Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Sonnambula
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Sonnambula Stealer of Girls

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After such an attack, especially given it had been her very first, not even the vision of the Pageless' massive form collapsing and crumbling to the ground could rouse her from the sudden wave of fatigue that overcame her entire being, both physically and mentally. She barely even noticed Lilac until the girl was already falling back towards the ground, her words almost completely lost to the air as Nessie struggled to gather her bearings. So spent was she in fact, dangling precariously from her broomstick still, that, were it not for Lumiere's coming to her rescue, the new Magical Girl's story might have ended right then and there. Though perhaps not, if what Lilac said was true, but it probably wasn't worth testing. It was quite a distance to the ground, after all.

Instead, however, she was brought down gracefully by the same angelic woman who'd lent Nessie her own energy just minutes before. There was a wise and knowing intonation to her voice, one that commanded the ears to listen without even trying and kept Nessie's attention all the way while they descended, though all the response Lumiere would receive right now was a nod and a slight smile. If Nessie had any questions, she would leave them for later at this point, after she got some sleep perhaps. For now, her instinct told her it was probably best to follow the people who seemed to know what they were doing.

Now Nessie got a good look at the group of girls she'd caught glimpses of during her confrontation with the Pageless, those who had helped her in a situation she otherwise definitely would not have walked away from. Definitely a motley crew if she'd ever seen one, each with a distinct look and personality, not to mention the flamboyant dresswear that matched the varying abilities they all possessed. There was no time for introductions though, and no sooner had Nessie finally opened her mouth to introduce herself to the others as they addressed her in various ways, her hand was taken by the now-reverted Lumiere who insisted they retreat to a 'Marrywell'.

And so, the group retreated away from the construction site, which was left in a spotless state so that even the keenest eye would never be able to discern that a battle had taken place there, let alone one on as grand a scale as what had taken place. Nessie wasn't sure what she'd expected to arrive to, with a name like 'Marrywell', but one of the last things she would've expected was an academy. And this wasn't just any old academy either. While she, and most other normal students, had been reading prospectuses for universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, this place seemed more akin to something up Hermione Granger's alley.

"It's beautiful..."

Nessie gasped, immediately enchanted by the school grounds surrounding her. She let go of Lumiere's hand, stepping forward to get a proper look at the landscape around her: the stunning castle that made up the main building and the immaculately kept grounds surrounding it, flora blooming from lush grass and with trees and shrubbery all around. No doubt her charming reaction to what was, to her, a completely new world to the one she'd come from, would elicit giggles and chuckles from onlooking groups, but Nessie paid no heed to that. She was too spellbound, not to mention sleepy. This new setting clearly raised her spirits though, as the redhead turned back to her group with a cheery smile spread from cheek to cheek. Now was as good a time as any to introduce herself.

"Good to meet you all! And cheers for the help back the-"

She hadn't even gotten to the part where she actually said her name before a new distraction came hurtling in. Nessie simply looked to the newcomer in surprise at her sudden entrance, but before she could say anything or else or continue, the other redhead left almost as suddenly as she'd entered. Not just left, vanished completely in fact, as no sign of her was revealed in or behind the bush she'd seemingly dove into. Despite the fleeting encounter though, a strange feeling came over Nessie that caused a slight shiver down her spine. Did she know that girl from somewhere? She seemed oddly familiar.

"Who... who was that?

Nessie abandoned her introduction for now, more curious about the identity of the woman who'd flashed past them only moments before. The first of many questions.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Ponn
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One moment Olivia was bombarding her new friend with questions, the next, the roar of a mighty torrent drew her attention to the massive Pageless, which was even now being dissolved by a swirling vortex of water. “Oh, wow! That’s really amazing!” the azure-clad beauty exclaimed with an excited grin. “I wouldn’t have thought plain old water would have such a pronounced effect on it! Or maybe it isn’t just plain old water? I mean, it’s obviously magical water, but, like, maybe it’s holy water?” the alluring maiden mused, her lovely visage taking on a thoughtful expression. “Is that a thing that works on Pageless? I guess they could be considered somewhat demonic, they’re certainly cute enough, but I’m not sure if they entirely count… What do you think?” she asked Goodhope.

Fortunately for Olivia (and unfortunately for Goodhope herself), now that the battle had concluded, the maritime maiden was finally able to give some attention to the babbling beauty, something said beauty wasted no time in taking full advantage of…

“Sorry?” She echoed with a confused frown when Wilhelmina apologized. “Sorry for what?” The nautical-themed girl then went on to thank Olivia for respecting her wishes, which left the azure-clad maiden even more perplexed. “Um, you’re very welcome?” she replied, her confusion clear in her voice. However, when Wilhelmina introduced herself, Olivia’s confusion quickly turned to unbridled joy. “It’s so very nice to meet you as well, Wilhelmina!” she replied with a giggle, while enthusiastically shaking the girl’s hand. “Like I said earlier, I’m Magical Maiden Ethereal Rose, but my real name’s Olivia, so you can just call me that! Oh gosh!” she added upon hearing the suggestion of meeting the others. “I’d love to!”

However, before that could take place, the nightmarish form of Thyerg’Xolys loomed up behind the fair maiden. “Ah, I see you’ve already made a new friend, my sweet. Would you be so kind as to introduce her?”

“Of course! Thyerg’Xolys, please meet Wilhelmina, aka Captain Goodhope! She’s the one who conjured all those ghost sailors!”

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Captain,” Xolys said with a bow. “You must be quite talented to maintain so many spectral constructs at once.”

“She really is!” Olivia agreed. “Oh! But don’t get jealous, darling!” she chided playfully. “I still think you’re the greatest!” Wrapping her arms around one of the eldritch creature’s tentacles, she stood on her tiptoes and placed a kiss on the side of his head (causing poor Wilhelmina to make a sanity check in the process). “I guess we should probably get going now huh? Like I was saying earlier, you look a little tired. I’m sure my darling Xolys wouldn’t mind carrying…” The blonde beauty’s voice trailed off as a new figure stepped into their presence.

They struck quite the gallant image, looking like a shining knight from right out of a fairy tale, which, Olivia had to admit, they probably were. The armored young woman also inquired about Captain Goodhope’s health, before turning to Olivia and introducing herself as Camelot. “It’s very nice to meet you, Miss Camelot!” the azure-clad maiden replied with an elegant curtsy, before taking the knight’s offered hand and giving it a vigorous shake. “And yes, I’m Magical Maiden Ethereal Rose, but you can just call me Olivia, if that’s too hard to remember. I’ve noticed that most Magical Girls seem to have rather elaborate titles, so it must be quite difficult to keep track of them all,” she continued. “Oh, the Grand Ministry?” she repeated after Camelot made her suggestion. “Now that I think about it, that probably is a better place to have a conversation,” she conceded with a giggle. “And that sounds like a grand idea!” she added with an exuberant smile. “Would you like my darling Xolys to carry you as well?”
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Lonewolf685 Inquisitive and Immortal

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Suzuya Kuzunoha


Burning Heart watched the Pageless fall from a respectful distance, eyes steady as she observed the clash of near half a dozen strikes upon the monster. There was no harmony to be found in it, but a heart warming unity of purpose saw each blow open a crack in the Pageless and widen it, creating a path for the newborn Magical Girl to strike true. The Japanese Magical Girl's grimoire pulsed with approval, an echo of a pulse running alongside Suzuya's own that took joy from seeing the birth of a noble Onna Musha as she was nurtured to this moment of conception by the efforts of her seniors. It was a moment of noblity in birth, the grace of matrons elevating a maiden into a sisterhood that persisted against the encroaching dark time and time again.

It was everything Suzuya had ached for and would never have. Not a week into her life as a Magical Girl and already could she see another be inducted with all the fan faire and acceptance of a story book made manifest. There was bile on her tongue, it's acrid taste mixed with the ash lining her throat to make for a bitter concoction to swallow.

But she didn't need the domination of her Grimoire to force back her resentment, as she hadn't the heart to sully such a moment and her powers wouldn't see it stained by the fouler side of a woman's heart either. The perpetual wall flower watched the danger pass and the people rouse from their stupor, magic erasing the stomping of a godly staff and her own roaring flames. The scent of gunpowder left the air and even the errant slashes of Xolys where absent from girders and stonework.

The Beast himself struck Suzuya in the oddest sense, for while she was uncomfortable by it, Burning Heart's hold upon her left her with no ill effect. In fact, just seeing Olivia carried in upon it left the Grimoire considering him a substitute mount when next they entered battle, a sentiment that came with a palpable disappointment from the Grimoire in its host. Suzuya couldn't blame the book for feeling that when it was her inability to tame a horse that was stiffling it's full power.

Grimoire and Magical Girl shook themselves, finding it easy to lose themselves like this when they lacked a present threat to give them purpose. Weirdly enough they did this upon finding Camelot motioning to them before she turned away, something they took for a loss of interest from their lack of response.

"These are fine warriors. Perhaps we will have more time to mingle later." She opined aloud, her Japanese clipped and curt as it drifted into the morning air, before turning away and darting back to Merrywell as the group departed for their fortress in this foggy land.

Only at the gate did Burning Heart release it's hold on Suzuya, the girl's confidence melting away with her tails just as they came before the throngs of Magical Girls going about their business. And the incesant whispers her ears naturally tuned towards, a frown dominating her expression as she curled her arms around herself for some small measure of comfort.

Prickles of gooseflesh crept along her arms as her eyes scanned back and forth, trying to put faces to the words even as she realized they weren't directed at her. Still, it didn't do anything to make her feel welcomed here. She was better at understanding English and reading it then speaking it herself, but the alien tongue left her aching for the support of her Grimoire.

Then a weirdo leaped into a bush and exasperated girls barreled towards them, Suzuya releasing a shriek as she found herself knocked over onto the dusty courtyard. Why did I even come here?

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Hidden 1 yr ago 12 mos ago Post by Izurich
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--Morning at Marywell--


By the time the group of magically-immortal girls arrived at the mythical Marywell Academy, the moon had abdicated her reign to the sun as warm golden light caressed the horizon. This marked the definite end of the Pageless' encroachment upon the human world, at least for this part of the globe. That was one of the major reasons why Magical Girls are so important, somewhere out there, it's always nighttime. It was a precarious thing to balance global presence versus power concentration as spreading the girls too thin would mean their enemies could easily snatch them one by one; even the mightiest of Mythics couldn't hold a candle to the power of camaraderie.

The sheer wisdom and experience it took to take in all of these factors and make decisions where mistakes potentially cost lives... Twas' precisely why anyone who doubted the Grand Minister were mostly misguided and/or short-sighted as was common with the younger magical girls, but there were those who truly stood in opposition against Lady Marywell and regrettably... if they were going to be enemies of the protector of humanity, then they shall be treated like one.

However, even amongst the former, there were select cases where their refusal to respect protocol was starting to endanger innocent lives. What was the use of feeding the homeless for a short few years, fattening them up just so they could be devoured by the Pageless later? Whatever twisted gestalt consciousness that directed the umbral legions was smart; It's ravenous and malicious, but not stupid like a rabid dog. It's a patient puppetmaster that possessed plans to destroy humanity's guardians and not all of them necessarily involved direct physical threats. Lucette was worried that Chinami was an unwitting pawn to-... ah, it's her.

Lucette's deep thoughts were interrupted by none other than the one and only Wizard of Oz, Charlotte Clementine, who - befitting the story that her grimoire emulated - had a mysterious power and an unknown chronological age, although for the latter, by virtue of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz's first manifestation into the world, she could be born in the same generation as Lucette at the oldest. Being at the front of the group, Lucy had the best seat in the house to watch the redhead being chased by no less than three students. For all of her power's mystery, there was one thing for sure about Charlotte, the girl was fast.

It only took but a brief moment until the "19-year-old" stopped before the "15-year-old" as they stared into each other for a second, well, Lucette was staring; Charlotte was more grinning at everyone really. "I'm confident that they won't ask, Charlotte." She made a mental shrug as Ozma literally dove behind a bush to transport herself to Merlin-knows-where. Typical.

"Charlotte Clementine or Ozma, chosen bearer of the grimoiric manifestation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The white-haired girl answered the younger redhead's question regarding her fellow ginger, "She has been with us for a long while, this won't be the last time you'll see her antics, but rest assured, she has good intentions and knows what she's doing." Unlike some of them here...

With a smile, she shifted her attention to the whole group of seven magical girls, excluding herself, "Girls, please rest for now, you more than deserve it. Thank you for your brave contributions last night, rest assured that as the vanguard of humanity's salvation, your efforts are noble and just." She wouldn't bother anyone with a long-winded speech so as to not waste anyone's time, however, she did specifically turn her gaze back at Nessie after.

The looked-younger-but-actually-much-older shorter girl placed a reassuring hand on the Scot's shoulder, "Miss Burns, I'm sure you have questions about what happened to you, what was those creatures, and most importantly, what does this mean for you going forward. While I'd love to personally answer all of them, I have an important matter to attend to right now. So, someone else will brief you on all the important information you deserve to know and show you to your room. However, I will be sure to visit you in the short future." She curled a solemn motherly smile as her hand patted the redhead's shoulder a few times.

That done, Lumiere left the group to their own devices; no doubt to Chinami’s relief.

..........
.....
...

Moments later, the white-haired girl found herself in front of the double doors leading into the Grand Minister's personal study, effectively the principal's office in mundane academies, and knocked, "Lady Marywell, this is Lucette, may I take a moment of your time? I have an important matter to discuss with you."
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Sonnambula
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Sonnambula Stealer of Girls

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Charlotte Clementine. Ozma. Both names meant nothing to Nessie, at least in terms of being able to recognise them. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, though? Now that, she knew. She looked slightly surprised at the mention of it though; a powerset based on the Wizard of Oz seemed slightly... odd to her. Like, what, had she disappeared off to Kansas or something?

Sensing that more questions at this particular point would just be wasting people's time, however, Nessie simply responded with a nod before listening to Lucette's words of praise towards the whole group. She didn't feel dissatisfied, not that much at least, but there was still something that she felt was missing. Some vital piece of information to make things clearer. After all, how can you recognise someone in the same striking way she had just seconds ago, without having any recollection of their name?

The mention of rest, however, was not lost on Nessie. She'd gotten up early the previous morning for a university interview, and a whole 24 hours or so awake at this point combined with the rigour of the night's events were beginning to set in on her, in the form of an oppressive and unyielding feeling of exhaustion. Which was probably why she didn't have a problem with Lucette going when she did. Now wasn't the best time for a Q&A.

"Nae bother... I'll see you later."

It felt odd that a girl that looked younger than she did had such a matronly demeanour to her. Those pats and parting words left Nessie with a warm smile, one that opened up to a yawn while she was mid-sentence and interrupted her for a couple of seconds, before she burst out of it with a chuckle.

With Lucette gone though, now Nessie turned to the rest of her newly acquainted comrades, unable to help another yawn slipping out while she spoke. She rubbed her eyes in an attempt to refresh them and rid them of their dull, tired quality, but it didn't help much.

"So, uh... where're the bedrooms then? I could bloody well use a good kip."

Given the size of the castle itself, Nessie had a feeling she was going to need some help with directions here, lest she end up passed out in a squash court or something.
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by KoL
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KoL Knight of Lorelei

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LILIANA MARYWELL
"And so, another day comes, casting down those who dwell in the dark back onto their rightful place. Daybreak illusion, huh?" Lilian thought as she set her book aside after a long night. Come to think of it, Winter was approaching fast. London's chill would only get chillier with every day, and the grip of the Pageless upon the world would extend itself for much longer in the coming months.

Perhaps, was it a good sign that they forged a new ally now? Only time would tell...

Talking about time, it was about the right time for another school day to begin. Certainly, it would be rough to ask the girls that fought their hardest until a few minutes ago to keep on keeping on, but it was all about the masquerade, right? They even had a new "last-minute transfer student" to introduce.

"I can already see that today's gonna be a hectic day," the silver-haired magical girl said as she took a glance of the courtyard. A slightly wistful smile crept its way to her lips as she looked at Charlotte's antics. Regardless of whatever reminiscence the Grand Minister could be indulging herself with at the time, her attention was snapped back to the present a moment later.

"Yes, yes. You can come in," Liliana said as doors swung open by themselves. "You girls are always welcome here, after all," she added as she turned away from the courtyard window, welcoming Lucette with a warm smile.

"By the way, you can call me Big Sis if you want. There's no need for those kinds of formalities between us, right~?"

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Izurich
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--The Grand Minister--


@KoL

Upon hearing Liliana's permission, Lucette hand drew back instead of moving toward the door's handle for she knew that opening the door herself wouldn't be necessary. As was usual, the doors swung by themselves, allowing her to enter. "Please excuse me." The white-haired girl promptly sauntered forward as they closed behind her; she soon occupied one of the vacant chairs facing the Grand Minister's desk. Now face-to-face, Lucette was again reminded just how similar she looked to Liliana; with matching clothes, it would be justified for unfamiliar observers to pass them off as sisters, with Lily being the older one, coincidentally true in both physical and chronological sense.

This fact made slight blushes crept onto the younger girl's cheeks, not sure whether Liliana was specifically teasing her about it or was it just a mere coincidence. Lucette blinked, debating whether to humor the other silver-haired girl or not, but since they were in private... she guessed there's no harm if it would make her happy; God knows that Liliana deserved every bit of warmth she could get in these trying times. "Very well... Big Sis..." Lucy's voice faltered a bit, no doubt trying her best to hide her embarrassment; did Liliana do this with everyone or just her? It'd be nice if it's the former-... but wait, on second thought, the latter would be better since the other could imply that Liliana was starving for affection.

"I have a few matters to talk with you, The untransformed angel got right to business, she didn't want to waste the Grand Minister's time for a second longer than necessary, "The last operation went well for the most part..." She then began summarizing the events that transpired at the abandoned construction site last night; the bewitched innocents, the giant pageless, and the birth of the Lady of the Lake among other things. While indeed that most things went well, there were a few concerns to express, one of them was related to the bearer of Clas Myrddin's sister grimoire, Le Morte d'Arthur.

"As you may have known, Chinami Nadakai - Camelot - has been using the Round Table to feed the homeless and destitute on an almost daily basis. While I have little doubt that she has nothing but altruistic intentions, this careless use and blatant exposure of magic to the common folk are more dangerous than it's worth. I've tried to warn her of the possible dangers, but she never listened..." Or else they wouldn't be having this conversation. Lucette closed her eyes for a moment as a heavy sigh left her lips, "In that very same night, Pageless attacked the Round Table and its attendants, I am to believe that some of the horde were attracted there from the main bulk at the construction site, lured by her magic. Fortunately for them, Camelot was still there to protect them and no more of the creatures arrived after she left, hopefully. However, if she's going to do this daily... how long will it take until she slips and innocents are devoured? What's the merit of feeding them if she's just unwittingly fattening them up for the Pageless to consume?" Although Lucette kept her tone calm, someone as sharp as Liliana could definitely see the passion underneath.

"I think it has gone on for far too long and we should nip it at the bud before actual lives are lost," She continued, "Our enemy aren't mindless beasts, something sinister is pulling their strings... and I fear Camelot is playing right into its hands, her sense of altruism overpowering rational sense. I'd never claim to know more about King Arthur's story more than you do, Big Sis, but... I'd prefer if Chinami doesn't follow his tale to its tragic end." She paused to let her words sink in before asking the million pounds question. "What do you suggest I should do?"
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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The gaggle of Marrywell students were still bustling about, frantic to find Charlotte. But Lucette’s words made it clear the reality; if Charlotte didn’t want to be found, it’d take no less than the Grand Minister herself to bother to locate her. Speaking of which, the eldest Magical Girl departed to exactly seek out her holiness, having left the other girls to situate themselves. It wasn’t like they’d be left wandering with no direction because soon enough the students recovered themselves from their earlier fluster and looked at the new girls. One of them offered a hand for Suzuya to take, muttering an apology for knocking her over.

“Sorry about that….display. As Miss Lucette said, you won’t be seeing the last of her. I don’t know why she squanders her gifts with petty party tricks and avoiding responsibility…” the lead girl huffed, brushing down her skirt. There were papers in her hand, one each to be passed along to Olivia, Suzuya, and finally Nessie. “Welcome to Marrywell Academy. We’ve been expecting your arrival as the Grand Minister sees all. On your sheets you’ll find your schedule, list of dormmates, and any other essentials,” the girl said with a smile.

Indeed, the list linked the three new girls to names they were already familiar with; Olivia was placed with Suzuya, both of them new, while Nessie was placed with Lucette herself. “Due to you two being Magical Girls for a while now, we figured you had no need to learn the basics more so than our Scottish friend here,” said the lead girl. “I trust everyone else remembers where they sleep every night? Please take all the time you need to recover for your lessons when you’re able to. Your life as a Magical Girl begins now.” That final sentiment was more so directed at Nessie than anyone else and just as they came, the trio of girls walked off to their other duties.

The gathering and display attracted quite a bit of attention but with Charlotte’s disappearance the scene became logistical dialect as always. Boring. It wasn’t long before the other students went back to their own lives and ignored Chinami’s group. They chatted about and headed to their classes; or in the rare case of those uniformed and leaping away, dispatched on their mission to destroy any Pageless. The group of Magical Girls were left to wander and explore or perhaps rest as they were advised to.

As was to be expected of a school ground, the buzz of activity eventually died down with the massive chimes of bells that signaled everyone’s first classes. It may as well have been an alarm clock for the weary Magical Girls who spent the entire night fighting, a steady reminder of their exhaustion. Only when the area was relatively cleared did a gentle hand clap on Chinami’s shoulder. Despite the sudden appearance, it radiated a light warmth.

“Helloooo everyone~” said Charlotte, standing beside Chinami as if the two were the closest of friends. She flashed the group a grin and a thumbs up, especially towards the new girls. “Hey thanks for not ratting me out to the killjoys. You wouldn’t believe how long they’ve been trying to get me into a staff role, haha.” Charlotte let go of Chinami’s shoulder and casually stretched with both hands behind her head. “I figure you should go rest Chinami and I can show the new girls around? Better hurry before you get chewed out by your own killjoys again,” she said to Arthur’s embodiment with a wink.

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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Villamvihar
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Villamvihar Shocking Developments

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Oh! So it would be Ethereal Rose or Olivia who fought beside her! Wilhelmina smiled at the name as it suited the girl well. With her long, golden hair and the dress which seemed to be as fragile, fleeting as her name indicated, it was surely a beautiful story she had to her name. It was a little bit rude to ask so early though, so introductions it would be along with a little bit of orientation to make sure her fellow comrade would adapt faster than her. If, it was actually necessary, Wilhelmina reminded herself as she remembered being the one who had the most trouble with the unsettling Pageless or the fighting. However, before she could gently lead Olivia to the group of magical girls...

A monstrous thing appeared. Wilhelmina rarely read horror books, so she lacked the capacity to describe it in its full glory, but she could feel its impact. The thing's presence chilled her to the bone, its writhing, shifting form appearing as a living nightmare. For a sensitive soul like hers, the apparition grated and she felt her heart skip a beat. Or rather, several dozen beats as she attempted to unfreeze the blood in her veins. Unfortunately, magic did not come particularly easy to her when she was not transformed, so she could not use her abilities at all.

And... And... And...! Olivia was wrapping her hands around it! It looked as though she were embracing a lover! Such an intimate touch would have normally made Wilhelmina blush, yet now she felt as though ash had replaced her entire being. It seemed that today, stunning revelation after stunning revelation shocked her as she could barely pay attention to what was being said. Hell, she could barely stop breaking out in cold sweat as she stared down the abomination... Or maybe abominations?... in front of her.

No! Bad Wilhelmina! Olivia was just a girl with strange tastes or a frightening grimoire! That did not mean she was an abomination or a foul thing that must be destroyed or hated at all costs! Yes, it actually hurt Wilhelmina to look at Thyerg'Xolis, but that did not mean he was an evil beast like a Pageless! Nor did it mean that she could dismiss Olivia! Nor did it mean that she could not make friends with her! Yes, that was the right way. Clinging to these thoughts, she averted her eyes so she would not have to look at the thing in front of her, hoping to focus only on Olivia's voice.

Fortunately, Chinami stepped in. With the same genuine smile she had worn before the dread wiped it off her face, Wilhelmina waved at her.

"Camelot! It's so nice to see you again!" Happy to see the other girl and starved for warmth after what she just went through, the blonde swept her friend into a tight hug. She squeezed just a little to show her appreciation and before she could introduce the two to each other, Chinami already did it. She used her Magical Girl name as usual, something which disheartened Wilhelmina a little bit. After all, they were on the same side.

"Thank you, Camelot~! I did get a little tired, but I can make it home on foot. I just wanted to end my transformation before I used up everything," she shared as she turned back towards Ethereal Rose. "You can count on Camelot to have your back. She's amazing, you should see her use her sword!" As usual, Wilhelmina's good-natured chatter filled the air. "Thank you too, Olivia for the offer, but Ummm... Thyergisscary!"

Ah! She blurted that out without thinking! Now it would be really awkward heading back... thankfully, Lumiére gathered the team, giving Wilhelmina an excuse to put some distance between herself and Ethereal Rose until she came up with something appropriate to say, which she really meant. A difficult task, especially for someone like herself who wore her heart on her sleeve so openly. She dearly hoped that Olivia would not be upset at her, but she could apologise later! For now, they really had to disappear unless they wished to incur the wrath of the Ministry or possibly lure a group of Pageless out by accident.




When they arrived, a most peculiar sight greeted them. As usual, a group of girls were chasing Charlotte with various positions, either administrative or educational and she, as usual, dove into a bush to dodge them while also completely disappearing. Honestly, Wilhelmina had grown used to the sight and knowing her own nature, she kept quiet until the group went away, upon which she sighed, relieved. It seemed they had arrived safely and by now, surely, the awkward air around Olivia along with the other new arrivals dissipated. Come to think of it, she had not even introduced herself to them, she had felt too self-conscious to do so! Noooooo!

She could change the flow of fate, however...

Moving beside Olivia, she quickly spoke.

"I'm sorry for calling Thergys scary earlier, he just scared me," before she went right on beside where Charlotte stood, wearing a similarly bright smile.

"Hello, Charlotte! I just want to introduce myself to the new girls and I promise I'll let you be. The grand tour isn't the same if it isn't you, is it?" she asked of the mysterious magical girl, surely planting the idea in many heads that the grounds of Marywell were quite the sight to behold. Indeed, when she first arrived, Wilhelmina could not stop gawking at every little thing she saw, not to mention the memorable show she got. And the library of this place! She gushed over it every time she entered it. She simply could not stop thinking about it! So many stories, all in their rightful places, all tended to by loving hands!

"Anyways! I'm Wilhelmina Anholts, or Captain Goodhope~ You can call me Helmi if it's too long."
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by KoL
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LILIANA MARYWELL
Lilian's face warped into a beaming, catlike grin when she heard Lucette comply with her request. She always felt the angelic magical girl was a little too straight-laced. Hearing her call Lilian sister in such a serious yet honest way, filled the old magician with joy. The obvious embarrassment in her voice was a nice bonus as well, of course.

"Ahh yes, erm..." Lilian murmured as she sat, or rather sunk, into the overly-soft chair opposite to the one Lucette took and listened to the other girl's report. "Ahh yes," she repeated, before answering in a reminiscing tone, "I remember it like yesterday. That boy Arthur was quite a troublemaker, always trying to help everyone no matter the cost. In a way, I think it's only natural that someone who inherited his will would be like that."

"Anyway, thanks for bringing that up. I've been thinking about that—and a few other things—as well. But the truth is that confronting her about it would only cause needless friction between you girls. With that in mind, I'd like to ask you a favor," Lilian said, making a purposeful pause right before she came to her request. "Would you like to, hmm... be her guardian angel?" she finished in the most shameless manner.

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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The 42nd Gecko

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LILAC SHIMMER


Bonnie had broken away from the group earlier and walked home separate. There wasn't any good reason, same starting point, same destination. She was just theoretically making herself more vulnerable to a follow up attack. But that thought didn't cross her mind. When in the stories did the magical girls ever just get ambushed in human form on their way home after a dramatic victory? This was the place between the pages, off the screen, and Lilac didn't know how to be a magical girl in that place.

Well, she did know at least one mistake she was making. She should be in the group. Being a smiling background character as the new PoV character got shown the wonderful world of magical girls. But she just wasn't ready to smile any longer. She was ready to flop into bed fully clothed and fling her bags to the side haphazardly.

Her eyes glanced towards Camelot's bed. Camelot. Even when it wasn't magical girl business, Bonnie's mind still couldn't see Chinami much past the Camelot. That name stood tall above all else that she was, and everything seemed to come back to it in time. Just a name, right? But one with such meaning, such insinuation, such... Legend.

Bonnie stuffed her face into her pillow. Making herself presentable could wait till later. Camelot should be busy showing the new girls around, and she could be one with the bed alone.
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Camelot


Before Camelot's eyes, Wilhelmina seemed to shake herself from whatever funk Ethereal Rose's onslaught of words her visited upon her, before she lunged forward and stole a quick hug from the knight. In all honestly, with the shorter girl's presently human strength, Camelot couldn't even feel the pressure of it beyond the most minute acknowledgement that something was touching her. Nonetheless, she did her best to allow some give on her end to reciprocate the gesture, carefully patting the younger blonde on the back, before the latter pulled away. At her assertion of greetings, Camelot couldn't help a wry smile, "I could have sworn we'd spoken just this morning, but in all honesty, it has been a long day... night... whatever." She shrugged.

Mina's denial of Camelot's offer of transport and subsequent endorsement of her to Ethereal Rose elicited a nod and small chuckle. "Well, if that's all it is, just make sure you stay with the group, I suppose. Safety in numbers and all that. I'll be running overwatch from the rooftops. If there's trouble, I'll be able to jump in. It should be safe for the rest of you to detransform then on the way back to Marrywell. I'll wait to do so myself till everyone's safe. You never know what could happen this late..." She glanced at the horizon, where the sky was beginning to lighten. "Or early, I suppose."

Shaking her head with a small laugh at Ethereal Rose's own offer to carry her, she smirked. "I quite assure you, Ethereal Rose, I'm probably one of the least in need of such aid, considering I didn't get the opportunity to put even half as much effort as my comrades into eliminating the enemy tonight." Glancing up at the... thing looming above their heads, she smirked impishly. Despite the Beast's appearance, she was experienced with monstrosities that go bump in the night and thus... relatively unbothered, aside from a gut cautioning feeling and small headache if she stared directly at him/it for too long, but even then, the warmth of her Scabbard's healing seemed to mitigate whatever that strange effect was. She hadn't gotten the chance to see it fight much from such a distance as Big Ben, but she suspected that this was one Legend she wouldn't be best advised testing her strength against unless she had little choice in the matter. Her instincts seemed quite insistent on that. "You might be better off offering such aid to the others. Your big friend certainly has enough limbs for everyone!" She chuckled and then raised a brow at the rapid-fire self-excusal of her friend, missing some of what was said over the end of her own speech, as Wilhelmina... fled(?) towards the larger group. Camelot frowned at the rather uncharacteristic blow-off. Sure, Ethereal Rose was a bit talkative, but with Camelot there to deflect some of that energy, Wilhelmina should have no issues doing her usual socialite thing. So, what was that all about?

"Must be extra tired today," Camelot mused aloud in tentative conclusion, rubbing her chin with one hand. She turned back to Ethereal Rose. "Well, as I said, since I'm the only one here who didn't have to give their all duking it out, I've got energy to spare, and I'll be spending it keeping an eye out for any last-minute dangers that might pop out at the returning heroes. You're perfectly welcome to join me, but I imagine you must want to get acquainted with the rest of them." She grinned. "It'll mostly be a lot of boring, chilly waiting with me, while the others take a civilian pace. I can't imagine that dress -as gorgeous as it is- does a whole lot for you against the cold, even with the protection of your transformation. Civvy clothes might suit you better right now, but again," she gave a final nod and turned away. "Offer's open."

Glancing around at the magically reconstituting construction site, Camelot found herself frowning at the distinct absence of the fox-eared Magical Girl in any capacity. Had her welcoming beckoning been ignored or just misread? Sighing, she leaped again to the rooftops and settled in for the expectation of a half-hour escort mission, fiddling with the strange gold coin all the while.




In the end, Ethereal Rose did, in fact, accept her offer of companionship and conversation for the journey.

Thankfully, aside from a bracingly enthusiastic conversation, the journey proceeded without incident overall, and Camelot couldn't help but scoff at the sight of the sun rising -almost as if dramatically cued- from behind Marrywell Academy. Between the glorious castle-like appearance of the structure itself and the certain endorsement of Lumiere and the others during the journey itself, Camelot could only sigh in resignation at the conclusion that the newbie would be quite wholly taken with it all.

Leaping down to the gates in a final bound, Camelot also chose to ignore the strange feeling she'd always gotten from day one, the sense of abject security in passing through these gates, in living in this castle, as if this was the only natural thing to do. It was just a flipping school and nothing more, appearances be damned, and any "Kingly" fantasies of ruling from it could fuck right off as usual.

Striding over to the group, Camelot braced for some of the usual questions and odd looks she tended to get from newbies, as she sighed and released her transformation. With a golden ripple, shower of azure motes and a feeling like stepping out of a warm body of water, the blue-eyed blonde Caucasian knight melted away into a Japanese Goth, no less tall but certainly less of an individual of abject gravitas. If she stood out for anything in particular in the sea of schoolgirls, it was her lack of a uniform. That was only natural; after all, it wasn't like she'd originally headed out for her Round Table feast an hour and change prior in flimsy, chilly school garb. What she wore outside of class hours was entirely her own business, and even during them, she wasn't about to wear a damned skirt.

Grunting in discomfort at the renewed chill, Chinami Nadakai tucked the gold coin into the pocket of her jeans, tugged her leather jacket's collar a bit lighter around her neck and shoved her hands into its pockets, as she sidled up to the group and silently fell into step beside Wilhelmina, mostly tuning out the rapid apologies from her friend towards Olivia. Stepping into the rather ostentatious school grounds, Chinami barely managed to not roll her at the expressions of astonishment from the redheaded newbie; now that she'd actually heard her voice, however, it was quite easy to peg her for a Scott.

Funny how that "rough-and-tumble" Scottish stereotype was getting turned on its head by her overall so far, but then again, whether by coincidence or design, Grimoires tended to choose Magical Girls that would fall in line with the current Grand Ministry system. Alters were unusual on their own. Alters that were willing to walk the party line were rarer still. And those like Camelot and Stripes, normal Magical Girls with a bone to pick with the current system? They were the rarest type of all, in her experience, but they all existed nonetheless.

Point being, ironically, actual Magical Girls were where stereotypes went to die. Chinami had long since learned to not judge a book by its cover and to not be surprised by finding some hidden depth of her fellows. They were not idealized heroes. They were just people, a bunch of girls imbued with extraordinary power, and they had all the faults and shortcomings any other person would. It just so happened that Grimoires liked picking people that overall thought... a certain way. And unfortunately, the Ministry seemed to make assumptions about how they could operate based on that stereotype.

Frankly, Chinami could only assume that the only reason she was chosen, despite her general reluctance, was that she was somehow just that compatible. Between her martial talent and refusal to walk any path of justice but her own, the Grimoire had apparently seen something in her, and she wasn't really sure how she felt about that. Flattered? Unnerved? Apparently, the damned thing thought she'd make a worthy successor to Arthur's legacy, but that was not particularly a legacy she wanted to inherit. Helping people and making their lives better was more than enough; she didn't need or want the responsibilities going all the way would entail.

Speaking of expectations and the refusal to meet them...

Chinami was rather glad she was walking at the front of the group. It meant that the newbies were unable to see when she, without significantly altering her pace, casually stepped slightly in front of Wilhelmina and glowered witheringly at several schoolgirls, who were sending unkind looks the Alter's way. Chinami made no secret of their friendship, nor her favor and support of all the other Alters that wandered the Academy's halls for that matter, and she certainly made no effort to hide her intolerance for the discrimination they faced.

Chinami couldn't possibly care less what reasoning any one person might have or the context for their beliefs. Whether it was because of rumors or of unease with the commonly warped mindsets of such Magical Girls. Whether it was because of the reputation of a couple bad apples that were genuinely villainous instead of just opposed to the structure of the Grand Ministry. Whether it was because of the ominous unknown that was the source of such warped powers or simple elitism and prejudice towards those with "imperfect" legends. Hell, even when it was merely jealousy because some little wannabe queen bee couldn't get in good with the new "King Arthur", who chose Alters over everyone else.

Chinami didn't care. All that mattered was that those petty little shits couldn't look past completely irrelevant aspects and treat the innocent girls, who didn't choose this life to begin with, with dignity and respect. Frankly, even Wilhelmina, the girl who basically won the Alter Grimoire lottery in the form of a better ending, who had both a genuinely good heart and not a whit of mental influence that could be seen from her Altered Legend... That even she got as much disdain as she did meant there was something seriously wrong here.

Granted, a fair portion of it was probably the aforementioned "Mean Girls" (because, really, not even Magical Girls were free of them in a school setting) being jealous of Mina taking Chinami's loyalty and thus unintentionally forming quite the social power block in combination with other Alters... and anyone else Chinami decided to take a liking to, but that was hardly the point. Not all the disdain she got was from that alone.

And speaking of other people who were disinclined to meet expectations...

A familiar redhead that fled with GREAT JUSTICE from the shackles of bureaucracy was making quite the ruckus, as the group made their way closer to the Academy's main building. Rushing past the group with a jaunty wave and comment, before swan diving into a bush, Charlotte made quite the spectacle of herself. With one arm, Chinami gently guided Wilhelmina to the side, as she sidestepped the recklessly chasing Academy officials, whose disgraceful disregard for anything but catching their target saw them bull over a small Japanese-looking girl.

A wonderful first impression on the part of the Academy staff. Truly.

Chinami sighed aloud at the redheaded newbie's understandable question and Lucette's thinly veiled verbal poke at Chinami, herself, by way of her answer, not that she expected most anyone else to pick up on that through the French girl's outward congeniality. It was all about wording and context, and it wasn't like the two of them exactly broadcasted their little rift to all and sundry.

Elaborating on Lucette's statement, Chinami spoke up for the benefit of all the present newbies, "Magical Girls draw their power from fairy tales, legends and myths of old; Grimoires, we call them." She reached into her black jacket and slipped a small leather-bound purple and gold book from an inner pocket, the words "Le Morte d'Arthur" writ across the front cover. "Basically, think of a Grimoire like a sort of... semi-sentient magical item. They search for a proper wielder, call out to them, and them imbue them with power. They won't work for just anyone. As far as others are concerned, they might as well be any old copy of the regular book."

Returning the Grimoire to her pocket, she smirked wryly over the commotion raised by the Academy staff. "Ozma, otherwise known as "The Crimson Comet" has been around for a while, long enough that no one really knows where she came from or even what she actually does. What I can say is that she's practically advertised as the "ideal Magical Girl" 'round these parts... on paper at least; everyone eventually finds their own niche." Chinami shrugged. "As a Magical Girl, you'd have to basically live under a rock to not know who Ozma is. Honestly, between her and Miss 'Angel with a Laser' over there, it's hard to say whose been around longer, and really? That's how it's best left. The Wizard of Oz's whole thing is being mysterious, so I'd recommend just letting Charlotte have her fun and enjoying the benefits." Chinami grinned conspiratorially.

After all, Ozma's powers might literally depend on it.

If Chinami was a betting woman, she'd put good money on Ozma's abilities being memetic in nature, based around either how little others knew about her and/or how much she could convince people they knew about her. It would be exactly the sort of thing to be in line with how the original Wizard of Oz functioned. His magic worked as long as you believed it worked. It was that simple. The best thing for everyone involved was continuing to support and promote the mystery. There was no sense or good will in possibly screwing over a comrade just to satisfy her own curiosity. And by this point in time, the rumors around Charlotte ran so wild that if her powers really were memetic in nature? Well, Fable or not, she could probably make a Mythic Grimoire do a spit-take and call bullshit.

Of course, it was perfectly possibly that Chinami was massively high balling her expectations, but in general, she wouldn't be surprised if her absurd speculation was actually correct.

Chinami mostly tuned out the rest of Lucette's platitudes and reassurances towards the group, before the diminutive snowy-haired girl excused herself and bustled away. In all honesty, she would never really get used to the strangeness of someone that looked 15 speaking like they were older than her... and somehow deserved her respect. And sure, as a veteran of the eternal war with the Pageless and just generally elder individual, she was perhaps entitled to some level of consideration, but... It was a subtle thing, perhaps even just Chinami's own biases coloring her perceptions towards someone so obviously close to the Grand Ministry's higher ups, but from day one, she had never managed to perceive Lucette's words as anything but almost... condescending.

And again, were she with someone she could truly trust, Chinami would be plenty willing to admit her own bias, but this was seemingly more than a gut feeling of her own making. Even her Grimoire-born instincts of a Knight and King seemed to be twigged. It was just this vague sense that something was off, but she could never quite point to anything in particular. At least early on.

But the more she spoke with her, reluctantly interacted with Lucette, the more that sense of unease grew, that sense of disconnect grated at her. It was only when she discovered the Round Table and began feeding the homeless with it that a real rift was opened between them. It was only then when confronted and chastised for it, that Chinami realized the unease she'd been feeling was that of being under the gaze of someone who was inclined to numerically weigh lives.

That was the stark difference between them: a soldier vs a hero.

Chinami didn't want to say that Lucette had lost touch with the common man in her near century of existence, but she suspected that such a transition was well in progress. Where Lucette seemingly looked to the big picture, Chinami refused to forget the little guy, even if it cost her. She simply refused to abandon anyone. It was hard, inconvenient and inefficient, but that was what being a hero meant to her.

Broadly summarized, it was Lucette's seeming advocation for what could only be described as the "Greater Good" that Chinami refused to comply with. It was stupid when she read Harry Potter, and it was stupid now. Just like Dumbledore, Lucette may have had good intentions, but you know what they say about good intentions and the path paved with them...

Just like it was morally atrocious to engage in anything close to the act of "Obliviation" for the sake of protecting... who exactly? The people? The Magical Girls? Or perhaps merely the Grand Ministry. Plainly speaking, even disregarding the evil inherent in mind control, Chinami firmly believed that the people, the commonfolk, deserved to know what they were threatened by. They had the right to prepare, to know that the night was dangerous, to be able to exert some personal control over such a potentially lethal aspect of their lives. Magic knowledge belonged to everyone, not just the elite few; that was her stance.

Granted, there was some nuance to be had in her perspective. The widespread knowledge of Magical Girls could potentially prompt governments to draft rather targeted legislation, so managing public opinion would be important to keep Magical Girls from becoming corporate or federal entities. But at the end of the day, the sheer anonymity, concentrated power and lack of oversight the Grand Ministry currently held was utterly unacceptable to an American like her, and living two years within their system while reaping the benefits still wasn't anywhere close to being able to change that stance.

The gaggle of Marrywell students seemed to have finally given up on locating Charlotte, and one of them even had the good grace to help up the Japanese girl they'd bowled over. Chinami listened silently and no less unnerved than any time she'd witnessed it before, as the Marrywell students presented orientation papers to what was apparently the three brand new students among them.

It seemed that the Japanese girl they'd knocked over was... probably the fox girl?

Raising a single brow, Chinami leaned over to look at the papers, spotting only two names she'd not heard thus far.

Suzuya Kuzunoha, who with such a name was obviously the Japanese girl, would be roomed with Olivia.

And Nessie Burns... who'd be roomed with Lucette.

Chinami fought to keep a disdainful and resigned look from crossing her face, as she exhaled quietly and stepped away. Sure, when you read Harry Potter as a kid, it was magical and wonderful to have people mysteriously know who you were and prepared to accommodate you with a magical new life. But as an adult? It was extraordinarily creepy and intrusive, very much so for someone as private and independence-inclined as Chinami. Just... She hardly had words to describe just how badly such things rubbed her, and the Marrywell student's causal comment on the Grand Minister "seeing all" certainly didn't help anything.

Eventually, the logistical conversation wound down, and the Marrywell students rejoined the masses. Sighing, Chinami started a bit at the sudden presence of a hand on her shoulder and a jovial voice. Brows furrowing, Chinami resisted the urge to squirm at her personal space being invaded by the returning Charlotte. One of her hands twitched violently with the urge to brush the offending appendage off, but thankfully, Charlotte didn't linger for more than a moment longer.

Like anyone else, Chinami barely knew much beyond the surface about the relatively independent Magical Girl. Frankly, she and the redhead weren't friends, not according to her own perception anyway. At best, at a stretch, one might call them friendly acquaintances. But as with Lucette, Charlotte was very much a creature of the Grand Ministry, and as such, Chinami had no intention of getting any closer to her than she absolutely had to.

That aside, unlike Lucette, at least the two of them didn't clash when it came to priorities. So, while Charlotte may have been a bit too energetic for her tastes, Chinami had no issue humoring her for the most part so long as she didn't push her social boundaries too much.

Chinami pursed her lips lightly at the subtle dismissal from the Wizard of Oz's wielder, but she nodded amicably regardless.

This was all part of the orientation process after all, nothing she hadn't seen before or could particularly contribute positively to, and there was no sense cluttering things up unnecessarily. If there was anything Charlotte was well known for in particular around Marrywell, it was being at the forefront of introductions, the "Face of the Institution" as it were, despite not actually teaching there. And when she wasn't doing that, she was often out being the one to personally recruit new Magical Girls. Indeed, it was for these reasons of sheer involvement in the initial impressions stage of every Magical Girl's journey that Chinami could safely say that you had to either live under a rock or be somehow (un)lucky enough to slip her attention to not know who the redhead was.

So, given that Charlotte would have things quite handled here, Chinami had no issues busying off to rest...

There was just one itsy bitsy problem with that.

If she entered Magical Girl form at any point for even a small amount of time, the Scabbard would indiscriminately heal away her exhaustion in the course of removing all that physically ailed her.

In other words, her sleep schedule was, to put it plainly, absolutely fucked.

This wasn't to say that she didn't sleep regularly, daily even, but it could be difficult to force herself to rest even six hours a day, especially after being made fresh as a daisy every dawn and dusk when she went to summon the Round Table. Regardless, it was something that she did her best to put up with, simply because sleeping, resting was just plain mentally healthy. Sure, she had the capacity to be a 24/7 hero, but destroying herself with mental stress wouldn't help anyone.

So, what the hell was she going to do for the next couple hours, while she was still so physically rested that it would basically be impossible to so much as nap? Video games? Catch up on some of her followed fanfics?

The solidus of the realm in her pocket made its presence known once more with the shift of her leg.

Nodding again to Charlotte and sending a brief two-fingered parting wave to the rest of the group -and a smile towards Mina and Olivia, Chinami strode away wordlessly.
Hidden 12 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Izurich
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--Merlin's Task--


@KoL

If Lucette didn't know any better, she'd think that 'Big Sis' was toying with her, but she had been with Marywell for more than seven decades now; The Grand Minister had always preferred an informally casual atmosphere, maybe it was deliberate to not make the magical girls feel awkward around her, perhaps that's just the way she was, or a little bit of both. Lucette could see why it'd be useful to make the younger girls feel welcomed and comfortable; a method that Lucy herself tried to emulate, with Nessie as the most recent case. However, calling her 'Big Sis' was still just... uh... a bit too personal for Lucy's liking. It couldn't be helped if that's what Lily wished though.

Sigh, so it did seem that Arthur was the "Heroic Idealist" kind of person and it'd make sense that the Grimoire emulating his legends would seek a bearer with similar traits, as is true for most - if not all - grimoires out there. It'd also explain why Alters were often... mentally disturbed as the Altered Grimoires themselves sought out people with 'unusual' mindsets. "Is there truly no other way...?" Lucette murmured, genuinely wishing that Chinami's life wouldn't end in tragedy, her 'kingdom' in ruins as she's betrayed by her own comrades and loved ones, all because she stubbornly clung to her ideals even when the situation urged her to adapt. Losing sight of the bigger picture by getting bogged down in the details, won the battle but lost the war, that was her curse.

Lucette already knew that Chinami didn't like her, and while it's a mostly one-sided sentiment, recent events made her believe that it was somewhat mutual; Lucy would be lying to herself if she said she never wished that Le Morte d'Arthur would’ve chosen someone else. If there was a way to sever the bond between a Grimoire and its Bearer... "..." She shook her head slowly exactly twice, no, it wouldn't be right. Regardless, Lucette firmly believed that Liliana - as both the Grand Minister and someone who personally met the original Arthur - would have a solution for this, the Seraph trusted that she wouldn't wish Chinami to repeat history.

However, that solution wasn't exactly what she'd call 'expected', "Que...?" Light blue eyes blinked a few times. The favor... was it really the solution? "Ah... well, Big Sis, uhm..." The younger girl fidgeted, blushes coloring her cheeks again, "I'm honored, but... would I really be the best-..." Then her voice abruptly cut off before she could even finish her sentence as her mind came to a little revelation.

If I'm to be assigned as Camelot's warden... then I'll have a sanctioned reason to keep watch over her, urge her away from recklessly using the Round Table...

Her hesitation seemed to vanish into the aether as the snow-haired girl gave a firm nod to Liliana, "Oui, I accept this task, Miss Mar-... I mean, Big Sis..." She curled a solemn yet determined smile. With the urgent matter done, Lucette stood up, "I shouldn't take anymore of your time, please excuse me." then made her way out the office.

There would be no more Round Table without her direct supervision...
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Ponn
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“Oh, I see…” Olivia replied with a slight frown, when Camelot declined her offer, telling her with some amusement that she was probably the last person to need such assistance. The azure-clad beauty’s frown only worsened when Wilhelmina insisted that, despite her fatigue, she would also not be needing Xolys’s services, electing instead to travel back to Marrywell on foot. The maritime maiden then began singing the praises of Camelot, causing Olivia’s smile to return. It only grew wider when Camelot suggested she offer Xolys’s services to the rest of the group, especially considering his vast array of limbs.

“Oh he certainly does!” Olivia agreed, nodding enthusiastically. “And he uses them to give the very best hugs!” she added, her dazzling smile now stretching from ear to ear.

A moment later, however, and her elation dissolved once more into a confused frown as the untransformed Captain Goodhope thanked her for the offer of transport, before darting off to join the others.

“Scary?” Olivia wondered aloud, tapping an elegant finger against her chin. “Whatever could she mean by that?”

“I do believe I may have caused her some measure of fright, my sweet,” Xolys replied. “I have noticed that most denizens of this realm tend to react rather unfavorably to my appearance.”

“Oh, don’t be silly darling!” Olivia giggled. “You look absolutely gorgeous!”

“You are most kind, as always, my love,” Xolys told her fondly, while stroking her long blonde tresses.

“Yes, that… sounds about right,” Camelot mused with a small frown, blue eyes flicking towards Xolys. “Sure, he gives me a little headache, but nothing I can’t handle. I’d not expected that from Goodhope though… Bah. The knight shook her head. “Unfortunately, not to put a damper on things or anything, but it’s best I inform you now that a little fear of your partner will probably be the least of your problems at Marrywell.” Despite such words, she grinned reassuringly. “Rest assured, however, that I’ve taken it upon myself to aid Alters where I can. If you have any problems or questions, I’ll be happy to help going forward.”

Unfortunately for Camelot, Oliva was far too focused on her eldritch paramor to be fully cognizant of the Knight’s subtle warning, and although Xolys himself had both heard and understood what the armored maiden was attempting to convey, he chose not to address it for the time being. At this point, Camelot informed the incongruous pair that she would be serving as an escort for the group of untransformed girls, and offered to let them accompany her, causing Olivia’s eyes to sparkle with delight.

“Oh, I would love to!” she squealed happily. “And please don’t worry about me catching cold,” she added, when that concern was brought up. “That’s what Xolys is for!” she revealed with a giggle, nuzzling the monstrous beast affectionately as he scooped her up in a princess carry. “Plus, we’ll have plenty of time to chat and get to know each other, so I don’t think I’ll be getting bored either!”

The Knight raised a single brow in the Beauty’s direction with an odd smirk on her face. ”Well now, guess love really does take every shape and size, rather more literally in this case than others.” She snorted with a note of humor, but it didn’t seem mocking. “You’ve got some brave tastes, but I’m not about to judge.” Camelot glanced back at the retreating larger group. “Well, time’s a wasting.” With that final remark, the armored girl’s knees bent lightly, before she catapulted into the air in a brief arc, landing surprisingly lightly atop the roof of a nearby building outside the construction site.

“Brave?” Olivia echoed, her lovely features taking on a look of bewilderment. “I wonder what she meant by that?”

“I would not worry about it too much, my sweet,” Xolys replied with a small chuckle. “Now then,” he added as the pair observed Camelot leap atop the roof of a nearby building. “Shall we be off?”

“Yes, darling, let’s,” Olivia confirmed with a smile.

Coiling his massive lower tentacles like springs, Xolys shot into the air, before using his vast wings to glide down onto the roof next to Camelot, his massive form not seeming to harm the structure in any way.

“So, um, with a name like Camelot, I guess you’re the one who threw that glowing sword earlier, correct?” Olivia asked, her expression one of gleeful wonderment. “I thought that was so very amazing! Oh! But weren’t you worried you’d be defenseless should a Pageless happen to attack?” she inquired. “I mean, Pageless don’t attack me, but Xolys says that’s just an aspect of my Grimoire,” the babbling beauty continued. “But maybe you have other weapons?” she mused, looking very thoughtful. “Or perhaps you can conjure allies to fight beside you?! Captain Goodhope can summon these really cool ghost sailors, so maybe you can summon spectral knights?!” she asked, barely containing her excitement.

Camelot weathered the verbal barrage with only a raised brow, glancing back towards the walking group of untransformed magical girls every now and then. “That was I, yes. I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time, so I threw Excalibur from the top of Big Ben, just barely fast enough it seems to save the new girl.” She chuckled at the words of praise and waved them off lightly with one hand, shaking her head. “Thanks, but honestly, I was quite concerned I would miss my throw entirely from that distance. In fact, I had to put so much force into it to even reach my target that aim was honestly less my concern, so much as making a distraction. As for being disarmed? Well, it’s not like Excalibur sticks around when I revert to normal. If I absolutely had to, I could just retransform to return my weapon to me, but I decided to leave it in case one of my allies got the chance to grab and wield it where I couldn’t.”

She shrugged. “Besides, between my armor and my Scabbard’s healing, I’m pretty tough to hurt even without my weapon. Honestly, as long as I’m not put in a position that requires more range, I can handle most Pageless just fine without Excalibur entirely.”

Her expression turned thoughtful at the assertion of Olivia’s Pageless “notice-me-not” ability. With a somewhat concerned tone, she said, “If I were you, I’d experiment with that as soon and safely as possible. There’s no telling what kind of limits it has. Is it only Pageless or anyone you consider your enemy? What kind of effect range does it have? Is it based on distance or whether they can detect you? If there is a range limit, I’d definitely be more careful of opponents with ranged attacks.”

After that almost impulsive splurge of seeming open pondering, the knight shook her head and patted her cheeks, visibly recentering herself. “Sorry, I’m a bit of a filthy munchkin when it comes to superpowers, so I’m always down for finding more creative uses for them, no matter how powerful they already seem on the surface. As for other weapons I have…?” She frowned, rubbing her chin. “Well, King Arthur was supposed to have a spear, a shield and a dagger too; though, only the dagger also had magical abilities that I’m aware of. Also, technically, Caliburn, the Sword in the Stone, is a completely separate weapon from Excalibur and so also counts.”

Her brows furrowed, as she paused after a leap to a rooftop somewhat ahead of the group she and Olivia were escorting. Squeezing her eyes shut, she pressed one curled finger up against her lips in thought for a long moment as though searching for something internally, before dropping it and opening her blue eyes again. “Now that you mention it, that… It seems… feels like I should have more weapons. I’d kind of considered it before, but I was more concerned with mastering just a single weapon and training my base form’s abilities to really consider that potential avenue of my powers… Explorations for later, definitely.” She hummed, before shaking her head and continuing to move on.

Camelot chuckled at the topic of magical manifestations. “As far as I know, I can’t summon any allies, projections, minions or what-have-you otherwise. Honestly,” She scratched the back of her neck with an unreadable expression, “I’m not even sure what I’d do with more manpower. I suppose it would be useful to guard the Round Table… But if anything, I really would much prefer to be able to summon a horse.” She groaned long-sufferingly. “Maybe it might sound a little petty considering everything I already have, but it just doesn’t feel right knowing how to ride a horse and not having a loyal steed to gallop into battle on. Honestly, it would probably be Arthur’s mare, Llamrei, or perhaps his stallion, Hengroen.” She sighed with a note of wistfulness. “It’s really too bad I couldn’t just train up and own a regular horse. Aside from the cost and lack of proper stabling at Marrywell, it would still be just a normal horse and very much animal endangerment to ride them into battle against the Pageless. Honestly, it wouldn’t even be faster than I can run normally in Magical Girl form.”

Olivia listened with rapt interest as Camelot explained how her abilities worked, finding it particularly amazing that the armored maiden could fight off a Pageless without even needing to employ her weapon. When the knightly young woman inquired about Olivia’s own ability and suggested she practice with it, the azure-clad beauty’s lovely visage took on a thoughtful expression. “Oh, well, I don’t really know what enemies I would have, other than the Pageless,” she replied, seeming somewhat puzzled by the concept. “I mean, I’ve often had to deal with bullies, but I’d never fight them as a Magical Girl!” she added with a giggle. “As for range, it seems like the effect extends no more than a foot from my person, but I don’t think ranged opponents are anything to worry about, at least not with my dear, sweet Xolys protecting me!” she gushed, beaming up at her nightmarish consort with a dreamy expression.

When Camelot apologized for her pondering a moment later, Olivia gasped in delight. “Oh! I understand that reference!” she exclaimed cheerfully. “Some of my classmates used to play that game in the hobby shop, next to the library. One time, I asked them if I could play as the monsters, but they just laughed at me and called me a weirdo…” she added, her formerly radiant visage taking on a more sullen demeanor.

She went on to listen as Camelot revealed the other weapons that King Arthur was reputed to have possessed, although it seemed the knightly maiden didn’t currently have access to them herself. She did concede it was certainly an avenue for future exploration, which brought a hopeful smile to Olivia’s lovely face. However, Camelot had also said something that slightly confused the beautiful maiden. “Base form?” she inquired, tilting her head. “What’s that?”

Camelot then proceeded to muse on the possible allies she might summon if she someday acquired the ability to do so, and Olivia couldn’t help but be impressed by the level of knowledge she had about Arthurian lore. “Well, maybe after enough practice, you’ll learn how to conjure all of those things!” the azure-clad maiden suggested, utterly fascinated by the possibility. “But, wow! You must really love King Arthur to know so much about him!” she marveled. “I guess that’s why your Grimoire chose you, huh?”

Camelot frowned visibly at the mention of bullies, but her expression turned outright aghast at the mention of the “pacification aura’s” range. “Holy shit, that’s basically nothing. A mere foot? It’s lucky normal Pageless are usually limited to melee, but that kind of range could literally be evaded by accident, were they to, for example, be in the process of making a leaping attack at you. Not to disparage your guardian’s capabilities,” She nodded in Xolys’s direction. “But that range is genuinely frighteningly atrocious, especially considering your lack of other weaponry or personal protection.” She wound down and sighed, running one hand through her golden locks. “If you ever find time to experiment with and try to improve your abilities, I can only highly recommend you attempt to feel out and extend that range. If that aura relies on your opponent’s body physically entering the range, it can be overcome as easily as using a decently ranged weapon or attack, to say nothing of attacks that still hit you anyway, simply because your pacified foe couldn’t halt their own momentum in time.”

She shook her head again. “Sorry, I really don’t mean to be a downer, but you should keep the possibilities in mind. Accidents happen, after all, and your enemy only has to get lucky once.” She scratched the back of her neck again. “Like I said, I’m a bit of a power munchkin, and as often as I come up with new uses, I’m always thinking of ways to get around abilities, considering the weaknesses to exploit -in both myself and others.”

“Ah, if I may interject,” Xolys spoke up, his voice calm and polite. “I believe my dearest Rose misunderstood your inquiry. Her ability to keep Pageless from attacking is indeed limited to about a foot, but only in terms of the distance that others may benefit from it,” the imposing beast explained. “In her own case, any Pageless that can see her will be unable to harm her, making it a far more effective means of self-defense than what you may have initially imagined.”

“Yes, please don’t worry on my account!” Olivia insisted. “And I’m sorry if I explained things poorly,” she added. “I’m still rather new at this…”

“Oh, I see,” Camelot blinked, before sighing in open relief. “That’s good. Geez, had me worried there. Ah, and you know?” The knight chuckled lightly. “You’d know better than me on the origins of the ‘munchkin’ term. All I know is that it’s probably from table-top RPGs in general, but I couldn’t say if D&D is where it spawned specifically.”

She sniffed lightly at the chilly air, though her face hardly seemed physically affected by the temperature. “Honestly, if it’s not too forward, your former classmates are assholes and certainly not anyone I’d have wanted to play with. Though, granted, playing as the monsters isn’t really a thing unless you’re the Dungeon Master or doing something homebrew. That’s just mostly basic knowledge for pen and paper RPGs, so I can kinda understand the total rejection of the idea. They didn’t need to be shitty about it though,” Camelot scoffed disdainfully.

Camelot proceeded to talk a bit about RPGs and how horribly she thought Olivia’s classmates had treated her. “It’s okay,” the azure-clad beauty told the armored maiden. “Most people treat me like that…” she explained somberly. “In fact, my darling Xolys is the only person who’s ever treated me with any measure of kindness or understanding, at least, until today,” she added, giving the blonde knight an appreciative smile. “But, um, I don’t think they were playing D&D,” she noted with a contemplative frown. “I think the actual name of the game was Munchkin. It had cards with silly artwork on them, and I thought the monsters, in particular, looked really cute!”

The knight frowned and then openly scowled. “Well, I know it might sound weird coming from a teen… Well, eh, technically I’m an adult, I guess, so it’s less weird, but I digress. Teenagers are often assholes, casually cruel little bundles of hormones. I’d say it should be unsurprising, but somehow these things catch me off guard every time I witness or hear about them. I guess I just expect better of people, have too much faith in humanity in general,” she grumbled, before mulling over the card game name. “Munchkin, eh?” Camelot looked a bit poleaxed. “Being honest, never heard of a game called that in my life.”

The knight blinked in brief confusion at the disconnect over the “base form” term, before raising a single brow. “Just plain normal form, you know? My Magical Girl form doesn’t have stages or go Super Saiyan or anything. I just actually train martial arts and stuff outside of it.” Gesturing vaguely, she elaborated. “It’s nothing complicated, but I wanted to know if being stronger in my normal form affected my Magical Girl form’s strength. And to a degree, the answer seems to be ‘yes’, as I’ve discovered in the two years I’ve had these powers. Magical Girl strength is seemingly multiplicative, but the Transformation spends a fair amount of energy ‘shoring up weaknesses’ before anything else to bring every Magical Girl to a general minimum ability threshold, and so tends to have less to work with afterwords, since most Magical Girls don’t train at all. For most Magical Girls, they take what they get initially at face value, but for girls like myself and Dynasty Queen? Limits are meant to be tested and shattered. We train and better ourselves, and as a result, we naturally end up standing out more among our peers, especially when set up next to those that don’t even do sports.”

She smiled wryly. “People really underestimate the sheer utility of speed, for example. The faster you are, the more enemies you can strike down in the shortest amount of time, and the more effortlessly you can avoid attacks. Honestly, speed is just outright more useful than strength on a priority scale for Magical Girls. After all, your standard offensive abilities are usually good enough to kill Pageless even without training. All that’s left is to be able to apply them in many places as fast as possible. Granted, my own transformation seems to have a base multiplication ratio higher than the average, but that could be as much down to my training martial arts beforehand as- Ah-!

Coughing into one hand, her breath misting in the shilly air, Camelot grimaced. “Sorry, I digressed again, and most Magical Girls are kind of dismissive of my methods, even though they get obvious results, so uh, yeah, you kinda’ got me going there for a bit.”

When Camelot explained that her “base form” was simply her mundane self, as well as her reasoning for honing her physical ability while untransformed, Olivia couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of awe and admiration for her new friend. “Oh, no need to apologize!” she hastened to reassure the knightly maiden. “I think it’s simply fascinating! I mean, I’m exceptionally weak in my mundane form,” she explained. “So I don’t think I would be able to handle the kind of training you do, but since I don’t really do any physical fighting as a Magical Girl in the first place, it hopefully won’t be much of a problem. Still, I think the fact that you put so much thought into all this is really cool!” she added with an excited smile. “You’re just so smart when it comes to Magical Girl stuff! I really think I could learn a lot from you!”

Glancing back at the group down below, the knight’s jaw worked a bit, before she sighed. “Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll discover any more abilities any time soon -if at all. Most Magical Girls kind of have an instinct for what they can do, and I’ve done enough experimenting with mine to feel as though I’ve teased a bit much out of them.” Frowning, her expression flew through several half-expressions, before settling for a conclusive one, as she snapped her fingers. “Think of it like this. Where most Magical Girls kind of figure out their powers at a ‘jogging’ pace, I hit pretty much a dead sprint from day one in training mine. And sure, while I progressed inhumanly fast early on, I eventually equally quickly hit a wall and… haven’t really been able to improve much other than my physical abilities for the past year. I suspect that I improved too quickly and kind of… maybe temporarily burned out my ability to improve at all in exchange for reaching my peak quickly. I’ve started to see some change on that end recently, but…” She sighed. “My Grimoire just needs time to rest is all, and besides- No, nevermind; it’s not important.” She shook her head, cutting herself off.

Camelot brushed a couple strands of hair out of her face that the chilly winds and her leaps had placed there. “I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of King Arthur. Hero of his time though he was, he’s not as perfect as everyone believes he is. I’ve actually read my Grimoire, and he does some fucked up shit even for the era. I mean, by comparison to his opponents, he was pretty good, but Mordred in particular had a very good reason to resent him. The fact that my Grimoire chose me for potential compatibility reasons… Well, to say the least, I’m not sure how to feel about that. But regardless, I’d much rather forge my own path than ever take after Arthur.” She grunted. “I learned about him by necessity for the purpose of improving my powers, and most certainly not out of any sense of admiration.”

Olivia’s smile dissolved into a frown a moment later, when Camelot shared her recent difficulties with improving her more mystical abilities, along with her less-than-stellar opinion of King Arthur…

“Oh… Um… I’m not all that familiar with his legend myself,” Olivia conceded. “I-In fact, for the longest while, I thought that the sword he pulled out of the stone was Excalibur,” she added with a slightly awkward giggle. “But, um, I don’t really think anyone is perfect,” she added in an attempt to reassure the armored young woman. “A-As long as you imitate his positive attributes, rather than his negative ones, I’m sure you’ll be just fine!”

Camelot full on grimaced. “Look- He…” She paused, before giving deep sigh. “Okay, yes, he had his good points, many of them in fact, but geez, there’s not any nice way to look at it.” Pinching the bridge of her nose with one hand and rubbing it, the knight grunted. “At one point, some time after Morgan tricks Arthur into an incestuous pairing with her, Merlin outright advises Arthur to take all the newborn baby boys in his kingdom… and murder them.” Camelot’s hand dropped to her side, her expression twisted into one of utter naked disgust. “And he fucking did it without hesitation or even the slightest hint of moral justification. King Arthur, so-called paragon, sent who knows how many innocent children out to sea and had them killed, and yet, ironically, he misses the one infant he went to all that trouble to get specifically. Quite frankly, for that incident alone, Mordred’s hate for him is completely justified.” Camelot shifted, her fists clenching and unclenching. “And it is for that incident and a fair number aside it that I do not particularly favor either Arthur or Merlin.”

After giving voice to a sharp gasp of horror, Olivia was reduced to stunned silence for several long seconds, her eyes wide, and her mouth agape, as Camelot explained in detail exactly why she detested Arthur so much. Finally finding her voice, the azure-clad beauty spoke up, “O-Oh my goodness! T-That’s absolutely horrible! I-I had no idea that King Arthur could ever be so senselessly cruel!” By this point, her eyes were beginning to water, and she instinctively pressed her slender body tightly against Xolys for comfort.

Squeezing her eyes shut briefly, Camelot exhaled deeply, before shaking herself. “My apologies, didn’t mean to unload on you like that, but for I think fairly understandable reasons, I’m not super eager to model myself after -or be compared to- anyone who would do something like that at any point for any reason. Just… just so much nope. I can’t even fully put words to the level of my distaste.” The energy she’d displayed all night in front of Olivia seemed to have completely deserted the knight. While she continued to leap through the maze of rooftops with ease and grace, it was clear that a bitter taste now sat heavy in her mouth.

Camelot went on to apologize for creating such a somber atmosphere, causing Olivia to turn a sympathetic gaze back towards the knightly maiden. “T-That’s okay,” she told her gently. I-I’m the one who should apologize,” she added. “It was wrong of me to assume things, and I completely understand now why you feel the way you do about Arthur, and the fact your Grimoire is tied to someone like that. B-But, um, you also mentioned Merlin,” she noted hesitantly. “D-Does… Does someone have a Grimoire related to him?

Camelot looked a bit uncomfortable at the question, but eventually sighed and nodded. “Okay, so… look, just… keep in mind that I’m a bit biased here based on what I’ve read… and for personal reasons besides.” She shook her head. “More importantly, you should keep in mind the mental influence of a Grimoire -should it have any- tends to be exclusively active during a Magical Girl’s transformation, but in my personal experience, there can be bleed-over with time… ignoring those that believe they’re actually a reincarnate of the story character or something. Point being, they could be perfectly okay as a person outside their transformation.”

Camelot rubbed the side of her temples with armored fingers. So, given that most Magical Girls stop aging the moment they get their powers… and that the Grand Ministry has been around so long that no-one can remember when it was founded, I find it a tad bit concerning that the Grimoire of Merlin belongs to the top dog, the Grand Minister herself, who happens to also be the Grand Ministry’s original founder as far as I know. I think it remarkably unlikely that someone that has basically a total monopoly on magical power in the world and no form of oversight by the citizenry wouldn’t dabble in less than moral means. Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” she finished firmly, before sighing.

“Goodness…” Olivia gasped. “I had no idea that Grimoires could have an effect on their holders’ minds! Or that the Grand Minister holds Merlin’s Grimoire! It’s actually rather fascinating,” she added. “But also a little frightening… So, um, in light of that, I guess it kind of makes sense that you’d be worried about the Grand Minister…” the blonde beauty reflected. She was silent for a few moments before tentatively speaking up again. “D-Does your Grimoire affect you in any negative ways?” she asked, not wanting to offend her new friend by prying, but finding the subject extremely interesting.

Camelot shook her head. “Not all Grimoires affect their users mentally -at least as far as personality stuff. Alters like you are the most well known for that stuff, but it’s hardly exclusive and the vast majority of even normal ones come with instincts that help the Magical Girl use their new powers competently even from the first moment.” Working her jaw, she eventually shrugged. “On my end, that’s basically how it is, mostly just a flood of combat instincts and general habits that let me act as a proper knight if I feel like following them.” She tapped the side of her head. “My decision-making processes aren’t affected, not directly anyway, but my Grimoire has a nasty habit of shoving particular words and dialogue into the forefront of my mind. I’ll find myself ‘recalling’ random things that aren’t even mentioned in the Arthurian legends or accidentally referring to others with outdated terminology.”

She frowned and waved her hand dismissively. “Overall, it’s pesky, but I can ignore and counter that stuff if I’m paying attention, which I am most of the time. Still, it’s like muscle memory. That’s the insidious thing about even instincts as tame as mine. Perform certain acts, think certain thoughts, or say certain things enough times, and inevitably, some of that will carry over outside the transformation.” Folding her arms, she nodded resolutely. “With that in mind, it pays to be alert and remain humble at all times. And fuck it, it might be cheesy, idealistic, and ripping off a damn good man, but he was a good man for a reason. ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ Those are the words I try to keep sight of at all times. At the end of the day, I believe that as long as I do, I won’t lose my way.”

“Really? Like me?” Olivia wondered aloud once Camelot had explained a bit more about how Grimoires could potentially affect thoughts and behaviors. “Well, I don’t think I act any different, but maybe I’m just not noticing it?” she added, looking thoughtful. “Or maybe it’s because I’m already so similar to the protagonist of my Grimoire? Oh, but anyway, I see now why you’re so concerned about it. It’s actually kind of scary, especially when you consider all the horrible stories some Grimoires might contain. But I think what you’re doing to keep yourself focused makes a lot of sense,” she noted with an approving nod. “And I’ll be sure to remind myself of that as well! ‘Cause, um, I guess we really are kind of like superheroes, now, huh?” she asked with a small giggle.

The knight chuckled lightly. “Sorta are, yeah, when you really think about it. Even if it’s nonstandard, that’s just always been my stance. After all, I’ve got all this power, so why save it for just fighting Pageless?” Smiling, she shook her head. “That said, that’s very much my personal decision. Don’t let me dictate to you for what reason you should use your own powers. Being a hero should always be your own choice, and don’t let anyone tell you different..”

By this point, the trio had reached the gates of Marrywell Academy, the other girls having already entered the school’s finely manicured courtyard. “Oh! It looks like we’re here already,” Olivia observed as she gazed upon the school's medieval architecture. “Thanks so much for letting me accompany you on patrol, Miss Camelot,” she added with a smile. “I really enjoyed getting to know you!”

“As did I,” Xolys added, with a small bow of his head. “You truly are a most fascinating young woman.”

In a shower of blue motes, and a ripple of gold almost like the disturbed surface of a body of water, the blonde dissolved into an equally tall and apparently Japanese 5’10” Goth girl. Rolling her shoulders and cracking her neck, the ravenette shuddered at the temperature and pulled her black jacket tighter against her neck and torso. Briefly shoving both hands in the pockets of her jeans, she retracted her right one a moment later and held it out to Olivia for a handshake while they were still some distance from the rest of the group that they had been escorting, grinning wryly. “So, uh, now that our secret identities aren’t at risk, allow me to introduce myself properly. Chinami. Chinami Nadakai. Nice to meet you.” Rubbing the back of her neck with her other hand, she smiled. “I’ll be your senior here of two years, so if you have any more questions or concerns… or if anyone gives you trouble, come find me. I’ll be happy to help. I’ve taken it upon myself to help out our Alters here at Marrywell, so don’t ever feel like you’re imposing by coming to me.”

“Goodness!” Olivia gasped when Camelot reverted to her mundane appearance. “You look completely different outside of your Magical Girl form! Then again, I suppose I’m not really one to talk,” she added with a small giggle. At the revelation of Camelot’s real name, a big smile spread across Olivia’s radiant face. “It’s very nice to meet you, too, Chinami!” the azure-clad maiden told the now raven-haired young woman, while vigorously shaking her hand. “And thanks for the offer! Talking with you is really nice, so I’d love to do it again sometime! Oh, I’m so happy to have met such wonderful new friends already!” the blonde beauty added happily. “I’m really looking forward to making even more!”

Predictably, Olivia was blissfully oblivious to the frightened and contemptuous stares she and Xolys were attracting from many of Marrywell’s other “students”, but the same could not be said for her eldritch consort. Indeed, the Master of Xhar’doth was well-aware of the disdain often directed towards holders of Altered Grimoires, and he knew that his intimidating presence certainly wasn’t helping matters. “Although it pains me to say it, I believe it might be prudent for me to depart for now, my sweet,” he informed Olivia in a low voice.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right…” the azure-clad maiden conceded glumly. Standing on tiptoes, she placed a farewell kiss on the nightmarish beast’s “cheek”, and whispered, “I’ll talk with you later, okay, sweetie?”

“I shall greatly anticipate it, my love,” Xolys replied.

An instant later, a mighty vortex of mystic energy enveloped the incongruous pair, and, when it faded, a scrawny, bespectacled girl stood in their place.






Olivia sighed wistfully, her eyes closed, and a hand placed over her heart. She always hated having to part from her darling Xolys, but she knew it would be better for her to get to know her fellow Magical Girls as her mundane self, especially when they had all reverted to their mundane forms themselves.

“So, um, this is what I really look like,” Olivia told Chinami in a nasally, awkward voice. “I guess I look pretty different from my Magical Girl self, too, huh?” she noted with a nervous giggle, which sounded more like a snort. “Oh, a-and like I said earlier, my real name’s Olivia, Olivia Bell.”

Chinami smiled far from unkindly, her expression seemingly conveying a certain level of sympathy. “Hey now, I’d be quite the hypocrite to judge in my position. Rather, perhaps it’s even nicer to have someone to commiserate with about such a stark physical change. It’s very nice to meet you Olivia.” Glancing over her shoulder at the larger group, Chinami hummed and shoved her hands back into the pockets of her jeans. “Well, this has been pleasant overall I’d say. Now, sorry to be so abrupt, but if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check on Wilhelmina again. Want to make sure she’s not pulling a stupid ‘I’m fine when I’m actually not’ routine with me.” With a final nod, Chinami turned on her heel and strode relatively quickly to over where her apparent friend was, taking a position at the front of the pack of untransformed Magical Girls.

“Oh, um, okay!” Olivia replied when Chinami excused herself to check up on Wilhelmina. “See you later!” she added with an enthusiastic wave, before taking up a position at the tail end of the group of returning girls.

Her timing couldn’t have been better, as it appeared that the new Magical Girl was preparing to introduce herself. However, before she could even tell them her name, a second redhead nearly crashed into her from behind, before proceeding to dive into a nearby bush. A moment later, a trio of frustrated-looking girls ran up, one of them kicking over the bespectacled blonde standing next to Olivia in the process. Clearly in pursuit of the mysterious redhead, the trio promptly began searching the very bush their apparent quarry had chosen to hide in, but no trace of her could be found. In short order, the angelic girl (Lucette, was it?) had explained that the name of the trio’s quarry was Charlotte, that her Grimoire was none other than the Wizard of Oz, and that it was completely pointless to try and search for her, as evading pursuit was apparently one of her core abilities. Seeming to accept this, the trio apologized for their carelessness and helped the fallen girl to her feet. They then proceeded to hand out three pieces of paper, one to the new Magical Girl, one to the girl who had been knocked over, and one to Olivia herself. “O-Oh, t-thank you,” Olivia told them, after they’d explained what information the sheet contained. “This should help a lot!” The trio concluded by giving a short “orientation”, before heading off to attend to other matters.

No sooner had the three girls departed, then Charlotte seemingly appeared out of nowhere and began thanking the group for not ratting her out, while also offering to show them around the school. The suddenness of her appearance, and Lucette’s subsequent departure, was all a bit confusing for poor Olivia, but before she could even begin to make sense of things, Wilhelmina was beside her, apologizing for… calling Xolys scary?

“Oh! T-That’s all right!” Olivia hastened to reassure the maritime maiden. “For some reason, a lot of people seem to find him… scary…” Her voice trailed off upon noticing that Wilhelmina was no longer present, the twintailed blonde having darted off to begin chatting with Charlotte and the new girl.

Well, I guess it’s not really a bad thing that she enjoys making friends with everyone… Olivia reflected, before rushing up to the front of the group as well.

“Hi everyone! I’m Olivia, aka Ethereal Rose! It’s very nice to meet you all!”
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For a brief moment, Charlotte looked at Chinami, as if considering asking the other senior if she wanted to help out with the tour or even stick around. But Arthur's embodiment had other things to attend to and before the redhead could ask she was already walking away. Ah...still, Charlotte kept her smile. "I'll see you around then Chinami," she said before returning to Wilhelmina grin for grin. "Ah, don't say that Mina. Really, anyone could take my place for these kinds of things. And it's not like the school pays me to do it anyway. Just have to have the right flair and the biggest smile," Charlotte said, still leaning back with hands behind her head casually. "Say, if you're not doing anything, would you like to help me out? You seem to know everyone here better than me anyway so I'd really appreciate the helping hand."

Olivia's introduction caught her ear and the wily redhead gave the dimutive girl a big thumbs up. "Nice to meet ya Olivia! And not too shabby of a Magical Girl name too. I do approve," she said with big nods of her head. "Allow me to join in with the others in saying welcome to Marrywell Academy, all you." Charlotte passed her gaze over to all the new girls, boots moving as the group was already on their way through the courtyard. "Nothing too fancy for today, just gonna show you around. If there's any questions, please feel free to ask me loves!"

“Thanks, Charlotte!” Olivia replied with a smile when the redhead complimented her on her Magical Girl name. “My darling Xolys was actually the one who suggested it,” she explained. “He’s very creative and has a real flare for the dramatic.”

Charlotte went on to say that she would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have, and no sooner had the redhead finished speaking, then Olivia’s hand shot up. “Oh, I have a question!” the bespectacled girl announced. “What kinds of insects and arachnids are commonly found around the campus? Do you have any unique magical species?! What about paranormal activity?!” she continued, barely taking a moment to catch her breath. “Do you have any spirits in residence here? Well, besides the summoned ones, of course,” she added with a nasally giggle. “Oh, and is there a library on campus, by chance? I always used to love going to the local library back home when I wanted to relax,” she explained. “In fact, that’s where I met my dear, sweet Xolys!”

It was always nice to see the new generation so eager, though Olivia's questions briefly caught Charlotte off guard. Maybe she should have asked what their Grimoires actually were; it would have explained alot to her, as a Magical Girl's tome was usually reminiscent of their personality. Usually. Still, the more Charlotte looked at the bespectacled girl, the more she felt the slighted and off energy about her. So that was it then. This girl was an Alter; all the same, Charlotte's cool smile didn't falter. "Well, as far as I know, we have about the same insects and spiders you'd find anywhere else. Maybe a few in the lower castle parts from all the cobwebs," Charlotte said with a pause, as if actually thinking of any places she could relay to the younger girl.

"Hmm, species...maybe in some of the chemistry classes? We do have a big library so you might be able to find some information in there. Oh! But sometimes we do get some weird going one in the classrooms dead of night. That's probably the best place to get a look for them." By the time she finished, she'd led the group over to an elaborate water fountain, one that sparkled with either magic or the pristine dedication it took to keep such a thing clean, especially in London. "Xolys? Don't think I've met them yet. But from how you talk about them, it sounds like you too have a special bond."

Olivia listened intently as Charlotte answered her questions as best she could. The bespectacled girl was particularly intrigued by the mention of “weird going ons” in the classrooms at night. She and Xolys would definitely have to check that out, and perhaps she could even invite some of her new friends to join them. It could be like a slumber party! Smiling broadly at the thought of how much fun that would be, Olivia almost didn’t hear Charlotte when she asked about Xolys.

“Oh, yes, Xolys and I are very close!” the bespectacled girl agreed with a nod. “He’s linked to my Grimoire and has been a really big help in teaching me how to be a Magical Girl,” she added. “Plus he’s so handsome and kind… Oh, I just love him so much!” she gushed as she clasped her hands over her heart, her face taking on a dreamy expression.

So it was part of her Grimoire then; that made sense to Charlotte. Still, it was good to see the other girl excited even if what Charlotte had to offer was only what she'd heard herself. But with magic running around, let alone those wielders of it, it wasn't out of possibility to think there were some things left unsaid in Marrywell. "I'm happy to hear you're so acquainted with your Grimoire. For alot of Magical Girls it takes some time to feel fully adjusted to their story." Charlotte patted Olivia on the head to bolster that dreamy disposition.

Wilhelmina smiled at Charlotte, eager to be a part of the conversation along with the tour, as she felt a little ashamed of her behaviour earlier, but... Olivia's summon creeped her out like nothing else! Even when Olivia mentioned its... his... hers... its? Its name, she felt a small shiver travel down her spine. And then she started asking about insects in a high-pitched voice that seemed to be made for grating on people's nerves. And as such, Wilhelmina had to summon every ounce of politeness along with white lies that she was capable of if she wanted to guide Olivia around as well as to help her with being a magical girl. She... it was not Olivia's fault for having a creepy grimoire. Nor was it her fault that her voice was unusually high-pitched. As such, Wilhelmina spent a few moments to collect herself before she joined in the conversation herself.

"If you're looking for rumors, there's a particularly strange one about the music room. People say that at night, the piano starts playing by itself and if someone listens to it for too long, they'll end up in another world. Umm... and there's the one about the art room." Why was she doing this to herself? She was creeping herself out, but she pushed on nevertheless. "There's a few variations on that one and... umm... No, I think it's too much for me to explain..." Having lost her strength, she trailed off. Normally, she had little problem engaging in other people's interests, so this was something new for Wilhelmina.

“Oh wow! That sounds really interesting!” Olivia exclaimed, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “I’d love to explore another world with Xolys! He’s something of an expert on parallel dimensions, you know,” she added, her admiration for the eldritch monstrosity clear in her nasally voice. “And it would be so much fun if you and Chinami could come along, too! We could have our very own, unofficial field trip! Oh gosh!” she gasped as a new thought occurred to her. “Does the school go on official field trips?! Like, maybe to Stonehenge, or Loch Ness?! Or, or, what about the Tower of London?! I think read once that it was possibly haunted by ghosts… Do you know anything about that, Helmi?” she asked, completely oblivious to the poor girl’s apprehension. “I mean, you have all those cool ghost sailors, so I was just thinking that maybe you might be something of an expert on that sort of stuff.”

Charlotte passed Wilhelmina a sympathetic gaze, understanding by her tell-tale reactions alone why just what sort of person Oliva was, nevermind the aforementioned girl's excitement. She patted Wilhelmina on the head as well and chuckled under the turn in the conversation. "Not officially, no. Some classes do but really depends on your teacher. As a Magical Girl, and a new one around here at that, you'll be visiting all sorts of parts of London anyway. The Pageless can turn up in spots you never imagined they could."

The older redhead stepped away from the two girls suddenly, walking closer to the water fountain she drew them towards. The actual fountain itself was massive with ornate shapes curved into swans and gorgeous ducks but the actual water itself came out in small, weak bursts. "Now that's odd," Charlotte said aloud, turning to the others with an obvious grin. "I appreciate your enthusiasm Olivia, but we have to keep in mind what our purpose is as Magical Girls. We're here to help people remember? Take the fountain for example. Maintaining it is a real pain and there's not many with a knowledge of how to go about fixing that kind of thing, ya know?" she said with an exasperated sigh.

"If you have the power to help someone, you should don't you think?" she continued, stepping over to the fountain and actually starting to scour and climb it from the side-

"Wooops, almost fell~"

“Oh, yes! Of course!” Olivia agreed, while nodding enthusiastically. “I just love knowing that whenever Xolys and I fight the Pageless, we’re helping to keep people safe! In fact, I was just talking with Chinami earlier, and she said we were kinda like superheroes, which I think is really cool, don’t you?!” Finally taking a moment to notice what Charlotte was up to, Olivia gasped as she watched the redhead begin to scale the nearby fountain and almost lose her grip. “Oh gosh! A-Are you okay?! W-What are you even doing up there?!”

Wilhelmina tried her best to disguise a sigh of relief as Charlotte took over the conversation, steering it to safer waters. Seriously, she should not have tried that venue! Lesson learned: she could not handle talking about this sort of stuff in greater detail and would have to watch out for it in the future! She also made sure to lean into Charlotte's pets, much like an affectionate cat would, before she followed her with her eyes and let out a pleasant laugh when Olivia spoke up.

"She's going to be fine! Most of us can easily do tricks like that and even more. And even if she hurts herself, I'll patch her up! I have enough magic left for that," she spoke with a more lively voice than when she mentioned the rumours. "And yes, we are a little bit like superheroes, but I like us more! I mean, we not only fight Pageless, but Camelot uses her powers for good and even I healed a couple of people when I could afford it. Or sometimes I help out students who are looking for something, because my sailors are perfect for that! Of course, the only thing I don't do is bless students - that would be cheating! And we're here to use our powers responsibly, helping each other, helping people and defending our beloved stories from Pageless, so cheating is unacceptable!"

Wilhelmina's words were correct, to a certain extent. Charlotte inevitably still lost her footing, slipping from her spot clamped to the water fountain and tumbling down into the dried up wells below. What should have been a hard thud or maybe even the crack of something fragile turned into a large and thunderous splash instead, and not in the splatting sort of sense. Neither girl could see the exact impact but just as Charlotte fell, so too did a wave of water splash upwards from the fountain. It pooled a rich amber orange, fiery and reflective of the morning sun as the fountain burst forward with renewed fixing. What were once dribbles were now splurges of the orangish water, clear and warm.

"See? What I tell you. If you have the desire to help someone you can do anything," came Charlotte's voice. She rose out from the fountains depths, a geyser of water pushing her upwards under her boots until she was standing high on the pillar of water. She winked right at Olivia, as if spurned by her desire to save her in her moment of need. "So long as you remember that, you'll never stray from being a Magical Girl. It's nice to think of ourselves as superheroes, but remember, we help people before we defeat the baddies." Charlotte did a small twirl in place, arms outstretched without a care in the world as she beamed down on the two. More spurts of amber water rose up from the fountain on each side, accompanying her in a grand display.

At first, Olivia was startled when Charlotte fell into the fountain. An instant later, however, and her concern turned to awe as the redhead not only seemingly repaired the defective fountain, but also rose into the air upon a pillar of amber liquid, completely unharmed. “Oh wow!” Olivia marveled, while clapping her hands in gleeful wonderment. “That was amazing, Charlotte! And Chinami said the same thing earlier,” she added. “About helping people, I mean. Although, I don’t really know how much help I could provide with my powerset, besides protecting them from the Pageless, of course…” Her voice trailed off as the corners of her mouth drooped into a slight frown. She was silent for a moment, before speaking up again. “Um, Charlotte? What is that liquid, anyway? I-It doesn’t really look like water…”

When Charlotte fell off the fountain, Wilhelmina flinched and prepared herself to heal the broken bones. After all, even if she did know what the other girl could do, it did not make it easier for her to watch as she endangered herself, then summoned a tide of fiery-orange water. Letting out a relieved sigh at the sight, along with the thought she did not have to use healing, Wilhelmina's smile resumed. "I'm sure you'll find some way to help people, Olivia! I mean, my powers are really easy to figure out. I just have to visit sick people occasionally to cure them or lend my sailors to help, like I said but with Thergys being terrify- ah..." She paused as she realized what she just said. She did not quite pale, but the abrupt nature of her shutting her mouth along with her averting her eyes were clues enough to the thoughts which ran through her head.

"Mina's right you know. It's not about the how, just about the fact you can and the will. After all, you were ready to leap if I fell right? Both of you." Charlotte paused in her spinning lest she really did fall, casting an amused look down at the two girls. Then she burst out laughing at Olivia's concern. "Of course it's water love! Just with a bit of magic I suppose, nothing dangerous or anything like that. Better to be honest with each other and ourselves. Doubt can cause all sorts of problems down the way...." Her words seemed more directed at Wilhelmina now, not losing fact of that pause in words and change in demeanor. She could only guess it had to do with Olivia's Altered nature but before she could pass on more thoughts to that....

"Miss Clementine, there you are!"

"Aww geez...."

One of the students from before was beelining right for the fountain, no doubt to flag Charlotte down again. It didn't help she had caused quite a commotion but that was neither here nor there. "Welp, sorry about the shortened tour but I hope you take what I said to heart. Catch you later loves~" The redhead gave an encouraging wink to Wilhelmina before propping two hands over her head up high and leaping off her water spout. Like an athlete she dove headfirst into the fountain's water with a mighty splash, disappeared by the time the hapless student skidded to a half to the fountain's front with naught but Charlotte's words lingering for the other Magical Girls.

“Oh, I see,” Olivia said with some relief after Charlotte explained that the liquid in the fountain was just magically-colored water. “And thanks for the encouragement!” she added with a smile. “I’m sure with some practice, Xolys and I can find ways to be useful outside of combat, too, just like you, Helmi, and Chinami!” A moment later, the redhead’s trio of admirers reappeared, and she was forced to swiftly depart, leaving Olivia alone with Wilhelmina. “So, um, would it be possible to see some of those places you mentioned earlier?” she asked with an eager gleam in her eyes. “Or, um, if you’d prefer, we could go to the library. I really enjoy going to the one by my house, and I’ve been wanting to see how Marrywell’s compares!”

Before Wilhelmina knew it, a crowd of admirers started to corner Clementine again and so the red-haired wizard(?) winked at Wilhelmina before jumping into the pool with a great splash. Like before, the blonde girl flinched a bit as the guide completely disappeared into the aether, but by now, she was starting to get used to it. More importantly though, it seemed as though Olivia had not noticed Wilhelmina's slip of the tongue. Thank goodness! Shoulders loosening up at the realization, as well as the encouragement of a senior magical girl, she returned to her usual cheer and latched onto her opportunity. "Definitely the library! There are all sorts of stories there!" Wilhelmina spoke from the bottom of her heart. She could go on and on about how grand the library here proved itself to be, but... well, she could save that talk when they actually arrived! And this also meant she had something in common with Olivia. Which meant she did not have to talk about bugs, haunted things or Xolys.

Really, she felt as though she should be thankful to the universe for that favor.

“Admirers” was certainly one way of looking at the gaggle of girls now leaving the scene as quick as Charlotte’s disappearance. Some of them muttered things about wanting the redheaded Magical Girl to be their teacher but it was doubtful that’d ever manifest in fruition. Far away from the fountain and perched along the highest spiring tower of Marrywell Academy was Charlotte once again. She sat at the tower’s edge, legs swinging out into open air and over the grand scape that was the school.

“They’ll be fine,” she chuckled to herself, watching Wilhelmina lead Olivia away. She slowly brought one leg up and rested her chin against her knee, eyes traced up to peer into the sky. “They have each other. I don’t doubt they’ll all be fine,” she repeated with a low smile to none but herself.

The day came and went with the initial introductions out the way. The new girls were shown their dorms and class schedules, spending a night with their roommates and getting adjusted to the way things were in Marrywell. Whatever antics they got into were their own stories to tell as all was driven by the will of the Grand Minister. By the next day, all the Magical Girls involved in the last night’s incident were gathered for their first assignment and not of the scholarly kind.

It was to be decided that the eight Magical Girls be placed into one singular team to better assist the newcomers through the strength of the senior girls. One team of eight, two sections of four both manned by Chinami and Lucy with the former charged responsibility over Bonnie, Suzuya, and Tesni, and the latter guiding Nessie, Olivia, and Wilhelmina; all of this was dictated personally by the Grand Minister. Once the girls all finished their breakfasts and prepared for the day, they were expected to move out and patrol the streets of Queen’s blessed London.

The assignment served as a dual purpose of course, acting as lessons to teach the rookie Magical Girls all that they could learn from their teachers in hunting Pageless as well as ensuring the newer girls were more familiar with London’s landscape. Whatever patrols and routes to take was left up to the group leaders as it could be assured Chinami and Lucy didn’t much see eye to eye in how they went about their Magical Girl duties. With the day long before them and all of London to explore for any roaming Pageless, what could possibly go wrong?

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Suzuya Kuzunoha


Her first day began and concluded as a wall flower, a mere spectator to events unfolding before her with not even the grand spectacle of magic to rouse a tired Suzuya into engagement. She told herself it was merely so she could get a handle on her peers and her Grimoire was too sated from prior battle to push with any force. Like a fattened cat who wouldn't roll of its side but still jabbed a paw in her side, she managed to ignore it for her first night in the dormitories.

Suzuya's roommate was Olivia, and it should have been obvious just upon learning this that it meant it they would both be slumbering in a transformed state. Olivia wanted her cuddles from Xolys, and Suzuya very much wanted the mental girding her power provided lest she scream in terror whenever her eyes began to drift shut.

To her confusion her Burning Heart mentality was rather envious Olivia had a lover's 'arms' holding her, but having more than enough confusing, fresh experiences to occupy her mind, the blonde fox girl did manage to sleep once she abandoned her blankets and slept in a ball of tails.

By the next morning she could say with certainty the tails were not connected to her spine, as she had slumbered without any discomfort, and that an English breakfast was some of the heaviest food she'd ever had to contend with. And it was a clash to be sure, with nary a vegatable in sight and no rice at all, Suzuya quitely sniffled and settled for the oatmeal lest her stomach charter a flight overseas on its lonesome.

With her body rested and filled, she set her sights on the mission ahead, as rather then a day of classes they were schedules to patrol the city by light of day. A pleasant way to get used to locales, no doubt, and having been divided in groups of four perhaps a chance for her to open up? Adjusting her classes she turned an eye to cohorts for this excursion, finding the Arthurian Magical girl to be the best choice of leader for them, a team of entirely melee centric Magical Girls.

She didn't much like her chances of approaching Tesni, her rampage the night before being rather wanton and bombastic, but Bonnie had seemed very approachable when they fought back to back. After literally swallowing to force down the drieness in her throat, she shuffled sidewards, moving closer to the French-themed Magical Girl and nodding to her.

"Ano...I am Suzuya. It is, good, to see be roaming with you." Her words were slow and clunky to her own ear, lacking the eloquence of her native tongue and she felt a word was not the best for their current endeavor, but her classes before Merrywell made it clear that practise and repition was the only way to get a language down. "You were a good comrade in battle. I hope to do so again."

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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Izurich
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Izurich 7/8 Weeb

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--City Tour--


@Sonnambula @Ponn @Villamvihar

After her short meeting with Lady Marywell, the rest of the day didn't have anything particular to note with one exception; Nessie was to be her new roommate, yet it was unsurprising as Lucy preferred to be paired with new students anyway. In fact, she wouldn't mind being roomed with all of the new girls, but she knew that would be far too impractical, she was but one girl after all. Fortunately, when it came to teaching, she could address many more students at once due to the nature of the activity, albeit yes, it's a less personal endeavor than being roomed with one.

With that context, it should come as no surprise that the same Scot was amongst the trio assigned under her. As a side note, Lucette also noticed that the team - herself included - was comprised of magical girls who either fought at range or use summons/minions do to their bidding, and considering the fact that Chinami's team were all close-combat specialists, the angel had no reasons to believe this was a mere coincidence. A wise decision really.

Thus, the group of four - Lucette, Nessie, Olivia, and Wilhelmina - found themselves roaming through the streets of London in broad daylight, in their mundane forms and clad in civilian clothes of their choosing. This was a particularly fine day with few clouds and clear blue skies, something to be cherished in a city known to host constant rain for roughly half of every month, including on sunny days even. Lucette was used to it though, she had lived in England five times longer than all the years she spent in France; at this point, the Seraph was more English than French with only her name being the last remaining vestige of her heritage.

A short while later, the ironically "youngest" of the quartet took her group to a lovely city park, where green nature thrived in an otherwise densely-populated metropolis. The girls could see Londoners milling about, many of them couples or families; they jogged, walked their pets, enjoyed a picnic, and generally enjoyed leisure time free from the hectic city life.

"Girls, do you see this?" Lucette addressed her group, curling a solemn smile as her right hand gestured toward the civilians, "This is what we strive to protect, we fight so they don't have to, we're awake at night so they may sleep in peace." She paused to let her words sink in for a moment, then took a seat on the pristine grass, motioning for the rest to join her if they so wished.

"Is there anything in particular you'd like to ask of me? I'll aspire to answer them to the best of my abilities."
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by McFazzer
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Tesni


“Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh! I hate patrols, it’s just running about wasting energy almost hoping something bad happens." Tesni pulled out a can of cola and chugged half of it as if somehow the more she drank the less annoyed she'd be. She wasn't correct, but at least it tasted good. Pulling herself away from her soothing potion, Tesni went right back to sounding her frustrations.

Also! Why is miss ‘Don’t Wannabe Arthur’ the leader?! I mean, I kinda get not making me the leader, the big bosses would probably call me selfish, or impulsive, or utterly incapable of taking care of others during combat, or say something like ‘Tesni, why do you even want to be the leader? Last time we offered it to you, you said it was a hassle and to never ask you again’. And yes, that is all true… but why do I have to take orders from the most indecisive of all magical ladies?!” gulping down the last of her can of cola she tossed it to the ground, stomped it into a flat disc and kicked it into the nearby trash can. Some random passerby in a school blazer shouted something about how she should join a team, Tesni briefly turning away from the group to say if a sports team needed her for anything they must really be in trouble, waving and ignoring them. Turning to Chinami, Tesni decided to be even more straightforward… even though she hadn’t exactly been subtle with her words till now.

“I know you can hear me Chinami, so why are you the leader? You finally getting into the swing of things, becoming a glorious king? I’m actually shocked you accepted. Does your knightly nobility prevent you from disobeying such a request, do you worry about that? Being a knight seems like it’s soooo stressful, well at least we all know chivalry isn’t dead with you about I guess.” rubbing her temples as if she was trying to get rid of a headache, Tesni felt that while she was at it, she might as well make herself crystal clear to the Arthurian magical girl.

“Chinami, I like you well enough as a person, but I’m gonna get really blunt so brace yourself, alright? I don’t know if this is right, but for the longest time you’ve given off this tragic hero vibe. Like you're the lone hero that will save all of us from the terrible fate of having become magical girls. Which is peak arrogance. So, I’m saying that we won’t achieve anything by showing off our misfortune to each other! ‘This awful thing happened in my past that made me onto a Magical Girl’, guess what? We all have that exact same story! It’s all pointless compared to our current situation anyways!” Taking a deep breath she tried to calm down, slow down her words so they didn’t come out so fast no one could understand because she felt this was important.

“Chinami. I don’t care about your situation. Do you know why? Because we are all in the exact same goddamn situation! And it’s not like you will sympathize with another person for having a similar past as you either. Because everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story, everyone sees others as side characters in their grand narrative so therefore everyone thinks their own personal tragedies must be the most tragic, right? Especially since our powers literally come from heroes of stories!” Pulling out another can of cola she shoved it into Suzuya’s hands.

“And you, uhhhh… Suzie!” the gears in Tesni’s head were almost audibly clunking along as she struggled to remember the girl’s name, failed to do it, then stuck a nickname on the girl in a last-ditch effort to not have to embarrassingly ask for it.

“If you have something wrong, at least try and solve it. Drink something if you have a sore throat or whatever… damn I’m tired and nothing has even happened yet!” Tesni went back to rubbing her temples as if trying to massage away a headache.
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Suzuya Kuzunoha


What should have been a simple patrol was souring fast due to the member neither Suzuya nor Burning Heart could find very appealing. The former thought Tesni was a bit too...American, as compared to her reserved nature and nationality, while the Magical Girl in here found mass destruction without a method behind the madness was troublesome. Even an army killer still needed some degree of safety and slamming a giant staff in a civillian filled construction was not it.

At least everyone else's lasers and strokes were aimed first, though the Japanese girl would never say as such even when a can of soda was stuffed into her hand. Checking the label and finding she had no idea what a Mountain Dew Surge was, she looked around for a trash can only to find her eyes to meet a mask barely inches from her face.

Roma Bhakti


The trio of Celestial Attendants shared a giggle as Suzuya dropped her soda with a yelp of alarm that would surely draw the patrol's attention to the hereto unseen intrusion in their midst. Just by their magical senses alone it would be clear these were not magical girls, even if they acted with an exxagerated sense of amusement and surrounded her, carding their fingers through herhair like she was a fluffy animal she would transform into.

"Pardon them their eccentricity. I neither curb nor condemn it, just as I find no fault in your own." The words drifted softly and with little inflection, the space between Tesni and Chinami that had once been empty of all but tension now filled by a statuesque woman in eastern garb of a more extravagent cut then the fox girl who was currently finding herself hemmed in between three affectionate Attendants. A gold fan was open, covering the lower half of her face in a gesture towards holding something of a demure air, even as two ears towered upwards from her head and marked her a rabbit of all things.

"Allow me to extend my greetings to now that we absent the company of a blind angel, for though this is not my first time in your company, this would be our first proper meeting as Magical Girls. I am Moonlight Tsubasa, and those are three of my Celestial Attendants." She said, eyes crinkling with a joy her tone failed to convey.

Responding to the alien Magical Girl's shifting tone, the Attendant's broke off from their petting and stepped back, effectively pinning the group between two groups. Without bringing attention to such positioning nor how Suzuya was hugging herself like she'd just had a particularly rough train ride, she reached with her unoccupied hand into her robes and drew out a familiar coin to one of the party present.

"It feels poor compensation for a night of such wonders to simply leave a token of appreciation with neither note nor gratitude, so allow me to take this chance to pay it forward for your next feast. We all are eagerly awaiting what the Table shall provide."

"But alas I feel that for all your efforts they will go unappreciated by others. Already I hear the murmurs of conspiracy from the halls of your vaunted prison, and it need not take much effort to imagine who would wish to see your charity spoiled like rotten fruit. A more insidious poison then the words of judgement from the Divine Sage of Drunken Apes beside me."

Her eyes slid to Tesni, twin pools reflecting the light of the moon even as they stood before the rare sunny day over London. "Had you an understanding of your present fate, perhaps you would be a hair more melodramatic. After all, you've found yourselves enslaved not only in body, but in mind. A cruel fate made all the more sinister for the very engine of tyranny you are broken by is one you are made to love. Truly the Ministry has learned from history to create such a wheel to shatter us in perpetuity. One could admire the artistry if it abided us the one thing no Magical Girl is allowed."

Tsubasa's gaze met each Magical Girl, from Lilac to Camelot, before intoning a single word echoed by her attendants.

"Growth."
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Hidden 12 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Camelot


After leaving the tour group behind, Chinami's pace through the halls of Marrywell Academy could have best been described as a "power walk", her strides rapidly eating up the space between herself and her dorm. Admittedly, this was hardly unusual for her; Chinami was the sort to always be in something of a subconscious rush in between her various responsibilities. But the Goth would also admit that she might be a bit too hurried at times, to the point of impatiently leaping short stretches down stairs rather than take the time to walk them. Chinami spared a curt greeting for a friendly face or two she passed in the halls; however, even the Alters were being made fairly well aware without explanation that her time was valuable today, as the ravenette reached her dorm and entered without fanfare.

Closing the door behind her, Chinami sighed and then started slightly in surprise at the sight of her roommate currently flopped into their bed, bags tossed carelessly to the floor. "Bonnie? So, this is where you disappeared to." At the relative silence she received in response, Chinami frowned and strode over to her own bed, sitting down with a light "umph" and grabbing her laptop from where it sat atop her bedside writing desk. Setting the mobile computer atop her thighs, Chinami booted it up impatiently, her eyes flickering back towards her roommate occasionally.

Her mouth opened to say something, only to shut a moment after. There was an energy here that she... wasn't sure how to respond to. As much as they were roommates, they'd never gotten all that close. They were friendly sure, but not necessarily friends, and admittedly, a large part of that was probably Chinami's fault. Between her nigh-obsessive training back when she had first arrived killing much of first impressions, the seemingly distinctly different interests the two held, and Chinami's own dedication later on to her personal projects, like feeding the homeless and watching over the Alters... well, despite being roommates, they had remained almost uncomfortably distant.

And that was only natural to be disquieted. Most of time, one would expect to grow close to anyone they spent excessive time with, even if only for Stockholm syndrome reasons. Humans were at their core social creatures, but... Chinami hadn't been providing that, remaining a stranger that happened to sleep in close proximity to her fellow. On one level she felt bad doing that to her senior, someone who seemed genuinely good natured, but as their interests had never particularly aligned, Chinami had never seen the point in befriending her, especially given all the social energy she'd devoted to putting on her best face for Wilhelmina, the other Alters and her people.

Because at heart, Chinami was an introvert. One wouldn't typically know it, given the energy she managed to pull out of her ass while on the job and when interacting with those she protected, but she didn't exactly... like other people in general. For her, being able to let all that energy seep out of her in her room -in her downtime- was all too valuable to her personal mental health, and if she suddenly had another "friend" to manage during the time that was normally devoted to herself? Well, long-term, Chinami didn't see anything good coming of it.

And all of sudden... what was this guilt she was feeling? Chinami struggled to place exactly why now felt so different to all the other times she'd simply... existed silently within the same room as her senior. She felt like she should be saying something, but still... Bonnie looked tired. So, she was probably better off doing something quiet and leaving her be. After all, were the positions reversed, Chinami knew she'd have been a bit peeved at her quiet solace and decompression being invaded.

As her laptop's home screen came into view, Chinami expanded a few minimized tabs and refreshed them, humming quietly. Unfortunately, despite being fully rested and several of her followed stories being updated, Chinami... couldn't find the energy to read them. Something simply continued to nag at her mind.

Opening a new tab, Chinami typed "solidus gold coin" into the search bar and quietly browsed several related Wikipedia pages. Around thirty minutes later, she frowned and minimized the window and its small collection of tabs, digging the gold coin out of her pocket. The divot that had been casually sliced into one end by Excalibur glimmered under the light of the laptop screen within the dim room, and Chinami weighed the coin with her hand, turning it over in her fingers idly and mulling over the results of her research.

Supposedly brought into use in the early third century, the coin remained in service for many centuries afterwards, remaining of the same relative purity and worth until the 11th century. Supposedly, it should weigh about 4.5 grams, but without a scale, Chinami couldn't say if the one she held matched up... aside from the way her dulled instincts seemed to be... drowsily contented with it. That wasn't even accounting for anything she might have accidentally shaved off with Excalibur; though... On second look, it appeared the precious metal had merely been depressed and severed by the enchanted blade. Only way to tell for sure what she was dealing with would be to visit the chemistry labs and borrow the use of one of their scales, and if she was lucky, maybe she could find someone who could help her determine if what she was holding was actually real gold... along with its purity.

Sighing, Chinami placed the coin in her jacket's inner pocket alongside her Grimoire, which momentarily almost seemed to... hum appreciatively. Frowning, Chinami rapped her short fingernails across the surface of her laptop, before setting it back atop her desk.

There was something even more vital to handle.

Reaching beneath her Grimoire, Chinami drew forth a small, cheap and almost junky flip-phone... along with an ejected battery. With a couple practiced motions, the battery was returned to its home within the phone with a quiet "click", and Chinami booted it up, cycling over through the very small and exclusive list of contacts within. Bringing the burner phone to her ear, Chinami exhaled quietly, as it rang for several moments, before going silent. Frowning, the Goth rolled her eyes and dialed again, tapping her fingers impatiently.

While she was sure Marrywell had some level of magical protections, there was no telling how far they extended when it came to electronics. Even that potential lack of protection aside, there was no sense letting herself be potentially tracked if law enforcement or a snitch got involved or lucky. Thus, when it wasn't in use, she ejected the phone's battery, hopefully preventing any patterns of movement from being established.

Chinami restrained a sigh of relief, as she heard the sound indicative of the line connecting.

"Camelot?" came the surprised and somewhat wary voice of Jonathan. "Wasn't 'specting to hear from you so soon. What's the issue?"

The worry was understandable. In general, Chinami had scheduled call times for her discussions with her "generals" among the homeless community, the people she trusted to help organize things and keep any notable bad apples uninvolved. Though, she insisted that everyone was welcome at her feasts and was to be given at least a single chance, even with a history of trouble-making. Her Scabbard's ability to heal gave her a lot of leeway to cover for any injuries that might be incurred by someone especially stupid, and her inhuman speed and strength let her prevent most incidents to begin with.

But that was digressing a bit. Jonathan's worry was justified, given that Chinami was not normally the type to make surprise calls.

"Johnathan, good to hear from you," Chinami said, her eyes flicking towards where Bonnie was laying in bed. Pursing her lips, Chinami nodded to herself and then flipped the sound to speaker mode, ensuring that both sides of the conversation could be heard clearly within the confines of her shared room. "Don't worry, it's nothing too serious... yet. I suppose I just allowed a little bit of someone else's paranoia to get to me, despite our vast experience with the contrary, but these are changing times."

"Changing times?"

"Sorry, that's diverging a bit," Chinami shook her head, even though he couldn't see it. "No more of the Pageless showed up after I left, right? My senses didn't indicate any more were coming, but things were a bit muddled by the presence of an especially powerful one."

"No, Boss, you got 'em all," Jonathen replied.

Chinami was torn between rolling her eyes at the title she had oft' firmly rejected and sighing in relief. "Good, good." Chinami nodded. "As an aside, did the property damage from the battle clear up? I'm not personally quite sure how that works or what the limits are, but as long as it did..."

"Come to think of it, yeah," replied Jonathan. "The collapsed wall and all the damage to the street cleared up shortly after you left."

"That's a relief," Chinami said, running her free hand through her hair to tuck some of her ebon locks behind one ear.

"You're telling me," Jonathan continued. "Was worried we were going to have to change locations."

Chinami grimaced. "We still will."

"What? Why?" Jonathan asked, a frown in his voice.

Chinami sighed. "Simply put, if the Pageless have gotten aggressive enough to challenge me directly, I can't afford to gamble on my people's lives." Frowning, she decided to be blunt. "I said a lot of big words and made big promises, but in the end, I almost wasn't able to keep them. With my Scabbard's healing, no-one would have died, but a child almost got hurt, even with all my speed. Jonathan, I won't stop the feasts, but if I am to expect more enemy incursions, I cannot be put in a position that stretches me so thinly again."

After a moment, Jonathan grunted an assent. "Okay... alright." She could hear a scratchy sound, like he was running one hand over his stubble. "Then, what are we going to do?"

"Unfortunately, we're going to be implementing some changes," Chinami replied firmly. "For starters, I hate to ask, but I need you to start spreading out some feelers for a new location. And while you're at it, spread the word that our attendees should keep an ear out for the news of when we find an appropriate spot." Listing off with her fingers, Chinami continued, "It naturally needs to be large enough to contain the Round Table as it was today with plenty of room for inevitable expansion. Secondly, we must avoid being in the open any longer. An inside location is best to prevent the Pageless from surrounding us like they did again. I want to be able to funnel the enemy through select directions, so a warehouse of some sort may work." Glancing to the ceiling of her dorm, Chinami hummed. "Thirdly, if at all possible, I want this to be done legally. We have contacts, Jonathan. We know people. Whether it's one of our wealthier guests or someone a guest knows, I want feelers out. Ask what we can do for them as compensation. In terms of trade, we have the Round Table and its unending food, and we also have plenty of unused manpower. If the legal end doesn't work out, however..." Chinami grimaced. "I know some members of the underworld have got some fingers in the pie as it were, some regular ears at the table, but for the most part, they do appear to have been polite enough to leave us be. If the legal end doesn't work out, we'll discuss those options, but only in such a case." Sighing, Chinami flopped back on her bed.

"Not asking for much, eh?" Jonathan inquired dryly.

Chinami snorted. "If I had any other choice, I wouldn't be asking at all, but I'm not prideful enough to stubbornly push a lost cause." She crossed her legs. "That aside, I'm not even finished yet. These are just the preliminary and absolutely necessary aspects I want managed. I'm sure others will occur to me in time, but I want the search started as soon as possible with the initial three in mind." Rolling her jaw, Chinami frowned. "The move is about as urgent as it can be without being an emergency, but try to avoid jumping for the first possible option or making any immediate promises. I still ideally want multiple qualifying locations presented before the final choice. Until then, the feasts will be held at the usual location. However, I won't be starting them as laxly as before. With the Pageless more aggressive, I'll be avoiding the night as much as feasible, starting the sunrise feast at the last possible moment and the sunset feast as soon as feasibly possible. Sorry to ask more, but if you could make sure that unfortunate inflexibility is clear to our guests?"

Jonothan sighed in turn. "All right, all right, I gotchya, Miss."

Chinami's tone was openly thankful and relieved. "Thank you, John. I know this is rather more than you and the other organizers are used to putting up with. I hate to delegate so heavily, but my duties as a magical guardian call strongly as of late."

Jonathan chuckled somewhat self-depreciatingly. "Hey, it's not like we've got much else to be doing. If nothing else, this'll be a good cure for boredom."

Chinami shook her head fondly. "Thank you again, Jonathan. Please pass my thanks and well-wishes to the others as well?"

Jonothan chuckled slyly. "They've already heard. I had you on speaker the whole time. After all, a surprise call from you is the sort of thing that turns heads, don't ya' know?"

Flushing and pinching the bridge of her nose, Chinami snorted at the muffled chorus of other greetings, as Jonathan's background observers chimed in. "You guys... are such a mess."

"We're your mess, Lassie."

Rolling her eyes, Chinami smiled. "Thank you. Really. And see you tonig- No, rather, this evening now."

"Till then, Camelot."

Chinami hung up, turned off the phone and ejected the battery, returning both to her jacket's inner pocket. With a groan of relief at checking off -or rather, beginning to check off- one of the issues on her current pile, Chinami settled back against her bed, enjoying the cool feel of her pillow against the back of her head. Folding her fingers atop her stomach, Chinami found her gaze drifting back towards Bonnie.

Pursing her black-painted lips, the Goth exhaled quietly, before finally addressing her roommate. "The offer's open, you know? I know we haven't exactly... talked much... or done much of anything together outside of fighting Pageless, but in my experience, a good meal and good company tend to ease most ails. Just let me know, you know?" Shifting, she grunted and sat up, taking up her laptop again to open up several minimized tabs. "No need to answer right away. Just know that my Table is always open." With that, she set to her self-mandated decompression. No more work. No more stress. Just fanfics and gaming with some earbuds in for the next... She glanced it the clock. Four hours? However long it took her to be able to doze or become peckish. Eating Round Table food beforehand tended to leave little room for snacking.




Mercifully, the rest of the day and following night passed relatively without incident, as did the sunrise hours of the day after. Chinami, despite being well on her guard, found that either her new precautions were already starting to have an effect... or the Pageless were still simply too worn down by their bum rush of strength and numbers the day before. Either way, Chinami was hardly complaining; that gave her more time to prepare for things to get worse... as they slowly seemed to be of late.

The next day in and of itself, however, brought tidings about which Chinami had mixed feelings.

She was being assigned a team, assumedly one she should expect to retain long-team, which was rather unusual. Most of the time, Magical Girls tended to gather a team on their own terms, picking up whoever they needed to fill the various roles one might need to balance such things either through choice or something akin to fate. Granted, Chinami could admit her lack of initiative in this area was what had likely prompted her inclusion. Without a regular established team to "reserve her" from such things, she was naturally delegated to this task, which was... Well, she wasn't necessarily opposed to it per say, but having yet another responsibility added to her plate at this particular time was rather decidedly inconvenient.

That aside, it seemed the "early bird gets the worm" saying was coming round to haunt her. Because she had spread herself out across so many different projects and disregarded composing a proper team of her own, the Grand Minister had seen fit to take the decision from her hands. In all honesty, that was the thing that peeved her the most about all of this, but she somehow managed not to show any of it in the Minister's office. It was unfortunate, but she could deal with this. That said... there was a fair bit more about this situation she'd be having to "deal" with long-term.

The sub-team compositions were... Well, honestly, about the only good thing about them that Chinami could say was that she wasn't paired with Lumiere or, worse, placed directly under her. That... would not have gone well. Personally, however, Chinami didn't particularly crave leadership for herself, and having it granted to her made her both uncomfortable and satisfied in a way she couldn't quite describe. In a team, under ideal circumstances, she preferred to treat everyone involved as equals, where the worst there was to be had as far as "orders" was merely strong well-informed suggestions.

In theory, as presented to them, the experienced Magical Girls were to act as teachers for the newbies, not just in terms of how to potentially best utilize their abilities against and slay Pageless, but also to get them more familiar with the city of London proper and the best patrol routes to navigate it. In this respect, Chinami could understand pairing Lucette, Olivia and the Scottish Gir- Nessle(?)- Nessie was her name(!), since they could all effectively fly, but in every other aspect?

The teams were a bit unbalanced, to say the least, with one dedicated almost entirely to melee and the other to mid-to-ranged combat, that left both sides with a fairly distinct gap in their capabilities. In all honestly, Chinami would have vastly preferred to swap Tesni for Wilhelmina, not because of her personal misgivings towards the former (although, admittedly, it factored in) but simply because her mobility and staff extension would let her cover the same routes as the three fliers without aid, unlike Wilhelmina. In addition, she could provide the frontliner melee that said team was also sorely lacking... aside from whatever it was that Olivia's eldritch hubby did. They'd lose out on some healing support, but frankly, Lucette's own healing was far more flexible than Chinami's... which meant the latter's team was getting doubly gypped by the current composition.

Certainly, from a caution standpoint, she could appreciate giving the group with more newbies two healers, but they were all ranged fighters. If Lucette was teaching them right, they shouldn't be needing that healing as often.

As far as range for Chinami's team? Well, Tesni could extend her staff, but that was basically it unless the fox-girl's whole fire-setting thing had anything to do with range. Chinami honestly couldn't say for sure, since she'd been so far away from the battle when the Japanese girl was fighting... and arrived late to boot. Her team also had very little magical utility. Their powers were generally straight-forward blunt instruments. They all ran forward and hit things through various means. In terms of roles...

Well, they had Chinami to be a speedy tank. Bonnie was very finesse-oriented from what she'd seen; though, admittedly, she didn't quite understand her full capabilities aside from the fact that her fights were... visually pleasing? Tesni was obviously their mid-to-close-range dps, even a full long-range dps if she cared to be creative with her staff... which Chinami unfortunately couldn't bet on. In terms of raw power, she was matched by few, however, and Chinami honestly wouldn't have bet on herself in a fight against the wannabe Monkey King. In terms of speed, stamina and possibly durability, Chinami outclassed her, but Tesni would win out in raw strength and potentially skill as well, considering she was supposedly channeling the kind of martial ability that would come to surpass the heavens. This, of course, was completely disregarding the utter bullshit that was her staff.

Point being: Tesni was honestly their most flexible member... but her personality was likely to overshadow that flexibility, thus reducing or removing it as a factor.

And then there was Suzuya... Chinami was finding it hard to describe her as anything other than "quiet". However, the Goth wasn't quite sure how much of that was down to the fox-girl having a reserved personality and how much was simply her unfamiliarity with English stifling her ability to communicate as quickly or fluently as others. A little bit of both, she eventually figured. Perhaps the Grand Minister was hoping some of the rather "larger than life" personalities in her sub-team would help pull her out of her shell, but given exactly who they had...? Unfortunately, that task would likely be relegated to Chinami as well, given her ability to fluently speak the poor thing's mother tongue... which, come to think of it, may have also factored into her placement. Chinami had no idea what the fox-girl could actually do yet, combat-wise, but hopefully, she could find out without too much trouble.

Now then, gripes about her team composition aside... What the actual hell was she supposed to do with a team?

She wasn't sure what she was supposed to be helping Bonnie with... Presumably, nothing at all, since the other girl was her senior and supposedly had experience as an independent Magical Girl beforehand, complete with a team. That was what she'd gathered from those she'd asked about her roommate, so she wasn't sure how trying to teach her much of anything wouldn't come off as a bit condescending. Chinami had long seen Bonnie as someone who could handle herself just fine.

Tesni... Frankly, she didn't think the other girl even wanted to learn from anyone else, and Chinami wasn't willing to try and teach an unwilling student. It was a waste of time and energy, especially when dealing with someone who hardly valued anything but strength. And Chinami couldn't even offer martial arts advice... Although, maybe... Hmm, a thought for later.

Suzuya? Well, until she saw her powers in action, Chinami couldn't do much but offer to help her train her base form and act as a translator when necessary.

The only thing she could think of that she could really offer to the whole team was her... frankly rather selfish patrol routes. In terms of hunting Pageless, Chinami had long since forgone doing much but the bare minimum when it came to patrolling for a simple reason: magic senses. Every Magical Girl had them to one degree or another, and once they'd been trained and cultivated, there was almost literally no point in wasting time patrolling anymore. After all, Chinami, herself, could sense the vile corruption of a Pageless incursion from halfway across the city if her senses weren't drowned out by the ambient magic of her fellow Magical Girls. Once you reached that point, the most you had to do was make a small ring around the center of the city while paying attention, and you'd catch pretty much everything there was to find.

With that said, Chinami instead preferred to properly patrol the slums and the general area where she held her Round Table feasts. All else was effectively irrelevant. After all, she was just one person, and she'd be delusional to think she could protect everything and everyone everywhere; all that kind of thinking would do is ensure she couldn't save much of anyone or be satisfied with what little she did save. However, if she had time, between protecting her people, furthering her education and training, performing her Round Table feasts and taking healthy mental/physical breaks, then she sometimes branched out into patrolling the larger city.

So, if she were to actually patrol properly long-term, where would she do it...?

As they left the Grand Minister's office and Lucette's half of the group split off, Chinami pondered the issue, one that she'd not thought would be quite so significant until she was presented with it. Despite all her preparations in so many other areas, she'd never really looked at herself as a leader material, especially for a small tight-knit team. She was too much of an isolationist for that to pan out long term, she'd always thought, more suited to be a general advisor and distant trainer. Getting personal... putting her heart out there... That was something she saved for the people that needed it most. It wasn't a side of her she felt she could muster all the time.

Lucette's group was long gone, as Chinami lead the remaining three girls out the Academy gates and into the city proper, struggling to decide where she was supposed to go with this. Where was she even supposed to start with this group? They all needed such vastly different approaches. It was all so sudden, and she had no plan! She didn't know how to deal with Tesni and someone even more introverted than herself! Speaking of which...

As they walked down the sidewalk, Suzuya thankfully seemed to be taking some initiative and talking to Bonnie. Her dialogue was a bit clunky and rather accented, but that was hardly anything Chinami would begrudge her. Even better, her words had sparked the beginnings of an idea in the Goth. While a large part of her wanted to have them all transform and get right down to business, it was clear that the best thing to do was to keep this friendly dialogue going. She needed to learn more about the Japanese immigrant... and Bonnie as well before she started making any long-term plans.

Just as she was about to ask if anyone knew a good ice cream or coffee parlor to visit (western fast food seemed like it would be a bit much for a fresh Japanese immigrant to handle), a clearly aggravated Tesni began to speak, and uh... Wow, she sure had a lot to say.

Chinami nodded empathetically to the twin-tailed girl's gripes about patrols, before frowning and raising a single brow. "I would generally agree, and it's not actually something I often do myself, nor would I particularly expect more than the bare minimum from anyone else, especially not someone who can... 'see evil' was it? Patrols are a complete waste of your time, when all you need is a periodic three-sixty glance, right? As for myself?" She shrugged. "I've invested time into learning how to sense magic. My so-called patrol routes are barely worth the name, when their entire purpose is to pass my sensory range over everywhere important."

Humming, Chinami placed a hand against her chin, a veritable lightbulb pinging over her head as she addressed Bonnie and Suzuya. "I suppose if I'm going to be showing you guys how I patrol, I can't very well do so without helping you with your sensing skills. Rather, I should first be asking if any of you can already do that...? Without using a unique power of your Grimoire," she tacked on after a moment.

Whatever answer she received, Chinami's attention was quickly dragged back to Tesni, whether she liked it or not, eliciting a roll of her eyes at the 'Arthur' comment. Her brows furrowed at the far less reasonable gripe over the choice in leadership, which... Well, Chinami had her own misgivings, but if the other option was Tesni? That was a bullet the size of California dodged. Dryly, she responded, "Despite what you might think, I would actually tend to agree... to a point." Folding her arms, she nodded and began to idly glance around for somewhere isolated to move this increasingly loud conversation. "In all honesty, I'd have initially selected Bonnie from our number as a leader to test the waters. She's the most senior of us, has experience in a team outside Marrywell even. I'll admit that I don't know her very well, but she's got good energy in the field, a certain charisma... and isn't known for pissing anyone off. At the very least, I'd be willing to give her chance, and I feel it's one she should have been offered."

Frowning at the comment on her indecisiveness, Chinami's jaw rolled, but she acknowledged the accusation was valid... in this particular scenario anyway. This was something she'd been thrust into with no warning or plan, so yes, she could admit to being somewhat inadequate for the task. That said... "Tesni, we both know it would have to be the end of the world for you follow orders you truly opposed, not that I'd be much inclined to give them to begin with. I can't imagine what possessed the so-called 'all seeing' Grand Minister to put you in a subordinate position to me, when all that's liable to do is breed spite and resentment, but unfortunately, it's something we're both going to have to put up with so Lucette and the other big-wigs don't pitch a fit."

Unfortunately, Tesni still seemed to be getting more and more worked up, like she was playing the hype-man to her own frustrations. As the wielder of the Journey to the West violently crushed a moments prior filled soda can and punted it into a trash can, Chinami made the executive decision to take a sharp turn off the sidewalk, leading the quartet down a wide alley and into a mostly empty lot, occupied by a single beat-up car of a name Chinami could not remember and a pair of large dumpsters.

Tesni's language was getting more antagonistic, more mocking. It was almost like she was stabbing at every possible chink an outsider might perceive in the Goth, hoping to strike gold and provoke a reaction... What sort was the question. A fight? Chinami really wished that didn't make so much sense. For someone who seemingly only valued strength and personal improvement, ensuring that her leader was stronger than her made sense in a twisted "might makes right" sort of way... Of course, that was hopefully merely speculation. Unless Tesni came right out and said it, Chinami had no intention of indulging her, nor sinking to her level. "Chivalry had nothing to do with my acceptance, nor did obedience. Given the allowances the Grand Ministry has objectively allowed me, it was inevitable that I would have to repay the favor. Whether or not they acknowledge this task as said favor, however, I will be treating it as such... as the apparently 'all-seeing' Grand Minister will assumedly know." Suzuya was unfortunately starting to look rather uncomfortable, and Chinami hoped the apologetic look she briefly shot the Japanese girl appropriately conveyed her embarrassment at the shameful display.

Another King challenges you with diplomacy devoid from their heart... Shall you stand your ground or retreat I wonder?

Tesni, meanwhile, was still fucking going. Could she not see that this was neither the time nor place for this? Chinami would admit, a few of Tesni's blind accusations were scarily close to the far more nuanced marks, and that irked her more than her poker face would reveal. But she didn't crack. Rather, what irked her the most was the idea that this little shit was going to tarnish her reputation with false accusations and -perhaps less importantly but currently immediately relevant- undermine her authority and image of competence in front of someone she was supposed to be teaching things that were important to survival.

The troops must witness true strength in their King. Strength of character, not merely arms.

Defending herself was useless. The only thing addressing these out of line grievances right here and now would do is make her look weak, like she couldn't take criticism and had to nit-pick any that came her way. And worse, it would lend a pretense of legitimacy to the accusations in that twisted reverse-psychology "thou doth protest too much" way and -as a result- also give a metaphorical stamp of approval to the idea that this bullshit was an okay stunt to pull on the job. Tesni was clearly looking for an emotional reaction, a sign that one of her verbal barbs had struck true, which would allow her to stop firing as blindly and focus her efforts in specific areas. Therefore, the only thing to do was to refrain from giving her one.

Wise are they who avoid war until all other options have been exhausted. The application of this principle is what separates a good King... from a great one.

Sighing, Chinami crossed her arms with a deadpan expression plastered across her face, as she blandly asked, "Are you about done... with this?"

She utterly rejected the Monkey King's verbal barrage, spared it not even the courtesy of remembrance. Such things were only a threat -only had value at all- if you allowed them to, and already, she was deliberately mentally putting aside the majority of what had been leveled against her. After all, how was any reasonable person supposed to expect her to commit brain cells to such a disjointed collection of nonsense while on the job? If the Monkey King wanted her to pay his her words any mind, then she would propose a proper meeting to discuss such matters.

Chinami's lip downturned minutely at Tesni beginning to visit her not-so-tender verbal mercies upon the newbie instead, and despite her resolve to remain unfazed, was unable to help the abrupt curdling of genuine anger in her gut. From within the confines of her jacket, her Grimoire almost seemed to warm up against her chest. She was about to intervene -and damn the undermining of her own efforts, when suddenly, someone else moved in for her.

Suzuya's alarmed yelp had Chinami's head snapping around, only to pause at the strange trio of beings. Her magical senses weren't quite as acute without being transformed, but this close, it was clear that they weren't Pageless... or Magical Girls for that matter, which set Chinami's teeth on edge. Sure, she'd seen projections before, but it was never exactly the best sign for someone to send their minions ahead while staying out of sight. Perhaps it was merely her paranoia roaring in her ears at the slightest provocation, but-

The new voice appearing directly beside her without even the slightest warning from her mundane or magical senses was the final straw for her hair-trigger Grimoire. Between her own inclination to "transform first, ask questions later" at the slightest indication of danger and her Grimoire being so worked up, Chinami almost couldn't have stopped the change if she tried. She barely paid attention to the familiar feeling of diving into a pleasantly warm lake, cast in sunlight, whispers she could barely comprehend echoing all around and drifting with the smell of apples, as her Grimoire's magic bloomed out from her chest in a golden ripple and shower of light. Taking a step back from the mysterious voice -and thus, a step closer to Suzuya, Camelot's azure eyes narrowed briefly at the statuesque Magical Girl in eastern garb.

And indeed, it was only the fact that she could clearly sense this was a Magical Girl that halted her hand's movement toward her blade from being anything other than a momentary twitch... for the time being. Granted, that didn't necessarily mean the rabbit-eared newcomer was well-intentioned, but it made the odds drastically higher. There were several bad apples out there, after all. Camelot would admit a particularly petty gripe of hers was that the eastern theme indicated that the girl's Grimoire was not one she would likely be able to extrapolate, given her relative unfamiliarity with anything but western tales, barring a couple stellar examples, but that was mostly just the paranoid Batman in her all but frothing at the mouth for her to have a plan to defeat everyone she met.

The woman introduced the projections as her "Celestial Attendants" and herself as "Moonlight Tsubasa (Wings)" with a certain refined poise and tone akin to a traditional Japanese maiden. Camelot would admit the weeb in her found that somewhat appealing, even as her wariness both lowered and increased in turn. Even though they were masked and fully concealed, the "taste" of this person's magic and presence was... similar to the feel that people like Lumiere and the Grand Minister gave off. It was that sense of refinement and confidence in their aura that indicated a vastly experienced Magical Girl, which indicated that the one before her was... rather old... while also being unknown to her. That combination had her hackles up more than anything else, but Camelot squashed the feeling with great effort for the time being and exhaled slowly and quietly, bleeding the tension from her body as best she could.

And "blind angel"? "Lumiere?" she asked, before rather diplomatically continuing. "I don't know that I'd call her... 'blind' exactly. As best I can tell, she genuinely wants to do good, but with her age... Maybe her grasp of what we're really fighting for has eroded a bit." Camelot found herself with mixed feelings regarding Tsubasa's claim to have met... her(?) before. "Ah, my apologies, but I can't recall having made your acquaintance properly yet either. I'm Camelot, but I suppose you already knew that." Camelot glanced back at the Attendants, who seemed to have relinquished their... petting of poor Suzuya at some unseen prompt from their mistress, and frowned at the reserved girl's rather overwhelmed state, which, admittedly, could be seen as humorous under a certain light.

Camelot's attention was drawn back rather sharply by the presentation of a very familiar-looking coin. "That was your doing?" she couldn't help asking. A moment later, she held back a flush from rising to her cheeks at the entirely unnecessary words of praise. "I- Uh..." her brow furrowed at the implications that she'd had a hidden Magical Girl at her Table... possibly multiple times in a row, and her teeth briefly worried her lower lip for an entirely different reason. "It's not really anything that remarkable honestly, and I don't do it expecting rewards. Simple appreciation is plenty, and also... I don't want to be rude, Tsubasa, but I feel like there's something... I don't really have the words, but I wouldn't feel right taking compensation for something that costs me nothing but time." She struggled to find a way to reject the offer politely. "I'm sorry, I really don't mean to offend, but..." She half-grimaced. "If the way I found your first coin is any hint, then I doubt I could stop you from doing this more, but... If this is something you insist on, then at least don't compensate me in advance. Call it Pride or Principles, but I don't want to be rewarded for something I haven't done yet, especially if there's even the slightest chance that I'd be interrupted from paying it forward after the fact."

Shaking her head, Camelot made a noise of remembrance and snapped her steel-clad fingers. "Oh, and also, if you are meaning to attend more of the feasts, then you should know to keep an ear out for news of a new regular location, not too soon most likely, but preferably not all that long either. We're not exactly in a rush, but we'll be looking to obtain a new venue for sure." She scratched the back of her neck. "After the Pageless attack the other day, it's come to my attention that I've been a bit overconfident, so I'll also be summoning the Round Table at far stricter times to avoid the night as much as possible. The feasts will continue as normal, but there's no sense putting people in unnecessary danger."

The sheepish smile on her face dulled a bit at the talk of "conspiracy". Pursing her lips, Camelot raised a reluctantly skeptical eyebrow. Over a year, she'd engaged in this activity, and aside from discouraging words, she'd not been overtly opposed on the matter. And it wasn't like she was exactly hiding or tip-toeing around speaking of it, having casually mentioned her feasts in conversation when the matter was relevant. She didn't boast about or advertise it, but she'd answer truthfully if asked directly.

"Prison" seemed a bit of a strong word to use for Marrywell, but Camelot refrained from commenting on it one way or the other. After all, as unfortunate as the situation was, objectively, she'd put herself there willingly to avoid facing far more annoying problems. She didn't agree with everything the Ministry did, but it wasn't like she could offer productive alternatives in her current position. She liked their results, even if their methods left something to be desired. Then aga-

Oh shit.

Moonlight Tsubasa had started verbally poking at Tesni, and here and now was... not seemingly the greatest of days to be doing so with the latter so worked up.

Regardless, Tsubasa plowed onwards, and Camelot had found herself mentally juggling far more lines of thought at once than she'd prefer, split between worrying over the potential volcano that was Tesni and trying to parse the flowery and ominous implications of Tsubasa's following statements. It took her a moment of brows furrowed in thought to decide the latter string of dialogue was not directed at her for the most part... but instead her three companions. Practically from the moment they'd approached her, Camelot had already worried the Ministry wasn't as altruistic as they seemed on the surface and that their means and ends alike weren't so kind, but she had -at least, in part- remained objective enough to relegate such thoughts to the realm of paranoia, while remaining alert for any sign that her suspicions had merit.

(Un?)fortunately, what she was hearing was merely a bunch of baseless accusations. To be clear, Camelot would personally have been delighted to ultimately be proven wrong about her paranoia, but unfortunately, the rest of real world had long since proven not to be so idealistic. So why should the Grand Ministry be any different? That said, she tended to agree with the concept of "innocent until proven guilty". A trend and a pattern wasn't in and of itself proof of anything, and it wouldn't be right to let such blind accusations go unchallenged.

Crossing her arms, Camelot's brow furrowed. "Assuming you aren't exaggerating, those are some rather hefty and... sudden claims you're leveling against the Ministry," she said carefully. "I hope you'll pardon me for playing something of the devil's advocate, but I can't help but inquire if you've got some sort of evidence to share." Grimacing at being put in a position where it would be unreasonable to not defend the Ministry, Camelot continued, "Personally, I may not see eye-to-eye with them on several of their methods, but against all reasonable odds, they get results... have been for centuries. On an objective scale, they are a... sufficient support group for Magical Girls, and they don't exactly have any competition that I've aware of."

Panning her gaze across Tsubasa, the Attendants and then her charges in turn, Camelot rolled her jaw and then nodded resolutely, addressing all of them. "As for 'growth'? I've not noticed them to stifle it, but admittedly, they don't really encourage it either. And also admittedly, I'm a rather driven sort when it comes to training, so I'm as like as not to completely miss any such attempts by accident. Growth isn't something you can typically force on others. Change -real change- will only ever occur for someone who wants it, who is willing to let it in and put in the work. I will grant you, the Ministry has, intentionally or not, cultivated a culture that encourages being 'good enough' rather than continuing to push the limits, but we aren't soldiers." She spread her arms. "To those that seek more, I personally commend and applaud them, but I do truly understand those that don't. None of us chose to become Magical Girls, warriors that fight monsters and risk their lives, and most girls just want to continue living normal lives I'd think, even if they get to... play around with magical powers on the side."

But then again... "That said, physical growth is hardly the only kind either, and in the mental respect, I can't say I've much perspective on that, only speculation. After all, I've only been at this for two years, and I might as well be an infant compared to the likes of Ozma or Lumiere." Sighing, Camelot ran one hand through her golden locks. "To be clear, I'm not dismissing your claims out of hand, but I hope you understand why I have to take this stance, especially given the rather abrupt nature of... all this." She gesticulated with a general sweep of her arm at the whole group and present situation.
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