Recent Statuses

8 days ago
Current The espers will be singing soon.



Did you know that Dante's inferno is called a divine comedy because things work out for the protagonist? Back in the day, the only two genres were comedy and drama. The only difference was that in a comedy, the protagonist is better off at the end, and a drama is the opposite. So that's why a story about going through hell can still be considered a comedy, even if it's not funny.

Broken Promise, BP, Boss

Old enough to know better, too young to care. (that is to say 30's)

Preferred RPs:
I Prefer to make my own, but will occasionally join something if it looks interesting. I'll join just about anything so long as it isn’t overly edgy/sweet, bonus points if it has familiar RPers in it. I don't do 1x1s too often.

Preferred Roles:
I tend to play adorable characters everyone wants to befriend or proper assholes everyone wants to stay away from. I try not to play moral paragons or prime evils.

RP Conquests:
I've completed quite a few RP's off site, but most of them are on private forums or have simply been lost to the ravages of server crashes. As for stuff here, I'm sure everyone who sees me post in the off topic sections has seen me find an excuse to talk about Danganronpa: Tower of Carnage. It's a project that took over 4 years to complete and I feel pride not only for myself but all the wonderful people who helped make it enjoyable during its run. Re: Zero: The High Council Is technically my first, but it was just something I kind of took over and ended up ending the story after just six months. It technically finished, but eh...

RP's in progress:
Presently I'm playing in a magical girl RP. I don't really think there's much more to say. I do have something in the works, but it's still too early to talk about that.

RP Graveyard:
I've been pretty fortunate on this forum. I think I joined one when I first came on the site that didn't really do anything, and there are a few 1x1 things that didn't go anywhere. It's disappointing when an RP ends before it can be finished, but I've come to look at them as learning experiences.

Other interests:
I watch a lot of educational videos on youtube. Usually as research for something I’m writing or purely because a topic interests me. I like channels like Tier Zoo and Daryl Talks Games, and I’ll also watch things like Critical Drinker or Literature Devil to deepen my understanding of story telling. Though I also like memes and jokes, to which I’ll find myself watching stuff like Sseth, but usually find myself surfing through meme videos. I gotta work on that.

I have a rather long history of playing virtually every platformer to come into existence during the indie boom, as well as quite a few other indie games. I’ve played Meatboy, Binding of Issac, Gunvolt, Cuphead, Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt, Classic Metroid, Warcraft 3, Final Fantasy 7,8, and 14, Left 4 Dead, Shantae, Celeste, Danganronpa, God Eater, the list goes on. What I’ve played is kind of all over the place. I don’t play many games these days, I tend to pick things that look interesting and go on a decent steam sale. Currently playing through Tales of Berseria, but it's slow going.

I draw. I haven’t done a lot of it recently and certainly don’t feel confident enough to show anything I make to the general public. Perhapse one day...

I listen to everything, save most country/rap songs. I have too many favorites to name, but I’ve currently found myself listening to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger a lot. I find dance music is just really easy to listen to on a loop while I'm drawing or working on RP stuff.

Not one to take life or the internet too seriously. Is only serious about writing well and having a good time.

People to Insult:
Dalton is a Dingus.

Most Recent Posts

Spreadsheet Master Race

Also gotta say I'm not too interested in the anime or movie. In the movie's case, I doubt you could do a very good job cramming 30 hours of gameplay into 2-3 hours of movie, if it's even that long. Yea, the fight scenes will look a lot better than those sliding sprites ever did, but I don't see it becoming the definitive version of this particular story. Extra on the other hand would benefit greatly from being animated, as it's more hijinks and slapstick than anything else. But that was the least impressive part of the games for me.
I posted a list of games I was working through about a year ago, so I thought I'd post an update on it here.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Wow, what a ride! I feel like getting a bit more in depth with this one, but it's still going to be a spoiler free review. In fact, I'll talk about the whole series.

Muv-Luv Alternative is the third instalment in the Muv-luv series, with Extra being the first and Unlimited being the second. Not confusing, right? Anyway, it's hard to give an overview of the plot without entering spoiler territory. The series starts out as a romantic harem comedy set in a modern day Japanese neighborhood, complete with a business tycoon's daughter who is able to vacate and demo a town to build her ultra large mansion right outside the MC's house. But the series transitions into a no-nonsense, dreary alternate reality where the earth is being sieged by the BETA. On the upside, mecha are a thing now.

Yea, it's a wild ride.

Muv-Luv is an early 2000's VN, so it's still recovering from 90's trends. Extra feels more like an episodic harem anime, and is really more an introduction to the characters than the plot. Your main hoes are going to be Sumika; your sweet yet prone-to-punch next-door neighbor, and Meiya; the wealthy yet socially inept import. Joining them is Miki the wanna-be cat girl, Kei the delinquent, and Chizuru is the teacher's pet. There's also Mikoto, a strange survival expert, though he's a guy, so why would you want to romance him? All of the characters are pretty charming. Even your teachers and other minor characters are a welcome site. I can't really think of a character I didn't like. Though I must admit that the lack of a real plot did make Extra a bit more tedious. My friends kept telling me muv-luv as a whole was the best visual novel ever, and I kept waiting for the story to develop into the alien invasion. But few things in Extra are more dramatic than your average harem romance hijinks. Having said that, I did enjoy the side routes a bit more than the main ones. Kei and Chizuru have surprisingly dark backstories, but weren't so heavy that they felt out of place in an otherwise lighthearted VN.

And then there's Unlimited. It's really hard to talk about it without spoiling it, but this is where we are introduced to our main setting. I've seen a few reviews where they praise Muv-luv for its ability to expertly shift genres from the goofy harem modern to the alternate alien apocalypse. I can't say that was my experience. In the first scene of Unlimited, we're treated to a scene that happened near the end of Extra. Then we're just sort of dropped into the BETA apocalypse. Despite the change in setting, the tone does feel eerily similar to Extra in a lot of ways. One example is MC is still going to school, but it's to become a mecha pilot. One of the bigger changes is a lot of the super silly nonsensical stuff doesn't happen anymore. There are still jokes here and there, but they are more grounded and feel like they could happen in reality. Probably the biggest change is that unlike Extra which has branching routes, Unlimited is linear, with your choices only really determining which waifu you're going to end up with in the end. I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, having alternate paths dedicated to characters you're interested in was really welcome in Extra. On the other, it was also kind of nice to just have all that woven into the main line and not have to hunt for Kei. Seriously Kei, it can be really hard to find the dialog options to see where you're sitting every day. Especially when I need to pick options related to other characters just to have them show up. And I'm suppose to remember where all of these are from previous playthroughs just to trigger your route? WHAT KIND OF SHIT IS THIS?!?!??!

And once you're done with that, you're ready for Alternative.

Calling Extra and Unlimited homework makes them sound a lot more boring than they actually were. But it's the truth. They were homework so that you could properly enjoy Alternative. By this point, Muv-Luv has fully pulled away from being a quirky harem anime and is ready to bring you full on no-nonsense BETA induced despair. And despair is not a word I use lightly with visual novels. Anyone will tell you about the handful of shocking deaths that happen in Alternative, but there's a lot of somber realizations that also help reinforce how utterly screwed everyone is. After spending several hours following Takeru (MC) as he trained to become a mecha pilot, it's rewarding to see him and everyone else engage with such horrific creatures. It's not all fights with the BETA of course. There's also a decent amount of political intrigue as you're introduced to other nations. There were a few times where the story lapsed into armchair philosophy, which always went on a bit longer than it had to, and there were some sizable info dumps that could have been managed in a more interesting way. But once I got hooked on Alternative, I pretty much played the last 15-20 hours of the game over a weekend. I don't recommend anyone do that, but it shows how much I enjoyed the end of this VN.

And I guess this is the part where people throw up their 10/10 score, and make some comment about how the score should really be higher and how Muv-Luv will never be surpassed ETC ETC, and those are all valid opinions. For me though, I think I'll give it a 9/10. It's a great story, and the only real holes I could poke in it were minor contrivances that could be chalked up to character quirks. The tech used in the game doesn't suffer at all. It's still more advanced than most other VNs I've played, making light use of 3D environments and sprite scaling to make characters appear closer and further away. But this is a 20+ year old game written in different times, and it shows its age a bit. A lot of the info dumping could have been done in a more interesting way. They spend a lot of time talking about how realistic the simulators for mecha training are, yet the writers opted to have instructors explain to Takeru How to best take down each type of BETA and raid a hive. Why not have Takeru experience and deal with this stuff in a simulator? The main route of Extra is also painful to get through if you aren't a fan of harem anime (like me), but is absolutely necessary for Alternative's more emotional moments to hit true. The series is an easy recommendation for anyone who's into VNs.

By the time I was done with those, I think I had 14-16 hours invested in Extra and Unlimited combined. Mind you that I cleared every route in Extra (struggling a bit to find Kei) and just did Unlimited once. My clear time for a single play of Alternative is about 30 hours. So it's quite a bit longer than the previous titles.

SYNTHETIK: I beat it via multiplayer, which was a pretty rewarding experience. I stand by my original review of the game: If You're done with Hades, it's worth a look.

Gris: Disappointing. I knew it was going to be a pretentious artsy platformer, but I didn't realize the experience was going to be so vapid. It's pretty, but that's it. The puzzles are too simple to be challenging, and are an exercise in tedium most of the time. The theme of grief is really shoved in your face and I doubt anyone could really miss it. Aside from a few well animated scenes, I don't see any reason to pick this one up. It cost as much as a deli sandwich, and somehow I still feel conned.

God Eater 3: I actually went back to playing god eater 2 for a bit, and holy cow, you really overlook all of the quality of life changes they made to the game. God Eater 3 is easily the best in the series, with every improvement imaginable from better camera angles to an upgrade system that makes sense.

The Fruit of Grisaia: I uh, heh. I'm still working on this. Needed to take a bit of a break after muv-luv.

Tales of Berseria: My prediction was right. It's as good as any other "tales of" game, with an amateurish story and fun gameplay. The story does have kind of a sour ending, which was expected but was still disappointing. Though it occasionally goes on sale for cheap, so if you want 50+ hours of JRPG action on your first playthrough for 15 $ or less, might be worth putting on your steam wish list.
”This post could use some flashy banners, just like old times.”

I remember when I use to make flashy 1 off banners for posts. What ever happened to those times?

”You quit.”




Kimble VS Betty

At the arena, Kimble was stretching her legs at the side of the pool, readying herself for the upcoming match.

”This Betty girl doesn’t seem that tough!” She boasted to Alicia in the spectator stands as she moved on to stretching her arms.

”So what if she’s also gunning for Justine? That’s not going to make me go easy on her, nope! But I have to commend her for being prepared with her swimsuit.” She clapped her cheeks and took a deep breath before jumping over to the platform.
”I’ve gotten better since my victory over Penny!” She had her hands on her hips, looking proud.
”With my new technique, you’re going to be nothing but dust in the wind!”

Betty was standing at the other end of the oval shaped arena. Overall, the total area was a bit smaller than your typical Keijo island. It did give speedy combatants room to sprint towards each other and put on the brakes before slipping off the edge, but the narrower arena also meant veering off course could lead to an instant ring out.

”Maybe you should save it for Justine. I'm already dust in the wind.” She fell forward onto one hand, like she was doing a one hand push up. ”Of course, you’ll have to catch me first. And dust is pretty hard to catch once it’s airborne.”

"Hmph!" Kimble puffed her cheeks with her arms crossed.

"We're now live at the Keijo dome, with your hosts Dan The Dolphin and Pac-a-fist!" The Lesser Force's voice could be heard from the loudspeakers.
"Betty, one of our new competitors, will have to face against an experienced player with the much-acclaimed feat of beating the Queen of Steel Penny herself, the Highwind Hellion, Kimble! Will we see Kimble's famous Butt Gatling today? I sure hope so!"

Kimble be Lew a raspberry up at a camera.
"That's a spoiler, Dan!"

"Whoopsie!" Dan squeaked.

”Seems someone else has a favorite in this too, huh?” Pac-a-fist rolled her eyes before sloshing her drink around.

"Anyway, it's time to rumble in 3...2...1...And go!"

Something that Betty had been telling herself over and over again was that she would beat Justine at Keijo. It had, admittedly, never occurred to her that there might be someone else out there who was just as determined to face her down. Kimble may have been brainwashed by Justine as well and also wanted some form of catharsis. That was a possibility. But if she wanted it as badly as Betty did, she’d be able to prove it in the ring.

Betty took off like a bullet, taking a semi-crescent-shaped path to Kimble’s position. As she drew closer, she dove onto her hands and launched herself ass first at the twin tailed girl.

Kimble waited until the last moment, and then jumped backwards, over the edge of the platform, before she suddenly jumped again in midair, boosted by her Wind magic; she attempted luring Betty to overextend with her launch and bring herself off the platform.
However, predicting that Betty wouldn't be so easily fooled, she dropped to Betty's front and aimed a couple of quick jabs of her behind.

Kimble had correctly guessed that Betty wasn’t about to launch herself over the side. She had already fired herself at Kimble while she was still standing on the platform. Her reflexes were good enough that she was able to adjust as soon as Kimble jumped off the side. Betty lowered her legs like a pair of landing gear and drove her hands into the island. She slowed to a stop, with her butt pointed straight up in the air like a certain fighting game character. Maneuvering around Betty would be tricky, as she walked like a crab to keep Kimble as close to the edge as possible. Each swing of Kimble’s hips caused her ass to smack into Betty’s posterior.

Kimble grit her teeth as her blows made contact.
"Why do you want to beat Justine anyway?"
She asked as she twirled out of the way to avoid a counter, sliding easily on the platform.
"Did she also mind-whammy you?"

”And she sold me to the Mint afterwards.”

Betty had a pretty lean physique and lacked the curvature that most of the heavyweights had. But while the lines of her body were less impressive, there was less fat and more muscle. That gave her more control and grip for grappling.

Once she picked up on the tempo of Kimble’s thrusts, she dropped her hind below the next incoming strike and clinched one of her tails between her cheeks.

”That’s a starfish grapple!” Pac-a-fist turned to Dan. ”I think?”

"I think so too!" Dan added. "One of the more lethal techniques though it requires extensive buildup in muscle to achieve without injuring one's gluteus."

Betty kicked off the ground with both legs, but kept a firm grip on the island. If Kimble couldn’t escape, she’d be kissing the floor shortly.

Kimble grimaced twice, first with Betty's answer, and again when Betty went for the grapple on the tail causing Kimble to scoff with a blush...Followed by the tail popping off.

The smaller girl smirked deviously.
Using the distraction of the fake tail to her advantage, Kimble accelerated herself by removing wind resistance from herself, and launched a barrage of attacks with her rear.
"Butt Gatling!"

“And there it is!” Dan commented. “After having Betty fall for her ruse, Kimble’s now using the legendary Butt Gatling, a move so powerful that she actually managed to defeat Penny herself with it! ”

Betty had whiffed her grapple, but at least she did so in such a way that it wasn’t hard to tuck into a roll. She released the island as Kimble’s blows came in. She allowed the attacks to hit and roll her away rather than digging in to maintain her position, Kimble would get to control a bit more ground, but that was fine for now. More interesting was that Betty could feel this girl’s magic working on the wind.

”You like wind too, huh?”

Betty didn’t roll far before driving her heels into the island and kicking herself backwards over Kimble. It looked like Betty might fly clean over the cat girl, but the wind suddenly changed direction and blew her directly into Kimble’s back.

Kimble looked proud at first for having landed her attack, followed by shock. In that moment of staying still, she was hit by Betty using her magic to slam into Kimble, sending her flying.
She was about to fall into the water when she swooped up, carried aloft by her winds. However, instead of being angry, her eyes sparkled.
"You're using the same magic as me! That's so cool! That means I won't have to hold back any more!"

”Just hit me with something already!” Betty bit her lip.

She began to spin around the arena, like the spoke of a wheel.
"Taake this!"
As she spun around the platform, she started another barrage, aimed at the very center where Betty was.
"Butt Hurricane!"

“What! A new move from Kimble!” Dan squeaked. “Combining the attacks of the Butt Gatling with her wind-based mobility, Kimble is intending to surround Betty in a swarm of slams!”

If Betty wasn’t fighting for a shot at Justine, she might have been able to be friends with Kimble. She wasn’t really mad at her, and her sudden mood change after Betty confirmed what had happened wasn’t lost on Betty either. She and Betty had many similarities, right down to being a little awkward in public spaces. But it was in spaces like this where they could learn more about each other than they ever could just having a conversation. You can’t lie about your intent in a physical contact sport like Keijo.

It was clear that Kimble possessed a much higher magical aptitude than Betty, but Betty wasn’t convinced that she was also her physical superior too. But being less magical just meant she had to be more creative with what she had access to.

She drove her heel into the island hard enough to break it. The resulting dust and debris allowed Betty to make a sort of barrier in front of herself. It would never hold up to an attack, but it was nearly impossible to see through. Wind users had great spacial awareness due to their mastery over air, but other wind users could usually counter that by moving the wind around themselves in unpredictable ways. This sort of tactic wouldn’t work for Kimble, as she she was flying towards Betty much to fast to hide her approach. But a veil could only keep Betty hidden for so long, as Kimble could probably just use some of her own wind magic to blow the whole thing away.

But that wouldn’t be necessary.

Betty sprinted out of the smoke screen and rolled forward onto her back. She kept a light pocket of air under her body so that the friction from sliding on her back would be non-existent. Meeting Kimble’s barrage of butt swipes was a single ass slide aimed at taking out her ankles.

”Ack! What? How?”

Kimble momentarily stopped her attacks to blow a gust of wind and scatter the dust, only to discover that Betty was no longer in there. She had been apparently been so confident, once again, of trapping Betty in her Hurricane technique that she had slipped out mid-attack and ambushed her, hitting her in the knees and causing her to spin wildly.

“Mayday! Mayday! Kimble’s been hit!” Dan shouted frantically.


Her scream was cut abrupt by the sound of splashing water.

“And she’s down in the proverbial drink! Betty wins!”

”That was a fast match.” Pac-a-fist raised a hand to her chin. ”Suppose if both combattents are quick, that’s only natural though. Hopefully no one was banking on a rematch between Penny and Kimble. What an upset!”

Betty couldn’t tell if the crowd was cheering in delight, or roaring with distain for the match they had just witnessed. But she didn’t care either way. With a hop, she plunged into the water and swam over to Kimble, who managed to surface some distance away from the float. The adrenaline from fighting someone with the kind of power and skill Kimble held was still present in her body. She wasn’t sure how Kimble would react to being approached by someone who had just denied her a chance at fighting Justine, so she kept her distance.

”Kimble, right?” Even if it felt like sirens were going off in her head, Betty lowered her steely resolve for the moment. ”I wasn’t sure what to expect from our bout. Your magic is strong, and yet-” How to pick her words in such a way that she wouldn’t offend. ”I feel like half way through the fight, your aura changed. You didn’t-” She turned her head sideways. ”You didn’t, let me win, did you?”

Kimble's head surfaced to show only her eyes and nose, and she made bubbles on the surface of the water, looking disappointed yet surprisingly content. When she climbed out and took a yellow towel from Dan, she sighed.
"Well, not entirely," she admitted in a low voice.
"When I made my first attacks, I was sure I'd at least get you to stagger a bit, yet you held your ground. Not even my Butt Gatling fazed you...I think it was the same for Penny."
She first looked sad, but quickly turned it into an annoyed duck face.
"I was stupid. I'm not beating Justine when I'm this weak...But I think you can, Betty."
She managed to smile a bit.
"She's going against Mariette, so there's a good chance you'll face her.”
She held a hand out to Betty, for a handshake.
”And when you do...give her bum a real good whoopin', all right?"

So it was that her first few attacks didn’t do the damage she was expecting. That was understandable. When you can down a colossus like Penny, having some new blood shrug off your first few attacks might seem disheartening. Regardless if it changed the outcome of the fight or not, Betty would have liked for the both of them to fight to their limit. She was unsure if she could beat someone with Kimble’s reputation initially. Had she jumped into the pool to save herself the humiliation of a staggering defeat, she wouldn’t be enjoying the victory she had claimed.

”I don’t think you’re weak, Kimble. Not when you can do so many cool things with wind magic. Is it possible I’m just strong?” She took the cat girl’s hand in her own and gave it a firm shake. ”And my name is not Betty Barton, nay, I am not a member of Crimson Cradle if I don’t give Justine a beating good enough for every mind she’s enslaved, every life she’s ruined, and every innocent she’s hurt!” Then with a loud pop, Kimble’s tail fell out from between Betty’s cheeks. ”Oh! Didn’t realize I was still clinching.” She picked up Kimble’s tail and presented it to her. ”I think you’re cool, Kimble. We should stay in touch, alright?”

Kimble humbly took the tail, cheered up by Betty’s kindness.
”Thanks, Betty. I’ll be rooting for you!” She then smiled widely at her offer.
”For sure! Bye!” She waved to Betty with the tail.


”...I’ll need to wash this…”




I Don't Even Know, Man

”Aaaand we’re back in the Keijo Arena! Pac-a-fist here, Commentating alongside Dan the Dolphin!” In an unusual twist of events, Pac-a-fist had taken it upon herself to narrate the intro to this bout.
”Our next fight is taking place on the tower! Unlike the buoyant islands typically seen in Keijo, this one is anchored straight to the floor! Adamantium chains hold it right in place!” She huffed. ”Of course it usually gets broken by rambunctious magical girls, but don’t expect the island to float.” Her smile returned.
”And speaking of broken and floating, our match contains two people who had thought to be lost to time.Tenebra and Elroy!” With a giggle, she hugged Dan from behind. ”You have to announce them! I’m too excited, and I can’t be impartial with Elroy!”

“That’s right!” Dan added, squeaking in surprise Pac’s affectionate gesture. “First up is our first and only male contestant for this tournament, ELROYYY!” Dan could be heard clapping his fins over the loudspeaker.
“While lacking in certain aspects, I’m sure the lad will be compensating with high spirit and good sportsmanship! And hey, I’m sure more than one among our audience will appreciate the diversity!”

”Alrighty!” Erloy strode across the island in his full esper gear. A japanese style kimono rested loosely on his form, and a massive obsidian shield was in his hand. ”Can’t say I’m shocked to be the only man participating. But that mirror is too good a prize to pass up.” He swung the shield over his back, and it transformed into a coat that rested across his shoulders. The rest of his costume had turned into a pair of ankle long swimming pants. They were as tight as a wet suit, so it wasn’t hard to guess the shape of his lower body. His chest was fully exposed, revealing the type of beauty Greek sculptors depicted with their marble statues. ”Hopefully my opponent shows up soon. I know woman take longer to get ready, however…”

“Coming up next is a mystery opponent who had signed in at the last minute,” Dan continued. “An expert in bending reality, she might just twist her opponents into spaghetti...Oh, I think we should have some...yeah, right, TENEBRAAA!”

But Tenebra was nowhere to be found. Instead, she was curled up,hugging her knees on the corridor, her cheek flush and red, almost as if smoke was coming out of her.

"....A...boy. No me." She said quivering. "I can't handle that boy…" She gasped as she stole a glance. A single look at the chiseled features had sent her burning. Skin to skin contact was out of question.

Dina was raising an eyebrow, as if trying to coach her. "Well, that was unexpected. Don't girls your age seek these things?" She thought.

"I'm...actually twelve…" She confessed, still refusing to budge.

"Oh dear." said Dina as she tried to pat her. "Guess we will have to forfeit."

And it was then when she realized. What the hell was that yaponski gremlin doing… going in that direction.

"Oi you El Rey, yeah, you, the male teen band boy." said an all too familiar pinkette. "How about you try fighting a real man?"

Dina just facepalmed. Well...that was one solution to forfeit, if they ever accepted it.

”Pink girl?” Elroy tipped his head. After a moment of thought, he shook his head with a smile. ”Man, woman, I don’t turn down a bout with anyone.” Elroy did not know who his opponent was, so of course he didn’t have any objections to a last second switch. ”If you wish to fight, get into position. Just know that I don’t show mercy to anyone, nor do I expect any in return.”

"Hah! You, I like." said Sakura. "Anyway i am substituting the weirdo-chan. I am Sakura and I am a man among men...also a loli now...why did I return my manhood?"

Sakura then assumed a combat stance, ready to take action.

”Ah! So my opponent has been switched!” Elroy chuckled. ”A shame, but I’ll make do. I’m Elroy, the Immortal Volcano. While I may look and act like a man, my opponents liken me to a beast!” Elroy stood in place, maintaining his elegant, yet sturdy posture.

”A sudden change? Well, I guess it’s not against the rules.” Pac-A-Fist slipped back into her seat. ”No trash talking this time? I guess we can start then.”

“Ooh, a last minute tag-in! How exciting” Dan added.

Pac-A-Fist cleared her throat. ”You ain’t from Michigan if you haven’t done this before! Cactus, one! Make that Bread!”

Elroy was in no rush to get to his opponent. He strode across the island with his arms extended to each side. ”We bring most of the same weapons into battle. Perhaps we have similar styles?” His pace started to quicken as he drew closer.

Sakura for the time being closed her eyes briefly, and breathed deep. In and out. In and out. Martial arts had the same root. A self-recognition. Discipline that created a mountain out of a pebble of a time. The search of self. Even if she was now a 9 year old girl. Even if this was a raunchy competition of swimsuits and nothing but blatant fanservice that he had once devoured greedily in a past life of vice. Even if her recent rash actions had alienated herself from a kind girl.

<<”One move at a time. Go beyond limits. Shatter mountains. Reach for the sky. Pierce the heavens.”>> She said in her native tongue, as her eyes opened, a spark of determination that betrayed her actual age, as she remained like a reed.

Rooted, yet fluid.

“Save your breath, boy. The fight’s not won on tongue wagging.”

By this point, Elroy wasn’t too far away. Maybe a second or two from striking distance. ”I meant no offense!” Elroy sighed. ”But if it’s action you desire…” Elroy pulled his lips into a grin. <<”It’s fine to shatter mountains, but you should leave the volcanoes alone!”>>

[Self][Push] = 12 | [Remaining MP] = 638

Elroy performed half a somersault, rolling onto his back before jets of flame erupted from his shoulders. He kept his legs tucked against his chest as he slid across the island towards Sakura’s knees.

“And Elroy starts off with a bang!” Dan commented. “He’s really fired up now, huh?” Pac-a-fist only gazed at the arena with star struck eyes as a response.

Sakura tch’d.

<<Volcanoes are mountains.>> She said, as she manifested an absurd amount of clothing in her wake as she dodged with a jump, further catapulted by the momentum of the cloth creation. <<Eternal Style, Veil Quagmire.>> She mentioned as bows, ribbons and sashes fell in a heap.

“And Sakura counters with an application of her Eternal Style skill, leaving a fabulous trap!”

<<”Typical Japanese man, always oversimplifying.”>> As Elroy approached the heap of clothing, he kicked with both legs and returned to an upright position just on the other side of the cloth heap. <<”By that logic,you’re not really a man, are you?”>> He charged after the retreating girl.. <<”Pink girl!”>> His Japanese wasn’t perfect, but he could be understood. It was hard to tell if he was being mean or not, as his smile only grew as the fight went on.

<<”If you want to be a smart ass, first fix your fortune cookie manner of talking, boy.”>> Sakura did reply as she suddenly ducked under him as she landed, taking advantage of her small frame… and then offered a butt counter.

This is embarrassing as fuck, but better me than the girls! Sakura thought as her small frame targeted something well below the chest.

Elroy’s manly jewels.

There was a hard thump as Sakura’s tush smacked into Elroy’s crotch. ”Hngh!”

”Oh no! Is he-”

“Oof, that’s going to hurt!” Dan winced.

But Elroy recovered quickly. As fast as Sakura was, there would be no scampering away with her torso directly under Elroy.

[Self][Push][Damage] = 32 | [Remaining MP] = 606

A sudden, violent burst of flames blew out of Elroy’s shoulders. He performed the fastest squat in the history of Keijo, with his rear slamming into Sakura’s back.

”Direct hit!” Pac-a-fist coughed into her hand. ”I mean, a counter attack. Nothing too special. Does anyone understand Japanese?” She tapped her fingers together.

“I do!” Dan answered. “But what a brutal squat from Elroy! He must have been to the gym!”

<<”It’s like you said ‘old man,’ tongue wagging doesn’t win the fight.”>> Elroy leaned into his seat, allowing his weight to keep the smaller girl pinned. <<”By the way, this is a contact sport, and if you don’t think I’m wearing a cup, you’d be mistaken.”>> he rapped on his crotch, which made a hollow noise.. <<”But why the hostility? You must want that mirror a whole lot more than I do.”>>

<<”Fucking Ikemen-new trash. All you want is to grope some oppai. Go die.”>> Sakura muttered as she grumbled.

<<Eternal Style: Cloth of Heaven>> said the tiny magical girl, creating a Sash between Elroy and Her. <<Energize!>>

Well, Sakura was never the most scientific savvy guy. Punching rivals rather than doing chemistry books. But she had found something interesting when trying to make use out of her mismatched abilities.

Turns out, static charged clothes were one hell of a shield. A surge would burst from under Elroy, pushing suddenly but just enough for the tiny martial artist to squeeze out. It wasn't for free of course. One of her straps had come undone and she had begun to bruise.

But now, a second sash had appeared, now levitating a certain distance around her, with the occasional crackling of electricity.

“Whoah! Sakura has freed herself from Elroy’s grapple!” Dan interjected. “I don’t know about you Pac, but I’m certainly shocked by such a smart escape!”

”I mean, it was okay...”

Dan rang a bell. “And that’s round one, everybody!”

<<”Hah! Nice!”>> Once Sakura had shifted free, Elroy’s ass came down on the island hard enough to crack it. <<”Hmmm, I won’t say you’re totally wrong with that first statement.”>> Elroy stood up. <<”If I have that mirror, I can remain in this world indefinitely. There’s a lot of people here that simply aren’t around anymore. My friends, people even closer, they’re okay here.”>> He grabbed his jacket and tied it around his hips. <<”So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m fresh out of mercy, pink girl. I’m sure you have your reasons why you want to win too.”>> Elroy folded his arms. <<”Are you sure you don’t want to tell me why you’re competing? I can’t hold a conversation very well when I get serious.”>>

Sakura stopped for a second, and then eyed Elroy. <<"My most sincere apologies. I had judged you a brat. But you are a man on your own, if such a thing is true. Comrades are to be cherished.">> Her gaze trailed towards the entrance, where a blushing mess of Tenebra still stood there. <<"Girl had it rough, after being yanked from the grave, to oppose an ikemen… Can't blame her if she could not even talk.">>

"So, El Rey-san. Let us put our conviction like true men. In our fists."

And then Sakura realized. "Aw shit, nevermind, this is a keijo match and I have this body. Fuck."

”It’s okay, pink girl!” Elroy crossed his arms in front of his chest. ”A smaller caliber bullet pierces deeper.” A surge of power welled up inside Elroy. His flesh, swimsuit, and even his hair seemed to develop hair line cracks that allowed a golden light to shine through.
The bell rang again.
”Round two, FIGHT!

[Self][Heat Resistance][Ignite ] = 32 | [Remaining MP] = 574

A surge of power welled up inside Elroy. The golden cracks all over his body belched out flames that covered his body. But the flames did not consume him. Instead, the flames seemed to invigorate him.

”He’s on fire!” Pac-a-fist hugged Dan and hopped up and down like a fan girl, with Dan’s nose bopping up and down even as he kept a shocked face.
”I mean-” she suddenly stopped. ”I wonder what he’s going to do next?”

“I think he’s going to go all out now!” Dan pointed with his fin while in Paca’s hold. “There he goes!”

The immortal volcano charged forward. His flames were licking at the air around him.

Sakura frowned. How was she supposed to fight someone who could set themselves on fire? Then she realized that setting himself on fire probably was for show. There was no rule that allowed direct magic damage from a Keijo attack. The sash tightened around Sakura, creating some sort of harness that began to spark and charge electricity.

He could do fire. But she could do lightning. The entire battlefield was bathed in the eerie, yet divine light of plasma as the lightning clothed Sakura very much like Elroy was bathed in flames.

“And now Sakura has covered herself in electricity!” Dan shouted.
“It’s a pyrotechnics show unlike anything I’ve seen before, folks! ”

“No, bullets pierce deeper because of speed.” Sakura said, and with a bout of static became a blue blur. “Gotta go fast.”

Behind Elroy.

To the side of Elroy.

Topside of Elroy.

Butt-diving in Elroy’s head.

Vanishing soon afterwards.

“Ahh, I can’t follow her movements!” Dan squeaked, now hugging Paca back. “I guess I'm too slow, even if I’m a blue mascot!”

”I got that reference!”

Sakura’s theory about Elroy’s flames proved correct, as her tush didn’t suffer a single burn no matter how many times it smacked into him. Her speed was definitely something that Elroy couldn’t match. A volcano was strong, heavy, and belched flames, but it was also immobile. But the “immortal” part of his name was not merely there for show. Elroy was jerked around by Sakura’s attacks, but every bruise she caused slowly shrunk away into nothing under the veil of heat. Death by one-thousand cuts did not seem like a viable strategy, at least not now.

”How about a crowd pleaser, pink girl?”

[Touch][Damage X][AOE][Push] = 140 | [Remaining MP] = 434

Elroy’s fist turned into a glowing molten gauntlet, which he drove into the island where they stood. There was a loud bang as something deep inside the tower broke free. A large crack ran across the top of the platform, one that was wide enough to get one’s fingers inside. He leaned forward with both hands, and gripped the platform. The stands were filled with cheering as Elroy lifted a part of the island over his head, and gave it a shove. It flipped over entirely and sunk into the the depths of the pool.

”Elroy has fragmented the tower! We all knew it was coming!” She pointed at the scene as it unfolded in front of her. ”It seems like he’s acknowledged Sakura’s superior speed, and blew a cheese shaped wedge out of the side of the tower to limit the places where she can hide!”

Dan was hysteric. “Oh, what will these crazy players think of next!”

With just a bit less than half the normal surface area remaining, Elroy turned to look at Sakura. ”We can go smaller, if you’d like.” By this point, the fire that covered Elroy had gone out. But There was a glow around his body that suggested another spell was coming.

It was then when Sakura stopped, in full crane pose. For a brief second she smirked.

“Shatter mountains.”

She said, with aplomb, as she plummeted head first for the pool. Was this a self ring-out? No,it was something else.

Let’s use… water walking ninjutsu.

“Reach for the sky.” She said, as she cruised at surprising much in fact she was running above the water. Faster and faster. The air and the water seemed to follow the lightning, creating a huge waterspout.

Of course, this had the effect of surrounding Elroy’s platform with water… as well as raising the water level.

Elroy chuckled. ”You old men and your dirty tricks. Anything to avoid a fair fight.” He shaped his hand like a gun and pointed off into the distance. ”Guess I’ll use one of mine.”

[Beam][AOE][Push] = 96 | [Remaining MP] = 338

The tips of Elroy’s fingers glowed red, yellow, then a brilliant white. Sakura was fast, but she still needed to make some pretty routine circled around the pool to raise the water level the way she was. Once Elroy had anticipated her movements, he fired.

While the charge took a few seconds, the projectile hit immediately. Right in front of Sakura’s intended path, a red hot beam of magma had struck the water directly in front of her. The attack itself wouldn’t hit, but it shoved all of the water within five feet of its location in every other direction.

“Shit!” Sakura did say, as the beam seemed to impact her, an explosion of water and lightning seemingly showing that Elroy might have hit home.

“Oh nooo! Sakura!” Dan screamed, and buried his nose in Paca’s embrace. “Tell me when it’s over! I can’t bear to look!”

”G-get your nose out of there!”

Alas, only a partway scorched swimsuit was left, fluttering in the wind. But where was Sakura?

She was riding the winds of said violent confrontation, up and away with another of her Eternal Style sashes.

Thank god I thought of Substitution Ninjutsu She gritted her teeth. She ruefully admitted that her old, more physically intensive kung fu training was not as useful for such a small body, and over time, gradually, she had been more and more convinced to change her martial arts style to suit her speed and hit and run tactics.

She, who had once scoffed ninjutsu and tricks in general as weak, was now having to rely on them. Incognito gave her a low profile, and she was speedy… creating clothes out of nowhere with martial arts reflexes took care of the last part.

Whatever this volcano guy was, cheap tricks wouldn’t hold him for long. Tiredness and cramps were accumulating in her body, as once again activated her lightning enhancement.

“Pierce… the Heavens.” She gritted her teeth, as she plummeted towards Elroy with all the speed and strength she could muster aiming her butt at his head.

If a blow couldn’t penetrate, she would do ten. If ten would not penetrate, she would do a hundred. If a hundred would not do the trick, a thousand would do. No fancy tricks anymore, just sheer raw grit and doggedness, head on.

Fear not the man who practiced a thousand kicks once, but the man who practiced one kick a thousand times.

Of course, given Elroy’s nature, it was more than assured he could feel very little, as she descended butt-twerking like a madwoman.

Yet, there was something else in Sakura’s butt-punches, not even she was doing consciously. She was rhythmically, flawless, attuned to her battle instincts. Like a drum, a drum that was only getting louder and louder inside Elroy’s body.

Resonance. A voice can shatter glass. An otherwise harmless wind can bring down trees and bridges. A drop of water can carve a mountain.

“Oh, she’s alive!” Dan lifted his nose out of Paca’s cleavage as he heard the crowd react to her survival. “Sakura’s still in the game, and going for a high-speed meteor slam!” Pac-a-fist was still reeling from Dan’s last stunt, and had nothing to add.

”There we go!”

Without Elroy’s veil of flames (and a bit because of Sakura’s persistence.) it did seem like the bruises were staying this time. Though Sakura believed that mountains and volcanos were one in the same, volcanos were capable of some movement. Her speed wasn’t so great that Elroy had to just take every blow that Sakura threw at him. She might have been willing to hit him hundreds of times, but could she hold on that long?

”To the last, I grapple with thee!”

[Touch][Damage X][AOE][Push] = 140 | [Remaining MP] = 258

With another devastating punch, the area around them grew even smaller. Two-thirds of the remaining island sunk into the depths, leaving a small space for the two fighters to continue their fight. Maybe a few meters across with some generous rounding.

”There’s hardly anything left of the tower!” Pac-a-fist was leaning a bit too far forward in her seat. ”A solid hit could send anyone into the drink!”

“Hey! You’re blocking the view!” Dan attempted peeking past Paca. “I want to see too!”

With such a small arena left, Elroy stepped into the center and took a swing… anywhere! Sakura was fast enough to keep Elroy guessing, at least.

Sakura was reeling. The onslaught had not worked, and now she probably couldn’t sit in a while. Obviously at this rate cracking this guy’s defenses would be right next to impossible. But a mountain was as good as its footing, and the whole platform was damaged beyond recognition.

Sakura’s electricity began to increase, as the punches became more scarce. Elroy’s hit grazed her. But it was not because she was getting tired. She was saving it up.

The pink warrior jumped way up in the sky, using her sash as a parachute. The energy was now as if someone had turned a really bright light.

Take my flesh, my soul and my tithes…

Strike the unworthy.


The pillar of Lightning that was her killing blow erupted from Sakura’s hand, propelling her even further upwards. Had this girl gone mad? She was using a killing blow at Keijo!

Well, she would, if her target was Elroy. The blast would then vaporize the platform under Elroy’s feet, thus ensuring he’d have no footholds remaining. Had he not rampaged by shaving bits of it, probably her killing blow wouldn’t have been able to destroy the remains of it.

The blast cast Elroy from the tower. The tower detonated in spectacular fashion, throwing tower bits and Elroy into the air.

”Well I’ll be…”

He was more thrown away than up. He hadn’t been harmed by the detonation, more thanks to his sturdy form than Sakura’s careful aim.

[Self][Push] = 12 | [Remaining MP] = 246

He could keep himself afloat with his magic however. He didn’t possess flight, but a boost here and there might keep him out of the water.

[Self][Push] = 12 | [Remaining MP] = 234

But even if he could stay dry, it was just a matter of time before he flew out of the arena. This would be a vertical ring out.

[Self][Push] = 12 | [Remaining MP] = 222

Elroy landed gracefully, though well outside the bounds of the arena. He managed to coast between some grand stands and landed on his feet. He had just enough time to slide his hands into his pockets and watch Sakura fall in the distance.

Pac-a-fist took off her head set and placed it on the table in front of herself. She stared out at the battlefield, now nothing more than a pool filled with a few chunks of brimstone.

”…I’ll be right back. Announce the results, please.” She told Dan before excusing herself from the panel.

Sakura, spent from all the fighting, could only for so long… as her grip faltered.

Ah shit, I’m losing consciousness… that much water… not good…

Those were the last thoughts, when she hit the debris-filled water.

Dan’s nose drooped as he was left alone in the commentator booth.
“Oh, umm....” He suddenly switched back to a happy smile, as if he flipped a switch.
“And Sakura wins by a land ringout! Can you believe that? What a match, ladies and gentlemen! Truly kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time, phew!”

Sakura was pulled out by an unknown force, hovering over the battlefield. The silver-haired girl, Tenebra, had come to pull her out. She looked at the unconscious and bleeding Sakura in her arms. How could someone so little have so much confidence in herself?

She would have sworn this more than hot guy was nigh invincible, but she didn’t budge in her determination.

And she had taken her fight to the limit.

Tenebra floated slightly, a tear welling in her eye. “You did good…” She whispered.

”You know, you didn’t have to beat me.” Elroy still had a massive grin on as he leaned against a wall. ”You cost me my future and made a girl cry. That, and now you’ve gotta protect that girl in future rounds too! You’re kind of a bone head, aren’t you, pink girl?”

“My ass is on fire, shut up, pretty boy.” Sakura groaned, as she flailed about, more sore than the all-week martial arts tournament she had attended in her past.

It was then when said ass was further pummeled, when Tenebra became a blushing mess and had another of her meltdowns, dropping the limp body of Sakura on the floor.

“OW! Bitch!” the gremling snarled.

“Hi...I’m Tenebra. I like science and coffee.” She said, almost stammering.

It was then when the Regent made her presence known.

“Happy now, yaponski? You ran amok quite in a way.” The cat lady said, like a tired mother, as she began to apply first aid to Sakura with her magic.

”Well if it isn’t the No Show!” Elroy’s grin somehow got even bigger. If he wasn’t careful, it would be touching the base of his ears. ”Mentioning a bunch of random topics you like when you first meet someone seems like more of a kid thing to do. So I guess you’re way younger than you appear.” He looked back at Sakura. ”And you’re way older. You’d better not be trying to sneak back into school with that body, old man.”

“Eh, eh!?” Tenebra said, still dazed. Honestly, Elroy could say anything at this point, Tenebra would still be smitten.

“She’s still a brat for being sixty, messier Elroy.” Dina sighed. <<”And what’s with her calling her attacks?”>> She let a snip, before Sakura went wide-eyed at Dina.

“ speak japanese.” Sakura said, wide eyed.

<<”Know your enemy.”>> Dina said as she propped Sakura to a makeshift barrier stretcher.

“Fucking Neko-ojou-baba.” The foul mouthed pinkette interjected, raising her arm with all her might… and offering a middle finger.

Dina just sighed. “Anyway, messier Elroy… you mentioned being a dimensional traveller, yes? Not the first time I saw one. I do see an alarming trend of them being detached and desperate. Is it that bad?”

Elroy raised an eyebrow. ”Cat tails, I am a gracious loser, but I will not suffer such comments from someone who merely manages Keijo players. Were my sister here, pink girl wouldn’t have stood a chance.” Elroy dismissed Dina with a wave of his hand. ”I simply came here because a portal opened up in front of me. I did not know that worlds like this even existed until a few hours ago.” Elroy pushed himself off the wall, and his eyes lingered on no one in particular. ”Though it was nice to see some old faces. A shame I only have a few hours left, but just knowing they still exist somewhere will have to be enough.” Elroy walked away from the troupe. ”Well fought, pink girl. May your future conquests bring more happiness than tears.”

“I did not really mean to offend you, messier. I do know of people with similar pasts.” Dina would then offer a small bow as salute. “Safe travels, sire.”

It was Sakura who then spoke. “I’ll treat you to a drink in a proper Shinjuku place I know. Sometime.” The pink girl said. “When I figure out how to sneak in to drink sake with this body.”

As if stung by a bee, it was Tenebra who was the one who ran after Elroy. “Quickly, have you got a picture of your sister?”

He turned to face the girl. Elroy looked into Tenebra’s eyes for a moment before sighing. ”Yes, no show. I do.” He opened a wallet and opened it up to a fold out photo album that had a few pictures stashed in it. One of the pictures was of the red headed man standing beside an red headed woman. Like Elroy, her body looked like it had been lovingly sculpted by Greek marble workers. ”Her name is Regina. I was told she was still alive in this world.”

“Okay.” Tenebra said, before focusing for a bit… “Hmmm...Yes! I got it.! I can bring it back if you want it! I got her location!”

The corner of Elroy’s lips curled into a smirk. ”It’s fine, no show. Thanks for the offer, but my sister is still waiting home for me. Even if the Regina of this world misses me, what point is there in meeting her just to be forced apart again? Open up all those old wounds?” Elroy turned away from Tenebra ”Probably should have stayed away for Pac-a-fist’s sake too, but she wished for this. Might as well make the most of it.”

Elroy did not turn around a second time as he left the trope.

“We could get some-” Tenebra began to talk, before Dina put a hand on her shoulder.

“Therese… She’s not your type.” The cat girl said with a stern voice.

“Fucking ikemen…” Protested Sakura as the three went the other direction.

”Who is this small, sassy kitten?”

— Betty “Biohazard” Barton

Keijo was not something Betty was wholly unfamiliar with. She hadn’t participated last time because she didn’t want to interfere with the other Cradle agents’ chances of winning. But there was far too much at stake this time to simply stand to the side. Fight Justine was starting to become more than a strong desire. It had formed into a need. If she didn’t beat Justine in the ring, she wasn’t sure if she could live with herself.

Her heart skipped a beat when the bracket was revealed. It was too much to hope to fight her in the first round. But it looked like she would have a chance at her in the second round. Provided she beat her first opponent and Justine didn’t lose to Mariette. It wasn’t perfect, but it was also a lot better than she could have hoped for. In her head, her battle would have been better suited for the finals. But Betty wasn’t sure how well she’d fair against the likes of… She actually didn’t know most of these people. Which brought a very important question to the front of her mind.

Who was Kimble?

It turned out that Betty didn’t have to wait to find out, as the girl sought her out just to trash talk. Betty opened her mouth to speak, but then it clicked. One of her distant memories of last trip’s Keijo fight.

”You’re thee Kimble? The one that took out Penny in a single blow?”

Betty was a little concerned now. She was going up against someone who was quite possibly the strongest Keijo fighter in the bracket. It was possible that fighting and Keijo skill didn’t transfer over to each other very well, but the idea that she was fighting someone who could take out Penny so easily was frightening. This was going to be quite the first round.

Should she quit? Was there even a point in going on?

”Well, I think you’re-” Her brow became cross. ”A worthy opponent! But Justine is someone I have to fight myself! It would be satisfying to watch you take her out with a single swing of your hips. But all the same, I’m going to fight tooth and nail for that match up, so don’t think I’m going to quietly sink into the depths without a fight!” With a twirl, Betty cast her Christmas clothes aside and revealed her swimsuit form. ”So let’s skip the trash talking and get in the ring, unless you’re afraid of getting your paws wet!?”

”Time to go swimming!”

— Aria

BP is too lazy to go back to the previous page to coppy all the header stuffs, so instead he’s got a header thing here, even though there’s nothing interesting for this character to do at the moment.

"Let’s have some fun."

— Oros

Did anyone wonder what happened to Oros after she was abducted by a mysterious shadow?

When Oros was released from her shadowy prison, she fell straight down into a dumpster, which was filled to the brim with garbage.

"The hell?!?!"

She was right behind the radio building in some alleyway. Though perhapse a bit more concerning was the presence of Sasona. She recalled fighting with the girl during the last time skip. The one Ascendancy girl with the power to control conceptual darkness, and could stab at her heart with just a thought.

”Your dark heart will be its own undoing!”

"What is it with the Ascendancy and their painfully generic one liners?"

Oros was answered by a frigid gust of wind. She leaned forward just in tome for the arctic gale to blow past her, but it chilled whatever it touched completely solid. The trash she had been standing on moments earlier had been frozen in place. She tumbled off of the dumpster moments before some long white hair shattered it like glass. It seemed that Sasona was not alone, and was being accompanied by a nun with long white hair.

”Atalya, here to bask Penrose in Beacon’s light!”

Oros stood up. "Are you guys trying to make a tournament out of this?"

Atalya shrugged her shoulders. ”Like we’d talk to an interloper like you! Sisel, now!”

”Your darkness shall be illuminated!”

Oros didn’t even have time to turn around before a small nun with questionable sexuality flung her yoyo at Oros. But Sisel didn’t even need to hit her target, as one swing of the yoyo caused Oros to teleport directly in front of her.

”Now, Nura- GAH!”

Oros hadn’t been able to turn around, but she did manage to drive her elbow hard enough into Sisel’s face to shatter their jaw. As fast as Oros was, it gave the relatively plain looking nun with thigh highs a chance to stab Oros with her sword. With a growl, Oros attempted to cut them in two. But Sisel and Nura seemed to transform into a pile of burning dynamite, which exploded shortly after Oros cut through it. Her smoldering body was thrown across the asphalt. Once she rolled to a stop, it became apparent what had happened.

Nura and Sisel were both standing beside another nun, one with Long hair and a black undershirt She was holding a single stick of dynamite, which disappeared into her hammerspace.

”Thank you for the assist, Rue. The day is always brighter with your explosions.” Nura smiled.

”I simply cleanse my targets in flames, I wish I could do something for Sisel, however.”

That was when a sixth nun, one with a very indecent outfit showed up. ”Fear not for Sisel, for Beacons light will make her whole again!” And with a simple thump of her staff, Sisel’s wound was completely reversed. Not only that, but her mana reserves had been doubled, and she had HP regeneration so strong that for the next ten seconds, she could heal back to full instantly from any attack that didn’t outright kill her.

”Thank you, Makayla!” Sisel said.

"OP powers, check." Oros got her feet under herself. "Uninspired dialog, check." She forced herself upright. "Bringing six people against one anyway because you’re cowards, fuckin’, tripple check." They were all standing together in a line. Sasona was that conceptual shadow chick, Atalya had wind that could freeze things solid just by touching it, Sisel could teleport people closer to themselves, Nura seemed really strong, Rue must have time magic, and Makayla was a token big breasted healing slut. This fight was winnable, but she needed a plan of attack. Something Oros would need more time to enact. "I’m not going to lie, even if you’re Ascendancy, I didn’t expect you to escape. I mean, it got nerfed pretty hard, but it should have taken you a bit more than a week to get out."

”Fortunately, you brought that disgusting robot inside.” Sasona folded her arms. ”She managed to fix the teleporters in beacon HQ while fighting off monsters in just a few seconds, and used them to teleport across dimensions back to this one. I simply used them before they were destroyed again.” She gestured towards her friends. ”Beacon was busy, but a few of my sisters agreed to come and teach you a lesson.”

Oros reeled. "Beacon teleporters can jump across the continuum? And neither I nor my patron, who despises Beacon, thought to destroy teleporters we couldn’t use?" Oros growled and threw her head back. "This feels like a huge oversight by the Grand Magistrate! I doubt my patron has anything nice to say about this! How can there be stakes if everything is easy to overcome?"

”You’ll find that I’m not so easy to overcome, monster!” Sasona pointed at Oros. ”You’ll pay for trying to tarnish Beacon’s shine!”

"Whoh, hold up!" Oros raised her hands. "I mean I get why you’re upset. But let’s remember that I didn’t kill you!"

”The things you did instead!” Her lips trembled.

"Well, you can’t hold that against me!" Oros pointed at herself. "Those nasty mental mutations are all gone now!"

Sasona folded her arms. ”As is a great deal of your power, I imagine?”

"I mean, you’re not wrong, but-!"

Atalya brushed her hand through her long, white hair. ”Can you just kill her already?”

Oros looked at all the girls present. "You’re not going to try and pierce my heart again, are you? I need it now that I’m not a monster anymore!" She looked at Sashona. "Give me another-" Before Oros could get out another word, debilitating pain brought her to her hands and knees. There was an intense pain in her chest. When she opened her mouth to yell, no words came out. The only thing she could expel was the blood pooling in her lungs.

”Mercy is wasted on you, as pitiful as you are!” Sashona’s sisters watched with glee as Oros bled out. First it was just black spikes shooting out of her heart, but her own shadow had turned into a bed of spikes that stabbed at her every limb. Eventually she was too weak to even hold her body up, and she sunk into the spikes.

Her senses dulled. The pain subsided with the light in her eyes. As she laid their dying, her fading thoughts were with her family that she might reunite with in death.

Sisel giggled. ”Passing judgement on monsters is always good, but being able to get vengeance in the same action makes it that much sweeter, does it not?”

”It does!” Sashona hoisted her cross over her shoulder. ”Leave the body for the rats.” Everyone turned around to walk away, save for Sisel.

”Wait.” Sisel took a step closer to the body. ”My eye detects the workings of magic. Dark magic is working on her body.”

”Is she regenerating?” Atalya stood at Sisel’s side. With a wave of her hand, a frigid wind froze Oros’s body solid. ”Bring her closer, and I will mince her wicked body! There will be no place for the wicked to hide this day.”

With a nod, Sisel swung their yoyo into the air. Oros should have teleported right next to them, but her body remained in place. Sisel swung again, but had the same result. ”Atalya?”

”Very well, I will deal with the vagrant myself!” Atalya leapt through the air, spinning her hair in a slicing motion. But Oros was not a prone target waiting for a swift execution. She had increased her metabolism to warm her body to where she could move under the ice. If Atalya could keep her eyes on Oros at all times, she might have noticed her eyes open up from inside her icy prison. Moments before she could land her mark, the beast woman stood up and thrust her katana through Atalya’s neck. With her body spinning, she practically decapitated herself.

”Ahhhh!” Sisel whimpered and stumbled backwards. The rest of Sashona’s friends turned to look at Oros.

"I didn’t want to kill her, she had one of the better character designs out of you lot." Atalya’s blood coated Oros’s sword and her right arm. Though what most of them noticed was that her look had changed. Oros’s was back in her dark priestess garb. She was a monster girl again. "But I guess that’s the price of being over confident. I’d have captured her instead, but clearly that’s not viable anymore. Blame the Grand Magistrate if you’re furious." She used her free hand to wipe some of the blood off of her hand before licking it off of her finger. "Well? You’re not going to let me just walk away are you? Let’s tussle!" No sooner than Oros was done speaking did another bomb blow up right in front of her chest. "That’s so cheap!" She called out as she flew through the air.

Sashona, Nura, and Rue surrounded Oros to keep her cornered up against a wall. Makayla ensured they all had proper healing buffs on. Sisel on the other hand was a bit shaken. She did not seem too inclined to join in.

Oros was on the defensive. With three girls attacking her at once, there was hardly room to launch a counter attack. They were clearly a team, layering their attacks in a way that offered no openings while also avoiding each other. Oros would expect nothing less from an elite unit. But Oros was presented an opening when Sisel attempted to use her yoyo to teleport to a safe vantage point. She was pretty adept at intercepting such magic, and space slipped through a wormhole to Sisel’s location. Sashona’s cross plunged into a brick wall and nearly leveled the building it was attached to.

Sisel looked up at the girl that seemed to teleport to her location. "You cowards really need to stop using magic like that." When Sisel looked down at themselves, Oros’s sword was already inside their stomach. With a swift upward swing, they were split in two. "Sorry Bridget fans, maybe next time."


"Who’s next?" Another explosion erupted beside Oros’s head. This time, it was strong enough to blow off her arm. "Fuck! Again?"

”You will regret existing, monster!” The remaining four Ascendancy girls made a defensive wall. Sashona and Nura stood at the front with Rue standing just behind them. Makayla was a bit further back, making sure the remaining magical girls stayed alive. Aside from Makayla, it did seem like Oros had cleaned out the more frail Ascendancy girls. It would get hairy if they found a way to surround her. And with a wall on either side of her, they just needed to get behind her somehow.

Oros kept her sword up. It was hard to tell how much of the blood she was coated with was her own, and how much belonged to her opponents. Barring her missing arm, her torso was charred all over from explosions, and there were no shortage of holes from being stabbed by shadow magic. She could run away, but she liked her odds. Oros took a deep breath and ran forward.

If she is using time stop, she needs to be doing something to shock herself. Oros kept a close eye on the girl, and got the answer she was looking for. While Rue had yet to get hit by a single attack, there was a small amount of blood on her earing. It had a lot of fine points on it, and she looked like she was reaching for it with her open hand as Oros charged in. There was no blood on her hand from prior uses, but Makayla was keeping them healed up, so there was likely why there was no evidence of her using it. ”Bingo.”

As soon as Ru went to activate her time stop, Oros briefly gave herself a dense outer shell. So dense in fact that she couldn’t even move with it on. A cluster of explosions erupted all around her, but it wasn’t enough to break her defenses.


”I’ve fucked people who called me worse things than that!”

Oros’s shell broke and she sprinted towards Rue. Sashona and Nura stood together to brace for impact, but Oros dove over their heads and landed behind them. Rue was quick to turn around and hold her knife up, while Nura and Sashona maneuvered around to protect her.

”Surely you did not think you could charge through us to get to Rue?” Nura grit her teeth.

”Actually, I wanted to get better acquainted with your healer.” Oros extended her arm towards Makayla. Before the three beacon girls could rush down Oros, she shifted to her home world with Makayla, and just Makayla.

”Man, never thought that nerf to my ability to void shift would actually be a buff. Can you imagine how much more dangerous that would be to use if the radius was big enough to bring your friends along?”

Makayla took a few steps backward and held her staff out between Oros and herself. ”What is it that you plan to do with me?”

”Well, I had a few ideas.” Oros walked closer to the healer. ”I thought I’d capture what few of your friends remained and lock them up in here.” She stepped on Makayla’s foot, and she fell onto her back. ”Then I just thought we’d all kind of sit tight and, you know...” Oros looked the girl up and down with a mischievous grin. ”Hah! No, I’m just kidding! I just thought it would be easier to murder you if your friends weren’t crawling all over my back. Instant healing from any wound for ten seconds is really annoying!” Oros lifted her foot over the nun’s head. ”Let’s see if you run out of mana before I run out of stamina!”

When oros teleported back into the alleyway, only fifteen seconds had ticked by. If even that long. She had returned with Makayla’s shattered corpse under her foot, and her remaining opposition looked like they were searching the area. Or perhaps they had anticipated she would return, and spread out so that they could more easily surround her. Sashona and Rue were on one side, and Nura was on the other. Their fists trembled when they saw another one of their fallen allies.

”Well I’m not going to run away.” A tentacle sprung out of Oros’s severed shoulder to act as a makeshift arm. ”Six against one isn’t a good match up in real life. You really need a big area to properly make use of your numbers, and a crowded alleyway just isn’t that good.” She shrugged. ”Now that there’s just three of you, I think you might stand a chance.”

Oros wasn’t going to get caught off guard by Rue’s bombs again. When she reached for her earring, her fingers would brush up against a long, slender tentacle. It had coiled around her earring and was prepared to yank it off. She attempted to cut the earring free, but a second tentacle had coiled around her arm. That wouldn’t have stopped her, but the tentacle was joined by many more. A proverbial nest seemed to erupt under her feet and were crawling across her legs and torso to bind her arms.

”Tentacles!” Sashona rushed to Rue’s side to help free her.

”Sashona, no!” Nura’s words reached her friend just in time as she turned around to see a massive crystal alter sliding her way. It seemed to have been kicked in her direction by a reasonably strong magical girl, and had a glowing magical girl riding on top of it. Sashona raised her arm, and shadowy spears flew out to try and stop it. But the crystal slab reflected so much light that it couldn’t be stopped by shadow magic. It acted like a prism, launching multicolored rays of light in all directions. ”Be thankful I’m not flashing colors to cause seizures. That would be really diabolical.”

Sashona stood her ground, raising her cross to smash through the slab and it’s rider. It was hard to see with them glowing so brightly however. Oros was able to dive over Sashona’s head for the second time this fight, and plunged her sword through Rue’s chest. She was too strong to die from a single swing, but it didn’t take Oros long to pull the sword out and divide the woman’s torso in half. With tentacles binding her limbs in place, there was little she could do to defend herself. The tentacles borrowed into her open flesh untill she stopped moving.

”Man, that one really broke my heart. That was such a cool outfit.” There was no waiting for Oros to heckle them further. Sashona and Nura had cornered Oros at the end of a dead end street. ”Well you’ve taken a tole on my mana reserves, but there’s only two of you left. Too many people died here for you to give up now, right?”

But Sashona and Nura weren’t paying attention to Oros’s heckling. They were throwing shade at each other.

”Was keeping the monster occupied so hard, Nura?”

”I had o idea she had her legs locked around the alter! I swung as hard as I could at her, and it shoved her towards Rue when she blocked it!”

”Don’t you think at all?”

”Hey!” Oros shouted. ”This is already a really long post. We don’t need to hear-”



Mad as they might be, the Ascendancy didn’t get careless just because they were upset on a mission. They still had a monster to taker down. Oros didn’t have a lot of room to maneuver either. It wasn’t like jumping above the ally was an option when both of her opponents were so physically strong.

As Nura prepared to run Oros through, she’d find that her thrust had a lot more power than normal. That was largely because Oros was using her gravity magic to pull her in as close as possible. Oros raised her sword just as the two ran each other through. While Oros’s beastly nature made her impervous to pain, the same could not be said for Nura. This bought Oros the seconds she needed to release her sword and swipe at Nura’s head. Oros’s hands had turned into sharp talons,which had no difficulty stripping away the girl’s flesh. Her head was reduced to a bare skull in seconds.

Sashona's cross crushed both Oros and what remained of Nura. As durable as Oros was, that was the attack that broke both of her legs. She reached for her sword, but it was still trapped in Nura’s torso, which had been mashed into her right arm. Nura was made out of stronger stuff than most magical girls. Even with Oros’s tremendous strength, she wouldn’t be freeing her sword with Sashona so close by.

”You know what I think?” Sashona hoisted her cross over her head again. This would be the final blow. ”I think we might have found a way to make you shut up.”

”Not likely.”

As Sashona’s cross descended, Oros drew her left hand (it was a tentacle at this point) and pulled the dark sword that mint girl had given her out of her hammer space. She could only do so much against a giant club, but guiding the attack into her left shoulder was far better that taking it directly in the face. Her left shoulder snapped once the attack landed. After deflecting the attack, Oros sent out a tentacle to swat Sashona in the shins, causing her to fall forward onto the sword that skewered her friend seconds ago.


”You done yet?” Oros took hold of the Ascendancy girl’s head and drove swarms of tentacles into her eyes. She didn’t have long to scream before every hole on her face was filled with an appendage. At last, it was quiet.

It was unlikely she was going to finish that interview today. She’d have to call Pak-a-fist up to schedule again.

Oros dragged her body through the snow. Her legs were fractured, she didn’t have the mana to keep her left arm in tact, and her torso had been stabbed and crushed with numerous weapons, not to mention the bits of her that were burned by explosions.

”And that’s how you do it!” She didn’t know where she was going, just that she couldn’t return to the Golden Trove. They were expecting her there.She needed to recover first. ”Yea, Eden had a pretty good plan, but she didn’t solo six Ascendancy girls, so who really cares?” She fell against a tree. ”Anyone can just blow a psychic nuke, right? Just gotta push a button in the right area.” As she slid down the tree, her blood coated it. ”Though being unkillable sounds pretty useful. It’s not really my style though.” Oros laid in a heap at the foot of the tree. ”I mean a hero has to struggle to get what they want. Nothing’s ever easy for the hero. Not if they’re interesting.” It was time for Oros to switch into hibernation mode if she wanted to survive. ”What… What the fuck am I struggling for?” Oros’s eyes closed, and a single tear frose on her cheek.

A picture of Oros engaging six nuns still hungs in Mia and Connie’s room. The type of masterpiece that can only be captured by a hero who was really there.

”Now for the part some of you might care about.”

— Oros

Oros raised an eyebrow at Amanda. She was unsure how pretending to be lewded by someone could invoke this much ire. It wasn’t an undesirable reaction, but it was unexpected in a way that even Oros didn’t like. Moreover, she had a… youthful appearance. She wasn’t really in the mood to hunt for a replacement for Eliza, but Oros’s interest was piqued. Maybe it was how such a little body could display so much emotion that intrigued her. Once Amanda got to seven, she stood up.

”That’s the kind of anger that only a quick game of Keijo can cure!” She pointed over her shoulder. ”If you want to spank me for real, I’m afraid you’re going to have to do it there. Dan only lets Penny beat people up outside of sports.”

”Oros!” Pak-A-Fist waved her hand. ”We should catch up!”

”Yea, we should. Maybe after the tourney.” She turned back to Amanda. ”Anyway, I’d be cool with sparring. I don’t mind aggressive opponents. Gotta be ready for the Rachel-Champion-Oros Giga Battle.” She patted the purple haired girl on the shoulder. ”Or don’t, your call.”

As soon as Oros departed. That oddly unnamed magical girl followed after her

Now that Oros was in the sunny beach side of the dimension, she decided to put on that yakuza jacket. She was standing on an island all by herself, overdressed as she was.

”Just gotta keep my swimsuit hidden for as long as possible.” And she was numb, too. So being dressed up like this did not cause her any discomfort. ”Still gotta do my stage play, might do that while I’m waiting for fights to wrap up.”

That was when the nameless quiet girl landed just a few feet away from her.

”Oh cool, you showed up.” Oros stretched. ”I guess this is where the generic bad guy says everything is going according to plan. But since I’m a good guy, I guess I can say something like IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER!” Oros chuckled. ”Right, but we’ve likely gained the attention of a few people by now, so maybe don’t act too weird? Even if nobody reads this long ass post, people like to skim and read the colored text.”

With a shrug, the quiet girl was covered in sparkles, which dissipated to reveal her swim suit.

”There we go, and you’re even smiling now! Well, in your art anyway.” Oros looked around. ”Guess we’d better get you some sparring partners.” She snapped her fingers, and a portal opened up. ”Courtesy of the big guy. Don’t fight them all at once.” She chuckled again.

That was when a literal army of girls with strangely feline features and cat shaped swim suits came out of the portal one at a time until the island was full.

”Of course if you’re anything like me, those odds don’t scare you. And let’s be real, we’re pretty much the same person.” Oros was about to leave the island when she sensed the quiet girl was still looking at her. ”What? You want me to hold your hand? Look, I don’t need practice. I’ve been on a ground hog day loop for fifty years. If you think I never played any Keijo, you got another thing coming.” Oros continued to walk away. ”We’ve got this in the bag. Just keep doing exactly what I tell you to do.” She looked over her shoulder. ”And it wouldn’t kill you to talk every once in a while, you know?”

The quiet girl nodded before looking back at all of her challengers. Maybe she could share a few of them?

”You’ll float too.”

— Oros

Before Fanfan could even blink, her jacket had been swapped out with the ticket she had promised. Only now it was folded up like a paper boat for some reason.

”So you’ve heard of me.” She chuckled. ”I typically don’t associate with Beacon, Ass-end-antsy especially. But anyone who can disobey a direct order from Rachel seconds after she issues it has my utmost respect. I’ll be keeping an eye on you.” She looked off to the side. ”And the bitch with the funny hat, but for different reasons.”

Oros slinked on under the table and disappeared behind the table cover.




Pac-a-fist chuckled. ”I would be willing to consider it a stage play myself, but banana coins sound interesting too!” She didn’t seem too concerned that Dan had teleported away to keep the tournament running smoothly.

”Hey! Roboslut is not a slur! It’s the truth!” The bar of soap Dan had handed Oros managed to slip out of her hand and fall onto the floor. With a shrug, she bent over to pick it up. That was when she froze. ”Wait a second…” Oros stood up again. ”Is it safe to pick up the soap?” She looked around. ”I mean, this world was a prison, technically. I wouldn’t pick up soap in a prison.” She bit her lower lip. ”B-but getting clean is the most important part of my routine! The one thing that doesn’t make me feel trapped!” Her eyes darted side to side. Sweat beads ran down the sides of her face. ”Maybe if I’m quick enough...” Oros bent over at the hips and extended her fingers towards the soap. ”This is taking longer than I thought.” Her hips seemed to sway side to side as she got closer to the soap, her eyes scanning her surroundings for any predators that came near. ”I feel so vulnerable like this,. Like a dog trying to take a shit, or a comic book character narrating their every thought as they are powerless to do anything else for some reason.” Once her hand fell on the soap, she realized she was still being largely ignored, save for maybe a few curious observers who were smart enough to keep their distance. ”I’m glad everyone present knows how to keep their hands to themselves.” Once the soap was in her hand, she hopped backwards towards the closest magical girl present. Her butt resting against Amanda’s hip. Oros started to blush. ”You dirty purple haired munchkin, now I also know how the pilots in darling in the franxx felt.”

Don’t anybody mention how this technically should have happened before Oros made the trade. I can’t help that Dan makes the best posting content after Oros has moved.

@Majoras End


”I don’t get the hostility, Socks. I’m not dead, I’ve just been away for a bit. Bet you wouldn’t be this mean to Regina.” While Elroy was smiling, it was far smaller than the one she was use to him wearing. ”In case you couldn’t tell by my state of the art swimming gear, I’m here to compete! I know it’s not really a manly sport, but I think men need to get more in touch with there feminine side from time to time. Elroy grinned. ”Anyway, I didn’t realize you were going to be this grouchy. Maybe rock girl is in a better mood, if I can find her anyway. Hard to picture her wearing that wooly cap out here”




Before Finn could introduce himself to Silhouette, he'd have to get Betty's word on the little feud first. He did seem to make a good first impression with her, but something told him to be careful with how the subject is tackled. Especially from what Maura caught him up on. Grabbing himself a soda, he excused himself from the group he was with to find the bodyguard.

By this point, Betty had already registered for a match and had sat back down in front of her computer parts. She didn’t look at anyone, and was instead looking at her computer parts. Or perhaps she had withdrawn into herself and was thinking about something. The match to come, the future of cradle, others could only speculate.

Finn eventually made his way back to the snow lodge, his outfit adapting once more to the strange dress code. "The attention to detail's nice but this could get annoying easily- Oh,there she is. Hey Bets!" Once Finn found Betty, he hurried over. The boy then noticed her computer parts. "Oh yeah, that's your gift isn't it? Want me to help set it up?" He asked, sitting down next to her.

Betty snapped out of her trance. ”You'd do that for me?” She clapped her hands together. ”Yes please! I'd like a new computer! But I know that you can burn up the parts by handling them wrong. I'm scared to do it myself.” She picked up everything and walked over to an area where everything could be laid out. Most of the tables were occupied or covered in food stuffs, but there was a free table for Betty's computer. like everything in Dan's domain, it seemed like if you wanted it enough, it appeared. So long as it didn't bring harm to others that was. ”I didn't know you were handy with electronics.”

Of course Finn followed suite, waiting for Betty to set the parts out. "I picked up a thing or two from Oliver and Valerie. Though it was mostly Oliver that needed help building his computers. Always had to upgrade to the next thing." He picked up the graphics card as he explained. "G-FORCE? This is one of the more recent models isn't it?" Finn asked Betty. Regardless, he'd begin working on piecing it together, even using his magic to give himself some extra limbs. A trick he did learn from watching Valerie work.

”Not just a G-Force. It’s an Nvidia.” Betty pointed. ”I read a lot of companies put the G-force logo on their stuff but it will always underperform. It’s exciting to see a real one. I wonder who got this, I wish I put more thought into my gift…”

"So, are you going to enter the tournament? Honestly, I don't understand what the appeal is with Keijo, but I get people want to dogpile on the opportunity to be a hero. Never goes well, I tell ya."

”I already signed up. It was something to do.” Betty drifted back into a trance. ”More than that though, I think it’s a bit like the olympics: It’s an alternative to an all-out magical girl war. If you fight someone in a keijo match, you can be their better without killing them. You can-” She looked away from Finn. ”You can dominate them, and see how you and your patron stack up against the opposition.”

Finn puffed a cheek out, focused. "Sounds somewhat like the Olympics. Though they should add more sports for the comparison to ring true." He took a sip of his soda and set it to the side. "But all this for a cursed house decoration? And the dolphin's home which I don't know how they'll be able to tear it down alone? It's mad! Might as well just kill Dan himself. What would you even do with either one, B?" He asked her.

”Ah.” Her shoulders dropped. ”Well, I think that Dan has a right to keep his home. I think that Beacon is way overstepping their bounds threatening to take it away from him. Not that there aren’t hundreds of other worlds Dan could make his own.” She held her chin. ”I feel like the mirror would be less of a problem in my ladies hands than that of a horror. She could destroy it or add it to the cradle’s ever expanding trove of treasures. But if I’m being honest, I’m not really joining to do anything so noble.” The corners of Betty’s lips curled into a smile. ”There are a lot of magical girls present that are stronger than me anyway. I doubt I’ll make it to the finals. Probably not even the semi-finals. But I need closure.” She turned to Finn, and the smile ran from her face. ”I’ve beaten Justine in two activities already. Possibly three. But I need to stop her here too.”

At the mention of Justine, Finn's normal arms froze. He then let them rest against the table, letting the extra limbs work in his stead. His fingers drummed against the surface, he'll have to be careful how he words things. "Closure? Why do you feel the need to stop her? You've already won two games, one with my assistance even. You have the advantage of numbers." His one visible eye looked towards Betty, observing.

”Well that’s just it. It was team against team. I didn’t do that much during the snow man building contest, and my shoddy sled nearly shattered on a tree. I won those times because I had the better team.” Betty thrust her finger into the table. ”But now neither of us can hide behind teammates. Someone as proud as her can just write off her allies as a liability. But in a closed arena like this she’ll have no excuses.” She placed a closed fist in front of her mouth. ”Maybe I can’t beat her, but unlike last time, I’ll actually get to fight back.”

"Proud? Someone as meek as Justine?" He thought. "Not sure how Lily and Alex fit into this. Tempting to write this off as delusion right off the bat, but I need more information."

"Last time? Did something happen between you two?" Finn spoke up.

Betty sighed. ”She turned me, Finn.” She folded her arms. ”She turned me into one of her mindless thralls. Then she handed me over to the Mint. That’s not something you get over with a simple apology.” She fret her brow. ”It’s rape.”

"!?" And with that, Finn completely froze, down to the extra limbs. His eyes were wide, though whatever emotion they told was obscured.

"Th-That can't be right. That can't be right!" He trembled, entrapped within his thoughts. "She- She had to be corrupted didn't she?? They trusted her, M-Maura trusted her, so she has to be wrong right? Y-Yeah she has to be! She needs to be!!"

Betty’s hands were shaking. ”Normally I'd keep it to myself, but you've done a lot to help me. That, and we both have the same employer. We'll be working together in the future, which isn't something I would mind. But I’d just as soon not talk about this anymore.” She stood up and leaned over Finn’s shoulder. ”Is it almost done?”

He had to escape his spiraling thoughts before they worsened, even for a moment. Finn did nod to Betty, creating a second pair of spare limbs (spider limbs??) to speed up production. Yet all the same, he was still trembling, appearing anxious.


With the final part in place, the computer was finished. "I-It's done." The boy finally answered, retracting the limbs.

”That fast?” The gloomy atmosphere seemed to evaporate in an instant once the computer was together. ”It looks so cool! I like how it’s got a glass side panel so that you can see all the components inside. Is there RGB lighting inside? Suppose I’ll have to plug it in somewhere to find out. Though I’m sure it’ll need to update to the latest definition of windows, but I should be able to handle that.” She ran her hand over the top of the computer as if she were grooming a pet. ”Oh!” Betty turned to Finn. ”But if I can’t, you’ll um, you’ll help me, right?”

Finn took some deep breaths. "Uhm, okay. We may need a way to transport it out of here though. I can have Oliver help with that." He explained. But a part of him was still concerned for what Betty said. Guess he hid that well?

”That would be lovely if he could do that for me. I could probably drop it in the cradle but, well…” Betty chuckled before giving Finn a gentle hug. ”Hmm, you feel a little tense.” She stepped backwards. ”Is something the matter?”

Finn would've hugged her back, but Betty stepped away before her could. He slightly frowned, scratching the back of his head. "I-It's nothing. Just, what you said, about Justine. Bad memories. Really bad... He explained, his voice turning soft near the end.

”Oh! Did she get you too, or… Actually, never mind that now. We can talk later if you're up for it.” She turned back to the computer. ”Thanks for helping me Finn, and listening to me. Once I get steam loaded on here we can play some Left 4 Dead some time. Okay?”

After a moment, he smiled. "I'd love to."
-The time limit is 5 minutes, with exceptions decided by the judge.

So is this just some IC flair, or does this relate to the number of weeks/adds/pages of the keijo collabs in some way?

So, my question is: how exactly should character injury and death be handled in a roleplay where it is a possibility? Is your only option, without resulting to dice that is, is to hope your players aren't shy of their characters potentially getting hurt?

Really depends on how the GM wants to roll with it. I'll explain how I typically do it.

First we need to decide if the RP could use such things. A feel good fantasy setting probably doesn't want to concern itself with things like permanent disfigurement or death. The stakes in those sorts of stories are usually pretty low or superficial, where the plot is more a vehicle to make the players feel powerful. In my own opinion, this is kind of boring and also why I don't participate in those types of RPs. But they do exist, and those that enjoy them would not want their world tarnished with heavy stuff like that.

For the bulk of RPs that are prime for things like bodily harm and death, it's a case by case basis. It should be known that not everything carries the same kind of weight across stories. In realistic settings, death is permanent and non-reversible. Though you have other settings where death is little more than a power nap that a spell can wake them up from. In these more fantastical settings, proper rules for magic need to be put in place to ensure that these powers feel wonderous, but aren't a get out of jail card for everything. This can be done by making more severe wounds heal slower, or resurrection is only possible if you have all parts of someone's corpse.

If I choose to play with character death/harm, I'm up front with the players about it. I also let them know the likelyhood of their characters getting mirked if it's relevant. Most people who join the RP do so because they want to see their characters challenged and even die to something they can't overcome. I typically don't have to watch them too closely, but power gamers arise from time to time.

I should also note that play-by-post and tabletop may both be roleplaying games, but they are entirely different animals. Tabletop is a bit more game, and as such is enforced with many rules and even uses dice for number generation. Play by post is better suited for story telling and gives the players and GM greater freedom over what's happening. When my character has to go fight a dragon, the challenge isn't thinking up a strategy that will increase the outcomes of winning, it's creating a story worth reading. That never happens in stories when the characters are never adequately challenged.
Pac-a-fist had been enjoying her walk with totally not Elroy before she came to the lodge for a bite.

”Mmmmph!” Pac-a-fist’s face was glowing a bright red as she stuffed her face with more food. ”It reminds me of my mom’s! How about you Elroy?”

Words were not required for Elroy to convey how pleased he was with the feast. The rate in which he packed away food was comparable to Hilaria. No one could surpass the hungry woman, but Elroy at least looked like he could contend.

And that sad looking girl that never talks was also present, but she was eating by herself in the corner.

Of course, that was everyone’s position before all the Keijo stuff. Pac-a-fist was now standing in between Dan and Rachel.

”Well if we’re going to have a tournament, you’re going to need a commentator who can give unbiased feedback and educate the spectators about the sport. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’d be pretty good at that.”


Unfortunately, Alicia was unable to slip away unnoticed.
When you’re part of the most hated factions in Penrose, you’re only bound to attract attention that you don’t want. Especially attention that you don’t even know that you have.


A fairly bodacious dude in swimming pants seemed to fall from the sky and land just a few feet away from Alicia. There was a flame hovering just above his right eye, but it didn’t seem to throw any heat.

”It’s been a while. We should catch up before I return to Pax Septimus.” His eyes darted between her and the rest of the people practicing Keijo. ”Oh? Are you going to join too?”

”Let’s catch a harebringer, Emily. In and out, just a five minute trip!”

— Oros

After a waining hunt that took over 3 months to finish, Emily got back on the sled so that Oros could drag her back to lodge. She ran over the crest of hills, through evergreen forests, and along cliff edges. It was the same landscape in almost every direction, but Oros’s nose could guide her back to civilization easily enough.

”Thanks for coming with me, Em!” Oros grunted between huffs. ”Had I thought the hunt was going to be that tedious, I wouldn’t have bothered with it..”

“I was surprised too.” Emily sat awkwardly on the sled. “The lengths that rabbit went to to avoid being petted, you would think we were going to hurt him! But I’m sorry it wasn’t as fun as you wanted it to be, maybe things will look up once we get back?”

Oros feet were beating a path through the snow, but her steps slowed once Emily’s question rolled off of her lips. Her arms fell to her side, and Oros’s feet came to a stop. The sled gently bumped into the back of Oros’s ankle. ”Dunno.”

They had stopped on top of a cliff edge. Most of the islands were pretty level in this dimension, but this one had a pretty big hill on it. It provided a pretty good vantage point of the entire event. They could see the lodge, some other harebringers, and wild snowbuns building igloos. There were also the occasional magical girl here and there, most of which were one person’s clone or another. But Oros’s eyes weren’t looking at any of that. She was looking up at the grey sky.

”The joy of the first snow is inversely proportional to someone’s age, you know?.” She folded her arms. ”My parents always hated the snow. Young me loved to play in it, but I didn’t realize what a bitch it was to shovel.” Oros pointed into the sky. ”When it’s overcast like this you can’t see the sun or stars. My father was really into astronomy, so he naturally hated rainy days and the winter.” Oros took a seat on the sled next to Emily. ”Is it just me, or does all of this shit feel surprisingly mundane?” She cast her hand over everything.

Following Oros' hand, Emily found herself taking in the scenery. She absorbed all that she could see and sat on it for a minute in silence. "No," she said. "Well, um, to an extent!" Emily didn't smile as she usually did. She appeared to take the conversation a bit more seriously than before. "I don't really... care about the activities. It's the people I do them with that provide the excitement -- the fun!"

"But..." Emily looked at Oros. " it not the same for you, then? I love to spend time with you and the others. It's something I never got to do when I moved away... People didn't like me very much."

”They didn’t? You sure you’re not just being dramatic?” Oros looked back out at the snowy landscape. 

“They did.” Emily firmly replied without a moment of hesitation. “They avoided me, spoke behind my back, and they hated me. All because…” she trailed off as a hand came to her temple as if she were experiencing a headache. “...Well, it doesn’t matter now since I have friends. I just want to do things with them. With you! But if you don’t find things engaging, I won’t make you.” 

”I didn’t mean to make it sound like I wasn’t enjoying myself. I just think it’s interesting how my dad would cream his pants over a shooting star, but I’m participating in a Christmas party in another dimension hosted by a dolphin where a bunch of magical boys and girls are playing games. Ice sculptures are made in seconds, snow men are the size of buildings, even the harebringers bring their own level of spectacle and pizzaz. But I don’t feel amazed when I experience these things, it feels normal to me now. Dull even. Same shit different day.” She shrugged. ”Maybe we’re the same that way. I came here because I wanted to get closer to El, but she seems more concerned with whatever drama the cradle is making for her or some mystery guest. I don’t think she’s really into me.”

Emily sighed. “These sorts of things… Well, they’re really not my forte. I really wish I knew some trick to help out on that front because it saddens me to hear that you feel that way. But I don’t think I’ve ever had that kind of spark in my chest for someone... “ As close as Oros was, she probably heard when Emily almost unconsciously wondered what her sister might do, under her breath. Afterward, she placed a reassuring hand on Oros’ shoulder and mustered a smile. “Maybe she’s just stressed! Or perhaps the oblivious type? I mean, sometimes I get so caught up in reading that I space out and forget to check on the food I’m cooking.” The averted eyes and strained smile let Oros know that Emily’s culinary adventures weren’t always the ones that ended in success. “A-anyway, while that may be a bit of a silly comparison, it’s not like I mean to neglect the food or anything, it’s just that something else borrowed my attention for a bit! So… maybe it’s the same for her and you just need to take the attention back!”

Emily partially deflated after a moment of reflection. “Uh, no… that sounds a bit too much like a manga or something. Sorry, that’s probably just bad advice, don’t listen to me.”

”Yea, but this is an RP run by a bunch of weebs, so maybe doing something manga-like will work!” Oros pumped her fist, as manga girls sometimes do. ”All joking aside, I dunno Em. Just look at them.” she pointed at everyone again. ”Everyone looks like they’re getting along in relative harmony. Harmony isn’t really my style though. I’m not the kind of person who can just form a bond with just anyone, as I’m sure you know.” She reached up to her shoulder and placed a hand on top of Emily’s. With a sigh, Oros turned towards her friend. ”You think I’ve got a chance with El though?” 

Emily locked eyes with Oros and held them for a solid dozen seconds before giving another sigh as she smiled. “I said I wasn’t good with these things…” she shook her head. “Unless it’s Samantha or Hilaria, I couldn’t give you a definite answer. Sam’s taken, I’m pretty sure. And Hilaria is…” A short pause betrayed a realization. “...I don’t think I’ve said hi to her even though she has to be at this party…” Emily appeared a bit upset at this fact, but pushed the feeling back and returned to smiling. “Admittedly, it is hard for me to picture her paying that much attention to another person. So I’d say nothing on that front either. And so my opinion on everyone else would be… um, it wouldn’t hurt to try! I think?”

”Heh.” The corners of Oros’s lips twitched upwards.  ”You know you’re just supposed to shower me with positivity in situations like this.” She let go of Emily’s hand. ”But I appreciate you trying to be realistic. That’s not something I get to experience much anymore.” She spread her arms. ”So um, can I give my little pog champ a hug?”

Emily accepted the hug without any hesitation but a question lingered on her mind as they embraced. “Um… Why am I a ‘Pog Champ’?” she asked innocently. “I don’t think I ever got into that fad.”

”It just means that you’re a special friend.” Oros kept her eyes closed as she patted Emily on the back. ”Anyway, guess I’ll give her another shot.” Oros stood up. ”I’ll go find Eliza, then we can do something fun together. Maybe throw snow balls at each other. If I can get the group together, I’ve got something planned for the stage. It’s gunna be lit!” she looked over her shoulder. ”If you’re ready, I’ll take us back to the lodge. Maybe everyone else will be there..”


”I know the smell of the game. *honks nose*”

— Oros

At this point, being ignored or box blocked by nearly everyone she interacted with was normal. It didn’t even really bother Oros at this point. If anything, she could find amusement in the length others would go to ensure they didn’t have to interact with her. She just chuckled as the proceedings went forward before clapping her hands.

”Nice one Dan! You too Mrs ‘queen of Penrose!’ Even I didn’t see you guys planning to give yourselves a worse chance of keeping this dimension intact. Then again, Dan did give some of roboslut’s girls a vacation home when they could have been rebuilding Sanctuary, so maybe this is payback for robbing her kingdom for all that lost time?” She shrugged. ”You people are way too gullible.” She pointed at herself with her thumb. ”And I’m like Rape Hell, I agreed to fight her and one other person. I’m not going to go through an entire tournament. Do you know how many collabs that would be? Especially when you count the other stuff my Patron’s wrapped up in?”

Not long after Fanfan received the jacket from Rachel, she could hear a whispering sound. ”Pssst.” Under a nearby table cloth was a conspicuous clown with a ticket in her hand. ”I dunno who this Leena person is, but maybe you’d like to trade that cool jacket for a sexy getaway with them?”

”I refuse to include Famished’s banners in anything.”

— Aria

For all the attention Aria had been putting towards treasure hunting, she did have other things she wanted to do at the party. More specifically, there was something that she had to do before it was too late. She might have gotten a bit distracted, but it was probably best if she let her mark settle a bit before bothering them.

With everyone heading to the lodge, her mark would be approaching shortly. She just had to wait outside and be ready to intercept her when she showed up. 

Her ‘mark’ would not be among the first to the lodge and instead was one of the last. She appeared to be alone, as most of the group she had been hanging out with up to this point had already arrived. One could presume she either had business to do before going to the lodge or merely took her time. In any case, Aria would notice something quite odd about the girl: namely that she was apparently playing rock, paper, scissors but there didn’t appear to be anyone there. That, however, didn’t stop a hand that clearly wasn’t hers from throwing down with her. The hand threw down a rock to her scissors, winning the round, which clearly frustrated the girl. 

”Rock tends to be the most used move.” Aria approached Silhouette as she spoke. ”It’s one of the reasons why paper is such a great opening move. Though it looks like you’ve been playing that opponent for a bit. By now the game has moved past mere statistics and well into mind games.” Once Sam turned to look at her, she gave the assassin a courteous bow. ”My name is Aria Rizzo, and you are Sam Howard. I would not be surprised if you never heard of me or Monarch Artificing, but I’ve heard a great deal about you.” She lifted her head. ”And I feel like our meeting is long overdue.”

Samantha looked up and at the same time, the hand seemingly evaporated as Sam returned to a neutral expression. "I don't play these games too often, so I appreciate the pointer." The assassin took keen interest in the girl before her as she introduced herself, then shook her head. "I generally prefer it when people don't remember me but they usually don't when they believe they can wrestle a favor from me. I take it you're not that sort, Ms. Rizzo? Or perhaps you really did forget our encounter in the Overcity?"

She shrugged. 

 ”Well.” Aria smiled.  ”I seem to recall you running away from some Ascendancy girls. I would not have been surprised if you didn’t remember our encounter. But it seems you did.”

With narrowed eyes, Sam continued. "Either way, I don't believe we had very much time to speak then, so I am fine with pretending otherwise," she looked past Aria and into the lodge, then returned back to Aria once she had presumably spotted what she was looking for. "Are you here to socialize, or did you want something from me?"

”You’re not too polite, you know that?” Despite her criticism, Aria wasn’t bothered by how gruff Sam was.  ”What I wish to talk about is far too exhilarating to be considered socializing.” Aria looked over her shoulder at the Ascendancy girls in the lodge before taking a few steps towards Sam. ”Anyway! I just wanted to share some words with you. Veronica may not always seem it, but she’s very loyal to her friends. Even the ones that no longer serve her directly.” Aria hopped past Silhouette and spun on her heel. ”There are things that Veronica wanted to tell you about herself, but couldn’t because it would put me in danger. So I’ve come to tell you what she couldn’t: The secret history of Vermillion Veronica.” With a deep breath, Aria placed her hands on her hips. ”I’d rather not have this conversation in earshot of the Ascendancy, if it’s all the same to you.”

Try as she might, Samantha could not hide the fact she was interested and cautious. Giving her away were small things like turning her body to face Aria, crossing her arms, and unlike before, her eyes weren’t wandering around and instead stopped solely on Aria. “And she let you in on these things?” Also clear was the fact Samantha had to stop herself from scoffing at the notion she would be trusted with that sort of confidential information. “Well, fine. I’ll bite, even if I’m a bit skeptical.”

”Of course you are.” Aria reached for the girl’s hand  and took a few steps away from the lodge’s door. Before long, they were on a side of the lodge that had no windows, and the chatter from inside the building was vaguely audible to them. It would be safe to speak here. ”Now you don’t have to mention specifics, but has Veronica told you much about herself?” She looked out at the great expanse of snow that surrounded them. Not too far away was the snowball fight area, which was nothing but ruined snow forts and a frozen lake. At this point. ”If Su warmed up to you, she might have told you a bit about their past.”

"Yes," Sam answered plainly. "Su did inform me of the past she shared with Veronica. But Veronica herself has always been - as I'm sure you don't need me to tell you - rather quiet about her past. I'm pretty much in the dark when it comes to her life before our first encounter." Admitting this seemed to cause Sam some distress.  

”Awww, well as I said, I’m sure what I’m about to tell you is something she sincerely hopes you hear. After all, you’d probably have a stroke or something if that wasn’t the case, right?” With a shrug, she placed her hands together. ”But if we’re going to talk about Veronica the magical girl, we first need to talk about Veronica the alias. She wasn’t the first one to use it.” She giggled. ”The first person to bare the moniker Vermillion Veronica was a girl named Sharr Webber. She was a Beacon hopeful known for her destructive power with her uncanny weapon: The Dunk Master. Maybe you’ve seen it? Regardless, it wasn’t too impressive compared to what the ascendancy girls could do, so she was mostly ignored. Ignored so much in fact that she was able to keep up a relationship with a monster girl named Kate. White dress, golden scales, you’ve met her too, I trust?”

Samantha shrugged. “Sounds familiar at the very least.” Samantha summoned her knife. It currently looked like it was made of foam, but the weight was still there. She effortlessly balanced the blade on the tip of her pointer. “From my understanding, the weapons we wield don’t exactly stick around after we die. So then that would likely mean...” Samantha thought about the space Veronica showed her when they were dealing with Justine. The implication was unpleasant, and she didn’t envy this Sharr girl.  “...I think I know how this story is going to end, but someone close to me chided me last time I vocalized my realization mid-movie, so I’ll keep quiet for now. While Veronica being a moniker isn’t all that surprising to me, I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting it to have been passed down to her.” 

”Well, I’m not the scolding type, so you don’t have to worry about that from me. Though the wise do tend to reserve judgement until they have all the facts, and this story has a twist ending.” 

“I’m taking what you’ve said with a grain of salt, but going along with it for expediency's sake.” Sam clarified. 

Aria tapped her fingers together. ”But yes, Sharr was under quite a bit of pressure. She had to keep up her relationship with a monster girl she fell in love with, risking excommunication or death should someone find out. And Kate had her own problems too. Not only was she hunted by Beacon, but the Mint wanted repayment for the coin she used. So she didn’t have a lot of places to go. As Sharr’s love for this woman grew, she knew she had to do something. And her solution was an amusing one, though foolish and motivated by pure emotion.” The corners of Aria’s lips curled. ”She joined the Mint to pay off Kate’s debt!”

Samantha didn’t seem to find the same amusement as Aria did in Sharr’s choice. “She took on a burden like that, too?” Sam asked rhetorically. “And with the Mint, no less. That’s as far from logically-driven as it could be, I think. So, how did that turn out for her?”

”This is the story of the original Vermilion Veronica, so do I even need to say?” Aria’s smile only grew, but her eyelids squinted a bit.  ”She paid it off and became a powerful coin broker in the end. But Kate was unable to appreciate the gesture. You know how it goes with girl friends, they all want a worker that will sate their every desire, but they also want someone who will spend time with them and hold their hand. Kate decided to repay Sharr’s kindness by aggressively going after the Mint, which put her in their sights as you can imagine. She basically invalidated everything Sharr was trying to do for her. But we’re not here to talk about that particular melodrama. We’re here to talk about the real hero of our story: Scarlet Rose.” Aria giggled. ”Scarlet Rose worked for Boteg, and was conscripted by Sharr to become one of her agents. I don’t think you need a refresher on that part, right? Su told you everything I trust?”

"I was not told what happened to Kate, but Su informed me of the past she shared with 'Scarlet Rose', at least." Samantha nodded, although she appeared uncomfortable calling the woman she respected most by that name. She then continued. "...And how there was pressure to remove if what you said is correct, then-Veronica. Supposedly, she found some other way to deal with the situation but this came at the expense of Boteg's horde."

Aria nodded. ”Sharr had learned her lesson with Kate, but a heart can’t help but want to be hole. But the former and current Veronicas shared a bond of sorts. Something that the word love is both repulsed by but also couldn’t hope to match.” With a sigh, she folded her arms. ”But people don’t get big in the mint without making enemies, and Sharr had several. It wasn’t long before Scarlet Rose was asked to do the deed. It was a monumental task. Coin brokers were made of sturdy stuff, and she’d incur a debt hiring the people she needed for the job. But like the former Veronica, she was no dummy. 
Well, maybe a little bit of one.”
Aria chuckled. ”She took in so many gold coins at once it corrupted her, that much you know. But once she had sufficiently upgraded herself, she still had quite a few gold coins left over.” Aria paused, thinking about how to tell the next part of her story. ”Coins are often used to fortify a magical girl, but they can be used to change aspects of themselves. It’s normally not too efficient, but red coins hadn’t been invented yet, and with even part of a dragon’s hoard it’s possible to entirely change a magical girl’s outward appearance.” She tapped the corner of her smile. ”Scarlet Rose’s master would live on, and the current Veronica’s power was so great that no one questioned that she had done the deed. She had more than enough power to kill the old Veronica outright, and was quickly made into a coin broker herself.”

Samantha rubbed her chin, thinking about something intently. “I wasn’t aware that was possible with gold coins…” Her lips parted as though she meant to say more on the matter but ultimately, she chose not to and instead addressed the other parts of Aria’s explanation. “The Corruption I gained from using the Black Coin has caused me time and again more problems than I can count. Try as I might, the influence simply cannot be ignored. It has irreversibly changed my very core.” The black-headed girl looked at Aria and posed a question. “Since you’re privy to information even I am not, then I presume that Veronica explained to you what sort of person I was? When I was a human?”

”She may have said you used to be an assassin in a passing comment, I can’t really remember. We don’t talk about people’s pasts much. You know how she is, always about the here and now, hatching her next scheme.” The smile ran from Aria’s face. ”Um, if it’s not too much to ask for, can I see it? The Dunk Master?”

It was clear as day to see Samantha wanted to follow up her question with something else, yet Aria's sudden request tripped her up. "You really want to see that?" At first, Sam was both hesitant and confused. However, as she went to summon the basketball-weapon, the evidence of this left her expression and was replaced with realization. 

In her right hand appeared a basketball. One wouldn't look twice at it if merely going by the appearance, but gazing upon it, anyone sensitive to unnatural would guess it was anything but normal. "Huh," Sam seemed mildly surprised. "Since we are in Dan's dimension, I was expecting it to look like a beach ball or something," she confessed. "So?” Samantha spun the ball on the tip of her finger, then suddenly stopped and presented it to Aria. ”Does it look familiar?"

Aria’s mouth opened at the sight of the Dunk Master. ”Oh yes.” she slid closer. ”Familiar, but also different. Like gazing at the face of a childhood friend after years of separation.” she closed her eyes and placed her hand on the ball, only to jerk her hand back shortly after making contact. ”Though this one did not age gracefully. Though that’s to be expected, considering where it was kept.” Aria forced a smile and folded her hands together. ”Thank you, Sam. I guess you did end up doing something for me in the end, didn’t you?” with a nervous chuckle, Aria turned to look at the lodge. ”Seems my timing wasn’t that great. We should go participate in the festivities. It looks like the white elephant is underway.” Aria looked back at Samantha. ”Maybe afterwards, we can talk about Veronica to your heart's content. Sound good?”

“Oh, yes, that…” To her chagrin, Sam appeared to have gotten caught up in the talk. “I’m sure my tardiness is weighing on a certain someone, so yeah, I think anything else can wait for now.” Once again, Samantha spun the ball on her fingertip, only this time it seemingly evaporated and, without further delay she joined the rest inside. 

Aria followed Sam into the lodge. Gifts were already being exchanged, and she wasn’t shy about looking for the one that had been assigned to her. Sure enough, there was a small tin wrapped up and tagged with her name. ”Oh? I wonder what’s inside? Cookies? Sewing tools?” Though once she lifted the lid, she found a small rectangular device that was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. It was all black with red engravings on its face, like a monolith. There were also strings attached to it with little “buds” attached to the ends of the strings. ”Well that’s rather curious! Is this supposed to be a magical MP3 player?” she giggled to herself before looking at Samantha. ”What did you get?”

Meanwhile, Samantha was sitting down against a wall, staring at quite a few small boxes sprawled about before her. They each had various designs, as well as different letters from different languages on the boxes. She opened one and found some tea leaves, and would find more when she opened another. Looking up to Aria, who had approached her, she closed the lid on one. “Tea, it seems. I’m not sure I am capable of properly appreciating all of this tea - I prefer coffee - but it is a pleasant gift.” Sam said, looking up to Aria's MP3. “What’s magical about it?”

”I don’t know!” Aria giggled. ”But it looks magical. I mean, it’s a pocket monolith, right? Let’s have a listen.”  Aria handed one of the ear buds to Samantha while she held the other one up to the side of her head. Nothing played for a bit, until Rachiel did the things. ”Oh I see now! I thought it was weird how you couldn’t choose the songs.” Aria looked the MP3 player over. ”If I had to guess, I’d say it plays music to suit your mood!” She chuckled. ”It’s pretty neat, but if you don’t like tea we could always trade. I do like to drink tea, if you enjoy listening to musical scores?”

Samanatha liked the idea and expressed as much by nodding. “I do,” she confirmed to Aria. “Particularly when exercising or training, and sometimes sleeping. So if you enjoy tea, then yeah, I have no problem trading.”

Samantha looked around the area and spotted her friend, Emily. With her back turned, Sam couldn’t really grab her attention but she knew that, as eager to meet people as she was, Emily would eventually come over to them, so she remained seated. “Did-” Sam looked at Aria--“you come with someone?”

”Oh my, it’s a throw down!” Aria was only half listening to Samantha at this point. ”Ha! I’m sorry Sam, but the ascendancy is talking about fighting some girls at Keijo to lay claim to both this dimension as well as Mariette’s gift, and Oros says that she wants to fight the winner of that little bout afterwards to lay claim to those prizes herself.” She pulled Samantha closer, grinning at her from ear to ear. ”Are you thinking, what I’m thinking?”

Sam could not help but think of how troublesome Oros was, especially during this Christmas event. If it weren’t for the fact that they were in Dan’s dimension, Sam was almost certain that things would have gotten violent. She did not dislike the idea of a thrilling fight, but she did hate the idea it would’ve been for such a dumb reason. Actually, wait, that’s not even really my Mika, why would I bring myself into that? Sam caught herself wondering. “Judging by the grin on your face,” Sam sighed. “You want in on that? Well, given the prize, I can’t say I don’t understand,” she rubbed her chin. “But Keijo is…” Recalling the fact she wasn’t able to reach the finals last time weighed on her. 

”Since Oros is going to fight the winner, they have effectively reduced the number of matches they need to participate in.” She gestured between the two of them. ”Which means that if we are willing to fight the person who wins in Oros’s match, we could steal her strategy and bolster our own chances of winning, at least according to game theory.” She poked Samantha’s chest ”So you need to declare that you’ll challenge her! Then I can put some buffs on you and we’ll split the winnings fifty-fifty!”

“W-what? Me?” Samantha shook her head fervently. “You’re joking, you have to be. Why would I want to throw myself into that mess? I have been around long enough to know that when the stakes are high, so is the amount of people willing to throw themselves onto it.” She glanced in the direction of the challengers, and could tell there was more to come. “Aside from that, Mariette is sure to do what she can to retrieve that mirror. I would not be surprised in the least if she were to grab her strongest allies and…” Suddenly, Samantha went quiet for a few seconds, placing a finger to her chin and losing herself in thought. Aria could hear her faintly repeat the word ‘strongest’ as she did. “Oh,” she said, returning to the conversation. “...What sort of buffs are we talking about, here?”

”The usual reinforcement specialist’s flair. More durability, more strength, only mine tend to be far stronger and last a shorter duration due to how my magic manifests itself.” At this point, Dan announced his absolutely brilliant plan that He and Penny came up with. ”Now it’s a gauntlet with Rachel at the end of it? That hardly sounds fair, and Dan agreed to such terms? He practically wants to have his home destroyed.” With a sigh, she looked back at Samantha. ”Well, my assistance is still on the table if you want to participate. I’m sure a lot of people are betting on Penny winning this, but you were one of the few people who were able to go toe to toe with her back in the day. Something about a fight on a flying ship?” She shrugged, but her smile only widened. ”Veronica didn’t get into details, but she seemed pleased. I’m willing to put my faith in you certainly. Besides, wouldn’t you like to rub it in Rachiel’s face as some form of catharsis?” She folded her arms. 

“Well,” Sam recalled the memory of the first few posts mission she had to disable Amber’s ship. A brief, yet fun encounter that cost her an arm. “Penny is… well, since we aren’t doing a traditional fight, I’m at a distinct physical disadvantage. Keijo doesn’t allow me to use my weapon, after all. If I were to meet her in this arena… I’ll have to think of something, even with buffs,” Samantha admitted, having heavily pondered the subject. “Penny’s strength is the talk around Penrose, so normally I would be more excited to test myself against that, it’s just… you’re absolutely correct. Even if I can’t kill her right here and now, if I could knock her down a peg, I won’t waste this opportunity to take on Rachel after how she humiliated me. Mariette, her minions, or anyone else attempting to rob me of this be damned!”

”Excellent...” Aria tapped the tips of her fingers together like some extremely cliche dastardly villain. ”Sounds like you don’t need any more convincing.” She surveyed the hall. ”We can discuss strategy later. Seems like we’ll have a moment before the tournament begins in earnest.” She shoved her hands into her pockets. ”Suppose I’ll tend to my devices for the time being. It’s getting a bit noisy here. Besides, you wanted to meet someone, correct?”

“Oh,” she suddenly snapped back to reality. “That is correct, I should spend at least a few minutes with Emily!” Leaving just those words, Samantha got up off the wall, presumably to search for her friend.

”I won Christmas, but can I win Keijo?”

— Betty “Biohazard” Barton

”I wonder if one of the other girls in Maura’s group know anything about computers.”

Betty decided to ignore the Keijo tournament for the moment. It would be sad if Dan’s world went away, but there were plenty of magical girls stronger than her that could likely win if needed. It just wasn’t a big deal to Betty. In the end, this world was originally a prison made for them, maybe it was karma that it might be destroyed for good.

But while many people were talking in the small lodge, Betty was tuned in to a few voices. Her allies, sure, but most of all…

”Justine is joining!?!?!?”

So this was her plan all along. Since Betty and friends had expertly dusted Justine in both snowman building and sled racing, she planned to claim the mirror and Dan’s world for herself! Of course she would wish to rejoin with a horror as soon as possible! Of course she would wish to twist this isolated retreat into a dark lair. She could just see Justine standing atop her castle and laughing wickedly as she attempted to rid the world of love a fourth time…

Third time?

Fifth time?

Didn’t matter.

The point was it had to be her to face Justine and beat her. It wasn’t like there was anyone else who had been brainwashed by Justine and needed to take even more vengeance out on her. Though if there was someone like that, she might be able to meet with them and become friends. Unless they were with Beacon. Betty was pretty sure she could never be friends with anyone from Beacon. Mostly because that would involve playing nice with Alicia, which she didn’t see happening.
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