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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Lewascan2 "You've yee'd y'er last haw."

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Don't rise to her bait. Don't get dragged down to her level. Not again. Such were the thoughts running through Camelot's head in the fact of the saccharine and ingenuine simpering that bubbled and spewed forth from Dynasty Queen's lips. Exhaling a misty steam again, Camelot steadied herself and allowed the words to flow over her, acknowledging their content and setting her emotional reactions aside.

Even so, she couldn't help being unnerved by the almost casual self-degradation. No, she was absolutely unnerved, but not exactly by that so much as the just... bipolar heel-turn of the staff-wielding martial artist. This. This was what she could never get over about Tesni, the two-faced nature of her. She held no creed close, dedicated herself to no tangible goal. Instead, she bulled through all situations she could recklessly... and then immediately used a poisonously honeyed tongue when she could not, words so sweet and simpering you could choke on them. She was a chameleon... No, rather, her true nature was almost blindingly obvious, but she didn't even have the honor to stick to her guns or simply acknowledge her faults and overcome them, not mentally. Physically? That was another matter, radically so. To the point that one could only assume it was all she cared about. She was someone who seemed to love taking advantage of and oppressing those that weren't as bold as her, and those that were? She wanted to fight them, beat them, and dominate that way. She was simply someone who did what they wanted with no regard for others.

That said, Camelot... would not comment upon it at this time. What kind of hypocrite would she be to call for peace and then immediately allow herself to be dragged down into the dirt once more? Instead, she only replied, "I suppose that's all I can ask for. Glad to have you on board for the time being."

Burning Heart spoke up then, a righteous fury infusing her tone that Camelot could not deny or, honestly, disagree with. However, there was context there that the new girl was missing. She wasn't incorrect, but she was acting upon some incorrect assumptions. "Unfortunately, despite your impression to the contrary, not a one of us placed upon this team has cultivated such bonds with the others, especially given how uncommon our being comrades was before now. In fact, it is fair to say we share little in common and have avoided each other actively for one reason or another. We've never been forced into close social quarters for extended periods of time before, and you could almost call us a group of complete strangers. So, yes, there are no real bonds of sisterhood here... because they never had a chance to form to begin with." Sighing, Camelot rolled her jaw. "That doesn't mean I don't want to change that, you know? This... wasn't a good look, and it's going to take some work to fix. But I'm willing to put the effort in. I just hope you can meet us half-way, even after all this."

Tsubasa was speaking now, casting some less than subtle shade Tesni's way and referring to Ozma in turn as an old acquaintance... even friend perhaps? There was some uncertainty there, but neither party seemed anything but cordial towards the other. At her words of reassurance, Camelot nodded, though she wasn't sure if Tsubasa was reading the same thing she was from Burning Heart. With a final glance at Lilac Shimmer and acknowledging some parting words from Ozma, Moonlight Tsubasa took hold of one of her Attendants hands and vanished in a mighty flash of light.

Briefly blinking some spots from her vision, Camelot's determination firmed. Teleportation as well? Moonlight Tsubasa was clearly a support type of truly rare depth and breadth, even excluding her Grimoire-less magics. Tsubasa had left, gone on some sort of "sabbatical" to spread her teachings. It must have been a long one, even by Magical Girl standards, because Camelot had never even heard a whisper of her before. Clearly, either before or during her travels, Tsubasa had discovered something about the Pageless that the Grand Ministry either wouldn't -or couldn't- acknowledge. And through that discovery, she had learned the all-important secret to pacifying and controlling them.

She shook herself from such thoughts, as Ozma mentioned the Apex Pageless. Humming, Camelot turned her senses towards the sky and the swell of magics far above the ground for a moment, before nodding contemplatively. "Yes, I suppose that would be Lumiere's team then? Not many are so well equipped to engage in a battle in the sky." The Knight sobered up at the talk of changing up the teams, grimacing, as she quietly replied in turn, "If possible, I'd like both myself and Lumiere to be present for that meeting this time around. This affects all of us, and her input would be valuable. Besides which, I would personally be partial to airing some concerns of mine that may affect the outcome." Honestly, even as bad an impression as this had been, she didn't want to discard either Lilac Shimmer or Burning Heart, but Tesni... They just couldn't work together long term except as anything other than unquestionable equals. Anything less, and egos would get in the way for certain. At Ozma's final statement, Chinami's lips pursed together. "Yes, it really be best that it didn't. We-"

A flash of light pulled her attention to the slumped form of Lilac Shimmer... now Bonnie once more.

Shit! Yet again, she failed to pay particular attention to her senior, a girl who she now knew was... not fully okay in a manner she had clearly yet to identify or address. In a flicker of movement, Camelot was beside the redhead and lifting up the lower left side of her shirt to check for... apparently nonexistent bruising on her ribs. Frowning, her gaze flicked up to the other girl's. "Are you okay? Magically exhausted? I assumed we were all going into this fresh, but-" Her brain registered Bonnie's most recent words, stopping her cold.

Camelot took a step back and ran her eyes over the other girl's form, examined her withdrawn demeanor, and she felt her heart sinking a bit. Bonnie had been so full of energy moments before, so to see it all gone so uncharacteristically... or at least, as much so as Camelot could figure, given not so well she knew her. To see that, it was... worrying.

Camelot thought back to how quickly Bonnie had disappeared after the last Pageless battle, how she hadn't stayed to chat with anyone, not even Burning Heart, who she'd hit it off with.

She thought back to the long quiet between them, even as roommates. She recalled her earliest days in the Academy, recalled brushing off the overtures of friendship of everyone around her, recalled getting annoyed at the bubbly Bonnie and starting to pretend she didn't exist, recalled focusing on her magical and physical training to the exclusion of all else, recalled taking her remaining spare time and giving it entirely to the homeless and to the nigh-miraculous friendship with Wilhelmina.

She... hadn't had time for anyone else. No, it was more selfish than that by far. She was a private person, so she innately despised rooming with another. The constant threat of socialization grated at her introverted self like nothing else. And so... she had come to resent Bonnie in some small manner. It wasn't the redhead's fault, nor was it anything she deserved, but... over time, Bonnie had just... stopped trying. She'd thought nothing of it at the time. Blindly, selfishly, she'd only been relieved, not interested in engaging with her fellow Magical Girls beyond the Alters. She'd seen enemies in very corner, resented everyone around her for drinking the Grand Ministry's kool aid without hesitation.

She recalled... Thinking back on it, she only paid attention to Lilac Shimmer on the battlefield, never Bonnie the regular girl. Looking back on it, she could see it, all the unnervingly quiet nights between the two of them, barely a sentence or two exchanged some days. She couldn't honestly remember ever seeing Bonnie bring anyone back to their room, which was... unusual, right? Extroverts like Bonnie were supposed to have friends and bring them over, right? Have gal-pal hangouts in each-other's places and show off wardrobes...

Chinami had never experienced that. She... didn't understand the appeal, of clothes or sleepovers, of makeup and subjective things like beauty and attire, never had. She was just glad it wasn't happening to her, even by proxy.

She never questioned why.

Bonnie... did she-? No way.

The way she acted so impulsively was borne from inexperience, not foolishness. The way she clung to Burning Heart like a limpet and practically threw adoration at her. The way she physically attacked Tesni so thoughtlessly.

Bonnie has no friends.

The very idea all but blew Camelot's mind. That just couldn't be, right? An extrovert like her... Surely, over the course of two years, someone with her high energy on the job could find people to work with consistently. Surely, in a school filled with other Magical Girls like her who bought into the sparkle and pizazz of the occupation, she could easily find others who shared her enthusiasm and interests? How?! How could this be? By all accounts, there should be no reason for her to be so isolated.

A sinking feeling grew in the Knight's gut.

This is my fault, she thought incredulously.

It made a twisted sense. If there was every possible reason for Bonnie to be succeeding and she wasn't, then one had only to look at what set her apart from others to see the truth. As pretentious as it might have sounded to say, Bonnie wasn't rooming with just anyone. No, she was rooming with the owner of the Le Morte d'Arthur Grimoire -in London, the seat of its power, someone who couldn't keep a low profile if they tried, someone who rejected the overtures of others and was exceptionally good at putting an end to bullying, even as she openly supported the Alters that most everyone looked down on. Bonnie was rooming with someone that others were simultaneously jealous of or desiring of the clout of, and yet, Camelot was rejecting even her own roommate? If people couldn't get to Camelot themselves, why wouldn't they take it out on the girl who roomed with her? They didn't even have to be overt. Just rejecting her friendly advances would be devastating enough, both on a social level... and in terms of growing as a Magical Girl.

As much as she didn't like to acknowledge it, "Friendship" absolutely factored into a Magical Girl's growth. Having people to love and fight for and alongside was proven to "spark" growth more easily. It was those emotional highs that drove improvement as much as obsessively exercising one's magic, like Camelot had. And in her own case, Camelot had somewhat "cheesed" the system. Despite her recalcitrance, she formed strong bonds with the Alters, with Wilhelmina, and she further went out into the world and personally came to know and care for the people she was fighting monsters to protect. Her growth in this manner had been so explosive that she had actually overworked her Grimoire and stalled.

But that aside, it would... explain why Bonnie was so, frankly, weak compared to so many other physical Magical Girls. Despite The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being a mere Fable, Ozma existed as living proof that one could far overcome the supposed limits of their ranking, and she did it presumably through spreading her love and care to all and sundry, getting to know nearly every Magical Girl personally and, theoretically, being the most befriended individual in the entire damn Academy. Bonnie didn't train her powers... at all as far as Camelot knew, which meant the only other way for her to increase in power was friendship, and if she wasn't even getting that?

Holy shit. In theory then, that was the ingredients for a very destructive spiral. Bonnie was her senior. By all rights, she should be as strong as her, and between her willingness to befriend -and even half the effort in training, she could likely have been stronger still. And yet? She was weak, despite being significantly senior in experience, despite having had a team even before Marrywell. People would look at her experience on paper, only to be shocked by her lackluster performance in the field. As a result, they would stop working with her, crippling her potential even more.

A death spiral of loneliness and a resultant inability to meet expectations. Camelot could think of few worse fates for someone like Bonnie, and she honestly had trouble imagining what sort of self esteem issues constant rejection might level upon someone. In that case... she shouldn't be treating Bonnie like a senior, like someone who could always handle themselves... but as a junior, a student. That was why she'd been placed under Camelot; she was in desperate need of training, friendship or both. Camelot wasn't sure if she could do all that, but she'd be damned before she gave things up as a lost cause only moments after realizing the issue.

"No," she eventually answered Bonnie after far too long a silence. Clasping the redhead's shoulders with both hands, she stared her dead in the eyes with steeled determination. "Not yet, not today, not ever again... or at least, not alone." Nodding, she smiled the same smile she'd only long since aimed at her people at the Round Table and the Alters, a smile of genuine care. "I'm not sure exactly what's going through your head, Bonnie, but you are needed here." She chuckled wryly. "If for no other reason than to keep Burning Heart from tearing me a new asshole." Shaking her head, she refocused her gaze on Bonnie, releasing her shoulders and taking her hands instead. "You're a Magical Girl, and even if it's not the one we were expecting, we're supposed to be a team, you know? Don't tell me a fellow warrior of Love and Justice is going to walk away after tripping up once or twice? Hah! That's not how Sailor Moon did it, and dammit, that's not how we do it."

There was a thrumming in her chest, but Camelot tried to put aside exactly why her Grimoire was so damn pleased right now. "You may not be the strongest of us or, heck, even the most observant or socially adept, but you are irreplaceable. You want to know why?" Her right hand released Bonny's left to prod the center of her chest. "You got heart, something that's in disturbingly short supply on this team. And you are strong, in a way that the rest of us haven't had to be." She leaned closer, whispering now, low enough that the rain might drown it out for all but Bonnie and the nearby Burning Heart. "I can't imagine what it's been like for you all this time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you been going it alone for all too long, haven't you? And you know, that might unintentionally be partially my fault... and for that, I truly am sorry beyond words more than anything else. I've been blinded to the problems of those quite literally closest to me... I hurt you in a particularly sinister way. I never realized what kind of pressure you were under, but from now on? I'm not going to let you stay crushed under that load."

Stepping away from the redhead again, Camelot straightened up and extended a single hand, scratching the back of her neck with the other. "It's, uh, really late in coming and maybe a bit too forward of me after what I just did and I'm not usually the sort to reach out first, but uh... would you be up for being friends from now on?"
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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The 42nd Gecko

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Bonnie listed to Camelot's words and became more and more downcast. They were warriors who had drawn blades together on the battlefield... but no bonds of sisterhood had they? Wasn't it supposed to be that no-one was your family like those who bled for you? For those who "put the work in", so to speak? Well, of course there wasn't any value to her sword alongside Camelot's, she'd been nothing but trouble, defective, a problem in Camelot's eyes.

"Mmm-" At first Bonnie offered little resistance to Camelot's inquisition "-eee!” But whether it was touching at a bruise that hadn't discolored yet, or simply having her shirt surprisingly raised, Bonnie did get some life sparked into her and she squirmed at Camelot's bold advance without waiting for permission. In truth, Bonnie wasn't too badly banged up, Camelot was a skilled swordswoman who had gotten to make her strike without resistance. Lilac who could tangle head on with the Pageless and slam them into the ground from the top of a building wasn't exactly a delicate flower, regardless of name.

At Camelot's silence as she pondered things over, correct in conclusion if not in cause, Bonnie began to turn away, taking silence as permission to shrink away from Camelot's gaze. But her flight was halted, stunned in submission at Camelot grabbing her shoulders and forcefully telling her no.

Bonnie's head was swimming, and a bunch of particularly loud dolphins were churning the waters. -Oh no, am I why Burning Heart and Camelot were fighting? Wait we're a team? But what was all that before about not being a team? Er... That wasn't a bad point about how a magical girl should act. But can I live up to that? Even Usagi got a chance to cry every now and then... especially Usagi. Oh god why was she listing off all her deficiencies, I know I suck! Really? Heart? That's what everyone says when they know you don't contribute. Someone with heart wouldn't be broken just because someone said they weren't your friend. Camelot knows I'm alone. But it's all pity. She doesn't like me, she just feels guilty that I'm sad. No one really wants to be friends with a sad person, they just want you to stop being sad. But at least she said the words, and even if it falls apart tomorrow...-

There were so many things she wanted to say, so many directions her heart wanted to take her, dreams made and dying in the same moment.

"Sorry! Sorry, I'm a mess aren't I. Not putting on a good display as a magical girl." Her eyes drifted for a moment to Dynasty Queen and longer to Burning Heart, ashamed of her appearance, no doubt she looked a fool losing her cool over something as silly as this. Then she turned back to Camelot. "I- I should be tougher than this, you're right. I'll try to bring it together for the rest of the patrol, leader. And-uh, of course I'll be your friend. Of course. Bonnie tried to smile. Because of course that's what you say. That's what everyone always says.
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Sonnambula
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Sonnambula Stealer of Girls

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There was clear elation on Nessie's face as the cloaked Pageless' agonised cry rang out through the sky-turned-battlefield, though despite that she couldn't help but feel a chill run up her spine in a primal reaction to the spectral scream. It was other-worldly, wholly irregular and with such hatred and thirst for revenge behind it. The young witch could almost feel its claws resting on her shoulder from behind, ready to spitefully slice through her as soon as she looked at them. It was just a trick of the mind though, of course it was, playing on her paranoia and making the air around her just feel a little colder.

Lumiere's words however, laced with an icy disgust of the shrieking monster, returned to the Lady of the Lake that sense of courage she had felt before when taking it on directly. And now that she'd had a closer look at it, its wounded form made it seem far less imposing than it had initially. Its cloak torn and peppered with holes from musket balls and its vulnerable heart pierced with those fine needles of rain, like miniature daggers embedded in flesh. But a wounded creature that knows it has nothing to lose, that knows its time is almost up, has the potential to be far more dangerous than it ever could have been previously.

This was something Nessie would quickly realise as the Pageless made a sharp break for the leader of the group, tossing out dazzling lights that forced the young redhead to shut her eyes so tightly that she started seeing colours.


Nessie cried out in concern for her friend, blinking open her eyes until her vision cleared of the obtrusive flashing colours that had resulted from the desperate phantom's assault. But, upon seeing the result of said assault, the girl realised there had really been nothing to worry about. She watched in awe as, calm and composed, the leader of the quartet of Magical Girls spoke a few damning words to the captured Pageless, before bringing the caged creature over to her, Goodhope and Olivia. There, its judgement would be decided, if it hadn't been already.

"Well, we can't communicate with it? Can we?" Though she was more than happy to assist in destroying the Pageless, after all it had rudely knocked her off her broom and tried to kill her friends as well, but she couldn't deny to herself that, if possible, it could be useful to speak with it in some way. She peered closely at their frozen foe in its prison, curiously studying it now that it was immobile. That being said, a momentary silence from her comrades was more than enough for the redhead to assume that such reasoning was impossible.

"Let's just whack the bastard, give 'im hell."

Nessie concluded, as the rain which poured around her now formed into something far larger than a needle, though with the same keen, piercing sharpness to it. As droplets swirled into place, the shape became more defined until the form of transparent, so in this case grey, spear was created. Perhaps influenced by Lumiere's solemn disposition, as well as a desire to just get the whole affair over with, there was no hesitation from the Lady of the Lake as she flung the spear right at the creature's exposed heart in an attempt to finish things there and then. Whether the others would join her in the effort was up to them.

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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Lonewolf685 Inquisitive and Immortal

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Suzuya Kuzunoha

Suzuya had to admit that Tesni could provide weapon's-grade passive agressiveness with impressive speed, turning from hot blooded combatant to the cattiest girl she'd even seen without sporting a spray tan and bleached blonde hair. And if an iota of it was directed at her she might have bristled at it, but being a bystander left her muted to the monkey's words.

Camelot was not going to earn any praise from the Japanese Magical Girl for her handling of things, either in words or actions as both managed to hurt Lilac with visible effect. That all of this was public with a senior magical girl like Ozma around only made the shame of it burn her ears a cherry red as she tried to keep calm-

Her hand was wrapped around the hilt of something deadly when the floral-named Magical girl yelped. Burning Heart narrowed her gaze and deliberately released the weapon back into her tail, chiding herself for succumbing to the alien desire for violence. What she wouldn't abstain from after seeing Lilac wilt under Camelot's words was stepping between the two girls and turning her back to Camelot so sharply her tails swung like ninetuple bludgeons of fluffy reprisal.

And if they had the hardness of iron-banded cudgels to them, clearly Burning Heart was just a tad slow in withdrawing the weapons held in her tails. She was content with blocking Camelot as she enveloped Bonnie in a tight hug.

"We needed only to fight shoulder to shoulder one time for me to call you my friend. You are kind and welcoming, like the first rays of the sun breaking the night, and though I am not happy to have left my home, I think it was worthwhile to have met my....first friend." The fox with the stalwart heart found herself faltering for the first time while transformed, ears drooping as embarrasment won out even over the Grimoire of the warrior wife.

"So, you don't need to pretend for me. I, umm, did enough of that for all of us before I got my book. So let's get better at this Magical Girl duty together." Burning Heart said with cheeks the color of vibrant flame, her eyes wide and lips uncertain if she should be smiling or not.

But what she held with absolute certainty was Lilac in her arms, finding there was no question to be asked on where her arms should be.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Villamvihar
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Villamvihar Shocking Developments

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The rifles of her sailors cracked, bullets biting into the Pageless before them, but Wilhelmina found her focus wandering despite her best efforts. Normally, she had no trouble with it, but that distant feeling kept brushing against her soul, almost as though it called out to her. Lurking within the clouds, twirling around her when the winds picked up their pace, it seemed intent on disrupting her no matter the cost, so she did the only thing that seemed logical: she closed her eyes to concentrate on it. Putting her trust in her allies, as well as the sailors arrayed around her, the golden girl tried her best to shut out the outside world and reach out to the sensation.

It did not come easy. She could tune out Olivia's chattering as Wilhelmina was used to blocking out similarly strong sounds, but the painful howl of the creautre almost sent her flying off Thyerg again, heart threatening to burst from her chest. The blood-curling sound had a shiver run down her spine then reach for her throat, but her light held strong as always. After all, the greater the storm, the greater the hope.

The Greater the Storm, the Greater the Hope.

The sentence repeated itself in Wilhemina's mind and she could tell that the mere thought altered the flow of wind around her. A subtle, almost silent thing that wrapped itself in countless layers of stealth, she barely noticed the shift, almost thinking it a natural consequence of them fighting up on high, but... no. It could not be, for she sensed that it moved along a pulse of her magic. Perhaps even Lumiére could feel it, attuned as she was to all things that bore light and hope. Her other team-mates would also be able to tell that something shifted, the steady stream of power from Wilhelmina becoming less potent.

Indeed, the Captain's magical senses honed in on the environment around her along with the light burning in her soul as she repeated the phrase, much more deliberate in her intent.

The Greater the Storm, the Greater the Hope.

A definite shift in the pattern around her. The wind howled differently all of a sudden, almost as though she had commanded it to be more fierce. Fortunately, Xolys held her strong, but the gale probably caught Olivia's dress or perhaps even buffeted Nessie aside on her broom. Wilhelmina would not know as she held her eyes closed, her sailors slowly fading out of existence. At the same time, the girls around her could sense a buildup of power that seemed to increase in ferocity exactly as the crack of gunfire faded from existence.

Her thoughts raced as she called upon her knowledge of her Grimoire, quickly identifying the chapter that most fit this situation: having had a safe travel so far, a proud captain's ship now nears the southern trip of Africa. However, instead of seeing land, the lookout can only spot the dark clouds in the distance, looking down upon the sailors with destructive contempt. The captain lowers his spyglass with a worried frown of his brows, then wisely calls out to alter the positions of the sails - but it is too late. The winds are far too strong and they buffet the ship towards their doom.

"The Cape of Storms," whispered Wilhelmina, barely audible over the gales around her. And yet...

Without warning, her Grimoire appeared in front of her, floating and enveloped in golden light. Shining with the brightness of the very heavens themselves, the tome's overwhelming display did not blind the magical girls around Wilhelmina, but it did deepen the Pageless' wails, the very idea of hope, of magic, too much for it to bear, however, this was not the end as it reached out a metaphorical hand to its owner, who accepted without hesitation.

The clouds roared in response and Captain Goodhope's face distorted, nearly all of her magic swept up into a grand gesture - she could barely keep the links towards her allies - in the blink of an eye as the winds picked up, all but ripping the Pageless into shreds. Such proved to be their force that they ripped into its non-existent flesh via sheer pressure, flaying it while throwing it off Lumiére and deep into the menacing clouds; whereupon the vile creature found itself assaulted once more as a thunder roared between the clouds.

This time, the flash of lightning did blind any who looked at it. Nature, after all, did not discriminate between the targets of its wrath, even when harnessed for a purpose as noble as fighting the devourers of stories.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Lewascan2 "You've yee'd y'er last haw."

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Bonnie's words... did not inspire confidence within Camelot. Not the tone, nor the flickers of her eyes towards the others. But, even so, the armored girl shook her head lightly and replied, "No, it's fine. Seriously, I'm the one that needs to be apologizing. I know this isn't the best time or place perhaps, but..." Camelot, for her part, felt the beginnings of a dull headache starting up, the kind of toasted out feeling of when you overworked your brain. Being called "leader" by the girl she'd hurt -if not physically- then clearly emotionally made her gut curdle uncomfortably. A flush of embarrassment struggled to reach her face, even as she restrained a grimace. "Don't... call me 'leader'. I've done nothing to earn your loyalty. This was dropped on all of us unexpectedly." The tremulous fake strained smile on Bonnie's face felt almost like a gut punch to Camelot. The rejection, the bold-faced lie, hurt a lot more than she'd expected it might, and to be honest, she was a bit miffed. Even if it stung more in the immediate, she'd have rather been told "no" to her face instead of fed falsities.

Which wasn't fair of her. How could it be? After all, if she were responsible for Bonnie's situation, then she had no right to get upset over a single rejection. Really, more than anything else, this proved to her that Bonnie was someone of remarkable strength in that area, but... no-one was an island. And if Bonnie was cracking under that pressure now, then frankly, Camelot almost felt it was her duty as someone with any level of basic human decency to help. Camelot didn't really know a lot about actually making friends, about making the first move in that respect, but she could learn... probably. She'd just have to prove herself genuine going forward and-

A rough, strangely-fluffy impact solidly rammed her away from Bonnie, and Camelot would admit, she was completely caught off-guard. She'd been so wrapped up in her thoughts, so focused on Bonnie that she'd not even considered the idea she'd be attacked, even harmlessly, not with Ozma right there. Stumbling away, Camelot caught herself, boots sloshing in the puddles underfoot. The impact hadn't hurt that much to be honest, but she'd not been braced for it in the slightest and was more shaken by the shock then anything. Even so, what pain there was seemed to be fading away under the Scabbard's ministrations... if at an oddly slower pace than normal. Shaking her head, Camelot's brow furrowed, as she straightened up. Squeezing her blue eyes closed for a moment, she grimaced at the throb behind them.

Why wasn't her Scabbard healing that away?

Dismissing the issue for the moment, Camelot couldn't help raising a single hand to rub circles on the side of her temple, as the other steadied her against the alley wall she'd been thrust towards. She glanced back towards Bonnie, where Burning Heart was... taking her place and was confirming what Camelot already knew, but it didn't sting less to know she was being lied to. A curdle of indignation dug sharply into her chest, and she sucked in a calming breath to dispel the abrupt spike of anger, fuming internally at the other girl's intervention.

How dare she interrupt! She was about to-! To...

What exactly? Fix things? How?

All she'd done was continuously make things worse somehow. In her own way, clearly, she was no better than Tesni. But where Tesni's fuck-ups seemed deliberate -even calculated, hers were from ignorance and failure, which, honestly, she felt was worse in some ways. Failure to control her temper, to stay herself from striking at her own fucking allies. Failure to read the damn room, to understand her fellows emotionally. Failure to be the leader she was supposed to be, to take command calmly and rationally. Failure to be a good example to her junior. Failure to prove herself in front of her seniors. Failure to do the right thing.

"Your report card came in today... Oh? Nothing to say? Talent? Lack of talent is no excuse. You're just not trying hard enough."

"And what if I didn't want to do any of that...? What if I liked fighting? It may not be the most lucrative thing, but it's... what I love."

"I didn't come to America to raise a failure. Do better... unless you'd like to no longer be taking those lessons?"

"I... just want to do what I'll love."

"Well, real life doesn't care."

As much as she was loathe to admit it, this was all she had, being a Magical Girl, saving people, being a Hero. And yet, what kind of hero was she if she couldn't be anything but a lone wolf, when everything broke down around her the moment she tried to reach out to others. Why was it that she did so much better carrying the load of her responsibilities alone, and yet, just this single addition was enough to tip the scale? Just this much more was enough to put cracks in her? Could she be that much of a brittle failure? This was the one thing she was good at, the one thing she could really do to make something of herself in life, and yet, she was failing at even this? And so explosively?

Failure. Failure. Failure!

There was an almost tangible pop in her chest, and Camelot found the hand rubbing her head shooting to her breastplate in a futile gesture, one that seemed to go relatively unnoticed given her position behind Burning Heart with said fox-girl blocking Bonnie's vision. A sharp, searing heat burned into Camelot from within, like molten metal being poured into a mold. It felt almost like her stomach had been lit on fire, and yet, somehow, the heat managed to be blunted enough to not make her shout in agony, merely clenching her jaw and biting back other noises. It was an almost intellectual awareness she had, that her body was suddenly inexorably burning up. A bead of sweat flowed down her forehead. She knew it was such and not rain from the way it briefly stung her left eye. Her muscles were aching and burning, as though she had just finished the most hard, driving workout of her life and managed to exercise every single muscle equally. And that burn... Camelot could only compare it to as if her body was being burned away, only to be healed by her Scabbard as fast as it could do so, barely keeping up.

Camelot's breath hissed out once more as actual steam, but this time, she could not deny it, could not simply write off the incident as the air being extra chilly. Something was off inside her, and her now full headache throbbed against her skull. She felt... felt sick, like she was running a severe fever. The heat inside her was almost unbearable, and if not for cool retaliation of her Scabbard, she might have considered reverting her transformation entirely. After all, she had no way to know if that feeling would abate in her far more vulnerable form. Was this something Burning Heart had done when she touched her? She couldn't say, but a small part of her found the idea of the fox-girl having a name so literal genuinely amusing.

It would have been more amusing if she wasn't cooking in her own armor.

Her breath, her every exhale, was coming out as steam now, misty at first, but thickening in time with the internal heat intensifying. To her enhanced ears, a rising chorus of hisses could be heard, as she spotted raindrops evaporating on contact with her armor. It was only the combination of the chilled rain and her Scabbard taking the bite off that let Camelot retain most of her composure, as she forced herself to straighten up, her fists clenched tightly to vent some of the pain-induced tension in her body.

"O-" Snapping back her voice, Camelot inhaled deeply, exhaling a thicker -if equally short lived- cloud of steam. "Okay." Somehow, she managed to conceal the legitimate physical pain she was in, as she spoke. "We're not good, but we're not at each-others' throats... I... Those Pageless before that fled? We should- We need to eliminate them, now that Tsubasa isn't around to pacify them." There was nothing else to say, as she beckoned them all to follow her lead here. Even if the presence of the Apex Pageless was still muddying the waters a bit, she could still roughly sense some deeper points of darkness nearby. She might have defended them before, but those were exceptional circumstances. In the here and now, she had her duty to fall back on. So long as Tsubasa wasn't about, the Pageless were a threat to those under her Aegis, and she would deal with them appropriately...

But with this searing heat...? She just hoped she didn't collapse before they made it back to the Academy.

Unbeknownst at first to the knight, the heat was by no means merely internal. And though it was only a strange warmth now that currently reached any within close proximity to her, that simple warmth was still growing with little restraint and would become uncomfortable and nearly outright sweltering in the course of the coming patrol, enough so that she'd find herself -more oft than not- putting physical distance between herself and the others so as not to bother them.
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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TheWendil The Wendil-Sama™ / ಠ_ಠ

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The skies over London looked like a nightmarish scene from a fairy tale lost to time. The shirking shrieks of the trapped Pageless were like horrifying banshee cries in the dark and the creature barreled all over inside its light cage. Its claws tore at the walls and for a moment it seemed like it would penetrate through Lumière’s magic as darkness festered off its body in smoky trails. But Lumière kept it contained enough to display for the other Magical Girls to handle once and for all. Were the creature considerate of human emotions or pity it might have torn Ethereal Rose’s face from her skull for daring to suggest her words.

Indeed, the creature turned its ghastly face at the blonde and slammed itself into the cage at her direction. Its face could be seen under its hood, a gaping display of a darkened maw and corpse only illuminated by the storm; even Lumière’s light could not fully reveal its horrifying structure. The others were less keen in humoring Rose’s suggestion and instead finished the creature off with their attacks. It lurched backwards from its position by the weight and speed of the Lady of the Lake’s spear. Condensed water solidified and punctured through its “heart” beneath its cloak. No sooner could the Pageless rekindle its wrath was it engulfed in a pillar of pure light.

The denizen of darkness had no idea of what hit it, other than that it was violent and near-untapped without control. And it didn’t come from Lumière. It became engulfed in light in its orb as Captain Goodhope’s magic erased the dark monster from the world entirely. Its cloak lit up in flames as the Pageless imploded in its cage, avoiding any blowback or debris to fall on the world below. The deed was done and the Pageless was slain with frightening efficiency under Lumière’s helm. But the presence was felt even by those who stood in the city, including the Crimson Comet.

Ozma should have left a long time ago. Any seasoned Magical Girl, be it by jaded cynicism to let the group figure their own problems out, or by the foreknowledge that came to the same conclusion, would have done exactly that. But she paused in her steps, back to the group as she heard over their conversation. As if standing by to intervene she stood in silence as the other girls spoke and, seemingly, made their amends with each other; or at least enough to finish their patrol. The rain was all but fading around them but the sky remained bleak and gray.

The senior Magical Girl chanced a look up with rain falling off the wide brim of her hat. The presence from before, the one that overcast a long shadow over London, was gone now and faded back into the aether. By choice or chance both teams experienced similar experiences regarding the nature of Pageless. Ozma frowned, something unseen with the direction she faced and her hat as the winds became a little colder from the easing weather after the downpour. Everything just felt wrong today with Tsubasa’s appearance not helping but what was done was done. The sound of soft impact drew her attention back to the present and she craned her neck back to peek at the scene behind her.

Burning Heart and Lilac Shimmer were understandably agitated and no doubt near-frightened with Camelot’s behavior. Whatever course they felt wasn’t helped by a new development in the air as pure magical force radiated off the knight in the form of steam. Ozma brought a hand to her hip to rest on the pommel of her broom as she watched carefully. She wouldn’t believe Camelot would actually strike out at her junior students…no, this felt like something different. There was a moment of control lost on Camelot, where the knight seemed almost willing to lose her grasp on her own magic. The moment was there….and it was gone again.

The steam was no threat and wouldn’t hurt Camelot or the others; at least not too severely. Ozma kept her sights on the group, locking gazes on Camelot but said nothing. It was easy for them, Magical Girls and keepers of their Grimoires, to lose focus and let slip their magical aptitude. It was never too late to hone their abilities lest something catastrophic happened. All the same, the redhead made a mental note to keep an eye on Arthur’s embodiment. As for Camelot’s insistence to be present during her meeting with the Grand Minister; Ozma doubted her old friend would be privy to third eye observation in private.

She was gone in a flash to let the others continue their patrol and return back to Marrywell.

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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Izurich
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Izurich 7/8 Weeb

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--The Verdict--

@Sonnambula @Ponn @Villamvihar

Though the verdict request was quite rhetorical, Lumiere wasn't surprised by the blonde's answer, in fact, she expected it, she was Ethereal Rose after all. The seraph didn't reply directly though, for the Pageless already did more than enough to show just how feasible it was to engage diplomacy with these creatures. Aye, try talking to something that was both non-sapient and actively malicious, it'd go as well as attempting to pet a rabid fox. Also as expected, Lady of the Lake and Captain Goodhope's reactions were more inline to what was proper, through these things might seem obvious, one must also remember that these girls were quite new compared to herself, inarguably so for Nessie, this being only her third day since a grimoire came to her. Again, the Pageless unwittingly answered the redhead's question. Truly, there was only one way to deal with dangerous pests, extermination.

Lumiere took a step float back to let her students deal with the trapped Pageless as according to their verdicts. The Witch of Loch Ness commanded the aquatic aspect of the storm to form a veritable spear of water as it was flung into the clawed reaper's chest. At the same time, the Captain of the Flying Dutchman seemed to awaken... something within her core. Lumiere's veil and dress fluttered in the chaotic winds and if the angel could feel the blossoming radiance of hope from the twintailed blonde, she didn't show it, content to just stay in the background. And then in happened, a burst of thunderous power as Goodhope commanded the ionic aspect of the hurricane to summon multiple bolts of lightning.

Fortunately for Lumiere, being blinded by light was never an issue, for the Light of God could never be outshone.

Between the aqua lance and hail of lightning, the already-wounded Pageless was turned inside-out, utterly destroyed down to the last atom. Another foe of mankind put down, as it should.

The seraph returned her obelisks to form into wings behind her back after, feeling the foreboding atmosphere clearing up following the alpha pageless's demise. "Excellent work, girls, you have done well." She gave an appreciate nod at each of them, Ethereal Rose & Xolys, Captain Goodhope, and Lady of the Lake, all received one, "We complement each other's abilities and as mankind have shown us throughout our history, camaraderie is the greatest tool that we have, against any and all odds, remember that you're never alone."

She paused for a moment to let her words sink in before turning her gaze to another part of her English metropolis, "Speaking of which, let's see if our comrades need assistance." before accelerating toward the other patrol squad's location, expecting her own squad to follow suit.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Ponn
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In apparent response to Olivia’s musings, the captive Pageless lunged in her direction, the resulting glow as it struck Lumiere’s radiant barrier allowing the blonde beauty to catch a glimpse of the twisted visage beneath the creature’s tattered cloak. “Oh my!” she exclaimed, more fascinated than frightened. “Are you actually a zombie?” she inquired as she studied what little of the creature’s corpse-like features she could perceive. Unfortunately for the overly inquisitive maiden, her companions were far less interested in the idea of a possible Q&A session with what was obviously a being of pure hate and malice. Not wasting any time, the impetuous Lady of the Lake conjured a massive spear out of the surrounding rain water and drove it into the heart of the captive Pageless. Olivia was slightly taken aback by the suddenness of the attack, but that was nothing compared to her shock at what happened next…

With a surprised gasp, Olivia’s grip on Xolys tightened as a mighty gust of wind tore through the group, blowing her azure gown and golden tresses behind her. However, this was not the work of the still-contained Pageless, but rather one of their own number. They could all feel it, a swirling vortex of arcane power, centered on Captain Goodhope. Being closest to her, Olivia was able to hear the maritime maiden, who had until now remained silent, her eyes closed in prayer, give voice to a soft whisper. An instant later, the girl’s Grimoire manifested in midair before her, its gilded cover shining like the beacon of a lighthouse. Taking hold of it, Wilhelmina employed the tome’s noticeably heightened powers to conjure what was essentially a miniature hurricane, which, combined with Nessie’s aqua spear, rapidly tore the captive Pageless to shreds.

“Goodness me!” Olivia exclaimed. “That was amazing Helmi!” she told her friend excitedly. “And so very intense!”

Lumiere proceeded to commend the team on their performance, after which Olivia gave the angelic girl a brilliant smile. “Thank you very much!” she told her team leader. “And I don’t think I’ll ever forget that,” she added, gazing up at her eldritch consort. “Not with darling Xolys at my side!” At Lumiere’s suggestion that they check up on Camelot’s team, the otherworldly beast in question pivoted to fly after the silver-haired seraph, paying careful attention to ensure that his two passengers were safely secured. “I wonder if they encountered a Pageless as well…” Olivia mused aloud. If so, she was very curious to learn what it looked like, although whatever it was, she had no doubt that it wouldn’t pose any threat to a team led by so strong and experienced a Magical Girl as Camelot.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Lonewolf685 Inquisitive and Immortal

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Suzuya Kuzunoha

What followed after the team's run-in with Moonlight Tsubasa was less a patrol and more a tense walkabout the city. If any of them had the presence to truly be keeping an eye out for Pageless they didn't find anything, but it was more likely attention would be turned inwards, at least for Suzuya. At least the rainy weather was a familiar comfort, the soft crackle of rain evaporating against her bushy tails forming a steady background noise she savored.

Even with the awkwardness of the other team flying by to check in on them. And for all her frustration and discomfort, Suzuya didn't say a word of it. Slipping into the role of the shy foreighner was easy when it served a purpose, and it let her reach the academy without any further attempts at provocation. And Suzuya was quite aware she'd tried to provoke a response at the stupidest time, nearly re-igniting the conflict they'd barely averted with her slap to Camelot.

Pride was not something Suzuya was used to holding in high regard, but her Grimoire was not something she felt she could stand to be insulted on top of everything else. She was no King Arthur and she was hardly to ever be known outside her home country, but it wasn't some great hero that had saved Suzuya from her first brush with the Pageless. It was the story of a warrior wife who lived for love, only to suffer as her supposed allies betrayed her and placed insurmountable odds before her that claimed the life of her heart's dearest.

Suzuya blinked, a moment of realization dawning upon her and snapping her from her thoughts to notice steam no longer wafted from her cup of green tea. Sitting beneath an umbrella-covered table in Merrywell's courtyard, her magic keeping her dry and cozy as she looked out over the grounds. She found herself waiting for her room mate, the elegant Alter with her terrifying paramour that Suzuya found a newfound desire to connect with.

Her likely deepseeded trust issues aside, she found the hypocrisy of judging Camelot while following her mistakes simply impossible to swallow. Even if it proved...difficult, she was going to get to know her roommate.

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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by ShadowSunRisen
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ShadowSunRisen Final Prophet

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As Ozma walked the halls of Marrywell Academy, something exciting was unfolding.

With the sound of thunder, a large explosion bursts up from the right wing of the school. An entire classroom went up into smoke as students poured out through the halls in fear and panic, thinking they were under attack. A fire alarm would ring and sprinklers would spray cold water across the halls. All of this certainly got the attention of Ozma and any other students who had arrived at the academy.

The culprit would step out from the smoke and dust, coughing and blowing the smoke from her face with a wave of her hand. Her metal arms would crackle with electrifying power to summon a large vaccum nozzle, sucking up the dark clouds and removing them from view. Any flames nearby are promptly put out with a water nozzle hose, summoned just as fast on her transforming arms.

"Ozma! You're late! You missed my defense training class, dumkopf! It was a real banger!"

The perpetrator would rush up to the redhead and suddenly tackle her in a gripping hug, squeezing her waist and covering the poor magical girl in soot and ash. It's none other than Valeria Weisenbaum, Charlotte's old partner from her past.

"Bit of a minor miscalculation there with a student's spell, but nothing to fear! I've got it under control!"

Behind her, the roof of the blasted out classroom finally collapsed in onto itself and was reduced to a heap of rubble and metal with gray smoke bellowing up from its destruction.

"I can fix this! I promise!"

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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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The 42nd Gecko

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Perhaps someone stronger than Bonnie would have sought to make amends between Camelot and Burning Heart. Mend the cracks that were slowly growing. But in that moment, all she wanted to do was to melt in Burning Heart's embrace.

To Bonnie, there was a raw difference in the two proclamations of friendship. In her eyes, Camelot's seemed driven by duty and pity, that she was a project to fix, a friendship that would be nothing more than a painful reminder of all the things wrong with her until she was 'fixed' to Camelot's standards. While Burning Heart felt like maybe, maybe, finally, Bonnie had found someone who enjoyed being around her. That maybe she wasn't broken after all.

And in that hope, Bonnie could find refuge, safe in Burning Heart's Arms, hugging her tightly back. "Thank you." She whispered with her head low into Burning Heart's shoulder.


Space to be filled with potential after patrol/after meeting up with the other team shenanigans here.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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“Man, that was such a drag….”

Charlotte walked the academy halls with her face pointed to the ceiling and her hands behind her head in a stretch. She arrived back to the school before the other patrols, naturally, and by the time Chinami’s group returned the redhead was already done meeting with the Grand Minister. It was…certainly not too much of a hassle, but a hassle nonetheless. The Grand Minister was always favorable to her and knew when she was serious. Perhaps that was why she took into consideration Charlotte’s suggestions for a rework of Chinami’s team? Or, and this was more likely, she simply saw what the redhead would confront her about.

Either or gave Charlotte a migraine to consider but the deed was at least done. The teams would be shifted around by the evening though whether the Grand Minister would alert Chinami and Lucette to report beforehand was up in the air. The Grand Minister’s parting words did leave Charlotte with room to thought however. “Head to the right wing of the school. Watch for explosions huh? Well what is that supposed to mean-" And just like that the world rumbled and the school shook. Charlotte blinked as a plume of smoke and fire erupted outwards from the school’s right side just feet in front of her, seemingly from a classroom.

Her feet carried her in such a direction, figuring she may as well check out what the prediction was about. While other girls fled and cried out, most among them students running out of the smoky ruins of a room, Charlotte only sighed. Already the magic in the area spiked up with several teachers and senior Magical Girls appearing beside her to snuff out the attack’s source. An intruder? Some sort of Pageless ambush? Worse. “Relax, relax everyone,” Charlotte said with hands up and waving away the glaring seniors. She recognized that magical signature anywhere and hoped there was insurance on those walls in the school’s many, many funds.

“It’s just a class gone wrong, nothing to see here-ooof.” Charlotte looked down to see the German Magical Girl keeping her in a near-death lock with her hug. “Heeeeey Valeria. You’re crushing my spine….” Charlotte said with faint of breath, tapping on the metal arms to ease up and let her go. “I’d hope you can fix whatever this is because teachers who blow up a classroom are expected to pay for the damages themselves. I hope you’re as good as making walls and desks as you are everything else,” Charlotte said with a cough among the just now cleared out smoke, charred room on full display.

“Sooooooo what’s up?”

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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Sonnambula
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Sonnambula Stealer of Girls

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Nessie had expected the others to join in with the sealing of the cloaked Pageless' fate, but certainly not with the fervour that Wilhelmina displayed. The redhead backed off as her teammate's clear and deep concentration indicated what was to come, shifting away on her broom to create a little distance. However, even that wasn't enough to keep her out of range of the majestic winds, which had gradually manifested from nothing to the most intense gale that Nessie herself had ever witnessed. She gripped her broom tightly, curling up slightly to protect herself lest she be blown away completely along with the targeted Pageless.

And it wasn't long at all until Nessie got to see the destructive capability of those winds, Goodhope's grimoire wreathed radiantly in gold. The very weather responded to her call, violent storm clouds rolling in just in time for the dark monster to be shredded to pieces by the utterly overwhelming power of the winds that assaulted it. What was left was tossed into the murky clouds overhead, a dazzling display of forks of lightning sure to erase any trace that the Pageless had ever existed, let alone faced off against the group.

It was enough to leave Nessie completely bewildered, her eyes in a wide frenzy of awe, fear and wonderment in equal measure. But, just like that, it was over. The Pageless had been defeated. In fact, not even that. It had been utterly obliterated. The young magical girl looked to her peers and their leader, still a little out of it after everything she'd just witnessed.

"Jesus wept... Nessie finally exclaimed quietly, before looking over to Wilhelmina, breaking out into chuckles. "Remind me to never piss you off, bloody hell!"

Settled back into high spirits now, the Lady of the Lake reflected privately about the battle to herself while following along with her comrades as Lucette led them off to meet with the other patrol squad.

It wouldn't be much later that the group arrived back at Marrywell, a wave of exhaustion setting in suddenly on the young Scot when she dismounted her broomstick in front of the main building, which was already growing into a familiar sight for her.

"I need some tea, and a good kip..."

Nessie muttered to herself, putting a hand up to her mouth to yawn and stumbling in the general direction of the dorms, before something else caught her eye. And her ears too, for that matter. Panicked cries and screams and a stampede of footfalls created a commotion that was impossible to miss, even outside the building itself. The explanation for this chaos was just as clear as smoke poured out from a classroom window, a few tongues of flame visible through the dark haze.

Even as the commotion began to settle, both audibly and visibly, Nessie's curiosity won out over any apathy that her tiredness attempted to bring on. She rushed into the academy, pushing past floods of students who were hurrying in the opposite direction, making her way to the right side of the building, all the while growing increasingly aware of the lingering smoke still in the air as she got close. Her hand wafted it out of her face as she approached the classroom that had fallen victim to... well, whoever or whatever was responsible for all of this. With that in mind, she poked her head through the open doorframe, her eyes settling on two figures in the centre of the room, in what looked to be a slightly uncomfortable embrace. One she didn't recognise, especially with the murkiness of the smoke, but the other one. That bright red hair, there was no mistaking it...

"Ozma...?" Nessie called out tentatively, approaching and addressing her fellow Magical Girl, a look of confusion and concern on her face.

"The hell is going on here?" She asked, wafting smoke out of her face again before it made her cough, peering at the girl she didn't recognise. Clearly her and the other redhead in the room were familiar though.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by McFazzer
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Tesni clasped the broken hairpin in her hand. The wooden splinters digging deeply, and her blood flowed freely. If she didn’t know better, she might think Tsubasa didn’t like her or something… even in her mind she couldn’t stop being a bit sarcastic. Chuckling to herself, Tesni slowly and methodically plucked the splinters of wood from her hand and decided to go into some self-reflection. Letting the rest of the world fall away, she focused on herself and just let her feeling flow.

She knew the pull of the Monkey King. What held her back when she wanted to fight Chinami and Tsubasa wasn’t the Monkey King… Sun Wukong wanted the fight and she did too. Another splinter fell to the ground she closed her eyes and ran her finger over her hand, relying touch to find the wood trying to recall all she could about her Grimoire. The pain of each shard of wood being pulled made her think of the golden headband she wore… that the golden headband was essentially a portable prison that Sun Wukong wore while on his Journey… that’s right!

“I’m an idiot! My Grimoire isn’t ‘The Monkey King’. It’s ‘Journey to the West’… not sure if that was on purpose, but Tsubasa did lead to a small bit of enlightenment~” Tesni’s eyes shot open, realisation racing through her mind. The Monkey King wasn’t the only character in Journey to the West, why would the Grimoire’s influence be limited to just one character? Because she’s a Magical Girl? Because she’s the ‘Main Character’? Pure arrogance on her part. Tang Sanzang, the Buddhist monk the Sun Wukong escorted, a voice of wisdom and who became a Buddha themselves along with Sun Wukong when the Journey was complete.

“Makes sense that would be the second most powerful influence from my Grimoire!” Turning Tesni felt so proud of herself and almost shared her revelation with the rest of her group, only to see the most hostile group hug ever just ending.

The King’s crown must be weighing heavily on Chinami. Look at her go, holding back like that. Am I reading this right? Is she having a bad trip on magic smoke? Maybe I should give it a try, get high on magic and go on a mystical journey… later. If I remember… also if it works like that. Despite seeing the distress the armored girl was in, Tesni wasn’t foolish enough to do something like console her. If she did such a thing it would probably come off as patronising or sarcastic even if it was intended to be genuine. Sometimes intentions don’t matter. After all, isn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions?

“Sorry for the hold up ladies. Just had to do a reaaaally big think about stuff! Thinking about life, love, death, you know, all the fun things that keep people up at night.” twirling her staff smaller, her red stained hand free of splinters, she spun her staff like a pen in her fingers.

“Time to clean up, buy an ice-cream as a little bonus for a job well done, then wander back to HQ, right? Normally I’d take my time getting back, you know? But after the frankly amazing shit storm today was, I think it’s better to not tempt fate. Sorry, that’s a lie I would love to tempt fate, but I figure you three don’t wanna tempt along with me!” Honestly Tesni loved taking far too long to get back to Marrywell. There were so many assholes that weren’t pageless she could screw over… but today it seemed the powers that be would not be tolerant of her tardiness today. Running ahead, Tesni threw her staff out and bounced it back at any Pageless she crossed while on her beeline to a corner store yelling out the excuse ‘I see a Pageless’, slammed money on the counter, and came out with a box of Cornetto’s before rushing off.

"I'm on patrol, I promise! Follow me if you want, but you don't have to! See you back at Marrywell, have fun and stay safe~" And she was gone. The occasional golden flash and bang, before the sound of a disspiating Pageless echoing out in Tesni's wake of deceptively controlled destruction.


It wasn’t until she got back to Merrywell that she felt like she could finally have her ice cream, slightly melted but still cool to the touch, box slightly roughed up from an energetic patrol. And what was a more entertaining sight to enjoy ice cream with than an exploded classroom? The best problem is one that’s not your problem after all. Seeing Suzuya alone, Tesni decided to at least try being nice after the… stress that was patrol. Holding her ice cream in her mouth before pulling out another she poked Suzuya with the wrapped cone.

“Whand wan? Ish bid shofd.” Not looking to see if the girl took the ice cream, Tesni enjoyed watching the 'teachers' messing around, tilting her head back she tried to maneuver her ice cream more fully into her mouth without her hand, making odd moaning noises trying to facilitate it.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Ponn
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After a somewhat awkward meeting with Camelot’s team, Lumiere had led Olivia and the others on the remainder of their patrol, before returning to Marrywell. Shortly after they’d arrived, the azure-clad beauty caught sight of her roommate sitting at a nearby table, protected from the rain by a sizable umbrella. Tesni was with her. “Oh, hello, Suzuya,” Olivia called as she headed over, with Xolys following a respectful distance behind her. “Hello, Tesni. How did the rest of your patrol go? Did you encounter any interesting Pageless? Our team fought one that looked like a wraith, but underneath his cloak, he was actually more like a zombie! It was very fascinating!”

Before either of the other girls could respond, the sound of an explosion rang out through the courtyard. Looking in the direction from which it emanated, Olivia could see a column of smoke rising up from one of the classrooms on the far side of the campus. “Oh my gosh!” she gasped. “Whatever could that be?! You don’t think a Pageless is actually attacking the school itself, do you?!”

“I do not believe that is particularly likely, my sweet,” Xolys replied. “But nonetheless, I think it would be prudent to take a closer look,” the eldritch beast added. “There may be students in need of our assistance.”

“Good thinking, darling!” the blonde beauty told her eldritch consort with a dazzling smile. “Come on!” she added as she gestured for the other two girls to follow, her sweet voice filled with excitement. “Let’s go check it out!”
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by ShadowSunRisen
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ShadowSunRisen Final Prophet

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Valeria always forgot her own strength, only remembering not to crush someone when Ozma brought it up and setting the girl down. Eagerly she'd turn her attention to the approaching girls and draw them into a organized line with her extended robotic arms putting every magical girl before her like soldiers before their commander.

"I just thought the little kinder could handle more but...ah well! Anyways, from my observations here as the OFFICIAL substitute teacher your student body is completely hopeless in the event of a Pageless attack! So, I got brought on board, can ya believe it? They must be getting desperate."

The guncaster would notice she's getting a crowd, and would need a proper introduction as Ozma's companions filed in.

"Hallo, hallo. I'm Valeria Weizenbaum. I'm the substitute teacher for your magical self defense class. The last one was exploded, do not ask."

Her metal arms would transform rapidly into large gun turrets, aimed at the onlookers. They'd fire out fireworks instead of explosives, thankfully for the crowd.

"And I must say. You're all lacking in ruthless action and strategic planning! Inakzeptabel! It's time for a German to show you how to fight!"

She'd march forward and inspect every gathered girl, eyeing them down from head to toe and taking note of their equipment and gear. She'd take particular attention to Nessie. She'd stare her over before returning to Ozma and whispered in her ear.

"Ja, mark this one off she will not make it."

"Ahem! We've got to get you in shape as Pageless attacks continue. That is why you're all being subjected to my training course! I will teach you the best of self defense, Prussian style discipline, and independence of thought. Auftragstaktik!"

Valeria would march up and down the row of gathered girls. She'd clear her throat and glance over at Ozma.

"We can start the trials now, ja?"
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by KoL
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KoL Knight of Lorelei

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"Kof... Kof... I don't think that has anything to do with being German. Then again, everyone in my family would do the same so... Kof!" Said a voice coming from the ruined room. "By the way, I might need some help. I'm kinda stuck here," she added in a slightly embarrassed tone.

With the dust settled properly, it became evident that the girl in question was trapped under some of the rubble and perhaps a desk or two. "Why do I even have to be here anyway? You can't expect an artisan to be as good at dealing with these kinds of things as a fighter like you."

Eins was wearing a very tidy and proper uniform along with a lab coat until just about a minute ago when everything got into quite literal flames leaving her in these undignified circumstances. Hopefully, some good-natured soul would come to her aid soon, otherwise it would be quite complicated for a girl with such a weak constitution to get herself free.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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TheWendil The Wendil-Sama™ / ಠ_ಠ

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Charlotte was happy to see her old acquaintance had enough sense to remember not everyone was built with metal for limbs. She stretched with an audible pop in her back when Valeria finally settled down and was ready to give a piercing stare if any girl so much as made an age joke. Luckily, between those sensible enough to know who Valeria was-those being the girls who instantly assembled to attention-and those who respected Charlotte too much, there was little opportunity for one. All the same, the redhead crossed her arms and looked at the other girl with amusement and absorbed her words. “Substitute teacher, eh?”

Well, it made sense. With the Pageless more rampant and ferocious than ever before it was reasonable of the school to seek out aid and employment from Magical Girls across the world. Valeria was just living proof of the Grand Ministry’s extensive influence. It was almost like fate, Charlotte mused, that she would come across two roaming Magical Girls today with their own independence. The air lit up with excitement and energy by the fireworks Valeria summoned. It left a sheen of reverence and surprise among the newer students while snapping Charlotte back to the present.

Though, one of them girls already caught Valeria’s eye it seemed. Charlotte chuckled at Valeria’s initial sentiment on Nessie. Looks could be deceiving however and no one should know that better than the gunslinging Magical Girl. “We’ll just see,” she said back. By now the senior girls were departing with their own classes and tasks to do. Indeed, the line was breaking as students still needed to attend their lessons. “Woah, slow down there iron mask marauder,” Charlotte told Valeria. “Some of these girls just had their first patrol. Still, a combat lesson would do wonders. I take it you already got your schedule from the Grand Minister, no? You work better at night right~?”

A flash of paper was stuffed in Valerie’a hands before she protested. It read her schedule exactly, words and inked formed by themselves on the sheet. The Grand Minister already dictated when her class would run, because surely everyone loved night classes? “You can start your rotation with our patrol girls. Some of them could use a refresher too.” Charlotte clicked her heels together in what almost looked like a dancing motion before she was gone and out of sight in thin air.

The sounds of her speed were evident by the gasps that no doubt followed her appearance with their own slips of paper given to them before she reappeared beside a downed Eins. “Ahem. All girls who have a slip will report to Training Facility B for their night classes with Waffenhändler. Oh yeah. Hey Eins~” Those in attendance who received a slip of paper from the Crimson Comet were of course all girls from the patrols with their leaders viable to watch the session should they so choose. However, these slips given from Charlotte were slightly different from the one that acted as the Grand Minister’s schedule to Valeria with red ink grafted over Charlotte’s version.

“See you later then Val~” Charlotte said with a wave after helping Eins. The scholar was free to carry on whatever she was doing; all the girls were expected to really. But when the hour struck and the sky darkened into evening, those summoned were expected to gather in the aforementioned Training Facility B. Marrywell Academy was nothing short of its expansive landscape so holding such a varied training ground, one of many, was nothing short of literal magic itself.

The training ground was, however, already filled to the brim with Valeria’s junk. Large hunks of metal and scattered about pieces that belonged to some larger machination littered the floors. Where one might call it messy, the gun girl probably found comfort in the rampant chaos of machine and oil. If nothing else it gave the night class a theme. Up high in one of the viewing areas was Charlotte. She leaned against the rail with a cat’s grin as she waited for class to start.

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Hidden 9 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Lewascan2 "You've yee'd y'er last haw."

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Luckily, the patrol proceeded without incident. For their part, Camelot, Burning Heart and Lilac Shimmer saw no further action past the initial confrontation with Midnight Tsubasa. In large part, this had everything to do with Camelot merely using her senses to give Dynasty Queen a heading, upon which the martial Magical Girl would proceed to speed off and slaughter anything evil that looked at her funny in that general area. While this didn't do much for the group's team cohesion as a whole, it did allow Camelot to show them her basic patrol routes.

For her part, Camelot, for once, was gladdened to be free of conflict to directly partake in. The searing heat within her was nigh overwhelming, and though it ebbed and flowed at times, she had found that her headache was only getting worse as time went on, even the slightest of jolting movements enough to send spikes of agony through her skull. She could barely manage a light jog, much less a fight.


At this point, that was her best guess as to the major issue. Above and beyond the flames eating her from within, the steam she was expelling with every breath was clearly loosing her far more water than she could feasibly regain at this time. The only thing keeping her on her feet was her Scabbard's healing. Otherwise, she quite suspected she'd have collapsed... for more than one reason. The rain was absolutely no help. Despite any desire to intake even a single droplet to offset some of her losses, the water around continued to evaporate faster than she could ever hope to imbibe it. Her mouth felt as dry as a desert, and she had resorted to not talking, lest her rasp be apparent. The only solace to be found was that what rain managed to soak into the cloth of her armor took a small -if almost insignificant- bite out of the intensity of the heat.

At some point, Lumiere's team joined them, and listening to casual conversations on the return trip informed Camelot for certain that they had indeed been the ones to handle the Apex Pageless in the clouds. Despite the presence of both Captain Goodhope and Ethereal Rose, Camelot found herself in the awkward position of having to avoid them. The heat inside her was truly oppressive by this point, bathing her surroundings in a swelter akin to a noonday desert. Even were that not the case, her dry throat put a kibosh on any desire to communicate... assuming she could even speak without seething the words out in obvious pain.

The return to Marrywell brought feelings of mixed relief and apprehension. While the heat within her was bad, she could make a moderately confident assumption that it was an issue with her magic and transformation. So, surely, reverting to normal would undo it, right? If not, she still had Wilhelmina nearby, whose healing magic could save her if her Scabbard wasn't around to do the job, give her enough time to transform again. On the more distant horizon, her need to do something about her team composition was an issue she wasn't looking forward to visiting, especially while effectively disabled.

The group was beginning to split off to handle various matters of personal business, and Camelot couldn't help a small spurt of bitterness brewing inside her at the fact that not a single one of them had seriously inquired after her well being... not even Wilhelmina. From her own team, it was understandable at least. She'd thoroughly burned those bridges as surely as she was being burned from within, but... maybe she was just doing too good a job of internalizing things? Was her discomfort not obvious? Geez, she really was hopeless, trying to stubbornly stay strong while Goodhope and Lumiere were around to heal her?

Shaking her head of those poisonous thoughts, Camelot decided she'd just have to do as she usually had before, and figure this out alone. She barely concealed a stagger, as she moved away from the splintering group and towards the fountain in the Academy's courtyard. Immediately, to her trepidation, the water began to steam and warble, but the girl steeled herself. If the heat persisted, even this would be better than scorching up from the inside. It would be like her body was a blade being quenched, cooled down enough to not melt outright. And if nothing else, the explosion of steam from her little dip would hopefully make sure her state of distress didn't go unnoticed.

Grimacing, Camelot hesitated, biting her lip, before squeezing her eyes shut and reverting her transformation.

Immediately, the sense of relief was just... indescribable. Chinami shuddered with joy at the feeling of finally being pelted by rain properly, the sweltering, scorching air around her quickly being drowned out in the absence of the source of heat. The fountain was still steaming somewhat, but the injection of rainwater was rapidly doing the job of simmering it down, as Chinami leaned over the fountain, awaiting the moment it was cool enough to scoop a handful out of.

For her sheer relief, even now, was being tempered. The heat inside her... was far from gone. Rather, it instead seemed to have been reduced to something approaching tolerable, more akin to being baked by the summer sun instead of being boiled alive. Uncomfortable by far, especially in combination with her throbbing headache, but it was nothing she couldn't handle... for now. Another note of worry was her Grimoire. The second she'd reverted, a sharp feeling had stabbed into her left breast like being poked with a branding iron... a heat that emanated directly from the magical book currently stored within her jacket's inner pocket.

By this point, Chinami had stripped off her jacket in a hurry, the zipper of the pocket far too hot to even think about trying to get the Grimoire out now. By this point, Chinami could be certain that her torment was none of Burning Heart's vengeful doing on behalf of Lilac Shimmer. No, this was her own damned Grimoire! Glaring at the discarded jacket currently sitting on the wide lip of the fountain, Chinami found one hand drifting to her chest to massage the point where the searing book had briefly contacted her, even through multiple layers.

She could still feel the heat thrumming through and breaking down her body, muted and suppressed to some degree... but omnipresent all the same. Her Grimoire was flooding power into her body completely uncontrolled and ignoring all her attempts to stem it. Even now, her breaths still misted, releasing short-lived puffs of steam in the chilled London air. It was like a valve of a highly pressurized pipe of magical power had been broken between her Grimoire and body, and there was no stopping it until it accomplished its purpose. She wasn't even sure what it was trying to do or even if it was safe to stop whatever was happening from properly resolving.

There were... some silver linings to found in all this, however. While her jacket was effectively unwearable for the time being with her searing book trapped within it, Chinami could now fully indulge in the coolness of the rain and leaned back, sitting down on the wide lip of the fountain and facing the sky to allow the chill to permeate her aching head, even lapping up a couple droplets that fell into her half-open mouth. It was the closest she'd felt to relaxed all day, even with the lingering throb in her everything.

The second note of good news was that with the heat brought down to a more manageable level, she finally had the presence of mind to feel at the sensation and try to get some clue as to what was going on, which was when she noticed it. Similarly muted through it was, the cool restorative sensation of her Scabbard was unmistakable. Whatever the hell was going on with her Grimoire, that shattered open pathway to her body so too allowed her Scabbard to attempt to counter the problem, to protect her even whilst outside her transformation.

After thinking about it, honestly, Chinami wasn't even surprised that this was possible. Magical Girls didn't typically age, and they most certainly didn't grow to any state that could visually be defined as "old", even outside their transformed state, which meant that they either maintained some sort of fed connection of power from their Grimoire at all times... or that they were physically transformed upon first obtaining it in such a manner as to never age even without its direct influence. Given the current situation, and her lack of ability to mitigate the inner burn even by experimentally putting distance between herself and her Grimoire, Chinami was inclined to bet on the former.

An explosion rumbling through the school grounds put an end to her relaxation, and with teeth grit, Chinami stumbled to her feet and made her way towards the disturbance. Her gut burning and throat dry, she was in absolutely no shape to fight, but since when had any real hero ever let that stop them? If there was trouble, she was capable of doing something, and that would have to be better than nothing...

Even so, the very thought of transforming again, of the all-encompassing heat put a stop to any plans of immediately doing so. In all reality, the most she could manage was snagging the neck of her discarded jacket and bringing it with her, trying greatly to ignore the uncomfortable heat emanating from it.

Luckily, the disturbance turned out to not be some manner of terrorist attack, Pageless strike, or -in the most absurd possibilities- a Magical Girl "school shooter" of sorts. Instead, from what she could gather, it was merely a student's spell gone wrong in a training incident. The incident in question had reduced the entire room to rubble, including collapsing the ceiling.

Must have been a hell of a spell, Chinami mused with her eyes half-closed. Without the rain to take the bite out of the heat and the school's artificial lights overhead, her headache was back in business, especially given she'd yet to find an opportunity to intake a significant quantity of water and rehydrate again.

Valeria Weizenbaum... one of the newer teachers on the block (by comparison to some others at Marrywell) but far from a "new" Magical Girl on the whole. Like Lumiere and Ozma, she was an old Magical Girl, one that had roots as far back as the second World War. She was certainly a distinctive figure, what with her cybernetic magical limbs, the sort of things that Chinami could guess would well and truly have kept her from living a normal life in proper society. Something like that was simply too blatant to hide without going to great lengths to conceal. The technology to provide what she had simply didn't exist, so to flaunt it was to attract far more attention than Chinami was sure the Grand Ministry would generally approve of.

She also already had quite the reputation as a fine purveyor of the glorious religion of "MOR DAKKA"... a tendency that most certainly wasn't helped by her ability to actually fix most things. As a result, the concept of "property damage" seemed to be much less of a concern than one might typically expect from a Magical Girl so senior.

On a personal level, Chinami was also far from enthused with Valeria's militaristic teaching methods. She flinched from her position leaning against a wall some distance away from the heart of the incident, when the older girl's arms morphed into canons pointed at the crowd... only to settle down when only harmless fireworks popped out. Listening with half an ear as Valeria made a brief "inspection of the troops" and seemingly found Nessie in particular wanting (which was hardly fair in the face of the girl's complete novice state), Chinami struggled to stem the brief painful burst of increased power from her Grimoire, shaking as she halted the initial stage of her transformation and wound back down, outwardly displaying only a deeper lingering breath of smoke.

Coughing lightly, Chinami grimaced at the ashy taste on her dry tongue, and she had to suppress another surge of coughs from wracking her body reflexively. Mere steam seemed to be not enough for whatever the hell was going on with her any longer. Now that she revisited her internal stirrings, the burning pulse in her stomach was somehow... thicker, as though congealed now. She really did need to get some water in her as soon as possible.

Shaking herself from those considerations, she forced herself to focus on the situation at hand, on the slips of paper that were being handed out to all the members of she and Lumiere's teams, barring the leaders themselves notably. An abrupt summons for a combat training session in Training Ground B with leaders invited to observe from the sidelines. Chinami decided, ultimately, that it would be worth going to said session later that evening... after she'd had a damn nap and about a gallon of water, of course.

Looking around, Chinami could see that, despite the destruction, there had only been a single "casualty" in the whole affair, and they'd been unharmed on the whole, aside from getting pinned down by some rubble. With Charlotte having handled that issue quite handily and Valeria in the process of clearing out the remaining smoke and fires, there was nothing left that she could do here, not as she was.

Chinami wordlessly returned to her dorm.

A quick trip to the Academy cafeteria on the way back to her room netted her a plethora of water bottles, numbering over a dozen, which she promptly chugged in sequence upon her return, billows of steam and smoke leaving her lips in the aftermath of each, as though molten steel were being quenched within her own stomach. It was more than clear by the state of her strangely dry clothes and jacket that her body was still emitting excessive heat even now, something that gave her the distinct impression sleeping in her bed would quickly become a sweltering sweaty affair, even if she didn't use the covers.

Instead, Chinami settled for a long, bone-deep soak in cold water, occasionally changing out the bathwater when her overheated body inevitably leeched the comfort from it and rendered it a makeshift sauna. With her eyes closed and finally hydrated, she was starting to feel moderately better. It was a half-doze really, since she wasn't quite so tired as to allow herself to fall asleep in such a precarious position and drown. That would be rather embarrassing.

Keeping an occasional half-eye on the digital clock on the sink counter, she stayed that way till the evening bell was nigh to toll, and then, with a sigh of reluctance, she rose to the call of duty once more. If team placement changes actually went through, then it behooved her to get a visual measure of their abilities and potentially demeanors beforehand. She was quite decidedly opposed to being caught off guard so badly again.

Training Ground B, otherwise known as Valeria's personal stomping grounds, Chinami mused wryly, currently chugging yet another water bottle, before slipping the crumpled plastic junk into a trashcan along with several of its brethren. A fresh cloud of steam and smoke escaped her mouth, but with a sip from a new water bottle, the irritation and urge to cough was washed down. Rather, after her nap, the gusts of steam escaping her throat had been strangely less irritating than before. She wanted to put it down to the water and even just subconsciously tuning the sensation out... but that didn't feel quite right.

It felt like her body was finally on the path to... acclimating.

To what, exactly, she still really couldn't say.

Glancing around the area, strewn with broken glass, dismembered machinery and mechanical fluids, Chinami eventually spied a flash of red up on one of the railed balconies and began to make her way over. Quite uneager to revisit... that feeling in its full intensity any time soon, the Goth was rather disinclined to make a frivolous use of her transformation to leap up and save time. Instead, she stepped off the main battleground and took the flight of stairs like a normal person, lugging a large pack of water bottles with her in one hand. Her other was still occupied with her doffed black jacket, her Grimoire still burning uncomfortably within, leaving the girl in jeans and a dark blue t-shirt.

Reaching the appropriate floor, Chinami briefly hesitated at the sight of Charlotte. Her display from the patrol mere hours ago had been... a complete embarrassment, a horrible showing for someone that was supposed to be acting as an appointed leader. Which wouldn't be a problem if the so-called "All-Seeing Grand Minister" had just avoided saddling me with a team to begin with. I'm clearly not fit for the role, her brain sourly supplied, but Chinami shook it off, wincing at the brief flare-up that abrupt movement provoked from her still dying headache.

Swallowing her apprehension, Chinami strode over, set her water bottles down nearby and plopping her jacket a few meters further from that position. She was in no hurry to have all her water boiled by proximity to her out of control Grimoire. It had already effectively taken her jacket from her for the time being; it would not have her refreshments ruined as well if she had anything to say about it. On that note...

Chinami took a swig from her current opened bottle, exhaling a thick -if short lived- mist of steam and smoke after a moment and stepped up beside Charlotte, leaning against the railing and propping her forearms atop it, the now closed water bottle dangling deceptively lightly by the cap from her fingertips. She just didn't want to hold it directly with her far warmer palms for extended periods and risk melting the plastic or warming up the beverage.

As the students began to filter in down below, she mused aloud, too quietly to be heard from below without particularly enhanced hearing, "Well, that patrol was a complete disaster." And she used the word "patrol" lightly to be honest.

She wanted to ask some stupid question, like "why pick me as a leader?" but didn't, because she felt she already knew the answer. She'd dwelled on it long enough by now to come to the simple conclusion that she was the best of lackluster options. Amongst the eight of them, Lumiere was the only tried and true leader, endowed with a commanding presence, experience and the confidence to demand obedience through sheer charisma. Olivia was too new and naive by half. Nessie was just painfully green, despite her impressive power. Suzuya was too impulsive, too prone to emotional actions... and seemingly at the mercy of her Grimoire's whims. Bonnie was... not okay, not alright in a way that Chinami had never managed to grok to before today... not consciously.

The thought provoked a flare up from the fire inside her and a frustrated smoky spurt of coughs that she quickly washed down with another gulp of water.

Tesni was... fucking Tesni. Chinami just couldn't understand her, the impulsive bipolarness of it all... The sheer unpredictability and violence combined with raw power scared her, and it was likely that amongst other things that robbed Dynasty Queen of the spot, despite having sufficient strength to hold the position. Wilhelmina was... kind, too kind in some ways, naive in some others, too quick to be a follower. She just wasn't someone bred for leadership, despite her socialite talents. She could easily be the "heart of the team", but she didn't have the will to push people around, even when necessary.

Which just left Chinami, the lone wolf who went out of her way to take care of the people under her aegis, who concerned herself with the issues of the Alters and homeless, someone with the raw power, talent and combat experience to be able to actually pass something down to those under her command. She had the strength needed to make sure everyone came home alive and demonstrable altruistic intentions. Just... she had no idea how to actually lead. Her habit of distancing herself from unfavorable situations had crippled her in this respect. She was so used to treating everyone around her as equals, that being granted authority in such a sudden way had left her out of sorts. She had no experience whatsoever with balancing when to be hard and when to be soft, with how to treat others as subordinates, equals and students in equal measure, and with Tesni on her team, any hope she had of managing that was set on fire and thrown in a dumpster. And yet, despite all this, she was forced to suck it up and walk the party line, or rather, hadn't even had much of an opportunity to voice her concerns to begin with... a strangely militaristic position.

She knew more than well enough that if she decided to allow her Grimoire-induced instincts to take charge, leadership would be a breeze. If she allowed herself to lean into the militaristic drives that told her to strike down dissent firmly and even physically if need be, that told her how to bowl over arguments and demand her way or the highway, then she could be just like Lumiere... But no, Chinami rejected that style of leadership. There was plenty good reason why, despite her liking for martial pursuits, the military had never appealed to her in any capacity, even as a joke. She believed in personal freedom, and even if it was unfair, she inherently viewed military structures as tyrannical. She had no desire whatsoever to visit that structure upon others in any form. It made her feel dirty, like an utter hypocrite.

And in a direct display of this disturbingly militaristic structure that she loathed, she'd had no say in her teammates.

Tesni she'd have initially rejected out of hand if given the option. Bonnie she'd have hesitated on, because ultimately she liked a certain "work/life" balance, and her room was her safe quiet space. Having a teammate who she also roomed with... would feel like she was always on the job in some capacity. She'd feel like she always had to be an example, and it would be exhausting. To be honest, the only one she'd have been inclined to possibly choose herself was Suzuya... but those bridges seemed fairly well burned by this point.

But that was rather digressing from her original line of thought, which concluded quite firmly that she was only made a leader for being the least bad option behind Lumiere, a trial by fire, sink or swim... It sounded far too much like Lumiere's preferred teaching methods for Chinami's tastes.

All she wanted was to be part of a team of equals. No leaders. No absolutes. Just good people doing the best thing for each-other, the people and the situation at hand. Was that really too much to ask for? To have that instead of being pointed at by some all-seeing entity from on high and proclaimed as some innate leader despite any evidence to the contrary? Was it so much to ask to not be shackled by her very own "Sword in the Stone" moment? She didn't want to be delegated the damn position. If she was going to lead, she wanted to be chosen by the people she was to lead to begin with.

Glancing at Charlotte, Chinami's expression grew somewhat sullen. "So, if I recall your words correctly..." You completely rejected my entirely reasonable request to have input on team changes, despite that being the entire reason this clusterfuck occurred to begin with? "-already spoke to the Grand Minister I take it?" She took another sip of water to quell the brief flare in her gut and kill the fresh series of coughs before they could be born.
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