrap up his two monsters rather quickly, though the others seemed to be having difficulties. No matter, she was sure they could-

Maylis seemed frozen to the spot as a chilling roar seemed to shake the very ground around of them, the color draining from her face as Dieter also seemed to freeze up for a moment. The roar seemed to produce a rather chilling effect on those who heard it, even Maylis herself felt like the air had suddenly dropped to sub-zero upon hearing it. But more than that...a fear seemed to creep across her face as she seemed frozen for an entirely different reason.

"Maylis!" Dieter also seemed slightly off from the roar, his blows against the creatures much softer, though that was more him trying to fight while under the chilling effect more than what Maylis seemed to be immobilized by. But he also seemed more desperate now to finish off these creatures as another roar filled the air, bringing Maylis to her knees and cover her ears.

"Out of the way! I'm coming Maylis!" Swatting one of his monsters to the side, Dieter turned to rush over to Maylis when another two monsters seemed to drop down from the building above them, barring Dieter from going to Maylis and also surrounding him. This was somewhat concerning...but surely the monsters hadn't planned this, right?

As if empowered by the roars, the monster Rena was fighting seemed to be stronger as it reached under her, lifted her up above its head, and hurled her at Nass.
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