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5 yrs ago
Current Going in a trip over the weekend. Will be back on Sunday, probably no RP posts until then
5 yrs ago
>That awkward moment when you learn the religious revival movement you were headin was actually a vehicle for a Lovecraftian Abomination masquerading as a God to jack your body and take over the world
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5 yrs ago
>That moment when you realize that you can only do fandom RPs because you're bad at original characters. This is what I get for never playing DnD
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Penny felt that there was something uncomfortably final about stepping back into Penrose and letting the Overcity passage snap shut behind her. She was only just now returning from getting let go by Beacon’s higher ups and it was starting to truly settle that she had turned away simply because she wasn’t human.

Her mind raced as she contemplated everything that would need to change now, Beacon couldn’t be counted on as a resource for supplies anymore. She needed to open up her own network more now, rather than piggy backing on others, there was just no end to the work she had to do once more.

‘I need to tell Alicia.’ the thought slipped in through the blizzard of other thoughts, and just as quickly stilled all of them. Penny doubted her friend would turn on her because of this, but that didn’t mean it didn’t bring a fresh wave of hurt. That her friendship with Alicia put Alicia at risk from Beacon.

Penny drew up Alicia’s contact ready to send out a text with an explanation, when she hesitated. This wasn’t something to leave to just text. She waited a few more moments just looking at the number wondering if the risk to Alicia was worth the comfort of hearing from her friend.

The desire to hear from her friend, perhaps for the last time won out, and a moment later she placed the call.

Penny let out a tired greeting the moment Alicia picked up. “Hey, I’m back.” her voice crackled on the line, her emotions disrupting the connection despite her normal flawless control.

Alicia answered on the third ring, and although she did not know what had happened, the crackling did indicate to her that something was amiss. “Hey. Alright, what happened?”

"I was given an ultimatum." Penny answered softly. "I was told that I had to give up Beacon's blessings or give up my mechanical nature." She started walking after that, though where she was headed was anyone's guess.

"I don't know if they realized that it would probably kill me to try and remove my machine qualities at this point." She would continue on, another crackle skittering across the line. "Or that the Sanctuary would lose all faith in me."

"Not entirely sure that they cared either."

"They were kind enough to let me leave without incident though." Silver linings, sometimes you had to keep them in mind as they were the only solace you got.

Silence descended for several moments, Alicia simply processing what Penny was telling her. The emotions that rose in her were a clash of aligned ones, sadness and anger and all besides. Eventually it was a self-assigned task that provided focus “Where are you? I’m on my way.”

“I’m…” It took a moment for Penny to look around and find the answer to that, partially due to her disorientation, partially due to the main Overcity passage in Penrose having a habit of moving around. “I’m on twenty third and Cobalt avenue.” She would answer as she jumped up onto the roof of a nearby building. “On the roof of the axe throwing place.” She found a little niche where she couldn’t see the road and sat down to wait.

”Hang tight, I’ll be there ASAP.” Alicia told her with all the force of a command. She then hung up, if only so she could focus on getting there faster. This was not the sort of conversation she wanted to have over the phone, not with someone so close to her.

True to her word, she soon arrived at Penny’s location. Clambering up the fire escape, she gracefully swung onto the roof of the axe throwing establishment. “Penny, you still here?” she asked as she oriented herself.

"Here" Penny would reply. She was sitting next to the rooftop AC unit, her knees drawn up to her chest and she leaned her head back on the AC unit. Physical Penny looked fine, if not for the exhausted slump of her shoulders.

Her eyes were blue however, not gold. There was a bit of solace in the fact they weren't red however.

Making her way over, Alicia sat down with her legs crossed next to Penny. At least she didn’t seem to be angry about how things were going, which was a bit more than the Paladin herself could say in these circumstances. “On behalf of all sane people, sorry.”

Penny gave a snort at that. “We willingly live in Penrose, not sure any of us can still be called that.” Her voice was a bizarre mix of flat and watery. “And It’s not like I didn’t see it coming.” She would continue on “It took the girls at Beacon HQ here months to get used to me and I got the feeling the Ecclesiarch hasn’t changed her mind on something in closer to years.”

“True,” Alicia agreed with a sigh of her own. Her head fell, gaze drifting downwards as it became wrapped in visions that drifted past. “Still, they were willing to let you in there and even give you an audience. I duno, I guess I kinda hoped that things might be turning for the better.”

After a moment she looked over to her friend. “I suppose this whole plan of mine was going a bit too well, yeah?”

“I hoped the same thing” Penny would admit. “I was just too chaotic, too controversial, I guess.” A large part of the reason it hurt so much was because it felt like it was targeted at Penny as a person rather than just because she was a monster girl.

That said, she cared too much to let all hope die out here. “Louhi mentioned that an alliance might still be on the table.” It didn’t count as reaching out just by bringing it up did it? “And they did let me walk out. Even knowing about the Sanctuary.” She thought that was a nice precedent at least. It wasn’t even footing, but it was a step up compared to before.

“One can hope,” Alicia agreed. At the same time, some part of her couldn’t help but wonder whether it was because they didn’t expect Sanctuary to be of concern for much longer, once Wonderland was done with whatever their scheme was. But she did her best to suppress such cynical views. Maybe authority was making her jaded.

In spite of these difficulties, she did not want things to end here. Especially after the offer Penny had made when they were first addressing the Wonderland issue. ”Regardless of what my antique bosses say, I’m still your friend.”

“Never doubted that” Penny would say, her voice hitching in the middle. She’d reach over and place a hand on Alicia’s shoulder giving it a soft squeeze. “Never doubted you” Which was true. That didn’t help the fear that had cropped up that someone in Beacon would try and force Alicia out of Penrose. But Alicia abandoning her? That wasn’t something Penny allowed herself to think about.

Still, the reassurance did help soothe the hurt. Kept it a flowing sorrow rather than letting it stagnate into more anger. She had more than enough of that emotion in her systems without adding this into it.

“I have to say I’m kinda proud of myself.” Penny would speak up after a moment, not really letting herself get dragged down by her emotions even as she did her best to work through them. “It’s a lot harder to process sa… Sa..” She would swallow down the words that she couldn’t quite vocalize. “This” she would gesture at herself. “Without the ability to cry.” It felt like it was just getting bottled up and pressurized, but she couldn’t let that happen, it wouldn’t end well if she did. “But I’m doing it, not a hint of red, nor a drop of Jason here. Just me”

“It’s just me.”
She would repeat as she slumped against the AC unit. “Why? Why couldn’t they see that I’m just me?” Penny was shaking slightly and if one didn’t hear her they would never be able to guess that she was breaking down. Because her sorrow hardly touched her face. She shed no tears, her face did not flush. She just shook slightly, and silently.

Though there had been little doubt, Alicia was glad that Penny reciprocated the feeling. It would have been petty to hold this against her, but she also didn’t want her doing something like severing ties simply out of reflex. Cut and run, before any harm came down on either of them. So at least they didn’t have that to worry about.

Still, for how much Penny claimed she was alright, the fact that she was slipping into repetition was telling. Leaning over, she wrapped an arm around Penny from behind to provide the same support that her friend had shown her moments ago. ”Hey, hey, it’s alright. It sounds like you need to vent as much as I do. I mean, we are on top of a building that specializes in hitting stuff with sharp objects, which is preferable to some of the alternatives. I think.”

Penny let out a strained laugh. Wrenching herself out of a downward spiral was hard, but Alicia just being here and so willing to show support helped. Alot.

She also agreed that axe throwing probably was a healthier outlet than most options they had available. “Yeah, no need to hide the mess either, they’ll already know where it came from.” She was worried that it would cause her sorrow to bleed into anger, but hopefully with Alicia there it would simply blunt into frustration?

It would be an interesting challenge as well, keeping her attention on modulating her strength so that she didn’t chuck the axe through a wall or something. So perhaps all those factors together would keep her from drifting too far into the red?

“I guess I’m game if you are” Penny would say after thinking about it a bit more, sounding not normal, but steadied.

Nodding, Alicia smoothed her outfit as she rose to her feet. ”Sounds like a plan to me. I’ll try and keep up, Miss Aimbot,” She gave Penny a wink and a grin to indicate her barb was made in jest as she prepared to head down to ground level. She was curious to see how this would go.

“Not sure how well that carries over if I’m honest.” Penny would mention as she followed after Alicia. She hadn’t ever fought or even used any skills close to that realm of possibility while sealed. “Besides, you’re the one with the hoodoo. No telling what you can get an axe to do.”
Connie was painting in her room, when she heard a knock on the window. Going over to it, she was greeted with the cheerful visage of Magical Dream Princess. “Hi, Connie Wonnie~! (giggle!)” the bubbly visitor said with an energetic wave. “Like, can Magical Dream Princess pretty pretty please come insidey widey~?”

“O-Oh! O-Of course!” Connie replied, a little startled by her friend’s sudden appearance. “P-Please come in!” she added with a smile as she opened the window.

“Like, thankie wankies~! (giggle!)”

After stepping inside, MDP gave voice to a squeal of delight, her eyes going wide. “Wowie zowie~! You have sooooo many super duper adorable worable stuffed animal wanimal thingy wingies in heresie~! (giggle!) And, like, so many pretty witty picture wictures, too~!” she added, jumping up and down with childish glee. “Like, did Connie Wonnie paint all of them herselfy welfy~?!”

“Y-Yes, I d-did,” Connie confirmed. “W-Well, all e-except that one,” she clarified, pointing to the drawing Oros had given her. “A-And t-thanks so much!” she added with a slight blush and a big smile. “I-I’m r-really glad y-you like them!”

“Like, they remindy windy Magical Dream Princess of the picture wictures Priscilla Willa makey wakies~! (giggle!)” MDP noted as she took a closer look at each painting in turn. “She’s a friendy wendy who works at Daddy Waddy’s company wompany~!” the bubbly girl explained. “She’s, like, super duper brainy wainy and super duper talented walented and super duper nicey wicey, too, and Magical Dream Princess thinky winkies Connie Wonnie would like her lots and lots~!”

“S-She s-sounds really n-nice,” Connie agreed.

“Magical Dream Princess just wishes she could make pretty witty picture wictures like Connie Wonnie and Priscilla Willa, too…” MDP said with a small frown.

“U-Umm, i-if you’d l-like, I c-could teach you s-some of the b-basics,” Connie offered, causing her friend’s demeanor to brighten up considerably.

“Wowie zowie~! Like, could you~?!” MDP asked excitedly. “Could you~?! Could you~?! Could you~?!”

“S-Sure!”

“Yaaaay~!” MDP cheered. “Painting wainting party~! Painting wainting party~! (giggle!) Oh!” she exclaimed as a realization finally worked its way inside her ADHD addled brain. “Like, where’s Mia Wia~?” the whimsical girl asked, tilting her head in puzzlement. “Isn’t she always heresie weresie with Connie Wonnie~?”

“O-Oh, M-Mia’s out on a d-date with her b-boyfriend,” Connie explained. “I-I think t-they went to f-find s-some rare f-flower and then h-have a m-meal together.”

“Golly wolly~! That soundy woundies super duper adorable worable~!” MDP observed with a joyful smile as she plopped herself down on Connie’s bed and began idly kicking her legs. “Like, Magical Dream Princess would wuv to go on more dates with Penny Wenny, but we’re both sooo super duper busy wisy…” she sighed, before brightening up again a moment later. “So, like, does Connie Wonnie have a super duper special wecial wuvy dovey person werson, too~?”

“O-Oh! U-Ummm, n-not r-right n-now,” Connie stammered, her face turning a bright crimson. “I-I m-mean, i-it’s n-not t-that I d-don’t w-want a b-b-boyfriend,” she continued. “I-It’s just t-that I-I’m p-perfectly f-fine w-with w-waiting! B-But, u-umm, w-why d-don’t w-we t-talk about y-you and P-Penny?” she asked, desperate to change the subject. “I-I’ve a-always been c-curious about h-how t-the two of y-you met.”

“Oh, Magical Dream Princess would totally wotally wuv to tell Connie Wonnie about that~! (giggle!)” MDP replied happily. “So, like, Magical Dream Princess first met Penny Wenny when she was helping welping protecty wecty the Sanctuwantuary from those meanie weanie Minty Winty people weple, and, like, as soon as Magical Dream Princess saw Penny Wenny, she got a super duper big crushy wushy on her~” the whimsical girl explained, her face taking on a particularly dreamy expression, while a blush began to color her cheeks. “But, like, she couldn’t tell Penny Wenny how she felt right thensie, ‘cause, like, Penny Wenny had lots and lots of super duper important wortant stuffy wuffy to do, so, like, Magical Dream Princess knew she had to wait until the right timey wimey, and it was a super duper good thingy wingie she did, ‘cause, like, a few days later water, she and Penny Wenny would have their very wery first date togetherwether~! (giggle!) Like, it all started when Magical Dream Princess read about how this meanie weanie ghosty wosty was bothering wothering people weple at this schooly wooly placey wacey, and she agreed to helpy welpy make it go bye bye…”




Test of Courage


Starring:
‘Mister Roboto’ Penny Asimov
“Tastes like sprinkles” Magical Dream Princess

Outside of Penrose proper, life continued on mostly as normal. There had been an influx of people evacuating the city that had disturbed things for a bit, but life had soon returned to normal. People worked, played, lived their lives, did normal things. Some day Penrose would return to that norm, though today was not that day.

It was to one of the high schools in a nearby town that Penny and Magical Dream Princess would be summoned. It was night time, when they would be able to work without being disturbed by civilians getting in the way and possibly putting themselves in danger. The school was a modest three story building, made of brick and stone in a ‘u’ shape. It was an older building, that much was clear from the design and layout of the place.

Across the street, a girl stood near a bench and a street lamp. She all but exuded anxiety, glancing between her surroundings and her watch as she waited. This was her first time placing a bounty, and even with her desperate situation she was still nervous about how it would go. Who knew what the girls she had hired would actually be like?

Unfortunately for her, it was a bit too late to simply cancel the whole thing. They’d be here any second now. She could only hope that they would be up to the task they had agreed to.

While the girl glanced around nervously she would perchance happen to notice a small flicker of light from above. At first it was little more than a twinkling star but that light would rapidly descend as a mote of pure white seemingly descended from the heavens to land gently at the meeting site. It would stay there twinkling softly for a moment before rapidly ballooning in size before just as rapidly contracting into a silhouette.

From there the light would slowly fade away revealing Penny in all her casual glory. She was relaxed and unhurried and held herself with a notable amount of confidence. She would examine the surroundings before giving the nervous girl a nod and moving to stand near her. “Hey there, you the one who posted the bounty about the school?”

Before the girl could respond, a sparkling pink cloud appeared overhead, with a cheerful looking girl riding atop it.

Recently, Violet had taken to scanning Glimmer as a way of locating problems that she might assist with as Magical Dream Princess. The bounty listings, in particular, had been an excellent discovery in this regard. Indeed, it was due to one such exceptionally urgent cry for help catching her eye, that the refined heiress-turned-whimsical magical girl now found herself in front of an old school building in the middle of the night.

“Ta daaa~!” MDP announced as she slid down a glowing rainbow and struck a cute pose. “Magical Dream Princess is here to make that big scary wary meanie weanie go bye bye, and, like, give everybodywody sweet dreamy weamies again~! (giggle!) Wowie zowie~!” she exclaimed after realizing that she wasn’t alone. “Like, Penny Wenny’s heresie, too~?! Goodie woodie~! (giggle!)” she squealed with delight. “Like, Penny Wenny and Magical Dream Princess can fight that big meanie weanie together wether~! This is gonna be, like, sooo much fun~! (giggle!)”

“Eep!” A startled yelp escaped as the girl flinched backwards with the descent of the two magical girls. Wide eyes first fell upon Penny, Foreign metal, looming and intimidating even in a lithe grace. She felt inadequate just standing next to the girl. Then the other girl made her entrance. The contrast was about as stark as night and day. She was exuberant, whimsical, almost overwhelming for someone whose nerves were as frayed as the girl already were.

But she managed to hold it together, small steps carrying her forward as she did her best to keep herself from trembling with the myriad of thoughts that swirled through her head. “T-T-That’s right,” she confirmed quickly. “I….I set the bounty.”

A hand rose, pointing to the darkened school that rested across the street. “It’s in t-there.” She just wasn’t sure where. After it had all gone wrong, she had not been able to work up the determination to really go and investigate personally. It was much too scary.

Penny would regard MDP with a smile “Good to see you again Dream Princess” She would say giving the excitable girl a wave. “This hunt is going to be a good one if you're along for the ride as well I can feel it.” Bringing Hope to the downtrodden, getting a chance to play around with an amazingly fun magic, and punching ghosts in the face? Yeah, this whole thing was right up Penny’s alley.

Turning her attention back towards the nervous girl she would soften her smile to a more reassuring one “Don’t worry, me and Dream have got this covered easy.” She would offer a hand to bounty poster “I’m Penny Asimov, pleased to meet you. Will you be staying out here or joining us?”

“Like, it’s totally wotally okie dokie if you don’t want to~!” MDP told the clearly frightened girl with a reassuring smile. “Like, that’s what we’re here for, after allsie~! (giggle!)” The girl reminded MDP a little bit of Connie, which just made the whimsical magical girl want to help her even more. “But, like, Magical Dream Princess totally wotally forgot something womething super duper important wortant~! She, like, totally wotally forgot to ask what your namey wamey was~! Friendy wendies should, like, always know each other’s namey waymies~!” she added, holding up a finger for emphasis, as if she was imparting an extremely important fact. “And we’re, like, totally wotally friendy wendies nowie, so we should, like, totally wotally do that~! (giggle!)”

The girl seemed to get a bit more comfortable with time and exposure, though only some. She was still fairly awed and overwhelmed by both girls that she had hired for this bounty. But if there was anyone who could handle her problem, it seemed to be them.

Carefully the girl reached out to gently shake Penny’s hand, though she pulled back almost on instinct when her hand was released. “I’m Leona,” she replied, before quickly shaking her head. “I’d….prefer to stay here.” She had messed things up plenty already. She didn’t want to make it worse.

Penny was sure to keep her grip light while she shook hands, and didn't take Leona's skittishness personally. "That's perfectly fine Leona." Penny would say with a nod. "Only one last question in that case. Is there some kind of focus or totem keeping the thing here?"

“Like, it’s super duper nice to meet you, Leona Wona~! (giggle!)” MDP told the timid girl with a happy smile. Then Penny asked her question, and the whimsical girl’s smile grew even wider. “Wowie zowie~! You’re, like, sooo knowledgeable woledgable about ghosty whosty stuffy wuffy, huh, Penny Wenny~?! Magical Dream Princess thinks that’s, like, sooo super duper cool~! (giggle!)”

“Ummm….” The girl paused, racking her brain as she sought to answer Penny’s question. Knowing that she didn’t need to go in there personally made it a bit easier, though there were still some scary memories related to the event, “I-I’m not...sure. But I d-dit the tt-thing in the second story art room. It...It would be there p-probably.”

Penny would glance at the school for a moment, her eyes glowing brighter for a second before nodding. “I feel bad for Miss Grotke.” She would murmur before turning back to Leona. “We’ll take care of it, thank you.”

And with that Penny would turn and start walking towards the school. Hesitating only so long as it took to verify that MDP was following along as well. “Not sure I’d agree to that last compliment.” She would say once they were enough distance away from Leona. “I’ve just got access to google twenty four seven and a willingness to ask it questions whenever I need to” She would dead pan. Even though it was true that Penny knew a fair amount about how Spirit magic worked, but out of old fear and new hate.

“Side question, how good is your magic at repairs?”

“Wowie zowie~! Penny Wenny can use google woogle all the timey wimey~?” MDP asked as she skipped along next to Penny, seemingly oblivious to their forbidding surroundings. “That’s gotta be, like, super duper helpful welpful~! (giggle!) Especially wecially right nowie~!” the whimsical girl added, her cute voice filled with excited energy. “Cause, like, Magical Dream Princess’s memory wemory is, like, super duper terrible werrible when she’s Magical Dream Princess, but, like, that won’t be a problem woblem if she’s with Penny Wenny~! (giggle!)”

Penny went on to ask MDP if her magic was capable of repairing things, and the childish girl’s face took on a thoughtful expression. “Weeeell… Magical Dream Princess never really tried to use her magic wagic to fixy wixy anythinigie wingie beforesie, so she, like, doesn’t really know if she can… And, like, all the thingie wingies she ever wever used her magic wagic on kinda winda went back to normal wormal whenever she stopped being Magical Dream Princess…” The formerly bubbly girl was looking rather glum by this point. “Super duper sorries, Penny Wenny…”

“Don’t worry about it Princess” Penny would say waving away the dour reply. “I’m just thinking ahead. Rampaging ghosts tend to throw things, so I’m wondering if there is anything we can do to help fix the damages that might come about.” She would explain, intentionally omitting that she felt that most of the damage would come from Penny being the one thrown around.

“And yeah I’ve got access to all the wonders of the internet” She would admit with a chuckle “Makes normal patrolling much less of a slog when I’ve got youtube up in the background.” Plus any number of other things she could be scrolling though. She tended not to bother with such in fights though. She preferred to give those all of her attention, even if her opponent didn’t need such.

“Ouch, seems like a steep drawback” She would wince a bit at MDP’s admittance about recall issues while transformed. She couldn’t help but wonder if it was due to the Dream Magic, or MDP’s Patron that were the cause of it.

“Would a dream journal help?” Penny would ask “Because you could probably make a book with your magic that holds the memories that are more important for you so you aren’t as lost in dreams while you are transformed.” She would offer up as an idea. She had no idea if it would work, but who knew with Dream magic.

“Maybe waybe~?” MDP replied, her countenance brightening up a bit. “Magical Dream Princess doesn’t really know all that much about how her magic wagic works, she just does what feely weelies right~! (giggle!) And, like, she normally wormally doesn’t really mindy windy how terrible werrible her memory wemory is, ‘cause she’s having, like, sooo much super duper fun~! (giggle!)” MDP explained cheerfully, apparently finding her memory issues more amusing than troublesome, as was often the case for the childishly carefree girl. “But, like, sometimey wimeies she really really needs to remember wember something womething super duper bad, and then she has a big problem woblem! It’s okie dokie, though,” she added with a wink and a happy giggle. “Cause, like, that’s when she does the thinky winky dance, and then everythingie wingie is aaaaall better~! (giggle!)” she explained bouncing up and down with glee. “But, like, Magical Dream Princess is totally wotally gonna make one of those dream diary thingie wingies, ‘cause it soundy woudies like it’ll be super duper fun~! (giggle!)”

Conjuring a glittery jump rope, she began skipping backwards with it, so she could face Penny while they talked.

“Like, can you believe that Magical Dream Princess actually wactually has a photography waphy memory wemory when she’s not Magical Dream Princess~?!” the playful girl asked with a great deal of enthusiasm. “Cause, she, like, totally wotally does~! (giggle!)” she added with a pleased smile, clearly proud of that fact, even as her whimsical magical girl self.

“Lucky” Penny would remark about the ability to just go with the flow of one’s magic. “My specs are all too grounded to be able to really do that” She would add, not to mention her aptitudes meant that active casting required much more focus then one would normally need. Still she noted that it sounded like an inherent quality of Dream magic, which made sense due to the flighty nature of dreams.

She would also let out a chuckle at the backwards skip rope demonstration. Tempted to join in, she refrained as it would leave quite the trail if she wasn’t careful. Instead she would mimic the Dream conjuring to make a yo-yo, a sky blue yoyo with a large smiling star on either side. One which she easily started to yo-yo with as the two of them walked and talked.

“I take it you’re rather smart then” She would go on with the conversation. “Do you pretend to not remember inconsequential things? As I do that, tends to freak people out less.” She would explain, figuring that MDP was smart enough to also pick up on what Penny wasn’t explicitly saying.

“Magical Dream Princess is, like, super duper smart, when she’s her normal wormal selfy welfy~! (giggle!)” MDP replied happily. “She’s, like, a total wotal genius wenius~! But, like, why would she pretendy wendy not to remember wember something womething~?” she asked, sounding rather confused. “Like, when Magical Dream Princess is her normal wormal selfy welfy, it’s super duper important wortant that she lets people weple know just how super duper smart she is~! She would never ever pretendy wendy to be a dummy wummy~!” she continued, seemingly finding the idea of hiding her intelligence utterly inconceivable. “Like, the only reason she acts like a dummy wummy when she’s Magical Dream Princess is because she really is a dummy wummy when she’s Magical Dream Princess~! (giggle!) But, like, if Penny Wenny does that, then she must be a super duper smarty warty too~!” the whimsical girl exclaimed, her eyes filling with stars.

Her admiration for her mechanical companion only grew a moment later, when Penny seemed to manifest a yo-yo out of thin air.

“Wowie zowie~! Penny Wenny made that pretty witty yo-yo out of nothing wothing~! Does that mean she has nanowanotechnology wology stuffy wuffy~?!” MDP asked with childish wonderment. Her jump rope was spinning so quickly now, she seemed to be encased in a sparkling prismatic bubble. “Does she~?! Does she~?! Does she~?!”

“I don’t do it to pretend to be dumb” Penny would say “More so to appear more human, most people get a bit sketchy when you can recall everything they have done.”

Penny didn’t bother to stop the laugh that bubbled up at MDP’s joy of the yo-yo creation. “No, this wasn’t made with nano tech” She would say, holding up the Yo-yo for better examination. “This was made the same way you made your skip rope. My magic is unstable, always in flux, so I can mimic magic that I’m close to. I can’t start jumping around myself without wrecking the floor, but I can yo-yo so, Yo-yo” She would explain before returning to yo-yoing said yo-yo.

“And I do have nanites, but no ability to nano forge.” She would answer the enthusiastic question “They are closer to a grey goo start up” Though she might be able to make use of the grey goo to create something afterwards. Something for her to ponder over at another time.

“So, like, Penny Wenny can use dreamy weamy magic, too, as long as she’s with Magical Dream Princess~?!” MDP asked, her joyful excitement only growing with this new revelation. “That’s, like, the most super duper coolest woolest thingie wingie ever wever~! (giggle!) Penny Wenny is, like, sooo totally wotally awesome wawsome~!” the whimsical girl continued to gush, her face taking on an incredibly dreamy expression. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess just wuvs being able wable to spend timey wimey with her like this~”

“Yup!” Penny would agree with a joyous smile as she popped the ‘P’. It was refreshing to spend time with someone who didn’t take everything so seriously, something that Penny knew she had a habit of doing. “It’s fun to be able to play around with all sorts of magic whenever I meet someone new. Especially since I wasn’t really capable of really casting magic, much less mimicking it, until recently” She would add as she pushed open the front door to the school. The lock being easily dealt with due to her Metal spec.

“And I feel you there” Looking around the school Penny would feel an odd mix of nostalgia and wonder. Of what School would have been like for her, and what school was like in her memories. “Being able to go out and help people and not worry about the politics and everything else is good” She would send a beaming smile towards MDP “But grand company makes it wondrous”

“That reminds me, how long have you been a part of the Community?”

“Awww~ Thankie wankies, Penny Wenny~! (giggle!)” MDP replied, her cheeks turning bright red at the robotic girl’s compliment. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess hasn’t wasn’t been a magical wagical girl for very wery longy wongy, just a few weeks, but, like, she’s already made sooo many wany new friendy wendies, and helpy welpied sooo many wany people weple, and had, like, sooo much super duper fun~! (giggle!)” The bubbly girl proceeded to gleefully jump into the air, dispelling her sparkly rope as she did so, the mystical creation dissolving in a shower of glitter. After all, the inside of a school wasn’t the place for jump rope.

Following Penny inside, the whimsical girl struck a cute pose, and, standing on tiptoes with one hand shielding her eyes from the non-existent sunlight, carefully surveyed the school’s interior.

“Has Penny Wenny ever wever gone to schooly wooly beforesie~?” MDP asked as she peered into the darkened halls. “Or was she, like, always a super duper smarty warty mechanical wanical person werson~?”

“I’ve always been a machine” Would be Penny’s answer as she stretched her senses out, feeling the subtle pings of the various bits and bobs of technology that are always strewn about inside buildings. “But I do have memories of school. They weren’t mine to begin with, but I’ve integrated most of them to one degree or another. Helps with emotional understanding and context.” It was why Penny was capable of appearing so human despite not being so.

“I’m kinda curious what it would be like to actually sign up for school though” Not that she felt she had the time to devote to such an endeavor, but it was still a thought. “Penrose makes it kinda hard though. I’ve been a part of the magical community for just over a year, and I can tell you Penrose is stuck on fast forward. Most cities are nowhere near as chaotic as ours is.”

One of her eyes would flicker to an electric blue and a smirk would come across her features. “The Camera’s are mine” She would say switching through the feeds “Doubt it will help against a ghost, but who knows”

“So, Penny Wenny was always a mechanical wanical person werson~? That soundy woundies like a really interesting winteresting story wory~! (giggle!)” MDP observed. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess would just totally wotally wuv to hear it some timey wimey~! But, like, we should probably wobably start searching werching this placey wacey nowie, huh~?” she added, skipping along next to her robotic companion.

“Like, Magical Dream Princess would kinda winda like to know what going to schooly wooly feels like, too~! (giggle!)” the whimsical girl told Penny as she ran a short distance ahead of the mechanical monarch with her arms out to her side like airplane wings. “She’s only ever wever had tutor wuter people weple teachy weachy her stuffy wuffy,” she explained, while spinning around in childish delight. “This is, like, her very wery first timey wimey inside a schooly wooly, and she’s just imagining wagining what it might be like if there were other wother people weple in heresie~! (giggle!) But, like, being alone with Penny Wenny is kinda winda nicey wicey, too~” she added, blushing a bit.

Then, Penny took control of the school’s cameras, and MDP was once agin overcome with admiration for her cybernetic companion. “Wowie zowie~! Like, Penny Wenny has controly woly of all the camera wameras~?!” MDP exclaimed excitedly. “Goodie woodie~! (giggle!) Like, that means Penny Wenny can make a recording wording of her and Magical Dream Princess’s very wery first date together wether~! (giggle!)” the bubbly girl cheered as she jumped up and down, hugging herself tightly. “Oh…” she added, sobering a bit as her face turned bright red. “Magical Dream Princess wasn’t supposed to say that out loudy woudy…”

That… That wasn’t what Penny expected. Yes, the two of them had more or less low key been flirting while also getting to know each other. But a Date? That wasn’t something Penny had even started putting together plans about. Slow and steady was her aim at the moment, but there was a difference now then there would have been earlier.

Penny could tell that MDP was being honest, and sincere, and that kinda blew the robot girl away.

The surprise would remain on Penny’s face even as everything else leached away. Her eyes would both turn the same shade of electric blue and her skin tone would fade to the same white as her platting. It would last only a second or two and in those moments where she set aside her humanity she would examine what she wanted and how she felt. Then with a blink and her colors would return and along with it a confident smile.

“Can’t say that exploring and exercising a haunted school would have been my first idea when it came to our first date” She would say casting an appraising look about the building. “But” She would snap her hand with the yo-yo out to the side suddenly before pulling it back just as suddenly. The yo-yo would seemingly snap due to the force exerted on it breaking into a cloud of sparkles. Said cloud of sparkles would then condense in Penny’s hand forming a single Ipheion flower, which was rainbow colored.

“As the Princess wishes I suppose” She would tuck the flower behind MDP’s ear with a soft smile “Shall we?” She would ask before slipping away toward the stairs leading up to the next floor. She wouldn’t go too far, that would be rude, but giving MDP a chance to recover seemed appropriate. After all that was rather more over the top then she was expecting Penny was sure.

Besides, this way Snoopy could still catch the bubbly girl's reaction without her knowing that Penny was watching. Because honestly, the blushing was very cute.

At first, MDP thought Penny might have been offended by what she’d inadvertently blurted out, but it soon became apparent that such was most assuredly not the case. The whimsical girl’s face might as well have been a tomato as she watched her robotic companion create a colorful flower and gently place it behind her ear.

“W-Wowie zowie~” MDP sighed, her eyes closing as her countenance took on a look of dreamy bliss. “Magical Dream Princess feels, like, soooo happy wappy right nowie~” she added, while clasping both hands over her heart.

For the next few moments, she simply stood there, basking in the warm glow that seemed to surround her, before finally realizing that Penny had begun moving towards the stairs.

Gleefully skipping after her, a still-blushing MDP stopped in front of the mechanical monarch and struck a coy pose, looking off to the side with her hands clasped behind her back.

“Like, super duper thankie wankies, Penny Wenny~” the childish magical girl told her sweetly. “Magical Dream Princess just wuvs the pretty witty flower wower you gave her~”

Unlike most haunted buildings, there did not seem to be anything wrong in particular with the school. It had been used for quite a while after all, and both Magical Dream Princess and Penny would not see much amiss. Rows of lockers, classrooms filled with desks and various informational diagrams on the walls, stuff like that. It was essentially what you would expect from your typical school.

However, the deeper they went the more things seemed to shift. It could just be the isolated hallways, and the darkness that was only broken by the light the girl themselves made. But the fact that they could proceed so far without a sign was unusual.

As such, it might come as unexpected when when Penny found some of the cameras she was linked to momentarily flickering and being disrupted by static. They quickly returned to normal, and it was not impossible to excuse them as technical failures from underfunded public schooling. But with what they were dealing with, technical failure was not the only reason that was likely.

Oh, and the shadowy figure she would momentarily glimpse standing in the doorway of the affected classrooms didn’t help with that assumption either.

“I’m glad you enjoy it,” Penny would say with a smile. She had no idea how long the flower would last, she was still feeling out Dream magic, but it was a fun magic. The cheesy thought was that ‘it was a dream come true’ but she kept that to herself. She wasn’t that confident. Yet.

Unfortunately her attention was also somewhat split. The small signs of the haunting were unmistakable, and while Penny did not fear spirits like Jason did, they still put her on edge to some degree due to their connection to less palatable memories. A small hum would start up from Penny as she began reinforcing her chassis with magic. The light from her Core port brightened as it took over maintaining the spell.

“I can’t promise that it will stick around once we are done here, but I can promise to always give you a new one when I get the chance” She would go on to add. She was truly thankful for MDP’s presence here. Penny came here to exorcise more than just the ghost that haunted the building, she had some demons of her own she wanted to conquer as well.

“Like, that’s okie dokie, Penny Wenny~! (giggle!)” MDP replied, blissfully oblivious to the various supernatural events occurring around them. “Magical Dream Princess knows that it’s the thought that counts~” she added, while fluttering her eyes at her robotic companion.

Magical Dream Princess’ presence provided a stark contrast to the atmosphere and setting around her. Certainly no efforts to intimidate seemed to work, even while Penny prepared herself for a fight.

Still advancing, things seemed to subside for the moment. Nothing on the cameras, no signs of life. Yet with each step forward things seemed to get ‘darker’, if that was possible. A chill hung in the air, though every reading Penny could find indicated it was the same as it had been when they entered the building.

As they neared another classroom, the duo would hear the sound of someone writing on the chalkboard. Though the school should be empty, from what they had been told earlier.

“Flatterer” Penny would tease with a smile. She was tempted to default entirely towards her combat routines, to slip off her emotional processing to escape the grip of fear that echoed out from her memories. She didn’t. Because Jason was gone and she wouldn’t let his memories chain her anymore.

“Seems we have company though” She would say with a reluctant sigh “So we will have to get back to such thoughts later” She would check the number of the room where they could hear the writing happening. Checking with the school records to see if it matched the art room. “Because I’ll admit to being curious as to what thoughts you might have on the topic”

“Okie dokie~” MDP replied with a wink. Looking around she added, “Like, is it just Magical Dream Princess’s imagination wation, or did this placey wacey get a lot more creepy weepy~? And, like, what’s that soundy woundy~?” she asked, her love-struck reverie having prevented her from hearing the phantasmal writing until just this moment.

Finally the reality of the situation had started to dawn on Magical Dream Princess, while it had remained a constant for Penny. Utilizing her uplink, Penny would be able to tell that the art room was just ahead at the end of the corridor, even as the scratching of chalk ceased.
They had made it a few steps past that particular classroom when static would start to creep into the sides of Penny’s vision. Her limbs would feel like lead, hindering her forward motion immensely. Meanwhile Magical Dream Princess would feel a sudden and intense cold, that while not debilitating might nonetheless be uncomfortable.

As the static resisted all efforts to modulate or dispel it, Snoopy would suddenly do an about face and begin flying the opposite direction. Penny was still connected to it, but it was no longer listening to her commands. That was definitely the work of their spectre

Holding in a snarl the mechanical member of this exorcist party would gesture towards Snoopy before harshly drawing her hand to herself. The sudden gravitational, magnetic, and telekinetic pull bringing Snoopy forcefully into her hand “It’s been like this for a little bit” Penny would say through grit teeth trying, and failing, to keep her voice light. She would place her familiar into his docking port and lock him in there with a soft apology whispered across their network. She would then sever her connection to the school’s system and pull in her senses a bit.

“That sound was, to my understanding, chalk on a chalkboard..” She would go on to say putting most of her effort into simply continuing to take step after step. She didn’t know if it was some kind of emotional effect that was bypassing the Spark, or some inherent weakness to spirits due to her damaged soul, but Penny wasn’t going to simply stop. Neither was she going to retreat from her emotions, they were hers now and she would accept them even as she ignored what they were trying to have her do.

“Seems kind of old fashioned.” Penny’s eyes would brighten as she brought the Spark’s light closer to the surface. She had no idea if it would do anything to the Specter, but feeling it linger just under her ‘skin’ helped keep her focused. “But then again no idea how old this ghost is”

“Chalky walky~?” MDP asked after Penny explained the source of the strange sound. “That ghostly whosty is kinda silly willy, huh?”

“Golly wolly~!” MDP squealed as the sudden wave of cold hit her. “Like, Magical Dream Princess feels super duper chilly willy all of a sudden wudden~!” she added, hugging herself tightly and rubbing her hands over her shivering body. “But, Magical Dream Princess knows just the friendy wendies to helpy welpy with that~! (giggle!)” In a flash of light and a burst of glitter, two colorful mittens with cute, cartoon faces appeared on MDP’s hands. “Ta daa~!” she declared, before hugging herself again, while playfully swaying back and forth. As she did so, a feeling of warmth spread out from the mittens to fill every inch of her body, thoroughly banishing the spectral chill. “Like, Magical Dream Princess feels all comfy womfy cozy wozy nowie~! (giggle!) Thankie wankies, Mister Mitten Wittens~! Bye bye for nowie~! (giggle!)” After bidding her friends farewell, the whimsical girl turned her attention back to Penny.

“Like, is Penny Wenny okie dokie~?” MDP asked, slightly concerned by her mechanical companion’s somewhat stressed out demeanor.

“Not really” Penny would answer honestly “Not sure the reason but the ghost is making it hard to move forward and the static and atmosphere are making it very tempting to simply turn off emotional processing.” Which Penny wasn’t even sure would help. Even if it would help, it felt too much like letting her adopted demons win. So she would deny that for as long as she could. She would cut them off before she redlined though, that wouldn’t help anyone.

Drawing on the ShineSpark, Penny would find that it did have an effect. The static sharply lessened, movement was easier, and overall the effect seemed to have lightened. As for Magical Dream Princess, well, she had dealt with her own problem with ease. For a moment, there was calm once more.

Then it was shattered. The doors to the next classrooms slammed against the wall with an abrupt force, heralding a deluge of books, chalk erasers, chairs, paperweights, a miscellaneous deluge of school supplies thrown at Penny and Magical Dream Princess. A bit less subtle and a bit less spooky, but perhaps inevitable nonetheless.

The feeling of static receding and the return of her mobility was a great one. Once again she was grateful that she was allowed to carry the portion of Hope that she was blessed with. But before she could get too immersed in that feeling there was a sudden onslaught of school supplies.

In response to this attack Penny would suddenly draw MDP in close, a feeling of static would roll across the peppy girls skin as the machine girl did so. Less than a moment later the reason for that feeling would become apparent as the outpouring of school supplies would slam into an invisible barrier that closely encapsulated both Penny and MDP. “Gotta love electron force fields” Penny would remark as she continued onward, wading through the flood of supplies without a care, save to reach out and grab some of the larger metal paperweights that would crash into the first of her defensive barriers.

“Golly wolly goodness woodness~!” MDP exclaimed as the deluge of school supplies tumbled towards them. The next thing she knew, Penny had pulled her close and deflected the onslaught with some kind of energy shield. “Wowie zowie~! That was, like, sooo totally wotally cool~! (giggle!)” she told the robotic girl, her eyes beaming with admiration. “And, like, thankie wankies for the huggy wuggy, Penny Wenny~” she added as a blush began to color her cheeks. She had never been this close to the mechanical monarch before, and while some might have found the sensation of being pressed against smooth metal disconcerting, as far as MDP was concerned, it felt really nice.

After finally letting go of her partner, MDP would look around the room they had entered.

“Like, is this that art room placey wacey Leona Wona told us about~?” she asked as she searched for anything out of the ordinary and doing her best to focus her limited attention span on the task at hand.

Having fended off the devious school supplies, the duo entered the art room at last. There was plenty of open spaces, some easels propped against the wall ,and stuff like that. The sort of typical thing one would expect from an art classroom.

Unfortunately there was no immediate clue, no giant summoning circle with candles and the like for them to dismantle, as this classroom had been used since then. Still, a keen eye would spot some symbols in the four corners of the room, where it would be hard for a normal person to notice them.

The fact that the attack of the supplies ended when they made it into the art room was something that kept Penny on her toes. As either that meant they were in the wrong room, or the specter was preparing for something a bit bigger than throwing things at them.

“You are very welcome” she would reply as she scanned the room for oddities, a small smirk peeking out from her focused demeanor at the blush. It really was very cute. “I’ll make sure to get you added to my IFF so that you can surprise me with them as well” Currently there were only two other people that wouldn’t trigger a barrier reaction, Alicia and Dina, but adding MDP to that list made sense seeing as where their relationship was headed.

Walking over to the nearest corner Penny would get closer to the symbol she had noticed, careful to keep an eye out for any sudden poltergeist activities. “I’ve found something.” She would call out glancing over her shoulder to track MDP. The lack of Snoopy was felt all too well, but risking him wasn’t worth it. So she would rely on her own sensors for the time being.

“Markings in the corners of the room, no idea what they are for, but they are hidden away somewhat.”

MDP’s eyes went wide when Penny pointed out a new discovery. Bouncing over to join her, the childish girl’s fascination only grew upon catching sight of the strange symbols located there. “Oooooh~! What are these thingie wingies~?!” MDP would inquire, bending over to get a closer look, and giving Penny an unobstructed view of her panties in the process. Today’s pair were covered in colorful images of cute caterpillars and butterflies. “Like, they look all crazy wazey and stuffy wuffy~!” she observed. “And, like, if Magical Dream Princess looks at them for too longy wongy, they kinda winda make her head start to hurt…” she added with a frown, before standing back up and gently massaging her forehead.

To those who had that knowledge, one could tell that the symbols were a bit off from how they should look. They had not been drawn properly, which was likely why Leona had suffered such a disastrous failure. As it was, fixing them would likely only keep the spirit contained to this room at this point. Still, it might provide some insight into how to dispel this thing for good.

The sudden and unexpected look at MDP’s more personal choice of apparel caught Penny off guard. Both because of the unexpected nature of it and because of the sudden clashing internal thoughts that arose from such. Freezing those lines of thought, because now was not the time to be dealing with the existential issue of who she was. She refocused on the sigils.

Because while Penny herself didn’t fully have the knowhow to identify the runes, Beacon’s database did and a quick look into such got her the information she was hoping for. There was likely more information on these particular ones in there as well but the robotic girl didn’t want to keep that connection open too long. The HQ was protected, but that was still no reason to invite a haunting into it. [color=9e0039][u][b]“Hmm, they are the tethers for the specter if I’m not wrong”

“And I think I can fix them.” She would say glancing around the room, “But I’ll need something to sketch with. Mind magicing up a paint brush and some paint?”

“Like, Magical Dream Princess would be happy wappy to~! (giggle!)” the whimsical girl replied, while excitedly bouncing up and down. With a wave of her wand, she conjured a pair of large, glittery paint brushes and several cans of colorful paints. The cartoony paint cans had cute smiling faces, along with tiny arms and legs, and they greeted the two magical girls with a bow, removing their lids in the process. “Here you go, Penny Wenny~!” MDP told her robotic companion, handing her a bright blue brush, while keeping a pink one for herself. “Magical Dream Princess is gonna helpy welpy, too~! (giggle!) She just wuvs painting wainting with her freindy wendies~! (giggle!)”

Penny’s own contribution to the repainting process was much less magical in appearance. As she would just pull from a slot in her arm a collection of templates. She would hand off one set to MDP “These will make sure we don’t make the same errors that Leona did.” She would explain with a smile, “Be careful with the marked locations, but go wild everywhere else if you want” A bit of magical paint wouldn’t hurt the school. At least Penny didn’t think it would, or at least not Dream paint.

Turning to the paint cans, which had gotten a chuckle out of her, she would point at the can of blue and green paint. “You two are with me” and would then move over to a different corner. Mainly to avoid a repeat of the flashing incident. At the next spot Penny would get to work, she would scrape off the mark already there, place the template over the same spot and then apply a coat of paint, whichever color was closest, then wait to see if anything happened. Before repeating the process with the next location.

“Okie dokie~!” MDP chirped, while winking and giving Penny a playful salute. “Magical Dream Princess knows that it’s super duper important wortant to color wolor in the liney wineies if you want a picture wicture to look pretty witty~!” she added, sounding adorably serious. She then set to work reapplying the mystic mark (after letting Mr. Spongy Wongy wipe away the old one first, of course). After that was finished, she painted a few smiling flowers, bees, butterflies, caterpillars, and snails, before moving on to the next corner and repeating the process. [color=DeepPink]“Like, this is super duper fun, huh, Penny Wenny~?!” the whimsical girl asked as she finished repainting the second mark. “But we should, like, totally wotally do finger winger painting next timey wimey~! (giggle!)”

Symbols were swiftly corrected, restored to how they should be for proper spirit containment. Nothing seemed to happen, but that would likely occur once all the symbols had been fixed. For now, they were still fixing the equivalent of part of a broken fence.

Yet the spirit was not finished so soon. Just as it had lifted the school supplies and furniture, Magical Dream Princess would feel its attention as the ethereal force lifted her into the air. It then flung her towards the window, seeking to eject her from the school and back to the ground below. It wasn’t what one would call much of a permanent solution, but it’d have been pretty dangerous for a normal person.

At first, MDP gave a startled gasp as she began flying across the room, but her surprise soon turned to innocent joy at the experience of soaring through the air unassisted. “Weeee~! (giggle!)” she called out, arms raised over her head as though she were riding a roller coaster, and completely oblivious to the window she was rapidly approaching.

Penny was in motion before MDP’s reaction had finished shifting to joy. Three of her hidden limbs unfurled as she moved to intercept the rambunctious girl. As she jumped to grab hold of MDP, Penny’s unsheathed limbs lashed out, two imbedding into the floor at the center of the room, the last mimicking the actions but planting itself into the ceiling.

Once MDP was secured. Penny would start searching the room once more, looking for where the primary anchor for the ghost might be located.

Magical Dream Princess’ flight was abruptly arrested by Penny, despite the efforts of the spirit. It quickly turned to trying to remove the limbs obstructing it, though it did not much success. In turn Penny was able to quickly identify the remaining symbols in the corners of the room they had not yet reached and then correct them.

A sharp wind kicked up, scattering papers and chilling them. After several moments it settled, and the force attempting to stop Penny ceased. From the database, it seemed that the spirit was contained once more. It was just a matter of having Leona say the proper incantation to dispel the spirit, and this whole thing would be resolved.

“Like, thankie wankies, Penny Wenny~!” MDP told the Mechanical Monarch when she felt herself being enfolded by several metallic spider limbs. “Magical Dream Princess just wuvs huggy wuggies~! (giggle!) Especially wecially if they’re from Penny Wenny~” she added with a slight blush.

Once she had been safely returned to the floor, MDP watched in amazement as Penny set about locating and correcting the few remaining symbols around the room with a swiftness and precision only someone of her mechanical nature could possess. No sooner was this task completed, than a fierce wind blasted through the room. The chilly gusts lifted MDP’s skirt, but the whimsical girl didn’t seem to mind in the least, if anything, finding what was presumably the spirit’s last-ditch attack more amusing than anything else. “T-That tickle wickles~! (giggle!)” she cried in childish delight. All too quickly, however, the wind quieted, leaving the two magical girls alone in the presumably spirit-free school. “Like, did Penny Wenny make the meanie weanie spirit wirit go bye bye~?” MDP asked innocently.

Penny spent an extra second verifying that the sigils were working before she retracted her spider limbs. “No, I’m not really capable of that.” She would explain checking over the damage that she inflicted onto the room with an absent eye. “It’s more we got the genie back in its bottle. We still need Leona to banish it, but other than that we are good.”

“Yaaaay~! (giggle!)” MDP cheered, while jumping up and down with glee. “Like, we should go findy windy Leona Wona and tell her that she doesn’t have anythingie wingie to be scaredy waredy of anymoresie~! (giggle!)”

“Sounds like a plan.” Penny would agree as she started on the way back out to Leona. “I’m surprised that it was that simple to lock the thing down” She’d say on their way out. “But I guess we were just well suited for the task.”

Retracing their steps, the duo found Leona waiting for them barely a step from where she had been before. Her hands were clasped together as she watched the school, yet when her gaze fell upon them she all but sagged with released stress. “D-Did you do it? Is it over?”

“Yeperoonie~! (giggle!)” MDP confirmed with a playful wink and a peace sign salute. “Like, that meanie weanie ghosty wosty won’t be bother wothering anybodywody anymorsie~! (giggle!)” the whimsical girl declared, placing her hands on her hips.

“We corrected the seals so the spirit is locked down tight. Neither of us are Spirit specs however, nor the original summoner, so we couldn’t banish it. But It’s not going to be getting out anytime soon so it should be free for you to take care of it from here.” Penny would explain a bit more.

“There was a bit of property damage, as it threw a bit of the school supplies at us, but nothing drastic overall.”

Leona nodded as Penny and Magical Dream Princess relayed the outcome of their foray into the school. “I see…” She was glad that it had been resolved, though the damage and trouble she had caused still made her feel bad.

“Thank you both,” she said after a few moments. “I…I wasn’t strong enough on my own. I just got so angry and I thought I could use my magic to make them feel how I felt, but I just caused more trouble for everyone.”

Penny would rest a hand on Leona’s shoulder “I get it. Lashing out was probably the only thing that felt like it would do anything. We’ve all done something dumb because of these gifts.” She would say warmly. “But you also took responsibility for what you did, and got help when you realized it had gotten away from you.” Penny continued with a smile. “You’re already better than them.”

“Like, Penny Wenny is totally wotally right~!” MDP agreed. “Lenona Wona might have made a mistakey wakey, but, like, her friendy wendies helpy welpied her to fix everythingie wingie aaaaall up~! (giggle!)”

Leona tensed as Penny touched her, though that quickly faded with the comforting words. “Y-You think?,” she muttered, her head downturned before looking back at Penny. “I’ve had to figure it out as I go. I…don’t have many magical friends.”

“I’d say you're learning better than I did.” Penny would chuckle as she rubbed the back of her neck. “I kinda flattened a storefront by accident during my first month.” She’d admit with a sheepish smile.

“And” She would go on “Me and, Princess here, would be more than happy to be your friend if you wanted.” It was perhaps a bit presumptuous of her to offer MDP’s friendship without asking first, but MDP was the one to refer to them as friends of Leona first.

“Like, totally wotally~! (giggle!)” MDP agreed. “Heresie~! This is Magical Dream Princess’s super duper special wecial friendy wendy huggy wuggy~!” the whimsical girl declared, before promptly wrapping Leona up in a warm embrace. “Now we’re officially wically friendy wendies forever and ever~! (giggle!)”

Leona was further buoyed by Penny's words, the sort of validation that she had been lacking. Considering how this had turned out it was reasonable that she might not think well of herself, so it was a needed boost in her confidence.

Her eyes widened at the professions of friendship, though they became tinged with panic as she stiffened amidst Magical Dream Princess' hug. Such an open show of affection was foreign to her socially isolated mind. "T-Thank you!" she stammered past heated cheeks. A few moments were needed to compose herself and return to normalcy. “I s-suppose I should finish what I started,” she said once she had done that, looking towards the school. Though there was a modest coda to that. “And maybe we can hang out sometime? If it’s alright?”

When Leona mentioned possibly hanging out together, MDP squealed in delight, a brilliant smile spreading from ear to ear. “Like, Magical Dream Princess would absodutlylutely wuv too~! ‘Cause, like, that’s the kinda winda thingie wingie friendy wendies do after allsie~! (giggle!)”

“Of course” Penny would also agree. “Why don’t you go take care of the banishing then when you get back we can exchange numbers?”

“A-Alright.,” Leona agreed with a surprisingly firm nod. She then turned and headed towards the school, only glancing back over her shoulder once along the way. It seemed the duo had succeeded in their bounty in more than one way this time.

Penny would wave at Leona when the girl glanced back. Before letting her extra limbs extend out from hiding and cradle her, making a chair as she settled in to wait for Leona to return. It was a quiet night tonight, so there wasn’t anything that would force Penny to go back on her word to wait.

MDP would also wave to the still somewhat unnerved girl, before turning to face Penny, her previously bubbly demeanor shifting to one of timid embarrassment. “P-Penny Wenny?” the whimsical girl asked tentatively. “I-If Magical Dream Princess made a really really bad mistakey wakey that she was super duper sorry for, w-would Penny Wenny forgive her? A-And would she still want to be her super duper special wecial girlfriend wirlfriend?”

Penny’s attention when it shifted to MDP was light and openly curious. This demeanor wasn’t something that Penny had seen on MDP before. Tuning in more closely, Penny spent a moment actively scrutinizing the other girl. There was a weight to this moment after all.

Penny would give a sure nod. “Yes I would. To both questions.” That was a bit of a lie, firstly there were three questions, even if one was only implied. And there were mistakes that Penny wouldn’t be able to tolerate. But those mistakes hadn’t happened, the two of them wouldn’t be sitting here talking if they had.

Shifting a little to more easily face MDP Penny would go on to ask. “Do you want to talk about it?” At the same time Penny extended her senses out as far as she could, scouring everything nearby in order to ascertain if they were alone here and now. MDP did choose to wait until Leona had left after all. The least Penny could do was try to ensure that privacy was maintained.

“W-Weeell, ummm, b-back before she became a magical wagical girl, Magical Dream Princess’s daddy waddy was being attacked by somebodywody using magic wagic,” MDP explained, her trepidation clear in her voice as she swayed from side to side, like a child who had been caught stealing from a cookie jar. “She tried her very wery best to find out who was doing such a nasty wasty thingie wingie, but, like, she couldn’t find out anythingie wingie… B-But, like, then s-some evil wevil people weple showed up and said they could helpy welpy, and Magical Dream Princess was soooo worried about her daddy waddy that she signed their contract wontract thingie wingie, b-but, like, s-she didn’t know they were super duper evil wevil!” the whimsical girl insisted as tears began to well up in her eyes. “She pinky winky promise womises she didn’t! Like, she didn’t know anythingie wingie about them! Not until they did all that horrible worrible stuffy wuffy to Penny Wenny’s placey wacey! Magical Dream Princess is sooooo super duper sorry for ever wever working with them! S-So, like, p-please don’t hate her for making such a terrible werrible mistakey wakey!” she pleaded, clasping her hands together and falling to her knees as tears streamed down her cheeks. Please, Penny Wenny… Please don’t hate her… Pretty pretty please…”

As MDP explained it was painfully easy for Penny to visualize. It was how the Mint worked after all, finding those who were desperate or ignorant or simply alone. Offering poisoned helped, with no end of strings attached.

Softly, but not quietly, Penny didn’t want to surprise MDP too badly, the mechanical girl would move closer to MDP. And gently pulled her into a gentle hug. “I could never hate you for being tricked by the Mint” Penny would say softly. “That’s just how the Mint works. They prey on those that don’t know, or have no other options. I won’t, can’t, hold that against you.”

“P-Penny Wenny’s not angry wangry?” MDP asked as she returned the cybernetic girl’s hug. “Like, that makes Magical Dream Princess super duper happy wappy~” she added, her tears now ones of joy. “But, like, Magical Dream Princess still wants to prove that Penny Wenny can trust her, and, like, since Penny Wenny and Magical Dream Princess are super duper special wecial wuvey dovey girlfriend wirlfriends nowie, Magical Dream Princess would like to show Penny Wenny her secret wecret identity wentity, okie dokie~?”

“I’m not angry at you” Penny would say, because she was angry, but as always when it came to the Mint there wasn’t any outlet that would suffice. “And I do trust you, so don’t feel you need to reveal anything to me to earn it.” She would add. The perks of being able to hear truth and lies made trust rather easy to give. Besides, “I know what it is like to reveal a connection to the Mint to someone, there doesn’t need to be anything else tonight.”

“But, like, Magical Dream Princess doesn’t wanna keep any secret wecrets from her super duper special wecial wuvey dovey girlfriend wirlfriend,” MDP insisted. “‘Cause, like, that wouldn’t be very wery nicey wicey, and, like, Magical Dream Princess’s normal wormal selfy welfy is, like, super duper different wifferent than how Magical Dream Princess is nowie, and Magical Dream Princess really really wants Penny Wenny to like that sidey widey of her, too…”

Penny would let out a soft huff, but the smile on her face spoke to her amusement. “Alright then. Can’t exactly argue with that now can I?”

“Okie dokie~” MDP said with a smile. “Magical Dream Princess is gonna changey wangey back to her normal wormal selfy welfy nowie~”

There was a bright flash, and when it faded, Magical Dream Princess had been replaced by a very different girl, one who seemed the whimsical magical girl’s complete antithesis. With her access to various forms of information gathering, Penny would immediately realize the young woman before her was none other than Violet Covington.

“S-So, um, this is who I really am,” the heiress said in a soft voice, her eyes still red from crying and her cheeks a bright crimson. “I-I know I’m nothing like my magical girl self, s-so I understand if you don’t find me as attractive when I’m like this…” she added hesitantly. Despite the poise and confidence she was normally renowned for, it was clear to see that Violet was very nervous, so much so that she couldn’t even bring herself to look at her girlfriend. “B-But my feelings for you haven’t changed in the slightest!” she hastened to add. “I-I think you’re absolutely amazing, Penny, a-and I would very much like to be your girlfriend, i-if you’ll have me…”

At first all that Penny did was lean back a bit to get a better look at Violet. The moment that Penny recognized the heiress an eye brow was raised, but that was it for a moment and then “You’re Violet Covington.” Penny would say with an amused tone, “Of Covington Industries. The leading manufacturers and developers of both robotics and artificial intelligence. Which, correct me if I’m wrong here, Is at least in part due to your own contributions. After all, you are a certified genius and something of a virtuoso when it comes to code.”

“Please tell me why you think I would find you less attractive upon learning that of everyone in Penrose you happen to be one of the few people who would truly be able to actually understand what it means to be me?” Penny would ask with a softly teasing tilt of her head. “Honestly we are approaching celebrity cush becoming real territory here. And that’s only mostly because I’m one of the people who would actually consider you a celebrity.”

Violet’s face turned an even brighter shade of crimson when Penny complimented both her intelligence and her status as something of a celebrity, although she also couldn’t help but smile in relief. “T-Thank you Penny,” she replied softly. “Hearing you say that means more to me then you can imagine. I-I’ve… never been in a relationship before,” the heiress admitted, clearly more than a little embarrassed by that fact. “S-So despite my admittedly vast knowledge of a varied array of subjects, my experience in romantic matters is woefully lacking, and I… I just don’t want to accidentally ruin things between us. I know I can come off as cold and harsh,” she continued. “And I wouldn’t fault people for assuming the only reason I find you so fascinating is your status as a synthetic life form, but you are so much more to me than that! You are so very strong, and yet so very gentle. You could easily rule this city as a tyrant, and yet you choose to protect and care for its people instead. That’s what I admire most about you, Penny,” she added placing a gentle hand on her girlfriend’s cheek. “That’s what made me fall in love with you.”

“I’m probably cheating myself when it comes to relationship experience.” Penny would say unable to maintain eye contact at the moment. “The story of how I came to be my own person is kinda out there. But suffice it to say I’ve got insider information on bad relationships. Though I can’t say I’ve ever had one myself.”

“And who cares why we were initially drawn together?” She’d go on to ask, pulling her eyes back to meet Violets. “So long as we work together to keep ourselves together. I think everything will workout fine.”

She’d give Violet a softer smile, one slightly tinged with regret. “I can’t say I love you, and mean it, yet. After all I only just met both sides of you. But I’d love to spend the time learning so that I can say it.” Penny didn’t want to lie, not about something so fundamental to the relationship. “That said, I don’t think it will be that hard to fall for you in your entirety.”

“Thank you for being honest with me, Penny,” Violet replied, her face continuing to glow a bright crimson. “I fully understand why you’d want to take things slowly. A-And I’d like that very much. To spend more time with you, I mean,” the heiress added. “With that in mind, I suppose I should change back now. After all, I would rather not have Leona see me like this.”

“I’ll make sure you get my contact address” Penny would say as she, reluctantly, took a step back. It was hard to say how another girl's transformation would affect someone, and better safe than sorry for now. “My phone number is closer to a routing number, contact address is closer to my IP address.” She’d add.

Giving a nod of acknowledgement, Violet closed her eyes and began her incantation. “Hearts, Candy, Sparkles, and Balloons~!” she intoned, her calm and mature voice becoming increasingly high-pitched and cutesy with each syllable as her body was consumed by a glittery, pink whirlwind of mystic energy. “Sunshine, Glitter, Unicorns, and Rainbows~! Taaa daaa~! Magical Girl Super Cute Pretty Pretty Magical Dream Princess is here~! (giggle!)” With that, the whirlwind dispersed in a bright flash, the refined heiress having once again returned to being the embodiment of bubbly hyperactivity and childish innocence.

Striking a cute pose, she flashed Penny a playful peace sign salute, before presenting the robotic girl with a glitter and sticker covered pink rectangle. “Like, this is Magical Dream Princess’s super duper special wecial magical wagical girl phoney woney~! (giggle!)” she explained cheerfully. “Like, Penny Wenny can put her contacty wacty stuffy wuffy in heresie weresie~!”

Penny couldn’t help the smile that came to her face, but neither did she want to. It was always interesting to watch someone’s transformation; it could tell you a lot about their magic, or at least where it came from. MDP’s magic obviously lived up to her chosen name.

Taking the phone Penny would simply look at it for a moment before she looked at her new girlfriend and smirked. Penny’s eyes would flair for a moment before she handed the phone back, her contact information added. She also snooped around the phone a little with that little trick, though that was more to see if the phone was a magical construct or a transformed version of Violet’s civilian model.

Upon taking a closer look at the phone, Penny would discover that it was simply a mundane device, albeit one that had been set up in such a way that what little contact information it contained was very easy to locate. This wouldn’t be particularly surprising, considering it belonged to someone as addle-headed and forgetful as MDP, and the mechanical monarch would quickly find out that there was nothing on the device that might link it to her girlfriend’s mundane identity.

Once contact info was exchanged and Penny had returned her phone, MDP giggled in delight, overjoyed at having a way to contact her girlfriend whenever she wanted. “Thanky wanky, Penny Wenny~” she told the cybernetic girl with a smile as she gently took hold of her hand. “Like, Magical Dream Princess had sooo much funsie wunsie with you, and she totally wotally hopey wopeies she can go on another wother date with Penny Wenny real soon~! (giggle!)”




“And then we waited for Leona Wona to come back, and then Magical Dream Princess invited her to the Christmas Wistmas Party, but she said she couldn’t come ‘cause she had family wamily stuffy wuffy to do, and then we said ‘bye bye for nowie~!’, and then Penny Wenny and Magical Dream Princess shared their first super duper magical wagical wuvey dovey kissy wissy~” MDP concluded, her face turning a bright crimson as she smiled dreamily. “Magical Dream Princess was soooo happy wappy, and, like, even with her terrible werrible memory wemory, she just knows she’ll remember wember it forever and ever and ever~! (giggle!)”

“W-Wow!” Connie exclaimed, her own cheeks having reddened significantly as well. “T-That sounds s-so romantic!” she added with a smile as she placed her hands over her heart.

“Totally wotally~!” MDP agreed. “It was super duper romantic wantic~! (giggle!) So, like, can Connie Wonnie teachy weachy Magical Dream Princess how to painty wainty nowie~?” the whimsical girl inquired. “Like, she knows that Connie Wonnie usually painty wainties pretty witty landscapes, but, like, Magical Dream Princess was wondering if she could painty wainty a portrait wortrait instead~”

“O-Oh, s-sure!” Connie replied. “I-I don’t d-do them to o-often, b-but I t-think I c-can help you w-with the b-basics. I-I mean, I-I painted a p-portrait of M-Mia once, a-and I think it came out p-pretty good! S-So, um, d-did you h-have a r-reference y-you’d like to w-work from?”

“Yeperoonie~!” MDP confirmed with an enthusiastic nod. “Right heresie~!” she added, proudly holding up her phone, upon which was displayed a picture of Penny. “Like, Magical Dream Princess would really really like to painty wainty a super duper pretty witty picture wicture of Penny Wenny to give her as a present wesent~! (giggle!)” the whimsical girl explained. “And, like, even weven if Magical Dream Princess isn’t wisn’t the best painter wainter, she knows Penny Wenny won’t mindy windy, ‘cause Penny Wenny will know it was made with wuv, and that’s, like, the most important wortant thingy wingie of allsie~! (giggle!)”
Matters of the Heart


If there was one thing that could be counted on, it was for the Overcity to be filled with the strange, mysterious, and unusual. Insulated from the chaos that tended to engulf Penrose, the Overcity was home to a mishmash of people and beings from all sorts of realms. Life continued on as normal there, and three magical girls did not stick out.

Summoned for this bounty, Dina and Eliza had been met upon arriving in the Overcity by the one who had hired them. Finn, as she had introduced herself, had informed the pair that the location her friend had been deposited was far from where one could conventionally walk in normal space, if it even corresponded to a location on Earth to begin with. So they had to meet her here rather than going directly to it.

Her white cloak rippled and swayed, coming down to her shoulders while a black dress picked up and carried lower. It did not inhibit her movement of course, but it was very flowing. Her pointed ears were also notable, though those did not stand out much in a place like this.

Winding their way through tight alleys and clustered buildings, brushing past other beings going about their day, Finn glanced back at her companions. “Thank you for doing this,” she said to them, happiness clashing with worry as her smile shifted and fought to keep from sinking. “Like I said, fighting isn’t really my thing. And everyone knows you Penrose girls are tough as nails! If anyone can do it, it’s you.”

Dina stood tall, her arms crossed as her tail lazily rested in a down position, her eyes peeking into the contractor. "No need to thank us yet. We haven't even started." The catgirl said, eyeing her companion. She had hoped she would be trustworthy.

"I am loath to fight though, but I too, was once abandoned by a patron for an stupid reason." She said.

"You can leave the fighting to me then, just back me up and keep the girl safe." Eliza was trying not to appear nervous. Maura had suggested she'd take another bounty now that she was stronger, but after the last failure with the Red Nest, the witch was scared of screwing up again. She tried to reassure herself, keeping a grip on the meditation stone in her pocket. Now wasn't the time to be stressed.

"Is there anything we should look out for?" she asked Finn.

Humming, Finn furrowed her brow in thought as she considered what to tell Eliza. "Most of it are things that an experienced magical girl should be able to handle. As far as her patron is concerned, a normal human wouldnt be able to survive unaided."

She looked both ways before crossing the next street, a wise decision as a steam powered caterpillar type vehicle moved past moments later. Carrying onwards, she did provide at least some information. "I know there's a plain of magical fire with nasty monsters on it, but my patron wasn't the most informative. I'm sorry I cant give you more."

Dina eyed her companion. She also had doubts about this hunt. She did not show it externally, but internally she decided to chastise herself and get a grip. There was a girl who needed to be extracted, alone and confused. Probably fustrated.

"We'll need some scouts, then. Please allow me." Dina said as she focused, creating a summoning circle, from which a murder of crows sprang forth. With a flick of the wrist, she also reinforced said crows to stand the harsh environment. "Please report if you find a suitable person with the description." Dina indicated. She did not choose this kind of bird by mere choice. They were surprisingly low on mana... and crows did recognize people's faces easily.

The crows swept into eldritch skies, quickly adjusting to the unusual air currents that they needed to navigate. Due to the walk they had already undertaken, they quickly passed beyond the walls of the Overcity into the wilds beyond.

After a barren expanse with the occasional roaming monster, they would arrive at the fire plain that Finn had predicted. Withered trees burned as fiery torches, plumes of fire rose from the ground and arched over the land. Flying was made more difficult by the ash that filled the air from all of these fires. Amidst the heat monsters moved, some of them seemingly lava given humanoid form, others more bestial and wreathed in heat. With those hazards, plus the cliffs and canyons, there was no doubt it was dangerous for anyone involved.

Past that fire plain was an ominous looking mountain, where thunder crackled and rain burned the rocks themselves. It looked like there was a path inside said mountain, but it was difficult for the birds to see if their person was inside, due to the rain that they were not immune to. Nonetheless, they had provided some useful information.

Dina sighed, as she looked at Eliza. "There might be a path inside, but it's surrounded by volcanic hazards. Also monsters. We'd best prepare a protection and move carefully." Dina said to Eliza.

"Sounds fun. Don't think you got some fire resistance spell we could use?" the witch then glanced down to one of her gauntlets. "Maybe my dark magic can snuff the lava out. Though if that works, I might need to add some time magic depending on how long until it gets hot again." she thought outloud, and looked back to Finn with a smile. "No need to apologize, any information can prove valuable."

"I can manage something." Dina said, as she extended her reinforcement aura alongside the trio. "It's not fireproof, but it should be able to help. I can extend barriers on demand too."

Finn breathed a sigh of relief as she glanced between the two conversing girls. "I'm glad to hear it. We're almost at the edge of the Overcity, there should be a gate just ahead. I guess I will be waiting for your triumphant return," she finished with a grin. If there was anyone who could manage such a dangerous trek and back, it appeared to be these two.

Eliza nodded to Finn, then turned to Dina. "Right, let's go then. I'll keep an eye out for any monsters."

Dina nodded, silently as she deployed her Ruler's Aura and began to apply barriers and reinforcements to Eliza, as she walked behind her. A frontline fighter, she was not..

Leaving Finn behind, the duo made their way through the city gate that the crows had flown over. There was a lot of walking and not much else at first, though one could certainly enjoy the exotic environment of the Overcity along the way if they chose.

The first sign they were drawing close was the heat. There was little surprise in a plain of fire being hot, and they would be subjected to that rising temperature before reaching the actual location as it moved into uncomfortable ranges. Not unbearable just yet, but they would see how long that lasted as they arrived at the edge of the field the crows had spotted before. It was time to put their plan into action.

Dina's tongue clicked, seeing upon the conditions of the plain getting hotter and hotter. "I might need to get an extra protection." She said to Eliza ."It might get a little gross though."

"Hm..." Eliza looked between Dina and the plains ahead. "Let's see if this works." she casted a hand out, testing if her dark magic could snuff out the fire.

Dina for her part, began manifesting a gross-looking but definitely effective fire salamander mucus. While it was rather slimy and disgusting, it would help to stave off the higher temperatures for at least a limited amount of time. "Do you want some?" Dina indicated, her ears downcast and chafing and looking pretty unrefined as they did so.

Eliza looked back to Dina, an eyebrow risen at the sight of the mucus. Whatever helps, she guessed. "Eh, screw it. Hit me with some." Once they both had the unorthodox fire resistance on, she'd buff it up with a bit of time magic to make it last longer.

Dina then applied herself to cover Eliza in slime, and that's all the detail we need because this is a hunt, not a tale of other nature.

The application of the fire salamander mucus would be effective, sharply reducing the heat that both of them felt. They could now enter the fire plain safely, though direct contact would probably not be advised if they could avoid it. The fire didn't seem to be magical either, so Eliza's darkness magic would be effective in snuffing it out, if she chose to keep doing that.

Seeing as her theory rung true, Eliza continued taking out the flames, providing the two an easier path to go through.

"I'm gonna need a bath after this, mew." Dina said, her cat side getting the better of her briefly. She surmised most of the things she could summon here would drop dead on the heat. So she tried to turn this on her head. She tried used her Beast specialization to call out any native animals or myth beasts they could help her in their fetch quest.

A lot of walking followed, as tended to be the case with these sorts of things. Thanks to their diffusing of the heat they would be able to enjoy their surroundings, though admittedly there was not much to enjoy. At least not right now.

They would soon reach their next challenge. A river of molten fire cut across the landscape, its turbulent flows hissing and bubbling akin to lava. And it was a bit big for Eliza to just snuff it out with her darkness magic. At least in limited application. Would they try to walk across, or find some other method?

Dina focused, as she tried to create a set of platforms above the river to bridge the gap and walk on top of the molten fire river, hopefully.

While she might not make a bridge across the entire expanse, she would succeed in creating several platforms to jump over the river. With that in place it would be easy enough to get across, though they'd need to dodge the fireballs launched p arcs at irregular intervals. While it might not hurt thanks to the fire salamander, it did run the risk of knocking them in.

With a bit more time magic, Eliza would give her and Dina better timing hoping across the platforms.

The use of time magic gave them greater opportunity to adjust their angle without worrying about being suddenly swatted by an incoming fireball. With careful jumps they soon made it to the other side, no worse for wear. It might be awkward doing it with a normal person, but they could always just carry her across.

For now the trek went on. They were not close enough where the mountain was looming over the horizon, but they would soon be at that point. For now, they just had the roaming monsters to worry about.

From there on Eliza would put her scrying on auto-pilot, her eye behind her mask glowing a vivid gold. In a flash of dark magic, her sword would appear in her hand, prepared to attack any monsters she sees approaching. Or if she could, hide both her and Dina to avoid conflict.

Dina for her most part, reacted to Eliza's increased hostile readiness by pulling out her weapon, and waringly, using her senses to scan the scorching wasteland, a step behind Eliza should they need to fall to a defensive position.

Proceeding with caution, there was a close call as a fire lizard of sorts, its skin hardened but laced with fiery veins, drew near them. But it did not push the point once they directed their attention towards it, allowing them to push forwards.

Soon they had left the fire behind and arrived at the next part of their trek. Acidic rain fell from the sky, scouring the land and leaving it barren. This stretched from where they were to the mountain, and presented the next obstacle they had to deal with, one that would likely be a challenge on the way back as well. Whatever solution they used could not be a one time deal.

"Acid rain. Troublesome." said Dina as she extended a barrier in the shape of a parasol above the duo, to shelter them from the acidic precipitation.

The duo could hear the hiss of acid as it impacted the umbrella-shaped barrier. yet there didn't seem to be much risk at the moment as long as they stayed away from the edges. They moved on at a moderate pace, once more steering clear of the monsters. Those that could survive here would likely be tougher than normal.

Reaching the mountains that they had seen in their initial scouting. With the environmental factors it was likely that the person they were trying to find was not exposed on the surface, and they soon found an entrance to a cavern near a jagged rock formation. Hopefully it was what they were looking for.

Eliza simply walked forward. Her specialization in dark magic helped her see through the darkness inside, though if Dina needed help, she'd be more than willing to create an orb of light to serve as a lantern.

Dina for her part, enchanted her eyes with even more feline augmentations. She dismissed the crows now that they were about for a cave, exchanging them for a flock of bats. Their echolocation would prove a far better alternative.

"In we go, then." She breathed deep, once more. She disliked engaging in close quarters in a cavern, but it was the only option.

Proceeding with all due caution, they moved deeper into twisting tunnels and caverns. It wasn't too hard to keep track of where they were going, with little in the way of branches and alternate paths to be concerned about. And the bats Dina summoned helped a lot with guiding their path forward too.

Dina's bats also saw the threat that was coming around the next bend before it arrived. Leaping out around a corner with a battle cry in her throat, a girl with dark brown hair and tattered clothing leapt out and swung a makeshift rock tied to a stick at Eliza.

The witch casually caught the makeshift weapon in her gauntlet, before summoning a harmless orb of light in her free hand. "Yo." Eliza softly smiled at the girl. "Friend of yours sent us to find you. Hope we didn't keep you waiting." Especially in a place far from the Overcity. What the hell were they doing out there?

Dina would just create a barrier as a result of the attack, before taking a second look at the figure. "You look haggard. What is your name?" She would add, offering a helping hand.

Shock rippled through the girls features, as if she had not realized what she was really faced with until after she swung. The axe clattered from her grip as she stumbled back, colliding against the rock wall with a modest thump. Her eyes were wide as she looked between them. “F-Finn sent you?” she asked. After a few moments she was able to regain her balance, and stood up rather than leaning against the wall.

“I’m Erica. Thanks. I wasn’t sure anyone would come.”

"Don't thank us yet, we still have to keep you safe on the way back." Eliza mentioned.

"But fear not. It's only a matter of distance. We can shift back once we're in range. Anything you can tell us? Do you require medical assistance?"

Looking her self over, Erica quickly shook her head. "I'm alright. Well, my former patron left me powerless in the Overcity to either face a slow or agonizing death because I failed him too many times, but other than that I'm alright. Bastard."

"No kiddin'." Since Erica appeared unharmed, Eliza led the way out of the cave. "Tell you what, once we get back, I can introduce you to my patrons and see if they can take you in. One of them, atleast." She offered to the girl, making sure she stayed close to her and Dina.

"I also know a few people." Dina added."Well now that our target is located... we could say goodbye to being subtle and rush all our way back. What do you say, Eliza?"

"If she's fine with a bit of air travel, then might as well."

Glancing between them, Erica shrugged. "Finn also offered to let me join her patron. I guess Ive got a bit of deciding to do. Though revenge may factor in a bit, just to give you fair warning. As for air travel I'm fine with it, so long as I don't die of acid along the way."

Eliza chuckled, giving Erica a piggyback ride. Even if she lost her wings, the dress that eventually made itself a part of her new form gave her another means of flight. "Whatever the case is, the choice is yours. Now hold on! I'll be careful flying back to the Overcity!"

Dina pondered. "I can provide the barriers and the transport, but I will be virtually defenseless. I'll be counting on you to shoot down threats." She added.

"Alright, lets do it," Erica agreed as she let herself be carried by Eliza. They at last reached the entrance of the cavern, so it was now time to put whatever plan they had for getting back into action.

"Okay, let's hope this dress works." Eliza thought outloud, backing up a few paces before taking off.

And if THAT somehow goes wrong, she could always cast a quick time spell to keep them both from falling to their death. But mainly Erica.

Dina for her part, would blink for a second. Youths and their rush to do everything huh. If it was for a few seconds ... It should be fine. Using her beast magic, she allowed herself to grow wings, after of which she applied reinforcement on herself to avoid the dangers of corrosion and took flight.

With magic enchanting them, the trio soared back along the path they had initially taken. The acid hissed as it scored against fabric and barriers, but it did not stop them from passing through that zone unscathed. They then moved through the fire region they had passed through, where they were fortunate enough to avoid the attention of larger monsters thanks to their swift movements. The only obstacle were errant balls of magma ejected into the air, which they were forced to dodge.

Soon they neared the edge of the Overcity proper, with the familiar figure of Finn waiting by the gate, just like she had said she would. Erica seemed to brighten the closer they got to civilization, heralding a no doubt satisfactory conclusion to their bounty as they began their descent.

This...seems too easy.

Maybe it was Eliza being anxious again, but she half expected to get attacked at this point. As they began to land, her masked eye glew again, checking to see if anything would try and ambush the trio.

Dina did notice Eliza's overall easiness and also did her best to scour for any threats, after having followed the duo.

However concerned they might be, there was no sudden last second development to justify it as they came in for a landing. Sometimes, people did just get that lucky.

Once safely on the ground, Erica was quick to hop off of Eliza's back. She swiftly moved around the girl to embrace the other girl in a warm hug. "Finn, I'm so glad to see you!"

The embrace was returned just as heartily by Finn, who wasn't thrown off too much by the turn of events. "I'm just happy to see that you're safe Erica. Ive got a bath, a meal, and new clothes waiting for you back at my place."

Breaking the hug, Finn and Erica turned to face Dina and Eliza. "Thank you for your help," Finn told them with a small bow. "I knew you were the right people for the job."

Ah, so it was that easy.

With a breath of relief, Eliza looked back up to the two girls with a smile. "It really was no problem at all."

"Be wary of deals in the magical world. Being used and abandoned is common." Dina would venture to say. "It happened to me."

Erica snorted as Dina made her astute observation. "Yeah, I think I figured that one out," she grumbled Now there was nothing left for her to do but to recover and plot her revenge. However that might come about, at least.

Reaching into her pocket, Finn then stepped over to place gold coins into Dina and Eliza's hands. "As promised. Don't spend it all in one place."

She then returned to Erica's side, and the two began slowly walking towards the gate near them. "See you guys around," Erica called with a wave. "I may be in touch, depending on how things turn out!"
Bounty List

Explanation
This is mainly here to give newer players a chance to make money and thus be able to afford all the weird goodies in Brittany's Shop because otherwise, it'll take a hot decade for y'all to get to the same wealth level as some of our old-timers. This also serves as a way for magical girls to maybe get connections with others.

Of note, however, is that the Bounty List will only be active during timeskipped periods, and any bounty-hunting collabs that are not completed at the end of this timeskip will be put on ice until the next timeskip. I don't exactly want random monster-hunting quests to disrupt the main plot and all. To keep things from being two convoluted, only two magical girls can go after a single bounty together. No large ass groups. Also don't do that thing where you just have two of your own characters go after the same job so you can earn double money. Only one of Allies and Twinned Souls can participate.

Once you kill the monster, you get Coinage. The more powerful the enemy, the greater the rewards, but rewards earned per timeskip period caps out to the equivalent of 1 Gold OR 4 Silver OR 16 Bronze per player, essentially enough to earn a single stat boost. A player can only participate in one hunt with one character a time, but may participate in more hunts after completion.

Also, it's definitely possible to get messed up during these missions and subsequently fail. If you wanna get paid, you'll have to be willing to bleed.

The Marks
Goblins in the Sewers
There are goblins in the sewers. Dunno how many there are, of course, and there may be more than one nest, but still, they're just goblins. Kill them all while avoiding damage to the sewers themselves, and you'll net yourself a cool 8 Bronze OR 2 Silver. Repeatable.

Challenge Rating: B
Notes: Lights are good, but night vision is better.


Running With Wolves:
A pack of hellhounds has infested the industrial area, terrorizing workers and wrecking machinery. Normally someone in the Sanctuary would have handled this, but with the recent chaos there time to do so has been scarce. Please do so before anyone else is hurt, or before more show up.

Challenge Rating: B
Notes: Watch out for heavy machinery


Cave Troll Roll
It's a troll. In a cave near downtown. It kinda explains itself doesn't it? Get rid of it before anyone gets eaten.

Challenge Rating: B
Note: Sunlight can be dangerous to cave trolls


The Multiversal Run:
Hey hey! So there's this big competition coming up, where magical girls from all over compete to see who is the fastest. the route runs through different biomes, challenges their stamina, reflexes, creativity, and stuff like that. The competition can get pretty fierce, some girls have nearly been killed!

I intend to win that race. Burt I can't rest on my laurels. I've set up a practice course that kinda displays the sorts of things you'd run into along the way. Now I just need a couple of people to test it with me, so I can see how I compare. I'll compensate you for your time, if you get close enough to my score of course. Repeatable.

Challenge Rating: C
Note: Bring some good running shoes


Commercial Interests:
A merchant within the Overcity has begun trafficking in artifacts from a condemned universe. Some of these objects could be very dangerous in the wrong hands, or even in inexperienced ones. yet this merchant is making a profit off them with reckless disregard to the consequences.

Unfortunately, the merchant is a paranoid sort, and their location prevents our involvement. As such, we need some aspiring individuals to make contact, identify how they are acquiring these materials, and either expose their crimes or sever their connection to that universe.

Do this, and you will earn the Beacon's favor.

Challenge Rating: B
Note: Participants will be screened.


The Growing Circle:
So some stupid cult has set up shop in one of those shopping centers abandoned by all the stuff that happened here in the past few months. I wouldn't care normally, except they found some old tomes and stuff and look like they might be toying with Horror magic. Go stop them before the city gets destroyed even more than it is already.

Challenge Rating: B


Claimed by Ronin and SakuraBrains vs Brawn
To Ronin and Sakura, you helped me before, I hope you can do it again.

After our previous mission, I started research into the material that I recovered. But now some crazy lady/mad scientist has shown up with an army of minions to attack me. She claims that I'm not smart enough to appreciate the true value of what I had found. Help me stop her before she steals everything I worked so hard to achieve

Challenge Rating: A


Cutthroat Business
A business rival of mine thought they could knock me out of the game, but I'm going to prove them wrong. They have a shipment of special materials moving through the Overcity soon, and I want you to ensure that they don't reach their destination. Expect the shipment to be protected.

Challenge Rating: S


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Claimed by Finn and Angel of HopeAn Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure
Being in the business of magic can be quite dangerous. Experience has taught me that you can never be too careful. I'd like to hire some of you aspiring individuals to safeguard my assets while they're in transit. If we're lucky it'll be the most boring job you've ever had, nya-ha-ha! Just make sure nothing happens to my stuff, or else.

Challenge Rating: S


claimed by Emily and ConnieFreedom of Expression
Someone has been leaving magic infused graffiti around town, which has had an effect on those who witness it by causing unprovoked outbursts of reckless behavior. Put a stop to it and apprehend the culprit before things get more out of hand.

Challenge rating: C


Magical Girls in the 90's
You'd never think it, but I am a master hacker. So master-y that I was able to use my magic to make a pocket dimension within the realm of cyberspace itself. But now it's become infested by monstrous beings and it's too dangerous to use. We need someone to kick down the gates of Hell and defeat them before they take down the entire Internet, or worse!

Challenge rating: B


Dried Freezer
Sensors previously indicated a place of extreme cold in the sewers, but the chill stopped. I investigated the location, and found a gargantuan monster had taken over the place! It looked icy, giant, green and scary! I’m posting a bounty on it, there’s no way we’d have peace if that monster got out on the streets! Someone needs to deal with it before it reaches the surface!

Challenge Rating: A


Claimed by Alexander and SanngridrInvestigation
My friend recently invented the DRAGON LOCATORTM!! It’s a wondrous machine able to detect dragons in the vicinity… and he suddenly lost all interest in dragons and sold the device to a criminal collector of magic items in the Overcity. As a long-time friend of his, I can only assure you how extremely out-of-character this was of him. I want you to get the device back, and find why someone would want to keep someone from using that device in Penrose! Be warned, the collector has a gang of automatons protecting him and his collection…!

Challenge Rating: A


Claimed by Melisa and AnayaHorrifying Hyperbole
I recently hired a young Magical Girl to investigate a haunted house that I wanted investigated… So I think she succeeded in exorsising the spirit, but she’s ended up comatose from the terror! I have some Psychic magic that allows you to enter her mind, I’d like you to do whatever you can to bring her back to us. I warn, however. She’s likely constantly reliving her experiences in the mansion, and the mind tends to exaggerate the dangers that unfurled…

Challenge Rating: B


Claimed by Mariette and OliverA Picture is worth a thousand words
Hey guys! Kate Carson here! So, I recently got hired to photograph a crazy-powerful being called The Sovereign of Seasons. Problem is, this being resides in the middle of some pretty hostile territory, and since I’m just a plain old ordinary girl, I’m gonna need some protection from all the various threats I’ll be facing, up to, and possibly including, the Sovereign itself. Which is where you guys come in! Just keep me safe while we travel through the Sovereign’s dimension, and you’ll each get a shiny gold coin for your trouble!

Oh yeah, and since we’ll be traveling through some pretty extreme terrain types and weather conditions, it’s probably a good idea for you to be prepared for that. After all, I don’t want you guys dying of dehydration or hypothermia and leaving me totally defenseless!

Challenge rank: S


Claimed by Gaia and ShaneA Bountiful Harvest
Greetings residents of Penrose. You have graciously allowed us to stay within one of your gardens. We now seek to expand the gifts that we can provide to the city by acquiring more plants of a magical nature. We hope you will assist us in this task.

They say that a rare flower has bloomed where a royal fell. But be careful. Such rarities tend to attract unscrupulous sorts.

Challenge Rank: C


Long Knives
We need motivated individuals to help deal with a high powered target in the Penrose area. Further details will be provided upon acceptance of the bounty.

Full payment will only be provided for live capture

Challenge Rank: N/A


Alicia nodded in agreement with the Aurelios. No casualties could be considered a good job, though she had unintentionally sought to prevent that. But it was best not to dwell on that. At least the other areas had worked out well too, so they could take the rest of the day easy.

An eyebrow rose as Sally's suggestion, Alicia shooting her a surprised glance. "Silverburg? I'm not opposed, though I guess I didn't expect you to go so far afield." She hadn't been to that city too often, so it might make for a nice change of pace.

Before anything like that could happen as a manhole cover flew into the air, clattering to the ground somewhere nearby. One might have thought something had gone wrong with the sewers, were it not for a monster-girl emerging shortly thereafter. Turning to face her, Alicia's mind struggled with the feeling of familiarity even as the new arrival proved they weren't too much of a threat. Certainly they didn't seem all that violent from how they had arrived.

Sally ended up connecting the dots before she did. "Hello again," she said with a nod. "You've got a bit of a makeover since the last time I saw you." She then gestured to the hospital. "That said, you are still part monster, so I can't let you in there." She tactfully kept the joke that leapt to her mind to herself. It would have been in poor taste.

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis@AtomicNut


There was a small sigh of relief at the good news Elora provided them. Alicia wasn't sure how much fighting she still had in her for today to be honest. One brush with death was typically her daily quota, though she'd push it if the circumstances called for it. She was glad they didn't.

"Glad to hear it. We'll be back shortly." she replied over the comms. Maybe not immediately, but she didn't see much of a reason to linger around here. She then turned to Aurelio and his many duplicates. "Good job. And thanks for the save."

Before they could head on their way, Sally arrived on the scene. Alicia watched in amusement as she hugged Aurelio, hardly protesting the display even if it might discomfort the magician. "You can say that again. We had a run in with one of Odin's battle junkies again, and they didn't understand the concept of 'friendly fire'," she remarked as a hand rubbed the general area where her formerly broken ribs had been. "If it weren't for the uniform I wouldn't have made it. and if it weren't for Aurelio I'd probably still be resting on the ground over there."

Just another normal day in magical Penrose

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis


Things happened fairly quickly, or at least it seemed that way to Alicia's pained mind. From the laser Mariette deployed, to the other girl disposing of the remaining wendigo. Silence descended over the battlefield, and some tension left her with the knowledge that they had won the fight. The pain caused some to remain however.

Luckily for her Aurelio was there, putting his support skills to good use. The breath she was holding escaped as he whisked away the feelings of pain and set her wounds to mending themselves, while she let her blade of light dissipate. "This is a lot nicer than just powering through it," she conceded with a weak grin.

Her attention was then drawn back by their 'ally', who vowed a future meeting with Aurelio before departing from the scene to do whatever Odin's people did when they weren't fighting. Probably getting knockout drunk, if the Christmas party was anything to go by. Alicia watched her soar off before looking to the magician. "I'm deciding if I should be offended or not," she remarked.

After a few moments she decided that she wouldn't worry about it too much. It wasn't as if she cared what Odin's people had thought about her before, and the attack had been pretty indiscriminate. It was a pretty likely outcome.

As the healing finished, Alicia rose back to her feet. Surveying the area, she let the others know how things had gone. "Elora, this is Alicia. The threat at the hospital has been neutralized, with only a small complication along the way. How are things looking on your end?"

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis@AtomicNut@PlatinumSkink


Already dealing with her own particularly odd situation at the hands of the interloper in the fight, Alicia's troubles were added to as Mariette's voice reached her ears. She could only assume it was a portal, as there was little reason for her to hallucinate or imagine what she might think. especially about a topic like the long lost Caroline Von Visceral. Alicia didn't have that much experience with her, aside from being at the train yard fight she was also at.

"Alright," she muttered back with a small nod. It was all Mariette would get from her for now.

Perhaps Alicia had been overly hasty, unnerved by the attempted feathery embrace. Perhaps she had simply misjudged how long the spell took effect for. She didn't necessarily know the reason herself as she wove back into the open, and right into the path of one of those spears as it erupted from the ground.

"Gaack!" A wordless cry escaped as the air was driven from her lungs by the force of impact. Her eyes watered and her throat burned, while the taste of iron overpowered her senses. Red blood splashed to the ground, a testament to the force with which she had been struck. It was only due to her Enhanced Uniform that she had been saved, and even now every labored breath sent spikes of pain through her chest. Sadly, it was a feeling she had become quite familiar with over the last few months.

Despite all of this, she marshaled her internal will past the screaming of her muscles. Lifting her bow from a kneeling position, she unleashed a shot at where she remembered Aurelio to be. It was far from her best, but thanks to the magic she had previously been enchanted with it was good enough for its purpose.

She then dropped once, more sending her bow away as she sought to restore her flagging energy. "You've got to be....kidding me." This was not how she had expected things to go, though it was better than being torn apart by a wendigo as a small blessing. She'd chastise herself for her lapse in battlefield awareness later.

Understandably distracted, Alicia only spotted the charging wendigo at the last second. A blade o0f light manifested in her grip as she tensed, prepared to rise up and strike it down in case their unharmed ally couldn't deal with it. Her chances in these circumstances weren't very good, but at least she'd be ready if it came down to it.

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis@AtomicNut@PlatinumSkink


The fight raged against the wendigos with its full fury. The rain of blades had managed to destroy one of their foes, but she knew that the others who had been stricken would soon rise again to plague them. Aurelio's enchantments also did their work, distracting some and causing others to attack each other. She could feel the rush, though at the same time a distracting growl emanated from her stomach. She did her best to ignore it, but it was difficult to push out of her mind.

She'd need to see about swinging by a fast food place once this was over.

With a shake of her head, she loosed her arrows. There was a firm satisfaction as three Wendigos fell, reduced to nothing but ash by her magical power. Two others were slowed, albeit not fatally wounded. Not bad, though it still meant plenty of enemies to cause them trouble.

Her gaze shifted as one of the beasts reached Aurelio and went for his legs, even as two of the ones distracted by illusions moved for her. "Heads up," she called to Aurelio as she prepared to deal with his particular problem...at least until their ally suddenly landed in front of her. Spears shot out of the ground, but it was hard to see with Sann's wings moving to wrap around her. The question took her off guard, primarily because she wasn't certain if the girl meant a literal dance or if that was a euphemism.

Ultimately she chose to go with the most straight forward answer. In turn she stepped back, seeking to duck the hug. "Stay focused on the fight. Wendigos aren't something to take lightly," she replied. There was no way she was just going to assume they'd all get nice and skewered, ignoring whatever the girl had in mind when she came down here to like this.

Darting backwards, she gave up the barrage for something a bit more accurate. Bow strung, snap shots sent piercing beams to the Wendigo that had been attacking Aurelio, and then any that might still be approaching them. If she put herself in the way of a spear from the ground, then so be it.

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis@AtomicNut


Though Aurelio's clones did not come out unscathed, Alicia nodded in satisfaction at the result of her efforts. The blistering arrows had drawn the attention of the Wendigos, and to her surprise she had even succeeded in slaying one. That was impressive, since she had not been trying to do so. That just left her with another problem. The civilians were safe, but now there were a bunch of angry wendigos focused on tearing her to shreds.

"Well, you knew what you were getting into," she muttered to herself as she prepared new arrows. It had always been a risky play. Hopefully she hadn't gotten too far in over her head.

As if to provide a counterpoint to any worries that she might have had, a new figure arrived on the scene. Alicia's gaze rose to behold the magical girl who had made her way onto the scene. Alicia worked her memory, eventually vaguely connecting the girl back to the Christmas Party that she'd been to a week ago. Maybe she was just imagining things, but right now if they had met before wasn't all that relevant. "If you say so," she called back. The fight had only just begun after all. But in this moment she wasn't about to be too picky.

Swords descended, burning where they impaled like tiny stars. Aurelio added to that, creating more copies to confuse the enemy while enchanting her bow. She recalled all that she had learned of Wendigos from her Beacon training, and took aim accordingly. At least she didn't have to reach too deep into her bag of tricks just yet.

"You have to burn the heart," she called to Sann, though in truth she didn't know if that was already known or not. But it couldn't hurt to assume, especially in these circumstances.

Turning her gaze back to her own part in the fight, Alicia went to work. arrows of blazing light lashed out several at a time with a few targets. Of course she made every effort to aim for the heart if she could, but when not feasible she did not hesitate to strike at their legs. If she could hobble the movement of some then she'd be able to deal with the rest a bit easier. She'd fire then leap back then fire again, doing her best to maintain the distance from the horde as it was assailed from multiple angles. There was no way she wanted to get in range of those claws and teeth.

Hopefully their battle hungry ally hadn't become bored too quickly.

@Shifter_Master@Ariamis@AtomicNut
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