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Event:Nothing in Particular

Student Magic Specializations

Start of Arc Four

❖ Ingrid Penderson: 0 4 2 0 2 4 0 0 0 0 0

❖ Tku: 0 0 4 1 1 0 4 0 0 0 0

After the Mission

❖ Ingrid Penderson: 0 4 2 0 3 4 0 0 0 0 0

❖ Tku: 0 0 5 2 1 0 4 0 0 0 0

Started learning Limb Regeneration.

Start of Trials

❖ Ingrid Penderson: 0 4 2 1 3 4.5 0 0 0 0 0

❖ Tku: 1 0 5 2 1 0 4 0 1 0 0

Magnetic Arcane Binding Chemical Kinetic Atomic Blood Temporal Dark Command Primordial

Summary of Morning Conversations

After a tiring few day, the young group of students were able to meet back at 4S Farm for much needed rest. They had all had their own journeys, all had something to share with the other students. An Enthish breakfast was made by the forever caretaker Tku. Along with a pot of coffee for those addicted to the bitter gold. Eating and drinking what they had lost from the multiple travels across the desert.

Tku kicked off the conversation as they started to share their stories. Desmond shared the story of the near assassination of the king and Samaxi being framed. Tku shared the raid on the farm as well as the news of Benedetto's survival and more importantly his new name. Nyax-Acan, long time benefactor of An Zenui and one of the most respected people in all of it. Zarina shared the findings of her interrogations and the treachery of a woman named Wesca. Ayla and Marceline shared their opinions and correspondence from 2 people, incriminating a pawn of Wesca in the process. Ayla regailed that Wesca attempted to kill her and might have actually.

It was clear that Wesca was the target. They had captured 2 of the student's allies as well as the farmstead's master's daughter. They needed to act quickly if they wanted a chance. Zarina, Jascuan, and Marceline went to retrieve Classa and Tennaxi. Desmond, Fiske, and Samaxi went to prepare a witness against Wescan and cause a stir in the public. Ayla, Tku, and Naxos left to obtain an audience with Benedetto in hopes of getting Wesca's pawn, Sozo, arrested to turn up the heat.
Fleeting Bravery

Tku didn't think twice on sending Marci away. She was so young and so distraught by her actions. He made his word to keep them safe to Harracorra and now he felt for the young girl as well. It wasn't an intense feeling, just a personal responsibility for someone so young in such an unfamiliar place. How had she been separated from the others? Tku wondered as he was beaten by the guards and called a killer.

He had been beaten many times, it comes with traveling and figuring out their customs with experience, but these hurts. The strikes filled Tku with bitterness, he imagined that rude child was responsible for this. He felt it to be true, Why Fiske? Why did you have to leave so angry and cause this.

As they were moved through the city that bravery to jump into battle for others faltered. He had never been a brave man, not like the ones of great renown at least. He wondered if they also felt dread in their hearts when they realized this could be their end. The cities didn't want an explanation, they wanted blood. The little sights Tku saw of the people were overcast by the beautiful sights. It was a moment of acceptance that he drastically misread how things would go, how much time they would have to be rescued.

So why look at angry faces when you could look at beauty? As most definitely to their displeasure Tku took in their city for the beauty of it and looked past the people here.

The buildings were exquisite, the bright clothing was refreshing if not a bit much. The dyes in their hair were bold and brilliant. They created so much and Tku wanted to breathe it all in before he passed. Even as they had their heads covered, he could feel how the court was designed very differently from others. It was meant to be a showroom. A place of high praise and serious judgement.

But even with his coping Tku failed at holding the dread away. Even with their public defender, Naxos, his nerves frayed as they were placed in front of honorable Judge Nyax-Acan… Benedetto?!? Tku was so shocked that he just stared. Was the Angry Child still a child or had he grown? Wait did he actually grow? And Nyax-Acan answered it quickly by dispersing the first case with the sirrahi in a rather crude way. But now his gaze was at them, and it was time to decide. Well for Desmond to decide.
The Little Sad Mouse

The little sad Mouse had left the meeting to 'get some air', which was code for the youth's building frustrations. He stepped outside, standing apart clearly from cazenax and sirrahi alike as a human, and let his senses rove across the city.

He found An Zenui a lively place at night, despite its outward veil of tranquility. Repair work of more silent varieties was being carried out up on the large houses that perched atop the cliffs. The thin coating of sand from the previous morning's storm that seemed to cover everything was under attack from teams of sirrahi who made their way up and down the streets with brooms, dusters, and sacks. They talked and sung quiet work songs as they went, the team closest to him gradually making its way out of sight. Fiske turned his attention elsewhere. In the distance, cats yowled and dogs barked. A quartet of men in dark uniforms headed vaguely in the direction of the hideout's entrance down a midsized road, chattering amongst themselves in their native tongue. The youth knew virtually none of the language, but he did recognize one word: Potés-Palix.

Then, there was a scream, south-southwest, in the direction one of the sirrahi work teams had been heading. The uniformed men hadn't noticed the human interloper yet, but he saw two of them turn and look in that direction. He could certainly get there before them if he wished, but perhaps he should do something to delay the other two or at least provide warning. That was, if he cared enough to do so. Fiske had always been good at looking out for himself, and there was likely a reward should he turn in dangerous conspirators.

Frustration boiled up in the young boy as his own prowess was downplayed and made to look like a childish joke. He would've loved nothing more but to punch a wall as hard as he could yet with everything bustling around him made it too risky for his liking. Then he heard the one word he knew, annoyed by it. Potés-Palix again? Who did we involve ourselves with? Why did we involve ourselves with them anyway?

The scream caught Fiske's attention. He knew he should avoid to be involved with that, yet it seemed as though his curiosity had taken over. He tried his hardest to distract the two that had yet to look the way of the scream. A couple of illusionary Sirrahi punching each other might've kept their attention. Once that would be dealt he could see what happened.

For a moment, confusion reigned. One of the guards shouted and pointed. He started moving in the direction of the surprisingly complex illusion. The other hurried to catch up. However, as they drew nearer, the illusion became less convincing. Perhaps Fiske should not have tried something so complex and involved: two separate figures of a species he had less familiarity with, moving in a rapid and complex manner. Perhaps it wasn't curiosity that had killed the cat, but overconfidence. Nonetheless, it drew them away for some time, before the second one paused and they began speaking to each other in an animated fashion, gesturing emphatically as they argued. Then, they began looking about.

As the two figures approached his illusion he knew it was time to get ready to make a run for it. He made sure he had himself cloaked and ran the scream's way. His illusion did not need to perfect, it needed to work... Although much to his dissatisfaction. The little Mouse's heart broke as his illusion began to look worse and worse as he moved away from it. He could cry.

While he was able to gain on the first set of guards, who appeared to be in no particular hurry, the set he'd fooled momentarily earlier made their way toward the unknown commotion at a full sprint, gaining slightly on him. There was a second scream, and a harsh exchange of words between two voices. The uniformed men closer to it began shouting as well. Curse the language barrier! What could he do?

Is this just a fight or an argument? Why was he so driven to see it it was anything serious. Had his heart softened due to all the others around him? preposterous! Why would he ever care for others? Could it perhaps be a way to prove he would be someone important if he helped someone in need out? Keep your mind on going as fast as possible, Fiske. See what caused the scream first, then start thinking about potential outcomes. his eyes focused on the two uniformed men closer to the spot than him as he trailed them.

The sad Mouse threw any further illusion aside and put everything that he had into running, enhancing his eyesight and hearing as he went. He blew past the closer pair of guards and outdistanced the ones who'd been closing on him before. Around the corner were a handful of sirrahi workers and a cazenax woman. One, in particular, seemed to be arguing with her. He seemed frantic. She seemed frantic. The woman screamed again, and it was a shrill, ear-grating noise. She stared the sirrahi square in the eyes and said something else with an aggressive tone to her voice.

What the?.. A confused Fiske landed upon a scene that gave him the chills. Is this woman offended by something they did, working under her or.. He'd rather finish that thought process. With all these screams he could hear his ears ring to the point he turned down the amount of noise his ears picked up. If this is what I think it is... Could I even do anything?... Wouldn't me doing something potentially make it worse?

Maybe you should stop staring at him so aggressively, lady... He approached the woman and touched her, temporarily taking her eyesight away. Maybe that will teach you a lesson no to stare so much.

For a moment, it seemed as if she'd seen him, but then sight was no longer her problem. The screams went from words to shrill and distressed, and it was mere moments before the guards came into view. They did not ask questions. Two of them whipped out wands and, with a flick of their wrists, dropped a pair of sirrahi to the ground, spasming.

A third stalked up to the snake-person she had been most engaged with and made demands of him. He replied adamantly back, but they gestured to the woman. She wailed and pawed at her eyes and the fourth guard set about comforting her. Her face was streaked with tears and she pointed repeatedly to the sirrahi who now found himself under questioning of the third guard while the other two finished binding his accomplices who lay there semi-conscious, foaming at the mouths. They, two, stalked up, brandishing their wands like weapons.

As he spotted the sirrahi spasming on the ground his heart skipped a beat. These aren't great people... He stared at the wands and knew they were the problem. If I could just get rid of them, this might be a bit more even He prepared a blinding light to disorientate and potentially stun them before using his kinetic ability and mostly his high capacity to punch the wands out of the guards' hands.

The flash burned incredibly bright! Blinding and stunning most of the people in the small sideroad.

All three sirrahi were left sightless and stunned. Two of the cazenax as well. The others, however, retaliated immediately, shouting angrily. One shielded the woman with his body, speaking as calmly and comfortably as he could given the circumstances. The other was able to expertly seize upon the area where the attack had come from if not the precise culprit. He drew in energy and released a powerful shockwave.

The Mouse scurried up the wall to avoid the officer's attack. The mouse grew brave and scuttled over to the officer and spit in his eye, blinding him! What a master of the senses this little sad mouse was.

The officers realized this was no ordinary mouse and called in the big demons cats to come and deal with him. Out of the void came The Watching Demon of Special Investigations, a Book, a Paper gremlin, a literal turd, and worst of all the grand Fly demon!

The little sad Mouse was scared, jittering with fear. He had to escape and he tried! Oh how he tried. The Eye chased but the mouse was ever so agile, evading each clumsy grab. Too slow, the mouse taunted only to then slip on the turd. How mortifying.

The poop demon was instantly destroyed by Fiske's mighty attack. It was a one shot kill. However, the demon bit back. The youth stumbled and fell. A smear covered one side of his pants and, when his hands shot out instinctively to catch himself, some got on there as well. Some got under his fingernails. If there was no serious physical harm, there was ample psychological harm and hygienic harm. He was now very easy to track. The page gremlin was immediately on his tail.

But the Gremlin was nothing even with the moment of failure. The Mouse had ran his whole life! But attracted to the mouses odor, the Grand Fly tenaciously followed.

Meanwhile, the blinded people continued to shout and wail. The sirrahi shouted their innocence.
Others began to take notice. Fiske could hear distant calls. So much for being quick, smooth, and incisive. This was fast becoming a spectacle.

The Grand demon fly was menacingly close to the Mouse's form before losing his... rather manure-esque smell. He could run from this, he could just run and not look back yet in his chest stung every time the thought of making off.

What should the little mouse do! He was scared and he only ever seemed to make things worse. His little heart hurt and but then he could sense it. A friend. She would help because he was her ally! The little sad mouse's heart thumped and thumped as the now courageous Fiske made his show!

The buffoon of guards fumbled about like caricatures, one punched another from behind and a third slammed into the remaining two with bone-breaking forced. Then, on top of it, an absurd amount of heat was drawn from the entire heap by the one and only Fiske! However they were not dealing with just guards, the Watching Demon went for his ally Marceline.

The demons were strong but the guards weak. The world turned for Fiske as they made him feel woozy And Marci was slammed into a wall. When she struck back she delivered one guard to Eshiran. She begged for Oraff's forgiveness.

The fight continued even with the pleas to Oraff. Fiske the mighty cast his illusions to deceive the demons and did so expertly!

The two images of the boy that remained burst out in laughter "Hahaha, Are you blind? Do you need a little check up?" Their hands made a motion as if they were crying before they stuck out their tongues. "Duuuuummkopf!"

The Watching Demon calls down a terrifying pillar of nuclear fire.

Fiske is vaporized.

But it's not the real Fiske. The other Fiske let a single tear drop. "Your honourable service shall be remembered, me."

Despite the grim circumstances, Marci lets out a snort.

Marceline takes a moment, amid the mockery, to heal herself, but she catches up to Fiske as well. She lays a hand on his shoulder. "I've got you, now that I know which is the real you." She focuses and he finds himself healed too.

Fiske smiled as he tried his hardest to keep up the cool act after the nuclear attack. Putting a hand on his mouth, faking a gasp. "Oh dear, you found me!" Fiske winked as he was healed. "Thank you kindly, Marshie." He snorted.

Fiske the Awesome's illusions kept distracting the demons until with the power him and Marci were able to combine their effort and friendship onto the Watching Demon! A lance of pure light and a well of gravity was too much and they vanquished the most terrifying demon.

The fight continued like this. Fiske gathering their attention with his showmanship while expertly never being where they attacked and Marceline supporting him with support. Things should've ended like this for the now brave Mouse. But then the Book opened.

A colossal explosions rolled through the city, building were destroyed and with Reshta's help, Fiske and Marci were okay. People stumbled and the sirrahi fought with the guards. Things have went from bad to worse. Whatever could they do?

The explosion could be heard throughout the city and it attracted more guards. But also more allies. Desmond and Tku broke on to the scene to save their own. Tku unleashed holy wrath against the Book Demon and Desmond lined up a magical shot. Tku's holy wrath only distracted the fowl beast and Desmond's depleted uranium rounds landed on the book. Not enough to kill it however.

The tongue snapped and lashed about as it felt the pain of its wounds. The dynamic duo Fiske and Marci would not miss the chance to strike! Fiske skewered the massive book with Blizzard of Knives and then Marci leapt in for the finish, slicing the demon in two with a lightning blade.
It burst into ribbons, its knowledge flying everywhere. It was slayed.

The fight was nearing its end but there was still a gremlin and a fly, Easy right?

No, the Gremlin and Fly raged about. The gremlin ripped and teared at the heroes and the Fly stabbed Tku in the back, poisoning him throughout his body. But the fly seemed to be tired and angry, just staying in the same place and angrily glared at the team. The Gremlin was dodged by Fiske once again, it even went after his eyes this time. Scary stuff.

The Fly had more hate than you could imagine. And all at Tku for some reason. It buzzed and Tku's bowel's loosened. Oh no! He held it and then suddenly blood busted from his stomach. Oh god what let this exist. A truly evil entity.

Lightning, Fire, and Bullets only irritated the Fly. What was this monster? Tku on his final moments removed it from reality. He hated it more than anything and it was finally gone. But dozen of guards came. They needed to run and the sirrahi freed.

"Free them Desmond, just point and think!" Tku shouts out how to use the wand

Desmond snatches the wand from the ground with a quick slide while saying, "Yoink! Mine! Oh yeah okay"

Desmond points the wand at them and releases them from their command bond.

The sirrahi, freed from their catatonic state, roll over gratefully, but then there is a bigger issue: eight guards approach, and they are heavily armed. There is a good distance between them and the group. Do they try to explain the situation, turn themselves in for their crime, fight, or flee?
For a moment, Marceline seemed frozen. Guilt ate at her, but so did an intense desire for self-preservation. The original sirrahi - the one who the cazenax woman had been screaming at - shook his head. "She was trying to accuse me of..." He trailed off for a moment. "A crime." His face hardened. "The sentence would've been death. I didn't do it."

"I think we have to go now." Fiske rushed over, placing his hand on her shoulder this time on the guilt-ridden Marceline.

Tku throws his stuff at Marci, including his wand, "Go, you helped your friends child. I'll stay here and take the heat. Go!"

Desmond noticed the many guards, he knew that many were just coming to help, there was only one that needed to die. Desmond began to hide away and load another bullet, this one was a simple stone. A shot normally so hard to trace to any one person, as in the end it was just a stone.

Yet when Desmond heard the Sirrahi speak, he knew there was something else, something the required a more steadier touch.

He deprimed his gun and realized that this might be something they can fight.

Desmond began to put away his weapons, this might be something they could fight.

They just might have something they can do.

"I think this one might need us to take this lump". Desmond let out a sigh as he realized what is going to be happening next.

Desmond threw Marci and Fiske his bag filled with his things and his weapons, leaving him his suit and other smaller accessories he can't easily take off, "Go, you two need to leave now, someone needs to take the fall".

He set his hat onto Marci's head as he began to try and push them away.

"You won’t win," Marci called out, shaking her head, but Desmond's mind seemed made up. So did Tku's.

"She's right," the sirrahi agreed, as the police drew nearer. "It’s stacked against us." He shook his head. "You two should go. At least I can go knowing that someone stuck up for me."

Tku heard how they felt nothing could be done and he tried to comfort, "There is change here, Nyax-Acan is coming. He is going to free your people."

Heart heavy with regrets, Marci ran. She had always been a cockroach: the one to survive everything and anything. She had murdered, and for what? There was no two ways about it.
The sirrahi had been the victim here, no doubt. So had the officers, though. They'd only been doing their jobs. Or had, they, really? She didn't have the full story. Only Fiske did.

For Desmond and Tku, the forces of Cazenax law and order drew nearer. They shouted in their own language, and then in broken Avincian once they realized that the suspects were human. "Down ground! Hand on head!" When one of the sirrahi was a bit slow to react, they wound up and kicked him in the ribs… repeatedly. Rapid exchanges in their mother tongue followed, and neither of the remaining students could follow.

Before they were too far and Desmond would be unable to say this to either, he used something he picked up from the many interactions he's had with the tethered within his life.

As he began to lay down onto the ground, he felt the energies of both Fiske and Marceline fade away, but before they fully left him, he pinched the back of their ears. Giving them a simple message, "See. You. Soon.". And one final message, one that neither could fully understand as it didn't follow normal tethered pinch signals. But had the same feeling as a double long pinch or Opportunity/I'm ready.

But seemed different, like the feeling was different, something happier, but more somber. Something that had more weight to it all, maybe it was like this was a great opportunity. A great opportunity that they are in this situation, or that this was a great opportunity to be there. But there was something more. Something much more sad possibly.

Possibly, this was a goodbye.

Tku knew what could follow them getting captured. But he faced it well. Zarina, Ayla, and Marci were strong. They might be his wards for the time being but Tku didn't think they needed. Hopefully Marci won't be too hard on herself. His mind was scattered just as much of them but he had faith and hope to drive him into taking some of the weight they made for themselves.

The boy frantically picked up Desmond's bag and darted in the same direction as Marceline.

Fiske ran. He ran and ran as if his guilt tried to catch up to him. Why did this happen? He only wanted to play the hero for once instead of always being perceived a sniveling coward. All he wanted to be was someone people could look up to and be proud. To be someone, not a nobody any longer. Why did he always make things worse? He not only did he need someone to save his worthless rear, but also someone to catch the blame.

Worthless idiot, weakling, waste of space... You only tend to make things worse. His own thoughts only intensified the further he ran away from the scene, eyes focussed on the girl in front of her. I'm sorry... You did something truly awful just because you wanted to help me..... His throat dry as the desert itself from the overwhelming emotion. If only I'd actually be one of the strong ones... Fiske scoffed at his sorry excuse of a performance. Capacity be damned!... Niallus, Sven... Nazih all would've done better than me. Hells, that wily girl Maura might've been able to get out of that situation better than me. Annoyed by his own thoughts he enhanced his senses further until it became hard to think further than basic thoughts.

Event: Metropolis But With A Touch Of Big Game Hunting

Ingrid laid hunched over on the ground from the massive draw. She had felt this so many times before, but why does she still kneel to it? Her body settled as she catapulted herself through the air. Finding her feet with Niallus, Valerian, and the one that almost ended her life yesterday, Golden Monkey. They seemed to be faced with the Gold Dragon. She knew little of it, but it was clear it was no mere dragon. And before the fight could even begin, the Oguraq made their entrance.

The Oguraq seemed happy to see Niallus and Valerian. Just how much trust did they have in Niallus, Ingrid wondered, but never questioned his loyalty to her. But the Dragon of Fortune knew. He was well aware of the supposed betrayal and made no waste to attack us.

Roots and metal melded out of the very ground and slashed as if they were his own claws. As Ingrid shattered them, slivers and shards jutted out, leaving her covered in shallow wounds. Nothing to fret over, Ingrid cracked an assured smile, the attack was of great size but with of pathetic lethality. With the Oguraq still confused, Ingrid yelled out to them like she was an ally. Her attempt to capitalize their confusion was only met with unsure grunts. Worth a shot, Ingrid thought as she knew what to do next.

She didn't miss a beat to rip out a small ornate box from her sash. The outer layer ignited from heat, and soon the lead interior went molten. A small chunk of green rock produced more power than any uranium she had used prior. Its radiation was intense, as Ingrid could feel it bombarding her energetic shield, trying to overwhelm her for even attempting its use. And with that her infinity loop was initiated, and she wasn't going to put it down.

The battle had started, and she knew that others needed to prepare themselves as well. Attacks were thrown on all sides, Ingrid was even able to still the heat of its attack to strike it on the neck. A light wound for a monster so large, but with luck they could whittle it down to nothing, ending its life. Golden Monkey jested at the group's mediocrity, and in truth, he was right. Only Ingrid had successfully empowered herself. Not that the jester followed his own advice, what made him so confident? It had been an easy exchange, the Oguraq resigned themselves to leaving us students alone, and the attacks were relatively meager for such a beast. Maybe it wanted to leave us alive? Could it have reservations on killing the young like Dragon Smirk? Ingrid would be a liar if the thought of that didn't bring some guilt to her heart, but she was no longer a child, she made this choice and she would follow her formal commitments.

That notion was wiped from her mind the instance she sensed something in its mouth. She feared it. It was dark magic. A breath of nothingness blotted all Ingrid could see. It was like a nightmare. She ran as fast as she could while making stony ice to help protect herself from what she knew to be oblivion. Barely making it out alive with the help of Niallus's sudden yank of kinetic magic, any guilt she could have felt vanished. Ingrid raged, intensifying her the atomic energy into a line of super-heated plasma. It struck through its belly scales and sliced the beast open. No blood could fall as it had been cauterized. It wretched from the pain, and Ingrid felt an unreasonable amount of satisfaction.

But then a mistake was made. Throughout the fight, Dragon Smirk had been defending the dragon from the worst of Golden Monkey's blows. Either outright stopping or severely weakening him. There was a chance to turn it in our favor, to make the dragon fall oh so faster. Monkey had faked and attack on the Golden Dragon and turned it on the annoyance. It was going to kill Dragon smirk, he was defenseless against Golden Monkey. But Valerian. Valerian intervened, preventing the attack. He tried to convince them to leave. He really did try. If only they were more cowardly.

But Valerian made a small mistake, he halfheartedly attacked the Golden Dragon of Fortune. The attack was absorbed, and it was like the world sparked to life. Thunderclouds formed overhead. Small pieces left over from its first attack began to levitate and zap each other. If it had not been for Rikard, Ingrid would have been ignorant to just what was coming for them. There was a final and eerie silence before the heaven's ripped open to deliver upon us an ungodly attack strike.

So bright that you couldn't see without magic, so intense that your muscles would randomly convulse. Protecting yourself was all you could do. No one was safe from it. Metallic shaving that stuck to her wounds and clothes had gone ignored by Ingrid. Now they served as a conduit into herself. Burnt and convulsing, Ingrid's breath had been broken, and she fell to her knees. The pain came after as her body tried to make sense of what happened. She knew, but her body never had she been it by such an attack, and there was nothing she could do to calm her nerves. She was at the mercy of it in the meantime.

By luck or mercy, Golden Monkey had made himself its main target once again. The fight was beyond her comprehension. Arcane and Gravity magic years beyond her reach, being sent with like the common Wyvern's Breath and Levitation. Chemical magic she could never grasp, thrown out by a man that makes the tallest yasoi look short. Mass demon summoning from your very flesh to do away with your foes. This was the battle Ingrid watched as she recovered. She could only look at her Staff of Ahn-Shune and infinity loop and pray that it would be enough. What Ingrid needed was time.

Then in a moment, while Ingrid planned the rest of the battle, Dragon smirk had an arm through his chest. It was quick and painless. He would remain conscious for only a moment. Dami judge his soul well. Golden Monkey seemed to care little for this fight anymore. He boasted how it was over, but everyone could tell this had taken more out of him and us then he thought. The Dragon also attempted to heal, and we struck it hard enough to interrupt what could be defeat. The Golden Dragon was done with petty attempts and struck at us individually.

It flew down at incredible speeds and with these thin blades or radiation jutting out of it. Ingrid ran the best she could, repelling them until it drew from her own infinity loop and her defense faltered. Slash burnt through her ribs and side, nearly hitting her lung. Some of her organs were damaged, and she fell to the ground, just holding things in with kinetic. Ingrid could hear the cries of other's being hit, but she couldn't say who, she was barely holding on, any strength in her was quickly dissipating. But fortune finally shined on us.

Golden Monkey called upon his gravity magic, but something was different about it this time, It warped more. Temporal, was all Ingrid could accredit it to. Whatever it was, it was focused on its greater arm. Scales ripped and teared under the force. Then the muscle. Then the bone even shattered under its intensity. He had ripped off what was a completely uninjured arm with a single go. The Golden Dragon Cried out and retreated. Ingrid felt herself wishing to end it before it could bring more harm, but her legs were faltering, she had barely survived this fight, and she wasn't sure if she could even make it.

There was a pause. Ingrid spent the time briefly describing her plan to end the next fight quickly. She stitched her body together better than she thought possible, another reason why Binding was an amazing magic. She did her best to explain that they needed to empower themselves better this time. They both had chemical, and they needed to make use of it. Enhancements were handed out in preparation and even Golden Monkey lent his aid, Maybe we've earned his help?

They joined the Black Guard Evil Eye, also known as Linlin, in battle with what looked less like a dragon but a child's dark imagination of a dragon. Multiple heads and a dark body. It made anyone instinctually weary of it. Still, it wouldn't be long for this world. Unlike the godly beings that have enough power to send hits of detonations with every attack, Ingrid bid her time and built up her power inconspicuously.

However, it seemed none of them were ready for this beas- No, monster. Its heads shook rthymically, and Ingrid prepared herself for what was happening, but she realized too late, and her response was too weak. They were brought to a forest outside Retan. Was it Temporal magic? Does it matter it was so…


The weather was nice and sunny, it smelled of fresh flowers and the music was pleasant. All those tenuous thoughts like Maura, survival, and even the extremely…

Extremely… Extremely what, a light gust had the flowers sway so beautifully, Extremely beautiful? It is extremely beautiful! Ingrid felt immense joy and went to hold her lover's hand, "Let's go frolicking Niallus!" She went along with the guides through the forest. Skipping happily.

At least it was.

But her happy reality was crashed by a terrifying sight. Pure black pits, flames, and teeth. What nightmare is this?! Ingrid let out a peep before it was back to strawberries. Ingrid was suddenly less trusting of the surroundings. But the guides tried to reassure her. Lor did as well. What could possibly be wrong…

Things got more odd, maybe it was her experience with psychedelics, but this seemed more like a bad trip. The whale's mouth was scary, and it seems little Linlin also thought it was weird. But Niallus and Valerian called them silly, it's just a whale. They entered the mouth, it wasn't too bad.

Then pain arrived at her feet, and the illusion faded. This was no Whale mouth. It was the stomach of the dragon. Tentacles were even in here. It seemed Evil Eye and Valerian wrangled free from the deception but Niallus. He just smiled. His mind was still departed even as the tentacles latched onto him and acid scalded his boots. This was fear, Ingrid was no chemist. She had no way to help, She tried mutating it, but all it did was irritate it.

Enough to make the acid rise. Debris caught in the stomach acid melted in an instant, they rose to avoid, but Niallus didn't move. Ingrid tried to rip him away, but she wasn't strong enough. Not fast enough to keep trying. Panic set in for her, and she left him there, prioritizing herself. She ripped out the hand fan from her sash and slapped the inside of its throat, taking away its sight. Screaming in rage as she believed he was left behind.

As they exit, she was ready to rage, but Valerian was able to pull Niallus out before it was too late! He was alive! Now, the issue was that her infinity loop was unmanaged for so long. She grasped it with her own energy to keep it going. If it were to fail, then all her planning and waiting would be for nothing. The Green rock was nearly out of control, and Ingrid couldn't even tell if it would fizzle out or explode. Mixing cryomancy and Atomic, she was able to settle it down. Now all was left was to end it before it could muster another illusion such as that. But there was another screaming idiot in the mix now. A stupid Oguraq who screamed about my brother. Ingrid couldn't be sympathetic to them, this was war and they brought an unforgivable monster.

Ingrid laid back like she was preparing a large spell, a charge spell to be exact. The fighting continued and then suddenly the Staff of Ahn-Shune glowed. Ingrid released the rest of her radium, creating a powerful reaction. A burst of power far beyond her control. She just needed to release it at this monster. Her hatred was immense, the flames burned red and then pure white. She yelled, "Deyðu, skrímslið þitt!"

The flash was so blinding—so forceful—that everyone within sight of it recoiled. A gargantuan column of pure light rose three hundred feet into the air and a hundred feet through solid ground. When people blinked and staggered to their senses, they beheld an enormous canyon gouged into the earth itself, blackened and scorched for miles. Fortunately, it was not in the direction of the city. There was no sign whatsoever of the dragon that had been there.

The shockwave rag dolled a few, but overall they got lucky. The Dragon was done, and now it was time for the Oguraq girl. She stood defiantly defeated, asking for death. Ingrid was not so merciful to leave a loose end when they are capable of so much. This was a war. But Niallus was too injured for her not to attend to him. It was a loose end that she would have to accept. The battle was over, and that Oguraq left. Their fight was over at least.

Or so Ingrid thought before the world cracked open.

Event: Metropolis But It's Dinner

Evil Eye was wearing a hint of a smirk as she headed out with Ingrid. The sun was not quite setting and it glowed golden through the canopy of the artificial forest. "Nothing quite like a formal dinner, huh?" She shook her head a bit as they made their way deeper. Finally, the pair came to a small clearing with a single picnic bench.

On edge wouldn't begin to describe Ingrid's nerves. They were all separated from the start, one-on-one with the blackguard. Her mind wandered as she could only guess where Niallus and Trypano were going as they left her sensing range. But she was here with Evil Eye and being rude would get them only closer to death. "I prefer more casual lunches actually, much less stress."

Ingrid slid into her seat, doing her best not to ruin the beautiful clothes she was given. It was still a gift after all, even if it was laced with poison, Ingrid acknowledged.

"Listen," the Black Guard admitted as they took seats across from each other. "I'm not going to pretend to be your friend or anything or act like have your personal best interests at deeply heart here. I've lived..." She trailed off and furrowed her brow. "six-hundred thirty-eight years and it still messes with me sometimes, but I don't regret a shred of it, to be honest." She sighed, and it lingered in the increasingly golden air. At least mosquitoes were scarce at this time of year.

"638 years… Hopefully it was well lived," Ingrid commented, unperturbed by the long life. Though not regretting it gave her some pause. Death was part of life, growing old and watching the young become old was all part of it. Could someone be happy if there was no end? Ingrid questioned before coming back to the conversation.

"You and me, now? We might look only a few years separate in age, but we're worlds apart." She shrugged. "The life experiences I've had? Crazy." She pointed to her eyepatch. "What's behind here? Ain't it something, I'll tell you." She smiled mischievously at Ingrid and drummed her fingers idly on the tabletop. "Thing is, and the reason I volunteered to talk to you, is 'cause we weren't all that different when I started out. Paragons know we weren't, or your Quentic gods, if you prefer." She smiled apologetically. "Sorry."

"No offense taken, I'm sure that both exist," Ingrid rested her arms on the table and said it as if it was the most obvious truth. It was evident Evil Eye was trying to win Ingrid over, at least to Ingrid it was.

In the distance, others had their own discussions, but this was a small bubble within the greater reality for just the two of them. "The Twins aren't perfect." Evil Eye scratched sheepishly at the back of her head. "Truth be told, I used to kinda have a bone to pick with them, but I've come to respect them." Her eye met Ingrid's for a second as she traced something along the table's aged wooden surface with a fingernail. "It's 'cause they understand how the world works." She nodded as she spoke. "People might cheer for the lofty statements and those soaring ideals but, at the end of the day, they're not what really moves things forward. The work of being in charge is difficult and dirty. It almost always involves decisions that'll cause some harm to someone, somewhere for a desired good. I know a lot of people from the Twin Continents balk at our magic policy. It... took a while to reconcile myself to it too but, overall, to be honest?" She made sure that their eyes met. "It works." She tapped the table with her pointer for emphasis. "It really works."

Ingrid listened genuinely to Evil Eye, whether she was earnest or not, she was trying to present herself that way, so Ingrid obliged and openly listen. Ingrid couldn't help but speculate that she may have lost her eye to that 'bone' she had with them or how she ended up serving them. "And I'm sure that it has, Evil Eye," Ingrid felt a slight bit of embarrassment from saying such a silly name but continued with a rebuttal, "I just think that there are better ways what is being done. Even if you can't let then use magic, why not at least train them. At least the ones that would be disposed of otherwise," Ingrid's mind went back to Yong at the dinner having no idea that he could be disposed of with one wrong move on our part.

A moth fluttered between them and both watched it for a split second. "Thing is, everyone wants to be the star of the show, the hero of the story. They can't accept their own flaws and failings. Me?" She pressed her fingertips to her chest. "Well, I'm a huge bitch, to be perfectly frank. This is the nice version you're getting. Trust me." She rolled her eye. "What it all means, though, is that they can't accept that they shouldn't be making the decisions. They can't accept that maybe others - stronger, smarter, better in judgement, or just better positioned - should be making them. So they use whatever tools they have, selfishly, to undermine, to seek advantage for themselves."

Ingrid smirked, "I think I been called a bitch more than once at this point, more 'Extra' than anything else," Ingrid found herself relating to Evil Eye. Evil Eye struck a sore spot. This mission Ingrid tried to play nice. She let boundaries be crossed for the sake of cooperation. Not once did she conspire yet there was always Maura. When was Ingrid not worried about her twisting things to her advantage? I wanted so desperately to work together. I put up with insults not only of me but of my nation. Of my lover that Maura was apparently friends with. All Maura did was use. Fuck that bitch. Ingrid took check of herself though there was no doubt that Evil Eye noticed. That's her specialty after all.

She made sure that her conversational partner was paying attention for the next bit. "So this is where it's all leading: we want you to join us. The sanguine council does. We're impressed by you. I'm impressed by you. Not everything, mind you, but overall, you're exactly the kind of person we look for and we've been scouting you for a couple of years now." She smiled. "Sorry for the intrusion, but what say you?"

All the other thoughts left as she heard the offer. It was a lot. She had studied the sanguine council in the forked tower and had seen the presumed upper members in the Zacqoria ruins. "What do I say…" Ingrid was obviously thinking. Years huh? Must have had a lot of nothing to report with me being stuck in my room for the most part. Why not then? I was a shut in and malleable. Maybe I'm still malleable. No, Manipulatable.

"I don't think I can be a sanguinaire. I have my best friend and lover to worry about here and some other concerns." Ingrid said not in a flat no but more trying to keep the dialogue open.

Evil Eye rose. "'Other concerns?' Sounds like a 'no'." She straightened her slightly rumpled clothes. "I can say I tried." She shrugged and stepped over the bench. "We're going to make Retan a better place, with or without you, Ingrid Penderson. No vengeful dragon or religious zealot or shapeshifting anarchist has the right to interfere with our country and tell us how to live, and we're strong enough to resist them." Her voice had turned just a shade bitter. Perhaps it was the sort of polite, noncommittal rejection that she'd been told to expect.

"And we're building a new army too," she added. "All those unwanted or uncared for kids you're talking about? We're raising them, teaching them magic, giving them purpose. You can fight against us, but you'll have to answer to the future you've stolen from them." This seemed... oddly personal an issue for the Black Guard. She shook her head, backing away, about to turn and be gone. "You can sell your potential short and settle for mediocrity and being stepped on by those with sly words and entangling money, but at least don't stand in our way. Us ten - us Guard and the exemplars - we're shifting the ball. We're in the Twins' ears. We're changing this place." With that, she was done, and turned fully to leave, holding back with only the slightest hitch in her step. "You can still be part of it. The last bit was - if I recall correctly - your idea anyhow. It could use you as its driving force, or you can fight against the future you want."

Ingrid believed herself to be reasonable, but she apparently was not, with Evil Eye walking away from the table. Ingrid showed no emotion other than maybe a slight guard with Evil Eye getting up.

It was then Evil Eye began to grandstand to Ingrid, and it was lame. Ingrid listened and only raised an eyebrow. "So you take what I said as a 'no' and then grandstand on my concern. Only to then offer it?"

Ingrid looked at Evil Eye in disbelief for only a second before shaking her head, "I hope who ever wins can help Retan."

Cause Paragons and the Pentad know 638 years wasn't enough education for you at least. Ingrid had nothing else to say to Evil Eye though she was left thinking that things could've been different.

"You never really cared, or you'd have made an effort, you stupid girl. 'Some other concerns'." Evil Eye laughed bitterly, pivoting on the spot and making air quotes out of it. "You might as well have said 'Oh, I can't because I have friends and, uh... you know, etcetera'!" She waved her hand in mocking dismissal and stalked forward, pounding on the table. "The Twins are literally building the world you claimed to want and offering you a part to play in it. You think they weren't listening in on almost everything all of you foreigners said? You don't think that's why they had me - someone who suffered through what that kid's suffering -" She pointed vaguely in the direction they'd come from. "- come here and make the offer you so flippantly refused before I even had the chance to spell it out!?"

She flipped her eyepatch up and there was one of those hideous powergazer eyes beneath it. As she did, the air around Ingrid turned truly freezing. Plants wilted and browned. Frost coated the ground and any lick of wind stilled. "You're only all pissy because I didn't stroke your ego and assure you that you were the star of the show and would be in charge or some shit. Yeah, those words earlier were intentional. And yeah, governments totally put random foreign teenagers with no experience in the field in charge of statewide programs. No wonder my briefing for you included an 'ego' warning."

She was backing away, but she did not disappear down the bend in the path as she had perhaps originally intended. Something here had struck a nerve, and deeply. Evil Eye's energy swelled now, to enormous proportions. "It's all a fucking front with you people. It's all a show. You don't actually wanna help people like us. You just wanna grandstand as the 'hero' or the 'goodguy' and feel good about your shitty selves. Now I'm glad I tested you and figured that out." Her face went from heated and flushed with anger to cold. The bottom half of it split in a cruel grin. "My name was given to me by someone else, you know, and I don't usually enjoy my work, but this time - I think - I really, really will." Her 'evil eye' began to glow.

Ingrid had turned to Evil Eye since it seemed she had more to say. "Refused?" Ingrid looked at her dumbfounded, "I didn't refuse anything, I wanted to talk about the little things." Then when she started to spell it out, "You just went on and on about knowing you aren't the star, I know that!" Ingrid stood up. "I knew that for awhile now. My concern was the treatment of people like Yong if you couldn't put 2 and 2 together."

As Evil Eye lifted her eyepatch, Ingrid never broke eye contact. Even as Evil Eye drew to stupendous levels and Ingrid could feel that same sickening that happens with Benny and Jocasta, Ingrid didn't draw. "I'm not scared of some powergazer eye, it's not even the worst eyes I've seen all year." Ingrid let her talk more. "I want to help. My concern was the treatment of people like Yong and the only 2 people I love here. If that's too much to talk about because you care about this as well than I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I struck something so dear to you." Even as Ingrid was being threatened she didn't back down, she didn't hesitate to stand for what she said.

At the very precipice, Evil Eye relented. "Paragons, you sure have a way of showing it." The glow faded from the eye that had lent her her moniker and she breathed. "This is..." She trailed off for a moment and flipped the patch back down. "Kinda very personal for me, so I'm sorry too, okay?" She rolled her eye. "There. I said it."

She sauntered back over to the table and plunked herself unceremoniously down on the bench. "You're worried about the others? Then talk to them. They're all intelligent, reasonable people, right?" The air still hummed with energy. "They've all received offers." She shrugged, a bit of the impish charm from earlier returning. "They refuse, then maybe they're not so bright after all, and you need to crack 'em upside the head." She shook hers. "We don't wanna hurt them. I won't give you some ironclad promise because, as you've learned, nothing in life is set in stone, but we'll go nonlethal unless our hand is forced." She smiled, and her eye darted about surreptitiously. "It's going to be alright. You'll see. There's... a plan." She added cryptically, a Cheshire grin blossoming on her face.

All at once, then, there was a great expulsion of energy, and Ingrid tensed, ready to defend against some sudden sneak attack, but it was nothing of the sort. "I've just shut out everybody who could be listening, and there are at least a few." Evil Eye spoke quickly. "Ingrid, this is a plan centuries in the making - it's the luxury we have as sanguinaires." She was leaning forward conspiratorially "I'm sworn to secrecy on this, but the silence is killing me. The Twins are not the badguys, even though they play that part onstage. Everything's about to change if we can pull this off. That's why the Progenitor's turned on them: they're breakign ranks. They're on a different side. He's here, now, for what it's worth: that mysterious handsome guy." She shook her head. "He and the school are counting on you as dupes to overthrow them. The others, like Wu Long and Ash are just opportunists with their own selfish goals. Those reforms that you want?" She grinned and... winked? It was hard to tell with her. "Ready to go in full, and they're just the tip of the iceberg. We're gonna make this world a better place! We want you in on it and, yeah, there's a bit to gain personally as well." She smirked. "Nothin' wrong with that, is there?"

Ingrid sighed in relief that she wasn't going to get destroyed by an omega blast, "I tend to piss people off with how I talk. Old habits die hard." Ingrid took a seat back at the table, before giving a small smile and a nod at the apology, resisting the urge to say sorry again.

Ingrid rolled her eyes, "I'm worried for some of them. Not all," Ingrid tried to make abundantly clear. "Though I will try. They are my schoolmates and even if I hate one of them to bring back bloodeagling. I hate for a mission to have casualties." Ingrid appreciated her trying to say that they don't want to hurt them but Ingrid was unsure about some of the Black Guard but either way, "Thank you Evil Eye-" Ingrid paused, "Do you have another name you prefer or are you fond of that name? I personally dislike names based off of my physical traits."

Ingrid leaned in to listen to the plan. She had speculated it might be a tear in the Black Guard but a tear between some of the Elders and Progenitor. Now that makes sense. Ingrid nodded along to the pretty boy being the Progenitor even though it terrified her. Ooh I hope that he doesn't know that I let his Ex out of the sleeping chamber. She sat back and contemplated. Before she was even done she looked at Evil Eye, "Well, thank you for the trust. I won't be sharing that." She went back to weighing it and she came to a conclusion. "If you would have me, I'll help. What do you need from me?"

'Evil Eye' smiled ruefully. "People used to call me Linlin." She blushed. "Always thought it sounded too cute. I ain't that cute, am I?" She laughed nervously. She shook her head and leaned back, crossing her arms.

Then, it came time for the main offer. "We need your strength. One way or another, there's going to be a fight. Everything that we have planned depends on us winning it. I know it's not fair to ask you when I hardly know you and we've spent half that time at each other's throats, but... you and the others: we need you to help us fight against the threats that surround us: the Nikanese, Brother Ash (who's still very much alive), Wu Long, and..." She swallowed. "Maybe even your fellow students if it really comes down to it. I expect none of you will try to kill each other, and you can help make sure of it." She reached out and took Ingrid by the hands across the table. "Thank you," she said. "You have no idea how much your trust means to me."

Ingrid gave a smirk when Linlin said she wasn't cute, screaming the 'Oh really to her'. But her expression soured as she brought up having to fight her fellow students. "I can't say that they won't try to kill each other. Maura is a central figure to 2 of them and I can say for certain that she hates me." Ingrid let that sit there not for Linlin but for herself. She was coming to terms that she might need to kill her fellow students. "I can only hope that she was self serving here. That all of them came around," Ingrid gave a not too optimistic smile.

Ingrid weighed the information Linlin had entrusted to her and knew that there was a chance the people that held the plushtail oil might have stayed with Wu Long. She leaned in to whisper to Linlin, "Linlin listen, since you trusted me, I'm going to trust you. We found the Plushtail oil that you guys put on our cloths. Thing is that Yalen and the others could get it off of them. They have the Plushtail oil." Ingrid didn't feel completely right sharing that but if it could secure the people she loved, fuck the other ones.

Event: Metropolis but at the docks and a cave.

So many shifting feelings inside of Ingrid at the moment. The fight started and ended so quickly that adjusting was rather difficult. She rubbed her jaw where that pain was but mere moments ago. She got herself to come down from the high that a fight gives.

Seems Maura was meeting up with that Ash fellow. A Sanguinare. They're not all evil but the ones at the top? Probably. Ingrid's eyes laid on Maura, and she wasn't going to tell us anything. Not the meeting, nothing. I don't even know about the Nikanese women or who it could be. How much had she done already? Ingrid couldn't give Maura any more trust. Give an inch, she takes a mile.

But now wasn't the time for that. No, she had the ability to speak to Wu Long more openly, Maura will be dealt with later.

Ingrid just gave a simple question, "What is the harmonious order? I know of some things involving Sanguinares and I'm not a supporter, that's for sure but I know nothing of the order you seem to represent."
She followed it with a general statement to the group at large, "Can we just speak openly before what could be a deadly battle?"

Ingrid found most of Wu Long's plan agreeable. The true color of things comes out in the details though and those she had some thought about.

She nodded along to the first and second points, nothing disagreeable there but she wanted some guarantees for people like Yong and Yin, people who have already suffered and need to be compensated.

Ingrid was very aware of what a large nation had to face. Eskand was essentially a continuous fall and now even the base is split in 5, you fall to the mercy of others just like they did when Revidia discarded them. She didn't know about the Jiang Dynasty but they could be worse than the current. a day to day governance makes sense but Ingrid leans toward taking even more power away, If a family is to set to be the ruler of all time, then they should be held responsible by the government as well. "I think you should take even more power away and give it to the public servants. That is just my general thought."

Ingrid was not sure about the dragons acting as custodians. They could easily turn into the blackguard and turn corrupt but saw no immediate need to bring it up.

Now sanguinaires. That was difficult. Ingrid was aware that they can, at the higher levels, be great manipulators and terribly hard to remove. But Ingrid didn't believe for a second that all sanguinaires were exploiters any more than a slave owner or a bad businessmen who throw people onto ships only to work or die. And that Ash fellow, even if he had knocked me out, admitted the issues."Now I can't say I disagree with expelling the ones connected to the government but eliminating all feels short-sighted. I believe that some are just people trying to survive. Or like that of Ash that seems to be wanting to do good. I think it would be foolish to turn him down when you know who you are up against."

Ash did bring up an interesting concept, who were they? Thinking of the murals in Zaqoria, they presented it as 2 sides, one the sentient creature minus the Eaiko, Meerami, and now Oguraq versus a beastman known as Heart and the Sirrahi. We know the sanguinaires fought against them but the 'them' could either represent something above the sirrahi and the sanguinaires, like the all-knower that Sileen and One talked about briefly. Though Heart did have a negative reaction to it being brought up. Maybe the sides flipped? Those battles were long ago so it was possible.

Ingrid liked the idea of a strong merchant class here, if anything to act as another competing interest against the ruling class. The strength of the military was most likely needed with how they were very expansionist before and to protect themselves from such another insurrection but that was covered by Maura for the most part so she will stay silent and side with her. Feels disgusting even thinking that.

Ingrid let others speak before her because she didn't know much, she had opinions, that's for sure but she had only focused on the personal cost of these people fighting for the country and they have already lost plenty.

Finally, after listening to Maura, Abdel, and Niallus, she suddenly shot her head backward after someone entered from where they came. She sighed in relief that it was Yalen then turned to finally let her opinions know but start by making Maura more aware of what sanguinaire are.

"Maura," Ingrid tried to grab her attention, "Since you seem to be uninformed of sanguinaires, let me. They feed on people. I mean that literally, they suck blood from other people. Now let me preface that they have to do this to survive and they don't need to kill someone though they can. Their vitality is much stronger than the average person's. Though those seem traits are not the thing I believe Wu Long is worried about, No I think his worry is that they can seemingly live forever. And that they can take in the blood of others to empower them greatly over time. Ash could be centuries old and still not have aged. And from my own studies, I believe the Twin Emperors are among the oldest and strongest of them." Ingrid spilled most of what she knew on them, saving some over-specific information. "Granted I didn't know there were sanguinaires, particularly in control of this country, I'm only now aware," Ingrid added to cover herself if the wheeled lady wanted to come after her for knowing things that her peewee brain didn't.

After giving what Ingrid thought was a thorough enough breakdown of sanguinaires, she moved on to magic for the people. "Wu Long I have to agree with you that magic should be returned to the people but I have some concerns." Ingrid paused before continuing, "We have all seen the lack of magic here in common people. Yet I want to put on the table what failing that magic exam could mean for people like Abdel, Yalen, or anyone with a difficult manatype. If you are 'normal' and fail for any number of reasons like social standing, background, or even if the instructor didn't care for you in particular, you can't use magic. But for people like Yalen and Abdel, you might be taken away and stripped of your rights, even killed in some cases." Ingrid wanted to let that sit in for some. It wasn't dissimilar from the refuge she heard about here and there but here they could try and guarantee that change. Wu Long wanted, no, needed the support and they should ask for this.

"While you all were searching for information the night after the first fight, I stayed at the inn. I met with Yin and met Little Yong. Let's just say they spelled it out what it was like to be oppressed, stripped of your magic use. It was hard for them but Yin and her father could manage. But Yong. He undergoing the painful transformation to a powergazer." Ingrid looked at Yalen, "It's why I asked for the pain relievers. That child has done nothing wrong but be born yet his family worries that when the time comes he will be either taken or killed. He is sweet boy who is just as annoying and curious as any other child." Ingrid set her eyes on Wu Long, "How then Wu Long? How do you plan to not only change the system but to fix the people who have been broken by it? The people who were stopped because they didn't meet the exact standard the previous system wanted. The families that have lost children to never see them. The normal people who so desperately believe that magic users are dangerous that even when used to save the lives of multiple should receive punishment."

She let her statements stand there for a few moments, "I'm not asking for you to know everything or even be able to fix it immediately but please. Take them into account or else they will be the reason ReTan breaks for good." That was all Ingrid had to say at the moment.

Ingrid said what she wanted. It wasn't perfect nor eloquent but this was the first time she got to speak her mind with someone of actual importance to Retan as a whole. With the ogauraks safety at hand and someone named Vel Ingrid's straightened herself up, "I'm willing Wu Long."

Ingrid didn't expect Maura not to go but a part of her was relieved. One less person to watch over and one less person to watch out for. The other part though was concerned. The inn was supposed to burn down tonight. A part of Ingrid wanted to let her figure out and barely escape but that's a different level of petty, too petty. No, Maura has connections that could help Yin and her family.

"A quick moment Maura," Ingrid walked towards Maura. She tried not to be intimidating but at the end of the day Maura was tiny and Ingrid was huge. "There's more happening at the inn than you know. Just..." Ingrid paused like it was painful. "Please be kind and generous to them. They need help and I have nothing for them right now." Ingrid made her request, trying to let her guard down and be genuine. It irked her to ask, let alone have to rely on her but she was going to be there and Ingrid wasn't.

The arrival was shocking and Ingrid had been ready to fight but she adjusted quickly as Trypano took the lead. She resigned herself to be a silent background character for now as she believed that Trypano had done a stellar job. Her natural shutter at what Trypano did might have added to the realism of it. Though Ingrid was not sure if it was real or not.

They were given permission to go after them but Ingrid didn't do more than look towards where they should have headed. Just as the lowly background person. She would go when the group did. Though Ingrid can't lie and say that she was concerned for the big fuzzballs that stayed already laid there.

Just as Ingrid told herself, once she saw someone in the group go in she did as well. Especially with it being Yalen. Hell knows no fury like an angry Jocasta.

Ingrid was more than ready for a quick turn in events this time. With Yalen suppressing the watching eyes Ingrid turned to the portal with the white guards. She was originally just going to blast but she had a different, much more Benny idea.

"Backing up!", Ingrid said as she retreated further back. She applied the ghost powder to herself to try and hide herself. A wicked smile appeared as her infinity loop started to ignite. The boom came to her mind. Portal and nuke, a match made in heaven. But distraction is needed.

"Yalen, can you trick them?" Ingrid asked, hoping that he could make it seem one of theirs is charging a nuke.

Cataclysm... Let's destroy them!

Ingrid managed to stay out of the fight as she sneakily charged her spell. No one has gotten majorly injured so she just kept chugging along. Trypano offered her some special concoction and with how things were going Ingrid chugged that vial, "Is this like test 21 at this point?" Ingrid said excitedly.

The viscous liquid clung to her throat. It wasn't just alive but it was like it was moving in Ingrid. She coughed but it don't move. And - Eshi - the texture! She hated it. It was scary, to be honest. She trusted Trypano would give her something mostly safe in a life-or-death battle but she felt like it was pulling her focus. With a Cataclysm building, a moment of lost focus could mean the death of her allies, let alone herself. What the hell is this?!

She could see that Yalen was being aimed at but what could she do in the moment? She had started and committed to this.

Whatever Ingrid had drunk had done little more than make this the riskiest spell she had ever casted. Her focus seemed to wane with the slightest distraction. Not the ideal situation to be casting what is considered the strongest spell in atomic. Even with the difficulties, Ingrid prevailed.

Not that there wasn't any other option... Golden Monkey was merely toying with them. The White Guard were numerous and if it wasn't for the lack of available energy would destroy us. Ingrid could see her lover and friends getting demolished but couldn't even do anything in her state. She misjudged it.

Her hope to end the fight neatly with an atomic blast was misguided. It limited her too much and left her teammates without an ally. One that could've limited the Black Guard. She cursed her shortsightedness and it seemed her judgement came to reap.

A sudden pulse ran through her body. Her eyes dropped and her body fell. That damn Vial! It sapped the energy out of her. Like she had exerted herself too much. Ingrid and her mana strained to keep conscious and in control of her own magic and that's when she saw it. The White Guard has finally noticed her. The spell was near completion and they had noticed.

Barely able to maintain focus, consciousness, and control, Ingrid prepared for what was most likely the end of her ill-conceived plan. If the worst comes then I need to at least get away from my allies.

The tides of battle continued to crash against Ingrid and her teammates. She had grown accustomed to the curse the vial gifted her. At the same time, its strength radiated in her, an odd feeling to say the least. But the tides still shifted, her spell had still gone unnoticed by the hoard of skilled White Guard and no one laid unconscious on the floor. Yet people were at their limit.

But like a lightning bolt, Vel and Rikard joined together to strike Golden Monkey. It actually hurt him. The being that they had been only recently able to perceive was done a wound. Ingrid filled with a sudden burst of glee, Yes Rikard! We can do this! It was a bright moment in what could only be described as a slow defeat before.

But that was a façade. He had been toying with us still. Even after our strongest attempts, we were nothing more than paltry entertainment. He showed us. He showed us what true power was. A spell Ingrid had never even heard of, so far into the mastery of Arcane that it shined just as bright as Lor itself and it held more power than any Detonation she had casted before.

There was no wind-up, just pure unadulterated power. And it came at Ingrid. She had proven herself just strong enough to get the attention of another monster. The Eskandish mercenary on her first mission that slew VVysen. the Demon that rained blood on the world, and now the Black Guard, Golden Monkey, that she can only compare to Lor. She faltered.

She panicked, her composure was compromised in front of such overwhelming force. Her mana couldn't do all that she wanted. Control the nuke, defend, run, hide. They couldn't do it all so They did none. Everything or nothing. But her teammates had not missed a beat.

Kaureerah miraculously held him in place with some kind of illusion and kinetic magic. Rikard tore the air apart one more and struck like the legends of Sweyn Thunderspear. But it still wasn't enough he still had more than anything Ingrid could muster at her best.

And there they were, Niallus and Trypano. Her lover sent an Arcane blast to fend him off until Trypano conjured a wall of flesh to block his path, stopping him fully. Ingrid had failed but her teammates, the ones that matter most to her here, they lifted her up. They created the room she needed to make that initial mistake into a chance. And then when Wu Long appeared.

The opportunity to strike was now and Ingrid made haste. She hurled it to the portal as the Exemplar sent the Black Guard towards the portal. Ingrid had remembered that Lucky Dragon resided on the other side. Nor forgotten what her rumored powers were, Please Reshta, I know you love her but if you could love me just a little more. Please Penny. Ingrid launched it with all the force she could muster.

She shouted out, "Please! Slow him down even if it is a moment!" Ingrid pleaded with her battered allies to pull out the last bit of energy they had and work through the pain. "Make this worth something," Ingrid muttered a small prayer

But Reshta isn't just about luck. If you make something more likely, Reshta will favor it. Ingrid wasn't sure how exactly Lucky Dragons ability worked and honestly there were a few other abilities being used here that stumped her. Vel in either a moment of bloodlust or stupidity, put a bomb behind Golden Monkey. And he rolled off of it. The Cataclysm was going to collide inside the cave.

What would have been instant death was prolonged by some temporal, who's I'm not sure but thank Oraff for them. People rushed to the portal, Ingrid being one of them. However an unknown speed resided in her. Fast enough to get not only herself but Trypano out as well. Everyone had made it out, Skugs included.

There was no moment of relief for Ingrid as she held Niallus in her arms. He never left Ingrid's sight. Every wound she saw and gasped at, knowing she couldn't help him. Tears fell as she used her binding to try and patch him up. What composure Ingrid had shown vanished when she saw her lover injured so severely.

Niallus was of course fine after some healing, nothing permanent was done. Ingrid weakly joked about his collarbone breaking again. But underneath it all, a growing feeling had taken hold. We failed to take down one as a group, what about 10 of them? It was laughable to think we could do more. Ingrid held it in for now, this wasn't the place to talk about it.

Event: Primitive
People: Tku

As Tku rode on top of the giantess Ayla, he had a strong desire to test his abilities. What better time to create than for a good purpose, Tku thought as he glanced over to Ayla. It took him only a moment to realize that they were going to have to leave Ayla, so he obviously made her some clothing, choosing some bright colors of reds, oranges, and some splashes of green. All vibrant to match with the little bit of Cazenax culture he saw. Of course, he made a secondary outfit of more tan and browns with streaks of dark red but it was obvious by complexity which one Tku cared for more.

Ah! How it feels to make beautiful cloth again. Bold is the way to go in life!

But this was all merely cosmetic, Tku had an actual thing he wanted to do for her. Sand started to trickle up to Tku, most of it was blown away as he tried, not being especially gifted with kinetic magic. Sand formed to glass, and he colored it with the minerals he had learned from glass makers up and down the continent. Some of those elements had not been present but some cleaver blood magic made up for lacking resource. He had planned to go with a heart motif, easily symbolizing what it was but why not more? He pulled from his bag his sketch pad to start designing a lion medallion comprised of stained glass and bronze for his creation. 3 or 4 sketches later he thought it was alright enough and he really put his new mastery to the test.

I… should be able to do that now, Shune-Zept's Promise. Tku was honestly nervous. If he could do this, he would have reached the level of a master. Was he ready for this? Did he deserve this out of all the hardworking binders there were. So many were more intelligent, more studied, more disciplined than he. He breathed out, seems like I will be stepping a little further ahead Esmii. He went to create the artifact with the strongest healing spell he could muster at the moment. The glass and bronze started to form together in the large medallion he planned for little miss Ayla. Programming the spell was difficult but he could do it! Now for the activation words… "Ah!" Tku let out as he thought of something. "Lionheart, Oh Lionheart, Keep Beating Little Lionheart." And with that the words were set. Maybe a bit long but eh, it sounds right for her.

Tku wrote a note with the key words and instructions on what it did and left it in Ayla's 2 sets of clothes.

Event: Primitive
People: Tku, Ayla, Zarina, Classa, Zox, Cazenax extras that did not get hurt, some unionized demons, and the cold refreshing taste of sweetwater.

Tku was more than okay with running but it seemed the knight had other plans. "Are you crazy?!" Tku yelled. There was Demons and raider. They could just be here for the sweetwater and cactus. Why not just run and live. What is worth throwing your life away for. But Zox was going to fight. It was his job, his role that he took pride in. His warning scared Tku, he didn't want to die. But Zarina had made her decision to fight when she donned her armor.

"Fine then," Tku knew Ayla would go with her no matter what, he had seen it earlier in the day. He was anxious and found himself in another deadly situation. It was his job right now to keep those 2 alive the best he can. His hand were shakey as he turned to the enemy. He couldn't help but think about the odd wand he had. Could it help in this situation?

There wasn't much time as gaggles of Cazenax's came at them riding strange things. Demons were summoned and they were on top of them as quick as could be. Tku's fear of death by a very fast monkey outweighed his fear of being outed as a blood mage as he morphed the outside of Zox's body to the legendary metal of Ghul.

Clouds, Sharks, and Elephants came for them and each one was immensely challenging from the novice fighter's view. Luckily no one was injured too much and instead he could focus on buffing and defending himself. That was until the Cloud demon came for Zarina. Moments flashed back to when they were separated and the mist had damaged the both of them. This time he would not hesitate to stop it before.

From the lessons he had from Marbrand he reached out as a curse connected itself to the cloud, confirming with him that it was living. He pulled from his mana and cursed it to fade away, to become energy to help his defend others. It was drained of its mass as they fought and lost whatever effectivity it had.

The fight raged on and it seemed they were doing fine but things were still up in the air so once more, Tku went to convert Zox to Ghul. Something odd happened though. Their magic unified in this beautifully powerful way, the Ghul had become part of him and his form accepted it. Whether by the blessing of Eshiran or Oraff, Zox changed into something else at the moment. Zox's body melded into an egg like structure and who doesn't trust an egg. Especially this egg, Tku put faith that Zox would return to finish this.

Thr fighting didn't stop though. The raider's had let off some strong attacks at Zox's impregnable shell but some still came for him. Glancing blows were had as it was inevitable. Tku was struck with boiling water as the finale spiteful act of the cloud demon, may it whiff away in the breeze, and nearly took his life. He laid there thinking if this would be it, to die without making any impact on the world. But his allies were there. They gave him time to heal and then the end came, Zox stirred.

The fight had went from a coin flip into demolishment of the raiders. Zox dealt with them with no issue. Their attacks didn't even scratch as their group assault merely tarnished Zox's outer façade. Tku healed and things seemed to be going even better as he through the elephant beyond the horizon. Zox was strong and beautiful. Glissening in the sun and burning as hot as his passion to protect his home Tku thought. The other's seemed hesitant about if it was him but Tku knew it was still his new friend.

Things calmed as the raider's ran but the elephant wanted more. It came looking for Zox as it wasn't long until a battle of the titans commenced. Arms were blown off, energy beams were sent and returned. It was quite frankly the most obscene thing Tku ever had the pleasure of seeing. The fight became clear with all four of us working together with Ayla surprisingly being the one to deal, no, eat the giant and became giant as well.

All was well and all was handled, all except for an angel egg and an olive tree that came out of the same darkness of the other demons. The egg was thankful and informative about the conditions of Zox and Ayla. The tree however,

In his head, Tku heard a voice.
"Step forward, child," said the mystical tree of the desert.
In the distance came the echo of hooves and, with them, a dust trail.

Tku followed the command, somewhat driven by the insane circumstances that have happened. It is calling him, and he wants to answer

A heavenly light shone down upon the great tree and its branches swayed softly in an ethereal wind.

"Eat of my fruit and you shall be nourished."
Classa could feel its words as well. "You too, young one."

Tku grasped the fruit, "Thank you for the nourishment kind tree."

Classa looked up at Zarina and leaned in. "But I don't really like olives..." she whined, scrunching up her face. "Do I gotta?"

Zarina cackled at that answer. Oh kids. “It's a special olive.” she said before tapping the centaur's back. “Only the best of us can even get a lick.”

Classa made a brave face and she nodded. "But I get ice cream later, okay?" She took a couple of steps forward, glancing back at Zarina for confirmation.

He looked at it with great appreciation and calm before eating it.

From within the great tree's branches came a mist, in the midst of the desert, and they were filled with gentle clouds and a soft light. A small serpentine dragon rested within it contentedly, eyes half-closed. Then, in Tku's mind: "What do you wish for?"
Classa trotted up and took an olive as well.

"I wish to create," Tku smiled, "I only breath on the generosity of another. I wish to do the same and create the beautiful world that I was granted to dream of."

Frightened by the horse coming up to take her prize, the girl swallowed it. She, too, heard what Tku had moments earlier. "I wish..." The girl trailed off, suddenly and perhaps for the first time, lost for words. She regarded Zox, then Tku, and then the giant Ayla. Last, she looked to Zarina. "I wish to... be free." She paused. "And the others like me: them too."

"I can give you a gift, or the means to achieve it by your own hands," said the tree to them both. "The choice is yours."

Classa took a few steps back toward the others. "So is this like a trick question or something?" she asked, "'cause I'm totally just gonna ask the tree to grant it."

"An opportunity to do so is all I would hope for."

"So it shall be," the dragon within the tree replied. With that, Tku felt a new power surge through him. His mind grew in knowledge and his hands in skill. Concepts that had seemed just beyond his grasp before became illuminated. He was... stronger, somehow.

Classa stepped forward. "Are you a tree or a dragon?" she asked with childlike curiosity.

The dragon's eyes slid open and it seemed to smile, floating languidly through the air as it descended, looping and twirling about her shoulders. "Why can I not be both?" It chuckled and the tree's leaves seemed to tremble.

Classa's face scrunched up inquisitively. "How can you be a tree and a dragon?" She pawed at the ground. "Sounds like something Mr. Jascuan would say when he's trying to sound all wise and stuff."

The dragon stilled and tilted its head. Then, there was a small surge of energy of a type that none of them had felt before and the child's eyes widened. "Ooooohhh," she exclaimed, nodding knowingly after a moment. "I get it!"

Tku's mind expanded and he felt as if the power of Oraff had entered him for the purpose of creating what he oh so desired. He was closer to being able to do the same as the one did for him. Feeling immensely grateful, "Thank you for all of this, it was quite nourishing," Tku chuckled.

She paused to consider, sticking a lock of hair in the corner of her mouth and nibbling on it. "I think I actually undewstand a lot of things now. Give us what we need and we will free ourselves." She looked up and smiled uncertainly.

Classa stamped her feet happily. Nobody was quite sure what she'd received, but she seemed to know. The little girl twisted and cracked a shit-eating grin. "Wait 'til you see what I got!" she boasted. Then, momentarily, she turned back to face the tree and bowed her head. "Thank you Mr. Dragon-Tree."

With that, the dragon settled back upon the branches and the rolling mists took it away from that place. The tree stood still and silent in the desert. Then, it crackled and bent. Its branches groaned. Its fruits withered. The ground seemed to open and it disappeared as if it had never been there in the first place.

A single millennium egg sat there in the sand. The other was in Zarina's hand

This journey has been short and it feels far from over but Tku is sure that this will be his most memorable one yet. Tku grabbed the egg, "I have been gifted enough, I believe someone else should have it,"

Classa perked up. "Oh, I want it!" she exclaimed, hurrying forward. Then, she looked up at the massive figure of Zox. "So I can save it for him, of course." She blinked, smiled, and looked up, holding her hands out towards Tku.

Tku handed it to her with no hesitation, "You were brave today but maybe don't make too much of a habit out of it," Tku said out of concern.

"And I'm gonna keep being brave!"

"Then at least arm yourself little one, I will make you something fitting what you want to do little one." Tku knew the perfect metal for such a valiant girl.

Things calmed as Jascuan came out to announce he will go to town.

Tku sent some small heals to Zarina and some to himself from the minor burns he suffered. Originally he wanted to stay at the home to heal the wounded raiders but the prospect of interrogating them was... Harsh. It was needed but he didn't wish to participate in it if he could avoid.

"Jascuan allow me to go with you. I'm a healer and could help in various way, just in case," Tku attempted to convince. He looked over at the dead and he just felt a heaviness of their actions. Even if they attacked us, he would still rather no one die.

Tku approached Zarina, "With how fast we could get there with Ayla, I can heal some of the injured before we depart." Tku offered what he could to assist Zarina in her own endeavors

Stopped, turned and flashed a bright smile at Tku. “It's fine, friend.” she chirped. “I got enough for first aid. If they're not dead already, it should be enough until you get back.” she even added a thumbs up before turning toward the wasteland. That smile quickly withered into an expressionless, one would even say soulless, gaze.

It wasn't hard to tell what she was doing, she was not this colorful from their limited interactions. Tku just smiled and nodded before he turned, "Stay strong friend." It wasn't a duty he was jealous of but he naively hoped it wouldn't be so bad. And with that he was settled to head off, tempted to try out his new skills.
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