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Hideout (Suttling Basin, old mill)


“Huh?” Quill fret her brow. “What do you mean 'why did you ask?' Do you think I have some ulterior motive? Like I'd be interested in a romantic relationship with you? A human?” She snorted. “You're awfully cute, you know that?” She rubbed her nose. “And by cute, I mean small minded! I've seen what humans can do first hand when they see something they like, and I don't want that happening to Chiyo at all.” She looked away. “But you don't want anything like that with Chiyo, so we're fine.”

”Sounds like you're having a lot of fun in here.”

“Tch!”

Elder Sibling had a tendency to just randomly appear places. Not that her appearance was unexpected. She must have just decided to show up after all of Quill's shouting. ”Today is a very important day. It's going to mark the first time we use Chieko's powers to further our plan.” Elder Sibling's robes dragged across the floor as she approached. Two demihumans rushed in front of her and set a table and map of Priestella down before Chieko. Once they were done, they darted off. ”It should be a simple operation with your gift. If your gift does what it's suppose to do, nobody has to die.” She placed a map of the Vertti household down on top of the city map, positioning it in front of Chieko. ”All I need you to do is locate the royal seal and tell me the best way to get it. I'm not sure if this helps, but it should be located in Mistress Vertti's bedroom.”

All eyes were on Chieko now.




Vertti household


Grisaia did not receive a response. But he was an excellent servant, and wasn't about to let fear grip his heart. With a gentle twist of the doorknob, he was able to crack the door open and look at her bed. She wan't in it. Grisaia might have opened the door the rest of the way, but he would not have the chance. Aer pulled the door the rest of the way open, practically yanking it out of Grisaia's hands. The adventurer was only wearing a robe and a night cap, but she had two bottles of wine in one hand. One was almost empty, and the other was empty. Her face was beat red, and she seemed to sway side to side like she was standing on a sailing ship.

"Hello cutie!" Aer released the door knob so that she could wave to Grisaia. He hadn't known Aer long, but this was the first time he saw her smile. And it was one of the larger ones he had ever seen. "You know room service around here is pretty good. You tell people you're hungry, and they feed you. Tell them that you're sick, and they give you wine." She giggled like an imp. "I feel like a thousand royal coins right now." She took a step towards Grisaia and reached for his face. But because she only steeped forward with her leading foot, it brought her torso folward and down. "Are you a wizard, Grisaia? Because you get bigger the closer I get to you." Aer held out both bottles. "Did you cast a spell on this bottle? I notice the lighter one has a much weaker flavor now. It doesn't make a sound when you shake it either."




Gris's courtyard


Gris raised an eyebrow at flame's flamboyant, if perhaps too honest reply. ”Should I?” He chuckled. ”I think you'll do just fine. Most of the locals know who you are now. They certainly know who I am. I'm not really sure Elque would enjoy being around you. She sort of roams about, and I try not to restrain her too much if I can help it.” He put his hands on his hips. ”Besides, you have a home here! I guess I'm just not that worried about the money. I think you're a nice guy and I can trust you can run a simple errand. You've done really well with my lessons too. You put faith in me letting me train you, and now I'm putting faith in you, letting you handle my money.” The oni grinned. ”Think of it as an independence building exercise! Go see some of the locals who don't hang around here all the time.”




?


”What are you talking about? Hazzard a guess?” He took a step towards Aerith. When she tried to step away from him, her path was obstructed by a stone throne, which she fell into. ”Lust, who could love us but the witch of envy? Her hands outstretched constantly reaching! For us! As we are so close, but so very, very far!” He moved his face closer to Aerith's. ”Just 'a' witch? You disgusting creature. I bet you'd lay with just any witch, wouldn't you? But not I, not Vaux Maximilianus, Divagro von Theodoric und Hieronymous!” He broke out into laughter again. ”It matters not though. I'm not sure what you've been doing up until now, to prepare for the most holiest of days. I suppose I could 'hazzard a guess', but I'd rather not.” He grabbed Aerith by thhe shoulder and yanked her out of the seat. ”Did you roll out of some stranger's carriage? How can you be so ignorant, you imbecile! The city I speak of is Prestella, and the forest is...” He scratched his head. ”I-It's a generic one! Just a pointless destination! A pebble on the path to the city of water!” He pulled her towards the tree line. ”I'm only tolerating you because you're suppose to be useful. And if you turn out to not be, you'll know what my wrath looks like.” He cleared his throat. ”Anyway, here are the other guys. Say hi!”



To call it an army didn't do it justice. There had to be a thousand cultists in black and red hoods in very organized formations. And it wasn't just people either. Some of them were on land dragons, and some of them were pulling siege equipment. The caravan that was transporting everyone had been abandoned, and it seemed some of the cultists were burning what remained of their vehicles. Clearly this was a one way trip, and nobody was returning to where they came from.

”We finish the journey on foot.” Vaux released Aerith's arm. ”Walk with me to the front, it builds morale.”
...Elsewhere...


@Erode

”You don't know who I am?” Her arms remained on either side of Amaryllis. ”How is that even possible? Well, I don't think you're lying.” The girl took a step backwards. ”Lets start over.” She blinked a few times before saying anything. ”I'm Betty Barton. I'm protecting someone from mint agents. Who might you be?”






Mika watched as Rina flew over her head and hit the ground running, heading off towards the conflict.

"I think we came on too strong, Lupa." Mika giggled. "Of course not! You're a fantastic wing man!"

“Donuts!”

Mika picked up the bag of donuts. She felt pretty proud of herself. This was the second time she tried to talk to someone, and it went rather well. Mika was starting to think she had a gift for this sort of thing. But then she realized that, again, she failed to get a name out of the person. A transmission from Boteg pulled Mika out of her thoughts.

"Thou shall protect thy home while thy allies do work most splendid."

"Actually, I'm going to the disturbance."

"Wha-" Boteg's voice was trembling. "Little scare! Thou allies are already en route! Do not become a yeastly clapper-clawed barnacle! Defend thy home at once!"

A cloud appeared under Mika and Lupa's feet and they shot off into the distance. "Sorry Boteg, but I really need to get this girl's name. I've been here for a few weeks and you guys are still my only friends."

"Little scare!?" The dragon swallowed. "Dragon scare, you must not leave thy home! Sky scare has most splendid reinforcements! Thou shall protect thy true master!"






Elroy was counting the incoming magical girls. "Eight, nine, ten, eleven, and they keep on coming." He nodded. "I can take numbers like that with my hands tied behind my back, sand pushed up to my waist line, and a bag tied around my head!"

"That's about the numbers I was expecting." Regina didn't flinch. "They outnumber us Elroy, and even if they didn't, they just have to disrupt the ritual."

Elroy chuckled. "I hate to be the one to break it to you Regina, but if you expected us to go against odds that we couldn't possibly beat, might not have been a great idea to start this thing."

"I never said we couldn't beat them, or even that they had an advantage." Regina reached between her breasts. "Say Elroy, you're a curious sort. What do you think would happen if a monster girl used a black coin?"

"I imagine it would do something super cool. Like unleash rampant corruption through their bodies, infusing them with unimaginable power while inflicting mental mutations that are impossible to overcome. They would become saturated in negative emotions so intense that they become an entirely different person. At that point they aren't merely monsters, but demons." He looked to Regina. "Or maybe they turn into something called a monster queen, or I guess king if they were a boy. One of those options, if they don't die first."

Regina was flipping a black coin between her fingers. "Would you like to find out?"

"Did you..." Elroy placed his hand on top of his head. "Did you not hear a single word I said?"

"What's the matter Elroy? I didn't think you were the type to be cautious."

"You're not the type to smile, and here you are."

"I'm like anyone else. I smile when I'm happy." Regina held the coin up to her face. "I've been waiting for this moment ever since Veronica handed me this coin. Using this makes us a big player. It puts us on the same level as Justine Von Visceral."

"I seem to remember people saying she turned up missing, her castle is in ruins-"

"Elroy" Regina fret her brow. "The only thing I need to be happy in this world is one person like Annabelle. The world had my entire life to give me that, and they never delivered, not once. The closest thing I've ever had is you." She placed her hand on Elroy's shoulder. "You want me to be happy, right Elroy? You understand that we need to use this in order to win."

"...Yes."

"Then lets do it together." Regina's grin spread across her face as she held the coin out. "Put your hand over it."

Elroy groaned. "You guys better cook me a pizza after this." He placed his hand over the coin, and black clouds spiraled outwards in all directions. They were thick like smoke, and rolled over the graveyard. Even the incoming magical girls weren't safe as the inescapable cloud blew past them. Shrouding them in darkness. The smoke did not clear out entirely but sections of the graveyard did. This fragmented the group and forced them to fight apart in several small squads. They were all pit against different opponents in cut off sections of the graveyard.






@FamishedPants

After Silhouette, Mika and Lupa hit the smoke and got to the other side, they found themselves staring at what looked like a mausoleum, surrounded by various cross-shaped graves. Atop the mausoleum stood a noble knight, her sword drawn and wearing a knight's helmet, with the visor opened. Her red cape fluttered in the stormy winds. We meet again, Black Rogue, Shona addressed Silhouette, pointing her sword at her. "You are tainted by darkness, and beyond salvation. By Beacon's merciful light, I shall smite you." She lowered her visor.
"I challenge you to a duel. Face me in single combat! She stomped down on the mausoleum's roof, and cast a spell of protection on herself, strengthening her defenses with barriers of Reinforcement; in fact, a magical knight's shield formed on her free arm, shining with the symbol of Beacon.

As she did that, the small structure began trembling. Then, out of the dark depths began swarming Horror minions; small blobs with tentacles for arms and legs, and eyes for facial features, with varying humanoid shapes. However, they seemed to ignore Silhouette completely, and instead focused on Mika, who was still carrying Lupa on her back. The horrorlings were also glowing, their power amplified by Shona's magic, and they seemed to fight in rank and file, almost human in their intelligence thanks to Shona's Power of Friendship. Having confirmed that Mika and Lupa were occupied by the monsters, Shona leapt off the mausoleum, aiming a downward slash with her sword at Silhouette.

"Lupa, let's wrestle!" As the monsters approached, Mika offloaded Lupa and changed her arms into bear claws. Then she started beating them as they came close. Lupa was able to quickly transform and join in, punching straight through their bodies.

“There's a lot of them. But there were a lot of skeletons too.” Fortunately, Mika didn't have to mentally command Lupa to do every little thing. She seemed to be capable of defending herself just fine. However, Mika wasn't about to leave part of her pack out here by herself.






@Rune_Alchemist

Su and Chloe broke through the wall of smoke together. They appeared to be in the pet cemetery that was located inside the graveyard. The gravestones were small statues, few rising above the knees. The largest grave was a statue depicting a trio of dogs howling at the moon together.

”Were we the only ones who made it? I doubt everyone would have run away from some black smoke.”

“Gah!” Alicia stumbled away from some horrific minions, nearly tripping on a statue of a bunny. Blobs of tar with eyes floating in them. They rolled forward as their eyes constantly rearranged themselves. “It's an ambush!”

”Alicia?” Su raised an eyebrow. ”Weren't you behind us?”

“Something threw me!” She pointed over her shoulder. “Can you please just shoot the monsters already?”

”Right.” Su fired some small cyclones at the towering horrors.






@FamishedPants@Card Captor

Alexander and Emily were surrounded by dozens of empty graves. Things had gotten so bad in Penrose that sometimes they would dig graves in advance just to have them on hand. It was just a rumor, but it looked like it might be true. Sitting in the middle of it all was a giant black mass with a single eye and tentacles. Standing on top of it was non other than Tonya.

”T-that boy from the colosseum!” She was looking directly at Alexander. ”Alright buster! I tried to swing you to the right side before, but you were too ignorant and stuck up to help us beacon girls save Annabelle!” She folded her arms. ”Just because you're a healing expert doesn't mean you can sit on the side lines and act all indifferent! You need to take a stand for what's right! And what's right is Beacon!'”






@Shifter_Master

Lily and Kyle both emerged from the smoke to the sound of Abigail's obnoxious laughter. The gravestones here were mostly traditional tombstones, Though it looked like funeral service was prepared, but everyone fled once the ritual started. The casket was suspended over a hole, and there were yellow roses scattered about the area. Just behind it, Abigail was surrounded by robed cultists who's heads were a single massive eye. There was a giant horror behind her that had a large bubble on its back. The bubble was transparent, and a nebulous energy was swirling around inside it.

”Hi Kyle!” Abigail gave her fellow beacon boy a wave. ”Did you want to try meeting the Bates again? They were kind of disappointed you ran off.” She placed a hand on her chest. ”I for one was a bit troubled that you didn't want to join us. I thought we were friends!” She started to blush, and her eyes closed to half mast. ”I let you touch my hand, and I let you put that magic mark on me. Hoping that you'd come by. Once, even just once.” She sniffed, and tears started to run down her face. ”I thought we had something after that!”






@Flamelord@DarkwolfX37@Rune_Alchemist

Alicia, Summer, and Rina were the only ones who made it to the center of the graveyard. Off in the distance was the crypt, which was the only source of light in this place. The dim glow of a powerful magical barrier kept intruders out. Standing on top of the crypt were the monster of the hour: Regina and Elroy.

But they were different.

Regina looked a lot more primal in appearance. Her horns were longer, she had more of them, and her tail looked like a long black spine. There was also a massive dragon head hovering over her shoulder, salivating as it eyed up the magical girls.

Elroy looked different too. He looked less like a monster and more like a king. He wore a cape and had gilded chains holding his regal outfit together. Elroy even wore a clip that looked like a crown, as if signifying his right to rule.

"Socks!" Elroy cast out his arms. "How long has it been? I know it's been a little over a month, but it feels like a little over a year, doesn't it?" The boy jumped off the top of the crypt and landed in front of the girls. He already had his shield and gauntlets drawn.

"Hope you weren't expecting to just march in here." Regina Raised her rifle, but didn't look through the sights. "Tell her how it is, Elroy. I'm ready to start."

"Surely we can spend a second catching up, right?" Elroy tucked a hand into one of his pockets, remaining stationary. "That was a wild night though, wasn't it?" Elroy tipped his head. "I mean, tin can tried to kill my sister, I thought she did, and then I got sorta mad at her. I think that's cool because I remember we were almost done talking our way to a peaceful solution." He pointed at himself. "But I was the one you decided to shoot at. I find that kind of interesting." He chuckled. "Now don't worry, I'm aware all three of you are pissing yourselves right now, but there is no correct answer to the question I'm about to ask. Admission of guilt doesn't lower your sentence in the Bate's court. But before I slaughter the three of you, I just gotta know if Socks would have done things differently knowing what she does now." His eyes focused solely on Alicia. "Is that really what Beacon stands for? Helping your own, even when they're in the wrong?"

Alicia did't know Elroy well, but she could tell he had changed. This wasn't the patient boy who wanted to peacefully talk out of a fight, or was willing to ask her if he'd let her retreat. Whatever sort of transformation he went through did more than just alter his appearance and power.
Swimsuits... are... everywhere!
@Spambot There will be a contest next month. So if you'd like to try again then, keep an eye out.

I knew a few of these would go unnoticed due to the sporadic nature of the contest section. That's why I plan on releasing a few one right after the other. The first one had 4 entries, this one didn't have any.

I'll train RPG yet to look in the contest section.
I guess this one was a bust, huh?

See you guys next month! We're going to be delving into the world of magic.


”M-me?” Emily pointed at herself. ”Really? Y-you'd trust me with something like that?” She looked at the floor. ”I mean, how could I refuse?” Emily looked at the others. ”Are you okay with this?”

Ice groaned. "Well, before you haul it off, give some of us a chance to look inside." He turned to alice. "You wanted to pull something out of that bloody shrubbery right?"

Jezebel's head poked up. “What?” Shortly after pitching her question to the blank monitor, she stood completely up. “Like, what?!” Jezebel threw her arms out to the side. “She totally killed herself? What the fuck for? Jezebel prepared to charge into Krista's room when Bliss stood in her way. “Scoot!”

Bliss shoohk her head.”The night of carnage is over, we can't break down the door this night.” Bliss removed her hat and placed it over her chest. ”Maybe tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” Jezebel was furious. Her teeth were clinched. But as if under a curse, she started to smile. “Bliss?” She tucked her hands behind her back “Like, I'm not even sure if I'm going to be alive tomorrow, and I've totally survived three of these games.”

”Jezebel.” Bliss took a step closer. ”Nobody, blames you, for this.”

Jezebel and Bliss locked eyes for several seconds, neither of them saying anything. But Jezebel would eventually decide to quietly go back to her room.

”You did good, Bliss.” Emily smiled. ”I think she's going to be sore about that one for a while though. All we can do is keep being human.” she turned around and faced the hospital. ”I'll drag that thing to my room in a bit, I just want to see Thomas one last time. Before they clean up his corpse.” and with that, she departed.

”MMMmmmmm...” Kyra seemed to appear beside Daimyon. ”Calvin expired after his battle with me. But he had one last request.” She drew a notebook out of her clevage, there was a bit of blood on it. ”He wanted me to give this to you. He didn't tell me why, but he seemed to think you would benefit the most from it.” After Daimyon accepted the book, Kyra corrected her glasses. ”The blood is his, not mine. I'm sure you'll find something poetic about being able to touch a book splattered with a dead man's blood. Tell me there isn't something Iconic about the action.“ Instead of vanishing in a puff of smoke, the robot simply walked away.




Your GM is too tired to write what his characters were doing the following day, but I think you guys are talented enough to have your characters do something.





Clinic


Donovan approached Grisaia. ”Well that's a relief!” He raised a finger to his chin. ”Kid, I ain't quite sure myself. Tensions were gettin' pretty hot between some humans and Quill. I stayed back here to watch over the patients, and it seems Quill and one of them was talkin'. Just talkin'.” He shook his head. ”They musta got spooked though. The others ran in, and a fire started. I'm still not sure what the real cause was, seems like some alcohol was spilled and set on fire. A shame, I don't know if I can replace the tools and supplies that were damaged.” Donovan shook his head. ”But everyone appears to be safe.”

Once the two walked out of the Clinic, they could see a familiar hooded adventurer approaching them.

Aer's eyebrows flicked up. "What happened?"

”AHHHHHH!” Crunch ran onto the scene. ”I was too late, the cultists already arrived!”

Donovan placed his hand on his face. ”I just want today to end.”

"Grisaia! It is most fortunate to meet you here." She placed a hand on her chest. "Upon asking around, it seemed that Mistress Vertti told someone to locate me specifically and to direct me to her location. I didn't get the full story, and the good Samaritan didn't seem to fully understand it either." Aer nodded. "But she is safe and unharmed. I found her in a pretty dangerous part of the city, so you might want to hold off on questioning her too much. Let us go see her together." Aer Lead Grisaia away from the Clinic.

”Thanks kid.” Donovan smiled. ”Stop by again sometime. Maybe the situation won't be so grim then.”




Hideout(?)


“Excuse me?” Quill snorted. “I do not take orders from humans, brats, or weaklings, and you are all three!”

”What if the order came from me?”

“NnnnnnnGH!” Quill pointed at Chieko “What value is there in teaching her anything!?”

”The situation is unusual, Quill” Elder Sibling looked over her shoulder at Chieko. ”besides, you seemed to think she was alright a moment ago.”

The oni dragged her hand over her face and looked at Chieko. “Only. Because. I was asked.” She waved for Chieko to follow her.




!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!


The angel's smile broadened. ”I've been watching, children. I know what you have all gone through. I am unsure where Hiro's spirit is, but it still exists. All I can say is that while it may be tempting to give into despair, you must remain vigilant! You will never finish the journey if you give up, and as long as you have my love, you will always remain in this world.” He slapped his hands together. ”Aside from handing out blessings, I have no other gifts to grant you. It is likely that we will not meet again for some time.” His hands started to glow a radiant white. ”But remember what I said. As long as you have faith in yourselves, and can weather what hardships this world throws at you, you will be able to defeat Talus and get what you desire.” The two boys knew instantly when they had been bestowed with their gifts. They knew how to use them and everything. ”We have run out of time. May Od Laguna ever bless you.”

In a flash, Ashton and Flame were separated.




Clinic (after Grisaia and Aer left)


Flame found himself dropped right back where he was prior to Ashton murdering Hiro. Gris was on his feet now, and Donovan was healing his wounds. Gris turned to Flame. ”Look here, Flame.” he was breathing heavily. ”I have no idea what just happened, but I genuinely want to believe you had no part in it.” With a howl, he erected his spine and stood up tall. ”The day you pay it forward is closer than I anticipated.” He rolled his shoulders. ”Crunch told me that you people were something special, and I really want to believe that. And for that reason, you're going to train with us.” He patted Flame's shoulder. ”It won't be easy, but you'll get enough food to fill your stomach. If you're important to these cultist bastards, I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure you can contend with them... But if I find out that you and Ashton are working together, I will gut you like a fish, and no amount of training will save you.” It seemed like Ashton's innocence would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove to Gris.




...the following week...


That day of death and carnage came and went like a memory. The forieners trained, and the natives went about their lives. But regardless of the path set before them, all knew something was amiss. Today was the day everything came together.




Hideout (Suttling Basin, old mill)


“Finally, something you're not instantly picking up.”

Over the past week, Quill had gone from being an extremely scary person to one of Chieko's closer friends in the organization. Quill had defended Chieko from a few demihumans that wanted to make an example out of her. Of course, such behavior from the other Demis only lasted a few days. Not because Elder sibling made it evident how important she was, but because Chieko became very powerful, very quickly. Few people were a match for her, and she was feared and respected like any “hero” should be. Even Quill and Chiyo had difficulty against her in sparing matches. Of course Chiyo couldn't use magic, and what magic Quill had didn't last very long. She had inherited the best qualities from both of her teachers, and even had some custom armor made for her. They thought the rate in which she learned was unusual, but Elder Sibling explained it away, saying that as a clairvoyant she could simply look into the future and learn faster than normal.

Chiyo holstered her wooden swords. ”Elder sibling is here. She wants to talk with Chieko.”

“Good, gives me a chance to recover.” As soon as Chiyo left the room, Quill cleared her throat. “Before you leave, I have a question about your homeland. You don't talk much about it.” She folded her arms. “Last week, that girl, she said she was okay laying with Elder Sibling. She even seemed to know Elder Sibling's identity. A woman, that is to say.”Quill scratched the back of her head, avoiding eye contact momentarily. “Is that type of behavior unusual where you come from? I mean.” She gestured with her hand. “You've been training with Chiyo for a bit. She's about the same age as you, looks nice, even if she's a bit on the short side. If you were into girls, I wouldn't be surprised if you liked Chiyo.”




Vertti household


The week was rather uneventful. Mistress Vertti was back to her normal self and in perfectly good health. She didn't say much about her disappearance, only that after seeing a friend overseas, she came back and found herself enjoying a pit fight on the recommendation of a friend. She assured Grisaia she wasn't in any danger. However, to help calm the boy's nerves, some actions had to be taken. She gave Grisaia a media that pointed to the location of her necklace, and even hired Aer “just in case” something bad were to happen. But Vertti stressed that nothing was wrong, and she felt this was all a bit excessive. But it was clear things would never be the same after that long absence from the manor.

But that was a week ago, and it was time to serve breakfast.

"I never realize how much I miss home until I eat your meals, Grisaia." She lifted a forkful of fish to her lips. "I remember the first meal you cooked me. Everyone was cautioning me that you might try to poison me. 'He's a demi' they'd say. But I never believed that, not for a second." She ate the fish on her fork before setting aside her utensils and and going over her lips with a napkin. "Aer has not come downstairs yet. I think she said she was running a fever. I sent a servant to her room with some wine last night." She folded her napkin and placed it beside her plate. "See how she's doing, then report back to me."




Gris's courtyard


Gris had come to see Flame as a companion rather quickly. While the oni was stern the day Chiyo was almost taken away from him, he was actually a very kind soul. He taught Flame diligently, but the boy was far more suited to magic than the blade. Crunch made frequent visits just to check up, and even sparred with him a few times. But for the most part, Gris was his teacher.

”I think that's enough for the moment.” Gris chuckled and placed his hands on his hips. The courtyard had a number of targets set up for Flame to shoot. They were made of stone or metal, and it was evedent that if flame went all out on them, he might actually break them. Of course, breaking one's training equipment wasn't very helpful to the training process. ”I've actually got some errands to run at home today, so if you wouldn't mind, I'd like you to go shopping on my behalf.” He held out a coin pouch. ”You're not going to spend all of it, but I like to tip the shop keepers a little extra, especially if they look like they're struggling. You've eaten here enough times, I'm sure you know what to get.”




Irene's Library


Alistair had learned a lot about the world, spirits, and the witches from Irene's personal library. It didn't contain all of the most safely guarded information, but it made him competent on all matters regarding gates, spirit magic, and everyday things. He normally wouldn't be able to read the texts, but Irene was able to teach him in a relatively short span of time. She'd never seen someone learn so fast, and Alistair was able to put that fast learning to work absorbing all the knowledge in Irene's library. He was also able to practice his magic, and even went on bandit thwarting outings with Irene and Vasilis, just to test his skills.

"I've never been much for reading." Vasilis was polishing his halberd. "Unless it's a cook book that is! Real men need to know how to feed themselves."

Irene was reading a book herself. Sitting just so with a thick tome in her lap. ”So how does Alistair's mana taste now?”

Odessa leaned out from behind Alistair. "His blue is almost entirely pure now."

”I assumed as much, the smell dissipated a few days ago.” She turned to look at Alistair. ”Vasilis is going to make breakfast soon, but we need supplies for our next outing. I have some letters to write this morning, and it would be most helpful if you could do some early morning shopping for us.” She stood up and held out a bag and a list. ”Try to keep Odessa hidden. She's still not very good around people, and spooks easy. Not that you needed me to remind you of that.” Irene set aside her book and walked into her office.




?


”Awaken, Lust!”

A boot slammed into Aerith's ribs, rolling her over the leaf covered floor of a forest. If she chose to open her eyes, she'd see an extinguished camp fire. If she cared to look at the person who kicked her, she'd see one smexy elf looking back at her.

”Today is the day we lay siege on the city of water! The day we free her from her prison of stone and steel! The one who loves us is just a half a day's march away!” Again, the boot struck Aerith in her sour spot. ”Arise, Lust! That which we've been fighting for lies just beyond the veil. Or my name isn't Vaux Maximilianus, Divagro von Theodoric und Hieronymous! But I can assure you, it most certainly is.” He broke out into laughter. ”Is getting hit by my boot one of your fetishes?” Vaux drew his foot back to deliver another kick. ”Disgusting creature!”


@Rune_Alchemist

Mika was smiling as she pushed a certain someone around in a wheelchair. The sky was getting dark, and there was some announcement about a new leader of Penrose, but there were other magical girls that could deal with that. It would be a long time before Mika ran off by herself again.

"Good day for a stroll, ay, Lupa?"

What happened during the skeleton incident made Mika sad. But it was like Helga said: They would find a way to save her. It was evident Lupa wanted Mika to live, and that couldn't happen if she was constantly blaming herself for what had happened. Keeping her head up was the best way to honor what Lupa did for her. That didn't mean Mika would forget about the event any time soon, but she wouldn't let her friend's sacrifice consume her.

“It is.” Lupa wasn't really talking. Mika had made a dream catcher and filled it with those jewels on Lupa's head. She wasn't really good at making Lupa walk, as Mika had to focus on where she and Lupa were going. She practiced in the hotel and nearly ran the wolf girl over a balcony. So for now, she'd just use a wheelchair to help her get around. Even if she behaved like a doll, Mika couldn't confirm Lupa's sense of self was gone. And even if she didn't, these types of outings had to be good for Lupa. As a side effect of wearing the jewels, Lupa would occasionally speak bits of dialog that Mika was telling herself. “Wait, I don't need to go to the pit stop today. Su probably got breakfast on her way out of town.”

Mika smacked her forehead. "How silly of me!" Of course, she should be going anyway just to see if Veronica has anything for her. Not that she actually saw her. Mika would just notice a note had been placed on her person when she left. But such things hadn't happened for a week now. She didn't know Veronica, but it was still concerning to think that something happened to one of Su's bosses. "Well, we still haven't eaten yet!" Of course there was another reason why Mika was so eager to go to the pit stop every day. That was where that nameless girl had given her a large portion of her meal. She wanted to know her name, she wanted to say thank you. She wanted to eat that crumbled mess of a donut on the ground.

“Donut! Or doughnut if you're a british-english speaker.

Mika picked up the donut, or at least what was left of it. Normally she'd just scarf it down and thank the food gods that blessed her with a free donut, but that wasn't right. This would be the second time Mika had decided to partake in free food without offering anything in return. The situation was also a bit different than last time. She was no detective, but this donut didn't just roll off a plate. It hit the ground with a considerable amount of force. If she was a detective, she might try to deduce possibilities until she found something that sounded good. But she was a magical girl. She could do one better.

Mika set the donut in Lupa's lap before diving into a trash can. When she emerged, she was a fully transformed magical girl. There was a napkin stuck to one of her ears, but that was fine. Now her superior nose could pick up on the scent on the donut. Or more specifically, it's former owner. The scent seemed to be coming from the roof of this building. Though it was unclear if they tried to throw the donut at someone, or simply dropped it. "You don't throw food at people unless you hate them. And donuts are way too soft! Haha!" Mika was proud of her deduction.

“I'll become an ace detective in no time.”

So Mika decided to go ahead with her plan, which she hatched just a few seconds ago. Still transformed, she ran into the nearest bakery and purchased a dozen donuts. Mika was an expert donut connoisseur, and she wasn't going to get any of those nasty donuts. She grabbed apple fritters, Bavarian cream, long johns, sour cream, cronut, glazed, but she stayed away from the dreaded powdered-jelly filled ones. She made her purchase swiftly, and everyone was more than happy to help the “gypsy” get out of the bakery as fast as possible.

"Alright Lupa, let's go!"

Mika needed to mentally command Lupa to get out of the wheelchair and wrap her arms around Mika's shoulders. Mika placed the bag of donuts in her mouth started to scale the building. This was hardly difficult, as Mika was fairly strong, and could make her own holds with the claws on her fingers and toes.

Before long, Rina would be alerted to the sound of something crawling up the side of the building. When she inevitably looked up, she'd she a feline magical girl holding a bag in her mouth. One clearly marked with the insignia of the local bakery. And she wasn't alone, a girl with a wool cap was hanging off of her back.

“My shot at love is finally here!” Lupa wasn't looking at anyone when she said this, and the response caused Mika's eyes to expand into saucers. She needed to take direct control of Lupa for a moment. “Sorry, I have a habit of pretending to be my friend's thoughts.” A short pause. “Because it embarrasses her.” Another moment of silence. “I mean, she might want to be friends with you, or more, whatever you're okay with. Maybe you could just see how it goes and decide on things in a couple of months.” Rina was pretty sure she could hear a few crickets. “Man I love playing jokes on my friend. I'm Lupa, this is Mika. She bought too many donuts, so just take the bag out of her mouth and we can share them with you.”




...Elsewhere...


@Erode

A magical girl was always at her most vulnerable while she was transforming. Unlike in the TV shows, their opponents weren't always chivalrous enough to wait for the good guys to power up to full fighting strength. Most would take the opportunity to crush their opponent flat. Fortunately, magical girls are indistinguishable from their true selves, minus a few traits. So most girls are safe so long as their transformations are fast, or done in a secluded place where they risk little chance of being discovered.

Amaryllis had chosen to transform in front of a restaurant. There were no obvious dangers. No present magical girls, no monsters, just the darkness looming in the sky. This seemed like as good as any place to transform. But as she would soon discover, that was not the case.

”Gaaahhhhhhhh!” a timid-looking girl ran up behind Amaryllis and bear-hugged her. ”Not so fast, Mint scum!” In her current untransformed state, Amaryllis was about as strong as her attacker. Before she could even think about what to do next, the timid girl let go of Amaryllis and shoved her closer to the wall. Once she regained her footing, the timid girl “trapped” Amaryllis between her arms, her body, and the wall of the restaurant. ”Don't even think about transforming again!” She fret her brow. ”I know a special technique to make it impossible for you to react! So don't even try it!” She squinted her eyes. ”I-I really don't want to use it.”






Su was flying back into Penrose. This all had to be connected somehow. The weather, Amber's missing body, she had no proof but it all had to be connected.

”Boteg, I'm going to investigate the disturbance.” It was only a matter of time before he contacted her about it. Might as well just speed things along. ”This one looks bad. I'm going to need backup. Send Helga this way on the double!” A burst of wind erupted behind Su, accelerating her through the sky.






Boteg was standing in his office in his “human” form, which looked more like a man with the head of a golden dragon. "Watch thyself, Sky Scare. Thou shall not become reckless." he placed his fingers against his temple. "Dragon's Scare, Sky Scare hath beseech thee for help. Prithee grant thy ally assistance, less a waggish dread-bolted foot-licker end us all! Hollowed ground is thy destination. Fare thee well, Dragon Scare."






Penrose’s cemetery was an eerie place. With the dead piling up by the day, it seemed like the graveyard was constantly expanding. There was always a few open holes in the ground, and construction equipment was always on hand. The graves use to be at least ten feet apart, but the space had narrowed considerably over the years. There had been an article a while back about the costs associated with a funeral were going up because things were getting so full. It suggested cremation instead, calling a traditional burial “a luxury for the excessively wealthy.” And perhaps such a statement was true. Most of the graves were marked with polished marble, rows and rows of ebony leading up to an onyx mausoleum. The bates ventured closer with their cargo in tow.

For the dark-aligned twins, it would not be hard for them to know they were not alone. Horror minions lurked in the shadows, flitting, hiding, occasionally looking about the scene for any possible intruders. It was already a creepy sight if there was one, but the onyx mausoleum itself seemed to be the source. It emanated a dark energy, an alien kind of vibe that for any regular person would send their survival instincts into an utter frenzy. For a magical girl, there was no doubt a horror, a greater one, was doing something here.

"The king has arrived!" Elroy raised the body over his head, as if he was going to throw it, then gently placed it at the foot of the crypt.

Regina shook her head. "We’ve brought the final component, as promised."

”The master sends his….regards for the splendid job you have done,” a man standing in the mausoleum entrance said with a slight amusement in his voice, his eyes taking the form of disturbingly black orbs without pupils, ”You shall find your final payment in the large coffin to the right of this building. And no, it is not a trap, as my master as told me to reassure you...fleshy things.”

The man then made a motion with his hand, to beckon two minions to gently take the body. They gingerly lifted it, taking proper care to not damage it, before swiftly moving past the horror-inflicted man and into the crypt. The man then made a small chuckle, before folding his hands and approaching the Bates a bit more formally.

”The portal will get the body to its destination, while Lord Soth provides forces here to provide...an ample distraction. Meanwhile-”

Before the man could finish, a wave of energy seemed to pass over the graveyard, coming from within the portal. Then from within, eyes began to open, several sets of them even as many slender tentacles grasped the entrance way of the mausoleum from the inside. They gave off a vibe Regina and Elroy would perhaps find ultimately familiar by this point in time, though the man who had been talking to them turned around in a panic and bowed his body to the ground. In fact, many of the minions had manifested only to bow in a similar fashion.

’Rise, worms. You have a duty to uphold, and the vessel i placed you in nears its end. Be glad, for it shall return to the void. the voice of Soth rung out into the air, aimed at his own minions, though taking on a decidedly different air as he seemed to gaze over at the bates-

’Ah, you both have done splendid work. The body is arriving at the ritual site, to be implanted with the proper parts and prepared bits. Indeed, things shall begin very shortly.

I am sure my worms here have told you where your reward lies, including the bonus from a time ago, and rest assured i am paying well for this…

….But really, mortals do seem to indulge in that driving sense of greed, haha!!! It is most...fascinating.


Elroy had already plunged his hand into the lid of the casket, and was able to wrench it off with relative ease. "Looks like a trove of magical coins, some pieces of paper with Benjamin's face on them..." Some of the contents were floating in the air, given the weather conditions and how violently Elroy parted the lid from the coffin.  "I don't see eyeball in here though. Which is weird because you typically expect to find a body inside one of these things. "

Regina fret her brow. "Where's Annabelle? You said that she'd be here as soon as we did this for you!" She folded her arms. "Where. Is. She?"

’Ha...hahaha…..HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

The voice of Soth boomed aloud in laughter, though he seemed ultimately amused and relaxed than anything. Even his minions laughed along with him, picking up into a small chorus briefly until their Lord became silent once again.

’Ah, but i did say once my plan was completed my use for the girl would be at its end. That time has not yet come, but shall very soon be made manifest.

Do not fret, young one, you will…...soon have her in your arms~

Before i begin, however, you may briefly converse with the girl.


In front of Regina would form a small portal of inky darkness, whose center would begin to clear up like a mirror. Eventually she’d see the face of Annabelle herself looking back at her, the horror’s magical girl waving...but her smile rather weak, as if forced by some means. However...things perhaps didn’t feel completely right regardless, as minions and flashes of the corpse and various odd shapes moved about in the background just behind Annabelle.

"Annabelle?" Regina put her arm through the portal and tried to take hold of her hand. Just to make sure it wasn't an illusion. The sensation Regina felt on her hand was genuine. There was no one's hand that could feel like this but Annabelle. "What's going on? Are you alright?"

”Ah...it really is you, Regina. But...i don’t know what’s going on, just that on my end we’re ready with the body and ritual site,” Annabelle said, as she gripped Regina’s hand back with a small squeeze to try to reassure the both of them, ”I kinda wish i was there with you right now, really....i feel a bit odd right now, to tell the truth.

But...boss told me he’d say what’s going on when i got to talk to you.


Regina bit her lower lip. "Well, I'm here now. So you can tell me."

The writhing mass of eyes and tentacles seemed to go silent for a moment, as if contemplating something, before Soth began to speak once more.

’Of course, young one. I think this shall be a...most educational time.’

Soth’s tentacles began to reach out more from the mausoleum, as if adjusting himself to speak. Like a teacher preparing to give a lecture...or a berating. What was perhaps certain was the feeling in the air seemed to darken, physical space warping as just a bit more of the great Horror emerged into the earthly plane. Several tentacles even caressed the edges of the portal the Horror had formed for Annabelle and Regina.

’The ritual i am about to perform is rare, i would dare say it is also something that will be very trying to even those adjusted to my power...like my Herald here. Some horrors cannot fathom this ritual, even.

That being said, my Herald shall be in your waiting arms the moment this is all over with, as promised. I will have no more use for her at that time. In fact, i shall bring her to you myself, as a token of….i suppose mortals call it ‘gratitude’?

The weather of this planet will also undergo a...temporary shift of temperament during the ritual. At least in this area. It is a finicky process….but mortals tend to rebuild and move on, so i think nothing of it truly.

However, i cannot be interrupted during this. So the center of this ritual shall be protected by me directly, and i offer great rewards if your group is to prevent any…’undue intrusions’ upon my territory during it. I shall see to those rewards personally~’


Regina didn't look away from Annabelle during the entire explanation, but it satisfied her. "Alright." She released Annabelle's and looked towards Soth. "Then I will make sure no one interferes with the ritual." She turned around to walk away. "And like I told you before, I don’t care about those other rewards. You'd better be telling the truth about Annabelle though."

’I am Soth, the Abyss, a natural force of the universe. I lie not about my offer. You shall have her in your arms, once this is finished.

But until then….Regina Bates.


Annabelle bit her lower lip, afraid to let Regina go...but not wanting to stop her either. Maybe she’d be safer farther away from the school? Ah...but before she could say a word, the portal silently closed in front of her. Likewise, a new small portal appeared near Annabelle in turn, inky black to its core as ever. She knew what this meant...

’The ritual will begin, now.

I want the tempered organs to be implanted first, alongside the bodily alterations that have been started.

I am preparing the extension into this realm, so begin the chanting to lock in the coordinates.

Prepare my forces as well...we soon shall have the most amusing visitors~’


"Wait! Let me text my friends about this." Elroy punched in a few buttons on his phone. "Alright! Let's rock and roll!"

The Bate walked away from the mausoleum. They were joined in their walk by the Beacon Buddies and several minions.

"They could come from any angle." Regina pointed along the fence line. "The minions shall serve as a distraction, I want the stronger monsters closer to the mausoleum." She turned to face the Beacon Buddies. "The lot of you will guard the four sides of the cemetery. You will receive reinforcements once we know what the enemy is doing..." Regina continued to give out orders as Soth's units moved into position. With every second Penrose wasted, their power would only grow. It was practically nightfall the cloud cover was so dense, which was when Soth's forces were at their strongest. Regina would finally rid herself of this miserable world, and all who caused her to suffer along with it.


The banter in Davis's room was interrupted by a loud ticking sound coming from somewhere inside his room. Davis did not appear on the monitor again, but everyone in his room could hear his voice come over the speakers. ”Was I not clear?” There was a scoff, or was it a chuckle. ”Leave. Immediately.”

Daimyon didn't have much time to think, but it was clear that leaving anything in this room wasn't going to work. He started to pull it out of the room, and his companions helped push.

Emily bit her lower lip. ”I can't believe we're doing this under a bomb threat! What's even in here!?”

Ice groaned. "Save your words for later you flipping cozen and push!"

As soon as they got out of the room, they heard a snap before the room was instantly engulfed in flames. It was so startling that Daimyon fell backwards onto the ground, before having Emily flop on top of him. It was just a matter of time before Max, Ice, Henry, and Alice fell on top of each other in that order. The chest had gotten out unscathed, but everyone could feel the heat rolling out of Davis's room.

”Daimyon, are you alright?” Emily felt around her her chest. ”Oh good, you're nose is free.”

"I still wouldn't mind if someone could get this churl off of me!" He sighed. "It's way past my bed time."

Jezebel was sitting with her back up against a wall. “What, happened?” She had her knees tucked against her chest.

Bliss seemed to have come out of her room, and was holding onto Cyrus's arm.”Cyrus, there was nothing you could have done this time. We were all too divided.” she looked at the floor. ”Sometimes, just surviving is a victory.”

“Meh.” Cyrus's glasses were cracked over. It was clear he had a lot he wanted to say, a lot he wanted to question. But he was trying his best to hold it in for now.

That was when the monitors sparked to life.



”How's every beary doing?” Monokuma appeared to be dressed up as a sports commentator. ”Welp, I'm here to let you know how the games are going. Caora and Mary have decided to fight Willow. Apparently Caora didn't want to stand around anymore, and wanted to show the world how strong he was. Mary and Juliette were so moved, they just had to become a part of his transformation.” The bear adjusted his papers. ”And Kyra is fighting Juliette, Noah, and Calvin. Calvin's just such a passionate guy, and our two newest infinites wanted in on that passion, if you catch my drift.” The bear set down his papers and folded his arms. ”The willow fight wasn't much, she just sort of rolled over the streamer or trap as soon as they entered her layer. Though I guess screamer and splat are more apropriate titles for those two now. I don't have any video of it, but we'll have an audio file up on our website you can download at www.despaircare.com/aaaaaahhhhhhhcreampuffisflatnow.WAV” Monokuma adjusted his papers again, but it was clear he wasn't reading them. ”Kyra's fight is actually still in progress. She managed to put a round between Noah's eyes, and Juliette is trying to hold her intestines in, begging for a mercy kill Kyra won't grant her. Calvin looks beary mad. Kyra's trying to bait him out with honey coated words. She's on a ferris wheel, so she's kind of hard to target. And now Calvi-” Monokuma's eyes shot open. ”What? Is that even legal!? That was a Davis level play there. I hate it!” Monokuma sighed. ”Calvin turned on the Ferris wheel. Kyra actually lost her footing. It's mopving kind of fast. Calvin just just has one chance to do this andifhe'snotquickhe'llmissithe'sgottodosomethingbecauseshe'ssocloseandherweaponisrightthereand OH!”Monokuma jumped backwards. ”Calvin wrestled for the gun, but ended up firing a bullet through himself. But... WHAT?!” Monokuma dove onto the desk. ”The round went right through him, passed through lord knows how many walls, and struck willow in her weak point! Great play, but Calvin won it for the opposite team.” Monokuma wiped some sweat(?) off of his head. ”Okay, Night of Carnage is over. I don't think we can really give the win to Calvin's team, but I think the real win goes to the person who made so much of this a possibility.” Monokuma was still panting. ”Krista! You are allowed to leave the killing game.” There was a pause. ”Krista? you there?” Monokuma groaned. ”Well this is embarrassing, she already found a way out.” He wiggled his nose. ”Looks like she committed suicide guys. That's an easy way out if I've ever seen it! Now who's going to open the door so that the nurse can let her out?” Monokuma sighed. ”Welp, guess she was a screw up to the very end! Remember kids, everyone gets out of the killing game eventually.”

Bliss's lower lip trembled. ”She...”

Cyrus shook off Bliss's hand. “I need to be alone for a moment.” Cyrus's scuffed into his room.
Alright fam. If you've read all the most recent posts, you can look at the power up table on the zeroth post and check out paths for your character to take. It's all explained there. Mild spoilers if you haven't read the most recent posts, hence the hider.

And remember, if you have your own ideas, we can work on stuff. Just drop a line in #character-reviews, send me a pm, post here, I'm easy to get a hold of.
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