Status

Recent Statuses

5 mos ago
Current "He was infuriated to see Jinguuji-san eating with another man."
2 likes
1 yr ago
"When you get to the point where you can laugh at your mistakes, you'll find new things to replace what you lost."
1 like
2 yrs ago
"Damn stupid sun, making it morning whenever it wants even though I'm sleepy. Who does it think it is? Doesn't it know it has me to thank for its continued existence? "
4 likes
2 yrs ago
"I am Ferdinand von Aegir"
2 yrs ago
"While masticating steadily away, I ponder a certain philosophical dilemma --- Do beans have emotions?"
1 like

Bio

Hello, person looking at my profile! I hope you're having a wonderful day but considering where you are, the likelihood is that you are not. Sucks to suck, nerd.

My name is Dalton, but I go by many names. Famished, Pants, King, or Chad, to name a few. I'm a dude of 26 years of age who is fond of degeneracy in the form of anime, games, and visual novels. On the subject of games, I'm a big fan of Metal Gear Solid, Devil May Cry, Disgaea, and Nier. Unfortunately, I've also gotten into a relationship with League of Legends that has been going on for about 7 years, so there's that. I've also come to adore FFXIV, too.

League of Legends: Chad Chadlainn, NA
FFXIV: Chad Chadlainn, Lamia
Steam: FamishedPants

As for anime, I mostly look for whatever seems like it'd be funny, even if the show isn't supposed to be a comedy. Thus, I have seen quite a lot of shitty isekai and battle harems, and all kinds of stuff. I enjoy Re:Zero, as well as Jojo and Highschool DxD. If it has big anime tiddy, then it's probably been seen by me.

For visual novels, I have an obsolete list here. There's a number of VNs I've read that aren't on that list but maybe I'll be bothered to update it finally? Anyways, obsolete or not the fact remains that I adore Muv Luv and think everyone should read it if given the chance. The Fate/Stay Night VN is many times better than any sort of anime that'll ever release, so fans should also try that. For people bigger on fun character interactions, give Grisaea no Kajitsu a try -- the anime was pretty garbage, but much like DEEN's Fate anime, that's because they tried to mix every route into one. And, naturally, look into Monster Girl Quest if you haven't already. Most people come for the sex, but all stay for the plot.

I tend to join RPs when I'm recommended them by someone I know, but occasionally I'll search for one myself. If for whatever reason you don't know me but intend on sending an invite anyway, I'm not too hot on things that focus around diplomacy or romance. Still, feel free to give it a shot.

Now, I'm aware that Broken is eagerly awaiting the point in my bio where I insult them. So fuck you. And fuck you too, Phonic. If Erode is reading this, fuck you but a bit softer, more gentle. Other people: Take me on a date first, then we'll see.

Most Recent Posts

E m i l y



"I've only been in collabs recently, haven't I?"

— Emily


It had only been a couple of days after Emily had made a new friend in the form of Ruby that she looked at the sorry state of her apartment. It suffered from the after-effects of Hilaria and Emily deciding last night to binge-watch a compromise between 'violent' and 'cute anime'. The result was a show based around magical girls who were trapped in a very unpleasant game that required them to kill one another. Hilaria enjoyed it far more than Emily did, but it was true that it captivated her enough to munch on snacks as much as Hi-- well, a lot of snacks.

...at any case, the couch and the floor were riddled with crumbs, emptied bags, and a few empty bottles of soda. Emily went to work cleaning things off the couch before moving to the floor, and in no time at all did the place begin to look presentable. She felt proud of how the room looked now and admired her work for a few seconds before realizing that something was missing. "Ah, the remote!" Emily spent a couple of minutes moving the cushions on the couch, looking under the couch, and around the table. Still, the remote escaped her. "Where could it be?" Wracking her brain for some sort of answer, she found it hard to believe Hilaria could've accidentally taken it when she left. But where did that leave her to search? If only she could just fi--

"Oh, wait." Emily finally remembered she literally wished for something to help her find things. Grasping the locket around her neck and opening it, she found a compass-like arrow resting straight forward. Emily concentrated on finding the remote, and the direction it was facing changed. "Behind me?" It seemed to be pointing towards her TV, oddly enough. Searching the area around it, she finally saw it lodged behind the wall and the TV. "Oh, isn't that so helpful!"

This really was a convenient item. And to think that some people were lucky enough to just have this when they became a magical girl! Well, I should probably count my own blessings instead of someone else's... and maybe see exactly how this thing works, too!

...

...

...

In order to see just how good this device would be at tracking, she repeatedly tried to find things. She started from stuff she already knew the location of, to things she had been looking for, to things she had to remember she had lost. She found most of the items, but occasionally the pointer would tell her to go out of her home and she figured that this must've meant it had been thrown away by accident or something, so it was probably at a dump.

Eventually, she understood how it worked with items well enough. Well, it wasn't hard to, but she at least confirmed that as long as she understood what she was looking for, she would probably find it.

So then she decided to branch out from objects. How would it handle, say, concepts? She jokingly tried to concentrate on 'World Peace' only to find the pointer begin to cosplay as a helicopter's rotor blades. She found some success with thoughts like "something to peel this apple" but then she couldn't really find "an easier way to pay the bills".

After she had gotten more or less bored with that, she moved onto the subject of people. Similar to how she started with objects, she began with Sakura, whom she already knew the location of. It worked, as expected. Then, she tried Hilaria. She followed the locket until she eventually wound up in front of a restaurant. That was all she needed to confirm that it worked, and she quietly moved on before she could catch Hilaria's attention. She only experimented more and more until eventually there was only one thing she could think to try. It also happened to be the most important search she could make.

Emily, after moving around so much, looking for people and objects in her drive to see how well this worked, had decided to take a rest at Penrose Park, mostly because she happened to be nearby. She sat on a bench, clutching the locket tightly, and her breathing was heavier than it should've been. "Then, with this I..." Emily concentrated on what she wanted to find, but she didn't dare look at the direction it pointed in. There was a chance it could fail, but she should have enough information that it wouldn't. The question was if she should.

She had lied to Ruby and to Sakura. Maybe not technically, but she had acted in a way that may lead them to believe her wish that resulted in this locket was essentially an obligation. It was a poor thing to do and it felt just as bad as lying to her. But, in fact, Emily had desired something like this locket even more than the ability to befriend people. At least, at that time. Now, she wasn't sure. She had the power to find what she wanted, but now that she could, she finally wondered what she would do with this information.

What would she do when she confronted the person who murdered her sister?

She... couldn't know. Emily wanted to think that she would get an answer out of the individual, but then what? Wish them well and wave goodbye? No, that wasn't going to happen. Each time Emily thought about the kind of person who would take the life of a kind, caring person like her sister... she felt such intense hate and rage. One she couldn't decidedly say she would be able to control when she confronted the individual.

And there was of course Jonald, who was certain to try to take some violent action. Maybe not himself due to his status as a patron, but Emily could see him attacking indirectly, somehow.

Emily finally glanced down at the locket.

It pointed in a single direction instead of spinning aimlessly.

She felt her heart skip a beat and her palms began to sweat. There was no doubt about it: this would definitely find the person she was looking for. With this, she could finally learn the truth behind her sister's death! And yet...

...she closed it, exhaling sharply as she did. "...no, not yet..." Emily decided it was too much for her right now. She knew that if she looked at it now and found the person, that things would never be the same. That much she was sure of. It was absurdly selfish of her, but she wanted to at least enjoy the party with her friends before then. Even at Jonald and Selene's expense.

She hoped she could forgive herself.
H i l a r i a

R e a v e r





Club Lightstrand was alive again, oppressive beats thumping as a six fingered DJ spun hot tracks. As the premier destination for supernatural nightlife in Penrose, it was always packed with inhuman patrons. Elves slapped orc booty, mindflayers grinded fishmen, redcaps drank mermaid spit. Wild debauchery persisted all around, as vampiric thralls in black leather slipped around, silent as shadows, to attend to the customers. Lively and erotic, the frenzied excitement of the three-story establishment was enough to lure a line of eager customers (some underaged) that extended around the block. A thick-skinned asura bouncer stood at the door, checking IDs and examining the blacklist, while his partner, a rhino-headed snakeman, deflected flirtations from a couple of scantily-clothed pixies trying to skip the queue.

Having yet entered the establishment, a silver-haired girl and her partner waited in the middle of the line that formed, the girl seemingly having not a care in the world. Red eyes glossing over the crowd of people waiting to get in, she briefly turned to her strange acquaintance with dire news. “Hilaria doesn’t think there’ll be any tasty food here,”

Reaver tilted an eyebrow, as he gazed the crowd that was going to enter the club. Not many of them looked appetizing in his eyes either. His companion was...quirky to say the least, but who would pair with a practically unknown in this city for a dangerous hit? The bottom of the barrel and the weirdos. Well as long as her quirks did not get in the way. "Depends on the food you are seeking. This place is for… lets say, other kinds of tastes. I bet Hilaria might find a good match there."

Hilaria shrugged. The food she was seeking was food, naturally. Any other such service this club or any of its patrons would offer was completely dull and uninteresting. Pleasures of the flesh could never compare to a well-cooked steak, or a trip to a nacho mountain. That said, most things were certainly better than waiting in line. The currently unarmored girl retrieved a small bag of chips she had stashed in case of emergencies and began munching on them. Time then seemed to pass rather quickly, the line shortening significantly. As it neared their turn, Hilaria looked at Reaver. “Hilaria wonders if you’re aware of what we’ll be dealing with~” she looked him in the eyes, and then offered a chip.

Reaver was not one to refuse free food so he took the potato chip and ate it. He… resisted licking it out of the other magical girl's hand, though. "Nosferatu. Strigoi. Vampyr. Has many names, and each tale has different points. Several things are common though. The ability to bewitch, drink blood and regenerate. It's a tough target." Reaver raised an eyebrow at Hilaria. "Odin would not have it in another way."

“Tough target?” A third voice joined their conversation. Looming three feet above them, a muscular demigod folded his arms, his glowing eyes narrowed as he inspected the two magical girls. “Yer not here to cause no trouble, are ye?”

"We are here to vanquish the cuckolder's evil! Chicks love that! Mwahahahsha! Are you the ancient Rakhasha of the seventh wheel? " Reaver said, trying to ham it up as best as he could...obviously not very well. He looked downright silly and pathetic. "...I...uh, sorry? We are a couple with weird kinks, really… She loves to play the potato chip eater with the third person thing. Also to put me in an armlock." Reaver said. "I love people putting me in armlocks. I bet you could put me in an armlock too."

Cementing herself as the most willful girl in the cast, Hilaria managed to not respond to Reaper’s… cover? with disgust or confusion. Instead, she retained her smile as she replied to the demigod. “Hilaria thinks kink-shaming is rude!”

“Uh...huh.” The asura leaned back away from the two magical girls, muttering under his breath ‘fucking weirdos’. The line didn’t seem like it was shrinking at all, and his contract was that he was on the job until the line was done, so with a sigh, he decided to just...not give a shit about whatever the hell these children were doing in a 200+ nightclub.

“Alright, sure, whatever. Just gimme yer invites.”

“Oh, invites, yes right away!” Reaver said, before thinking hard. No one had mentioned this place was invite only, so his thoughts raced fast. “Okay, that’s one of the keywords, right? I’m supposed with… I can’t find them, can I pay for them with my body?” Reaver added as he began to undress.

Hilaria looked at Reaver, then back at the bouncer. “Oh, so you are into that stuff?”

The asura gave a deadpan glance. It was literally only 2 AM and already he felt like sticking someone headfirst into the concrete. But a job was a job, so…

He leaned in, grabbing and lifting Reaver’s face up by the chin, pulling apart his lips to inspect his gums, then move his other four hands all over the dark magical girl’s body, feeling for the distribution between muscle and fat.

“Hrm. Boss might be interested…” He turned to Hilaria. “Your invite?”

Hilaria blinked. "We do everything together, of course~!" she declared. "From eating food, to going out, to invites, to, hopefully, finding a way to replace them~"

Another one, huh. With a bit of a grunt, the asura removed his hands from Reaver, before pulling out a couple of wet wipes to disinfect with. Could never know with dark magical girls, after all. Moving onto Hilaria, he did much the same to her, tracing paths up and down her body, checking complexion and dental health, before examining her eyeballs quickly as well. She was a good deal fatter than her companion, but there were patrons interested in extra meat too. After a couple more moments, he sighed and brought out an old, rectangular pager, dropping a line to whoever it connected to.

“Alright you two, step off to the side and try to make yourselves presentable and attractive. The Madame will check you out soon enough, and if she finds you decent, she’ll get you glammed up for the Boss.” With that, he shooed them off, and got back to going through the rest of the queued-up supernaturals.

Now standing off to the side, Hilaria gave herself a once-over and then, apparently satisfied with herself, smiled. "Hilaria is happy we're getting this chance," she said to Reaver. "Let's try our best to make an impression~"

“That went better… than I expected.” Reaver said, raising an eyebrow, as he rearranged his hair, loosened a few buttons in the shirt, and tucked some… extra cushioning in some place. “I suppose you don’t have...uh… black lipstick and mascara on you? Normal makeup could be good.”

Hilaria shook her head, retrieving something from her person. "Can you use this~?" she asked, presenting a blue push-pop.

Reaver squinted. “Oh what the hell, I need a little sugar, anyway, and I’m not concerned about my self image at this point. Thanks Hilaria.” He added, and then applied the children’s candy with… manly conviction to darken his lips.

After a couple minutes of last minute adjustments, the doors to Club Lightstrand opened, not to let someone in, but to let someone out. A snake-woman with alabaster scales and beautifully vicious eyes slithered out, three feathered boas wrapped around what one couldn’t really presume to be her neck, unless they were to imagine that she was all neck. She circled around the two magical girls momentarily, tongue flicking in and out, before saying, “Tommy, dearie, thesssse are the twooo?”

“Yes.” went the asura, intent on talking as little as possible to her.

“Theeeeey could do ssssome work, but...yesssss, I’m ssssertain the Bosss will be willing to take them in.” The snake-woman nodded her head a couple times. “Now, darlingssss, just follow me…”

With a flick of her glitzy boas, she slithered back into the nightclub, the magical girls following after. Circumventing the main area, where all the debauchery was happening, the snake-woman led the two of them through an ‘Employees Only’ door, before bringing both to a warm room filled with lightbulbs and mirrors. There was a rakshasa there, trimming his legs with a razor, while a leprechaun spritzed alcoholic perfume over her lush beard. A salamander chewed on dried peppers as she lounged on a steel plate, the object glowing warmly, and a hippopotamus was doing squats, each downward movement causing a slight tremor...or was that just the bass drop? Though varied in species, however, all the people in the room wore collars of sorts, black leather with a red pearl inserted upon the buckle.

The snake-woman flicked her tongue towards two swivel chairs.

“If you’d pleassssse?”

“Eh, what’s that bauble? Looks so cool! Can i have, like, half a dozen of them?” Reaver asked.

Hilaria spent this short amount of time Reaver had afforded her practically, making sure to wave to any of the beings who might’ve looked their way. None of them did though; magical girls were nothing special in Penrose.

“Tisss a sign of servitude to our employer, y’sssssee.” The snake-woman produced one of the collars from within her feathered boa, which must have been some sort of hammerspace inventory. “To keep our...rougher employees from being disssobedient.”

“So, is this an offer of employment or something? Or a play? Can I just, dunno, get a blue choker?” Reaver egged the snake woman, while looking at Hilaria. “But, you know, if I leave my neck guarded, you can’t give me hickeys! Ain’t that right, Hilaria? Snek hickeys are best hickeys.”

Hilaria gave Reaver a sharp, discreet elbow. "Hey~! That is rude~! Is that any way to speak to a potential superior~? Don't be so offensive~!" she chided. "Hilaria knows they tend to prefer the term "serpent."

“I rrrecall that you were the two who expressssed interessst in paying with your bodiesss.” The snake-woman continued. “And you may reffffer to me as the Madame durring your ssssojourn at our essstablissshment. You’ll find too, that guarding your necksss from intrussssive individualsss is important in thissss line of work.”

“...what, like Vampires? Those don’t exist!” Reaver said, before closing to Hilaria. “We do an awesome joint number...Always together.” He drew closing, caressing Hilaria’s body… and at the same time putting a reinforcement spell upon her. He leaned to kiss the girl, and whispered to her ear. “If I start doing strange shit, you know what to do.”

“Well, me first!” He said, as he sat on the chair… and concentrated on reinforcing against any kind of mental manipulation.

Hilaria took her seat at the other chair, ever smiling. “Oh, Hilaria is sure it’s going to fit you just fine~!” she laughed.

The snake-woman smiled as Reaver sat down, tracing one of her rhinestone-studded fingernails over his neck. “I ssssure hope you enjoy your firsssst experience with a nightwalker then…”

With a click, the item was set, the leather band tightening over Reaver’s throat until the red pearl bobbed alongside his Adam’s apple. Sliding sensuously over to Hilaria, the Madame equipped the ever-hungering girl with the same choker, gleaming in the incandescent lighting of the makeup room.

“Now, my darlingssss, do you prefer to work...publicly, or privately?”

“That’s a good question! I mean… we’re much better doing this on a two-people team, you know, exotic fare.” Reaver said, looking at Hilaria. “For private views?”. Reaver thought. Private meant less likely to be overrun.

“Hilaria would say she would prefer to work in a more private environment out of the two,” she answered for them. She, like Reaver, imagined this may be the better call, but there was no way to tell for certain. “Yes, that one~”

The Madam regarded them contemplatively, her reptilian eyes flicking like her forked tongue from one side to the other, before dipping her head in assent.

“Of courssssse. Right thisssss way.”

Ushering them out of the make up room, the snake lady slithered through winding corridors, her body twitching at every bass drop that rumbled through the walls of the employees-only area. The two magical girls passed beside a variety of doors with nameplates, no doubt meant as private rooms for high-selling courtesans, and would note too multiple sets of staircases, guarded by duos of muscular, humanoid monsters in sharp suits and sunglasses. The sound grew stronger the further in they got though, until they reached a particularly grand set of doors, embossed with fiendish, winged ladies of the night and well-endowed, horse-headed studs.

“Well then,” the Madame said, her mouth stretching out into a sadistic smile, “I do pray you two can self-promote.”

With that, she pushed open the doors and shoved them in.



It was a blinding experience. Strobe lights hammering, EDM blaring. A pink bear man DJ’d on top of a tower that looked like a top hat, while monsters danced, suspended up on cages that looked strangely familiar. The floor was teeming with all sorts of beasts as well. Weretigers drawing blood sensually, goblins breakdancing on their noses, a herd of stallions trying to get lucky with two well-endowed etin girls. Reaver and Hilaria would find themselves on a raised platform as well, and behind them, a neon display read ‘0 Gold, 0 Silver, 0 Bronze’. What was that supposed to mean?

Though their mere emergence drew a couple of glances, after a couple of seconds, no one paid them any attention at all.

“So that’s how it is going to be?” Reaver said to himself, while looking at Hilaria. Thank god he had the film Full Monty fresh on his mind, so he played along for a bit, doing his best twists and dances and discarding random amounts of clothes, even shedding his own blood at times.

Hilaria did not have the same ‘inspiration’ as Reaver had but she had experienced more than her a few gatherings similar in nature, albeit with less lights and music played by live performers. She found herself stealing a few glances at the other ‘performers’ and content with her superiority over the other female (or femalesque) beings when it came to the chest area, she began dancing in a provocative dance with moves that emphasized her bust, hips, and thighs.

Though Reaver and Hilaria undoubtedly had exceptional bodies, neither of them were all that interesting. There were seven billion humans on the planet, after all, and to the uncultured monstrous patrons of Club Lightstrand, they all looked sorta the same. A couple of giant slugs weren’t even really able to tell what sex either of the two magical strippers were.

Still, an offer was an offer, and if no one was going to make an offer, that just meant that some of the fellows who had no money on them could afford something nice. While the crowd’s apathy and inattentiveness continued, a scrawny orc in a suit that looked like he stole it from his father timidly raised his hand, clutching the three silver coins he received from his big brother on his birthday.

Behind them, the neon display changed to ‘3 Silver’, a ten-second countdown starting and ending without much hurrah. The orcish youth let out a sigh, before approaching the stage hesitantly. Swallowing twice, he tried to gather up his courage, then failed, and settled for downing the rest of his beer with a grimace that made it clear that the alcohol went down the wrong tube. He coughed a couple more times, green skin turning red in embarrassment, before saying in a soft tone, “Uh...um...I’m Brahza and like...we should go, like, upstairs now, I think...if you want to?”

Reaver looked at the Orc, offering his best smile while grimacing internally, and shooting a complicity look at Hilaria, he took the initiative. “Sure, you big, bulky boy. Let’s have some fun.”

There was a point where someone would have thought he had gone too far. If that had once been for Reaver, the sunk cost fallacy was being too great. Then again, all he needed was an excuse to get into the Vip rooms. The stealthy approach had been overused to death.

He would play for a while. And then, Rip and tear...Until it is done.

Hilaria apparently saw nothing wrong with introducing a young lad to the joys of life. He was at the ripe age of *mumbles* and managed to steel himself for what was most likely spiking his risk for heart attack. What a trooper! After today, she was sure this orc would leave the club feeling much more mature, wise, and ready to take on the world! She would position herself behind the suited orc and softly massage his shoulders. “Oh, how wonderful it is you’ve chosen us~” she said. “Hilaria is sure you’ll have some fun~”

The young orc twitched, obviously unaccustomed to intimate contact with someone who wasn’t his mom, before bobbing his head up and down. “Yeah,” he croaked. “Let’s g-go.”

The etins guarding the staircases hardly gave them a glance as Brahza brought them up to the second floor. The stairs continued to a third floor, of course, but a velvet rope blocked off access to it, a sign reading ‘Employer Only’ hanging from it. The decor of the second floor was much more subdued, a russet red carpet and classical paintings giving the floor more the vibe of a fancy hotel than a brothel. A faint, pink mist pervaded the entire area, smelling sweet, and after some fumbling about with directions and such, Hilaria and Reaver followed the young orc into a private room that looked...remarkably normal. There was a large, heart-shaped bed, warm lighting, a patio with a magical view of Paris, a box that contained plenty of things one would need to enjoy adult entertainments safely, as well as a separate room that opened up into a large bathroom, complete with a light-up jacuzzi.

Brahza, of course, sorta just stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, nervously looking about. “So, uh...like, I think you girls should shower first...right?”

Reaver let his best charming smile as he guided Hilaria into the shower too. “Of course… be right back…” And as soon as the perp was out of earshot, Reaver addressed his partner. “Okay, let’s get this cruddy thing off. I’ll get yours. You’ll get mine.” Reaver said, not wanting to really risk the whole side effect of the thing. Assuming nothing prevented them from doing such, Hilaria would comply and assist Reaver in removing the devices, freeing them from potential mental manipulation.

“Hilaria feels all better now~!” she told him, eying the door to the shower. “Mmm, but she’ll feel a bit sad for him…”

It was easy enough to remove the chokers. The accessories fell off after some force was applied, the red gems dulling into black.

"Was planning to off his sorry life tho. Shower to make it realistic? Nothing ...uh, weird, even if you have your charms." Reaver almost stammered.

“Hilaria could go for a shower… but that other thing is a no-go~!” she denied. Considering what he had proposed, the nonchalant way she rejected the idea of harming the poor youth could’ve had a bit more firmity. She acted as though she was a mother scolding a child for putting their hand into the cookie jar rather, not like someone deciding the fate of a poor young soul.

Reaver twisted his mouth, his mouth curling up like a snarl. “He could be calling others…” He said, his muscles tensing. He really wanted to rip and tear. Probably take a bit off someone. “So, who first?” He winced, like a dog being forced to be restrained from eating his favourite food.

Hilaria shook her head. "The only thing he's calling upon is the courage deep within~" she replied, disrobing as she did so. When she was bare, she tilted her head. "First~? Do we have that sort of time with our company waiting~?" she wondered, before going ahead and entering the shower anyways.

“Think on the mission, think on the mission, think on the mission.” Reaver added, as he was baffled by the girl’s response. Well, no time for dilly dallying. He was no coward, the sight of the exuberance of a naked woman wasn’t going to stop him!

It was probably one of the more challenging moments in Reaver's life. Hilaria seemed wholly unconcerned with the fact she was in such a confined space with no clothing next to Reaver, and even helped washed his back as if it were the most normal thing in the world. In the end, the shower took maybe five minutes, but Reaver could not be blamed if he had thought it was longer.

In the end, the two stepped out of the room, freshened and ready to take on the world. Or rather, the young boy who was hopefully not dead from nervousness and excitement. "Oh, Hilaria is sorry to have made you wait~"

Brahza sprung up from the bed that he was sitting on, the young orc almost stumbling forwards when the bounciness of the mattress proved greater than he first expected. “Oh, uh, it’s not a problem,” he squeaked. “But, so...should I shower too, or? Like, I don’t know if you humans like smells or not, so…”

“Well, why not? I mean, It’s another life experience.” Reaver said, trying to strike a small pose. He still was trying to piece together what the hell had happened in that shower.

He craved for burgers too. For some reason.

Hilaria nodded to the boy. "It's best to look and smell your freshest for encounters like this~" she told him, approaching him with sway and giving him an encouraging pat on his back.

“G-got it. I’ll, uh, see you ladies soon then.” The orc tried to sound confident, but certainly gave the two magical girls a wide berth as he headed into the shower room. After a couple moments, they could both hear him absolutely decimate the toilet, the nerves of the situation giving the poor orc-boi the runs.

"Let's lock him in and run for our target." Reaver said, probably not realizing that Hilaria had already begun moving the heart-shaped bed into the front of the door as a barricade. When she was finished, she nodded.

“Hilaria is bored, so she wants to go finish this up~” she announced, leading the way out of the room and towards what seemed to be an area restricted to normal party-goers.

“Alright.” Reaver added. “Time to put the raving… into the rave.” He said. “Wait, that does sound odd. Nevermind.” He added, fully suiting up and heading towards the ‘Employer Only' floor. “Ladies first?”

Hilaria shrugged and, assuming nobody stopped her, pressed forward past the velvet rope in their path and took a peek inside.

No one stopped them. If the second floor had a lurid silence that promised raucous love-making if one could somehow get past the amazing sound-proofing of each individual suite, the third floor held a silence that was uncanny and heavy. None of the merriment down below reached this high up, no matter how rowdy the crowd. The wide staircase lead to a set of double doors, oaken and engraved with the motifs of devils and virgins. Stone gargoyles leered at the two magicals, but showed no sign of becoming animate.

As they regarded their surroundings, the double doors creaked open, revealing a pitch-black void. No light entered, and no light escaped. It was a darkness so thick that it felt tangible, and if they put any part of their body through it, they lost sensation of it.

“Well?” A voice, malevolent and ancient, filled with seductive intrigue, sounded through the void. “Enter.”

"Nice decoration." Reaver commented. "Although it would be nicer if we could actually see it. Please excuse us." He said, already steeling himself for the confrontation. It did not hurt being polite, though. If anything, vampires were suckers for cultivating an air of class to hide their ravenous appetites.

Hilaria had a blithe disregard for the situation, admiring the void as if she were a kid at a candy shop. “Oooh~!” she put a finger into the room and immediately noticed it became numb. “How cool~ But what if Hilaria trips~?” she frowned. “Is it dangerous here~?”

“Only if you want it to be~” The voice responded. The two heard the sound of a fingersnap, and various candles lit up, dimly illuminating the room. There, lying sideways on a queen-sized bed, one leg propped up in a bold manner, was the vampire, wearing a luxurious bathrobe seemingly made of shadowy silk. “My oh my...I did not expect to receive two for the price of one.” He leaned on one hand, and used the other to gesture them towards him.
“But you do look very lively...Mmm, yes. Now, come here, and let me give you a kiss~”

“Uh, thank you my lord… but I mean, It doesn’t look like proper…I mean, they put us this choker for a reason. I’m very confused about this place’s guidelines…” Reaver said, scratching his head apologetically.

After glancing around the room again, Hilaria gave the vampire a courteous bow, giving the man a peek at her chest. Unlike Reaver, she seemed confident, but submissive to the man, approaching with a lowered head. "Hilaria would love to satisfy your want for skinship, should you have her~" she had begun to enter the room, but wasn't quite yet at the vampire himself.

“Oh, you can forget such silliness,” the vampire replied, flashing his sharp fangs with a devilish smile. “You only need to listen to me~” He was seemingly pleased with Hilaria’s teasing. “Mm, how lovely. Don’t be shy now.” He then stared at Reaver with hunger. “Yes, how beautiful...Let me take a closer look at your neck...”

"Oh, okay. Well I guess a kiss should be fine… I mean, It's not everyday you meet a fine lord of the night." Reaver said… as he drew closer. His neck would therefore be closer to the vampire's fangs…

But the opposite was also true. Reaver was not always the submissive sort. Sometimes he wanted to lead the foreplay. Especially if this was the kind of person he had to get rid of. So, he struck first. And gave the vampire one hell of a kiss. Well more like it was a really savage bite, like an angry chimpanzee trying to disable an opponent's face.

Probably would not hurt much, but at least it would be a good distraction.

Noticing Reaver had taken the initiative, Hilaria discarded any attempt at camouflage and donned her armor and weapons. A strong vampire, in her opinion, was not an opponent to be taken lightly. She had zero qualms about making use of the element of surprise, so as Reaver bit their foe, she would call out for the man to move and then swing her axe down upon their target, assuming he listened or was able to.

“AAAHH!” The vampire howled from pain, his upper lip and right cheek having been torn off by Reaver’s savage chomp, as Hilaria came in for a lethal swing. The undead fiend was swift, however, and managed to avoid decapitation by slashing at Reaver with his sharpened fingernails and rolling backward. He stumbled off the bed, and scrambled up, shaken by the sudden attack. “Guards! I’m being attacked by assassins!” He called out, but it was useless; in the heat of the moment, he had forgotten that the room was sound-proofed.

"Don't be shy now~" Reaver parroted as he tried to avoid the worst of the attack and Hilaria's ax, but not being very concerned about the fingernails attack. Instead, he used the blood drawn to draw a light rune to daze the night denizen, while Hilaria would follow up with a shotgun blast if the vampire did not move.

The vampire was backed against the walls, clearly panicking. “Do you want money? Power? I can give it, just spare me-” The vampire was interrupted by Reaver’s blast of light which caused his sensitive skin to slightly burn. “F-Filthy cattle! I have friends here who’ll get you-Hrkkk!” He clutched at his chest, which was blasted by Hilaria’s shotgun, piercing his heart, and ending the monster once and for all. However, the shot also blasted open a hole in the wall behind him, causing the residents there to shriek. It wouldn’t be long before they called the guards.

"Filthy cattle~? But aren't you the one being culled~?"

“Thanks.” He said to Hilaria, as he used some other blood to trigger a Fire Rune this time… aimed at a specific place. The fire sensors. Every single club had one of these, and whenever it lit… It usually meant Pandemonium. Let the confused crowd be the shield beneath them and the guards. Reaver then began to make his way to the exit, transforming as he did so.

Hilaria looked disappointed with the outcome of their engagement. “Were we too dangerous, Hilaria wonders~?” Remaining transformed, she followed Reaver, but glanced around with her enhanced vision, looking for some of the familiar faces. “Mmm, weren’t we ssssuposed to deal with his thrallssss, too~?” she mimicked the serpent from earlier, ejecting a shell from her shotgun. This was an interesting feat given that it didn’t use physical ammo.

“Oh, right.” Reaver said, while summoning his sword. “But that’s not going to be hard… What happens when an alarm is triggered in a place so full of people?” He said, unsheathing his sword and started cutting up anyone who dared to be in his path. “Mass panic and trampling. Single out the ones that don’t run.”

Soon enough, an alarm did blare out, causing all kinds of customers and employees to scramble out, trampling over each other in a desperate struggle. Reaver and Hilaria easily passed through the mass of bodies with Reaver cutting through, leaving a bloody mess behind.
“Stop right there!” The guards had found them at an intersection, wielding weapons that glowed with a blue shimmer. There were two guards in their way, and two more were fast approaching from another corridor.

Hilaria pointed her shotgun-axe towards the two who had just appeared from the other corridor and fired a blast at them. "Hilaria would love it if you could handle those two~" she told Reaver in reference to the two that had stopped them, then broke off into a dash towards the ones she had shot at, intending on ramming one of them off their feet unless they did something about it.

Reaver smirked, as with a feint, he cut the choker skillfully with his own sword, and pointed his blade at the other two guards. He wanted to try something. He would lead them into thinking he was going to attack with the sword.

Only for him to then try and reinforce their bodies. Only one specific part of them. Their hearts. Making them try and pump harder and faster… without reinforcing the rest of the blood vessels of their bodies. Eventually causing rupture by excessive blood pressure.

If not he could always use his Odin-infused swordsmanship to chop them up, but that was what they would be expecting him to do.

The guards attempted blocking the shotgun blast with their swords, but failed to keep their composure, allowing Hilaria to easily smash them against the walls with her charge; in close quarters combat, the heavily armored dark magical girl reigned supreme.
The guards lost consciousness, allowing them to pass through. However, they were also pursued by two more guards, which Reaver confronted.
“It’s all over, criminal!” One of them taunted as Reaver’s spell failed to pass their magic-resistant armor, but their swordsmanship did not match up to Reaver’s sheer brutality as he painted the walls red.

However, they could hear more coming, and knew it was only a matter of time before they would be overwhelmed. They reached the entrance hall, and saw that it was pure chaos, with the entrance crowded with people attempting to exit.
“Out of my way, scum! I am a member of the house of Carstein!” They heard a pathetic high-pitched scream, recognized one of the escapees to be the vampire’s thrall, trying to pass through the crowd blocking the exit.

“Mmm, that one is being easy, but we need to find all of them~” Hilaria smiled at Reaver. “Hilaria will deal with this one since he’s being obvious. You should try to see if there are any others around here~” she suggested, before taking off.

Hilaria didn’t want to hurt people she didn’t need to but that did not mean she wouldn’t push them down if they were in her way to the thrall. Of course, considering she was fully armored and wielding an axe, most people had probably gone out of their way not to be near her to begin with. “Nowhere to run~” Because there was little time, would release her shield and use her free arm to pull the thrall to the ground, if unimpeded, and follow that up with a vertical swing of her axe.

Reaver for the time being, stood silent, and decided that he really needed to flush them out at all once. He focused his third eye, and stood up, shouting all from his lungs.

"Death to the cravens of Carstein!" He shouted out loud, while he scanned the crowd with his third eye to see who would react to that banther.

The thrall could only flail around as Hilaria floored the vampire spawn and removed his head from his shoulders. Then, as Reaver announced their now obvious plans for the rest, two figures shook, looked at each with a nod, and then transformed. They turned into bats and flew out of the exit, attempting to escape.

Reaver screamed “Bats!” to Hilaria, his eyes on the targets, attempting to get through the exit. Ranged combat was not his forte, but he would still try to shoot javelins made out of reinforced barriers to skewer those bats mid-flight, all the while using his third eye to keep track of them.

“Ok~!” To the contrary, Hilaria avoided firing her shotgun while there was still the chance of hitting one of the fleeing civilians. Moving as fast as she could in her bulky armor through the exit and knocking aside anyone who was still in her way, she would only begin to shoot once it seemed they were clear of collateral.

The javelin failed to hit either thrall, the bulky magical construct hindering its ability to move through the air. Hilaria barreled through the crowd like a juggernaut, scattering the crowd as she made for the exit. It seemed the guards on post attempted closing the doors on the two, but Reaver's javelin had lodged itself against them, forcing them open.

The two ran outside into the night, where the thralls were flying. With an accurate shot, Hilaria managed to hit one of the thralls, causing them to fall down from the sky, while one more fluttered as hard as it could, until it disappeared into the night.
The remaining thrall had transformed back, and clutched at his wounds, now near death.
"You...You murdered my master…" He groaned.

Hilaria watched the other one flying away, not looking at the downed thrall as she spoke. “These things happen to those who make a bad scene~” she shrugged. It didn’t seem like she had any sympathy for the vampire.

"Nothing personal… just business." Reaver said as he moved on to finish the thrall. He cursed under his breath that one had gotten away.

Hilaria frowned, looking back. “That leaves a bad taste in Hilaria’s mouth~ But Hilaria supposes it’s better than letting the big bad go~ As for us, it would probably be best to leave~!” she opted to flee the scene, having no more reason to stay.

"Yes." He began to walk away. "Best to get some food too. I have gotten hungry."

Hilaria paused briefly. “Mmm~ Something’s off, though~ Did Hilaria forget something~?” she wondered aloud. “Well, it probably wasn’t important if she did~” shrugging, she left it at that and the two left the club.

What went on unbeknownst to the two of them in the club was repeated banging upon a door inside of it. Drowned out by the music and the fact that most people had abandoned the place, the cries for help behind the door went unnoticed. “H-hello? Is anyone out there?” the young voice of Brahza called out.





...

In the end, while one thrall did escape out of the three that the vampire had, the bounty was paid in full; the primary goal for the poster of the hunt revealed that the removal of the Carstein family from the ruling class of the night had succeeded. And, thankfully, someone did eventually let the orc out, although the smell that permeated the room followed him, much to his rescuer’s dismay.
"You were so concerned with whether or not you could keep adding to this collab that you never stopped to think whether you should."

"Yeah but it's kinda funny when it takes four whole seconds between hitting "preview" and it actually giving me a preview, so it was worth."





Park benches were not exciting things to most people. They offer people a place to sit and wait, or enjoy some vista within the park itself. But Oros was captivated by the one she was sitting in. She wore a wide eyed expression and ran her hand along the all metal construction.

”Metal has a texture? And it can feel cold?”

Oros was aware that most players had reservations about their characters becoming normal magical girls. Her loss of power was certainly regrettable, but she had gained something else. It had been a long time since Oros could feel anything, and now she was really in tune to all of the extra sensory output she was getting. The cold was uncomfortable, her body ached from her last fight, but this bench felt comfortable. She couldn’t remember the last time she enjoyed sitting anywhere. Not only that, but it was strangely therapeutic to run her fingertips over a rough metal surface.

As for why she was waiting, well, isn’t that obvious? This is Penrose! Nobody meets through careful, deliberate placement or circumstance. Oros was at a park because she wanted to meet someone. If she was here, someone important was bound to run into her eventually. Wait, wasn’t this an NPC way of thinking? Isn’t the main character the one who runs around to encounter people?

Confirming her suspicions, Samantha appeared immediately as the thought crossed Oros’ mind some meters away on the sidewalk. The sidewalk would lead her next to Oros but it was clear by the glances she cast around her she was looking for something or someone else. For the moment, however, it looked as though they were the only two here.

Once she had gotten close enough to Oros that she wouldn't have to yell, the black-haired girl opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it as if debating on something. She quickly opened her mouth again, presumably deciding on 'why the hell not'. "Are you well? You're making that bench a lot more comfortable than it is...oh," she made a fist with her right hand and tapped it to the palm of her left. "You're under the influence, aren't you?" she realized.

Oros blinked. Thinking back on it, it was rather short sighted of her to think she could get away with such strange behavior just because she was alone. Fortunately, this was clearly a collab between herself and this other person. She wouldn’t have to worry about a third party butting in. That made her feel safe.

“Oh! No. Well, I mean maybe I was? I just woke up and-” She stroked the bench. “It’s just I can’t believe I fell asleep on something made of iron. Normally benches like this are made to be uncomfortable to lay on to prevent vagrants from sleeping on them.” She sat upright. “Anyway, the hell are you doing here, Silly? Thought you had better shit to do than just randomly walk around.”

Walking around the park was her way of cooling off when she wanted to separate herself from the others at the hotel. She would have to make an important decision soon, and she was kinda hoping to meet that other girl she often ran into here. They helped her calm down and think, though she wouldn't admit it.

Samantha had been doing some detective work of her own after hearing some concerning rumors. It appeared as though someone was actively seeking her out. They probably weren't doing that for any good reason, so she wanted to figure them out first. Of course, she wouldn't tell this stranger about that. "Please do not act like we're close and give me... a nickname...?"

Silly?

There was one person she thought of that called her that, but they weren't here anymore. This girl was probably just saying it was silly for her to be walking out here or something. She shook her head. "Anyway, I'm trying to enjoy a quiet evening. Don't you have something better to do than rub against a park bench? You remind me of a... cat."

Even if Silhouette was an assassin, Oros always felt at peace around her. This was partially because of their history together, but also because she was so fuckin’ fragrant! Mint haters smelled good, Beacon haters smelled good, so naturally cradle agents smelled exquisite! And while she was a bit on the tall side for Oros, that personality of hers sure was infectious.

“A cat huh?” Oros’s lips curled into a smile. “Mmm, do you like cats? Perhaps I should rub up against you instead.” She leaned over the edge of the bench and took a sniff of that… rather ordinary smelling woman. “Wuh?” She leaned closer to Silhouette, still sniffing the air around her. “Um, meow!” She pounced onto Samantha and went on a sniffing spree. Though her brow became increasingly cross as she wasn’t being rewarded with the unique fragrance of a cradle operative.

"I said you remind me of one, not that I want one! Stop smelling me and get off." Samantha took the palm of her hand and shoved it into the girl's stomach, providing her an opportunity to break out of her hold. She used this moment to get to her feet, glaring at Oros.

She was upset, but Samantha could only think of a certain person acting like this. Something was up here. "Who are you?" she would demand once Oros recovered. "Seriously."

But Oros didn’t recover. She laid on the ground howling. Not unlike a spoiled child that was told they couldn’t have an ice cream because they threw their lunch all over the back seat of the car. Only difference was that Oros was at least a teenager (in body) so if there were any authorities around, they most likely would have come running to the woman’s screaming. Oros had not counted on her new form being able to feel pain at all. She had to have gone through hundreds of timelines without feeling as much as a pin prick. Earlier this week she had pulled her heart out of her chest and threw it at an ascendancy girl. Now her organs were crying out the only way they knew how. They were important, even getting a little bruised was a big setback for Oros. She curled her legs into her chest and started to dry heave. This was the worst.

When Oros was done screaming, only the pain remained. Her eyes were watering, and she was desperately trying to fill her lungs with air. “I’m-” she said between breaths. Once her breathing had calmed down, she closed her eyes. “Pet me.”

Samantha could not remember a more awkward moment occurring in her life up to this point. In this silent park, only the groaning of Oros could be heard and it dragged out far longer than it should have. Sam looked at her hand, then clenched it. There was no way she put more oomph into that hit than she meant to, right? She ended up deciding it would be better to leave that ambiguous, for both her sake and Oros'.

Though the secondhand embarrassment was present, Samantha tried to listen to what Oros said after pulling her to her feet. "Pet?" As strange as the request was, she went ahead and complied, placing her palm on the top of the girl's head and giving it a rub. It felt familiar, somehow. Everything about this girl did.

She looked Oros in the eyes. "...Mika?"

“S-sort of.”

Oros was not able to fully appreciate being pet by Samantha. Her stomach was still a little upset, but it also didn’t make her feel the way she was expecting it to. Normally when something made Oros feel good, it made her feel like taking them to the bedroom. But she wasn’t getting that kind of reaction from this. It just felt nice to have a pair of fingers lovingly stroke her hair. Now that Oros thought about it, she hadn’t even felt that way about Dina after getting purified. Kissing her on the forehead did nothing for her. She had heard that after a few weeks of not smoking, people usually find food tastes better. Perhaps it was the same way with corruption. Only it seemed that there were no withdrawal symptoms, just that she found things pleasant in different ways. It had been too long to know if she had been this way before she took Aigorost’s sword.

“I’m not your Mika. It might be easier to think of me as Mika from the future.” She really didn’t feel like explaining this again. Especially if she was going to get overwritten by some flashback sequence. “I wanted to balance the scales between Beacon and Mint, mostly because a hot piece of ass was waiting for me if I did. But I kind of failed, and I don’t even know if I could fully appreciate the ass I was going to eat in my current state.” It was more than likely Samantha wouldn’t understand any of this, but that probably didn’t matter.

Samantha looked a lot more intrigued than she did confused. "You're from the future? Then you really aren't the Mika that I've made pizza with..." Silhouette firmly believed that time travel was impossible for a magical girl. She had countless hours of research and experimentation to back her up, and Oros' wording had given her no reason to doubt her stance. "That doesn't bode well at all, does it?"

Since it was a rare occurrence, Samantha couldn't help but think of many different questions she'd want to ask. How was she here? Whose future did she come from and why exactly did she leave it? But then...

“So um, you okay? You and Veronica enjoy your date?”

Sam’s questions left her mind instantly. “D-date…?” she shook her head, hiding a small blush. “I-I’m with Trixy. Dating Veronica would be problematic…I think?” Did Mika even know Trixy? Hell if Sam knew. But relationships were difficult for Sam, and it wasn’t like Trixy was helping her understand certain intricacies and faux pas. Most people wouldn’t care to see their girlfriend grope someone else in front of them, but Trixy encouraged it. Samantha might accidentally piss someone off if she and Trixy didn’t work out for some reason and she wound up dating someone else.

“Oh! Hah! Trix, right! Yea, that’s right. Sorry, it’s been a while, Pretend I didn’t say anything.”

Oros needed to remember that each of these realities tended to have small differences in them. So it seemed that Silhouette and Veronica didn’t hit it off in this world, but instead she started going out with Trixy. Interesting, given how pants on head stupid Silhouette is with romance. Trixy had to be pretty frustrated, but it wasn’t like she was beating them away with a stick. As perverted as she was, perhaps any attention was enough to make their relationship last.

“What about you?” Sam turned the question around. “You were talking about,” she hesitated to quote Oros, but sighed and did so anyways. “A ‘hot piece of ass’? What’s with that?”

“Oh man!” Oros hugged herself. “Yea, I mean first she looked like this really cute chick with braids? But I guess she looks like Megumin now? But if you look at her character sheet she still has the old image? It’s really confusing, and I like it.” She ran her hands over her stomach. “But forget that, she had a really good waffle. I could eat that thing over and over again, with a side of eggs and hash browns, maybe. I normally don’t feel bad about disappointing people, but I dunno about this one.” Oros wasn’t very good at explaining things to people. Well, at least they tended to not understand. “Maybe you’ve heard of her though. I call her Em, but I think it’s, um, Em-ily?”

That was exactly who Sam had been hoping to meet here at the park. Sam wondered if Mika was toying with her right now. “I’ve seen her around this park on occasion. Very idealistic and weak to pressure? Yeah.” she answered, assuming that ‘Megumin’ was someone Mika had met after she left and ignoring that bit. It was at this point Samantha wasn’t sure if Oros was being literal with the waffle or if she was making some sort of innuendo that was flying past Sam’s head. She imagined the latter, but merely sighed and crossed her arms. “I’m doubtful she’d hurt a fly, which makes me a bit worried for her.” As evidenced by earlier, giving Mika a hit when she went too far was clearly the optimal strategy when dealing with her.

“I could take you to her house if you want.” Oros pulled her hood over her head. “But I’d have to stay out of sight. Can’t meet her after failing like that.”

Samantha couldn’t help but imagine Emily’s living conditions. Her attitude betrayed an innocence only one who had lived in fortune could afford. Sam had been wealthy in life but her means of obtaining said wealth had denied her that childishness. She wouldn’t be surprised if Emily lived in some mansion or expensive apartment building even before the evacuation. “You didn’t say what sort of thing you failed at, exactly, but she doesn’t seem like she would mind.” Sam recalled how eager she was to make a friend. “How nice is her place?”

“It’s not really about that. I just don’t want to talk to her about it, Silly.” Oros would rather die than admit she gave up on something. But telling Silhouette that wasn’t going to make things easier. Come to think about it, it was kind of weird that Oros was even bothering with this conversation. It didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. If anything, capturing Silhouette was a surefire way to get the attention of the mint. Regardless, it was kind of enjoyable. “Uh, I mean, maybe I’ll get in contact with them another way. Then I can tell her I was successful.” She sat back down on the bench. “Her house is a total shit hole though. Just a crummy apartment, really. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t using food stamps to get by.”

“I-Is that so?” Samantha coughed into her hand out of mild embarrassment. Well, there was a saying about assumptions. She tended to mind it when it came to more pressing matters, but clearly she wasn’t consistent in her application. At least it wasn’t as bad as sitting on a bench, hoping for interaction and wondering why said interaction wasn’t particularly meaningful. Did they even have a direction for this conversation? Really, there had to be some point, right? It wasn’t just interaction for the sake of interaction, right?

Samantha nearly tumbled over after being pushed from behind. Sam turned around to see a girl wearing what were essentially rags. A torn shirt that barely covered her breasts and jeans that were just as damaged, exposing quite a bit of leg. She had bandages wrapped around a leg and an arm, where a small, dried blood stain formed. Despite this, she stood upright and her movements betrayed no signs of pain, except her face, that appeared remorseful. “Hilaria is sorry~! She meant to stop a bit earlier, eheh~”

The sudden shove did seem to irritate Sam, but she shook her head. “Well, watch where you’re going next time.” Sil then turned to face Oros again, but she didn’t feel the other girl leave. After a delay, she turned around to a smiling face.

“...”

“...”

“...”

“...”

“...”

Fed up with the silence, Sam growled. “Do you mind?”

Hilaria shook her head. “Oh, sorry~ Hilaria was going to wait for you to finish so she could ask you something~!”

“Uh, what? Just spit it out.”

Hilaria grinned. “Hilaria wanted to ask if you were hungry~!”

“Wha…” Silhouette rubbed the bridge of her nose. This girl was quite strange. Not that that was difficult to tell. What sort of weirdo speaks in third-person like that? She also seemed a bit ditzy. In any case, she imagined there had to be some reason this girl started speaking to them. Maybe she recognized Mika? “Do you know her?” Samantha asked Oros.

“Um.” After staring for a bit, Oros broke eye contact with Silhouette. “No.”

Hilaria didn’t seem to mind much at all. “Mmm, Hilaria thinks she’s seen you, though~?” she looked at Samantha, interestingly enough. “Steak...Mmm...Why are you steak~?”

“...what.”

“Oh, Hilaria remembers now~! You were that rude girl near High Steaks, weren’t you~?”

Sam narrowed her eyes. “Rude? You’re one to talk.” Hilaria had shown up to HER collab and HER park and had the AUDACITY to insult her character. Sam snapped. But that name… she had heard it before. Wasn’t it right across from where she liked to get her coffee? Now that it was brought up, she kinda remembered getting upset at someone over there. Was that her? How’d she even remember something dumb like that? “...I guess? But you bumped into me then too!” How many people had this girl knocked over in her life?

“Hilaria would like a do-over~! She is looking for people to enjoy a nice, tasty meal with~ She would like to invite you two~!” she explained, even glancing at Oros as she did so.

“What reason would I have to do that? Just going to eat with some random girl when I’m not even hu--” Samantha’s stomach growled rather loudly, and she found it difficult to look Hilaria in the eye “..h-hungry.” Silhouette really needed an out or something. Thinking on her feet, she crafted only the most perfect lie imaginable. “Besides, we were having an important discussion…” Her eyes now begged Oros to cooperate.

Oros fret her brow. She got kind of annoyed that Silhouette’s part of the collab would have the audacity to put down their totally directionless conversation, only for her to use it as a scapegoat later when it served her.

“What she said.” Oros pointed at Samantha. “You’d have...”

Hmmm, Oros knew she had to be careful here. She wasn’t omnipotent, but she had an idea that things would get really weird with that girl if they went anywhere together. “What do you have to eat anyway, Hilarious?” It had been a while since she had actually tasted anything. Maybe this could be interesting.

It was now apparent that Hilaria was holding a grocery bag, almost as if it had been summoned spontaneously. Though she didn’t bother to open it and show them, the indent on the bottom of the plastic bag suggested there were cans of some sort in it. “Hilaria just bought some beans and sauce at the store before it could close, and there should be beef at the apartment, so she could make chili~!” she offered. It was probably her intended dinner. “Mm, but if that doesn’t sound good she could do something like sloppy joes~”

Samantha shrugged, resigned to her fate. “I’m not especially picky.”

There was no world where Oros could hear someone mention sloppy joes and not laugh like a demon afterwards. Except for the one where Samantha BRUTALLY PALM BLASTED HER IN THE STOMACH.

“He- ow. Hah!” Oros rubbed her hand against her belly. “Well if you’re serving, I’m eating.”







Now Oros was starting to realize why it is always a good idea to be the one running around bumping into people. At least when you initiated, you had an idea what you were getting into. Because she was just sitting around on a park bench, she allowed Silhouette to find her. She could forgive the sucker punch, but then ANOTHER magical girl showed up. She was pretty sure she remembered Hilarious being at the spin the bottle party, but it seemed like after getting purified she didn’t remember her. That was just as well. Regardless, she wasn’t even supposed to be here. This was going to be a quiet collaboration between Silhouette and herself, and now there was a third wheel rolling them to some place to eat. Well, at least it wasn’t like there were three different writers for this thing. That could always get confusing. And that meant the number of characters at the scene couldn’t possibly increase. She knew her player wasn’t going to bring in anyone else, and it wasn’t like the other player had more character-

Hold on a second.

Oros looked around herself. She couldn’t be a hundred percent sure, but she was starting to pick up on the faint smell of someone familiar. No, it wasn’t possible! There was no way Hilarious could possibly be bringing her to Emily! That just, that, it was just so… Of course something this ridiculous would be done by Hilaria!

“Shit!” Oros raised her finger. “I just remembered I left my check engine light on in my car. You guys keep going, I’ll catch up with you soon.” Oros spun around on her heel and walked back the way she came.
Oros would find her feet moving, but she was not. The reason for this was Samantha's grasp on the back of her clothes. "You wouldn't abandon our kind host so suddenly after accepting the invitation, would you?" Sam asked her in a calm, murderous tone. She clearly intended to make Oros suffer with her. Hilaria seemed a bit upset as she watched their interaction.

Oros growled. Her eyes flashed red as she looked over her shoulder at the assassin. She summoned her claws to her hands. Very well, if she wanted to play like this, Oros could oblige.

“GAH!”

She collapsed onto the ground and started to roar. It was almost identical to that time in the park a few minutes ago. The yelling, the hacking, curling into a ball, it was all identical. Only at the end of it all, Oros seemed to pass out on the ground.

Giving a confused squint, Samantha watched the act play out in full. Her crimson eyes dwelled on Oros, but Sam didn’t seem especially concerned. Hilaria, however, moved over to get a good look at the ‘injured’ Oros, frowning. “Did you harm her, Hilaria wonders~?” Samantha dismissed the idea with a shake of her head, and sighed.

Crouching down, Hilaria gave Oros a light shake. “Hey, hey~! Are you dead, Hilaria wonders~?”

Blood trickled out of Oros’s eyes. While it probably looked grave to any onlookers, Oros was just mimicking horned lizards, which could release blood through their eyes as a defence mechanism.

“Hilarious.” Oros whispered. “Hilarious, I’m dying, and I need your help.” She took hold of Hilaria’s arm as weakly as she could. “You must take me to safety.”

Hilaria’s lip trembled and her eyes teared up as if she worried this would be the last time they would ever speak and she had been holding years of feelings back. “Don’t die~!” she cried out dramatically. “Now’s not the time to be dead~! We won’t be able to eat together~!” she scooped Oros up in her arms after making sure there weren’t any visible injuries elsewhere and thrusting her grocery bag to Sam. Picking her up required some effort, however, as Hilaria wasn’t transformed unlike the other two. She started to look around and then when something had apparently dawned on her, she turned to Sam. "Hilaria doesn't know where the hospitals are here~ Do you~?"

"No." Samantha lied, releasing her transformation. "I'm sure she just needs to lay down or even have a bite to eat, that'll definitely help."

"Hilaria sees~" She paused, noticing a small, devilish smirk on Sam’s face come and go like a blink of the eye. She ignored it in favor of helping Oros. "There's a place where she can rest and eat~!" so saying, she took off with the 'injured', clawed girl in hands. Of course, if Oros had cared to take a gander at where they were headed, she would've found that her ruse did not have the intended effect.

“NOOOOOooooooooo...”

...
...
...

They reached their destination almost instantly due to them having already been headed there to begin with. The apartment and the surrounding area could've been a bit less dirty, but the building itself didn't seem like it was going to collapse, so that was a plus, maybe. Samantha didn't recognize the place, but Oros surely did. She'd been here before, after all.

Hilaria rushed to the door to the apartment and gave it a knock in the form of a soft kick with the front of her foot a few times, both her hands occupied by Oros, whom she was still carrying. From the other side of the door, one could hear a muffled yelp, perhaps from being startled, before the person came to the door. After the noise of the chain and deadbolt being unlocked finished, the door slowly opened with a rather face greeting them and then noticing who was in Hilaria's hands.

"O-Oros!?" Emily stuttered in surprise, and then quickly motioned for Hilaria to come in. It was only after Hilaria had gone inside that she noticed the third member of their group, Samantha, who seemed just as shocked as Emily when their eyes met. Emily, however, decided to save this bit for later, worried about Oros, clearly. "Come in, come in! Close the door, could you?" she left Sam with these instructions, which she followed before setting the grocery bag down on the nearest available surface.

Now people were gathered around Oros, who had finally been set down on the couch. "What happened, Oros? Can you hear me?" Emily worried.

Of course Emily being Emily, she wasn’t really alone. Her nature made her a magnet for certain kinds of people, and strays. One of such was a pink haired girl, who had been hovering around Emily for quite a while. First it was because of training, but these days was more of a routine, really. Someone had to keep an eye out for this cinnamon bun… And that weirdo sexy hag of Hilaria, as capable and strong as she was, had the discernment of a hungry boar sometimes. The other ones? Those were new, but one of them also felt familiar.

So Sakura, having finished her important meeting with the toilet, she scratched her back in a very unladylike manner, and eyed the whole scene. “This is bigger than a stray cat, Emily. Who the hell are these people? Hold on - The oppai Miko???”

She then eyed Oros. Not half bad as always, but she had a bad case of bleeds in the eyes? Still the body language was telling something was off. “Okay, step back, I should be able to defib her. “

She began charging her hands with a static jolt.

Sakura would not be able to approach, however. There was something long and sharp being held at her throat. Oros was awake, and holding her sword on the small girl.

“There’s only room for one pink haired magical girl in this outfit and it’s- Oh, hey! I feel a lot better now!” She gracefully hopped out of Hilaria’s arms. “This may look like a sword conjured by a horror whose existence defies all reality and understanding, but it’s actually a personal space stick. I just find sharp tips tend to let people know when they are getting too close.” The sword seemed to vanish into thin air, being replaced by a roll of paper towels that she used to wipe her eyes with. Yes, the entire roll of paper towels. She was rubbing it all over her face before peeling away the soiled layers and dropping them in a waste bin. “Where was I?” Oros turned to Emily and froze. Then she smiled. “Wow! Just the sight of you seems to have healed me completely!” She chuckled.

Emily scanned Oros' face for any signs of damage and only when it was clear to her there was none did she breathe a sigh of relief. "Oh, I'm so very happy to see you're alright!"

"Hilaria thinks so, too~!" she chimed in. Samantha, however, remained mostly stoic. If anything, Emily grabbed her attention more by the occasional glances towards her.

"Um," she turned to Hilaria. "Why did you bring her here, though? Wouldn't a hospital have been a better place if you thought it was serious?" she asked the ancient.

Hilaria smiled. "Hilaria doesn't know where a hospital is~!" she exclaimed almost like she was proud of it. "We were coming over for dinner anyways~"

"I-is that so?" By the tone of Emily's voice, one could easily discern that this was the first time she was hearing anything about this visit. Still, Emily didn't end up saying anything about it. Instead, she turned towards the dark-haired girl who had been quiet up to this point. "Sam? What a pleasant coincidence! I didn't know you guys knew each other."

Sam nodded. "Penrose does feel rather small at times, doesn't it? Anyway, I am not exactly familiar with your... friend here," she motioned with her head towards Hilaria, who had by this point grabbed the grocery bag and entered the kitchen. "She's just really concerned with feeding us for some reason."

"She does love to eat with people. I don't think anyone has a bigger appetite, and she comes and goes almost like a stray cat... Oh, but she does bring a lot of her own ingredients and she can cook delicious food, so it's nice having her around." Emily smiled. "I wish she would at least call beforehand so I could prepare..." Emily suddenly perked up. "Oh, I need to introduce you to Sakura!" she urged the little yakuza over and would continue once she was ready. "Sakura, this is Sam. We see each other at the park sometimes."

"Hello."

"Sam, this is Sakura." she looked at the girl, as if to say, 'go head'.

Sakura eyed Oros warily. She had underestimated her crazy attitude. Definitely not safe to keep her around Emily. But it was too late to point out. Like mould, the presence of these colourful types seemed to grow and fester. Hilaria wasn’t that bad too. She only appreciated food. But Emily was too lenient.

“Hmph.” Sakura scoffed “She was never that harmed to begin with, Emily”. She answered to Oros cheap antics, before focusing on the newcomer. This Sam individual… did have a different aura than Emily. It was a very familiar sensation. But she had never expected to find it here. She was a capable killer, that much she was sure. Some kind of crook very much like himself, but with a better non tiny girl body. “Well met. If Emily says you’re welcome. You’re welcome.”

And don’t overstay it. Sakura didn’t add, but she kept tense and at the ready. Maybe she should go trim a bonsai for the time being.

“Oh man, I was starting to feel unwelcome here. Glad tiny said something.” Oros stretched her arms. “Think I’ll keep hilarious company, since I’m here and everything.” She threw back her hood and walked after the abominable magical girl.

"Oh, okay!" Emily watched for a second as Oros left, then turned back to Sakura and Sam. "Um," she glanced at the couch. "I don't know what Hilaria is making, but there's no reason to stand while she's cooking. Would you like a seat?" she motioned towards the couch.

Samantha shrugged, moving her gaze which had been on Sakura until now to the piece of furniture. "Sure." Not that the couch was especially large, but Sam took a seat on the end of one side and there was more than enough room for the other two. "And Hilaria mentioned making either chili or sloppy joes for dinner."

Emily had taken a spot in the middle of the couch. "Is that right?" she glanced at the two of them. "Would you prefer to vote for it? I could go for some chili, but what about you two?"

Sam shook her head. "I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other."

"And you, Sakura?"

“Can’t we have some noodles?” She sighed, tired. She really missed cooking her own food. “Chilee it is. At least it doesn’t sound awful.”

Emily heard their answers and then raised her voice to inform Hilaria of the votes. She received an "Okie~" in response, and then Hilaria presumably went back to preparing.

"So," Sam eyed Sakura, perhaps sensing something similar to what Sakura had. "If you don't mind my asking, how did you two meet?"

Sakura’s gaze did not leave Sam’s at any moment.”Training. Magical bodies sometimes take time to adjust.” She curtly stated. “Afterwards, Emily needs a person who can say “no” because she can’t say no for herself.”

Emily went to object, but Sam beat her to the punch. “She does seem like the sort.” Sam’s tone was neutral, in contrast to Sakura’s as she commented. “By ‘adjust’, you mean you’re new to all of this?”

“If you spent your whole life as a man among men, this does take adjusting.” Sakura blurted out. Had she ever told Emily about this? She couldn’t remember. But the off-ness of Samantha was keeping her on edge, and prone to not think through.

“I didn’t know that.” Emily confessed. “But I hear it happens quite often. I’m sorry about that since I’m sure it’s difficult!”

Sam nodded. “It is certainly one of the less convenient side effects of the transformation. The ones who aren’t forced to change are lucky.”

Emily faced Sam. “Are you speaking from experience, then?” she asked. “Oh, but you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to!” she added, hoping not to offend.

That caused Samantha some pause, but she closed her eyes and ended up answering in the end. “I am,” she confirmed. “I wasn’t as attached to that form as Sakura seemed to be, but even then I didn’t adjust immediately.”

Sakura’s stern gaze was briefly broken by Sam’s admittal. “...Yeah it’s kind of hard, Emily. One day you’re a father to a cute potato, and are married to a smoking hot wife, the next you have a car accident, and a rat tells you to become THIS.” Sakura said, pointing to herself. “No one ever takes me seriously anymore, I have to go through loops to get sake, and I can’t even fucking reach the counter in some places.” Sakura said. “I’d be crazy if I couldn’t trim my bonsai.”

“Not even a consolation prize.” She muttered under her breath. Maybe if she had Hilaria’s size, she’d not be so grumpy about it. “But I guess that’s the prize of being in the Yakuza. Instead of a pinky I lost… something else.”

“Yakuza?” Sam repeated. “Ah, yes, then… well, my condolences. Suppose even I am fortunate in comparison.” There was at least at least genuine sympathy in that statement. “And… ‘rat’? A puchuu?”

Emily nodded. “We were introduced by our puchuu, actually.”

“So you both…” Samantha rubbed the back of her neck. “Careful around them. They’re worse than the Mint when it comes to trustworthiness, or so I hear.” she warned.

Sakura tilted her head, upon hearing the words. “I know. There’s very few trustworthy people in this world. Like Emily.” She added, her eyes on Sam. “Actually you know what? Chili is bound to get us very thirsty. We should get some more drinks... Tall-chan.”

“An honorific? Oh, I suppose you are Japanese.” Sam shook her head. “Guess it doesn’t matter. Call me what you will. But I could use a drink,” she agreed and stood.

Emily seemed to jump up too. “Shouldn’t I grab the drinks?” she asked, but it was almost like she was pleading. “I-I’m a host, after all…”

“And I’m an uninvited guest,” Sam returned.

Emily looked dejected but she conceded, realizing Sam wasn’t going to back down.. "Oh, alright..."

Sam found it hard to look at her while she looked upset, and so glanced off to the side. "...Right. We'll be right back, don't look so down."

After saying this, the two exited the apartment and Samantha let Sakura guide her to a secluded place to speak. She crossed her arms, then eyed the tiny yakuza. "I assume you didn't just want me to get you alcohol?"

Sakura did not say much, just a mere “No.”, before her tiny body sprung into action, and dashed forward to deliver a high kick at the tall woman, aiming for the upper section of her vitals. She didn’t hold anything back. Well, if she was wrong, it was better to be safe than sorry.

Samantha was not taken by surprise judging by the explosive snap of her leg to check the kick. It probably didn't feel too great. Regardless, she took a stance by taking a small step forward with one foot, crouching only a little, and raising her back heel. If Sakura had any knowledge of martial arts, she would identify it as the active stance of Krav Maga.

She refrained from retaliating but her crimson eyes suggested she was ready to attack at any second, "Stop before you get yourself hurt."

"Mmm." Sakura, surprisingly, did not press the attack. "Yep, that was it. Sorry, I was baiting you." She relaxed her stance quite a bit. "You've killed people before, have you not, Tall-chan? Fists rarely lie about someone's… temperament." She shrugged.

“Only if I can’t help it,”

"Won't hold it against you, tho. I'm not a fucking saint, either. But be careful to not expose Emily to all of this. She is still at the age where girls think rainbow unicorn shits are cool." She scratched her head. "But I don't think you seem the sort to mouth off, anyway."

Samantha clearly was irritated at the 'test' Sakura thrust upon her. She narrowed her eyes and the warning. "They'll make anyone a magical girl if they can. But I don't have to tell you that," she stated as she returned to a more passive stance. "Mouthing off was a foolish and fatal mistake in my line of work, so I prefer to remain incognito where I am able to."

"Let's get some smokes while we are at it too. Can't really get one with Emily around, Tall-san".

She reached into a pocket, retrieving a small card. She glanced at it, and then immediately put it back. "It seems I am 21 or older tonight. But you can pay your own way, yes?"

“Of course I can.” Sakura said to herself, then quickly checking on the wallet, biting her lip and counting the meager money she had left. Umukamui wasn’t really concerned with the standards of living of her magical girls. And cheating in slot machines was near impossible because of her 9 year old body. That left handicrafts and cookie selling at times. And that wasn’t that much money. “Just hold on a second.”

She then ran towards home, once more… surely Emily could loan her a bit of money, right? Without questions… hopefully.

“Emily, could you… umm, lend me some change?” She said, in a sheepish manner. “I’ll make it up to you. I’ll even let you play with my hair.” Sakura said. Hopefully this Sam person wasn’t vindictive and would not rub this blatant sellout on her part.

Emily had been talking to Hilaria when Sakura entered. She immediately turned and looked worried at first, but she seemed relieved once she knew what Sakura wanted. But mostly at the bit about her hair. "Oh, I don't mind!" she ducked into her room for a second, and then came out with her wallet. "Um, did you need a lot, or? O-oh, and would you be up for going to the beach when you get back?"

“Beach? Uh, sure.” Sakura half acquiesced Emily’s suggestion. Well, that would be a bridge to be crossed eventually. There was no nearby beach around, so hopefully she’ll be spared the embarrassment of being seen in a girly swimsuit. “You’re a lifesaver Emily!” She said, plundering some ill-gotten gains from Emily’s wallet. Also, Hilaria seemed up to something, but she always struggled to see her face from her point of view.

Emily was too happy with Sakura's acceptance to care too much about the funds. "Thank you! Oh, if you don't mind, could you ask Sam, too? Tell her I would really appreciate it!"

“Ask Tall-san? Hm.” Sakura thought for a second. Well, it was worth a shot. Tall people had sexy legs, right? Well, she had been a he once upon a time. Still probably good looking, though. “I’ll try. See you in a while, Emily.” Sakura said, as she then once again departed, to reach out for Sam.

“Tall-san! Thanks for the wait.” She addressed Samantha. “By the way, Emily is keen to go on a beach escapade. I blame oppai baba.” She then leant forward. “She wants you to come, too.”

"She wants to go to the beach?" Sam stopped leaning on the wall she had taken to while waiting. She rubbed her hands together for some warmth. "I didn't think people liked doing that in this sort of weather. Isn't it more of a summer deal?" she asked. "I'd have to see what I'm doing on the day she wants to even if I wanted."

Sakura shrugged. “You know how these things are. You put the brain in the backseat and fuck around. But It seems Emily is keen on it. I mean, what’s the worst it could happen, that you have to apologize for not being able to come?.” Sakura pitched in. Emily had lent money, and even if she wasn’t particularly keen on this, she had to play devil’s advocate.

"I suppose." Sam started to follow the sidewalk in the direction of the nearest convenience store that was still open, assuming Sakura would follow. "But I have bad experiences with the beach. There was this dumb dolphin that forced a lot of people into his weird beach dimension and that's a big reason why Penrose is in this terrible state right now." She explained while walking. "Since Emily is apparently not new to the scene, I imagine she's aware of this. So to think she came up and asked yo---”

Samantha turned around abruptly. “...she came to you, right?”

"Well yes." Sakura replied. "And that's fucked up, man. Beach dimension hell…" she sighed. "Well at least there would be some bikini babes there I guess."

“As long as you’re using your own money and not someone else’s,” Samantha eyed Sakura for a second, then continued on her way.

The store she would lead Sakura to had nothing out of the ordinary about it. It was open and it was exactly what you would expect, and there was nobody aside from the young adult working there. Before they could get too close Sam stopped. “It’s probably better that you don’t show yourself. Should I be looking for a particular brand?”

Well, technically it was her money now. She’d just repay Emily later. “Uhuh.” She said to Samantha’s chastising. “Penrose’s Flower.” She answered. Yes, it was an awful brand, but Sakura needed to affirm her vanishing manhood once more.

"I wasn't aware Penrose had its own brand," she confessed, holding her hand out expectedly. When Sakura gave her the money, she said she'd be right back and then headed into the store.

About a minute later, Sakura would hear someone yell the word “its fake” followed by a loud thud. Samantha came out of the place shortly after at a brisk walking speed and holding a carton of cigarettes in one hand and a 12-pack in the other. She would then toss Sakura her cigarettes and continue walking, clearly in some kind of hurry. "We probably shouldn't dawdle around her for too long."

“...Did something happen?” Sakura said, as she shuffled to hide her smokes a bit better and began walking briskly. “We still need to get drinks, tho.”

"Nothing important. The cashier fell asleep while I was in there. Rough job. Unrelated to that, I probably shouldn't show my face around this place for a bit." She reached into one of her pockets and retrieved the card from earlier, casting it into a nearby storm drain. "I'll also need to talk to certain someone about their forgeries, but that can wait until later."

Samantha retrieved her phone and after some presses of the keys, turned direction. "There's a Penrose Dollar nearby that should be open if we hurry. We can get drinks there.”

“We need to work on your people’s skills, Tall-san… not that I’m good either.” Sakura sighed, as she proceeded to hurry.

Surprisingly, the visit to the other shop was pretty uneventful. Apparently the clerk wasn’t paid enough to care for fake id forgeries or underage drinking. He wasn’t asleep but he did look like his soul had been stolen or something. Rather creepy.

Both arrived with the drinks in two, as Sakura energetically opened the door.

“Oi, Emily, we’re back!” She said as she opened the door enthusiastically. It was then when her cigarettes’ packet dropped from her clothes. Her eyes bulged briefly before swiping it back to her clothes. She hoped Emily did not see that.




By the time Oros entered the kitchen, Hilaria had removed the contents of the grocery bag, and pulled some ground beef from Emily’s fridge that she herself had placed during an earlier visit. She turned to face Oros when she heard the girl enter. “Hiya~” just as she said that, Emily told them what she and the others voted for dinner. “Okie~” she acknowledged. “Did you change your mind, Oreos~?”

“I dunno.” Oros leaned on the counter. “It’s weird. Part of me is filled with regret that I failed, and feels like I should either fall on my sword, or rush out there and get to hunting.” Oros sniffed the air before turning around and resting her elbows on the counter. “But it also feels different in here, you know? Like maybe there’s more to this magical girl stuff than just fighting and banging everything. I’m feeling things that I haven’t been able to feel in a long time.” She sniffed the air. “I can even smell things. I mean I can hunt prey for miles, but I haven’t been able to smell vegetables for years!” Oros flicked her eyes off to the side. “I also get the impression that Silly there won’t let me leave. Since Em and tater tot are all occupied, might as well come in here.”

Of course it had also been a very, very long time since Oros had seen Hilaria. As durable as the knight was, Oros had seen her die too many times to think she was invincible. Even if she was more durable than most.

”So uh, you doin’ alright? The thing with Dan still working out?”

Hilaria still seemed to be pondering what to make, but her hands were gliding over the beans as if she intended on picking them up, indicating that she was probably thinking chili. “Dan~? Mm, for now, at least~” As she spoke, she decided to pull down a pot, and began retrieving other ingredients from the fridge. "Dan wants Hilaria to make people smile, though, so she's not sure if it'll last," she explained in a casual voice. She had found a couple of onions by this point and set them beside the rest of the ingredients.

”Yea, making people happy is hard.”

She didn’t really care what everyone wanted for dinner, Hilaria could eat like a horse, and so could Oros for that matter. There was no reason she couldn’t just make whatever and stay out of Hilaria’s way. Oros started to pull things out of her hammerspace to line the counter. An electric burger frier, her own cast iron cookware, the stuff was all in good shape, if well used.

”People can be unreasonable too. Like you meet a girl for the first time and they’re like ‘oh, I only date rich and powerful people.’ So you come back with a dragon’s hoard and the head of an ascendancy elite that you personally executed and YOU’RE the psychopath because you took them too literally.” She took some of the ground beef and worked it into a patty by hand, while Hilaria began chopping onions. ”Dan is also just really boring. Like what are you even working towards dude? You wanna spread smiles and such, but look at what happened to Penrose because of his bullshit? He won’t preach to ME about happiness?” She shoved the patty into the electric cooker and flipped it on. Now how did Su use to make them? Yes, she’d just cook them mostly, and then finish cooking them in the pan. Then it was just American cheese followed by a heap of bacon and mushrooms. ”Whatever, having access to the beach dimension is cool. So is the ability to pin your opponent with your tits.” She set a pan on the stove top and cranked it up to medium high.

Hilaria threw in the onions she had been chopping along with some beef she had prepared into the pot. “Mmm, Hilaria finds every patron pretty boring~ They tend to get repetitive once you’ve been with a few, even a horror. It’s all excuses, lies, hypocrisy, ignorance or,” Hilaria opened her mouth and made some noise that didn’t sound physically possible to make by a human, presumably to mock a horror. “...but Dan has good food so he’s better than most~!” she explained nonchalantly. With the stove on, Hilaria began breaking the beef up, but stole a glance at Oros’ project, before continuing. “Hilaria thinks you’re better off ignoring the people who want material items as a requirement for affection~ They’re the ones that cheat~!”

”I dunno, I think when magical girls more or less live forever, it’s less a matter of ‘if’ and more a matter of ‘when’ they will do something.” The burger had been shocked into submission, but it needed to be browned up a bit. The bacon was sizzling away in a pan, and would have the mushrooms added to it at the appropriate time. Everything needed to be ready at the same time to make the perfect burger, so that meant she had to start cooking things at the right time. She moved the patties into their own pan. ”Anyway, I don’t really care what other people do. If one of my flings wants to fling with a bunch of other people that’s cool. It’s like I always say, having sex with everyone makes you a slut, but having sex with everyone but me makes you a bitch!” She looked at Hilaria. ”I don’t think you can get screwed so long as they’ve given you a reason to provide them anything.”

Hilaria was letting the meat and chopped onions cook. She seemed pretty interested in those burgers, but then Oros said a certain word. “Shh~!” she placed a finger over Oros’ lips. “Hilaria doesn’t want Emily fainting before she eats~” she peered over at the others, and it seemed like they were too busy talking to have heard. Hilaria gave a sigh of relief as she removed the finger. “Well, Hilaria was just giving friendly advice~ But you are a bit less ignorant than she would think if you understand that such behavior is inevitable~” she complimented? “Hilaria takes it carnal pleasures are your hobby~?”

The question caused Oros to pause longer than she should have. ”Mmmm, It’s one of my hobbies.” She dumped the mushrooms in with the bacon. ”The three F’s are my hobbies: Fighting, feeding, and fucking.” Oros said that last part a bit more quietly than normal, just in case that would make Emily faint too. ”I’d still like a real damn partner though, you know? I mean being able to sate all of your desires is one thing.” Once she was satisfied with how everything had been cooked, she layered everything onto a bun. Meat patty, slice of American cheese, crispy bacon, and mushrooms that were moist and lightly battered in bacon grease. When she put the top bun on, it pressed some of the mushrooms out. With her creation done, she took a bite out of it. ”Mmmmmmm! Just like mom use to make!” She set the burger off to the side and prepared to make another one. ”How about you, Hilarious? You’ve gotta have wants aside from just eating and saving people, right? Maybe a desire to get stronger, or go on an amusement park ride?”

Before speaking, she once again eyed the burger. Her eyes seemed to light up a bit more than usual. But she addressed Oros' question. "Mmm, nope~ Hilaria's lived long enough that she probably would be the strongest magical girl~ Some people think that sounds good, but in reality, all that does is attract attention from bad people~" Hilaria explained. Her eyes moved up to Oros'. "Oh, wait~ Of course, Hilaria does care about more than food, even if she only recently realized that~ One is family, and the other..." Hilaria leaned close enough to Oros that she could see every bit of Hilaria's chest that she could while there were clothes on. The girl reached into her shirt, between her breasts, and then produced a bottle of something. "...is to repay the kindness others have shown her." It was only now that Oros could see exactly what the bottle was.

Oros blinked a few times. ”Huh?” She took a closer look at the bottle. It was familiar to her. Dan gave away this particular brand of lotion in his beach dimension. Though its significance was lost on Oros. ”Well, I dunno what I did to deserve this, but thanks, I guess?” She reached for the bottle. ”If it gets too sunny, I’ll be sure to put it on.” She reached for the bottle so that she could stash it in her hammer space.

Hilaria pulled it away. "Oh, Hilaria won't let you worry about that~ She knows how difficult it can be to reach every place~" she smiled. "On a completely unrelated note, are you a fan of the beach~?"

The gears in Oros’s head started to turn. At first, Oros thought Hilaria was just happy to be in the presence of a good burger. But it was becoming evident that it wasn’t Oros that Hilaria was trying to help out, it was Mika. And while her actions over the beach vacation varied between timelines, it wasn’t hard to picture what Mika might have done to Hilaria in this one.

Oros felt conflicted. Anyone who read this far into the RP likely knows that Oros isn’t one to shy away from any type of intimacy, and no longer being a monster girl didn’t remove that. But Hilaria wasn’t really her type. She did have that cute personality, but getting dominated by someone so thicc just wasn’t her style. Well, she might enjoy it, but she also might not enjoy it. She was a lot more sensitive now, and Hilaria looked like she lacked, erm, finesse. If only Mika had played with Emily that day.

At least Oros was stronger now. She wasn’t a monster, but her strength was on par with Hilaria’s. I mean, they were both 16, and while she wasn’t as durable, she was swifter and was confident that her ability to change shapes would let her escape anything the giant woman could muster. A confident smile crossed her face, and she picked up her burger.

”So you think you know who I am, eh?” She ate the burger in a single bite. Su always said that it was better to chew your food, but it always seemed like you got a lot more flavor when you finished off the whole thing in one bite. ”Very well, Hilarious. I consider you a worthy opponent!” She pumped her fist. ”Our battle will be legendary!” Her hand reached for one of the cast iron frying pans. That combo suggested in the patch notes looked like it might slow down Hilaria long enough to escape.

Oros had made two fatal mistakes: One was thinking that the devs ever knew how to play their games optimally. The other, of course, was assuming that Hilaria, who had been alive for millennia, wasn't skilled with her hands. It would seem that in none of her alternate timelines did she ever successfully pursue Hilaria. But back on track…

Hilaria might not have been able to keep up with Oros' speed, but she was capable of doing something a lot more effective. "Stop," she ordered. "This isn’t Hilaria’s kitchen. Please do not cause a commotion." There was a weight to these words suggesting that Oros was about to cross a line she probably shouldn't.

The pan hovered beside Hilaria’s head for a moment, trembling in Oros’s hand. But after a moment of thought, she retracted the instrument. ”Yea, that wouldn’t be very good. No point making a mess of Emily’s home. Gotta say, it’s really weird to see you acting all sensible and shit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this.” She scratched her chin. ”Since you’re in a serious mood, maybe you can help me after all.” She set the frying pan back down. ”I do like going to the beach, but not if it’s empty. Having said that, it’s better than this frozen ass hole we call Penrose. So maybe we can all enjoy some sunshine on this cold, lonely night.” She looked back in the direction of the living room. ”Not to mention it’s been a while since I’ve seen Em in a bikini. Tater tot probably wouldn’t look too bad either.”

"Dan's always looking for company~" she immediately returned to the more cheerful Hilaria once it became clear the kitchen wasn't in danger. "Hilaria doesn't mind, but that depends on the others~" Hilaria moved over to see what the others were doing, only to find Emily was alone. "Did they abandon you, Emily~?" she asked.

Emily nearly hopped up. "O-oh, no! They went to get drinks, that’s all! I don't think they'll be too long!"

The ancient seemed a bit skeptical of this but soon shrugged. "Well~ Oreo wanted to know if you guys wanted to go to the beach to eat and relax~?"

Emily seemed a bit confused. "Uh, the beach? Isn't it late... and how far away is the nearest beach, anyway? Um, I'm just not sure..."

Hilaria narrowed her eyes but still smiled. "Emily, you know Hilaria's patron is Dan, yes~?"

"A-ah, wait, that's... right..." Clearly embarrassed, Emily looked away. "I-in that case, y-yeah. But only if Sakura and Samantha want to."

”Well, looks like one of them is here.” Oros figured it was probably best to let Emily handle Sakura as much as possible. She got the impression she’d say no outright if she asked her themselves.

Emily did end up asking Sakura, and also apparently giving the small girl an allowance? Hilaria didn’t care about that part, though. Instead, a moment later, Hilaria turned back to the aspiring chili and checked on it. "Sakura says yes so that only leaves one, but probably the least likely one to accept~" Hilaria turned back to Oros. "But Hilaria isn't particularly confident she'll comply~"

”Well, I’ve got a plan if she refuses.” Oros chuckled darkly. ”I know all of her weaknesses.” She resumed cooking another burger. ”We’ll just have to wait for her to get back here before I go through with it.” She froze in place while the burger zapper was doing its thing. ”Hilarious? You said that you realized your family was important to you. Was that like a real family or just your friends?”

"Thee jest?!" Hilaria broke character for a second. "O-oh, wait, Hilaria did say that, didn't she~? My, how embarrassing~” The giggle that followed sounded rather fake. She seemed to realize she wasn't able to pretend she didn't say it. "Ah, well, Hilaria guesses that part came out subconsciously. It is only her sister that she cares about~ Hilaria has no friends."

”That is… very unfortunate.” Oros threw a few more slices of mushrooms in with the sizzling bacon. ”If I can’t get Silly to come along, perhaps we can go to the beach ourselves. I would like to go back there at least one more time.”

“If you really want, Hilaria supposes she could take you~” Hilaria watched the pot of chili. It probably wouldn’t be too long before it was ready to eat. “Hilaria looks forward to seeing your strategy, though~ Sam seems like the negative Nancy sort~”

Oros did not have a response for her plus sized companion. She continued to make burgers in silence.




Everyone was seated around a fairly modest sized table, but it was stacked to the brim with goodies. Hilaria’s chili sat in the center surrounded by a hedge of burgers. It was an unusual arrangement, but those with bigger appetites would welcome the additional food items.

”Now that’s a meal.” Oros commented out loud before sitting back in her chair. ”We could say grace, but since every god we know exists I think the best thing we can do is ignore giving any of them reverence to make it fair to all of them.” Oros dipped her burger into a bowl of chili she had scooped out for herself. ”So the beach, was that something that any of you felt like going to?”

Emily was not about to let anyone else take her job as a host and so she ensured that everyone had a bowl of chili sitting before them. Hilaria, however, had scooped a little bit more into hers while Emily was busy with the others. Once Emily was done, she took a seat and got herself a bowl as well. "I'd love to hang out with you guys there, but..." she glanced at Samantha expectedly.

Sam was inspecting her bowl of chili, initially oblivious to the unspoken question. Her eyes almost seemed to glow as it scanned the food, apparently looking for something. This act seemingly irritated Hilaria, who spoke up. "Hilaria isn't the subtle type~" she informed, causing Sam to look up at her. "And it wouldn't do to keep Emily waiting~"

"Huh?" Sam's attention was now on the girl who was, somehow, still smiling. "Oh, well, the beach..." she scratched the back of her neck. "I'm not exactly a fan of it, I'll be honest. Not since... the incident."

“Uh, you mean that about being trapped with a bunch of girls with bikinis for months?” Sakura said, greedily pigging herself out on the food, and being so brazen as to attempt to steal a couple of burgers from Hilaria while she was speaking. Nobody had told her about the burgers. “I mean, It’d suck a bit. But then again seeing oppai baba in a bikini must be quite the sight.” She added. “To be fair, beaches aren’t my thing either, but I can find the freshest fish for sashimi there soo…”

On the outside, Oros looked a little blue, somber even. To the physical eye, she would look genuinely saddened by her companion’s unwillingness to partake in something like a romp on a beach. But deep inside Oros’s blackened heart was a demon, and it was grinning ear to ear. This demon did not know what playing fair was, only that it sought out victory at any cost. And with the chips as they lay, it was time for Oros to snatch up what she yearned for.

”I have to tell you something, Em.” Oros placed her hands together. ”You noticed that I look a little different, right? That’s because the magic in my body has been altered.” She closed her eyes. ”It’s been changed in such a way that I can no longer return to my home. Through purification, I have effectively been exiled from my home. There is a very real possibility that I may never return.” She used her finger to wipe a tear away from her eye. An honest to god, real tear. ”While it was not a happy place, I will not be able to return to my parent’s grave, which I try to visit on the anniversary of their death every year. I do not believe I will be able to make it back this year, or possibly any year.” With a loud snill, she slid closer to Emily. ”A-anyway, I don’t want to ruin everyone’s dinner, so I won’t speak of it again. I just wanted you to know that I’m really, really grateful we met that day. Even when I had so much, you still had room in your heart to feed me your waffle.” She pulled her into a tight hug. She looked at everyone else at the table. ”I consider each and every one of you friends. But if you guys don’t want to come to the beach for any reason, that’s understandable.” She rested her head on Emily’s shoulder. ”But I think I can be happy as long as Em is there with me.”

To nobody's surprise, Emily tearfully returned the hug. "Oh, that's so very horrible! I'm sorry to hear that! Of course, I'd love to go!" she cried. The story had seized Emily's sympathy undoubtedly. The same could not be said about Samantha or Hilaria, however, as one was busy trying to hide bloodlust towards Sakura for stealing her food and the other was busy rolling her eyes.

"A real tear-jerker." Sam scoffed, seemingly unmoved by the tale. She scooped some chili up in her spoon and ate it.

“Girl had it rough it seems.” Sakura said, as she focused on the chili. That bloodlust was much more abnormal than she had initially expected on the silly Oppai Baba and she didn’t want to risk limb for food. Nevertheless, the display the other oppai Miko was doing on Emily… she felt something was odd about this. Emily was being Emily, but Sakura couldn’t help but to remember how easy it was to get Emily to do something when acting cute. Her eyes went from Emily to the Chili bowl, to Hilaria’s burgers, to Hilaria’s other burgers, the clingy Oros and finally, Sam. “You deserve to have all our support. We will make sure that you and Emily don’t feel alone.” The tiny magical girl said.

Come on, Sam, no bikini humiliation is enough to deter us from saving this cinnamon bun from being roped in the insanity of these two! She thought herself mentally, hoping the stunted assassin would at least get the not-so-subtle hint. “Right, Sam?”

Sakura could hear Sam's expression saying, "The hell are you on about?", and the girl opened her mouth so that the other could, too. But just in that moment, she looked up to Emily, whose bottom lip had begun trembling in anticipation. Sam looked away for a moment. "I don't think..." She looked back up, greeted with the same sight. "It's not really something I..." Emily's lip trembled again. "...I suppose...I can..."

”Wooooooowwwwwww...” Oros kept one hand on Emily as she cast her eyes over Sakura and Samantha. ”Well I’m glad you two are willing to join us even if it might not be something you normally wanna do. I’ll make sure the event is extra special for everyone.” After winking at Sakura (or was it Samantha?) she turned to Hilaria. ”Don’t worry too much about the burgers, Hilarious. I can always make more. Especially if we have access to Dan’s food planet.”

Hilaria shook her head. “Hilaria doesn’t think we should rely on drugs tonight~” she declined, before resuming her meal.

"How kind of you." Sakura said, glaring daggers at the blatant hand on Emily. There was something called personal space. Her eyes rested on Sam.

I am risking a lot of embarrassment with someone I just met. And she feels under the weather. Maybe i will buy her some booze and spar with her after this… it won't be easy…

As she was eating, Samantha’s pace began to slow once she noticed Sakura was eying her again. She swallowed her food before trying to speak. “Did you need something? Oh, wait. I should probably ask:” she looked at the rest of the group. “When was this beach trip planned?”

“Huh?” Emily somehow managed to pry herself away from Oros for a moment. “Did Sakura not tell you?” Sam shook her head in response, adding a firm “no”. She held a troubled expression for a moment.

Suddenly, another voice answered. “It’s tonight~!” Hilaria spoke, having finished her portion already. Oddly, she did so without making a mess of herself. “As soon as everyone is ready, we can go~”

“...you mean right now? At this current moment?”

“Yup~”

“...at this time of day? localized entirely in this room?

“You betcha~”

She pleaded with her eyes for someone else to make sense of this as she was clearly befuddled.

Having been pried off of Emily (who she would have released her had she only asked, you degenerate) Oros leaned over to Samanta. ”Oh come on Silly! You don’t have to literally pretend to be the nickname I gave you.” Oros’s smile was a little wider than it should have been. ”What beach is there that could be sunny at this time of night that we have access to?” She scooted behind Samantha’s seat so that she could whisper into her ear. ”I know you heard me talk about Dan’s food planet. I wasn’t talking about just any Dan, Silly. Surely you know of a swimming mammal that goes by that name?”

Samantha inhaled deeply, then exhaled. That was all she did before asking, "But why?"

”Because we’re in a frozen shit hole right now, and a warm beach where everyone gets to wear a-” Oros erupted into laughter. ”You know why I want to go, but regardless of what type of person you are, I don’t see what’s so important in Penrose. Aside from a few places to eat, the place is a ghost town. ”

“You mean that place where those people get abducted, right. And you want to send Emily there. Of course you’d not tell us, because we would say no.” Sakura cut, her glare visibly sharpening. “You didn’t mention it was that place.” She said, as she eyed her chili bowl. “Fucker.” She restrained herself from punching the table. “I will go, because Emily asked of me. But Sam stays. I’m not willing to put her through that wringer. It doesn’t feel alright.” The tiny girl frowned.

”I didn’t think we were being all that subtle about it.” Oros folded her arms. ”But I think Silly is capable of making her own choices. She certainly doesn’t need a tater tot telling her what to do.” Oros took her seat. again ”Dan can’t mess up that bad twice in a row. Besides, if things did get out of hand, which they won’t, wouldn’t you rather have Silly with us?”

“It’s alright, Sakura. I appreciate your concern.” Sam gave up. “I already knew deep down, I was just holding on to the hope there was a second dolphin with a beach. I’ll go since I already said yes. I’m just not sure it’s worth it...” Sam clearly had more to say, but as if a frightening thought crossed her mind, her face went a little pale.

Emily was delighted, evidenced by the warm smile she wore. She did seem concerned by how ghastly Sam started to look. Naturally, she tried to cheer the girl up. “Oh, thank you! It’ll be worth it, I’m sure about this! You don’t have to worry about a thing!” The girl promised, even giving a small clap in excitement.

“Yeah, sure…” It didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Sam, however.

Oros would find the most giddy member of the cast looking at her gleefully. “Looks like we’ll all be there for you on the beach! Um, If you need something though, let me know.”

Not too many moments later did Hilaria stand from the table abruptly. “Wonderful~! Since we’re going, Hilaria will make the portal-” She smiled at Emily. “-outside~! So if she could have you guys bring the food with you, she’ll do the rest~” She left the apartment immediately after that, and Emily stood up in response.

“I’ll grab the pot! If you guys could bring the dishes you were using, then we’ll be set!”







The group entered through the portal and ended up at their destination. There wasn’t really anything unique about this, other than the fact that they would notice they were in their swimsuits, and of course that the weather was a lot warmer than before. Humid, too.

Hilaria was a few steps ahead of the rest of the group, gazing around the place, as if looking for someone. “Danny~? Danny~? Are you there~?” she called out. Meanwhile, Emily was looking at everyone else as they entered to make sure nobody was left behind, while Samantha, despite having gone through the portal as Emily could confirm if need be, had somehow disappeared the moment there weren’t eyes on her.

Oros stretched her arms as she walked through the portal. For those who can’t remember how she looked, or if you are reading this RP long after the URL has been corrupted, it was a white, frilly bikini. Accompanying her attention grabbing swimsuit was a larger than life sun hat, which was decorated with a pink ribbon.

Once Oros was done stretching, she looked at Emily. ”Woah! You make that swimsuit look really good Em! You might wanna think about being a model or something.” Emily’s response was to turn a little red and mumble something in embarrassment, before letting Oros turn to Sakura. ”You um, you like pink, huh, Tater tot?”

Sakura, for her part, was too busy screaming internally to gaze at the other girls in a bikini, looking at how herself had been given the most horrid pink swimsuit she had the displeasure to see. The fact that her body was far too underdeveloped to even fill it out only added insult to the injury. She had been addressed by the Oppai Miko, and after a few moments of staring at how well the other girl filled that out, she spoke.

"No. But my patron saw fit to give me pink everything to make a pun on my name. I hate that rat." Sakura said, not liking being called tot by the other girl. Rage was however, winning over the feeling of shame as she clenched her fists in defiance. She would not run away. She was going to keep tabs on Emily, and perhaps make sashimi out of the sick fuck who ruled this place.

Dan appeared shortly after Hilaria called out to the Lesser Force in a blue swirl of magic. This time he was back to wearing his sombrero. “Hilaria! How good it is to see you again!” He squeaked in joy. “And you brought new friends! How wonderful!” Dan teleported next to Sakura, and the pink-haired girl would realize he was tiny enough even for her to be taller as the being excitedly took her hand for a handshake of a kind with his fins. “My name’s Dan the Dolphin, but you can call me Dan for short! Welcome to Isla Paradiso! Now, what can I get you, miss? Maybe a strawberry milkshake? A raspberry ice cream? Oh, I know, a blueberry pie!” As he listed the items, they appeared floating behind him.

“Dolphin Sashimi with a side of shut the fuck up.” Sakura said, her irritation just growing at how the little shit who kinda remembered him to the rat, but dumber, had appeared before her. “You got any hard liquor over here?” She then said. If there was one thing that could keep her going onwards with such pink cutesy smorgasbord of a swimsuit, that thing was liquid courage.

Dan was aghast, his beak open wide and eyes popping out in cartoonist fashion. "Aah, good heavens, the vulgarity! And I thought you'd be a sweet girl with the pink palette!"

“Sakura!” Emily raised her voice, but only slightly. If it weren’t for the pot in her hands, she probably would’ve put them on her hips. “Please do not be rude to Dan! He is kind enough to let us come here.” The brown-haired girl looked at the dolphin with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry about that, but thank you for having us!”

Dan managed to smile again despite the shock, and nodded to Emily. "I-It's fine. I sometimes forget how some of you can look much younger. Anyway, I'm happy to see you again too, Emily."

Before she decided to butt into the conversation, Hilaria could be seen looking around, perhaps searching for something. Apparently giving up, she spoke. “Danny, Hilaria made some chili and you should try some~! Oh, and somebody wanted to see you very badly~” she waved Oros down. “Didn’t you~?”

”Hmm?” Oros had set up all the cookware on a table, and had a propane cooker set up to resume heating stuff if needed. But she wasn’t tending the cooking station at the moment. She had a flood light in both hands, and was shining them directly into her shadow. ”I don’t think I ever said I wanted to see Dan specifically.” She swung the lights over to Hilaria’s shadow. ”But it is nice to hear your squeaky, cartoon voice again Dan! If only there was a way to make it come through text better, everyone could hear it!” She aimed the lights under Sakura and Dan. A broad smile came across her face as she walked over to Emily. ”But since you’re here, maybe we can play a little game…” Oros moved the light into Emily’s shadow, gradually illuminating it. ”Once we’re all accounted for.”

Some sound similar to a mix between a squelch and a groan, came from Emily’s shadow once the light was shone on it. Emerging as if made from tar, Samantha stood up now wearing her swimsuit and glared at Oros. Youre such a mea-- she cleared her throat. “--um, I’ve returned.” Sam announced. “We’re all accounted for.”

Despite initially being confused about the shadow thing, Emily perked up. “Oh, that’s great! But,” she looked at Oros. “What game are we playing?” she asked, unconsciously handing Hilaria the chili pot when the girl held out her hands. Hilaria proceeded to place it on the table as the rest figured out what they were going to do.

"Chili? Oh hi Samantha!" The dolphin-like being squeaked in surprise, followed by waving his fins to greet Samantha! "I love chili! The spiciness feels like a party in one's mouth! I can't wait to try some!" He turned to Oros when she spoke to him, and smiled. "Well yeah. It would be a lot of work to link a voice clip to every line of my text, wouldn't it?" He answered, seemingly sharing in Oros' strange perspective on the word. "I gotta say, you remind me of this one really nice catgirl. I sometimes wonder where they are now."

”I’m sure she’s continuing her misadventures with her friend. Though I’m sure your memory is in her heart somewhere.” Oros rapped her fingers on her collar bone. ”You can just call me Oros. It’s simpler that way.”

Dan then blinked, having realized something. "Oh, right! You asked for hard liquor, right?" He clapped his fins,and a glass appeared floating before Sakura. "Here you go, some hard apple cider. Don't drink it all at once, ok?"

Sakura eyed Emily before letting a frown. Or at least it would be, if her frame didn’t make it an automatically indignant pout. Sakura winced slightly at seeing Samantha. She should not have trusted any word that came from Oros’ mouth. How come Emily was led by this girl by the nose? It was painful to watch.

And there was the cider. She raised an eyebrow at the gesture, before taking the glass and fought the temptation to shower the dolphin in the beverage. Emily was right in the regard that despite these individuals pushing a lot of buttons, at least the cartoonish Lesser Force was forthcoming with his help. So she just drank it in one go, and sighed.
“Oh whatever, let’s get this over with.” She said, eyes with a tired expression.

Oros counted everyone present. Her finger jumped off their heads from a distance one at a time.

”Silly, Hilarious, Em, Tater tot, Dan, And yours truly! Why, that’s six!” She grinned and placed a hand under her chin. ”Well we could play anything! Volly ball, hot potato, cards against humanity, tug of war, but what might be an interesting game to play is… KAAAAAN JAAAAAAAM!” Without waiting long enough for anyone to react, Oros suddenly looked really flustered. ”Oh my! Don’t tell me no one’s heard of it!?!? Well, it goes something like this.”



”So yea, you just kind of take turns throwing frisbees at something that’s vaguely shaped like a 55 gallon drum, but smaller! So we could split up into three teams of two and play a few games. We’d just need to decide on teams!” Oros looked over everyone again. ”Well, since Silly, Hillarious, and Em are all controlled by the same player, they should each be on different teams.” Oros pointed at Dan. ”You’re Hillarious’s patron, so you two would be on the same team.” Her hand swung over to Sakura. ”Silly and you have both been giving me the stink eye since I showed up, so that means you two should be on the same team.” She threw her arms out to the side and walked straight towards Emily. ”Which means Em and I get to be on the same team? Isn’t this a great arrangement everyone? I know it is!”

“Only to further your own goals.” Sakura said. “Why don’t let Emily choose for once which game and whose team she wants?”

Hilaria flexed her arm. “We’ll win this, Hilaria knows it~!”

Samantha even seemed to get energetic, giving a thumbs up to the idea, but she didn’t say anything.

Dan was excited, two stars having replaced his eyes. “Kan Jam sounds awesome!” He transformed on the spot, taking the bluish-hued form of a fantastical female. “I would love to be Hilaria’s partner this time.” Her warm gaze turned towards Emily. “Unless Emily would like to play something else?”

Being put on the spot so suddenly, Emily got a little flustered. “O-oh, I’m fine just doing something we can all enjoy!” she pushed her two index fingers together, not used to this much attention. “I, um, can go with anyone, really.” Emily seemed to hesitate a little before asking, “Did you not like your pairing, Sakura?”

Sakura folded her arms. “To be fair, it would be nice to be paired with you. Never a dull moment.” Sakura added. “Just pointing it out that nothing is as clear cut as oppai miko-chan wants. Kinda pushy towards her trying to have quality time with you above everyone else’s.” The pink haired girl said. “Tall-chan’s alright by me. She seems to be more sensical than most things in this dimension-beach thing.”

“Thanks!” Sam said with a rather strange amount of glee for an assassin.

Oros wasn’t paying much mind to Sakura’s rant. Instead she was eyeing Samantha with wide open eyes. Though as time progressed, her eyes started to close again to a more neutral position.

”...Well, I don’t really appreciate attacks on my character, Tater tot. You don’t see me complaining about how much time you spend with Em. Yet all the same, I think you would take issue with a foul mouthed brat being Em’s sole room mate. Honestly, you sound like a mobster sometimes.” She spun on her heel. ”Maybe it’s too soon to all play a game together. we should get to know each other a bit better! Come on everyone, look at this!”

Oros distanced herself from everyone and pulled several large sacrificial alters out of her hammer space and lined them up side to side. ”I’m actually a photographer! Well, as a hobby. I really like taking group selfies, and the beach is one of my favorite places to do it.” A stack of papers appeared under Oros’s hand. ”Alright, let me just go through these real- whoa! That’s a spicy one, haha!” It took Oros only a few seconds to go through the stack, at which point less than half of the pictures remained. ”As I was saying, I like to go to the beach and take pictures with myself and other people. So um, here’s a few of my favorites.”

The first picture that Oros set out was a pretty standard self portrait of a couple. Oros was gleefully smiling, with one arm extending out of the frame towards the camera and another coiled around Mika’s waist. The cat girl seemed to be enjoying herself, holding two cups of fruit punch and sipping both of them through curly straws. It was also evident by the alien sky that these pictures had to have been taken in a world similar to Dan’s beach dimension.

Emily had been wearing a rather anxious expression while Sakura and Oros had a spat, but was calming down. She peered at the photos and smiled. “You really like taking pictures?” she asked. “Um, it’s a good photo! You both look so happy!”

“It is very wholesome, isn’t it?” Sam agreed, even smirking along with Emily.

Meanwhile, Hilaria had been rather quiet, but she did come to see the picture. Her expression betrayed a mild confusion and she opened her mouth to speak, yet stopped herself. As her typical smile returned, she nodded profusely. “Must have been some really good fruit punch~!”

Sam looked at the ancient weird. “You think it’s that!?” but all she saw in response was that Hilaria grinned mischievously.

Dan frowned as Oros had a change of heart, and transformed back to dolphin form. “Okay then, let’s see it...Ooh, so pretty!” He exclaimed in awe upon seeing the picture. “What a fun place! I would definitely like to visit there someday. And that fruit punch looks super delicious too! Actually, how about we all have some fruit punch together?” With a clap of his fins, coconut mugs with decorative umbrellas appeared for everyone, filled with sweet-smelling fruit mixes.
“Let’s have a toast to all of us for having gathered here for a fun day!”

“Pictures. Bleh.” Sakura grumbled as she just eyed it just to afford a minor courtesy, as the oppai Miko kept losing points in her eyes in that regard. “You call me a mobster, then decide games are not worth your time, so you shove us with pictures. You make me fucking sick.” Sakura added as she eyed the Dolphin.

“No, not for me. I’m leaving.” Sakura said, obviously feeling the exact opposite of Joy at this moment.

Oros suppressed a growl, and didn’t stop layering pictures across the alters. She did briefly stop to accept a drink from their gracious host. ”I didn’t say I wouldn’t play. I just thought we could all talk a bit before engaging in a competitive sport. No one’s stopping you from sharing your hobby, ya know?”

Most of the pictures Oros set out were largely the same. Various pictures of her posing with someone else on the beach. Her pose was almost identical in each frame. In fact, it would be conceivable that she was photoshopping herself were it not for the fact that the lighting on Oros’s features seemed to change from picture to picture. Most of the people she was posed with looked familiar, even if no one present had actually met them. The most different looking picture of the bunch was one with Lily, or at least it looked like Lily. She had her arm wrapped around Oros’s neck and had her pulled close. It must have been rather sudden, as Oros looked like she had been caught unaware, and the camera's angle was a little off.

”But hey, I’m willing to compromise.” Oros set down the last picture, but she held her hand over who it was with. In fact, Oros’s pose was even a bit different. She seemed to be using both hands to hold whoever was on the other side. ”If Tater tot isn’t going to stick around unless she plays with Em, I’ll let her play a game with her. Hell, I don’t even need to be in the first game. We can play a few times and this way everyone gets to play with everyone.” She rubbed the bridge of her nose. ”But if we’re going to do that, we’re going to need one more player.” When oros turned around, she hoisted herself onto the altar and sat down on top of the picture. ”Hey Silly.” She looked directly at Samantha. ”Wanna summon your ultra cute twin? Playing games really seems like her style, and I’m sure she’d love to join us.” The corners of Oros’s lips lifted slightly.

Ah? Eh? Sam was a deer in the headlights after Oros asked the question. Once she had recovered, she began to fidget. “Um, well, the thing is…“ Pressing her two index fingers together, she apparently struggled to find the words, casting an occasional glance at Emily, or rather, somewhere beneath Emily.

Emily until this point had just been relieved to see a compromise hopefully being considered by Sakura, while Hilaria took interest in Oros’ idea. “Twin~? Does Sammy have a sibling~?” she looked upon Sam with interest.

“Um,” Emily piped up. Even she could notice the looks Sam was giving her. “Is something the matter?” she asked, innocently.

“No! It’s, uh,” she ended up backing away from the group a few steps, a bit overwhelmed all of the sudden. “Erm, how do I say this…?” For the observant eye, it wouldn’t be hard to catch that Sam was lacking a specific trait beneath her.

Dan had observed the group silently after the toast, feeling that the tiny bit of tension hadn't fully cleared yet between the girls. “It’s okay, Sammy!” He intervened, giving her an encouraging smile. “I can get us enough players for the game.” With a clap of her fins, he created a portal, out from which plopped down a mermaid; she seemed to be sitting at a rock and basking in sunlight. “I would like to introduce you all to Neito, my friend from the sea!”
Neito seemed frightened at first, until she recognized Dan. “Oh, hello there. It is good to see you again, Dan. But, why did you-”
“Oh right, first we’ve gotta give you a makeover!”
Dan zapped her with a blue beam, and she transformed; her fish tail turned into a pair of human legs, and the fins on her head also disappeared. As a result, she transformed into a fully human girl, with no piscine qualities.
“KIAAAH!” She screamed, and stumbled backwards into the sand in a soft thud. “W-what is this? Where is my tail?”
Dan dropped down next to her and smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll turn you back later. But now, let’s play some KAN JAM! Oros here can explain the rules to you. Hilaria, Sakura and Sammy, let’s set up the goal drum and other stuff!”

“Uh. A mermaid. Wonder if eating her will make me immortal.” Sakura said offhandedly.

”Sounds like Tater tot is interested in Tuna, Maybe she can explain the rules to her.” Oros stood up, but the picture had adhered itself to her backside. But she didn’t seem to care about that. She was far more interested in Samantha. ”You know, it’s really hard to tell if you’re Silly or not. You look just like your twin, and without your text color edited in because Dalton added it in last, I’m none the wiser. I guess you could say that you two could swap places if you wanted to. And with your aversion to being seen in a swimsuit, It would make sense if you did. ”

‘Samantha’s’ nervousness only got more pronounced. Eh?! No, no! She--erm, I would never do such a thing!

Oros stroked her chin while looking at the mini BBQ that had been set up. ”I did shine a light on everyone’s shadow, but not everything. The chili pot managed to miss my inspection. Em was still holding it, and she passed it off to Hilarious. I suppose that means your twin could be hiding in either of their shadows, if not around the BBQ area.” She pointed her flood light at Emily’s feet. ”But let’s follow your eyes and see where that gets us.”

When Emily’s shadow began to make strange noises and contort, it became clear that Oros was on to something. Emily herself, seeing yet another creepy thing in her shadow, yelped in surprise, which caused an outline of herself in flames to appear and then disappear immediately and fully illuminate where her shadow had been. “O-oh, wow!” Samantha, the real one, now appeared beside Emily, covering herself as best she could with her arms. She, naturally, didn’t seem pleased at being revealed. “Sam! Are you okay?” Emily asked genuinely, unsure what to make of the expression Sam had on.

“N-No.” After saying this, Sam would disappear spontaneously. Yet, a second later her voice could be heard from behind the other ‘Sam’, who was smiling now. “It’s still just as ridiculous as before…” she lamented.

Her double turned around to look at her. Welp, I tried. But whats the deal? You look great! Whaddya got against swimsuits? Jeez! she turned back around. Oh, uh, hello everyone! Since the ruse is up, I guess I can properly introduce myself! You can call me Shade, and Im basically Sams sister~! she hopped. Im very pleased to meet potential fans~!

Sakura’s eyes went from sourness to mild surprise upon seeing the duplicate. “A kage bunshin, huh? That’s stuff for ninja movies.” She said, attempting to prod the solidity of the new duplicate’s ...rear. She would find that it jiggled a bit, like any posterior should.

Oros lightly swatted away Sakura’s hand. ”Hey! You wanted to scramble Em’s eggs, right? Quit being so damn greedy!” She cleared her throat before looking at Shade, while the mermaid blushed profusely in the background with her hands over her mouth. ”Aid and Silly! Alright!” She clapped her hands together. ”Firstly, I gotta tell Silly that she should get used to parading around in a swimsuit. Especially if you plan on doing anything with Trixy. Also, you’re a nine outta ten babe, so there’s no reason to be shy.” With a wink, she reached behind herself. ”Also, I’d like you to sign this for me. I’ve been a pretty big fan of yours.” She pulled the picture off of her butt and handed it to Shade. ”Also, with Aid and the tuna here, we have enough players to make four teams! So Tater tot and I can play separate games without anyone feeling left out!” She placed a hand on her hip. ”This is the greatest!” Oros sipped her drink.

“T-Tuna?” Neito exclaimed in befuddlement, and Dan pat her on the shoulder. “I-It’s just a playful nickname! Anyway, let’s play!”







To the best of their abilities, the cast enjoyed their odd beach getaway. It was a nice reprieve from the harsh, cold world they came from. It didn't even seem like Sam regretted her choice of coming back here, but it would be a lie to say she entirely adjusted to being in a swimsuit. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and so they did. Slowly, things began to wind down.

Shade was busy trying to get as much socialization in as she could, and would joke around with whomever. Samantha, however, was busy waiting for a portal out of the place when Emily approached her. "Um," Emily was smiling since the start of their games, and right now was no different. "Thank you for coming, Sam! I had a lot of fun, and I really do appreciate it!"

"Hmm? Oh, well, you're welcome, I guess." Sam didn't seem to think her attendance warranted any gratitude. She rubbed an arm. "Suppose it wasn't a bad change of pace, either. I wonder if I should've called..." Sam trailed off on that thought and Emily tilted her head. "Ah, it's nothing. Anyway, good to see you enjoy yourself. I'm not sure about Sakura, but it doesn't look like anyone hated it." She noted.

Emily shook her head fervently. "It went really well, I think! I could ask Sakura later to be sure, though." The kind girl looked back at Hilaria, who was simultaneously conversing with Dan about something as well as picking up the dishes they'd brought over. "It might be rude of me to assume, but I don't think Hilaria would mind doing this again, at least. It was definitely better than the last party I went to..." Uncharacteristically, Emily's expression darkened.

"Is that so?" Samantha recalled the Rave and how things went out of control there. She imagined that was what Emily was referring to, so her poor expression was understandable. Even Sam lost her cool back then, too. "Sorry to hear that. But you know, there's this Christmas party coming up soon, have you heard about that?" Sam pulled out a magical envelope from... somewhere.

Emily nodded, retrieving her own magical envelope. "Sakura gave me an invite before, so I don't need one. Isn't she kind? Um, but thank you for asking!" she bowed politely. "So, does this mean I'll see you there?"

With the envelope unnecessary, it was stowed once more. Samantha sighed at Emily's question. "Parties really aren't my thing," she looked Emily directly in the eyes. "I can't promise anything, either. But if I can attend... I'll consider it, at least." At this time, Hilaria had finished grabbing everything she wanted. She called out to everyone and then created the portal back to Penrose.
H i l a r i a



"I can't help but lend my power to those in need~"

— Hilaria



Perhaps any actual instruction would have helped before sending them into the portal. Hilaria understood that it was an emergency, but honestly, she had no clue who she was supposed to be siding with, aside from the group she entered with, and even then they might even have their own agendas. Alliances were always so fragile.

Hilaria had always spotted the measures put into place by Reaver, although she wasn't able to properly discern who he was by the time he fled. A retreating, harmless figure didn't interest her anyway. Aside from that, any shrapnel Veronica's trick produced wouldn't have even scratched her armor, so Trixy's protection was unnecessary. But once that was over, she lowered her scutum to the floor and rested an arm on it as she thought about what to do now.

While she was under the impression there would be people to save, she didn't see any presently. Maybe she needed to head further in? It would not do to keep potential victims waiting for their savior, and any further delay woul--



A terrible incident, yes!

Tragedy unfolding, yes!

Potential despair, yes!


It appeared as though someone was actually in dire need of assistance! Hilaria was compelled by her mental mutation to protect, serve, and assist where she could, so it was up to her to provide this poor, poor girl the girlpower needed to get through this crisis! "Oh, you poor young thing~!" she exclaimed, withdrawing her weapons and shield. A delicate touch was needed for such a delicate matter. Hilaria looked the victim of impending despair in the eyes to assuage her fears. "Worry not~! Hilaria won't let you do this alone~!" Magical Dream Princess could easily tell that the knight was genuine in her claim. Perhaps more genuine than anything she had ever witnessed before. Maybe even too genuine. Actually, it might've been a threat.

Anyway, retrieving the emergency spoon she apparently had for such important occasions, Hilaria began helping MDP.
J o n a l d



"Last online: 5 months ago. But at least I have a face now."

— Jonald


It's okay, I hate me too.
Rip my hot-blooded shounen protagonist OC. :(
S i l h o u e t t e



"Later beach."

— Samantha



Silhouette picked herself up hastily after the pileup, glancing in each direction with a reddened face. She was embarrassed to not only have been thrust into such a compromising situation all of the sudden, but she had also groped Veronica! How shameful. And, maybe, not entirely unpleasant, but she had to focus on other things!

...and then she glanced down at herself, almost instinctively. "Ah..." The stupid beach dimension that forced her into this lewd getup! She started to become very self-conscious just like last time, which is why when a portal opened up with a letter next to her, she nearly yelped. Realizing what it was, she snatched it up and tried covering some of her body. However, she began to feel another presence right beside her. Sam launched her free hand to the side and grabbed this figure by the throat, lifting it a couple of feet above the ground. "We. Are. Leaving." Sam 'kindly' informed Shade, who had manifested without her consent.

"OK OK, *HACK* I'M SORRY I *COUGH* JUST WANTED OUT FOR ONCE."

Sam glared at the girl. "Next time we hang out with Trixy you can appear, but for now..."

Shade nodded a few times in quick succession, and then her form melted back into Sam's shadow. With nothing left to grip, Sam's arm returned to her side. She stared at the letter for a moment before approaching the portal. She noticed Viridian not attempting to leave and stopped to speak for a moment. "Hey, you're not...?" Sam shook her head. "...well, I'll be going," Sam mentioned, then hopped through the portal to join the rest of the Cradle. The sooner she got out of this bikini, the better.

Honestly, she would have to be under some heavy mental manipulation to ever willingly come back to this place.
Delayed as it was, I do hope this Valentine's Day present is acceptable. It was pretty slow once most of the cast had left and I'm a culprit, but I'm happy we stuck through to the end. I have been doing this for a decade or so and I can count the amount of RPs that have concluded naturally on one hand.

It really was fun, wasn't it?
Zachary Ackerson

Jezebel Volcov



"Exit stage left."







There they all went, moving on towards an uncertain future. Those “Infinites” he had been stuck with, struggled with, and survived with… had all begun to depart. Yet here he was, slumped to his knees like a marionette with its strings cut ever since the moment it registered to him that they’d finally reached the outside. They succeeded!

They won!

And now...?

Zachary’s appearance was not that of a person who had just escaped the clutches of death. Quite the opposite, almost. He had become enervated in contrast to the rest of the group who seemed brimming with vigor. Despite this, he managed to pull himself to his own two feet and made the motion to follow them, yet as he went to take the first step, he hesitated.

”Seems leaving is harder than staying.” Emily must have noticed Zachary, as she was walking towards him now. ”But it’s understandable, really. We’re not returning to the world we thought we were. Not as the people we thought we were at least.” As soon as Emily arrived at Zachary’s side, she spun on her heel and looked at the group departing. While most of the others looked pleased, Jezebel and Cyrus seemed to be having a talk not far off. ”Or does something else have your feet stuck in place?”

He sighed. “I’ve done what I’ve set out to do,” he postponed his attempt at leaving to face Emily. After some deliberation, he spoke. “Once I learned the truth, the only thing left for me was to make sure you guys got out. And you have,” he eyed Jezebel and Cyrus momentarily. “Not that I can really take credit for that, of course. As usual, I didn’t really do very much.” Zachary then returned his gaze to the leaving Infinites, frowning. “Either way, we escaped. But now that we have...” he trailed off.

”You don’t really think it ends now, do you?” Emily continued to speak with a smile on her face. ”Even if you somehow forgot you were Jezebel’s reason for getting out of there, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. We still don’t know how the general populace will receive us. Imprisoned or not, we partook in illegal medical practices to become who we are.”

Zach raised an eyebrow at Emily’s statement. “I sure hope they wouldn’t punish us for something we can’t even remember. I feel like that death game should suffice,” he thought about something, then shrugged. “Does she even need me?” the idea seemed to baffle him. “I can’t even use the talent they gave me anymore,” he moved his hand over his eyepatch to emphasize this. “...I just don’t know what to do or look forward to.”

”Zachary, do you think anyone here feels any differently than you?” Emily turned to look at the archer. ”Let’s pretend Axis Mundi can’t restore your sight: It’s not like you had archery to begin with. There are plenty of people in the world who lack talent. That includes the real Emily. She was an inferior nanny, and she was even responsible for the death of a child.” She looked away. ”…I know you searched me during the fifth trial. I don’t know why you stayed quiet, but I’m glad you did.” Her smile didn’t falter for a second. ”And honestly, that’s a lot more important in the real world than shooting a bow. I saw Alter Ego impersonate the real Zachary, and I’m not sure I like them as much as you. I know Jezebel doesn’t, and I’m sure she’ll tell you as much if you ask her. That guy was a jerk!” She returned her gaze to Jezebel. ”Honestly, I don’t think I was all that helpful either during all of this. I made a lot of choices I regret, and I don’t really have a lot to bring with me out of the death game either. Just some care taking skills that can maybe land me a low paying job at some retirement home.” With a giggle, she stepped forward. ”But I’m not going to be leaving here empty handed. I have each and every one of you as friends, and that’s enough for me. But I’d never be content with that if I was still moping to everyone, like I was earlier in the killing game.” She spun on her heel to look at Zachary again. ”I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When you get to the point where you can laugh at your mistakes, you'll find new things to replace what you lost.” She lowered her eyes. ”Now how about you go see how Jezebel is doing.”

Even after her speech, Zachary wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue forward. For him, it was just so much harder to look at this as the starting line for the rest of his life than it was to view it as the finish line. It was a daunting challenge to start one's life over from zero. Everything from before the start of the killing game was someone else's. They were all stolen from the real Zachary. A man with actual talent, and an actual life that evidenced this. Unlike... the phony using his name. Even if he was less pleasant to deal with, supposedly, at least he could confidently claim he liked what he liked or hated what he hated. But this false Zach wasn't even sure if his feelings were his own most of the time.

...But, if everyone else can do it, then I should be able to, too!

He had many doubts. Fears. The confusion was a given. But it wasn't like Emily's words fell upon deaf ears and he knew he wasn't the only person suffering like this. Everyone who escaped was in exactly the same situation. Jezebel, too! And if they all wanted to try to grasp a new, original future. Then, well, he supposed he could give it a shot as well.
“Yeah,” he said, a small hint of a smile becoming obvious on his features. “I think I’ll go do that. And, uh… thank you, Emily.”

Zachary offered his hand for a shake, but Emily pulled him into a hug and patted him on the back before letting him go. ”Take care of yourself!”

He nodded before trotting over to where Jezebel was having a conversation with Cyrus, a bit curious to see what the two were even discussing.

”…I’m glad we could end things on good terms now, at least. ” Cyrus Was about to turn around to leave when Jezebel gave him a hug.

“We’re totally going to meet up again.”

”I would think so.” He pointed at Zachary. "Looks like someone’s here for you.”

Jezebel immediately turned around to see Zach give a small wave, and her face lit up with a smile. “Baldwin number one!” She practically danced over to Zachary while Cyrus slipped away. “I was totally going to go see you, but like, I needed to talk to Cyrus first. Things were kinda grody between us, so we took a chill pill and we’re like, totally fine now.” Zach held a hand up and shook his head as if to say, “No problemo” before Jezebel folded her arms behind her back. “Are you alright? I totally thought you’d be happier about this.”

Zachary went to apologize, but then stopped. That was a habit he intended to purge himself of. Plus, Emily’s words flashed through his mind. It’s not like Jezebel wouldn’t have similar concerns. So he shouldn’t be bringing the mood down too much like some spoiled brat. “I suppose I don’t give the best impression of it, but I really am elated that we’re free from that death game. It’d be closer to perfect if I still had both eyes, but what can you do?” he shrugged, then looked towards the others who obviously weren’t there anymore. “Suppose I can’t pretend like I’m not concerned with the future, though. We might’ve broken some rules before becoming “Infinites” and I have no clue what I should name myself, either. Lots of stuff to think about and I’m criminally good at overthinking things until I stress myself out. Might be my real talent, even.”

“Tell me about it.” Jezebel looked at the floor. “The irony of it all is like, wow. The real Jezy wanted to hide her face from the world, and I wanted it for myself. Totally weird.” It didn’t take long for her eyes to return to Zachary’s. “But I’ve also got to remember that just because Jezy was a clown doesn’t mean I have to be.” She smiled.“I don’t even really care who I was, honestly. I mean, I don’t think I can continue to be Jezebel, but like, I already sorta gave up on who I was anyway? I feel like it would just be more pointless drama.” She scratched her chin a bit before pounding her fist into her hand. “I got it! We’ll make new identities for each other! Go on, Baldwin! Tell me who I am!”

“Ah? Eh? T-that’s...” Zach fumbled after being put on the spot. “You’re asking me? T-that’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? I wouldn’t even know where to begin...” Despite wracking his brain for something, all he drew were mostly blanks. “I’m terrible at this sort of thing, y’know. Because if we’re just talking names right now, all I can really think of is Betty.”

Jezebel laughed. “Betty?! That’s perfect!” She folded her arms. “Yea! I even think Jezebel would agree I’m a Betty. All of my favorite girls were Betty’s too!” She grinned. “That means you’re no longer Baldwin number one. You’re the Baldwin!”

The young man joined in with laughter of his own. It really was a lot easier than he thought it would be. "Baldwin... well, I certainly don't need to worry about adjusting to it. You made sure of that. Should I have called you a Betty?" Ignoring that, Baldwin's smile couldn't be any more genuine if he tried. "That said, we have alliteration material here." He made a 'b' sound with his mouth, then spoke. "Betty and Baldwin buy big burritos." Completely satisfied, he nodded. "Okay, it's perfect for me."

Betty chuckled. “That’s amazing!” her thumbs spun around each other. “So what should our last name be?”

“I’m afraid that escapes me. It’d be weird to use grody, of course, but what could---” Baldwin stopped to think about her wording but almost didn't start again. As realization struck him, his cheeks flushed a shade of red. "O-our?!" he nearly yelped. He even failed to reboot a couple of times. "...!”

“Yea, no doubt about it, it should be Ackerson.” She nodded. “Zach is kinda like your dad, and if we were to get married, I’d have to take that as my last name too. Baldwin Ackerson, it’s got a nice ring to it.” Her grin continued to widen.“Guess the only reasonable thing for me to do right now would be to use Volcov as my last name then. Like, we haven’t gotten hitched and junk yet. Wouldn’t wanna have a back up plan in case the only thing holding us together was this killing game. Gosh, that would be sooooo morbid!”

Calming down from earlier, Baldwin shook his head fervently. “Keep that line of thought up and I’ll start moping again.”

Betty coiled one of her arms around Baldwin’s and started to walk towards the chopper. “Hmm, don’t wanna base my entire life around those two. I wanna change it up a bit. Kinda thinking I need to put my own spin on the valley girl thing, ya know? Like, maybe instead of saying totally, I could say something like, flippin’? Yea, that flippin’ works!”

In response, Baldwin rubbed the back of his neck. Her proposal seemed to discomfit him more than a little. He agreed that they should separate themselves from the identities they had borrowed, but there was clearly another matter that required his full attention. “Ah, uh, maybe you should, like, work on that?” he suggested, finding himself now SIMPering. “There’s plenty of time to decide.” he wondered if a verbal tic would make him a bit more interesting but also thought leaving it to Jez was perhaps the best choice. “But maybe it’s better than saying something like, ‘dude’ every sentence.” he admitted.

Betty giggled. “Honestly, It’s best if we don’t force it too much.” She tapped her chin in though. “Well, I think I’ve seen enough of this place. Did you want to get on the chopper with everyone else?”

Baldwin gave one last look back at the elevator they’d taken before, nodding. “Yeah. We’ve spent more than enough time in this place,” he agreed with a smile. He wouldn't want to keep the others waiting any longer. It was 'goodbye, despair!' and 'hello, hope!' from now on.

The former Zach now had plans. He thought that it might be good to go meet the real Zachary, if only to get some closure. Or even to encourage him to speak his mind to his father. It had the potential to backfire. Baldwin imagined a lot of people would react negatively to a stranger butting into personal affairs out of the blue. Familiar as uncertainty was for Baldwin, he felt a sense of warmth. Though he wasn't sure what would happen with Zach, he could rest easy knowing for sure that he would have Betty right beside him.

“So,” Baldwin found his face flushed red as they walked, as well as a lump in his throat. But he pressed on in spite of this. "Well... I was wondering if you would like to maybe hold hands?" he asked. It was kinda lame, and he wasn't completely sure how she'd respond.

But now that he thought about it, maybe he didn't need to be sure of everything?



The Infinites had persevered and, despite the odds, survived the cruel game that Alter Ego subjected them to. Though there were bound to be problems along the way, each remaining Infinite was now afforded the chance to write their own story. This one tale ends, but many more now begin.




That's a wrap! Thanks, everyone!


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