Avatar of BrokenPromise


Recent Statuses

11 mos ago
The virgin "My post was so bad it killed the RP!" VS the chad "My post was so good it concluded the RP."



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, though it's rare for me to do. I don't do 1x1s too often either.

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 finished, but eh...

Last RP I finished was Symphony of Espers which turned out pretty good.

RP's in progress:
For some reason I can't seem to stay away from Ari's magical girl RP, even if I'm not sure why I'm still in it.

As for my own projects, I'm doing Symphony on High to continue the gigachad adventures of the espers in Pax Septimus.

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.

And then there's that london magical girl RP, and that dark magical girl RP. I think I'm done joining magical girl RPs for a while.

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.

Painting Minis
I do this in moderation. Otherwise, it's a pretty expensive hobby to start...

I listen to everything, save most country/rap songs. I have too many favorites to name.

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

"’I’m not the last one to post? Wild!"

— Mika Fang

No surprises here. With nothing between Mika’s claws and Badger’s flesh, he was more than willing to give up the elevator password. There wasn’t much else to comment on. Mika was right, and her hunch played out the way she expected it to. Barring Angelie making a fool out of herself, it all unfolded the way she knew it would.

But for whatever reason, Mika found herself paralyzed once she had gotten what she wanted. She hadn’t considered her next course of action when Angelie promptly knocked him out with a chop of her hand. Was that the textbook way to knock someone unconscious? It didn’t feel very reliable. But Mika was already convinced that Angelie’s combat training involved watching lots and lots of foreign action movies. There was something she wanted to say, but there were too many people around. By the time Angelie recovered her gun, she was already back in the lobby with the others. That left Mika alone with the teller and Badger. She looked at the side of the man’s head.

"’Are you really just a human?” No response, of course. After staring at the side of his head, She pulled out a taser and stabbed him in the neck with it. His body twitched as she held the device against his skin. After a few seconds, she pulled back. "’Guess so.” She dropped him onto the floor and stepped over him. "’You still deserve to die, but we’ll keep you alive a bit longer I guess.”

Mika was about to follow Angelie out the door when she turned back to look at the teller. "’Wait, our friend? Then you know about all that?” She raised an eyebrow while examining the teller. She could be a weretiger or a dark web esper. But then she had no reason to get dragged around by a regular human. "’Never mind, come with me.” she grabbed the teller’s hand and walked into the lobby. "’I didn’t mean to hurt you. Are you okay?”

The teenage girl didn’t react to Lorenzo’s body or the eerie quiet that set over the place. As soon as she was in front of the other espers, she pointed at the teller. "’She says she knows where our friend is. The guy that had the password was using her as a shield. She kicked him in the balls. I think we can trust her. ” Mika spoke with the same deadpan expression she used during show and tell at school. "’But I think I should stay up here and guard the elevator in case more of them come. Witch Hunt would be more useful guarding Binky.”



A burning sensation enveloped and raced across Lorenzo’s leg, the initial kick itself hadn’t even compared to him losing the strength from his limb. The weretiger lost his balance, something Ashley immediately took advantage of with a blast from her shield and a shot through the heart. Timekeeper had always aimed for the heart or the head for a reason. Lorenzo stumbled back a short distance, the shock only lasting long enough before he collapsed onto the ground. The Witch Hunter and the Knight of Tomorrow got a good look at the damages and the corpses painting the hall, and the chandelier still hanging high over it all. Everything’s finally quieted down. Guess that was all of them?

Well, all except for Spades McGraw, who shuffled over to the edge of the balcony to get a better view of the carnage. Don’t worry, he was still handcuffed. ”Well shit, Lorenzo too?” He spoke up to no one when he saw the dead tiger. These ladies mean business.

Angel went to assist Cerberus in obtaining the password in a rather eccentric matter. It must’ve been jarring to have your plans be hijacked by a winged redhead soaring at you with the speed of an olympian sprinter. Even more so seeing a cat girl willingly shoot herself in the head in order to boost herself even further and sink her claw into you. Honey Badger was forced backwards from his hostage before he could react, who quickly took the opportunity to free herself, grab the gun and swiftly kicked him in the nuts for good measure. Asshole! I ain’t gettin’ paid enough for this…” The teller scowled, and holding a hand over her wounds, slowly walked towards Angel’s direction. She held the weapon out for the winged esper to collect.

Gah-!? What the fuck are you asking me for, I ain’t that-”

”Ah shut the hell up and tell ‘em, do ya’ really want ‘em to rip ya’ throat out before Tony does?!” She snapped back at Honey Badger before he finished yelling at Mika. The man groaned in annoyance.

”Fine, fine! The code’s 6137. Better you assholes getting killed for this than me!”

”You goin’ to th’ lower floors, eh?” The teller glanced back at the two. ”...I can lead ya’ where they’re keepin’ your friend, if ya’ want.”

@The World@Nyahahameha@Nakushita@TaintedMushroom@FamishedPants

If something had a hole in it, it meant that there was no material in that area. If something was severed, it meant all the material that held it together had been removed. By that logic, you could sever something by aligning holes the right way. That was Himiko’s logic as she fired at the pale guard’s leg. It looked like a slice of swiss cheese, at least until the white creature stumbled onto its face. It wasn’t dead yet, neither was its companion who had been shocked into submission. But they weren’t going to be moving very far without a leg. The black ooze seeping out of their wounds didn’t bode well for them.

Justin zipped left, then right. The shopping cart wielding zombie lacked the super speed that Justin had, but he was armed with a large improvised weapon. He shoved the cart at the blue blur, but that didn’t stop Justin’s fist from flying through his head. Ivory chunks and gray matter were launched through the air. But speeding in the opposite direction was the shopping cart. Without Justin there to protect her, she was struck by the runaway cart. She fell inside it, at which point it slowed its roll to a crawl across the parking lot. Himiko would need to hustle if she wanted that golden age comic.

Meanwhile, Kira seemed to have a change of heart. Maybe she hit her head during the tumble, or seeing the cultists woke something up inside her, but it caused her to attempt diplomacy. A difficult thing to do in the middle of a fight with someone you just attacked. But when she extended her hand, the palemancer took it and pulled himself to his feet.

”I’m glad you feel that way. However...”


While the palemancer still held Kira’s hand, her arm had detached from her shoulder and was dangling out of the palemancer’s grasp. His scythe was stained with her blood, and was just finishing its arc through to air.

”My flock is tired of empty promises from the rich.“ Not that the palemancer needed the help of espers anyway. Once he finished blessing the water, he could grow his army of pale guards to something far more numerous. He prepared to swing his scythe a second time.

Bardo had been biding his time, but had found an opportunity to strike. He huffed on foot as fast as he could. While his speed surpassed human limits, so too did that of a semi. There were also fleeing homeless and cultists. He was nearly run over by the dispersing mob on his way towards the Semi. As time waned, the truck continued to accelerate. But not before Bardo could reach it.

He soared through the air, blade extended. It wouldn’t be enough to just slice into the tip of the outside tire. This had dual wheels on each axle, so Bardo needed to be close. His hungry sword cut through the rubber like it was styrofoam. What he hadn’t quite anticipated was the air pressure in those tires. They had been aired right up to a hundred pounds per square inch, and were taller than his waist. Specifically 315/80R22.5 tires to be precise. While the sword was hungry for material, Bardo was hungry for knowledge. Though neither were ready for the explosion of compressed air. The explosion only served to spin him, which cause him to slice into both tires on the second axle. This time, the tire that was exploiting was right next to him, and he was thrown clean away from the semi. Such an explosion might have been lethal to a normal human, or even an esper. But just like monsters, chaos weapons had a tendency to briefly afflict whatever they cut into. Only Bardo’s eardrums would suffer from the initial attack. But now he was flying full speed ahead towards a lamp post. Did he know how he was going to slow down?

Because the Semi certainly was. With all four of its left rear tires popped, it was forced to roll on its rims. This caused a loss of control at the front, as one side of the trailer was trying to move faster than the other. A rain of sparks flew out the back as the vehicle’s rear was slowly ground away. But most important to those on top, the sudden loss of tires caused the corner of the trailer to dip. The palemancer and Kira were thrown from the trailer, and the two paleguards hopped off as well. One tried to pounce on Kira mid air, while the other went after Bardo.

Things were getting intense with the cultists too. The homeless ranks had been broken and would become a problem shortly. This was evident to both Marrie and Finn, who shifted their attention to the new threat.

Finn released Eddy, who had little difficulty barreling through the cultists. As small as the puppet was, it had little difficulty assaulting the cultists. If Finn had ever watched “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” he might have compared Ed to the killer rabbit. But even with chaos erupting in their ranks, they wouldn’t break as easily as the homeless had.

With Eddy deployed, he then flung a bolt of glowing electricity at the grand wizard. The robe figure instantly noticed what was going on and shoved one of his followers in front of it. It burned clean through the cultist’s chest before he sunk to the ground. ”How cowardly!” He roared. ”I will deal with you once I catch your pet!” And with that, he waded through the cultists to deal with Eddy.

Marrie had a sound idea for launching herself, but it wouldn’t play out the way she wanted. She did get herself into the air, but then she started to spin. She was spinning quite fast, in fact. The pale guard had grabbed a hold of the chain and was swinging it around. The centrifugal force kept the chain taught, and Marrie’s body off the ground. She went around and around before the pale guard hurled her into the air.

Mission successful, right?

Marrie’s altitude made it a simple matter to rain her melody on top of the cultists. Drops of arcane water burned through the cultists, and many of them sank in a heap. The only problem now was worrying about the landing, as well as what Kira’s melody was supposed to be. She had demonstrated her formidable magic previously, and now Marrie was heading over enemy lines.

The cultist woman hadn’t done much since showing up. She’d occasionally glance inside her robes, but made no attempt to join the front lines or invoke a spell. Likewise, none of the espers had directed any attacks towards her in particular. But did turn to see the projectile and Marrie falling out of the sky. A crazed grin crossed her face when she darted towards the descending objects. With a leap, she caught Marrie in mid-air and drew a blade from her robes. It split the melody before it could activate, causing it to fade out of reality. When the woman landed on the ground, Marrie realized that she had seen her before. Pink hair, red eyes, a sword as dark as night, one that twinkled with the cosmic light of some far off stars.

The woman laughed.


*Rubs back of neck*

It's easy to lose track of time at the end of the year.

I've been slowly working on a few other articles, but I didn't like any of them because it felt like different applications of what's already been explained in here. Did you know you can use subtext to mix emotions and action together in narration? Yes, yes you did.

But I know what I'm really trying to do here. I'm dancing around that collab article that I said I was going to write years ago. The funny thing is, I kind of started STORYCRAFT for the sole purpose of getting myself to write it. So I think the next thing I'll write will be our series finale. It should be worth the wait when it finally drops.
With Al MIA, Chloe had her work cut out for her. She’d love nothing more than to just relax in her home with a girl or tree, but she had meetings to attend and strings to pull. She always heard that being the boss was a lot of vacation time and getting paid a lot. And while that might have been true, it was also a lot of time wasting. Meeting people for conversations that could happen through her crystal ball, discussing strategies everyone was on board with, it was all so annoying. But that was to be expected when war was on the horizon.

She was walking around an overturned garbage can when she noticed what she thought was an ornate potion bottle sticking out of some trash. "Hmmm?“ It might have been a purification potion, or some other artifact, but Chloe had little use for it. She started to walk away when she had a thought.

It might be fun to see if she could break it.

The slender neck of the potion slid between Chloe’s fingers, and with a mighty heave, she tossed it as far down the alleyway as she could.

While the throw looked good at first, it veered to one side and bounced off a wall, an adjacent dumpster, the floor, and a trashcan like a pinball which sent it careening back toward Chloe. The throw might have been enough to crack the glass though as a trail or red smoke billowed out of it. It looked as though it might smack her in the face when a hand emerged from the plume and caught it short. Chloe’s raised arm to block the object would find a golden bracelet clasped around the wrist.

”I would appreciate it if you were more gentle with my home, Master Chloe.” Though she didn't quite look the same, it wasn't hard for the DMG to connect the dots that the one before her was a more mature Ruby, the one that had helped facilitate some of the city's more light-hearted events.

There was an opportunity here to tell Ruby that she hadn’t disturbed the trash can she found her in, but perhaps it would be best to keep that derogatory humor to a minimum for this encounter. That was what MDP would insist on. "Right, it was a simple misunderstanding. Had I taken a closer look at you, I’d have probably avoided that mistake. woops!“ she picked up the lamp and rubbed her arm on the side of it. "Looks like you’re a full fledged genie now. I won’t ask you how it happened. I suspect that’s the sort of thing people don’t stop asking about. But is there a reason you chose my path in particular to appear on?“

Shaking her head, Ruby would simply reply. ”I do not choose to be anywhere. The wheels of fate decide whom shall be my master so long as there is need.” Crypic, but it seemed that Ruby didn't have much if any say on where she ended up.

"I could have used something like you about a day ago. But my remaining problems are too big for you to solve, or too small to waste a wish on.“ She grunted in annoyance. Though after studying Ruby for a moment, a smile crept across her face. "Now remind me; genies typically grant three wishes. Is that how many I get?“

Nodding again, Ruby would put a hand on her hip and return the smile, even if it was just for formalities. ”That is correct. With your typical fare of limitations. Though some have been known to be creative.”

"That should make this easy. Let’s get them all out of the way.“ Chloe’s grin grew further. "I wish for you to have a second lamp. This lamp will be a magical artifact that will summon you to the side of whoever holds it, but does not require you to grant them any wishes. You will come when you are called at any time unless it would interfere with your duty of granting wishes for others. Perhaps there is a portal or something in one lamp that lets you move between the two? I don’t know, I'll let you figure that out. But the important part is that the lamp cannot be stolen from its owner, but it may be freely given to someone else.“

The smile was mildly disconcerting, but the job did not guarantee that someone wouldn’t try and be sneaky with their wishes. However, the wish itself wasn’t the worst thing in the world. If anything it offered at least some additional level of freedom. More importantly she could feel that it was doable. ”As you wish.” Leaning forward she would take hold of the existing magical bottle. As she drew her hand back the glass and gold began to glow a hot orange as if liquifying and split into two identical objects.

Ruby would hold it up to look it over. ”Interesting.”

Chloe swiped the second lamp out of Ruby’s hand, only for it to teleport back into the genie’s palm. While this seemed to annoy chloe at first, she placed her hands on her hips and smiled. "Working as intended! I hope I don’t have to expend a wish to ask you to give it to me?“ She held out her hand.

After a slow blink, Ruby’s gaze would drift down to the open hand of the magical girl. Rolling the bottle in her own palm, the Djinn would hold it up. ”A wish? Nonsense. Those were not the terms or transaction.” She would give a cheeky smile but it didn't stick around very long. Putting her hands on her hips she would add. ”However, you are free to make your case. What benefit is there for me to give you the lamp? I could think of worse candidates.” Though she hadn't pulled many punches with the terms of a wish in the past, most of those happened before she became a Djinn and few even less potentially amounted to entrapment. Already bound to servitude it did not behoove her to give up something so valuable to her own autonomy lightly.

Chloe folded her arms and gave Ruby a sideways glance. "I don’t think I specified you should have the second lamp either. I’ll never understand why djinn behave the way they do. It’s not that important though. We can talk about that later. At least I have a few wishes left, right?“ She thought a bit before speaking. "My second wish, let’s see…“ The gears were turning. "I wish for your genie magic to never inconvenience or harm me, be it from your wishes or the magic that grants you your powers. If someone makes a wish, it cannot be granted or should exclude me from its effects if it would be unwanted. If a wish is made for something unrelated to me, it will be enchanted or granted in a way so that it cannot harm me. And…“ She sighed. "This protection should extend to my friends as well.“

”Mhm. And who are your friends so I can be sure they are included?“

"Ummm...“ Chloe rummaged through the trash until she found a little note pad. She shook it until the banana peel fell off of the back of it. "I don’t have many friends right now, but I plan on changing that. So how about you give me something like this that I can write their names in? A notebook or something where I could jot their names down and you would know to protect them from your magic. Like a sort of, uhh…“ She raised an eyebrow. "Friend note?“

Reaching over, Ruby would take the scrap of paper. Raising her hand up she would bring the paper down against her other hand. In a puff of purple sparkles and a solid thump, the single page turned into a small purple hardback notebook, complete with a pen, small clasp, a locket, and a set of keys. Aesthetically, it matched with Chloe’s eldritch theme, but there was no writing on the outside. Handing it back to the magical girl, Chloe would feel the magic imbued within it release and surround her as her wish took effect. ”As requested. You shall be protected from the negative effects of my magic and the wishes thereafter. For your friends, you may write their names in this notebook and they will receive the same benefit. You are the only one who can write in any names. I will clarify that if you enter the name of someone that is not actually your friend then it will fade away and not provide them with protection.”

"So I can’t just write anyone's name in hea-“ Chloe looked at Ruby with a raised eyebrow. "Hold on, wasn’t the entire point of this to inform you of who my friends are? If you can make artifacts that already know this information, was something so convoluted really necessary?“

”I thought giving you the choice was what you meant. I was simply explaining that you can’t just put anybody’s name in it if it doesn’t apply.” The woman seemed a little taken back by Chloe’s question. It didn’t seem like that many more steps for such a trivial amount of effort as writing a name.

"...Makes sense, I guess.“ Chloe said, in a tone that very much made it sound like she didn’t think that made sense. "That’s two wishes down anyway. Now for my third!“ Chloe grinned. "I wish for Penrose’s mundane population to be protected from supernatural threats. The power source for this protection should not vanish just because a magical girl leaves the city. I am aware that any form of protection can be overwhelmed with enough effort, but with your newfound power, I’m sure you can bring it back better than ever!“

”I believe so.” Waving a hand through the air, she would pull on a magical thread. At first there was a rebuff to what she was trying to do, but the force backed away once the intent was understood. A wash of magic would pass over the both of them as Ruby weaved the wish into the very fabric of the Nexus. So long as the Nexus stood, the ordinary citizenry of Penrose would remain safe from magical threats. ”A noble wish, Master Chloe. I wasn’t sure anyone would ever try to bring that back to be honest.”

"There’s no need to call me master anymore. The wishes are gone.” Chloe opened the “friend note” Ruby had given her and she wrote “Violet Covington” on the first page. Under it was “Aurora Mackenzie.” She tapped the page with her pen a few times before adding Ruby’s name, but shut the book before she could see if it faded away or not.

"All that’s left now is to convince you to hand that second lamp to me.” Her mischievous grin returned. "Before I do, why do you think I wished for something like that?”

Giving a slight shrug the woman would look up and give it some thought. There were a lot of reasons one could choose to do such a thing. ”Hard to say. You have something of a reputation, but I don’t really keep up with why or the goings on. Gets in the way of what I do. Could be turning over a new leaf, could be the logical ‘good thing to do’, or maybe just appearances.” She would shake her head. ”Not sure I am the best judge of character given what I am.”

Chloe clicked her tongue. "I wasn’t looking to be psychoanalyzed, but fair enough. You don’t know. It could be any reason. Though it’s none of the reasons you mentioned. As fun as it is to mess around with authority figures, I don’t have the luxury of messing around any more. Nor do I think I could turn over a new leaf or do the right thing. I wished for Penrose’s safety because I care about the Mint’s future prospects. I wish to protect myself and my friends from your magic because who knows what will happen if the queen gets you. And my first wish… ” She shrugged her shoulders. "I can’t pretend to know what your life is like, but spending an eternity in a bottle sounds kind of dull to me. I can’t wish for your freedom, so I wished for a reprieve. Anyone who has that bottle can walk around with you like you’re friends. You can experience everything the world has to offer, with wish granting being your only interruption. But also…” Chloe inhaled.

"I weawwy weawwy weawwy think thawt we couwd be something speciaw. something abouwt the way uwu wook makes me think thiws couwd wowk. we'we juwst two wonewy souws destined tuwu be wonewy fowevew. But if thewe's something i've weawned fwom my time as a magicaw giww, iwt's thawt wove cawn bwidge any divide awnd make the impossibwe possibwe. But if uwu down't twust me, then maybe uwu shouwd howd onto thawt wamp untiw uwu find someone uwu duwu.”

Well it did seem as though she hadn’t landed on the answer. Listening to the explanation regarding the wishes, they seemed reasonable. Really, there wasn’t anything against Chloe. Ruby was cautious before becoming a Djinn, but since her transformation she was even less trusting. Even Mariette and Penny would be a stretch for her. The heel turn to some strange baby talk caught her off guard and took a strange turn.

Shaking her head slowly, Ruby would sit mid air with an amused smile. ”While I appreciate the compliment, you should know that if it is love that you desire then I will not be able to provide such comforts. I am by my nature chaotic and mischievous, not unlike some Puchuu. And unlike a magical girl that is not something that will change with time. I would enjoy the freedom, but I've no capacity for real affection. Does that understanding change anything?” She would pause and await for Chloe's response.

"Thawt iws fine. I incwuded the condition thawt awwowed uwu tuwu be twaded so thawt i couwd hawnd uwu tuwu someone mowe fitting if things didn't wowk out. Sowme peopwe wouwd considew me a chaotic awnd mischievous as weww. But i duwu nowt mean tuwu impwy thawt we have tuwu be wovews. Uwu have youw fweedom now awnd may choose how uwu spend iwt. I'm nowt weawwy wooking fow a owne awnd onwy. Iwt sounds wike uwu won't get jeawous if i find my favowite, which iws a pwus!”

Though she wasn't entirely asuaged on the matter, she wasn't sure she ever would be. They did have things in common. And realistically if someone decided to abuse the bottle, protection from her magic or not, she could make life a living hell. Something less important was bothering her as well. ”Why are you talking like that all the sudden?”

"Talking like what?” Chloe raised an eyebrow.

Narrowing here yes for a moment, Ruby would take the extra lamp and hand it over to Chloe. ”I like you. I think this could be a fun little adventure.“

Chloe accepted the lamp. She turned it over in her hand before passing it to one of her tentacles, which coiled around her waist like a ghetto tool belt. "I’m running behind schedule, but we can have some fun later.”

”I will see you later then.“ She would disappear in a cloud of smoke and her original lamp would vanish.

Chloe was starting to understand why secretaries were so important. When you had so much to do, sometimes it was nice to put scheduling and ordering events in someone else’s hands. It freed up her head space to think about the current task. She had enough things to juggle without also needing to worry about who she was supposed to meet up with and where. The downside was that it meant there could be a development without her being aware of it.

"I thought the lunch time slot was supposed to be cleared out.”

"I’m not sure what happened." Aurora apologized over the phone. "I don’t remember a lunch meeting being scheduled. Maybe one of the other agents put it here?"

"You sure you didn’t lean over the keyboard and press a bunch of keys with your new assets?”

Aurora coughed. "T-that only happened once! Either way, it’s too late to cancel. I’ll let Cradle know that you got held up with an emergency."

"Where did they want to meet up?”

"I’ll just e-mail everything to you. Sorry about this."

"Okay, well, take care.”

She’d be a lot more sorry if- No, this is your friend. Deep breaths. More contacts is a good thing. Her phone prompt beeped and she looked to see what she had been sent.

The meeting was set at an old Cafe and cigar shop. A local favorite for hush talks as they had private rooms and didn't ask questions. Al had been known to use it on occasion for things on the fringes of Mint business. The invite didn't look to come from the former Broker though, less formal and the footer had little emoji like some kind of social media post.

Upon arriving, Chloe would be directed to the room. Upon entering she would find a magical girl she'd never seen before. She looked like a hologram sitting across on the other side of the table. Some things were obvious, but her magic and Third Eye picked up on Spirit and Light. There was a third less obvious component, but clearly deeply intwined with her being. The table had some smaller hors d'oeuvres set out that hadn't been touched.

Standing up, the girl's legs phased through the chair she'd seemingly been sitting in. ”Chloe. Good to finally get to meet you. I hope putting the meeting on your calendar wasn't inconvenient for you. Seems you've become quite busy since Al left you in charge.”

"I almost didn’t show up.” Chloe picked up a creampuff and took a bite out of it. "Seems you’ve heard of me though, which I can’t say surprises me. Care to tell me who you are and why we’re here?”

”Of course. My name is Harmony. I've recently taken over management of the IT infrastructure in Penrose Mint and since you are lead here I thought it necessary to meet up and be sure that operations are meeting expectations.“

"I see.” Chloe had taken quite a few college courses, but it was mostly just to get grants and delay the inevitable. That was to say she didn’t retain a lot of what she had learned. She didn’t even fully understand what IT infrastructure was. "It hasn’t been an issue for us. Well…” She thought out loud. "We’ve had to change how we do things in Penrose. Presently we are developing a game and using a take out joint to cater to the programmers. It’s an attempt to cut development costs and have enough income to fund the project via serving the public. Infrastructure hasn’t been much of an issue. The developers all operate on a closed wired network and internet service is not important to them at this time. Nor is it important for the takeout joint as most sales are to walk-in customers.” She closed her eyes and sighed. "That said, I do have some concerns about future operations. We will be distributing the game digitally and will need a server with 24 hour internet access to function properly. This would not be an issue, but our greatest threat is a certain magical girl that starts with a ‘P’ and ends with a ‘Y’ and has a penchant for hacking anything in her ‘kingdom.’ Our contract forbids us from dealing with her using conventional methods, not that Mint has been too successful doing that in the past anyway. So tell me, can we defend our project from a magical super hacker?”

Nodding along with each item, it seemed as though she had a decent grasp of most of the things listed. Giving a brief moment to check in on something, Harmony would give a confident smile. Good to hear that the transition happened transparently on the user end. I have already taken steps to secure the Mint's electronic assets and should prove to be more than a match to prevent unwanted intruders. Speaking of the Queen of Penrose, I am meeting with her as we speak. I believe I can build that bridge so that hopefully we won't have to come to a one-on-one scenario and be on more cooperative terms.” She would rattle off each thing rather casually, moving on as if it wasn't much of a problem.

”The launch of the game shouldn't be too much trouble. I'm not sure how present you are on social media, but I have a fairly large following online that we should be able to leverage for some viral publicity.” She continued checking things off.

Chloe blinked. "Hold on, you’re, talking, with her?” She rubbed her eyes. "Uh, why?”

”A couple reasons.” She would hold up a finger. ”First, she and I are are both digital in nature. I would like to get to know her if I could. That is more a personal thing.“ Raising a second finger. ”Second, I have reason to believe that she presents a danger beyond her hostility toward the Mint. If my prediction is sound and nothing is done with she could succumb to vulnerabilities that could put Penrose and beyond at risk. I am hoping to find a resolution to that.“

"That’s fine, what I don’t understand is where IT infrastructure and diplomacy overlap. Was Al aware you were going to do this? Why wasn’t I notified?”

There was an awkward silence for a moment. Harmony's eyes wandered for a moment. ”No, Al was not aware. Thus far I have done what I believed was necessary. It later occurred to me that I needed to update someone, and that was you. So I'm trying to get to fix things.” She stood there somewhat awkwardly, but at the same time it didn't really seem like she regretted anything.

Chloe growled through her teeth. "Just now, huh?” She folded her arms. "Finish your little meeting. Do know I have no intention of allotting any more resources to satisfy her highness. So long as things don’t get botched further I’ll be willing to overlook this incident. But in the future, you will report to me, and you will ask me if you can act above your station. Mint doesn’t need any more rouge actors.” Chloe stood up. "That said, you seem to have a rare kind of competence. Keep doing a good job, and diplomacy may very well become your station.”

”Oh...” She would give a reassuring smile. ”I do not anticipate allocating further company resources for this encounter. That would definitely need some kind of approval outside my own capabilities. The only reason I considered it was because of the already agreed to terms. Otherwise, well… hard to say. I will make an effort to keep you better appraised in the future. I got carried away with all of… this.” She would wave her hands from top to bottom. Presumably referring to herself or her magic.

Chloe stared at the woman a moment longer. "I do have another meeting coming up later, but since I haven’t had lunch yet, let’s finish our date.” She picked up another pastry. "Must be nice being able to multitask like you can.” She popped the treat into her smiling mouth.

Harmony would take a seat as well. ”It has it’s benefits. Some other things not so much.” She would try and pick up one of the items and pass right through it. ”I’m mostly okay with that though. Feel free to order whatever you like. My treat.”

"Alright, but you’re ordering for two!” Chloe pulled an ornate bottle off of her hip and rubbed it. Shortly afterwards, Ruby appeared in a puff of smoke. "Harmony here can’t interact with the physical world, so you’re going to have to help me eat this food on her behalf.” Chloe stood back up. "I’ll order us some tea, be right back!”

After Chloe’s two surprise meetings, she was finally able to attend the one that she had actually planned for.

The meeting with Cradle took place in one of Penrose’s many abandoned warehouses. Only a very thorough look would reveal that it, like so many others, was very much not abandoned. Everything that was required to make the Penny bots could be found here. From the equipment to the plans to the penny bots themselves.

"I won’t lie." Chloe observed the Cradle agents as they worked. "I do underhanded things all the time, but I thought Maura held herself to higher standards than this."

"Maura isn’t here anymore, in case you forgot." Binky took note of everything she saw. Behind her, Mac was taking pictures of documentation. Page after page was recorded on a digital camera.

"I’m not judging you. It’s just that the lot of you are afraid of Penny. I’m surprised you’d sign a deal under the table that would let you make more of her."

Binky took a deep breath. "Normally, I wouldn’t dream of sharing this with you, but in the interest of cooperation..." She turned to look at Chloe. "We were shown a vision of the future. Part of that vision had Penny cloning herself and taking over the world. After hearing about the penny-bots, I’m almost one-hundred percent sure that was what I saw and not Penny." Binky shrugged her shoulders. "That said, I think one Penny is quite enough, which is why I’d never give her the means to make more of herself."

"Then wouldn’t destroying all the research be the best course of action?"

"Unlearning things is not very easy. Once something has been discovered, everyone will realize it is possible. It may take years or decades, but the technology will resurface. It would be better to keep a record of it and acknowledge how dangerous it is than try to bury it again. Not only that, but we already have one Penny walking around. Should something happen, these schematics will help us deal with her properly should the need arise."

"I was just curious if we were going to see cradle agents walking around with their own personal penny bots."

"I would prefer to have ‘Valorie-bots’ myself." Binky tapped her collar bone. "But Penny isn’t the most dangerous one to Penrose. She’ll become a threat under the right circumstances, but there’s another that is stronger and even more emotionally unstable."

Chloe thought for a moment. "Lily?"

"She was in the vision too. We need to make sure that she doesn’t do anything too drastic with her powers."

Mac approached Binky. ”Amanda and Valorie reported in. They scanned everything on the upper floors.”

"I guess we’ll be taking our leave then."

Chloe ran over to Binky. "Um." she sighed. "I’m going to do everything in my power to find them. It might take a while, but if they’re alive, I can bring them back."

”I’ll believe it when I see it.” Mac didn’t bother looking over her shoulder.

"I hope you do." Binky walked after Mac. "Samantha hasn’t come back, and I fear the worst. It would be nice to hear some good news for a change."

Everyone piled into an elevator and left the lair. Once everyone was outside, Chloe lifted up her magic ball and looked into it. ”We’re clear.”

With a crack, the warehouse caved in on itself. It was as if some supergravity anomaly had opened up beneath the building and crushed everything into nothing. All that was left was a pile of dirt and rubble. Maybe when Chloe’s business empire spread out this way, she could build another restaurant on top of it. But the contract had been maintained. The Penny project had been scrapped in its entirely, with the only surviving documentation being for an entirely different project that Chloe had no control over. There would be no Penny clones this day.

Chloe opened up her notebook again and wrote down Binky’s name. She started to write MAc’s name but hesitated. Would Mac ever want to be her friend? Would any of the Cradle agents forgive her?

Would they really be friends if I only cared about them conditionally?

She finished writing Mac’s name, and noticed it didn’t disappear. A grin crossed her face as she continued to jot down more names.

"My head hurts."

— Mika Fang

Mika did not rush after her prey. Far too many people got caught up in the thrill of the chase, only to get blindsided when they approached a corner too fast. This was especially true this deep in enemy territory. Any number of weretigers could be lingering in other rooms. She had to be cautious.

When Mika turned the corner, she could see Honey Badger and his human shield. She didn’t have any spells that would help her teleport despite the GM thinking she had them prior to this encounter, but even if she did, was she willing to wager her spell was faster than anything he could do? She needed to ensure a decisive blow without any screw ups. The teenager raised her hands into the air. Mika took a full step backwards.

Of course, this was just step one of Mika’s offensive. She had a foolproof way to get the drop on her opponent. The floor overhead should have been relatively empty, and it would not be difficult to pinpoint Honey Badger’s location with how loudly he was arguing with the teller. All she-d have to do was get over his position and-

Mika looked over her shoulder as soon as her “ally” announced her arrival.

Her pupils got wider as Angelie's shadow swallowed her.

And just like that, Mika was scooped up bridal style and carried right back into the hallway.

More speed was not always the answer. Usain Bolt could dash a hundred meters in under ten seconds, but he would struggle to reach the end of a hallway before you could flip a light switch. The analogy worked well here. Just replace Usain Bolt with an air headed esper and the light switch was someone’s neck, if not the trigger of a pistol. But Angelie showing up wasn’t all bad news. She had something that could move even faster than she could.

Mika knew she was going to get thrown. Not because she could connect with Angelie on a deeper level, but because it was the most hair-brained idea she could possibly have. The teenager reached for Angelie’s SMG, which slid easily out of its holster. As soon as the angel tossed Mika into the air, she placed the gun against her head, and a bullet ripped through Mika’s skull.

Or it would have, had she not traded places with some spirit stuff.

Once again, Mika’s body teleported out of harm's way, placing her much closer to Honey Badger’s position. She flew right over his head and dug her claws into his shoulder. She still had the momentum of Angelie’s high speed toss to carry her through the air, and she let it drag Honey Badger backwards. If he remained standing, Mika would allow the momentum to carry her knee straight into his back. If he fell backwards, she would attempt to land on her feet. Regardless of the outcome, once Mika was stable she would take her claws and drive them into the side of his neck.

"’The password, now."

Angelie's gun fell to the floor. She'd want to pick that up if she wanted to stay transformed.


Had the tiger overestimated his abilities? Or had he underestimated his prey? The whole plan fell apart with a swing of a scabbard redirecting Loki's momentum upwards. He wouldn't be able to land back on his feet, not when the Angel took her chance and filled him with a rain of lead. The weretiger hit the ground with a thud, painting the floor red. As it was with the rest of the human guards. At least, what was left of them. Whether or not he somehow survived this attack too? It was clear he wouldn't be a hindrance any further. Such was the law of the jungle.

Spades on the other hand wouldn't have been able to reach cover in time. With a swift kick in the ribs from Angel knocking the wind out of him, Estelle disarmed him and… Wait a damn second, she was sparing him? The fuzzy cuffs were humiliating but he was moreso processing her warning before she rushed off. With a grunt the mobster rolled off his stomach and sat up.

Eh. Should've known he'd be arrested sooner or later. But he had to respect the moxie of his opponent.

Unlike his recklessly dead teammate, Lorenzo leapt from side to side to evade Ashley's energy bolt as he closed in. The potent bolt did however strike him dead in the shoulder. The tiger collided against the shield, rammed his unwounded shoulder against it. Just as long as Ashley can keep it raised Lorenzo wouldn't have an opening. But how long could she hold him off?

But there was still the issue of the elevator password. Mika decided to pursue the only one that managed to slip away in order to get it. The subtlest of blood trails lead to a sideroom door, and down a hallway.

"I ain't getting my ass kicked by Tony just cause the feds trashed his stomping grounds, so quit your fuckin' squirming!"

"Go to hell!"

Cerberus could hear Honey Badger and the wounded teller arguing with each other, the latter struggling to free herself from the former's grip. Despite her bleeding from her torso, the rush of adrenaline gave him enough trouble for Mika to catch up.

When the two spotted her approaching, Honey Badger forced the teller in front of him.

"Not another step, girlie! You don't want me to break her neck now, would ya'?!"

@The World@Nyahahameha@Nakushita@TaintedMushroom@FamishedPants

It was once said that the definition of insanity was performing the same action over and over again while expecting different results.

Himiko ran and shot, ran and shot. She even got a sexy dive and slide in there. But it didn’t change the fact that she was being hunted by three abominations that were resilient to her attacks. Getting hit by one of Himiko’s bullets would have been a death sentence to a normal human. A shot to the head should have scattered his cranium and brain matter to the four winds. The same result as if he had been hit by a round from a Barrett. Instead, his head was very much intact, as was every other part of his body that she shot. He was getting weaker, sure, but the extra holes in his flesh didn’t slow him down enough. His two companions made ground where he couldn’t. Himiko was running out of room, and her pursuers showed no signs of slowing down. The pile of rubble she was hiding behind exploded when it was struck by a flying boulder. The golden gunslinger was thrown along with the scattered stones. When your opponents were undead wraiths imbued with the ivory of a dragon’s horns, seconds were the difference between life and death.

As was how much help you had.

A lightning bolt struck the rebar thrower’s leg, detonating his leg below the knee. The creature fell onto its chest and continued to convulse as the electric magic interfered with its ability to move. The stone thrower continued to rush towards Himiko, but the shopping cart “Zombie bum” changed course and was running towards Justin like a Walmart shopper would rush a BOGO deal on black friday.

Not far away, another blast of electric magic rocked the homeless mob. Nobody caught in the blast radius had a good day. Some were cooked through and through, with the more fortunate ones only partially harmed by the spell. Many dropped to the ground without uttering as much as a scream. But the inverse was true for Marrie, who felt rejuvenated by the melody. It was as if someone had turned back the clock on the beating. Not all the way, as a minor healing spell spread so thin over the body can only do so much. The mob distanced itself from Marrie as she flew out of the ground, which was distancing itself from her position.

But not the pole dancer, who seemed to have no fear of Finn’s magic. They were too far away to get caught in the blast zone, but they had changed their focus to the new arrival. Baiting out an attack was not difficult. She thrust her pipe at Finn’s chest as soon as she had an opportunity. The much heavier weapon was difficult for the thin fencing blade to affect, but he managed to shove the pole off course so that it didn’t hit him. This was all Marrie needed to swoop in and land a stab without getting batted out of the sky. But once the knife sunk into its flesh, right up to the hilt, Marrie would discover what Himiko had failed to realize: These guys really don’t mind being full of holes. The paleguard reached over its shoulder and flung Marrie into Finn.

It wasn’t just the ground where there was a fight, things continued up in the sky. The palemancer soared into the sky with frightening speed, but it was an attack that Kira could see coming. She successfully kicked the scythe’s edge, and his accent stopped rising. But that momentum that carried him into the sky was still there, and he spun in place. This would make grabbing his ankle more difficult.

But Kira was so preoccupied with her own strategy, so preoccupied with how she was going to humiliate this guy, that she hadn’t considered that he may have thrown himself into the sky because he had a way of dealing with her.

"You got some nerve, takin' advantage of the most vulnerable period a' these people's lives..."

His bony hand shot off of his elbow and slammed into Kira’s shoulder. Its fingers gripped her tightly, and a spine-like tether bound the arm to the palemancer’s elbow.

”So says the privileged celebrity?”

How could Kira even fathom what any of them had gone through? Had she ever made a home out of a cardboard box? Had she ever needed to beg from strangers? Did she even know what it was like to get beat by people that looked at you like garbage? Or was she just a freelancer that thought her actions were just so long as someone was putting money in her hand?

The palemancer released his scythe, and the tether pulled him towards his arm with such speed that he could slam his knee into Kira’s stomach. Even if she didn’t mean too, the impact would launch her hand towards the palemancer, which would pull him into her further. Though this was something he had less control over, and the two of them flailed through the air. Kira’s back landed flat against the top of the semi, and the palemancer tumbled further down. He eventually rolled onto his feet, but remained on one knee.

And then there was a disturbance.

Kira had initially spotted a far off group of people when surveying the area. She had decided to put it out of her mind, figuring if the group was hostile it would take them some time to arrive. That was based on the assumption that they didn’t have an esper with them that could help them travel faster. However…

A snake flew from the distant group and smashed into the back of the MicroMart. Rather than spreading its gore everywhere, the creature flattened out like a pancake, elongating and stretching until it was the size of a doorway. When it opened its mouth, which was the size of the entire snake at this point, its mouth led to the grassy hill where everyone had been waiting. But who had been waiting there?

Everyone found out when they rushed around the corner.

What spilled out of the portal was several figures in white robes. Each one wore a mask depicting some creature with six eyes, sharp teeth, and tusks. They were also brandishing daggers and shouting.


”This cargo belongs to the one beyond reality!”

”Sacrifices for the sky whale!”

”Purge the filth that steals from the unborn one!”

”Glory for Aigorost!”

The cultists had come back for their water.

But the cultists weren’t just a mob, there were special members within its ranks. One included a lanky creature with green skin. He was dressed similar to everyone else, but the addition of gold accessories made his grand wizard lookin’ ass stand out. That and he could touch the ground without bending over. His dagger would have been a sword in a human’s hands. There was also a woman with pink hair, the only one without a mask. She also wasn’t brandishing a weapon, and was content to just watch the chaos unfold around her.

The newly arrived mob wasted no time in mowing down the homeless. At the end of the day, they were broken men that were emboldened by one of their own getting incredible powers. Even against a few espers they felt like they might have had a chance. But a cult needed to be delusional. To be able to believe in a cause, regardless of its absurdity, with enough conviction that they would die for it. How could the homeless possibly match that fervor? If any of the homeless stuck around, it was to defend themselves. This was an especially unfortunate situation for the homeless Kira had trapped earlier. If they survived falling out of her melody, they didn’t survive the cultist mob. They took no prisoners, they showed no mercy.

Something the driver was fully aware of.

The semi roared to life and drove forward, nearly rolling Kira and the pale master off the top of it, and driving over anyone that didn’t get out of the way. The leader of the homeless extended his hand and caught his scythe just as Kira’s melody wore off. His two pale guards who waited on the roof hopped onto the truck and landed behind Kira.

Kira looked like she was going to get carted away on the truck, but it wasn’t too late for other espers to hitch a ride too. But they needed to decide what was more important: dealing with the cultists or recovering the water. They wouldn’t have long to decide. The truck was steadily building speed, and the cultists would be upon them before long.

No sooner had Violet returned to her office after helping her Cradle friends with their search, then she received a message on her Mint-provided phone from Chloe Irving, who wished to arrange a time for their previously discussed upcoming meeting. The heiress had done her best to suppress a disgusted shudder at the sound of that request. Indeed, the search for Amanda’s patron and the other missing Cradle members coming up empty handed had been bad enough, but the idea of actually having to talk at length with someone as utterly detestable as Chloe, made things a thousand times worse. Nonetheless, Violet had politely informed the junior broker of an acceptable time and place, like the consummate professional businesswoman she was. Now, the following evening, the young heiress sat in her office, waiting for the dreaded meeting to commence.

Hopefully this discourse shall not take particularly long, Violet thought to herself with a tired sigh. There are far more pressing matters I could be attending to right now…

Not only did the young heiress find Chloe to be highly repulsive, but every second she wasted on pointless banter with her was precious time she could have been spending patrolling the city, reliving the myriad stresses of the day, and meeting with cherished friends. Friends like Amanda…

I only wish I could have been of more help to her… the heiress reflected sullenly. To all of them… I know they did not ask me to join them on their search, but I could not just simply sit back and do nothing! I have a responsibility to do all I can for them, and perhaps there is yet a way… she mused, her keen mind rapidly considering various possibilities. In fact, she was so lost in thought that she failed to notice that her expected guest had arrived…

Chloe did not introduce herself with any fan fare. She only approached Violet’s desk and placed a small box of takeout on it. The heiress did a double take when she noticed the tall, more clad, more tentacled version of Chloe. "I got a makeover,“ was all she said, and without that sly smile of hers. "Our first legitimate business in Penrose is the ‘Peking Moon’ takeout. We’re installing some offices upstairs for the computer developers, but the takeout place is a source of immediate income. I didn’t know what to order you, so the chef just made something random for us.“ She place a pair of chopsticks beside Violet’s meal before opening up her own food. "I think he called it ‘Mu-Shi-Beef’ or something?“ She poked around in her own box before pulling out a beef strip and some fat noodles. "How’s the robot stuff going?“

“Satisfactory…” Violet replied cautiously, her mind still coming to terms with not only Chloe’s substantial change of appearance, but also the fact she’d brought food for them both. “I must admit, I was not expecting this meeting to take place over a meal, so I regret to say I have already eaten dinner,” the heiress informed her guest in a polite and even tone. “Even so, I am most grateful for the offer.”

"Yea… Yea.“ Chloe stirred her food. "Well, it re-heats really easily. But if it’s not your thing, I can just eat it later.“ She took a seat and stared off into space. "So your father’s business, what is it worth to you?.“

To Violet’s considerable surprise, it seemed that Chloe’s physical change had also been mirrored by a marked change in demeanor. Gone was the obnoxious flirt, and in her place was a calmer, perhaps even sullen, girl. Violet had to admit, she was intensely curious if this change was genuine, or simply an act, and, if the former, what set of circumstances might have brought it about. Even so, that curiosity did nothing to lessen her focus, especially after Chloe asked her next question.

“It is worth more than anyone could ever hope to pay,” Violet replied, her voice icy and firm. “That is to say, it is not for sale. I apologize if that sounded too harsh,” the heiress added after a moment. “But please understand, this company has been in my family for several generations. Indeed, it owes its very existence to my family, and the prudent stewardship of it is a sacred obligation for all Covingtons. Thus, to relinquish that obligation is to do nothing less than spit in the face of a noble lineage going back for well over a century. In light of that, I am sure you can see why I might perhaps over stress my position on the matter.”

"I guess I understand that.“ Chloe continued to look off into the distance. "I’m in control of Penrose Mint now, in case you were wondering why Al wasn’t here. He got himself killed and now it’s all mine. Mine until someone takes it from me or I give it up. But it’s been my home for too long. I can’t just hand control over to someone else. Even if it’s rotten to the core.“ She looked at Violet out of the corner of her eye. "Not unlike your father, or your lineage’s dirty dealings.“

Although the heiress’s visage remained impassive, internally, Violet was rather taken aback by the revelation of Al Scarp’s demise. She could only wonder if it was Chloe herself who bore responsibility for the broker’s death, or if someone else had done the deed. Regardless, she didn’t feel particularly remorseful over Scarp’s passing. Not only had he manipulated her with false information, but he had also poisoned her father, something she refused to tolerate. And speaking of the elder Covington, it seemed Chloe still had at least some bite left, as she then took a jab at his less-than-savory business practices, as well as those of his forebears.

“I will not deny that my family’s history contains a regrettable number of less-than-palatable elements,” Violet conceded, seemingly unbothered by the slight against her esteemed lineage. “And I will also admit to my own willing refusal to fully acknowledge the extent of my father’s corruption,” the heiress added. “Be that as it may, none of them have diminished my love for this company, or my dedication to ensuring its greatness on every level. As such, I have since resolved that I shall no longer entertain my prior attitude of willful ignorance. I will lead this company onto a nobler path, one that will lift it to heights of grandeur my ancestors could not have hoped to imagine.”

"Huh.“ Chloe blinked. "You really want to own it all then? The good and the bad.”

“Yes,” Violet confirmed. “I will not absolve myself of my family’s wrongdoing, yet, I shall do all that I can to atone for it.”

With a shrug of her shoulders, Chloe looked back at her food. "I guess we’re done here.“ She lifted the takeout box to her lips. "Violet Covington: With the power bestowed upon me by the Mint, I declare you absolved of all debts and all services paid in full. You are, as of now, freed from our contract. May wealth and prosperity be yours.“ She used her chopsticks to shove down a mouthful of noodles.

Cleared of all debts? Honestly, that was pretty much the last thing Violet had expected to hear, and so it took a moment for her to provide a response.

“I see,” the heiress stated, her stoic visage betraying none of her inner shock. “In that case, I shall not keep you any longer,” she added, her tone calm and dispassionate. “My thanks again for the generous refreshments,” Violet told her guest, while glancing at the untouched bagged meal sitting on her desk. “I believe I shall have them for lunch tomorrow.”

"Right.“ Chloe was about to see herself out when she turned around. "You wouldn’t happen to know where I can find Magical Dream Princess, would you?“

“No, I cannot say that I do,” Violet replied, her tone not wavering in the slightest despite the not-so-minor internal freakout that question had initiated. “Why do you ask?”

Chloe’s lips slowly curled into a smile. "I just wanted to tell her that she’s very fortunate to have a friend like Amanda.“ She bit her lower lip. "It’s difficult to find people that are that patient. You leave Penrose for a few months, only to come back and find they’ve become different people. But I can tell she holds onto her friends with an iron grip.“ Her eyes half closed. "She was willing to forgive me if I forgave all of MDP’s debts. It was almost romantic. And I just wanted to talk with the girl that was able to bring that out of an icy character like Amanda.“

So was that it? Was that the reason for the substantial change in Chloe’s demeanor? Or was this just a simple mind game, a way of toying with Violet when the broker knew all along that the heiress and MDP were one and the same? Either way, Violet wasn’t going to take any chances.

“I must admit, that is a rather touching story,” the heiress replied. Indeed, she reflected, Amada truly was a wonderful friend, one that she could easily see making such a deal. “Perhaps you and this ‘Magical Dream Princess’ shall cross paths at some point in the future?”

"I guess we’ll see.“ Chloe turned around and walked towards the door. She shoveled the rest of her food into her mouth before tossing the empty carton into a nearby waste basket and vanishing beyond the threshold of the door.

Normally, Chloe would jump into her interdimensional home as soon as possible, but there wasn’t much need for it. She still had to meet up with Cradle, but that was going to happen later in the day. Chloe might have seemed all business, but all work and no play made Chloe a very dull girl.

Until they got all the programmers they needed, there wasn’t much need to return to the takeout place. Though it would be prudent to understand what made these “gotcha games” so popular. She leaned against a wall in the business district and started scrolling through her phone. She’d have to download a few of these games to understand what made them so profitable. Her thumb flicked across the screen as she began selecting every game that looked interesting, which was anything with a cute thumbnail.

Meanwhile, in the darkened depths of a nearby alleyway, a grizzled man with rippling muscles had drawn a serrated combat knife and was slowly approaching the distracted young woman, his every movement filled with menace. Was he planning to rob her? Mutilate her? Do far worse to her? Thankfully, the answers to such questions would never be known, as a glittery, pastel pink girl dropped down behind him and slammed a whimsical wand over his head.

“Like, Magical Dream Princess thinkie winkies you need a time out~!” the bubbly girl declared as the man crumpled to the ground amidst a ring of orbiting stars. “Maybe waybe after having waving some super duper nicey wicey dreamy weamies, you’ll be lots nicer wicer and won’t ever wever thinkie winkie about doing such meanie weanie stuffy wuffy againsie wensie~! (giggle!)” she added, before squealing in delight as something colorful next to the unconscious man’s head caught her painfully limited attention.

“Wowie zowie~!” she exclaimed, crouching down to get a better look. “Magical Dream Princess never ever wever expected wected to findy windy a super duper pretty witty flower wower like you in a nasty wasty placey wacey like this~! (giggle!) Hmm~? What’s thatsie watsie~?” she inquired, bringing her ear closer to the weed poking up through a crack in the pavement. “You’re, like, super duper shy, so you actually wactually like being all aloney woney in the darky warky~? Magical Dream Princess understady wandies thatsie watsie, since she has a friendy wendie who’s super duper shy, too~! (giggle!) But, like, thatsie watsie doesn’t meany weany you can’t have a friendy wendy~! (giggle!) So, like, Magical Dream Princess promises womises to visit wist you as often woften as she cansie wansie, okie dokie~?” she asked with a bright smile. “In facty wacty, she’ll even weven put a reminder winder in her dreamy weamy journal wournal thingie wingie so she remember wembers~! (giggle!)” the childish girl added, taking out a small pink book covered in glitter and cute stickers and using the attached pen to write herself a note to visit her new friend.

However, no sooner had MDP finished writing, then her attention was drawn in a new direction. A young woman standing near the edge of the alley seemed to be playing a game on her phone, one producing an array of cute sounds.

“Oooohh~!” the whimsical girl squealed, rushing to look over the young woman’s shoulder at the game she was playing. “That gamey waymey looks super duper adorable worable~! (giggle!)” she declared, her eyes sparkling with delight, even as she innocently invaded the poor girl’s personal space.


The back of Chloe’s hand cracked across MDP’s face as she spun around in fright. Her eyes went wide, she inhaled sharply, The phone was pressed against her chest. The faint glow of magic silhouetted her form, but went out without doing anything. With a sigh, Chloe lowered her hand.

MDP yelped in a mixture of shock and pain when Chloe suddenly slapped her. “Owieee…” she whined, stumbling back a few steps as she gently pressed a hand to her cheek.

"...Oh!“ Chloe reached up to scratch the back of her head. "It’s um, it’s you.“ Chloe folded her arms. Her eyes looked just as big as they did when she was initially startled. "I thought you were a thug or something. Neon pink hair and everything. You can’t sneak up on me like that.“ Chloe began tapping her foot quickly. "That didn’t hurt too bad, did it?“

“M-Magical Dream Princess guesses wesses it could have been worse…” she added with a frown, tears glistening in the overly emotional girl’s eyes. “And, like, she’s super duper sorry for sneaking up on you,” she apologized, before perking up slightly as something the other girl had said managed to penetrate her ditzy delirium. “But, um, has Magical Dream Princess, like, met you beforesie worsie~?” she inquired, tilting her head as she stared at the other girl intently.

Chloe fretted her brow. "Let’s just say I’ve seen you around. But I’ll never pass up a chance to introduce myself.“ A grin spread across her face when she extended a hand towards the annoying girl. "I’m Chloe. Entrepreneur and magical girl extraordinaire. Just doing a little research for an upcoming business project of mine. It looks fun but it’s not that interesting.“ She slid her phone into her blouse. "What has you peeking over people’s shoulders?“

“Well, Magical Dream Princess heard your gamey wamey making waking such cutesy wutsey soundy woundies, so she, like, totally wotally wanted to get a closer woser look~! (giggle!)” MDP replied with a cheerful smile. “She kinda winda forgot about the personal wersonal spacey wacey thingie wingie, though…” the whimsical girl added, her smile drooping into a disappointed frown. “Sorry worry againsie wensie… Magical Dream Princess’s memory wemory is, like, super duper terrible werrible when she’s Magical Dream Princess, so she forgetsy wetsies lots and lots of stuffy wuffy…” she explained. “But, like, you said your namey wamey was Chloe Whoey~?” the Princess of Dreams inquired, not letting up on her annoyingly childish rhyming for even a moment. “Like, that namey wamey soundy woundies awfully wawfully familiar wiliar…”

"I’m pleased. Especially if you have the memory of a goldfish.“ Chloe’s face twitched, even after MDP stopped speaking. "But you could always detransform. It might help jog your memory. You’ve seen me in both forms, so I know those memories are trapped in your head somewhere.“

“Like, Magical Dream Princess could never ever wever do thatsie watsie!” the whimsical girl replied, her eyes going wide with shock upon hearing the suggestion. “Especially wecially not in front of a total wotal stranger wanger! It would be, like, super duper bad! But, like, were you at Lily Wily’s meeting weeting~?” she inquired. “Cause, like, Magical Dream Princess thinkie winkies she remember wembers somebodywody with that namey wamey theresie weresie…” she added, her cute face scrunching up in a look of deep concentration, before brighting to even greater heights of exuberance as a new idea popped into her ADHD-addled brain. “Oh~! Magical Dream Princess knows how she can remember wember~! (giggle!)” MDP squealed in barely-contained delight. “She can do the thinky winky dance~! (giggle!)”

"Alternatively, you spare us all the trouble and just, you know, don’t.“ Chloe placed two fingers in the center of her forehead, but it wasn’t stopping her migraine from coming on. "Why does anyone like you? I’m not surprised that bucket of bolts is trying to use you to replace me, but why anyone else? Why is Amanda willing to go so far to keep you safe?“

“Because Amanda Wanda is Magical Dream Princess’s super duper bestie westiest friendy wendy in the whole wide worldsie~! (giggle!)” MDP replied with a happy smile. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess would totally wotally do the same thingie wingie for her~!” she added. “Even though she’s, like, super duper toughy wuffy, and probably wobably wouldn’t need it~! (giggle!) But, like, wait a moment woment! You know Amanda Wanda?!” the whimsical girl asked, her eyes going wide.

"Yes. Princess. I said I was at the meeting. The magical girl one. I was talking to Penny and I briefly spoke with you. And while I didn’t witness it, I was told Amanda and the other Cradle agents left with you. By Amanda herself. At a later date. The reason why my name is so familiar is because it’s the same name I use as a magical girl. Don’t get over-stimulated now!“ She growled. "How could anyone willingly be your friend?“ Chloe averted her eyes. "What’s your secret?“

“H-How could anybodywody be friendy wendies with Magical Dream Princess…?” MDP asked with a confused head tilt. “Magical Dream Princess doesn’t know how to answer wanser thatsie watsie…” the whimsical girl confessed, frowning as she awkwardly pressed her pointer fingers together. “She guesses wesses it’s because they’re all super duper nicey wicey, but, like, if Chloe Whoey really really wants to know thatsie watsie, then, like, Magical Dream Princess thinkie winkies you should asky wasky them~! she added with a bright smile. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess doesn’t have a secret wecret for making friendy wendies, but, like, she thinkie winkies it always walways helpy welpies to be super duper friendly wendly, and helpy weply with any wany problem woblems her friendy wendies might havey wavey, and give them lots and lots of huggie wuggies~! (giggle!)”

"Friendly… And lots of hugs…“ Chloe held her chin. "Is it really that simple?“ Her eyes drifted around the alley before focusing back on MDP. "So if you wanted to be friends with me, you’d just pretend to be nice to me and give me lots of hugs? There has to be some trick to the timing. You can’t just hug someone whenever you want, right?“

“Weeeell, Magical Dream Princess wuvs to give huggie wuggies all the timey wimey, but some people weple don’t really like thatsie watsie…” MDP explained, sounding quite saddened by that fact as she looked off to the side. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess doesn’t pretendy wendy to be nicey wicey to her friendy wendies!” the whimsical girl corrected, sounding utterly appalled at the very notion. “Magical Dream Princess is totally wotally nicey wicey for realsie wealsies~! (giggle!)” she clarified with a playful wink.

Chloe scoffed. "You can’t just be nice to everyone, can you?“ She lifted a hand to her mouth. "...Can you?“ The gears in Chloe’s head turned as a smile crossed her face. "Phu phu phu phu…“ She placed her hands on her hips. "Alright, alright, it goes a bit deeper than that. You see, princess, My name sounds familiar for another reason. Your girlfriend? Penny? I was her former lover. Anything the two of you do together will just be retreading ground the two of us walked months ago. I have hurt her in the past and may do so again. It’s inevitable. But!“ She spread her arms. Chloe’s dark magic took over her body, and her pale skin and lolita attire was replaced with a form fitting corset and pale flesh wriggling with tentacles. "I would love to be your friend! Amanda and the others have told me so many nice things about you. Won’t you give me a hug?“ Her neon green eyes stared directly into MDP’s soul.

MDP took a step back as Chloe transformed, although it was less the dark magical girl’s new appearance, and more her latest words that brought a frown to the Princess of Dreams’s cute countenance. “Like, Penny Wenny already told Magical Dream Princess about thatsie watsie,” MDP replied. “And she also walso said that you weren’t very nicey wicey, but, like, Magical Dream Princess thinkie winkies people weple can changey wangey, so, like, if Chloe Whoey pinky winky promises womises to be nicey wicey from now onsie wonsie, then Magical Dream Princess will, like, totally wotally be your friendy wendy, and give you a big huggy wuggy, too~! (giggle!)” the bubbly girl told the coin broker with a cheerful smile as she held out her little finger.

Chloe’s smile disappeared when she saw MDP’s outstretched pinky. She looked at it with confusion, or was that worry that was making her brow cross? Slowly, she reached her hand out towards the pinky. Black magic swirled around her hand as her taloned gauntlet appeared in place. She pressed her cold pinky against MDP’s before the talon curled around her digit. The coin broker smiled.

"I do.“

“Yaaaay~!” MDP cheered. “Chloe Whoey and Magical Dream Princess can, like, totally wotally be friendy wendies nowie~! (giggle!)” the bubbly girl declared, wrapping the coin broker up in a tight hug the moment their pinkies disconnected. “Friendy wendies~! Friendy wendies~! Yay~! Yay~! Yay~!” she sang, her high-pitched voice somehow seeming even more energetic than usual as she bounced up and down while still holding Chloe tight. “Friendy wendies~! Friendy wendies~! Hip hip horaaaay~!”

Chloe didn’t really react to MDP’s excitement. She just looked down at her with a solemn expression as she hugged her and jumped around. Chloe had done a lot more than just hug people during her time as a magical girl after all. As annoying as MDP’s voice was, it wasn’t like Chloe hadn’t dealt with many more, many other squeaky voiced characters. Though between the Mint, Penny, and everyone else she interacted with, none of them had been as open and forward with what they wanted as MDP was. Did she really just want to make friends? Was that all there was to it?

"Yes, friends. Phu phu phu…“ She shifted her shoulders, but didn’t do anything to escape MDP’s bear hug. "Do you think you could teach me to be more like you?“

Chloe’s question caused MDP to suddenly pause her hyperactive celebration and look at the coin broker in cute confusion.

“Huh~? Chloe Whoey wants to be more like Magical Dream Princess~?” the whimsical girl inquired. “Like, Magical Dream Princess guesses wesses she can helpy welpy with thatsie watsie…” she added, still sounding quite puzzled by the request. “Like, what kinda winda stuffy wuffy does Chloe Whoey want Magical Dream Princess to, like, teachy weachy her, exactly wactly~?”

"How to put it into words…“ Chloe looked directly into MDP’s eyes. "I don’t think I could ever be exactly like you, and honestly, I don’t think I’d want to be you even if I could. But you know, it might be useful to know how to turn on your particular brand of charm.“ She tipped her head side to side. "It might be nice to be… less guarded around some people. Just, the ability to be a little silly and throw pride to the wind. That’s something I have a really hard time with.“

“Like, Magical Dream Princess totally wotally understandy wandies thatsie watsie~!” MDP replied with a happy smile. “Like, before she became a magical wagical girl, Magical Dream Princess kinda winda had a problem woblem with that kinda winda stuffy wuffy, too~! (giggle!) So, like, she thinkie winkies you should, like, totally wotally just try to be yourselfy welfy, and, like, also walso be more nicey wicey in general weneral~!” the whimsical girl suggested.

Chloe wrapped her arms around MDP and looked into the sky. "I wonder, would I even be myself if I was nicer?“


— Mika Fang

Mika felt pretty good about her chances of avoiding gunfire, but it never hurt to have a little backup. Her eyes flared with mystical power, but she made no obvious attempt to direct her magic through her arms. Though during her run, one of her steps caused the ground to bubble with glowing ectoplasm. A pair of ears sprouted out of the ground, then a face, whiskers. Before long, the spirit of an unusually large cat popped out of the ground. It was friend shaped, with a large belly and limbs too small to realistically move. Any bullets that might have struck Mika would instead hit the fat decoy she deployed at her back. It purred when it was pelted with bullets, as if it enjoyed the pain.

Mika rushed past Ashley to try the elevator. She tapped the call button several times only to get prompted for a password. "What!?" Mika growled before kicking the elevator. " It wants a password! Did you even try this thing before calling us over?"

In theory, they could maybe force the elevator open and get to the bottom. The cable would be plenty sharp and impossible to rappel down, but they could just as easily get to the bottom some other way. But then they were giving everyone up top a chance to seal them in. Not to mention they had no idea what condition Binky was in. The point of a rescue wasn’t to get in, but to get someone out. Having a working elevator would make things go a lot smoother. They only needed to figure out was who had the password.

The mafia guy looked important enough, but also too professional to talk. The big weretiger was just a brute, and the small one was going to be dead soon. The sort of person you could get a password out of would need to be high up the ladder. High enough to command others, but cowardly enough to say anything to survive, or use a teller as a shield.

"I know who has the password. Keep the elevator clear."

There was no surprise slot machine to stop Mika this time. She followed Honey Badger towards his last known location, hoping he hadn’t fled the casino yet. Her claws still dripped with the blood of her last kill.


With the sudden appearance of weretigers backing up the guards, maybe they had overstayed their welcome. Though rushing to the elevator would be no easy task.

Such was the exchange of gunfire between Angel and Spades. A graze here, and a nick there, the two were evenly matched in their prowess. The mobster couldn't help but respect the girl's skill. But the cover given to him by Loki wouldn't hold out as well as he'd hope.

The Witch Hunter, in her quick thinking, had deflected the weretiger's frenzy. Giving her just enough of an opening to strike back at her original target. It didn't hit Spades' torso like Estelle had intended, but it hit him on his side causing his aim to graze the chandelier chain. "Damn it!" Spades hissed out, going on the evasive as swift as his wound would let him. "I thought you had that bitch busy!" The stabilize note would keep him weakened, but not weakened enough. He quickly ducked behind the nearest cover.

Loki wouldn't be able to retort. As soon as Estelle had parried his attack, she attempted to punt him off the edge of railing. Loki drove his sickles into the floor before he could fall, leaving him dangling like a cat stuck in a tree. That'd give Ashley a better aim at the tiger's back, the energy bolt shooting a burning, stinging pain across his body. Just enough adrenaline to launch himself back up and pursue his prey at a faster speed than before. To hell with the weapons, he'll rip them apart with his bare teeth if he must.

Back on the lower floor, Lorenzo was able to use the machine as a make-shift shield, turning his focus onto the Knight that evaded the next throw. Mika was lucky enough to avoid any severe damage from the one that struck her through a wall, cleaving through Honey Badger's guards without any further issue. Their numbers were thining out.

Whoever would reach the elevator first would soon realize one small problem, however.

The elevator needed a code in order to access it.

Maybe one of the guards knows?

They'll have to see after they shake off the tiger about to pounce on Ashley.

@The World@Nyahahameha@Nakushita@TaintedMushroom@FamishedPants

The peace talks had failed before they even began. It was time for war.

Himiko had just enough time to avoid getting impaled. Her next two bullets hit their marks too. The first pierced the man’s stomach, and the second punched a hole in his head. But he didn’t go down. The paleguard stumbled backwards before regaining his footing. Whatever these things were, they were very resistant to physical attacks. And a look into their eyes might reveal why. In addition to having pale skin and horns, the men had eyes as white as ivory. If they weren’t undead, they were still inhuman. Physical attacks like this wouldn’t do much to them. But casting a melody would take too long, so Himiko fired again. Anything to slow them down.

By this point, Kira’s melody had activated, and the three paleguards were being pulled off the ground. While Himiko’s next shots were no more effective than the last ones, her airborne targets were shoved away by her powerful shots. They were damage resistant, but not resistant to her bullets' kinetic energy. While they hurdled through the air, the stone holder grabbed a hold of the MicroMart to prevent himself from flying backwards too far. Shopping cart guy was less fortunate. But the rebar guard wasn’t going to just let Himiko run away. With one arm on the dilapidated mart, he heaved the rebar at Himiko like a mighty javelin. Himiko looked over her shoulder just in time to see the javelin strike her in the back. Much like when Mika had been struck by the slot machine, the rebar projectile did far less damage than it should have. It cracked one of her ribs and caused her to stumble forward. While the cart guard was floating backwards through the air, the two other pale guards were able to pull themselves to the edge of the melody and fell onto their feet. Himiko had gained some distance, but it was shrinking fast as they barrelled towards her. Kira’s melody had also managed to catch a few of the bums. They were helpless, ignorant of what was happening to them as gravity started to behave strangely.

And it didn’t help matters when Marrie shot a melody into the air. It broke apart into rain and fell down on the lone pale guard and most of their bottles. It hissed as the arcane storm burned its face and shoulders, and melted the bottles it contacted. Blood and foggy water spilled onto the ground, leaving the homeless and the truck unharmed. But the next thing Marrie did was charge through the crowd to get to the wounded paleguard. But the bums didn’t have time to disperse. The spooky ghost girl that just appeared in front of them melted a woman’s face with some rain and was charging them with a knife.

Scared animals always attack when they’re cornered.

Marrie was able to deflect the chair that was swung at her face, but not the crowbar that was swung into her stomach, or the fist that slammed into her side, the elbow at the back of her neck, or or the foot that slammed into her back. She was knocked to the ground, and the homeless surrounded her and started kicking and stomping her into submission. Be it fear or some twisted desire to break something, they wouldn’t stop until Marrie was unconscious. The same could not be said for the paleguard, who picked up a fence post for a chain link fence. She held the rusted pipe like a spear and closed in on Marrie’s position. The bums parted as she approached.

Kira seemed like she was in a perfect position to help everyone, but that was about to change. Her altitude was far too high for a bum to reach, but the paleguards had little difficulty scaling the brick wall. With freakish speed, they dug their claws into the brick work and dragged themselves up to the roof, facing Kira from either side of her previous position. They made no other movements yet, but they didn’t have to.

The palemancer’s bone staff popped out a blade like it was some Swiss army knife, granting him a bone scythe. With a hop, he soared towards Kira's possition. He'd split Kira in half if she didn’t move soon.

"Now you know why my text color is red."

— Mika Fang

Regardless of how skilled Mika was with her abilities, she lacked experience.

Like any coward would, Badger used the teller as a human shield when Mika lunged. The wolf’s spectral jaw closed around the teller’s torso, and she screamed. Mika’s eyes shot open along with the wolf’s mouth, and Badger made his escape. She didn’t even have time to curse before more trouble showed up: An incoming slot machine. It read “Lucky Break!” down the side with a cartoon character in a body cast.

Very fitting.

Melodies needed at least a second to cast, and she only noticed the slot machine after Ashley jumped out of the way. Mika only had enough time to turn around as it slammed into her back. Normally this would have meant a broken spine for a human, but the slot machine had been thrown by a weretiger. Even if it was from her world, it had been thrown by a monster, and was wreathed in a monster’s chaotic energy. This was exactly the sort of attack an esper’s magic was designed to protect them from.

What would be significantly more painful was the wall she was headed towards. That had not been thrown by a weretiger.

The only thing Mika could do was brace for impact.

The slot machine slammed into the wall, punching a hole through the concrete and disappearing into the darkness. But there was no scream from the catgirl. Nor was there a splotch of blood or a mangled body to be found. Mika had transformed into a spirit, and was soaring away from what could have been her grave. Soon enough, she became corporeal again. Her feet landed on the ground and she twisted her neck until it cricked.

Oh look, some guards were right here.

Guns were great, but they didn’t help very much when you were standing in a line. Mika dispatched them as fast as she could. She swiped at the first one’s neck, opening his carotid artery. The second one swung its gun at her, only for her to duck under it and open his stomach. The third one tried to escape, but Mika's next swing tore into his back and he fell to the ground screaming. The fourth one managed to get a shot off, but it only pierced her shoulder. She screamed it off as she thrust her nails into his torso over and over again. Even as he fell backwards, she didn’t stop until he hit the ground. Her pretty teal dress turned maroon where the blood had soaked into it.

Even with these four dispatched, there were so many more. Ashley shouted some orders. Mika wasn’t sold on her logic, but she wasn’t here to think. Mika ran towards the elevator, and the wound on her shoulder closed as she did so. With any luck, she’d be faster than the incoming bullets.

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