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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Crowvette
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Crowvette Lsot But Seeking

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Vera and Andras's Impromptu Midnight Fight


If Vera hadn’t really looked thrilled to be fighting, that changed quickly. She raised her arms up in front of her, the magic bolt breaking against her forearms. Behind her arms, her eyes narrowed as she glared at Alex. The blast had stung like hell, but she didn’t flinch from it.

Instead, in that moment, it galvanized her. She’d made a snap decision to take over as Alex’s opponent, without having had any time to sort out her feelings. Alex, meanwhile, had hardly hesitated to start the fight.

Vera didn’t know what to make of that, and in the absence of a concrete answer, she had settled on taking it very, very personally.

“This is what you came for, isn’t it?” she growled under her breath and then sprang forward. Alex shouldn’t have been too surprised when Vera managed to close the gap between them in a flash. She’d always been the scrappiest, most athletic member of their little group, and time had only made her legs longer.

As soon as she was in range she swung a kick at Alex’s hands in an attempt to disrupt her ability to use her cards.

Alex was taken aback at how quick Vera was. She was always the fast one, of course, but it seems like things were different now. Alex didn’t have to curse her short stature before Vera was upon her.

Alex reflexively brought her arms up to protect against the kick, but she kept her spell at the ready. She grit her teeth as the kick shot across her arms, the sharp pain being something she hadn’t felt physically in what seemed like ages. However, Vera getting that close was the criteria she needed - to be touching the opponent.

“I’ve got more than just some bolts of light, you know!” Alex shouted, her spell casting on the touch between the two girls. It was a pale imitation of the mythological vampire - a spell that drained the energy of another to sustain the caster. She had wanted to play up the theatrics, but the swiftness of Vera’s counterattack made it clear - no time to play around.

Alex took a few steps back after the spell was cast, her cards ready in her hands, feeling the rush of energy stolen from Vera. She wanted to keep some distance, but that would be hard with Vera’s physical advantages. Alex readied another spell, hoping that the shock of the sudden drain would be enough to keep Vera off balance.

Vera felt a wave of fatigue hit her as she hit Alex. She stumbled back a step and took a deep breath, trying to recover. She grit her teeth. It was always like this. A straight-forward fight against someone with a proper set of powers was always so unfair.

It didn’t make sense to her what Alex was suddenly able to do, but it didn’t matter. Alex had powers, Vera didn’t. Of course, Vera knew how to fight and Andras didn’t, but how much would that matter?

The thing was, maybe she felt like she’d suddenly just run a mile, but she could run a lot of miles, and Alex wasn’t that far away. She grit her teeth and rocketed forward once more, not giving Alex another moment to prepare.

First, she cut off her movement by stepping down on Alex’s foot to root her, then her hand whipped out, grabbing Alex’s to torque her wrist, still hoping that controlling her hands might limit her powers. Finally, she cocked a fist back, ready to slam it into Alex’s now unguarded face…

Vera knew that if she could find the limit to Alex’s powers, that if she could stay up close like this, that Alex was screwed. Alex hadn’t known a damn thing about fighting in the past. Her powers had been borderline useless too. Vera had always done all the fighting.

Vera had never stopped fighting.

Vera couldn’t fathom that Alex could have learned how to fight anywhere near her level. Where would she have found the time? And why would she have bothered? She had powers.

The blow never came. Vera’s face twisted into a frustrated snarl and instead of slamming her fist into Alex’s jaw, she grabbed the smaller girl by the collar and threw her to the ground. It was hardly a proper throw, not even enough to really knock the wind out of the girl.

It was more like Vera was throwing a tantrum and chucking her toys around, but was still afraid of actually breaking them.

Alex was taken aback at the blow that never came. Vera let her off easy. Was it a warning? Or a flex? A signal to calm down? More so than anything, that attack left Alex conflicted. ‘Was I trying too hard by coming at her full force?’ Alex thought to herself. She didn’t really have time to mull over all the possibilities.

As Alex jumped to her feet, she couldn’t help but prod. “Vera. I thought…” She couldn’t quite place what to say. “Um. Maybe not the best time now. After all this, we need to talk.” Alex dusted herself off as she stood. “But for right now, let’s both put our hearts into the fight.” She felt a little bit better just bringing it up. Alex hoped Vera may have felt the same pang of regret for stumbling into the fight, and the two could finish it more as friends than combatants.

Alex picked a card out and quickly crushed it in her hands, the card’s glow suffusing over Andras’s body for a brief moment, concentrating around her legs before disappearing. This spell drastically enhanced her ability to jump. She had to keep that effect at the ready, for the perfect time to surprise Vera. She stood at the ready, waiting for Vera’s next move.

“I’m happy to see you.” She added, in a lower voice to try and keep the crowd from hearing. She tried to wink… but obviously nobody could tell she did.

Vera… faltered at Alex's words. It was what she'd wanted to hear, but she still couldn't get past the fact that THIS was how they'd reunited. Nothing Alex could say at this moment would fix that.

At least nothing Vera could think of.

But still, the words slowed her more than any spell that had been cast so far, even as Alex urged her to fight her hardest.

Honestly, Vera wanted to beat her frustrations into Alex's face, and that urge was one she found deeply unpleasant. Disturbing, really. It was the exact opposite of everything she'd ever stood for as a fighter.

Fine then, she just wouldn't hit her.

All she had at the moment was a half-baked plan, a messy sack of muddled emotions, and shaky resolve, but she'd never been one to quit. She suddenly took an entirely different stance, more like a boxer and darted in again, quick as ever.

"Oh, we'll talk all right…" she growled as she drew close and fired off a lightning quick jab at Alex's nose. It would come short by a millimeter, even should Alex be too slow to react.

She wasn't hesitating this time though, just distracting her. If it worked, Vera would then slip behind her, bodily push her off balance, and then try to sweep her legs.

Alex had analyzed the situation perfectly. Vera would come at her. She would dodge just in time, putting Vera off balance, and allowing her to take the initiative. Her magic was flawless. But her reaction times were a bit lacking.

She was taken by surprise with how quickly Vera had thrown out the punch, and the perfect plan in her mind dissolved as she reflexively tried to protect herself from the punch - unfortunately playing right into Vera’s maneuver.

Alex fell to the ground, her legs kicked out from under her. Vera may have been holding back, but it wasn’t stopping her from showing Alex that she had a long way to go before she was going to be a scrapper.

‘M-Maybe I should have put more into it during physical therapy…’ Alex couldn’t help but think to herself. She quickly turned to face Vera - although she was on the ground, Alex was anything but disabled. That being said, she was running out of options. Even Andras knew trying to get to her feet with Vera towering above her would be foolish. She instead opted to start shuffling back, trying to get some distance between the two. All the while, her spells glowed at the ready in her hands.

Vera made no move to hit Alex while she was down. She just slowly walked forward, not letting Alex crawl too far away.

“Get up, Andras,” Vera commanded her. She would wait, allowing the girl to do so. If she did, then the second she had her feet under her again and her guard something resembling up, Vera would shoot back in, aiming a kick at Alex’s ankle to destabilize her and then a palm strike to her stomach to knock her down all over again.

Alex would either find a way to win, or Vera would keep knocking her down until she lost the will to get up again.

Alex’s blunder with reacting to Vera’s attack stung, but she wouldn’t let Vera keep the initiative. She’d have to do something unexpected. The spell to enhance her jump height was still active, so Andras put together a plan. It was anything but elegant, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

She rose to her knees, and then a low squat. Alex knew the spell enhanced her legs to drastically increase the height of her jumps - and she had measured it to about ten feet straight up last time she had cataloged the spell. Of course, if she directed that jump in the right way…

A split-second glow of light around Alex’s legs was the only sign of the coming attack. From her low squat, Alex jumped forward with unexpected speed, trying to directly tackle Vera. Though under ordinary circumstances the differences in stature and distance between the two would make a move pointless, Alex was banking on the magical enhancement and surprise to sweep Vera off her feet. Alex had to return the favor for the previous throws that had been given to her, after all.

Vera saw Alex gearing up for a tackle. What she wasn’t ready for was how fast and intense a tackle it would be. Vera had lowered her center of gravity, her feet skidding back as Alex crashed into her and she absorbed the blow. She let out a cough as the pain radiated through her stomach, Alex’s shoulder having plowed into it.

Vera had wanted to catch the other girl, and she had, but with the speed Alex had careened into her at, she’d still done plenty of damage and Vera hadn’t exactly been able to slow her down. That said, she DID still have Alex in her grasp again.

“OK…” Vera took a deep breath as she tightened her grip around Alex to prevent her from disengaging. “Now you’re pissing me off,” she said in a ragged growl as she fought to keep her knees from trembling. She hadn’t exactly caught her breath yet.

She then shifted her grasp, grabbing Alex by her hair. She cocked her leg back, clearly lining up a knee that would smash Alex’s nose and just the rest of her face in general. And… she couldn’t do it. Even as the pain still throbbed and she had to put an extra effort into breathing, she couldn’t hit the girl, not like that.

If anything, that pissed her off even more. She was already at a huge disadvantage without psyching herself out and holding back.

Well, for the moment anyway, the ball was once again fully in Vera’s court.

With Alex’s face spared for the moment, Vera twisted her grip on Alex’s hair and forced the girl to stand up, then further, forcing her to lean back to avoid having her hair torn out.

“In case you were wondering, this was how it felt…” Vera snarled. She made to swing her leg into the back of Alex’s, once more intending to take her feet out from under her, but this time she kicked a lot harder. Unless Alex found a way to escape quickly, she’d be left airborne for a moment before Vera slammed her palm down onto Alex’s solar plexus, violently propelling her back to the floor.

With that moment of exertion passed, Vera would then fall to her knee, coughing and trying to finally catch her breath fully.

Alex was at her limit - in several ways, but mostly physical. Her chest ached, her legs were unsteady, and her breath was coming in quick gasps. She had kept a few spells back, but she felt like if the fight continued, they’d be wasted anyway when she lost. So she conjured up her remaining cards.

She had to cast the spell she was holding back. The spell glowed and suffused around her arms and hands, consuming all of the other spells she hadn’t cast yet along with it. This spell would infuse her punch with superhuman force, and suffer no damage to her arms or hands.

The plan was simple: End the match with a single, unexpected strike. Even if blocked, the superhuman strength of the punch would likely finish Vera. Alex took a deep breath, and jumped to her feet. Then she reeled back for the punch. Her strength would more than make up for her lack of technique, at least in her mind’s eye.

And for a moment, it looked like it might work - but Alex caught herself. She realized what she was about to do. To her own friend! The knot in her stomach turned.

She couldn’t do it. Maybe that was what Vera kept feeling too. Alex couldn’t cross that line, even if the two had just spent their first meeting in years beating each other. She’d rather go back to her hospital bed and sleep another year.

What was she even doing here?! How could she even consider doing that to Vera?!?!

With a cry of frustration, Alex brought her fist down, but it landed nowhere near Vera, instead landing directly into the floor. The force of the impact cracked the floor beneath it and shook the entire bar.

“I can’t do it, Vera. I can’t have the first thing I do after missing you for so long be putting you in the hospital.” Alex muttered in a low voice, so quiet that only Vera could hear. “If you can do it, go ahead.” She sniffled, holding back tears.

Dust rained from the rafters and not a soul in the bar uttered a sound. The tiny girl had just set off what felt like an earthquake with a punch. It was a bit and then some beyond what most people expected from fights in the Midnight arena, let alone from someone like “Andras.”

Vera’s eyes just slowly panned over to the small crater formed by Alex’s fist, sweat dripping down the side of her face.

Shit like this was why she didn’t pick fights with people anymore.

She barely heard Alex’s first few words as her heart pounded in her ears.

“I-I give up…” Vera swallowed. She was good. As far as she was concerned, that was plenty for her to give Alex the win, and no one in the crowd was gonna argue with her after seeing that.

Alex wiped her eye with her sleeve. “W-What?” It took the girl a few moments to take in what had happened - or rather, what she had done. She looked down at the crater where her fist had impacted the floor. “O-Oh.”

She was frozen with shock for a moment. ‘I definitely overdid it!!’ She couldn’t help but think. ‘I can’t spin this as a total win… everyone saw her toying with me. I can’t even figure out what to say here!!’ Her brain whirred, trying to think of what to do. ‘I-I guess I should get out of the arena, at least…’

She wordlessly reached a hand out, offering Vera a hand up.

Vera hesitated for a moment before tentatively lifting her hand toward Alex’s. She trembled slightly as her hands inched toward Alex’s until their fingertips brushed against each other.

She recoiled.

She flinched before her expression hardened and she slapped Alex’s hand away. She forced herself to her feet on her own before limping out of the arena without sparing Alex another glance.

She couldn’t even explain her actions. She could tell herself it was to make sure no one would doubt that Alex had earned her win and that she was playing the role of a sore loser, but that didn’t ring true in her mind. All she could do was shuffle off to sulk somewhere while she tried to sort out what she was feeling.

And besides, she’d left her “product” unattended with her “friend.” She needed to make sure they weren’t choking on their own vomit somewhere…
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

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Location: Midnight Tournament
@KillamriX88


Michael watched Andras' and Vera's fight with interest, which eventually turned into concern. At first, Michael was curious to see just what other abilities Andras could pull out with those cards, as well as what Vera was capable of. As the fight progressed, however, Michael gleaned more than a few details, and not just about the fight. Vera certainly knew how to throw a punch, while Andras seemed to struggle. Soon, Vera had dominated Andras, and without even using any powers. At the last second, however, it seemed Andras would make a comeback, only to miss her attack on purpose due to her feelings interfering. Vera then conceded and began to leave.

Michael was torn between two options. For one, he could go comfort Andras, his friend whose emotions he couldn't read but could guess didn't stray too far from anything beyond stunned surprise. On the other hand, he could go after her psycho childhood friend who seemed to have a complicated relationship with her. After a short contemplation, he decided that he would try to question Vera a bit. After all, it seemed Andras would be fine for the time being, and it wouldn't hurt to go after the pink-haired crazy bitch... right?

Michael decided to draw a large shield icon across his chest, which enchanted his body, making it feel like his body was covered in leather armor. He didn't want to take chances when talking to Vera. While he did so, he ran after her, shouting, "Hey, wait! Just-just a minute!" Assuming her caught up to her, Michael would then proceed to ask, "You seem to have a bit of history with our mutual friend, Alexandria. Mind sharing a few details?"
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by KillamriX88
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KillamriX88 Cheese Lover / Professional Cat Cuddler

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The receptionist weathered Chinami’s demands remarkably well. Perhaps she too had “seen some shit” while working for Nightman. Or maybe she was emboldened by having a ready made response for the girl.

“I’m sorry, but we can’t just give out information about our patients. I’m sure you understand. You wouldn’t want your own information just handed out to anyone who walked in off the street, would you?” The woman smiled pleasantly. “If you have an appointment of your own, you-”

“-can discuss any concerns you might have with me yourself.” Nightman walked into the waiting room, hands folded behind his back. “You do have an appointment, Chinami, and I’m quite free at the moment. Why don’t we discuss this privately. You simply can’t keep barging in here like this.”

Pursing her lips, Chinami turned towards the Doctor, still keeping her hands clasped behind her back, in large part to conceal how hard she was clenching her fists in anxiety and anger. Even now, seeing him in person and knowing -or hoping, rather- that she was protected from him, the Goth couldn’t help her stomach curdling in muted fear. She mulled over his words, half-entertaining going along with them. Even now, even after going this far… some large part of her was holding back, desperately clinging to the idea that she could solve this without violence. That was why she hadn’t just smashed through the door outright or gotten rougher with the receptionist. She still wanted this to be as diplomatic as possible, wanted to cling to even the smallest chance of the perfect ending.

What did she want out of this exchange ideally? She wanted the Doctor to give up his crusade with her, and she wanted to avoid being psychoanalyzed by someone that had no respect for her as a patient or person, given the egregious invasion of privacy. She also wanted to ensure the safety of the two boys -and any others that might be here besides, but that was somewhat notably lesser in priority compared to protecting herself and her mother.

Ultimately, however, there was only one answer she could give. “No.” She snorted almost derisively. “Unless you’re particularly delusional, you know there’s only a couple ways this can go, and not a single one of them involves you and me alone in a room together.” Rolling her jaw, she exhaled deeply, trying to settle her thundering pulse down. “And the only thing it could be is delusion at this point. You seem to have a knack for knowing things it should be impossible to know, and yet, you can’t seem to grasp the most obvious, personal things about me.” She tilted her head. “A limit of your Gift, perhaps? Or maybe just the user?”

She shook her head. “Regardless, I am here for a singular purpose… maybe two. Whatever else happens today, I shall be leaving unaccosted by your attentions. Now then.” She straightened up. “The boys, where are they?”

Nightman sighed, and lifted a hand, gesturing to the receptionist, “Why don’t you take a break?” The woman nodded and then stepped away from the desk, heading out through another door, leaving the other two alone in the room. He then turned back to Chinami, “I’m afraid the boys are none of your business. Any doctor would tell you the same. If you’re concerned for their safety, I can assure you they’re alive and uninjured.” There was no sign of him lying so far.

He continued to stand there, his arms behind his back with his guard down. “It’s ironic, really. I find those who need my help the most are almost always the most resistant. You’re no different. I can feel your anger. Your paranoia. All that stress. I could help you, but you’ll never just let me, will you? I feel no matter how I had approached, you never would have. Am I wrong?”

Chinami barely concealed her reaction, but she could not deny that, to her wired, paranoid mind, the Doctor ushering his secretary out looked dangerously like mental influence to her. Unfortunately, her current mental protections most certainly didn’t come with a side of actually being psychic herself. She might as well have been as blind and deaf to Nightman’s Gift as he was hers. Taking another calming breath, she also couldn’t help, however, being irked by the fact that Nightman had instantly debunked her prior declaration in some petty manner. Her Pride curdled at the insult, but by this point, he was already so deep in the hole with her that it was just another pebble on the pile.

Gritting her teeth, she managed to keep her expression locked into something approaching impassive, as her eyes narrowed. “Normally, I’d be inclined to leave things at that and afford people their privacy. Only…” Her head tilted in mock thought. “You afforded me none, so why the hell should I give you any in return?”

She scoffed. “You’re both wrong and right… but mostly right.” She had everything she could want, a path to follow, a good school, a couple people she could hazard to call friends, and a quiet mostly nonviolent life. The nature of the Academies simply kept total peace while attending them a pipe dream, but some sacrifices had to be made. She turned over the Doctor’s other statements in her head, eyes narrowed. With her current protections, he had to be either bluffing about being able to emphatically read her… or something else was going on. It was more likely than not that he was simply regurgitating the mindset he’d felt before she escaped, but there was always that chance that she hadn’t quite covered everything… It was impossible to say without knowing his exact Gift.

She rolled her jaw, taking a step back mentally to examine the situation, using her Spirit’s enhanced perceptions to take an extended moment to think. She was currently dueling for control of the conversation. The Doctor wanted to do his thing. She wanted to bull through this bullshit and find the boys, but she was holding back. If there was the slightest chance that he was genuine and that the boys were in no danger, setting her bias and fear aside, she wanted to grasp that peace with both hands.

Currently, she was on the backfoot. That was clear. She was locked into answering his own questions, and her own had been deflected almost casually. She had to pick him apart, tear his arguments down from the ground up. But how? Straightening up, she stared Nightman in the eyes. “The practice of therapy relies upon the singular principle of trust. Without it, there is nothing. It requires a patient to actually want what is on offer, and it requires that it not be thrust upon them against their will.” Inhaling sharply, she frowned now. “In every aspect of my handling, you’ve screwed the pooch, either through malice or blithering arrogance. You successfully, from day one, from the moment you insisted despite my firm rejection, from the moment you ignored my free will and threatened my Quiet Life, managed to destroy any chance of there ever being the kind of trust between us that I -as a potential patent- absolutely require without question from an individual of your profession.” Exhaling calmingly, she tempered her glare’s hostility.

Oh,” abruptly came a noise laced with something like realization, as a sly smile overtook her expression. “You know, if you’re so very invested in me, there’s one little itty bitty thing you could do to mend some of that damage. I’m not going to lie and say it’s guaranteed or anything… but I don’t think I’m asking for a lot. Just let me talk to the boys…” Her eyes sharpened. “That’s all. Just let me hear from them how great and genuine you are in person…”

Nightman raised an eyebrow at her suggestion.

“I see. Well you’ve made a few fundamental mistakes, child. At this point, you aren’t threatening my privacy, but theirs. Furthermore, it is not up to me whether or not you speak with them, nor would it be appropriate for me to involve them in this.” He shook his head. “Let me tell you what I feel I’ve already gleaned about you, shall I? You see, in this world, almost every single one of us has been granted a gift that was originally meant for war. We cannot control it or limit it, simply live with it. We all say we value our privacy, yet when someone snaps we always ask ‘why didn’t they do more?’

“So you see, I’d rather risk offense than do nothing. I’d rather take the first step myself. That letter I sent you wasn’t so that I could attempt to start my work, but the start of it itself. Your reaction has told me almost everything. You desire control.” He chuckled. “Well, what child your age doesn’t? After years chafing under one’s parents, any child might want to start making moves on their own, but most benefit from that control. They need it to compensate for their lack of experience. The difference is what that control, or lack of it, cost you. Now I don’t know what that incident was, but it’s no secret your current situation. What did I really do to you?” he asked, and then held up his index finger.

One letter. And it led to all of this. You desire control, but if that was all it took to send you into this spiral. In that case, can we really say you ever had any control to begin with? This would not be your last test, Chinami. If your grasp on yourself is so fragile, you would be unfathomably lucky to never crumble in the future.”

He took a few steps toward her, “And yet, you are allowed to exist with these issues unchecked so long as you have good grades. I find it deplorable.”

“Fragile grasp of myself?” Chinami’s voice was a dangerous whisper. You’re still alive, aren’t you?” She stepped to the side, her fists clenched behind her back tighter than ever, as she began -to lack a better word- prowl in a half-circle around Nightman, slowly edging the distance between them wider, as she moved inexorably closer towards the hallway leading to the rest of the building, her crimson eyes narrowed at Nightman in the corner of her vision. “I have mistaken nothing, Nightman. I am not asking to invade a patient’s privacy. What I am demanding is a simple, objective review of your services from what I presume are first-timers.” Her jaw clenched. “I didn’t ask for your opinion. I was simply informing you of my decision, my price.” She chuckled humorlessly. “You’re right, of course, but you’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know all too well. My Gift, itself, is a living eternal expression of my desire for control, which should give you some idea just how integral that is to me… and just how dangerous the ground you are treading right now is. I need control almost as much as I need air to breathe, and you are stealing what’s mine, what I need to live.”

Her stride only stopped once their positions were roughly inverted from the original. So…” She almost seemed to taste the potential words on her tongue, savoring the feeling of standing on the edge of a chasm. “No more talk. No more words. No more delays. Either do as I say, or get out of my way. I’ll go find the boys myself… Feel free to try and stop me.”

Nightman wasn’t blind to what Chinami was trying to do. After the first few steps, her goal became clear. He gave her a few more before he simply took one big step backward to place himself back into the doorway to the rest of the building.

“Children these days. So quick to resort to threats of bodily harm when they don’t get their way. Even murder.” He wasn’t smiling anymore. “If you want that review so badly, feel free to track them down out of this building where it is no longer my concern. However, beyond this doorway is my concern. If you’re so confident you can deal with me, though, you’re welcome to try.” He shrugged, arms still held behind his back and posture relaxed. They had both issued their challenges, now it was up to Chinami to decide if she was going to go through with it.

Well… if you insist.” Her grin was a touch feral, as she strode closer. Her arms no longer were folded behind her back. “A probing strike, then? Just to see what you can take. You’re a pest, but I don’t quite want to swat you dead… yet.” Punctuating that statement, as she acquired melee range, was an initial blindingly fast -certainly well above human norms- jab at the doctor’s jaw, hoping to lightly rattle his brain and knock him unconscious relatively harmlessly. She held back a fair amount, not intending to actually break bones.

His expression did not change as she launched her attack. At first it might have seemed she was simply moving too fast for him to react to begin with, but just before her strike landed, he leaned his head aside ever so slightly… and then her hand froze in place, gripped by some unseen force.

No, not unseen, just transparent. A specter quite like the spirit currently reinforcing her body had manifested and grabbed her by the wrist to hold her strike back.

What? Chinami uttered in unrestrained shock, eyes widening, a cold pit of recognition dropping into her gut.

Nightman sighed, shaking his head before lifting his own hand to clamp down on Chinami’s wrist before she could pull it away.

“You’re so weak,” he said derisively. “All this wild flailing. The greatest, cosmic joke is that individuals like you are granted power like this. You’re a loose cannon that needs to be disarmed.” It was at that point, as she fought against him, she’d finally notice something was terribly off.

Not about him, but her.

She was neither as fast nor strong as she should have been. Before, when she’d been loading herself up with abilities she’d yet to use up her stamina, never mind the mental distress she’d been under. Now, in the midst of battle, when she was being tested directly, it was all too apparent.

Something had already been done to her, perhaps before she’d attempted to defend herself from it.

“All this anger and pain. Like an open wound. And you, in all your arrogance, you flooded this place with your power. I was swimming in it even before you directed it at me to drop that note. Oh, and let’s not forget your little stint at eavesdropping, drilling all that hate into the back of my skull.” He laughed. “It was everything I could do to focus on my appointment.”

He then tilted his head curiously, even as his grip on her wrist tightened and she felt the reinforcing strength from her spirit begin to wane ever so slowly.

“Ahaha, interesting. You came prepared. But… putting a bandage over a sliver doesn’t stop it from festering.” A searing pain stabbed through her mind as the mental defense she put in place was pried at, like a loose rock being torn from a stone wall. “This will take some effort. Why don’t we do this somewhere else?”

His other hand shot out to clamp down over her mouth, keeping her from shouting. Though, before doing anything else, he glanced over his shoulder, “Do see to the boys, would you? Let me know when they wake up.” He then turned his gaze back to Chinami. “Now… how did you do that trick?” A few moments later, however, she once more felt that sensation of existing in two places at once. Then, they were somewhere else, a building in the midst of renovation it seemed. She was thrown down into a folding, metal chair as Nightman paced around her.

That said, even with him no longer touching her, she still felt that feeling like something was squirming its way through her, through the cracks in her psyche.

“Care to give it another go, child?” Nightman held his arms out. One might notice in that moment the glint of a ring on his finger that hadn’t been there last Chinami had spied on him…

What? What the fuck?!

He was a Gift copier of some sort! Or at least, he was draining hers, which shouldn’t even be possible! Except-! Except if he’d already gotten some of it before, on a technical level, he was on equal grounds with her. There was no reason he couldn’t rip her own defenses to shreds with his own version. On a metaphysical level, he now possessed a Gift equal to hers. This…

This was worse than anything she’d imagined in her wildest dreams. Screw saving the boys! She’d barely be able to save herself!

Immediately, she slammed two charges home. Enhancement solidity, to protect her defenses and personal enhancements from being torn down any more, and Mental Purge, immediately flushing the remainder of the mental assault out. Gritting her teeth, she considered her options, as she trembled in fresh exhaustion and barely restrained renewed terror. Now that she was aware, she’d plugged the holes he’d exploited, but even so, if he had copied her Gift -stolen it, there was no reason he couldn’t beat the shit out of her manually. And given how tired she was?

That just wasn’t a battle she could win. Not with only a single safe charge left.

Her mouth dried up.

She’d have to run. Again.

Her Pride raged at the admission, but it was an undeniable truth. She couldn't win. It was delusional to even think of facing her own power head-on while her opponent was nearly fresh as a daisy. Or worse… She knew he couldn’t read her mind right now, which was the only saving grace, as a traitorous thought flickered across her perception.

She could win.

But it would require her to break her number one rule. She could only pray the Doctor hadn’t discovered that sinisterly simple application of her ability. If he had… There might be no winning. She needed a way to get her power back from him. She needed to know how his stealing actually worked. Clearly, it acted at range, and the implication was that it also acted if the power came into contact with him in some manner. He could sense Gifts to some degree. But how long did he keep them? Clearly, distance wasn’t a factor… or not much of one, anyway. He’d stolen her power before she initially escaped and retained it for entire minutes even while she was halfway across the city. He said he could feel her power infusing the clinic, implying her could -and possibly had- drained everything she’d injected into himself and somehow extrapolated her whole-ass power out of it. So, he didn’t even need to be targeted with it directly to charge; merely touching another affected thing was likely enough.

The only limitation she could possibly guess he had was time and maybe a finite pool of stored energy, which meant she’d need to avoid him for an indeterminate amount of time… an unfeasibly long time. With her power, he could find her from anywhere, teleport to her, and it would be all over. She… couldn’t run. And worse, even if she could, he could just use her own power to make his retention permanent, assuming he hadn’t done so already.

This…

She’d gone into this with the will to stop holding back, and yet, she’d choked when it mattered most. And further… she still had yet to shatter the final set of chains… She trembled in that chair now not simply in exhaustion or fear of the Doctor… but apprehension of herself… of what taking another step would mean… of the now near inevitability laid out before her. If she cut loose, really and truly, a battle between herself and someone else with her unchained power could wreak untold devastation. She’d… never be anonymous again. In defeating this man, she’d almost be guaranteed to make such a spectacle of herself that her Quiet Life would never survive.

The chains -mental roadblocks, deliberately imposed- squealed horrifically under the strain.

Nearly all emotion drained out of her expression.

But there wasn’t any choice. It was this, or her end.

It wasn’t even death. It was so much worse that potentially awaited her.

Her power, unchained by even the veneer of morals or restraint was a cataclysmic threat to all.

And worse, it was in the hands of twisted scum like Doctor Nightman.

So, could it really be said she had options at all?

No. Nightman had stolen them.

With a sound only she could hear, more a metaphysical thing than not, the chains shattered.

Her last charge slammed home, instantly purging the crippling exhaustion from her body and spirit… and leaving her immune to attaining more for the next several hours. As of now, her primary limits… did not exist, as she sucked in a much steadier breath and snapped her fingers.

She needed to be able to last long enough to figure out how his original ability actually worked. Only then, could she specifically target it. Which meant, first, she needed to close the information gap he currently led on her, and she needed to stop this battle from devolving into a slugfest of categorical devastation as quickly as possible. If this went on for any significant amount of time, the two of them would simply continue ramping up to the point that even the Rhean military or police force might take notice… or potentially much much worse. Of that, she was particularly genuinely worried; it was one of the main things that had long since truly quelled any real uprising of arrogance or grand plans within her. Originally, she hadn’t had the power to waste on scrying, but now she had more than enough.

Gift Appraisal. Item Appraisal. Individual Scrying. To limit her invasiveness of the surrounding area and the mental strain, the last one would allow her to specifically pinpoint the location of only someone she had seen before… in particular, the boys. She prayed silently that Nightman hadn’t already set up his own protections against information gathering, as she attempted to analyze his Core Gift and the rather strangely conspicuous ring upon his finger. Even as she was doing that, she was locating the boys as fast as possible and preparing a jump to their location, more concerned for the moment with escaping than getting a full look at the Doctor’s supernatural assets.

As she observed him, she was suddenly barraged by far more information than she'd ever expected.

The ring, Gimlé, providing a shield.

Then at his neck, The Ankh of life, beneath his vest. It gave healing.

Then… far more…

Core power, Highest Heaven, Lowest Hell, magical reinforcement-

Core power, Proud Soul, that was her own

Core power, Second Skin, create a second-

Core power, Throne de Lux, the powers of a celestial-

Core Power, Psionic Bridge, link to another-

Then, finally all the competing streams of information stopped at one last destination:

Core Power: Domination , the ability to inv- . . . The stream of information began to distort and warp in her mind.


Again, she tried to read it:

Core Power: Domination , . . .
Nice Try




Moments ago, amidst the chaos




As Nightman vanished with Chinami, the man in the suit strode down the hall. He cracked open the door to Reverio's room to see the boy still "resting," and then Ken's to find the same. With Chinami taken away, none would be the wiser to what had transpired here.

Except, they had made one miscalculation. Reverio had been far closer to consciousness than they'd anticipated. In fact, he was all but wide awake. With Chinami challenging him and the boys "asleep," Nightman had thrown subtlety to aside, but Reverio's room was rather close to the hallway entrance and voices carried.

Reverio would feel that something was off about his powers as he fought off the unnatural sleep, but it was a subtle feeling. By nature of his powers, the grasp Nightman had over him had been, was, tenuous.

Nightman, it seemed, was out of the office for a moment, and those who remained did not know he was awake. If he was going to make a move, now would be the time. Perhaps there were others in need of rousing...
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Reverio Galand


Voices. Noises. There was a struggle going on, but between who? The young man furrowed his eyebrows, his ears perking up on hearing footsteps and someone coming into the room which he were located with. He allowed himself to assume a laid back posture in the chair, until he could hear the footsteps gradually becoming distant. He couldn't sit idle any longer, something fishy was indeed going on. Thus he got out of his chair, he couldn't help but feel abit off, as if someone had drained him slightly. Perhaps this were how the nobles felt after too much wine at those old masquerade balls.

The blonde young man followed the man in the suit as he made his way down a corridor and into another room. Reverio made sure to approach carefully, taking cover as much as he could, while also not losing track of the man. Peeking into a doorway he could see the boy from before. Ken. He was seemingly asleep and this man was looming over him before leaving and heading into the corridor, thankfully not spotting Rev as he quickly hid behind a corner.

As soon as the man was out of sight, Rev smoothly moved into Ken's room. He proceeded to swiftly move over towards Ken, moving his right hand to Ken's forehead, then began to channel his magic as good as he could, still with the uneasy feeling about the building. Using his powers he attempted to cleanse the condition which Ken was suffering from, healing any mental condition currently affecting him. If that wouldn't work, Rev was prepared to use the court method. Which usually involved slapping someone across the face until they woke up.

"Hey.. wake up..." Rev said in an hurried, yet hushed manner. Shaking Ken abit as he did. "There's something wrong about this place, the doctor is not who he claims to be. We need to move now." Reverio rushed over to the doorway. Then he quickly peeked out into the corridor.

"There's someone else here too... I could hear what sounded like a struggle. I think the doctor is keeping other people here against their will, for some nefarious purpose. He afflicted me with some powerful induction... he could possibly also be able to read other people's minds. We need to strike him fast, but without anger and without tapping too much into emotions... he may be able to detect us if we do. It's just an assumption, but better be on the safe side. So what do you think? Shall we rescue the others or shall we let the Rhean law enforcement be the heroes?" Rev set his piercing blue eyes directly at Ken, waiting to see what he would answer, while holding up one of his hands in a fistbump sort of manner.

Whatever the doctor was up to, Reverio felt that he just couldn't let the matter slide by. There was something going on, and he was intending to find out what.

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Ken’s Mindscape

Ken Illustrious Ikari was at peace.

The sky in his dreamscape was clear, a blue expanse dotted with wispy white clouds illuminated by bright sunlight which brought everything to full relief. He looked down and saw a field of tall green grass that waved softly as a breeze wafted through it. In this unnatural calm, the boy looked through his memories without the crippling effects of his ego and internal expectations coloring his perceptions.

The people of Izumo used to smile, his father had said to him, Like they do in Rhea when things are good, which is almost all the time.

Kindness. Love. How could he have forgotten his first experiences of life in Rhea, of the hard fight his parents waged to lift themselves out of poverty? He had not forgotten being weak before, the sight of others’ suffering, but he had forgotten happiness, the smiles of people, and the love and kindness of everyone but his parents.

He had forgotten how in Rhea, smiling was a right, not a privilege for the rich and powerful and the extremely lucky. Why had he forgotten? Because of the allure of the Imperial Throne. The allure of having an Empire of his own. When in fact, what he should have remembered, what he should be fighting for... Was the right of his people to smile like the citizens of Rhea did, to believe that happiness and its pursuit were their birthright and not just a grant by the cruel usurper calling himself 'their' Emperor.

In this unnatural calm, Ken found out why he had kept that truth away from himself - He was a coward, choosing to be selfish in order to avoid making the sacrifices that his real goal demanded. He was afraid of making the sacrifices of himself in order to make his dream, his dream for his people, come true. He wanted someone else to pay the cost or inure himself to making others sacrifice themselves for his goals; he was that afraid. But now he knew that, and he also knew that he was going to keep being afraid unless he faced that fear and continued on no matter how long it scourged him.

There are some dreams worth fighting for, his mother had said, Your father risked his life and his place on the throne to spirit the Ame-no-Murakumo away from Izumo so that the usurpers cannot use it for their foul ends. We believe that you should not have to go through such trouble... But if you want to, do it for your own reasons.

I want my people to smile! he thought as the calm began to fade. In the real world, his body began to tremble, as the boy anticipated the sacrifices he was going to need to make, the pain and sorrow and grief he was going to go through for his dream. I saw their haggard faces, the fire and slaugther and hunger as one of the first things I remember!

The Imperial Throne was only an instrument. A way to guarantee that his people never had to suffer like that again, that they smiled like the people in Rhea did. But oh gods! His ego! His pride! His desire to be important!

Ken to Reverio

Meaningless, he thought to himself as he forced himself awake, his eyes opening then almost closing again as he felt the vertigo from his power being sapped, and he had enough presence of mind to see that his magic items were gone, presumably stolen.

He said weakly to the person who woke him up, "Rev... Let's save them."

The other Prince might notice that his powers were getting stronger again, that Ken was somehow able to boost them with what he had left.

"You strike him from behind, I'll strengthen you and whoever else can fight. If there's a sharp object around, I'll stab him in the spinal cord; no one deprives my people of their smiles," Ken's voice took on a sharp edge, "Now let's go!"

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Chinami Nadakai


Even as her relocation began, and the familiar feeling of being in two places at once briefly flickered through her, Chinami couldn’t help grimacing. Nightman had clearly caught on and thrown up his own scrying protection at the last moment, and that was… a lot of Gifts. If she’d had only her mere suspicions before, now she was absolutely certain. She couldn’t beat him alone. Given what she knew, however, that meant at least two of those powers belonged to the trapped boys. She hadn’t been able to glean much, but even a surface level glimpse of the basics of several was enough to birth a tentative spark of optimism within her.

In addition, she could be almost certain that two of the Gifts came from Nightman’s secretary and the man in the suit. If she could target and eliminate them, or even just get the chance to fiddle around with their Gifts, she could hopefully cut off a portion of Nightman’s power. If not, at the least, perhaps, she might learn more about his Gift by proxy.

If her own experience was any clue, the boys’ own gifts would be weakened to at least half their rightful strength. She’d unfortunately likely need to enhance them as well to get them in fighting shape. That was the only thing she could conclude, as her transportation resolved, depositing her well away from Nightman… for the time being anyway. She only prayed she could use the breathing room wisely.




Her scrying of the boys -though she'd only been half paying attention to it- had revealed to her surprise the two of them in the same room (seemingly the same room Nightman had taken the brunet to start with) already, with the blond and brunet both awake and fine, which was...

What?

They must have broken free somehow, her mind concluded. Dr. Nightman's malicious intentions were blatantly clear now. There was no way the two were up and about by his obligement. That was good news overall; it meant his stolen Psionic Bridge Gift wasn't as strong as she'd first feared. Still formidable, nonetheless, but less daunting now. Meanwhile, both boys seemed to be visually on-edge somewhat. Or, at least, the blond did. So, as much as she wanted to wordlessly jump in, snag them, and jump out, she knew that would likely be the furthest thing to conductive to positive relations. Even so, she needed to be quick about this.

That affirmed, Chinami chose to target the corner of the room as her destination, making sure she was well in sight of both boys on her appearance and -hopefully- less liable to startle them into going full "Gifts blazing" on her. When she appeared, she was certain she looked a bit... out of sorts, ruffled from the brief yet terrifying conflict, lingering sweat on her brow, and body trembling from adrenaline and terror. That aside, she shook her head and addressed them both in a hushed whisper, "No time to explain. Quickly, take my hands!" She prepared to imbue both of them with the same anti-scrying alterations as herself. First and foremost, she needed to take away Nightman's ability to hunt them down from anywhere. They needed breathing room, time for her to analyze what was wrong with them and try to undo it. And every second they weren't shielded like her was another second Nightman had to think up the proper use of her stolen Gift.

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Wolf grimaced. He was way too tired for this. The girl started gathering energy under the intent of "saving" him from Kiwi. He really didn't want to use his powers right now. His headache had just started to fade... slightly. That said, Kiwi moved to shield him despite her being the target!

It was a bold strategy, but it seemed to work out as she recognized, with some dismay, the other girl(?).

An individual she called "The Bane." Ominous.

However, "The Bane" offered to help them figure out what was going on.

"Alright, fine, you can help us figure things out. I don't know if you were close enough to hear, but there was screaming a minute ago. It's back that way." Wolf's exasperation was apparent, as they'd had to waste time on these two instead of going directly to the source. Maybe he'd get over it if they actually proved useful in dealing with whatever it was. He then narrowed his eyes at the first girl, Alyona, "And don't even think of attacking Kiwi."

Hopefully, in the end, none of them would be needed.
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@Scarifar@Dezuel

The...for the sake of other word...well-built girl blinked upon being prompted when hailed by the chief of bullies down as he aggressively saw Suzakura push a DJ off. Well, good riddance, the guy was awful. However she blinked twice at Suzakura's words, her fists clenching at the mention of someone else.

"Chinami? Why're you mentioning other girls..." Mina said, allowing her to pout a bit. And then he addressed her in front of everyone. Asking for something she could provide. But...

"Uh...not at the moment...crowds." The cow-blessed said, her face growing a deep shade of embarassed red.

Meanwhile, Parker had stood with gritted teeth. Not only he had been ignored, now there was that massive bullying piece of shit called Suzakura in front of him. Calling him by demeaning names. What was worse, he was not alone. And apparently that stupid brute of a she-cow that always followed him like well... a cow on heat was there too. Things were looking grim, so he just focused on the fight between the Discount Demon Lady and the pink haired fighter. Hmm, He had heard rumours about this one. A tough cookie.

Well, not too tough, apparently. Power of friendship won the fight for the card dork. What was she doing here anyway? Testing her luck? She packed quite a bang, but it was obvious she was running mainly on luck to scrape by. He on the other hand, never trusted luck or chances. From the day he was found out to not be blessed by anything.

"Oh my, Dick! Hello!" His opponent said. Well, obviously, he had to fight the she-cow. Like he always did in the orphanage. She took delight in kicking Celestine around like a potato sack. And she wasn't good at stopping. He always took a beating from her when trying to shield his only friend from damage.

"Wow you got all buff and whatnot. It's because of the Pizza?" Mina said, beaming her best smile. "You were always sort of a cute kid, but you got real cute now. I mean, I'm sorry about the past, really. Can we catch up like those two did before? We fight a little then we catch up, yeah?" The cowgirl said.

Parker said nothing, however, his fists cracked. There was ...something in the corner of his eye. "Yeah...we could do that. Fight a little."

"I'll tell you what. I'll let you go first! I mean, you never had a blessing, Dickie." Mina said, suddenly becoming wide open.

"Don't mind if I do..." Parker said, as he lowered his stance and sprinted towards Mina. He twisted his body...

...and delivered a vicious mid-kick to the biggest target that was on display. Mina's chest. The girl's eyes nearly bulged out of her face, trying to gasp from the air and pain, her stance broken by the sudden ferocity. She tried to flail, and grab the offending leg, but Parker was already showing more fluid, sharp movements after that initial attack.

An elbow impacted on Mina's neck, tipping the precarious balance of the female fighter, making her to become fully prone and sprawled on the ground. "OOf! That hurt. Wait nonono...!" The cowgirl said panicked as she felt a foot on her generous rear... and a hand yanking her swishing tail.

And boy, did that Parker have a tenacious grip. Probably from all the pizza deliveries.

"Stop it! Stop it! It hurts! Mooo!" She squealed panicked.

"With pleasure." He said, as he let go.

Followed by an elbow drop on Mina's back, which made her gasp once more. She panted heavily, as Dick, befitting his namesake, circled around her, before stepping away and getting in his fighting stance once again. Mina reeled, but got back to her feet. "How dare you! My tail is very sensitive! That hurt! Poopiehead!"

"I think you might need to reconsider having me that first pity shot." Parker exclaimed, as, to much of the female's crowd delight, took his horrible Pizza Time pink t-shirt off, revealing a body that was rather menancingly chiselled.

"I hate you." Mina said, before reigniting the fight, this time with a full powered charge. Followed by the most bizarre bull-jump spectacle as Parker, using Mina's head as leverage, flipped himself over the charging bovine. Mina's charge only lasted a few more seconds, when in her confusion, two arms wrapped her under her generous features.

"Oh yes, you liked wrestling too." Parker seized Mina firmly, as he heisted the taller girl...right into a german suplex. Probably at this moment, the crowd was getting anxious. Parker slid from under his opponent, as she groaned and twitched in pain. His smile faded quickly when he realized that an arm had grabbed his own leg. His reaction was to kick the fallen girl's head repeated times, but her vice-like grip didn't bulge. Worse off, she was getting up, seemingly shrugging off the repeated blows.

"Oh shi..."

Those were the last words Parker could pronounce before he was fully lifted by his leg and wielded one-handed like an oversized ragdoll. Slamming not one, but three times against the pavement, as one very furious Mina kept swinging her opponent like a golf stick. "RAARGH!" She said before letting go and panting heavily. Mina looked at her opponent, before dropping to her knees.

Parker wasn't moving. Did she...

"On the count...1...2... OH MY WORD HE IS GETTING UP!" The voice of someone drew Mina's focus back into the scenario. There he was, scrambling to his feet, badly broken and limp, bleeding from wounds. So this wasn't over. Mina gritted her teeth and tried standing up, but her legs failed to sustain her. Everything was spinning. Too many kicks in the head. Parker was still shuffling towards, balling his only good fist. Mina's legs and limbs were of lead. She closed her eyes for a second... and a loud Thud sound was heard as a body hit the floor next to her.

It was precisely at this moment when Mina managed to get on her own feet, raising a hand. "Dick is limp. I won." She said, in a drunken slur, before collapsing like a heap right next to Parker.
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Reverio Galand


The blonde couldn't help but feel worried at Ken's initial response, just how much had the doctor drained him? Could Ken even move? His questions soon were answered when the other young man continued to speak. Odd. He felt stronger all of a sudden. Was this what Ken had spoken of? He had powers to empower others?

'Hmm. Useful.' He thought to himself before nodding to Ken. While Ken had told about his desire to jam a sharp object into the doctor's spinal cord. The blonde couldn't help but to shudder. Stabbing someone in the back. It brought back memories, but such memories had to be suppressed for the time being.

"Allright, can you move? Let's mak-" His conversation was interupted by the arrival of Chinami, seemingly popping out of nowhere as far as Reverio could tell. For a moment he expected to see the doctor, were this girl a disguise of his? No. He dismissed that idea. After all if Simon wanted them back in their state, he would hardly need to disguise himself. The girl which had appeared before him and Ken alike had abit of sweat on her brow, she was likely another captive.

Rev replied quickly in a hushed manner to both Chinami and Ken. "Will do. I guess you are another captive? Be aware that the doctor isn't alone..." Reverio said while holding out his hand towards the girl's hand, he hesitated for a brief moment before grabbing her hand. It had been ages since he held a girl in the hand.

"You've got a plan, miss?" He asked in a hushed manner. "Ready when you are..." He lifted his free hand and turned it into a fist, his glove tightening.

Simon. Would he become but a memory aswell? Or would it be they, who would become one of his? He didn't know. Just like he didn't truly know the two other young people with him. But at least he weren't alone.

Not like that one time.

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Ken Illustrious Ikari

Ken took Chinami's hand quickly, not bothering to take more than a second's look at her face or Rev's; it won't do to be distracted by his teenage hormones when around people his own age. He reached out to boost her powers as well, drawing power from his blessing from the heavens themselves to increase his new companions' strength. As he could feel whatever enchantment the girl cast wash over him as well, the boy said, "So, what exactly happened and is happening? The 'Good Doctor' betrayed us and weakened our powers, but what are he and his presumed minions trying to do?"

He then looked around and said, "And can you get us to a safer place where we can talk? I can share details of my powers once we're not in a place where the Doctor can burst in."

Presuming that the girl demonstrated her 'teleportation' (or had she just turned invisible?) power again, Ken waited until he was sure they were truly safe, before opening his mouth to say, "Now, my power can boost all Magic and Blessings; basically, I'm a battery of supernatural energies which can and does overflow to empower people and items and can also choose who to empower. But right now, I am not at full strength; I presume the Doctor was behind that?"

His eyes flashed with reflected light, but he waited for either Chinami or Reverio to give an explanation, ready to suggest a potential battle plan once they were done. It was clear that Doctor Nightman could not be allowed to get out of the building, much less give the Rhean Authorities his own version of events. Like it or not, such a well-connected figure as the Good Doctor seemed to be would be able to cast them as the criminals unless they dealt with him fast, and even then... He was the type to have contingencies.

"I made a timed email to everyone I was acquainted with before going to this clinic," Ken said when given the first opportunity. "I also made sure to record a message in my computer and write in my school notebook about Dr. Nightman's offer and my suspicions about him. Even then, though, we should prepare to get in trouble with any 'Friends in High Places' Nightman has; people like him don't get this much traction unless they have people in authority behind his back..."

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Vera's head slowly craned around to stare through the boy who'd just addressed her. She showed a chilling lack of overt emotion, making it difficult to gauge what she was thinking as she spoke.

"Oh. A friend of Alex's, are you?" She continued to stare through him like he was a sheet of wet tissue paper rather than a person standing before her. "Well I don't really know what I could share. It's been so long and she's changed quite a bit. I think I'd rather ask how long you have known her. Hm?" She took a step toward him, looming over him ominously with that same, chilling look in her eyes. One might have thought she was deciding whether or not to eat him, while waiting to hear his answer to sway her decision.









As the teenagers discussed the situation at hand, with Chinami removing their ability to be scried, time ticked away. Their only warning before time ran out was the lights briefly flickering. A moment later a scythe of dark energy arced through them, forcing the three apart lest they be hit by it. The floor where the wave of energy passed by was dyed a dark, inky black. It was so dark it left one to wonder if they were actually beholding something, or simply the absence of anything.

A second later, the door to the room was swallowed by a similar darkness before a figure stepped through it, like a portal made of black ink. It was the man in the suit.

"There have been enough disruptions," the man spoke as he narrowed his eyes. "I'm afraid you must be dealt with."

He stood between them and the physical exit to the room, however, behind him the door remained swallowed in shadow, begging the question if they could use it even if they made it past him.
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Chinami Nadakai


Thankfully, the boys appeared to be in a trusting enough mood, despite the circumstances, to ask no questions. Which was really quite good, because they were extraordinarily low on time. Time that was being wasted by their questions, leaving her unable to get much of a word in sideways aside from answering. At the least, however, she managed to apply the Anti-scrying suite of enhancements. And while they were nattering, she decided to slap Gift Ward, Enhancement Solidity, and Gift Draining Ward as well on them. While it wouldn't restore what they'd lost, not immediately, it would protect them from being drained further and stop Nightman from tearing down her protections as easily if he got a hand on them. The last of the three, she added to her current suite as well, along with refreshing her current set, just to hopefully close up any lingering cracks from the Doctor's assault.

To the blond, she replied, still in a whisper, "Not quite a captive, if barely so. It was too close for comfort, but I got the sense that something was wrong beforehand and came prepared." In regards to the mention of Nightman's allies, she grimaced. "I'm well aware. My Gift makes information gathering much easier. Hence, the preparation and my current freedom." She then shook her head. "I have half a plan at best. Nightman has every advantage, and his power is too dangerous to take head on." Her Gift Analysis, meanwhile, whirred along to her enhanced perceptions.

Core power, Throne de Lux. This time, with a deeper read, Chinami couldn't help smiling at the strength of the ability. It seemed some measure of luck was with her to have allies like these in her time of peril. Though... strangely, there was a certain feeling of unease she couldn't shake about the power, a feeling like a polarized magnet that almost made her want to flinch away. She could only downturn her lips in confusion at that.

Purifict Anatomia. The vast breadth of restorative measures available to this branch ability got her appreciation.

Lux Energia. Once more, that strange sense of unease rippled through her, but on an objective level, what she saw was of particular asset.

Damoclaiomh Solais. A third time, greater than either before, she felt that strange sense of unease, enough so to make her want to turn her gaze away. It was strange, almost like she was being stared right back at... But Chinami shook the feeling off. It was just a powerful sword, and if what she was reading was correct, then it hadn't been stolen at all by Nightman. Rather, it was something that couldn't be taken by the unworthy, by the unroyal. And Nightman, the pathetic thief, was the furthest thing from it.

"Oh? This One professes mine greetings upon thine august self. It has been some time, has it not?"


Chinami opened her mouth to tell the boys she was about to teleport them away, a good faith gesture of warning, only to be interrupted by the brunet. Frowning, Chinami's foot tapped on the floor in a rather stressed manner, as she tried to fly through his questions to get to her damn point. They were running out of time! "In order: He drained our fucking powers for himself, because he's a godsdamnned Gift thief, and I really couldn't care less about his goals." She paused, a strange sensation of strength filtering into her. A quick check and identification of the brunet's lone Gift as being Core Power: Highest Heaven, Lowest Hell solved the mystery. A Gift enhancer... useful, enough so that she felt like she was almost back to full strength. The odds against Nightman had just gotten far less slim. Even if he'd taken a fair amount from her, she should still hopefully be able to brute force through with this much of her original power restored. Not that she planned on being quite so reckless, but she very much appreciated having the option.

Shaking her head, Chinami refocused on the situation at hand. The brunet was saying something about leaving timed messages in the case of his disappearance, which was... Somehow even more paranoid than she was in some ways, but she could honestly respect it a bit... especially given that it wasn't paranoia if you were right. And well, looks like both she and him had been very much been correct. He was further speaking of Nightman potentially having very powerful friends, a worry she also shared, but she shook her head. "We can worry about that later. Right now, it's going to be bad enough just trying to get us all out of this clusterfuck intact. Look-" She licked her lips nervously. "We need to get out of here, now. I can, indeed, teleport us out of here, so hang onto my hands and-"

The lights f l i c k e r e d.

The shadows w r i t h e d.

Her Spirit was moving almost faster than she could comprehend the danger, its arms reaching out to both boys' shoulders to shove them in opposite directions, as the legs and torso wrenched Chinami's body sideways. A sythe of b l a c k n e s s passed through the space she once occupied, almost seeming to sink into the floor. It was a lingering streak of hungry emptiness, a darkness darker than dark, that almost seemed to eat the light... and everything else for that matter, but Chinami could only keep half an eye on the phenomenon in the face of the perpetrator's appearance.

The Man in the Suit.

Their physical exit was cut off, and although the endangered trio were spread out, Chinami knew if she could just get her hands on both of the boys again, they could escape... But... what if this was better? This was what she wanted, right? This was the plan? She needed to pick off Nightman's allies first and hopefully deprive him of power. And better yet, she could use this Man in the Suit as a way to learn about Nightman's Gift by proxy! All they had to do was defeat him... quickly.

Chinami's first act was to slap the wall she'd landed near with one of her Spirit's hands, altering the room, as magical runes of an alternate possibility blossomed within the walls. Incoming Alternate Existence Warding. With that, Nightman should be barred from ambushing them for a bit, while still allowing she and her allies to flee when the time came. From this point forward, the battle was joined, and the Man in the Suit would not be receiving aid... not without fleeing. Luckily, he didn't seem keen to.

Using her Spirit to enhance her perceptions and give herself extra time to think, Chinami squinted at the Man in the Suit, directing her Gift Analysis at him, only to recieve... almost nothing... a familiar amount of almost nothing, in fact. Was it possible that Nightman hadn't actually thrown up scrying wards and was merely drawing from his ally's Gift before? The only thing she was able to glean, as with the last time, was a name:

Shroudcaller. Pretty on the nose, to be honest. She could only speculate what it did at this point... but she might be able to get around his defenses by being indirect.

Upon herself, she immediately bestowed Mystic Analysis and chanced a glimpse at the streak of b l a c k n e s s left on the floor. It- It was... deep and almost... hungry, a veritable hole in reality that would swallow anything that touched it for longer than a brief moment. At this angle and under such duress, she could only speculate further than that. She got a sense of more from it, but she couldn't say if the b l a c k n e s s led to an empty void, a pocket dimension, outright annihilation or the fucking nothingness of space, not without a closer look... one she was far from eager to get.

All she could do at this point was bark out urgently, "The Darkness is hungry! Do not let it touch you!" Enveloping herself in her Spirit and praying that would protect her in the worst-case scenario, she added, "His Gift is named Shroudcaller! Can't tell what it does exactly, but, Blondie, that sounds like your scene! I'll do my best to support you!" And, indeed, it was... or so she hoped. Her priority would have to be keeping the brunet alive. Of the three of them, he was the most defenseless, and he was the only reason Blondie could fight at what she could guess -based on her own experience- was full power. With that in mind, Chinami began to move to place herself between the brunet and the Man in the Suit.

She didn't know if his darkness possessed the spiritual element required to break through her defenses, but if it could... she stood a much better chance of surviving it than the other guy.

@KillamriX88 @Letter Bee @Dezuel
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

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Location: Midnight Tournament
@KillamriX88


Michael was a bit unnerved at Vera's gaze, but he tried not to let that show in his face. Besides, he was too determined in his quest for answers to be discouraged by that alone. "I've known Alex for some time now, not too long after she woke up from her coma," Michael replied. "I was there when she began physical therapy, and when she began to explore the depths of her powers." As he began to slowly pace back and forth, he continued, "What I never got to learn was what happened to her. Why she was in a coma to begin with. Why no one visited her during her stay in the hospital. At first, I just chalked it up to her simply having no friends. But when I questioned her about it, she tended to go sullen and silent, sometimes even have a panic attack, and I decided not to bring up the subject around her again."

He stopped pacing and turned back to Vera. "And now, you have arrived. Someone who knows of Alex's past, and can hopefully give me the answers I'm looking for. What happened to Alex? What happened between the two of you? And why did you never visit her?" Michael asked.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by KillamriX88
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KillamriX88 Cheese Lover / Professional Cat Cuddler

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Vera actually seemed to... disengage as the boy spoke. Physical therapy? That suggested they must have met while she was in medical care. While he was in medical care as well? Alex hadn't just run off and found someone new to spite them. She also hadn't considered what state Alex must have been in when she woke up-

"And why did you never visit her?"

"For... 'some time' you say?" Vera's expression went cold again, though she still seemed a bit distant. "I'm sorry, and what was even your name again?" She turned her body to face him directly, looking down at him. "You know what? It doesn't matter. I'd just forget it anyway. If you're so concerned about her, why not go talk to her? Apparently you're her friend now, aren't you? I don't see how I am any of your business. I wasn't before, and I never will be. And if she hasn't told you, then maybe she isn't either." She then leaned over to stare him in the eye. "So if case you haven't gotten the hint yet, go away."

Vera didn't really care if he took the hint, she was done with him either way. She needed her purse back. She stormed off in search of it, mind more tumultuous than ever.

Why was he acting like it was her fault she and Alex hadn't seen each other in so long! What kind of bullshit narrative was Alex spinning? Living in some fantasy world again, no doubt, where she was the perfect, tragic princess whose friend's had abandoned her in her time of need!

Well Vera had been stuck in the real world!

And she'd said she'd missed her?!

Vera was starting to think Alex had never really woken up at all.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Dezuel
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Dezuel Broke out of limbo

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Reverio Galand


Before the blonde had gotten the chance to answer Ken's questions, Chinami had instead done so and then the mysterious man in the suit had shown up. The blue eyed youngster had quickly jumped out of the path of the enemy's attack, but in doing so have gotten further away from Ken and Chinami. But perhaps this were for the better. The blonde narrowed his eyes on at the darkness that seemed to engulf the room. The longer they were forced to battle, the more weary they would become. As far as Reverio was concerned, they needed to solve things quickly or they would likely not last.

'This darkness is nothing compared to the darkness in my dreams!' He thought as his eyes widened, he quickly reached his hands over his head as if he were about to toss an imaginary basketball. Then six orbs of pure light would begin to form around him, and at the top where he held his arms aloft came a stronger light as a sword seemed to be pulled out of very light itself. The sword itself seemed to be physical in appearance, a golden pommel and hilt and a bright grey double-edged blade.

"You are the one that needs to be dealt with... forever." Reverio said as he allowed his hands to grip his sword, holding it up, pointing at the ceiling as it began to burn with bright light.

"Blade of the sun king! Carve through the darkness! Haaaaaah!" Reverio yelled out, as the six orbs of light around him quickly turned into beams, shooting right into the sword which he held aloft. Creating bright shine of magical energy, attempting to dispel the darkness around them. Reverio then made an overhead slash downwards, creating a pillar of light that would move forwards along the floor, his intent was to obliterate the man in the suit standing in their way. They didn't have time to play around. He didn't even have time to comment that the man standing before them was aptly clad for a funeral. His funeral.

Just what manner of place had they stumbled upon, what was Simon after? Had he stumbled into a dragon's den? If such was the case, where laid the dragons hoard? Questions which had to be answered much later, but for now they had to find Simon and make it out in one piece.

@KillamriX88@Lewascan2@Letter Bee
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Dezuel
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Suzakura Plagerzes


"That's a damn shame." Suzakura had replied in a mumbling manner towards Mina, as he rested his head into his left hand, drumming on his cheek with his fingers. He had to do without a drink.

"Guess it's your turn to tumble, Milkshake Mina. So get in there and shake that- Oi! Look at that, pansy Parker has become papa pants Parker! Holy hell talk about guts, well at least they are still inside him. Oh well, get in there and make him nostalgic! But remember don't kill him. That ain't how we roll! In Kiburi's school of cool." Suzakura made a fingersnap and winked with one of his eyes, before giving a thumbs up to Mina as she wandered off.

'Good grief. To think that guy has the guts to show his bless-less face around here. Admirable if it wouldn't be so damn sad.' He thought as he stood up from his temporary seating, he wanted a closer look on the fight so he decided to walk closer to the arena. Strolling along the way he couldn't help but notice a younger boy in what seemed to be a mailman outfit, standing there with his mailbag and trying to open a lollipop to little avail.

"Yo!" Suzakura approached the mailboy, raising his hand as he did, the younger boy quickly blinked his eyes to the taller young man. "Let me show you how to open that." He said and reached over to the boy's lolipop.

"Thanks! I wasn't sure how to get these open, I guess it's all about technique." The boy scratched his neck with his eyes momentarily closed, an awkward smile on his face. When his eyes opened next, he saw Suzakura easily slide the wrapping of the lollipop off and then handing over the wrapping into the boy's hand. "You've got that right. And no. Thank you!" The greyhaired young man said, making a clicking sound with his mouth and pointing his free hand as if it were a gun right back at the other boy. Then the sly guy slid the lolipop into his own mouth and continued on his way.

"Some guys are really damn hopeless. Whatever would they do without my guidance..." The young man said with a slight chuckle. He was getting closer to the ring now, and could see the fight going on.

'Well would you look at that the riffraff is ripped. I suppose that's fair as he is about to be ripped to pieces.' The pinkeyed young man shrugged slightly, leaning forwards, one hand in his pocket and the other holding unto the lollipop. Watching the ongoing fight where Parker was performing better than Suzakura had expected him to.

'Not too shabby for a giftless git. But you ain't beating my cowpatriot. I guess I should show my support for the guy. It's the right thing to do.' Suzakura thought as he removed the lollipop from his mouth, it would get in his way when talking. He saw a nicely clad young girl with curly hair nearby and felt a moment of enlightement. He took out the lollipop and put it into the back of the girl's long hair and then spun it around a few times before continuing around the arena border away from the girl and her company.

"Bravo! Well done trickie Dickie! You saw that knocking yourself out was the most gentlemanny thing to do! Well done! Well done! Very classy." Suzakura said in a mocking manner, but it was lighthearted at least in his voice. It was accompanied by firm golfclapping until he set his eyes on Mina, where he began to clap normally.

"That's my beef twerky! Great work Mina! Now you just gotta beat the rest of the trashtier turnips and our work here's done! Oi! This isn't the time to nap!" He hollered towards his bovine companion.

@AtomicNut
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Letter Bee Filipino RPer

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Ken

Ken ended up behind the mysterious girl and concentrated on empowering her and Reverio, although he made sure to boost the latter more as it was his call and his show. He then shouted, “Once the enemy is subdued or dead, make sure to see if he has any weapons on him or magical items which aren’t cursed! That may give us a boost!”

It seemed his newfound morality was still flexible enough to condone murder and theft (or was it looting as the guy would be already dead)? Then again, extreme measures were sometimes - sometimes, and never with glee - needed to protect the smiles of his people, which did not necessarily rest on his shoulders, but… Actually, some of it did. Izumo needed someone who knew what a Constitutional Monarchy was in order to make sure that its smiles cannot be undone by a future Emperor.

Either way, the boy watched Reverio as the latter handled the darkness-wielder, confident that the former would win against the latter… If only because he saw in Reverio’s eyes someone who had killed before, someone who had taken on the burden of taking life. Or was he just misunderstanding? After all, he wasn’t experienced or omniscient… He just had a gut feeling that Rev and the strange girl were more ‘worldly-wise’ than he was, and for now, all he can do was support them while waiting for their victory.

This man Rev is fighting is an experienced murderer - But we are prodigies and thus have the element of surprise. We will prevail.

And it was thus that Ken discovered something he had long disregarded and even dismissed: Faith. Not faith in the Gods, although he had a conventional amount of that, but rather Faith in other people. Don't get him wrong, he liked other people, maybe even loved them and definitely felt fondness too easily, but he didn't have faith in them to come through for him when needed or their justifications for not coming through when he felt he needed it. But now, when he hadn't even asked, people were coming to his aid, and while their reasons weren't completely selfless, they were, impressively, not selfish as well.

Even among the Vigilantes, Ken had not allowed himself to feel like he was fighting by others' side; he had thought of his previous battles as a way to show off how valuable and special he was. But now, without his magic items and with only his support Gift, Ken was able to put the needs of the group first, to put others' needs and time in the 'spotlight' first.

And it was liberating.

I'm learning to trust, I'm learning to shrug off the chains I put on myself. Now that I can put myself second and let others have the center of attention... I know we can prevail.

@KillamriX88@Dezuel@Lewascan2
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crowvette
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Crowvette Lsot But Seeking

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Alyona


@KillamriX88 @AtomicNut

Alyona bristled at the two, clearly concerned that anyone would defend Kiwi, but dispelled the lance of negative energy in her hand after Cel's prompting for "diplomacy." "I would never dream of hurting anyone. It appears there was a misunderstanding. Where I come from, there are no large spiders in schools. Just small ones. And they are not treated well. It is unfortunate, but things are harder there. For everyone."

Aly considered the fact that the spider-girl had understood her speaking in her first language. She often lapsed into it to disparage those around her - she would have to be careful around this one. 'This is rapidly becoming not worth it other than getting out of the rain.' Alyona thought to herself, taking the lead towards the source of the scream. 'At least Cel showed up.'

Rounding the corner, Alyona was taken aback at how dark it had become already. It was overcast, sure, but the entire hall seemed to be devoid of any lighting. Unnaturally so. Alyona narrowed her eyes. There were windows, weren't there? Even if it was overcast, the hall wouldn't be this dark naturally-

The scratching sound on the floor grabbed Alyona's attention. A disembodied hand - No, rather, a hand of a body submerged in some kind of pitch-black mud - scratched the tile, before being covered by a surge in the thick black liquid entirely. The black slime kept encroaching closer, much faster than Alyona would have expected.

"It's the Sea of Death!" Alyona shouted in her mother tongue - she didn't know how to say its name in any other. "It wasn't something my tutors made up to scare my sister!" Alyona spun around, running from the creeping wave of black sludge. Barreling around the corner to where the others were, she slid - tripped - and fell, sliding along the ground. Of course, she was far more used to falling than the others could know, so it didn't faze her. She continued her warning from the floor: "It got her! It is coming!" She panted, this time in a language all of them would understand.

If the others who didn't understand her mother tongue did not get who "it" or "her" was, Alyona's lances of negative energy sparking into existence around her would signify that "it" was probably dangerous, and nobody would want to be "got" by it.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

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Location: Midnight Tournament


Michael watched as Vera stormed off in a rage. Whatever had happened between Alexandria and Vera, it wasn't pleasant. Jeez, what a c- Michael thought to himself before the sudden increase in cheers and jeers from the audience caught his attention. Making his way through the crowd, he was just in time to see one of the contestants, that guy that tried to get Andras kicked out of the tournament, german suplex a literal cow girl into the ground. He was mildly impressed by the feat, but not as much as the girl shrugging off the blow and retaliating by swinging poor Parker around like a ragdoll. Parker evidently knew his way around a fight, but Mina's raw power was more than he could handle. It was a shame too. Michael wanted to have a bout with him, but it seemed it wasn't meant to happen today.

Michael's mind was getting a little jumbled, deliberating his options for what to do with both his curiosity of Alex's past and how to handle the rest of his opponents in the Midnight Tournament. He decided to go find Alex first. Andras did take a bit of a beating in her match against Vera, and he wanted to make sure she was ok. Even if she wasn't, one of his first aid Symbolisms was sure to help fix her up.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by RoflsMazoy
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RoflsMazoy Enjoyer of cute animals~<3

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Afterschool Incursion - Spite


Two victims claimed. Where they went, nobody could know, surely. Not even he knew, truth be told. This was all so new, so exciting! Would he dare say... intoxicating?

What new form should he take for the new challengers, the new witnesses? They had already seen his first method of attack; the encroaching shadow. He had planned on having it be his main form of attack which was troublesome. Now that they had all seen it, they would all have to die, and he imagined the hunt would not be as easy as it was with the first two of his victims.

That should not be a problem. In fact, it would be a very good test of his new capabilities. He was grateful that there were so many victims left behind today. So many outcasts just like him. But it was the secret mantra of life, wasn't it? That the weak should be food for the strong.

And that was the way it should have been. Do not hold a grudge against me dear viewer, he is just taking his rightful place.

In the hallway were the others were, around the corner the foreign girl had tripped over, the sludge came. Oozing along, as if it had all the time in the world to be in the place it needed to be. A place juuuuuust beyond where they were, wherever they would be, for all eternity. And if they were swallowed up by it in the meantime, well that was no concern of the sludge, was it?

If the party were to look to their left and their right however, they would see that the sludge wasn't just in the hallway. It was enveloping the classrooms now. Escape was not impossible yet, but it was becoming more improbable by the second.

How will our heroes react? Find out on the next episode of Royal Rumble Z!!!

@AtomicNut @KillamriX88 @Crowvette
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