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ATTN: @PaulHaynek (Ian), @Hammerman (Lunatea)

ATTN: @PaulHaynek (Ayu & Takeshi)

Taking in the sights of Terauchi Temple, the former mafioso, ex-cleaners, would evaluate everything, and, as they did, the collective would start to introduce themselves...

However, there was no established hierarchy, beyond Lady Kyouko being The Boss, and their assigned mission to rendezvous with the Taskforce was accomplished, and without orders to stay put, and with only Takeshi and this Vară character - both of who reeked of bureaucrat, and not warrior - introduced, the Claremont Sisters decided to to take a self-guided tour of sorts.

Dropping to all fours, Umami took off like a bolt, while Ripcord, rather easily, followed her lead - or rather, her nose. The first stop on their tour was the kitchen.

ATTN: @AzureKnight (Xashan), @Hammerman, @Silverstein, & @Rune_Alchemist
There was a mounting pressure, as Xashan dragged the two women back to Eon Tower against their wishes and wills; using his position of seniority to make an executive decision for them in the field, regardless of how they felt. Throughout the return journey, they'd been making their escape in cahoots; speaking to each via their Espermancer connection with their Third Eye. Playing docile, Scarlett would bloat a fine mixture of iron and copper dust into her scarred arm, while drawing blood and moisture out of the flesh and muscle; leaving a fragile, desiccated arm from the elbow down.

As she finished, she would tune back in to notice that the witch she'd met so long ago was starting to depart, and Xashan was distracted by some walking pound of flesh. Both parties opened their Third Eye to coordinate, as Lupina stuck out her hand to shake, and Scarlett seemed to reciprocate - only for her mummified arm to tear off at the elbow. Part of the plan, Lupina would shriek, and toss the arm up; silently summoning Baast off the end of her fingers to bark at it, and send it towards the ceiling.

Scarlett would cackle, as the arm cracked on the ceiling, and point her blood-gushing stump at the failing cloud of dust, as her arm shattered, and scattered. At the same time, she summoned Milli within the disguising font of blood, and had the grass snake spit a teeny ball of fire into the dust cloud.

The very explosive dust cloud...

The explosion would mask their shouts, "Milli!/Baast!" before the Spirit Animals engulfed them in the chaos of the sudden detonation, and flew off with their keepers in their mouths.

Not shackled by terrestrial movement, and unbound to the conventional means of flight, the two serpentine summons would swim through the air, back to their incomplete mission.

More than likely, Xashan knew where they were headed, and could direct Roze to give chase with her own flying summon. However, they both had to prioritize the explosion, first. Even if it was fully calculated by Scarlett to do the minimum amount of damage - more flash than bang - it was still going to take time to get through the ensuing paperwork in the form of incident reports from Xashan and Roze to the eyewitness accounts for Lanus, Renee, Haase, Leon, and the newcomer, Giselle, and whatever other various bureaucratic measures would crop up that they were counting on to keep the two from being chased immediately.

As they soared through the sky, Milli's mouth would open, as she saddled up beside Baast, and Scarlett looked over with her arm wrapped by her underwear. "Not bad acting for a sheep," Scarlett says, as she sat cross-legged. "I almost believed that shriek was real for a moment."

"I could say the same for a human," Lupina says, laying back in Baast's tongue like a warm bed. "They won't take kindly to insubordination, y'know."

"Technically, the mission is closed yet, so we're still on task as given," Scarlett says. "Xashan didn't even entertain our suspicions..."

"Admittedly, that did piss me off. Dragging us off like that, without even looking into anything, and for what, a public squabble," Lupina scoffed, "Honestly, it wasn't even that deep. Just banter between women. We better hurry, though. We're on a clock."

The two looked at each other, and nodded in sync, before declaring:

"No secrets allowed before the Apostles of the Maiden Abyss!"

ATTN: @PaulHaynek (Ian)

Deciding to leave everything behind, Alice with Carroll quietly deserted the recently-besieged Terauchi Temple to pursue their personal goals. Nary a farewell to their fellow taskforce members nor to Takeshi Oja, save for Shizuka Kannazuki who saw them off.

The knight in with the rainbow armor, Ian North, was their key back to the realm of Wonderland. The rainbow knight had the signature energies of Carroll’s sisters imprinted on him, which made him likely aware of Alice and Carroll’s situation. However, they had no idea where Ian was and they last saw him in that port during their previous quest.

So that was where they went. A slightly different route, however, landed them in a ruined village of burned down houses and devastated survivors who were mourning their dead or gathering their belongings. Surprisingly and coincidentally, Ian North was here. His western, rainbow-colored armor was noticeable even from a distance. He was in the middle of the village, sitting beside the settlement’s stone well and tying rope together.

Well, well, well! Short time, no see, Your Majesty!” Ian greeted Alice and Carroll, while the other survivors in the village continued their businesses. “On your way to another mission? That was pretty quick. I would’ve bet money that you’d take some time to rest for a while after your last mission.

"Let's go," Alice says. "You didn't linger here out of any concern for this village," she says, "Odds are, you were just waiting for us to arrive. After all, you didn't offer to take us home out of the kindness of your heart."

Alice settled her hands on her hips, "I'd ask what you stand to gain from this team up, but I don't care."

Ian stopped his weaving and stood up, unamused at Alice’s tone and demands. “I don’t know what horsebull you think I’m doing or wanna do, but I’d stop assuming if I were you.” He crossed his arms. “Now what’s this about a team-up? Where are we going? I may know you, and I know your sword’s sisters, but that doesn’t mean I can read your mind.

Alice narrowed her eyes, "Assuming, am I? Though, the offer was yours."

Leveling her sword, Alice would transform Carroll into her crimson form, and point at Ian. Her tolerance of the rainbow knight was null, as it was, but the fact he was acting like he hadn't pulled her aside on their return journey was pissing her off. It was nothing short of the fact he was the best lead to home that kept her from running him through.

Alice was short on patience; the last fragment burned by Kerry. In truth, it was mounting pressures and that had been the cracking blow, but what little patience she'd summoned up, Ian was dangerously close to cracking, selfsame as the Hornet had.

"Hrm..." Alice groaned, before sheathing Carroll, and rubbing her temples. "Did you lie to me for your own twisted amusement, or can you actually take us to Wonderland," she says, "Serious answers. No more games."

Ian never reacted at Carroll being pointed at him but let out a sigh at the question. “Ah, so that’s what this is about. Well, good news is I can take you there. No problem, easy-peasy.” The rainbow knight said. “But are you really going now? What about the taskforce? Err, I suppose you don’t really care about them. What about Takeshi? And your fling with Shizuka? Your debt to Lady Kyouko?

As he asked those questions, though, Ian pulled out a small pouch and began pouring its contents into the well: Some sort of pink-colored sugar.

"If I wasn't sure, I wouldn't be here," Alice says, "As to the rest, why do you care? That so-called Taskforce... my first memory of them is being surrounded by them, assaulted by magic, and then chased by their wild boar. Takeshi, Shizuka... they mean nothing to me... just a Human I used to recharge, and another that recharged my sword..." she paused at Lady Kyouko, before looking up, hands behind her back, "Debt? I don't recall any debts. I was fine with dying in that fire. It was her that made the decision to save me. I didn't ask..."

Ian was silent for a moment before giving a shrug. “Well, so long as you’re sure.” The rainbow knight then took a look at the bottom of the well which was now giving off a pinkish glow. “Yep! That’s about as ready as it can be.” He remarked before returning to address Alice. “Alright, Your Majesty. One jump into that well and you’ll be back home in Wonderland.” Ian said. “I’ll follow you in once you jump. Keep in mind that this is a one-way portal so if we wanna head back to this plane, we’re gonna have to look for another way. Well, you’ll have to look. I have my own ways but we’re not close enough for me to share that with you.

Just jump in once you’re ready…” The rainbow knight finished. “...and without regrets.

"What regrets could I have for abandoning them..." Alice asks, dropping her soft lilt and sense of majesty. Rolling her eyes at Ian’s implication that he was just free and clear to hop dimensional borders at-will, Alice would vault over into the well; she could be taken as overly trusting, but, honestly, she was fine with whatever the outcome was...

...even if it was death.

ATTN: @AzureKnight (Naomi) & @Frozen0Titan (Damien)
They say, "Confidence is a silent killer," as Damien attempted to translate the fusion of Human and Fae Languages, run through a cultural filter, twice over, and recombined into its own Tongue. However, the wall would be sudden, as the words were written in Serpent-tongue, an uncommon Belua Language, which meant he'd to solve the cypher that was the language of snake Belua that was overlain upon the conlang spoken by the creator of the message, before he could even translate the separated to guess into full words.

...and, even then, he would come to the realization, the base two languages were being used as a double-fake cypher with a substitution cypher hidden in each alphabet, and translating into gibberish, so it would seem, as the only word that came true to his tongue was: "Milli".

If he wanted to truly read anything else, Damien would need to shop around for other linguists.

ATTN: @PaulHaynek (Kyouko), @The Irish Tree (Vivian)
"As long as you are trustworthy as our Boss, we have no issue with following your lead," Ripcord says, "That said, that courtesy only falls to you, Boss. This prissy walking ice cream cone is another matter."

"Grrr..." Umami narrowed her eyes, not looking at Lady Kyouko, but Vivian with the possessed fervor of a scorned dog. "Yeah! We follow you, Boss! But, anyone else... they ain't made no bones or broke bread with us yet..."

Lady Kyouko could sense their mob affiliation would be both a boon and bane, as it would help her "control" their movements and actions by establishing a hierarchical structure to follow, overall, but their interpersonal relationships with those inside that "mob" would be another thing...

But, for now, they'd pledged their support to her. That would have to do.

ATTN: @PaulHaynek, @AzureKnight (Shizuka), @The Irish Tree (Liliana), @Rezod92 (Kerry)
As Alice approached the village approaching the end of a siege from the same band of warriors that she'd just dealt with, she could feel herself growing annoyed at the prospect of having to fight again. Exhausted, she gathered herself and her strength to engage in combat, as she pushed through the treeline, and prepared to --


-- be yelled at?


No, no, no.

Surely, that was just a creation of her exhaustion, and she wasn't staring at the Hornet that just screamed at her for... for... for what even?

Missing all this chaos, like she was just twiddling her thumbs? Just watching from the sidelines, like this was a sporting event, and she had money down?

"Where the fuck was I," Alice asks, looking at her nails, before she hit the dash, and blitzed Kerry with Heavenly Strike speed, but driving her fist - not her sword - into Kerry's face; slamming her into the ground, and stomping on her chest. "I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN, SINKING TWO VARJAN WARSHIPS, AND SAVING A CHILD FROM BECOMING A LIVING SACRIFICE!" she exploded, "WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?!"

Alice drew Carroll from her scabbard, her shikomizue blade elongated and crimson, no far cry from the demonic axe form, as she held her at Kerry's face, as she lashed out:

"I don't know who the fuck you think you are, Hornet, but you are in the presence of greatness! I have seen the rise and fall of civilizations; risen empires, and felled them the same! I have stood on all four shores of Wonderland, faced The Queen of Hearts and survived all encounters!"

"I've survived five centuries of war and strife, held a thousand nations, and countless lives in my hands..." Alice says, sheathing her blade, "I'll say this in no uncertain terms, Hornet," she stood straight, "Fuck you and fuck Shizuyama. Burn to the Varjans for all I care. I'm done, and you helped me make that choice by screaming at me on sight."

Alice didn't allow for a word in edgewise, as she disappeared via a flash step - battle, no battle, she didn't care.

She had packing to do.

ATTN: @PaulHaynek (Kyouko), @The Irish Tree (Vivian)

Umami Claremont snapped up to her feet, as she frowned. "That’s not fair, Boss Lady! Tell her, Rippy! We got this! We can handle anything anywhere!" An accusatory finger pointed at the altruistic woman, as she looked at her eldest of sisters and siblings, "It’s not fair! I don’t wanna go home! I wanna do cool stuff!"

Sighing, Ripcord Claremont looked up from her lap; resting across her legs was a large, incomprehensive weapon that was simultaneously sleek and modern, yet crude and barbarous. It was difficult to describe, and reeked of danger. Reaching up, she would shake her hand, and a thin, white stick would push out of her palm, and into her fingers.

"You got a light, Boss Lady? And, pipe down, Umami," Ripcord says, tersely. "It’s your fault we were late, to begin with."

"Nuh-uh!" Umami whined, tearing up out of the blue. "I didn’t do nothin’!"

"Oh? And, who was the one that wanted to eat from every food stall and restaurant we passed," Ripcord asks, standing up, and walking over, "It was you," she purred, pushing Umami’s chin up with the stiff cigarette, "my hungry, little sister..."

"Everything was so yummy..." Umami mewled, blushing as she was handled.

Ripcord smirked, as she drew closer to her bottomless pit of a baby sister - eliminating all but a meager inch of space between their lips. "And, you didn’t share," she purred, "Such a bad girl..."

Umami was about to speak, before she noticed the newcomer that wasn’t them. "Rippy! Look! It’s a Mint Ice Cream Girl!" she gasped, pointing obnoxiously, "Or, maybe, a Pistachio Ice Cream Girl!? I wanna know!"

Before Ripcord could wrangled her, her puppy-brained sister was on top of the Glacies - her body shapeshifting, as her human ears folded into the sides of her head, replaced by a pair of floppy, fluffy canine ears, while her nose took a more distinctively dog-like appearance, and her teeth were shaped into all fangs. Hybridized from Man and Beast, Umami maintained a Human movement, as her lilac-painted fingers and toes sharpened into extended claws, and a poofy tail lifted her skirt.

Once the tail was in play, the Beast took control of the form, and Umami’s rushdown of Vivian was not unlike that of a dog running to greet its owner after a long day of being apart. Vivian would need to react fast or get pounced.

ATTN: @AzureKnight
As Xashan started back to Eon Tower, his arms would start to burn, as crimson and black wisps of flames like smoke escaped from the suddenly not-so-unconscious women, as they writhed in his hold, and broke free.

For a tense moment, Xashan had to process, as of Scarlett and Lupina were threats, as Scarlett leveled her swordmorph at him, and Lupina aimed her bow at him. However, they weren't the same as before...

As if lifted by an unnatural force, their long hair was raised above their hairline, keeping their third eye in constant view, as the eye glowed - a crimson iris beset in a charcoal scalera, matching the smoke that burned around their form like an aura.

Fortunately, it wasn't to last, as they seemed to... power down... and the smoke faded.

"We aren't... done... here..." Scarlett groaned, rubbing her temples. "Blockheads like those chumps don't act out of turn. There's more to this..."

"The Pheredhel is right," Lupina says, "Something stinks, and it's not just their bad hygiene or breath."

Drawing into her coat, Scarlett would fluff the burgundy material, and reveal her immodesty; only adorned in smallclothes underneath - well, underwear, to be honest. She'd discarded her chest bindings after leaving Elaine's company, having sweat clean through them.

"Do you have no shame, as a woman!?" Lupina bleeted.

"Save it," Scarlett snarked. "Not like I have anything to interest."

Lupina scoffed, as she pushed up on the meager, but present offering of twinned, semicircles of fat storage. "There is enough here to show some modesty. Even you could feed a small child."

Scarlett would growl, and dig her fingers into the much more bountiful harvest of offered fat storage, taking note of the slightly more generous left. "And, there is enough here to feed a small household! You need to show modesty!"

Xashan would likely wanna cut in, before they went from annoyed groping to public indecencies charges...
ATTN: @AzureKnight, @Frozen0Titan
Her attention was divided, literally, though her task was always the same: do what her Mommy wanted most:

Protect her things.

”I’ve done my best to mimic the typical ecosystem in which these eggs are laid. Eh, however…”

"Ecosystems? Living places? What living place like? Living place we, warm.

Is good.


”What makes magical beasts so fascinating and tedious to study is how magic is so integrated into their genetics. These particular species are natural lightning elementalists --"

"Lightning? No. Fire. Fire. Fwoosh!

Lightning annoying. Wanna stop. Now. Make armor.

...but, how Mommy do? Make dirt inside and make hot...

Oh! Fire! Yeah! Hot dirt hard!

”As a researcher, I’d of course like to be able to ensure that the egg hatches with no issues. If not for the sake of my own well-being…

Do you perhaps…have any suggestions?”

As Naomi looked away from the poached Makara egg to address Damien, she would just miss the Alchemical Circle form and spread out beneath it, and the sudden formation and closure of a pear of anguish around the egg - cutting it off from the Lightning Mana.

Upon the petals were symbols from another language, likely another continent, and they were written all the way around from top to bottom in a crude scrawl. It was legible, and decidedly intelligent, due to the repeating symbols in other places, leaning to the credence of words, but unless Naomi or Damien were fluent in the Northern Fae-tongue, and the Desert dialect, they would need a linguist.

ATTN: @The Irish Tree (Liliana)
"Am I alright," Alice asks, smirking, as her cracks sealed; mycelium repairing and disguising the critical failure of her prison. "I believe so, little Bladeflower, mine. I fear I must apologize for my display," she says, looking back.

Liliana could easily tell that everything was not a catnap on a rainy day good with Alice, as her skin was an olive tan and her hair was strawberry-blonde. It was like Alice, but decidedly not-Alice, too. However, she sounded like Alice, mostly. It was so confusing for the brainlet Fairy, that she likely didn't notice the earnest apology being leveled upon her, until...

", can you find it in your heart to forgive me, my little Bladeflower?" Alice asks, tanned hand over her heart.
ATTN: @AzureKnight (Shizuka), @PaulHaynek (Ian)
Upon reaching the port they'd original departed from long ago, Carroll would find herself roused from passing out, and just in time to hear Ian offer himself up for an impromptu AMA, as if that was worth its weight in gold, and not a fat cloud of smoke and hot air. least, for most of the gathered crowd.

For her, he had an action to answer for.

Shizuka would feel her shake and shift in his hand, recognizing it as her transformation into Human Form, and, likely, he expected the form and face of his dead lover, but received only her voice.

As she shifted, a human woman in bloodied, medieval garb would emerge, instead of the expected snake woman in a traditional Zipangu kimono.

"Then, answer me this," Carroll says, "What the hell did you do to me!?"
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