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Are you trying to continue the story from this link or is it a whole new story just the same premise? Either way, I am interested and will read the OOC thoroughly later today.

The current plan is to continue since we've barely started. We've had a player leave and a player seem to disappear completely, though they gave warning that life was getting hectic, so their characters won't be continuing on from where we are right now. But because we're still at the beginning it shouldn't be difficult to introduce new players, so that's why I put this check up for new ones.

Thank you for the interest!
Hello all! I just got a new computer, meaning I can finally put this up after... *checks watch* way too long.

So in short, we've got an RP that's started but still in its infancy, and we need more players. If you're a fan of Digimon, Megaman Battle Network/Star Force, or are just looking for a (hopefully) fun RP to join, I recommend "The Digital Expanse" as a perfect one for you. I've got plans for it to run for quite a while, and I don't intend to give up on it come hell or high water, or anything barring a digital apocalypse of some kind, really.

Details are in the OOC:
But I'll put the basics here too.

You play a human with 2 digimon partners, a netnavi partner, or one of each. Transported to a new set of worlds with new sets of rules, your main goal is to survive, and maybe save or doom those worlds while you're at it.

No knowledge of the two (three) series is technically required, but it'd help! I'm happy to help with any questions or concerns, both with making characters and with how the RP actually goes if you join.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope that if this interests you that you'll choose to join!
Shion had sat down in a corner, holding her new stuffed dragon close and trying to take a nap.

Summer opened her mouth, paused, then closed it. She didn't get any sort of vibe from this girl. Sure, why not?

"I don't know how to answer that question." She replied in a depressed tone with strong undertones of repressed anger. "I don't know how to make this last longer, either."


Inertia is a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force. It is also a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. It can be summarized as resistance to change in some other physical property. It is what is currently forcing me to make a short diatribe on what it is so that I can pad out okay good she's not looking anymore POST POST IT

A Not At All This Happy Shion & An Even Less Happy Summer In: Not My Time Of Year

Shion found herself at the Christmas party, unsure of why she was there, urged on by her promise to Oros and by her Puchuu Ko. Meanwhile, Summer appeared there as well, urged on by me, the voice in her head. Summer was given a stuffed wolf by a girl she was fairly sure was considered Beacon's enemy, but she didn't care enough to question it. Shion on the other hand perked up slightly when given a stuffed dragon, as would be expected of her. When the two passed each other, both going to the most secluded location at the party that they could find (ironically causing them to meet at it before Shion left for another spot) Summer wondered if the other girl had put that Ruby Coin to good use. She supposed it didn't really matter in the end.

Are you seriously half-assing something like this?
Yes. Yes I am.
The golden trove had lost it’s long time managers and while many were upset, the hotel had never been better!

The frightened dragon had been replaced with a pink haired beauty, and the managers weren’t so stiff and prone to anger issues. Aria’s glowing charisma let her guide workers with ease, and Binky’s ability to duplicate herself and be in multiple places at once meant that she could monitor several parts of the hotel at once. It wasn’t even possible for Binky to get pranked by her duplicates because of all the people around. All in all, this was a huge win for everyone at the Golden Trove.

Aria was at the reception desk, arranging some plants at the counter. Her butterflies might have been mere mana constructs, but they enjoyed drinking nectar as much as any butterfly. Binky was typing information into a computer. Mostly just managing incoming and outgoing guests. Everyone needed to be accounted for.

"Thirsty?" Aria offered a cup to her apprentice.

Binky shook her head. ”I’m fine.” She responded without looking away from the screen.

Aria just shrugged her shoulders before taking a sip of her glass.

A strange girl walked through the front door, and all anyone who saw her could think was that she was beautiful. She walked up to the front counter, ignoring anyone else, and held out a hand for one of the butterflies to land on, smiling as she did. ”These are wonderful. You created them?”

"But of course!" the fluorescent winged creatures flew circles around Aria's head. "They love building things, but there isn't much use for them here. Well, not yet. But I'm glad you find them amusing. " With a nod, she nudged Binky. The apprentice prepared to start looking up available rooms. "But surely you came here to do more than just look at my friends? All of our economy forms are full, but we do have some luxury apartments that would be fitting for someone as stunning as yourself. And don't let the name fool you, they are quite affordable!"

”That does sound nice. I think I might be able to handle that. Do you have any rooms for two?” the girl asked with a tilt of her head.

Aria nodded. "All of our rooms can accommodate at least two people. The beds all sleep two, and each room comes with two dressers and a foot locker under the bed. But each room only has one bath, so you’d need to share."

”Unless you’d like two separate rooms.” Binky looked up from the computer. ”Some of our rooms have doors between them to accommodate families. So that’s an option if you need an extra bathroom.”

”Just the one is fine, thank you. I’ll be meeting someone here soon, but we plan to stay a few nights. How much is it for a room, exactly?”

Aria’s closed her hands together. "The cost of a luxury room is one silver, two if you want one on the top floor. Of course, we also accept cash payments as well as Visa and Mastercard."

The girl handed over a silver coin with the hand not resting a butterfly. ”That is affordable. Thank you very much.”

Just as she finished talking, there was a loud crash as the front door was slammed against the wall it opened towards and a certain squirrel girl walked in. ”Guess who!?” she shouted towards the angelic girl, causing the butterfly to flee.

But that would be all she would say before she seemed to vanish out of existence. After Makoto made her appearance, Aria seemed to turn into a neon colored blue that shot towards the squirrel girl. Then when Binky blinked, the blur and Makoto were gone.

”Um.” Binky stood up. ”Aria?” There seemed to be a trail pushed through the snow outside. It went in a straight line to the center of the street, where Aria was caressing Makoto’s tail.

"I thought I would never see you again." She hugged the tail as a tear rolled down her cheek.

The angel stifled a laugh. ”You’d be surprised how often something like that happens.”

”Oh, hey! It’s you! Nice to see you again, miss artificer!” Makoto told the girl grabbing her tail as she pat Aria on the head gently. ”You have no idea how helpful you were when last met!” Aria only foamed at the mouth in response.

Binky was a bit more concerned with the state of the building, however. ”The door’s broken. Oh dear, it’s suppose to get cold tonight.”

The redhead turned to Binky. ”I apologize for the door.” she finally said after seeing Binky’s expression. ”If you don’t mind, I could try to fix it? Or would it be better to pay for the damage?” Hopefully in mundane currencies… she thought to herself, turning away slightly.

”You think you can fix it?” Binky pressed the tips of her fingers together. ”Well, if you could, that would be wonderful!”

The girl nodded then walked over to the door. Using her magic in place of tools, she bent the hinges back into place and fused them to the wall in place of screws. Then with a flourish she waved her arm over the door, and it seemed as if the damage was reversed, leaving a perfectly intact door that she placed back on the hinges. Finally she fused the door to them as well, before testing the fixed door gently.

”It’s not a permanent fix, but it should last a while. I’d feel bad if I didn’t try to undo what my friend did, though, so I hope this is acceptable.” She bowed slightly to Binky.

Binky looked over what the girl had done. ”Temporary or not, that’s very good under such short notice! Aria and I can probably create something more permanent later.”

"Hold up." Aria wiped the foam off of the corner of her mouth and inspected the door. "Well, this is quite the gathering of the minds we have here!" She spun on her heel. "It looks like we have a magic smith of some sort among us." She placed a hand on her chest. "I’m Aria, best known for my artificing shop in the overcity. Who might you be?"

”Funny running into you here, then! I heard that Makoto and I are indebted to you for some of your past work. My name is Shiki, and that tail you were molesting and the girl attached to it are supposed to be my rival.” Makoto waved with a stupid grin on her face. ”We’re here to visit and plan out a few things, which we could actually use your input on, if you have the spare time in the coming days.”

”That’s right! We’re so close to the end, so we’re taking a break from the hard work to come relax for a bit.” Makoto added.

"Did someone say the end? Yea, I’d love to chat, but there’s like, four of you there now. I think I’ll stay up here for now."

Aria pointed her finger at the heavens and closed her eyes. "Well first of all, It’s not molesting if it’s done to the willing." She said with a grave level of seriousness. "But I was paid for my work, and don’t consider anyone indebted to me."

"Still, it's only thanks to you that we've managed to get this far. So thank you."

"Hey, how do you feel about your Patron? And we should probably go somewhere where we won't be listened in on. Though miss time-skip-and-a-jump up there is welcome to come listen too, if she wants." Makoto flashed Oros a toothy grin.

"Thanks, I will!"

Shiki nodded. We're also waiting on a friend to deliver a few items that she's hopefully been able to sneak out by now, but we’ve got some time.

"Then why don’t we finish checking you in?" Aria started to walk back inside. "The luxory rooms are designed to be as quiet as possible. No sound gets in, and no sound gets out. It’s what allows our guests to sleep peacefully."

While the wallpaper in the room gave it an oriental feel, most of the furnishings were what you’d find in a standard western hotel. Though unlike a standard hotel room, it was much larger, and sported a small living area and a full kitchen. The living room had a glass top table and a u-shaped couch facing a TV. But for their purposes, the four magical girls could sit around the table and discuss things.

Aria broat some beverages for everyone to drink, and Binky conjured up some fast food. ”Everyone likes burgers, right? It’s the best I can do, really.”

"It’s fine. I’m just glad you could duplicate yourself a few times to watch the front counter. Your clones are fairly competent, even if they don’t like you much." Aria looked to Makoto and Shiki. "To continue our discussion from outside, I’m quite fond of my patron. We’ve been through a lot together." Binky conjured a plate of potato chips, and Aria picked one up. "He gives me the freedom to do a great many things that I doubt I’d get to enjoy less I was solo. We go very far back, and I have no intention of betraying his trust. Even if puchuu tend to be a bit, well, you know."

Shiki nodded. "You're one of the lucky ones. And not just among Puchuu, either." She leaned in, resting her elbows on her knees while Makoto took a burger and a few chips. "We're not so lucky. Makoto and I-"

"We're stuck with patrons who don't really like us." Makoto cut in between chews of the chips. "But we're obviously not the only ones. And there are far worse Patrons out there than ours, even if ours would like nothing more than for us to be killing each other right now."

"We, or I, rather, represent an organization dedicated to freeing magical beings from... well, everything. We believe that anything capable of thought and magic deserves freedom, and that means from both Patrons and the walls those Patrons have built between magi. No more monster girls being persecuted for what they are, no more fights for resources that could easily be shared, no more needless killing or forced reincarnation just to get back into the fighting again."

Makoto took out a small bag and popped an acorn into her mouth, talking around it like it was a jawbreaker. "Plush," She bit into it and swallowed before continuing, "there's some people we want to talk to. Imagine how much we could learn from Scáthach, for example, if she were able to reincarnate. It isn't right for some Lesser Force, even a primordial one like Fate, to determine who can and can't come back. For us magical peeps, it's just a part of life. Cutting us off from reincarnation is no different than killing a mortal in its sleep." She began to eat the burger she was given.

Shiki leaned back again. "But that's all just a natural grievance. There are some things you just can't change, and a strong desire isn't enough. So what can you do, right, except try your hardest?"

"Reincarnation is a fascinating topic. we could learn a lot from many great minds. But don’t think for a second someone wouldn’t hesitate to resurrect Hitler, Stalin, Nobunaga, or Genghis Khan." She scratched her chin. "Well, Genghis Khan loved to spread rumors about himself. It’s believed most of the darker things about him were just scary rumors to avoid fighting."

Shiki smiled softly. "I always find that an interesting argument. Though I'll admit I'd not heard one about Genghis Khan before... And while I agree that it's a moving argument, the opposite is true as well."

" And I get that bringing back bad people would be bad, yeah, duh. I just want my friend back, he only got cut out because he was friends with me, and that's not fair. Getting the other magicals who were forced to stop reincarnating back is just a bonus." Makoto said.

Shiki nodded. "I understand there are problems with resurrection, we don't want a rapture to occur or anything of that sort, simply for those who were as Makoto put it 'killed in their sleep' to have that undone."

"While resurrection is something I strongly disapprove of, I am not against reincarnation." Aria placed her hands together, and a broad grin crossed her face. "Do you know who Su Daji was?"

Shiki opened her eyes. "I believe I've heard the name before, but I don't know the specifics, personally. I'm curious what they have to do with reincarnation, though, now that you've mentioned them."

"About three-thousand years ago, she was the consort of Zhou Xin, the emperor of China at the time. She never became a mother, and died quite young. If history is to be believed, they were not kind rulers, and were overthrown by their own people. Zhou Xin burned himself alive with all his treasure, and Su Daji was publicly executed." Aria reclined in her seat. "Su Daji in particular has a notorious reputation for her cruelty. There are many tales of her satisfying her curiosity in morbid ways. She saw a man walking over ice, and had his feet cut off so that she could study them in one story. Another had her commanding doctors to open up a pregnant woman so that she could ‘see what happened inside.’ She also invented a torture device: a bronze cylinder covered in oil. Exactly how it worked changes from story to story, but it was heated over coals, and victims were either tied to it or forced to ‘dance’ on top of the heated cylinder until they fell into the hot coals below. The most absurd stories have her depicted as a nine-tailed-fox, which might be the most truthful thing about her."

Binky was keeping the table filled with snacks to satisfy Makoto’s voracious appetite. ”She sounds horrible.”

"We’re talking about a woman who lived and died in years BC." Aria set down her cup and picked up a donut. It was pink and covered in rainbow sprinkles. "Most of her atrocities have no records of having ever happened. She could have been the first noble woman ever to be targeted by propaganda."

Binky sighed before taking a donut for herself. ”And what does she have to do with resurrection and reincarnation of all things?”

"Because she was reincarnated, I spoke with her in fact. She went by the name Su Fang, maybe you’ve heard of the former hotel manager?" Aria had a full-on grin now. The extremely smug kind when you know more than everyone else in the room. "When you’re resurrected, you’re pretty much exactly who you were when you died. But with reincarnation, you’re made anew. You may or may not remember your old memories, but you have the ability to look at your past self objectively, as if they were a different person. It gives you a safeguard against certain types of behavior. As an example, Hitler would have the ability to experience a different upbringing, and as a result, has a greater chance of realizing that Nazi Germany was not a good thing and should not be attempted again. The caveat is that truly brilliant minds might have been a product of their time, and aren’t guaranteed to be nearly as brilliant after reincarnation. The existence of familiars also shouldn’t be discounted. They are a conglomeration of memories and have all sorts of experiences to share. If you’re just interested in creating a living account of something specific, working on a way to manufacture a familiar with said memories would probably be the safest thing. But what you’re after is bringing your friend back, not collecting long forgotten knowledge. So… Whatever." She waved her hand at Makoto. ”Sometimes people can’t be brought back because the soul has moved to a place where even magic can’t reach them. But I digress.”

Makoto's face fell, and she looked at Aria with a despondent look. "Doesn't that just prove our point? Cutting off someone great from reincarnation is wrong. And it's not a good thing that that sort of power is held by things that can't understand mortals or value their lives as more than tools..." Honestly, the story had shaken her. She didn't believe her friend didn't deserve resurrection, but the power to resurrect others was within the realm of what they wanted.

As if reading Makoto's thoughts, Shiki responded to Aria. "Ultimately, the possibility of resurrecting someone, or something, is an unavoidable side effect. Whether to revive a genius like Scáthach would be a great debate, but to put her back into the reincarnation cycle is something I feel doesn't need debate, because it shouldn't be something that has to be done in the first place, yet it is."

"Sounds like we agree on that point. But I don’t think you’re here to talk about resurrection VS reincarnation. You have quite the scandalous little plot going on." Aria set down her cup. "It sounds like you want to overthrow the patrons, break the rules of magic, and allow magical girls the ability to do things that most believe they really shouldn’t. Is that fair?"

"People have put it that way before, yes. Though I'd contest that last bit." Shiki said.

Makoto spoke up. "I dunno if overthrowing is accurate though. If everyone is on equal ground with their patrons, is that overthrowing or something else?" She looked to Shiki. "We've had that argument a lot."

"I take it this is what you wanted to talk to me about?" The butterfly princess placed her hands in her lap. "I think it’s important to realize that Patrons, regardless of how cruel some of them may seem, do ultimately have a symbiotic relationship with magical girls. The rules of magic state that a patron must give up some of their magic to make a magical girl. Regardless if a magical girl is alive, dead, fighting, powerful, or weak, they occupy a part of a patron’s magic that they will never get back. It does not benefit a patron to treat its magical girls in a way that inhibits their ability to do their job, or to treat them like they are expendable. The exception to this rule is the puchu of course, as they use the fountain of youth’s mana. But they interfere with a magical girl’s life less than almost all other types of patrons. Even the more powerful patrons like horrors risk becoming weak enough to be preyed upon by other horrors, and so they operate in a way that minimizes their mana expenditure. This means maintaining their magical girls. But there’s a difference between living and being alive, isn’t there?" She tapped the side of her head. "We all think we want more freedom, but do we really? As children, we all wanted to grow up as fast as we could so that we could do whatever we wanted. yet the old farts all wanted to return to being children. If the rules of magic were fully removed, some patrons may not even go as far as getting a contract before acquiring a new magical girl. They might freely attack other magical girls directly, especially the more sinister forces. The rules of magic are not perfect, but I believe they are essential to keeping the peace." She folded one leg over the other.

"All children must one day grow up. Even us magical girls with eternal youth, ironically cannot stay young forever." Her eyes closed and she leaned back again. "It doesn't benefit a Patron to use their magical girls as disposable, perhaps that's true for the kinds of Patrons most deal with. But there are plenty of times where a mortal magi becomes a Patron, and plenty of times where a Patron cuts off a magi and leaves them to die permanently when their mana runs out. There are too many Patrons that exist purely for the sake of destroying another Patron, or destroying a species, or who simply don't view mortals as having any value whatsoever..."

Makoto nodded. "Just look at the primordial forces. They're manifestations of the basic rules of a universe, yet they're still only 'Lesser Forces,' in Patron terms, right? That says something, right?"

"There are countless discrepancies like that across the universes and timelines. Makoto's example of the primordials may not make immediate sense, but it shows that the 'logic' of what we call the rules of magic isn't perfect. Similarly, consider the Great Old Ones, those beyond horrors, or for an example that hits perhaps more close to home, think of the Ebon Mint. Access to a technique, making coins, has thrown off the ecology of magical entities before, and it's created countless battles over what is effectively nothing. Selfish desires to control others. Except that was already the case, the Mint simply made it more visible on a small scale."

"And the two of us are an example of the bigger ones. I'm the only girl my Patron's got, and I'm only around to kill Shiki and the other girls her Patron has. And vice versa; it's shit, ya know?"

The artificer listened intently. "I’m afraid my areas of expertise are the rules of magic, and mortal medieval and feudal history. I don’t know that much about primordial forces like fate and chaos," A few butterflies picked up Aria’s cup and flew it to her hand. "You would have a much easier time convincing me that the rules of magic needed to be altered. How exactly could be an interesting debate if you had the time."

”For myself, I think the problem is that you’re forcing these changes on everyone.” Binky gestured at herself. ”I enjoy the protection my patron provides me, and I’m not sure I’d be okay with it if she had a bunch of rules imposed on her to make it harder to do her job. But I do feel for you guys. That’s gotta suck…”

"Regardless of the changes made, even removing the rules is simply a change in rules. Though I apologize if I made it seem like our goal was to totally remove the rules themselves. The goal is a level playing ground; we don't want to make every magi a Patron or vice versa, we want those who are enslaved by Patrons to be freed and those who work together with them to be able to do so without harm. Ending the constant fighting by those who have no real reason to fight and the suffering that comes with it." Shiki said.

Makoto spoke up, turning towards Binky. "If you're friends with your Patron, then what would even change? You'd just not be stuck doing what they want without the power to compromise. Good Patrons wouldn't really even be affected, at least not intentionally."

Aria clicked her tongue. ”You’ve spoken a lot about working to make changes. What have you done, and how is it going to impact things?”

Shiki reached into her pocket and brought out a Purification Artifact, a small amulet. "What have we done so far... That's your question. What we've done is create a way to blind a Patron, though this requires cutting off the mana between them and the girl who goes missing for as long as it lasts. That was the first thing, and it's the only reason Makoto and I can work on the same side, rather than having to fight. This is why I'm grateful to you, because the devices she commissioned from you are what allow me to use my magic and not run out of mana while preventing Fate from watching me, or Causality from watching her. That's not to say we're exactly hiding what we're doing from them, of course. Their 'minds,' if they can be called that, are alien to us; we have no idea what or even how they're thinking, but we assume they know we're working together. They just, hopefully, don't know what it is we're actually doing."

Makoto was visibly uncomfortable, and Shiki's face turned slightly annoyed as she turned the artifact over and over in her hands. "The second thing we've done is design an artifact that can corrupt, and more importantly un-corrupt a magical girl, without forcing them into a contract with a Patron or totally rewriting their magic." She gestured towards Binky. "It's thanks to this timeline of this universe that it's possible, and not simply theory, that it can be done. But I digress... The third thing we've done is design an upgrade to that artifact which can allow it to be used to remove... drawbacks, let's say, things like our-" she gestured to herself and Makoto, "need to consume, be it metaphysical concepts or actual food, or my inefficient reincarnation method."

"There's a lot of other so called 'mutations' that afflict people, and shouldn't. Sure, it supposedly balances them, but if it makes them do terrible things, is that balance a good thing?" She shivered. "They're making it hard to focus with that thing, for example. Proof that there's some sort of higher force setting a moral system that isn't very moral onto the magical world." She said as she pointed at the artifact her friend was playing with.

Shiki nodded and continued, still toying with the Purification Artifact in her hands. "The third thing we've done is recruit someone who can actually make the things, and set up a method to combine the two into a singular device. Fourth, we've built something to power this device, which when activated should provide theoretically limitless mana. The goal of this is to not only power the artifact that will end the hatred of, from, and towards so-called 'monster girls,' but to also end the fighting over mana that countless Patrons throw their magi into. After all, if there's enough food for everyone, why continue fighting over fertile fields? We're not just looking out for humans, but all magical species. Granted, there will still be fighting, but it'll be between those who wish to control others and those who wish to stop them, though that's not to say it'll be only two sides. Those fighting for control will fight others for control; there will never be a true end to all fighting, but we can alleviate much of it by breaking the stigma of dark and monster magical girls and providing mana for everyone."

"And if everyone has mana, then you don't need a Patron anymore. You have the power to leverage your value against them. We're after a political change."

"Fifth, we have plans to alter the Akashic Record, making it so that influence from the most powerful entities, such as Elder Gods, is limited. We want to have a way for mortals and magi to fight back if one decides to destroy them. Bring magical girls up to the next level so that there is a playing field at all with which to even out. And lastly..." Shiki looked Aria dead in the eyes. "We have a trustworthy group to ensure that the weak have somewhere to go. We want to grow this group, create a safe space for every magi. You asked how this will affect things? I'll put it in mundane terms. What we're doing will make it so that Patrons and magi must be in a symbiotic relationship, a balanced value for value relationship, not a parasitic one, or one where it's an ant and a dragon." She finally put away the Purification Artifact. "Ultimately, we want to help those who need help and hinder those who need hindering. That's what it comes down to, we're just using rather extreme methods since past attempts with lesser methods have all failed."

Aria listened intently as the two rattled off everything. Binky had stopped making food and just listened to the two go on, here eyes widening with each new revelation. The apprentice pulled up a tome filled to the brim with notes, and started to jot down even more as the two continued to talk.

"Hmmm, it’s certainly ambitious, what you’re trying to do." Aria was not smiling now. She was focused, thinking. "So if I understand you correctly, you have these artifacts that can interfere with a Patron’s connection with their magical girl, effectively making them ignorant to what the girl is doing. That same artifact can also regulate a magical girl’s level of corruption, and remove mental mutations. You also have a way of powering this device in such a way that it should run indefinitely. In addition to this, you have plans for limiting the influence elder gods have over this game they play with our lives. Do I understand you correctly?"

"The artifact we have now, which can obscure a girl from her Patron, is not the same as the ones that we're working on. The others are in development, but yes, assuming there are no problems with finalizing them then your summary is correct." Shiki pulled out a small notebook of her own, filled with sketches of various designs of complex artifacts and held it out to Aria. "This is the culmination of countless magi spending countless hours theorizing and testing and hypothesizing and testing. This little booklet has sketches of some of the artifacts used to create the ones we're making now. But it's really due to this timeline right now that it all can come together."

"Thank you for clarifying. I think it’s best if we simply bypass that detail for now and assume you are successful." Aria placed her hand on an arm rest. "I think what you’re trying to do is dangerously nearsighted. The types of magic we don’t understand far outstrip the kinds we do."

”The Akashic Record is no child’s toy, either.” Binky’s hands trembled as she wrote it’s name. ”Very powerful forces are going to try and stop you from doing anything to it. Even if you get the backing of one or two powerful patrons, almost all the others have made it the way they wish for it to be. You’ll be painting a huge target on your back, not that you haven’t done that already.”

"I just see this ending very poorly for you." Aria shook her head. "There are magical girls who are just as corrupt as the most vile patrons. Giving more power to magical girls might cause patrons to find other means to continue their disputes. Your plan also assumes that it all ends with elder gods. What if there’s something above them?"

It was Makoto's turn to smile. "When your whole existence is built around fighting, like magical girls now, what's one more fight? Yeah, we don't understand a lot of other kinds of magic, at least we don't understand what we think exists, but what if we leave things the way they are and then some 'bigger than an Elder God' thing comes down to mess with us? We wouldn't even have a shot, but if we're gonna assume we succeed, then we'd have at least some way to fight back a little. Make things annoying for them."

Oros popped up from behind the couch. "Boy do I have something to tell you!" Her surprise appearance probably didn’t surprise anyone, as she had come into the room earlier just to listen in. Though it seemed now she had something to say. "The real problem with this plan isn’t the ramifications and technobabble you four keep throwing at each other. The problem is that people are too set in their god damn ways." Oros climbed over the back of the couch and practically fell between Aria and Binky, who slid to either side as she flipped around into a sitting position. "Everybody loves monster girls! The only reason why they’re so oppressed is because the ass-a-dentistry doesn’t have that monster girl kink, so they just butcher anything with a bit of corruption in it. Unless it’s Justine for some reason. Hell, they’re okay with Penny, who's like a purified monster girl? Still not sure how that works, but she told my patron that all monster girls with corruption are basically just a bunch of dumb cowards apparently, and being a monster girl and being corrupt aren’t the same? I don’t really understand it either."

“I am a statistical anomaly just, once again, not for carrying a spark with my nature. I also never said anything about being free of corruption while being a Monster is easy. Far from it. The reason it doesn’t happen more is, in my belief, a mix of ignorance and fear. As like you most have conflated the issues. Because corruption can cause one to become a Monster Girl and purification can revert one from it, but again they are not one and the same.”

"Yup! That really came out of her stupid face. But it does give some credibility to the idea that corruption and monster girls are two separate things. So I guess that means your project should work? I mean it’s the one monster girl everyone knows of who is corruption free, so her opinion has to be worth something to you losers." Oros shrugged. "Anyway, the assy dentists are basically a small scale version of the patrons in that they can’t be made happy. Patrons don’t want enough mana, they want more mana. They want to devour the losers of this magical war, and much like google or facebook, won’t be satisfied until they’ve dominated everything." She sniffed. "I mean come on, we have three, sometimes eight month long fight scenes book ended by two week long periods of SOL stuff and even more fighting. I doubt we’re going to see the fighting end on account of everyone being given enough to survive."

Makoto’s smile faded as she listened to Oros.

Shiki sighed. "Yes, Beacon is another wonderful example of why we feel we must do this. Because like you said, they are a smaller scale version of the way Patrons are. Their Patrons, or perhaps we should call it a singular one of 'Beacon,' are some of those who have built the walls between magical girls that we wish to tear down. Specifically one of the anti-monster girl ones. There are some who argued that simply taking out the Ascendancy would solve things, but personally I believe they will continue on as long as the current systems are in place. There will always be another to take the place of the leader, and there will always be those who believe that the mutations we are afflicted with are cause for killing us. So we wish to remove those mutations, and make it so that the girls of Beacon who are more kind hearted won't be forced to work alongside those who aren't. That is the small scale example of what we're trying to do."

Makoto began to say something but thought better of it and stopped, looking at Shiki and nodding. "Ultimately, we believe it comes down to this: which is better? The current state of Patrons fighting proxy wars using innocent mortals that they often enslave, often trick, often take advantage of, and rarely help? An endless cycle of magical girls killing, suffering, and dying? Or the possibility of Patrons fighting their own battles, magical girls helping or hindering based on their own values? Killing, suffering, and dying that is spread among more than just those who are taken advantage of. Will a Horror or a God be more or less likely to continue an eons old fight if it's their own existence that's in danger?"

As Shiki tried to smother Oros with questions, she began to chuckle, before she broke out into laughter that belonged in an insane asylum. "You’re focusing on all the wrong details. That’s not how things work here." She took a moment to catch her breath. "On the scale you’re working with, things below the patron’s level aren’t even worth considering. Even most patrons! Everything that happens in our world is ultimately the choice of one of ten or so players, with the grand magistrate holding the most power over everything. A table of three members are responsible for the Doctrine Of Combat Supremacy as well as the Patron Doctrine of Fighting."

Binky stopped writing. ”Are you referring to the Akashic Record?”

"Stop being canonical! Anyway, The point is that nothing you do is going to get past those guys and girls regardless of your intentions. They’re all doing this for their own amusement. Our suffering is just them blowing off steam after a hard day at work, or maybe even school." She pulled a PDA out from her cleavage and checked her scheduel. still best hammerspace "Which is why assuming you are going to be successful is a big mistake. If you do anything that ends the fighting, it’s just not going to work. You’ll get stopped, or your plan will have problems that you didn’t foresee." Oros fret her brow. "Am I the only one who remembers how the value of coins spontaneously changed, or when magical girls couldn’t be made with red perks?"

"Wait, you actually believe in the Verses Theory? I mean, sure, if that's true we're sort of wasting our time, but... Even if there are things like that out there, that doesn't change the fact that we'd be helping all of us. If there's only ten, then they can only focus on so many of us at a time, right? So what about all of us they aren't focusing on? Don't they deserve a chance?"

"Then let's see if we're able to obscure them, too." Shiki said with a grin. "There has to be something we can do, and even if we can't, if we can affect positive change of any kind, it'll have been worth it."

Aria looked between Makoto's group, and Oros. "You understand her? That's rather curious."

"I dunno. 'Understand' is a bit of a stretch, it just sounds similar to the Verses Theory, the idea that we're some sort of T.V. show for beings beyond Elder Gods. It's a highly debated idea among the Void Touched magi. But she said there are around ten, so if it's the Verses Theory, then it would make sense."

"You are seriously underestimating the Patron(s) Layered At Your Every Realm if you think being just outside their area of focus grants anyone safety. They don't just decide the lay of the land and the rules, our very thoughts come from them. Do you think your will is truly your own? It isn't." As disturbing as the revelation was, it didn't seem to bother Oros in the least. "You could argue that you have a shot since you are essentially being controlled by one of those things, but that is where the Grand Magistrate comes in. There is a hierarchy for these things, and nothing happens without their explicit consent." She folded her arms. "They would need to accept this reality that you are trying to build."

”There, erm, 'Grand Magistrates.'” Binky hugged herself. ”Are they always the same, erm, people?”

Oros took a moment to think. "No, they change sometimes."

”But if enough of them changed, we could expect large changes, right?”

The beast girl scoffed. "Well..."

Shiki thought for a moment. "There has to be something. But do we even need to worry about these things? If we don't bother them, then what we're doing should still work, right? Or if we can convince them to focus on something else... If you're right about these things, then I don't really know how to proceed, other than to do what we were planning and see if we can force them to interfere. If they do, then we'll learn something and might be able to think up a good reaction to them."

"I think that’s probably for the best." Aria grinned ear to ear. "If we’re just a T.V. show used to entertain people, there’s also the possibility that those people’s tastes could change over time, even if the ‘big three’ never get taken off the production so to speak."

"You’ll see, this will all turn to ash in your mouth." Oros hissed. "This science shit bores me to tears. Do you people need anything? You’re not just tipping your hand on your big secret plan to show how grateful you are to Aria, are you?"

"We're taking vacation while we wait for a friend, actually! But yeah, it was nice to get the opinion of one of the people who made it possible for me and Shiki to even be friends." Makoto said, smiling.

"That's right. We still need her to finish what she's doing. I don't know how easy it'll be for her, but it shouldn't be too long now. And if we have to brute force it, we can always do that as well." Shiki grinned.

"Holy shit, this is a dangerous level of foreshadowing going on here. Who could she be!?" Oros stood up. "Well someone’s gotta sit behind the big desk and pretend to be working. I’ll be off. Send one of your clones to my office to empty the waste paper basket."

”S-sure thing, boss.” Binky called out just before the door shut behind Oros.

"She’s a nice girl deep down, just um, a bit confused." Aria pretended to look at a wrist watch before sitting upright. "I do think your research will be fruitful, even if it doesn’t do exactly what you set out to do. I can’t speak for Binky, but I would personally like to see you succeed. I even think she would." Aria looked to the door where Oros left. "Well that does it. I need to open up my artificing shop again. There’s no reason I can’t move my store location to the Golden Trove."

”Now there’s an idea.” Binky tapped her chin. ”The Golden Trove was formerly the domain of a hiding dragon. It’s very resilient to scrying magic and things of that nature. We’d have to talk it over with Oros, but maybe this could be a sort of hub where we can do independent research and things like that, far away from prying eyes.” Binky sighed. ”Maybe that’s too ambitious an idea to spring on people who are just trying to have a vacation. Pretend I didn’t say anything.”

"Heh, if you'll give a discount, I'd be down for it. I've got a bunch of friends who would be good for that."

"Well, we can talk about it another time, I think. Thank you for your time, girls." Shiki stood and bowed to Aria and Binky.


It didn’t take long for Nuncio to get Sammy to leave the sanctuary. When he told her that someone had insisted they leave Penrose, she acted like she couldn’t be bothered. But when she heard that Nuncio had been unattended with another woman, Sammy was a bit more interested in meeting them.

Well, interest was one way of putting it.

”Sammy! Gah!”

The tiny detective practically dragged her boyfriend out of Sanctuary, pulling him by the back of his head. ”According to my deductions, the harlot is waiting for us out here.” She waved around her magnifying glass. ”Show yourself, harlot!”

Shion turned towards the couple before looking around for a moment, confused. ”... Me?” she asked, pointing to herself when she noticed nobody else around the immediate area.

Sammy looked at Shion, then at Nuncio. He gave a single nod, which caused Sammy to release him before walking towards the girl.

”Yes, I have deduced who is responsible for this ‘disruption.’ According to my sources, you are Shion, correct?” Sammy didn’t stop walking until she was a foot away from her. The detective needed to swing her head back to look Shion in the eyes. ”So what’s this about getting me to leave Penrose? There’s far too much going on to properly leave alone. The Mint, Beacon, the coins, the murders, it’s all connected somehow.”

Shion deadpanned at Sammy. Everything is connected somehow, that’s how things are. As for those things in particular… Well, I know that the Mint, or at least one of their enforcers, wants you guys out because you’re too… innocent? Weak? Something like that, and considering what might be happening soon… You’re gonna not want to be here.”

”Something’s happening?” Sammy’s pupils expanded, practically turning into saucers. ”I was not told of any happenings! You must divulge everything you know. Less my ability to solve the case go down by .015%. Unlikely to cause failure, but a statistical anomaly I will not soon ignore!” Nuncio just stood up and dusted himself.

Might be happening. And I’ll tell you, if you promise to leave ASAP. There’s not really anything that involves you in it, I think.”

Sammy, in rather dramatic fashion, spun a hundred-and-eighty degrees before slapping her hand against her own forehead. ”B-but, I cannot!” She looked over her shoulder at Shion. ”Who will solve the case if I don’t? Who, among those left in Penrose, are not in the pockets of those powerful organizations?”

”Man, I don’t even know anyone other than me now that the P.I. stopped telling me things. But if you tell me what you know, I’ll try to figure it out for you, I guess? I don’t have any resources but time anymore, but that’s a powerful one.” Shion said as she crossed her arms, somewhat upset at having admitted that she was clueless about Penrose’s goings on lately.

Sammy’s lower lip trembled. ”W-well, you don’t sound as knowledgeable as you first let on.”

”But she does sound like she’s trying to be helpful.” Nuncio coiled his arms around Sammy’s shoulders. ”Sammy, I know this case means a lot to you. You were never one to give up when it meant bringing villains to justice. But you’re not just a lone detective anymore. You’ve got Faith and myself with you. You were captured once, and Lotus was killed by some Beacon fanatic.”

”B-But-” She was trembling in Nuncio’s arms.

”You’re the only reason I haven’t fled Penrose right now. But please think of Faith. She’s already lost so much, and I really can’t look after the two of you.” He sighed. ”Look, there are unsolved mysteries all over the world. Paranormal happenings only you can get to the bottom of.” He looked at Shion. ”I know it’s hard to put your faith in others, especially strangers that you just met. But if you can’t put your faith in her, put it in me. Let her take your place here and we can all continue our adventure elsewhere. We can continue to look for Binky outside of Penrose while Shion keeps an eye around here.”

Sammy took a deep breath, sighed, and closed her eyes. ”You still love me, right?”

”I haven’t stopped thinking about you once.”

”Heheheh.” She wiped one of her eyes before looking at Shion. ”Alright, let’s hear what you have to say.”

”Alright, so… This isn’t going to sound believable, but it’s true. There’s a theory out there that with enough magic, you can create something that’ll totally upheave the magical ecosystem of patrons and magi. What I know is that, if things are going the way I hope they are, Penrose is going to become the site of the debut of one of those events. I don’t know if it’ll actually come to pass, but if it does it’s going to bring in a lot of magical beings that you won’t want to be around for, so this is going to be for the best in two ways.” Shion sighed, hoping once again that Makoto was on to something. ”Anyway, that’s what I know, so if you want me to take up this case for you, I’ll need to know what you know, too.”

”I see, well, I always knew something was afoot.” Sammy looked to either side of herself. ”Well, news about it has quieted down, but Binky was the one who made the red coins. I don’t know what his game was, but he was ‘captured’ by Beacon, and not long after they started to roll out their white coin. Coincidence? I think NOT!” She threw out her arms, and even Nuncio couldn’t contain her. ”And speaking of coincidences, is it not amusing that after the majority of Penrose’s magical girls were abducted that Penrose itself becomes the playpen of monsters? A likely excuse to send in Beacon Special forces: The Ascendancy!” She was pacing back and forth in front of Shion. ”All the while strange murder is taking place, and while investigating one such case I was abducted by Mint agents! The dead girl in question was a monster girl. Why would Mint waste their time with one of those with the Ascendancy around? Certainly there must be something big enough that it has the two of them wrapped up in it. Are they on the same side? In competition? Regardless, the two of them deal in secrets and lies.” Sammy brought a hand to her chin. ”This information about an upheaval of the food chain, it makes sense. That must be what they’re trying to control.” She stopped walking. ”…It’s just like all of Aigorost’s champions have been saying…” With a sigh, she turned to Shion. ”You are a brave woman, Shion. I might not be scared of this coming apocalypse, but I have to look out for my friends. Perhaps you have no difficulty staying because you have none, or they are elsewhere?” She hugged herself. ”It feels strange to leave here with so much undone, so much left to deduce and see, but it is as Nuncio says, there are other mysteries to take care of. Perhaps in time we will meet again.”

Shion was stunned a moment from the levy of information she received. Still… ”Yeah, you’re right. That all does seem a bit too much to be a coincidence. Though I wouldn’t call myself brave, thank you for trusting me. I’ll do my best to figure this all out, and if I do, I’ll see what I can do to get the answers to you. I don’t like half-assing things.” Shion smiled. ”Good luck out there, you two. And make sure to get… Crap, I forget her name. But there was a third I was supposed to get out of Penrose alongside you two. I’ll even escort you out if you need.”

”It was Faith.” Nuncio added simply.

”Huh?” Sammy raised an eyebrow. ”How would you know?”

The mobster shrugged his shoulders. ”Just a hunch, there are three of us right? Faith has to be number three.”

Sammy nodded. ”…Yea, that makes sense.” She and Nuncio walked away.

A sigh left faith’s lips as she waited on the park bench. It was still cold out, but Faith’s jacket was plenty to keep warm by. At least it was enough to prevent her from getting sick. The cold wasn’t something she cared for at all. She much preferred the other seasons, as you could actually see things bloom. But the now-ruined Penrose more or less looked the same regardless of the time of year. A coat of snow on ruined buildings was nothing to really get excited about.

Faith wasn’t even sure why she had to wait here. Nuncio had told her to be at this very spot, and Faith had decided to show up early to not keep everyone waiting.

“H-Hi, Faith!” Connie called as she and Mia approached. Faith nearly jumped out of her seat, until she realized who was speaking to her. “It’s r-really nice to s-see you again,” she added with a smile, while she reached into a coat pocket and retrieved a small piece of paper. “Uh, t-this is the invitation t-to that C-Christmas Party I t-texted you about,” the timid girl explained, handing the paper to Faith. “I, uh, t-thought it m-might be fun, a-and, um…” she trailed off as she fully noticed just how gloomy her friend looked.

“This goofy dolphin’s hosting it,” Mia added, in an attempt to make things a bit less awkward. “He’s got his very own beach dimension and everything. Gotta say, it’s pretty weird, but it sure beats the hell outta this place…”

“S-So, um, h-how have you b-been doing?” Connie asked, having finally summoned up the courage to voice the question she was somewhat afraid to learn the answer to.

Faith pinched the ticket between her fingers and gently pulled it from Connie’s grasp. ”It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” She examined the ticket, pulling it tight between her two hands. Despite having a more mature appearance than Connie, her fingers were comparatively small and delicate. ”I think we named Hilda Bell, didn’t we? That was fun.” A wistful smile crossed her face. ”I still miss Lotus, I’m a little disappointed with how easily Penny became queen. I hear she’s a Beacon plant, but she’s so strong no one would dare try to take her throne from her. Just as well I didn’t get involved in that I suppose. B-but it hasn’t all been bad!” She turned to Connie and made her smile as big as she possibly could. ”I made a friend, and we ate some ice cream! And you two are still here. But, well.” She looked ahead. ”I don’t think Penrose is for me.”

Connie frowned when Faith mentioned how much she still missed Lotus, and then went on to talk about someone named Penny becoming queen. Connie didn’t know anything about any of that, but it was clear to see it was something that greatly bothered Faith. There was still so much about Penrose’s magical community that was a complete mystery to Connie. Take Beacon, for instance. A lot of people had called them dangerous extremists, but other people thought of them as heroes, and the few members she had briefly met had seemed nice enough… But what was the truth? Who and what was she to believe? It was all so confusing…

Connie was shaken out of these thoughts a moment later, when Faith brightened and told them about a new friend she had made, and how they’d eaten ice cream together. That made Connie a great deal more relieved, but then…

“N-Not for you?” Connie echoed, her confusion clear in her voice. “D-Does that m-mean you’re l-leaving…?”

Faith pressed her knees together. ”Conni I-” With a huff, she lowered her head. ”The choice is not entirely my own. I know the local forests need me, but I’m ill equipped for city life. Lotus has been slain, I was nearly devoured, Cindy’s regime has been completely taken over, not to mention Beacon is looking for me, and my first friends in Penrose are urging me to leave.” She pulled on the hem of her coat. ”It feels like I’m running away, but I think it only feels like that because you two can’t come with me.”

“I-It’s okay,” Connie told Faith, while placing a trembling hand on her shoulder and giving her what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “I’ll r-really miss you, b-but I understand w-why they want you to l-leave. I-I mean, i-it’s not all t-that s-safe around here… Oh! B-But d-don’t worry about us!” she hastened to add. “T-Thanks to you, w-we’ve made a lot of n-new friends, a-and I’m getting a lot better at c-controlling my m-magic, too!”

“And don’t worry about the forests, either,” Mia added with a grin. “If anyone starts screwin’ around with ‘em, they’ll have to deal with me.

Sitting down next to Faith, Connie wrapped her up in a big hug. “You’re s-such a good person, Faith. I’m s-so glad I got the c-chance to be your friend.”

Faith let out a soft grunt as Connie embraced her. ”Well! I’m glad I got to meet you too~! And your words are reassuring, Gaia.” After returning the hug, she eased Connie back into her seat. ”I may be leaving, but I’ll still have your phone numbers. So we can stay in touch if you like.” she smiled. ”But I understand, there’s nothing quite like surviving together in a rough neck of the woods.”

“Y-Yeah! We t-totally can!” Connie agreed after Faith noted that they’d still be able to call and text each other. “A-And h-hopefully you can s-still make it to the Christmas Party,” she added. “S-Since it’s k-kinda in another d-dimension, you s-should be able to get there n-no matter where you m-move to! Oh! A-And that invitation I gave you can d-duplicate itself, so you c-can invite your other f-friends too!”
Faith looked at the ticket in her hand and, sure enough, it became two tickets with just a thought. ”Well isn’t that neat~!.” she giggled. ”I’ll see about attending. But for now, there’s still time before the others arrive. Was there something you wanted to do before I go, Connie?.”

Faith’s question caused the timid girl to frown in thought. “Umm… N-Not really…? I, uh, j-just w-wanted to invite you to the p-party and c-catch up on things…”

“How about we build some snow forts?” Mia suggested.

“T-That’s a great idea, Mia!” Connie gushed, a happy smile spreading across her face. “W-Would you like to, Faith?! I-It’ll be j-just like the day we f-first met!”

The fairy girl closed her eyes. The day they had made snow forts they were on a great plane. Just a giant sheet of snow that had only been marked by their mock battle. A white, barely used canvas that the four of them could mould into whatever they desired. They had spent a fair bit of time moulding the snow drifts into tunnels, walls, and other simple structures. Then they hurled snowballs during a snowball war afterwards. A lot of fun was had.

When she opened her eyes though, Faith didn’t see a white canvas. She saw some tall buildings, roads that had plowed away most of their snow, given this was one of the few places where vehicles could actually drive. Most of the snow was brown, some was even black. And instead of having the entire evening to themselves, they had just a few minutes. The three of them.

”We could try.” Faith stood up and walked towards a mound of snow. ”So do you have any plans after the Christmas party? Any reason why you keep trying to make friends? I imagine you’ll have quite a few before long.”

“O-Oh, um, n-not really…” Connie replied, her high spirits having been lowered a bit by Faith’s somewhat sullen demeanor. “A-And, well… B-Besides Mia, I n-never had any friends u-until just recently, s-so I just t-thought it might be n-nice to s-see if I could m-make some more… A-And I’m sure y-you’ll make l-lots of new friends, too!” she added with a smile in an effort to cheer Faith up. “I-I mean, it s-shouldn’t be any p-problem for someone as k-kind and helpful as you.”

”I’ll probably be alright.” She had pulled a large styrofoam drinking cup out of the trash and was using it to make small rooks for her fort. Once the cup was packed with snow, she’d turn it over on top of her fort and pull it away to create a base. Then she just had to use her gloved finger to shape the top like a castle. ”Seriously though, Connie! Most magical girls these days are vying to rule penrose, start some mega faction, or upset the balance of things! It’s almost an oddity that you two have such humble goals.” She looked to Mia. ”Though I suppose having a lot of friends is something like having a team. Some squad of individuals who share your ideas and are willing to fight to protect them.”

“I guess you could say that,” Mia replied as she helped Connie with her fort. “I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Connie’s not really a typical magical girl, and the only balance my Patron cares about maintaining is the one between humanity and nature. I gotta admit, though, before Connie became a magical girl herself, I really didn’t want to have much to do with the whole thing,” she added. “I just did what Mother asked and then got back to my life as quickly as possible. But now, I’ve gotten sucked into this whole crazy community, and, yeah, it can definitely be dangerous, but seeing Connie make so many new friends has been really cool. So I got to thinkin’ maybe it’s not all that bad, y’know?” Picking up some sticks, she stuck them into the side of their fort’s tallest tower to serve as menacing spikes. “I mean, if more people can just learn to look past their differences and become friends, then maybe a lot of this place’s problems would go away. Like, there’s this one girl who calls herself ‘Magical Dream Princess’. She’s actually trying to get a member of the Ascendancy to be friends with this monster girl she knows. It’s totally nuts, but so is MDP, so it might actually work!” she added with a laugh.

The far more likely scenario was that this “magical dream princess” would be both physically and metaphorically crushed when said ascendancy member ran through her monster girl partner and she was tried and executed as some sort of criminal. But it was nice to see that Connie’s naivety might have been rubbing off on Mia a bit. She smiled to herself and placed some icicles around her tower. Though rather than making them into deadly spikes, she used them as bars for the windows and doorways. ”We can all change ourselves, Mia, but changing others is another thing entirely~!” She laid out more icicles in front of her tower to make a sort of draw bridge. ”But it’s good that you’re finding people you resonate with. Perhaps it’s that luck that drew us together in the first place.”

“Y-Yeah! T-That has to be it!” Connie agreed. “I-I mean, w-we could have run into some r-really horrible people out t-there in the w-woods, but instead, we met you! J-Just think!” she added excitedly. “I-If we d-didn’t meet you, then w-we wouldn’t have gone to the r-rave. A-And if w-we didn’t do that, t-then we would have n-never met Lily, or Emily, or M-Miss Sakura, or Ronin, or Hildebell!” she noted, using her fingers to count each new friend.

Faith sighed. It would take a long time for her to heal, but Connie’s words made her realize something. While the last few weeks had been hard for her, they hadn’t been hard for everyone. To Faith, the rave was a horrible death trap that claimed many lives, and ruined several more. But it did bring Connie and Mia in touch with other like spirits. She could at least live vicariously through Connie, just until she got her feet back under herself.

”Then I hope they bring you many more good memories!”

Faith took a step back from her fort. It wasn’t much larger than the cup she had started out with. But she could at least be proud that she made the most of the time she had been given. Hopefully her friends would do the same.

”According to my deductions…” a tiny detective leaned around a snow bank. ”…He’s not here either?”

”Sammy!” Faith turned to her pint sized friend. ”Where’s Nuncio?”

”He said he was going to meet me right here.” She thumped her foot.

”Well you’re just in time!” Faith gathered up a handful of snow. ”I was worried I’d be outnumbered in the coming war of winter~!”

”War?” Sammy lifted a hand to her hat. ”What is this war of winter? Why I have I not heard of it until now!

“Pretty sure she means a snowball fight,” Mia replied with a grin as she formed a spheroid projectile. “And I don’t think that snowbank’s gonna be of much help!” she added as she flung her snowball in a curving arc, which took it over the snowbank and onto the top of Sammy’s head. “Come on, Connie! Let’s show ‘em how it’s done!”

“O-Okay!” Connie replied, while hurriedly scooping up some snow of her own. “W-Watch out, Faith!” she warned with a laugh. “Mia’s been h-helping me practice my t-throwing! I c-can actually h-hit things now!”

”I look forward to seeing how you improved! But I won’t go easy on you!”

Sammy stepped out from behind the snow bank with a snowball wedged in the top of her oversized hat. Mia’s snowball had crushed it over her eyes. ”I appear to have been struck by a snowball, but I fear the two of you have mislabeled this bout. It is not a fight, nor is it a war...” Sammy pulled her hands out from behind her back, revealing two snowballs. ”This will be a massacre!”

They let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered them anyway.

Not even a few minutes after Shion had seen the two off did she hear a familiar voice from the shadows.

”You did well, Shion.” Vermin killer stepped out from between two buildings and adjusted his hat. ”There’s just one thing left to do.”

”If it starts with a ‘K’, I’m going to murder you. Regardless of what it is.” Shion said as she turned towards the new arrival.

The smug grin on VK’s face only grew wider. ”This might be hard to believe, but I’m not one to go back on my word, even to a former vermin. While I am something of a romantic, I can’t say I’d ever consider doing anything with you quite so uncouth. You’re reasonably attractive as well as intelligent, but falling in love with my targets is something that I’ve only done once.” When Vermin Killer reached up to adjust his hat, his form fell away from him like a fog. As the smoke cleared, Shion could see Nuncio was in his place, wearing VK’s clothes over his own. ”But to be fair, I had fallen for her before the Mint made her a target.”

”Y’know, I was sort of expecting ‘kill,’ but I’ll take the compliment. Still, that’s quite the double life you must be living.” Shion paused a moment. ”Why’d you need me to get her out if you were already a part of the group you wanted out?”

”Because there was no way I was going to get Sammy to budge. As someone who’s friends with ‘Makoto,’ I’m sure you’re aware friendships in the Mint are a rare thing. Regardless, having a successor to the case of the red coins is all Sammy needed.” He shrugged. ”And with Sammy convinced, Faith would soon follow. Perhaps my former target was a strange choice, but I’ve already told you why I selected you. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I had some admiration for my former target.” Rosa walked out of the shadows beside Nuncio and rubbed against his leg. ”I’ve decided to end my double life here. The mint has chosen to hold what I love hostage, and I refuse to work for them a second longer.” He lowered his hand onto the affectionate tiger’s head. ”Vermin Killer is not a single person though. Agent Viper has been acting as a double of sorts when I am unable to take Vermin Killer’s persona myself. Though I am the one who controls all of the animals, so you need not fear my predators any longer. We did this during the rave incident when I convinced the mint to release Sammy as a way to gamble for the dream almanac.” Nuncio’s smile faded. ”Unfortunately, I do not know much about what the mint is doing at the moment. They tell us as little as they have to. But I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.”

So I’m guessing the ‘Viper’ is still going to be after me. And what is this ‘dream almanac’? In fact, what actually happened at the meetup that was going around on Glimmr? I assume that’s the rave you mentioned?

”I’m unaware of what her assignments are. She was primarily paired up with me to help Violet Covington recover the dream almanac. Unfortunately, I know little about the almanac itself. The name suggests it has something to do with foretelling dreams. I know she was very interested in locating someone who was giving people nightmares. To my knowledge though, the only magical girl who can use nightmare magic in Penrose is a girl named Connie Williams. As for the event on Glimmr. That was the rave but…” Nuncio groaned. ”I don’t really know what happened? I thought Viper was going to help me get the stupid book from Mariette. From what I heard, a psychic nuke was triggered and it killed damn near every Beacon girl at the rave. Including two squadrons of Ascendancy! Then someone triggered a lightning nova that wiped out almost everyone else. It was a massacre! Cindy Ford left the rave to meet with the Cardinal and was slain, along with a few other magical girls. One of my friends were among them, and Faith almost lost her life too…” The mobster hung his head. ”But yes, Viper was the one who set things up so that the Mint could do away with Cindy Ford. They tried to kill the Cardinal too, but were unsuccessful. It’s a wonder we get anything done when we’re so eager to turn on our own.”

”Yeah, tell me about it. I’ve heard horror stories from Makoto too, but… seriously? Nearly everyone there died? Including Cindy? Glad I didn’t go, then. Sorry to hear about your friend, though.” Shion sighed before her eyes lit up. ”Wait, if Cindy is gone… I don’t suppose you know where she kept her stuff, huh? There’s a certain chest I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on, if it’s not already been snatched up by someone. I had tried half-heartedly to get it before, but she didn’t fall for it.”

”I do not personally know, unfortunately. I would think one of her surviving protege would know. Perhaps Goblina or someone like that. Alternatively, the Beacon twins Janet and Jenna were at the scene. As known mind readers, they might have gathered something from her.”

Shion thought for a moment. ”If nearly every Beacon girl and two squads of Ascendancy were wiped out, does that mean the Mint is declaring war on them, or was it someone else who did it? I guess trying to kill the Cardinal would itself be an act of war, too. I don’t exactly have an in with Beacon, so this may be a bit more difficult than I had hoped, now that I know that.”

”I believe the intention was to drive a wedge between corrupt magical girls and Beacon, like Justine did a few months prior. Unfortunately, many magical girls noticed the Mint’s involvement, so our involvement is pretty much the worst kept secret of Penrose. Cindy’s forces are now headed by a Beacon sympathiser, which has made Beacon’s position even stronger. I have no love for Veronica, but I can almost understand why she split off. Al just can’t run a tight ship.” Nuncio smirked. ”But there’s some good news for you. Beacon isn’t as united and strong as it appears on the surface. There’s quite a bit of infighting, mainly between the Penrose branch and the Ascendancy. Alicia Hayden will bark and wag her tail at the Ascendancy’s call, but others like the Beacon twins may be able to humor you. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details as it’s not part of my assignments.”

”Sounds like those twins are my best bet in all regards, then. And here I was working so hard to… Nevermind. Anyway, good luck with whatever you do next. Getting out of the Mint is hard, but a good idea.”

”It is hard to do anything alone, Shion.” Nuncio cast Vermin Killer’s coat into the air. ”But if you can make trustworthy friends, you’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit.” When the coat fell back on top of Nuncio and Rosa, the two seemed to disperse into crows. ”Don’t let Sammy down now. I still have my connections..”

Shion waved dismissively. ”I don’t plan to let anyone down.”

Of the one hundred people who had received the strange call, five of them awoke to find themselves in the middle of a field, laying on the ground a short ways away from what appeared to be a cellphone tower. The tower seemed to scrape the sky as it loomed over them, the bars it was made of shining in the light of dawn. Aki Rosewall, Luso Hansen, Anemone May, Octavia Wilmens, and the young Suzuki Takada, despite coming from different parts of the world found themselves together as they rose from slumber.

Upon waking, each of them noticed that they now bore a device strapped to their non-dominant hand's wrist. It shone in their favorite color, a wide brace going underneath it around their forearm, the brace being about two inches from front to back and about half an inch thick. On top of this brace was a rectangular machine that looked quite similar to their Omniphone, though the screen was flat and there were new additions to its hardware. These additions came in the form of what appeared to be a card scanner on the side facing away from the wearer's body and five small slots at the top of the screen, near the wearer's wrist, which had coverings which slid over them to protect them. The screen displayed the words "Expanse Caller" in text the color of the device with a small circle cycling below and a slowly filling bar at the very bottom of it.

On the underside of the brace on their wrist was a symbol etched into the machine's brace. After each had been awake for a few moments, the screen on their arms began to change, the bar filling and new information replacing the text. This would take the form of a new, larger bar and two smaller ones below it as well as the word "Initizalizing" above them. Strangely, Aki and Suzuki's devices only had one smaller bar instead of the two the other three had.

In front of each person's eyes came a small hologram, tinted their favorite color with text of a darker shade, displaying the word "Welcome" and showing a slowly filling bar that matched the largest of the device on their wrist. This hologram took up roughly a fourth of their vision; it was always visible but not so obtrusive as to block anything they could see.

Each of them saw something different next to the smaller bars. Aki would see a small, three-dimensional diamond next to hers. Luso's had a small egg with a gear shape on its surface next to the higher of his and a red V above a black three pointed line next to the lower. Anemone's had a green egg next to one and a blue egg next to the other, while Octavia had a red egg and a light green egg next to hers. Finally, Suzuki had a simple white egg next to the bar on her screen and hologram.

While the lower two bars continued filling slowly, the uppermost largest bar filled rather quickly, taking only about fifteen seconds. Upon completion it would disappear only to be replaced with the words "Babel Program Initialized". Regardless of which language they spoke, all five would now hear all languages as their own, allowing for communication with anyone on earth.

Those who looked towards the tower would see five small boxes, each with the same combinations of symbols as were on the still-loading bars. By the person with the same combination's touch they would open, revealing their contents. Aki's box contained fifteen of what appeared to be Megaman battlechips, including Holy Panel, Spreader, Gun Del Sol, Tornado, and Air Hockey. There was also ten blank battlechips and the purple chip she had kept in her room. Luso's box held five of these blank battlechips and five cards. The cards had a completely white front, and a look at the back showed it to be completely black with a red crosshair that had the word "Capture" inside of it. Anemone's had ten of these blank cards, as did Octavia's box, and Suzuki's box contained fifteen of the cards.

By now, the light of the sun was brighter as it was now fully visible in the sky; morning had come.
Shion blinked. Then she blinked again, and everything seemed to be over. She shook her head out of her stupor as Crow didn't want to write reactions to everything something had caused her to lose focus entirely for the past... while.

Uh... Yeah. That's basically what I'm here for. I'm supposed to get you three the hell out of Dodge. Or at least Penrose.

Oh shit, oh fuck, oh shit, oh fuck. She's here. She's got a bat. She's... always had a bat? Summer was quietly contemplating where exactly her life went wrong. That voice wouldn't shut up and now it was talking about her again. Why the concern? Wait, did that mean it was close by? She was going to shut the hell up already!" She stormed off, once again furious, and soon became lost in the streets of Penrose.


We don't really use sheets here, plus not reading gives less chance to meta-game, and leaves it to the character's actions to discover about them.

It's fine that you did a sheet, I'm just saying for the record.

The Omniphone, a new package of various technologies that revolutionized the computer industry has reached its third production run. Featuring a foldable design, a Micromagnetic Piston Display to create a holographic, touch-sensitive display system, a separate mini-computer "Base Unit," and the technology to access and propagate the brand-new "Expansion Network" (a new experimental way to transfer data at extreme speeds) run by newly launched satellites, these are more than just cellphones or computers, they are the new cutting edge of technological progress.

The date is December 31st, 2020 C.E. The final Omniphone running the Gold OS has been obtained. The activation of this Omniphone starts into motion a series of events that will shake many worlds to their core. This is the tale of those worlds...

At 11:03 PM IDLW, before the date has turned over Anywhere On Earth, Aleph Corp. records stated that all one hundred Omniphones with the test OS, known as "Gold," had been activated. These records also stated that each one had simultaneously received a call.

Those with these phones answered them to hear static, lasting just long enough for the listener to notice that it was pulsing in time with their own heartbeat. Then it simply ended, the phone resetting due to the overclocking necessary to run the Gold OS, something that the instructions on the phone's boot-up screen warned could happen occasionally. The owners of these phones would find themselves overwhelmingly tired, their last act in their own world being going to sleep.

The clock has begun ticking...
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