Avatar of Gardevoiran
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    1. Gardevoiran 6 yrs ago
    2. ██████ 8 yrs ago


Recent Statuses

4 yrs ago
Current Who here likes cuddles?
5 yrs ago
If your girl can't crack your skull between her thighs then whats the point of even being a human being.
5 yrs ago
Identities are confusing to figure out.
5 yrs ago
How do wing.
6 yrs ago
Omae wa mou shindeiru.


Well hello.

I guess I should introduce myself, huh.

I'm Gardevoiran, just some schmuck going to college and working towards getting a degree in Fine Arts.

I do commissions and what-not, and you can ask me to do a commission for you through my Discord (Gardevoiran #1429) or up here through RPGuild PMs, and I receive donations and payment through my Ko-fi page. Clicking the box right below here will take you to it.

I'm a nerd. I play Pokemon religiously, I dabble in some anime, I write up here, and I love watching incredibly awful movies and just making fun of them. Specifically things like "Leo the Lion" and what not.

I don't have much else to say, so I guess I can leave you guys with a really bad joke.

"What do you call a cow with two legs?"
"Lean beef."

Most Recent Posts

"... maybe. I-I don't wanna make promises yet though!" Apia said, half-cheefully as the two fell through an infinite space and time, landing in the casino once more, and before the stage that housed a scantily clad girl and a bunch of... what Apia assumed might have been Kanbaru's friends. All were clad in unusual clothes, striking them out from the rest of the crowd, save Riku. Something about Riku was just amiss.

That all said, the Casino was only still stable for that immediate area. As the others would notice, there would be an odd barrier of sorts a small ways out around the group's location, one that would prevent them from continuing further into the Casino itself to cause more chaos. Instead, there was a golden door that appeared against one of the borders that would serve as an exit from the Casino, likely back into the Dangeki or some other floor of the Tower itself.

"Kanbaru, are these your friends?" Apia asked innocuously. "I-I know it's a little shy of me, but could you introduce me to them? I don't wanna just be a random stranger asserting into the crowd." She looked very sheepish, definitely something she never really showed before. Maybe it was because of the confidence she wanted to show in front of Hana, it was uncertain, but it wasn't present either way.

It was an eerie change from the casino.

The room was dark, like a clear slab of obsidian with no ridges or imperfections, and it stretched far beyond what the room should have been from the outside, if you could even call it that. Aside from the wall the door was against, the area was devoid of any sort of walls or ceiling. It held more in common with the outside as opposed to anything else. And yet Akiko could very much hear her footsteps as she approached the glowing golden energy that served as the only other thing in this entire place. If she was looking for some sort of core to that forsaken tower, there was little else to acknowledge other than that exact thing.

She was right in front of it. In front of what felt like the ending to a story where she was, somehow, the main character. The apathetic delinquent, sent to a correctional ward for her youth, was nearing the end of her adventure. She was far different than she came in, white hair instead of the strawberry on her arrival, cat ears and tails, and with a stand to boot. Speakng of, the arrow that had given Akiko access to Castle so long ago started to gleam within her hand. She'd seen it gleam before, through all the loops and timelines, but never had she seen beyond it. For all she knew, this was the timeline and loop where everything had changed, and she hardly knew of what was going to be next for her. The endless possibilities made her heart flutter.

Yet, as she stood alone in the silence of the dark room, she felt a presence from behind her. Castle manifested itself at her back, yet Akiko remained staring forward.

"I assume that's the presence of someone here to stop me?" She asked aloud, facing forward.

"That depends entirely on what you're about to do."

The voice was obvious in its discretion. Katie stepped out the shadows, hands in her pockets nonchalantly as another sifted beside her. She had the look of apathy incarnate over her expression, a sight that eventually settled on Akiko. "This looks like the Tower's core, at least, one of them. Now how did you manage to find yourself in here. Then again, I guess that doesn't matter more so than the why of why you're even here. Maybe I'll like your answer. Maybe I won't care."

"Does it really surprise you, Katie?" Akiko asked, clearly enthused by Katie's response. "I'm looking for a way out. This is the most clear way that I can see." The golden glow of the core shone against her pale flesh, the cat finally turning around to face Katie, silhouetted by the golden lining. "I can leave at any time, given recent events, but I think we both know I'd constantly be roped here through some way given how much time and energy we've spent here. I'm looking to leave it all behind."

She raised an eyebrow to the dragon. "What are you here to do? Are you going to try and keep me from leaving, or are you going to let me leave, Pendragon?" Akiko had nary a smile on her face, her expression reading a level of seriousness that cat didn't normally show with her body or appearance.

Katie stared wordlessly under Akiko's reasoning. Her expression was as stoic as ever, a contrast to the indulgement Akiko gave. She finally answered with, "Go ahead then. Why would I stop you from leaving?" She shrugged and turned her heels around, back towards the other girl. "If I were to take a guess, I'd say the owner of this Tower knew your future and wanted to trap a brand new Jester somewhere with constant watch. But that's only a hunch. In any case, if you leave, that means time can flow as it usually does and we can escape this loop you caused. So why would I stop you? Why would I care what you do."

She was already walking away, seeing no real need to pursue. If Akiko did as she pleased, that only benefitted everyone else.

Akiko blinked in surprise. "Interesting." She didn't expect Katie to just let her walk out of this situation so easily. It was almost uncharacteristic of the dragon, indeed. "I suppose a thank you is in order, then." The room was silent for a moment as Akiko hesitantly debated what to do next. What to say. What to do. It was an interesting dilemma, one that Akiko wasn't expecting to have to confront.

"You could come with me." Akiko offered. "Stop playing babysitter to this cast."

Erika followed her cousin without much questions. In fact, she knew very well that trying to haggle too much with Katie wouldn''t get her anywhere, so she decided to deal with things as they came. The context of the exchange that took place before her was cristal clear for the Blonde. She always felt there was something funny about the characteristics of the timelines that flowed through this Tower. This was enough confirmation for her hypothesis.

"I'm pretty sure that's something she would do, indeed. In fact, even these back rooms we are standing now, feel just too convenient, don't you think? If she really wanted to keep a newborn Jester as a Guinea pig, I don't think letting her come to this place --if you can even call it that-- was part of the plan. Of course, I don't think that the temporary hop on Harley's domain was as well. If I had to guess, having the two of you together is completely throwing a wrench on whatever She has in mind," Erika said as she analyzed the situation calmly. In fact, if it wasn't for the disturbance caused by what she could only assume was Katie and Akiko's interactions at the Abyss, even Erika wouldn't have found her way into this place. So, she guessed that this wasn't part of the Tower's landlady's plan was a solid one in her humble opinion.

Katie listened to each girl talk, though it seemed Akiko had little more to add or say. She'd come simply under the pretense of reacting depending on what the new Jester said. Satisfaction with her answer determined her next move. "That sounds like something She'd plan. Evidently, the forces against her work in just as many mysterious and enigmatic ways as her own lofty and delusional goals," Katie said to her cousin. She intentionally ignored Akiko, giving her answer some thought.

"Why would you want me to come with you?" was what she finally settled on, turning back slightly to glance at the cat girl. "If you leave, that means everyone else would follow. There would be no more reason for the Tower to trap us along with you."

"And leave someone who'd want to kill me behind?" Akiko asked jokingly. "I can tell you want out of here as much as I do. The others don't exactly show that same level of desire." The only two who knew and wanted to leave were seemingly Akiko and Katie, who'd definitely had enough of the Tower for many lifetimes. "You don't have to accept, but I also don't exactly know what's going to happen next. Despite what I may appear to be, Harley and my goals don't align as picture-perfect as one might assume. And regardless if I leave or stay, there's still one Jester among us that would cause you issue."

The cat turned her gaze back onto the Tower. "Of course, I don't exactly think Harley would be upset if one of the newest to her little plans was killed." Akiko admitted to the group. "Or this whole experiment. I could kill every person here, for all I know, which... for the first time, isn't that much."

She held the arrow up towards the Core, seeing the golden gleams of the Arrow shine in tandem with the golden energy. "Call it a moment of humanity, call it a lapse of sanity, I don't much care."

"Dead or gone, the result remains the same. One outcome just requires more effort," Katie said in deadpan.

"As for your schemes behind Harley's back, that's none of my concern either. But I do know she sees everything, even beyond you. And if something didn't fit, you'd find yourself more powerless than you ever were before." But that was neither here nor there for her to speak on. At mention of Kanbaru, she only shrugged with a knowing, albeit rare, smirk. "Time works in funny ways; both of you know that," she said to Akiko and Erika. "I wouldn't worry about that. If you're done trying to convince me, you best be going now before I do change my mind. This will probably be the last time we ever see each other, and of that I can't stress my enjoyment enough for."

"Believe me, knowing spoilers about the future isn't that fun. It's all a bunch a unrealized possibilities until you decide to stick with a particular sequence of events or two. That's why even those of us who can do it don't bother that much all the time. With ultimate knowledge comes ultimate boredom, one could say." Erika commented about Akiko's comment that she couldn't know what would happen in the future. In fact, she knew the other girl had an unhealthy interest in knowledge she shouldn't have. She probably had to be thankful that extratemporal awareness wasn't one of them.

"Anyway, I guess I should stop dragging down your not-so-sad parting. I'm sure all of us have quite a lot of other things we'd rather do than stay here and sass each other out," Erika said before turning her attention to Katie.

"I couldn't tell," Akiko responded to Katie before then responding to Erika. "And the experiences of knowing things being boring depends on the observer. I think it's endlessly interesting."

Akiko looked at the girls once more. "I think you should leave the room. While I can't see the timeline here, I'm sure that as soon as I try this, something's coming to stop me in my tracks, be it the Tower or something intent on keeping me in here." Akiko turned back once again, a red flash emitting from in front of her. Whether Erika or Katie stayed was no longer her concern, but she was determined to read the Core by this point.

The arrow gleamed once again, as Akiko jammed it into her chest, the red glow of her eyes quickly overtaken by the golden light once again.

The core of the Tower reacted in kind bathing Akiko in a mass golden light that burned and seethed. It roared with the intensity of its maker, intent on burning the foolish Jester who came so close to its heart into the shadows of nothingness. Katie passively watched, unfettered by the near-suicidal move Akiko indicted upon herself. The light shined in glorious triumph but faltered for a moment. Curious, Katie noted how the light slowly receded away, leaving Akiko gone and escaped from the Tower. Where she expected the aftermath of Akiko core strewn out and taken apart by the Tower's hatred of her kind and the divine, there was simply nothing in her spot.

"She's gone. The Tower let her go. How strange," Katie said, more to herself than her cousin.

But Erika was right, they did have better things to do. They could discuss a hypothesis later, even if she already had an idea why the Demiurge would ever allow its enemy to run free. Maybe, she reasoned, maybe it felt the same as her, that there was no need to do so, no point. Akiko could do as she wanted but she'd never be free from the powers that governed her. Or maybe there was something else in the Demiurge's intent. Who knew, and Katie certainly didn't care to think on it right now. It was as simple as that.

"Let's go Erika," she said at last, turning away and expecting her knight to follow, shadowing the True King.

The blistering light of the reality she was messing with was otherworldly. Ethereal, and terrifying in nature. The forces of the greater powers that be were screaming, trying to pry Akiko from the destiny that she was so determined to make happen, and yet the Jester soared through the blinding sea of possibility with nary a sense of regret. She felt like she was being ripped apart at the seams, yet as her world came into view and away from the Tower, she understood more. Far... far more than she had any right to. Something hardly anyone could have predicted from the start. And it all came to a crashing halt as she slammed into a golden plane of shining water. A sun dancing on the horizon, or at least something that served in it's place. She reached down to feel her body, check if it was there, and aside from the burns she felt she was entirely intact. Cat ears and tails still there, yet her cards were laid out on the water in front of her. Hellsword, Windela, a singular blank one she supposed served in the place of Lorelai... and a ripped one in a blackish void. These cards were hardly magical at this point, rather just small blocks of glorified slate. Memorabilia from her time in the Tower. And yet... she wasn't left alone in this world.

She looked up to see a figure in the distance. She scrambled to her feet to stare it down. Demitroop? Some fearful enemy of the Jesters? Katie, somehow? She wasn't sure, but she was on her own it looked like.

"Who goes...?"

As the figure approached Akiko, it showed little hostility, if any. In fact, it showed excitement and eagerness as it neared the cat. "Hello, Akiko. You made it out I see." Akiko coughed for a moment as she realized who it was. Lorelai, definitely not the same from the Tower, but one nonetheless. "Oh good, it feels nice to not have to immediately fight when something happens. I guess it worked..."

Lorelai nodded, taking Akiko into her arms and carrying her towards a small island crested on the horizon, a small beach house sitting there. "Indeed, but what more is that you're in a place that's yours. I can't tell if it's new or just somewhere that you were spat at, though, but Castle seemed to be busy." The Stand remanifested, looking very different and arguably more ghostly than it already was. Something one of the power-that-were would have to draw sometime, it seemed, to get a proper description. Still, there seemed to be a sense of serenity here. She could relax, heal, and start whatever she had planned next.

And as the house drew closer, Akiko looked into the sky to see strange black lines etched into the infinity. Her Will made real, if she had to put it poignantly.


"Looks like this is the place." Akiko neared a door in the casino after a spell of walking. Interesting, considering everything that was this endless casino, the sight of a door that would be the way out was... interesting to her. Sure, she saw it coming given the recent advances of her abilities into what they became, but she could always be surprised nonetheless.

Akiko pulled the arrow out of her inventory. The same arrow that had given her access to Castle, something that let her conquer the Tower in a way that felt... considerably different than before. A quasi-physical form of her sight ability, a manifestation of her soul, it was essentially her in some way. In a sense, she made it this far with just her own wit. She had some help, sure, but this felt like a first time situation, an unexpected change to the story that had been written a thousand times before.

Yet again, since being in this Tower, she was alone with nothing but those loyal to her and her own wit and strength.

[You're hesitating.] Castle manifested behind Akiko, conversing with her. [Afraid of an end to the story?]

"It's not that. This... it feels like we're getting really close to the end of a story here. What if... what if it's all pulled away from us at the last moment." Akiko lamented, grabbing hold of the door with her hand and choosing to ignore the "Authorized Personnel Only" sign. Then again, that was her in some sense.

[The rules have changed this time. You'll succeed.] Castle floated up over Akiko, hovering there and observing its master as she thought through things. [But if you do this, there's no going back from the decision. You know this, right?]

Akiko chuckled as she pushed the door open. "It's already too late to go back now."

"O-or ignore me, that's cool." Well, the idea of keeping peace was far out of the way at this point. Ah well, cooperation wasn't always for everyone, she guessed. Plus the new arrival of a wolf that seemed loyal to Kanbaru made her... puzzled. Wow, a lot had happened while Apia got therapy, huh.

Then the group moved to an arena, Apia taking a seat in the sidelines as Kanbaru prepared to clash steel with Yui. Apia could feel the theatrics here, whether intended or otherwise. It was slightly annoying that Kanbaru wasn't willing to maybe see past a long-time grudge to focus on a bigger picture, but Apia knew better than to get involved here. She did, however call out from the stands.

"Um... unless I'm missing something, I feel as if you could just as easily talk this out! Maybe not die in a duel!" As hopeless as it was, maybe it'd do something for Kanbaru and Yui. "Honestly, can't believe you're willing to fight someone just as soon as we met after like, I don't know, a few years!"

On Yui's shoulder, the snake stretched out and coiled towards Yui's wrist for security, but it also seemed like a formidable weapon in it's own right. An unconventional one, but it was loyal enough to fight alongside Yui. Especially since it was allowed to.

"Well, when you can see through the many realities and have time at your fingertips, you grow sure of things very quickly." She giggled. "And besides, one has to lay their cards on the table to actually win at poker, no? It just matters how those cards land~." Akiko smirked as she did give way for a second thought. The only one she'd truly miss in this Tower that held a solid chance of her not seeing again was Riku, but then again... sometimes that's how reality goes. You can't win every time, can you?

"I'm done with the craziness here. Kanbaru's held down, but I'm ready to seek beyond. It's time to leave it behind." Her demeanor straightened out into a seriousness that she didn't show a moment prior. "Which way do I go to cash out?"

"Wow, haha, Kanbaru that's kinda forward." Apia asked in a sheepish way, feeling a little awkward at the accusatory tone that Kanbaru was taking with Yui. "That was years ago, and besides, it looks like you two share the same goal if you think hard enough. What better opportunity to make friends than a common interest?!" Apia giggled a little softer, almost adorably so. "Almost like you two are drones working to save a queen? Ooh! Fun!"

The bee above her shoulder buzzed again as she got back onto another topic. "Ah, yeah! The Court! Funny story about that - I am actually being trained by Uathach!" Apia squealed happily as more bees flooded around her, from under her dress bottom mostly. "She let me keep my life in Miso, and I get to study magic once again with her guidance. I also get some fun perks, like some... interesting vacation destinations." She bounced a little, bees flowing around her in a fun pattern. "She said I reminded her of someone - a mutt of a vampire, as she described."

Apia's bees buzzed a little as she turned to look at Yui, focusing on her snake. "And who is this little sprig?! She's well taken care of!" Apia geeked over the small Charlotte as the snake kept her eyes trained on Kanbaru, her gaze absently following Kanbaru's ghostly friend with a flick of her tongue before returning to the two girls with nary a thought in her head, now following a bee without a single question.

"Absolutely." Akiko nodded as she and Harley left the company of the group, arriving at a more secluded area of the Casino. Secluded was, of course, a generous term considering the hustle and bustle, but assumedly nobody would listen into the conversation Akiko and Harley were having.

The cat let out a sigh of relief as she looked back at Harley. "Do forgive me, I have still yet to fully understand the intricacies and orders of the Court and the role that Jesters fulfill. I imagine I shall learn of it in time, but of course, we should probably discuss business before pleasure." Akiko placed her fingers together, hands placed against eachother in a formal position as she addressed the Vassal of Luck herself.

"While I understand that this Casino is not inherently tied to the complexities of the Tower that we've been in for quite a while, I do still feel the presence of said Tower around. If you'll indulge me, it would be sensible to assume that heading towards said presence would be, in a way, the path towards conquering this as a floor?" Akiko tilted her head slightly in an earnest gesture. "Not that I've any desires of doing such a thing, of course. This is your domain after all. I just wish to ferry my 'allies' towards their next destination within the Tower, and I'm assuming that would be the way to do it."

With a flash of her red eye, she cocked her head suddenly in a direction before straightening out. "And do forgive me if I... tick, like that. I'm fairly sure the sudden surge of power is something I'll yet learn to control."

"Guf-" Apia was bonked by the green haired girl but brushed herself off and recovered easily, addressing the girl with a genuine kindness. "No no, it's okay, I'm not bothered. And... uh, you also seem familiar, but I'm afraid I'm quite bad with names. Uh, I'm-" and it was at that exact moment, Apia was struck by a whale.

"It's really you, Apia! Not data but the real Apia! This is wonderful!"

She giggled at the realization from her old friend, smiling at the spinning around from Kanbaru's grasp. Apia leaned down and gently placed a kiss onto Kanbaru's forehead, a sign of her happiness as Kanbaru (assumedly) would put her down, and for a moment she let herself ignore Yui. "Oh honey, I can't believe it's you! I was so worried when I couldn't get ahold of you or anyone from the club!" Apia put out her hand as she counted off names. "Not Touka, not Ami, not even Hana. Nobody's talked to me since the magic left Miso. I just..." She grabbed hold of Kanbaru's hands and jumped a little excitedly. "I'm so glad to see you! Oh my god, there's so much to catch up on, it's been years!"

She then heard a small buzz from a bee next to her shoulder and turned back to Yui. "Oh! I'm so sorry, I got a little forward there! I'm Apia, and you are...?"

On Yui's shoulder, whether she noticed it or not, the snake that had been accompanying her stared at Kanbaru and Apia with varying levels of interest, particularly landing on Kanbaru with a tongue flick accompanying its newfound interest.

Akiko blinked at the revelation of the floor not actually being a part of the Tower. An uncouth truth that she had yet to understand, but she shrugged at Harley's demeanor towards her irregardless. "Ehh, I've only had the whole package for a couple of minutes, forgive me for not noticing things." She straightened up for a moment as she glanced between Kanbaru and Harley, pondering her words as her eyes flickered back and forth between their hues.

"While I disagree with your assertion that my Lorelai is like that, I'm fine with letting you have that for now. Least she's better at it than you." Akiko let that sit there before continuing with a grin. "Nevertheless, I suppose we can keep our hands to ourselves for the time being, or any substitutes." Castle manifested behind the cat for a moment as it's full stand form before shrinking down to the shadowy cat it took as a form in more passive roles.

Then Thomas came up and started to demand answers to a cavalcade of questions. Kanbaru took the mantle of trying to dial him down for Harley, an act that Akiko had to admit was probably for the best, and Akiko felt the need to maybe answer the questions in wait. Or well, maybe lie about them.

"She's responsible for the establishment we've been thrust into, Thomas." Castle winked towards Harley as Akiko spoke. "When the world needed a place to place us, it spat us out here. Not that I'm complaining, I might refresh myself with a milkshake after whatever happened back there." Her ears flicked slightly.

"But alas, I feel as if I should maybe find Riku or anyone else, though I would like to ask some questions to you, Harley, if you'd spare a minute." Akiko turned to face her, weird ghost cat on her shoulder. "I promise you, I'll have my claws up~."

While that was going on, however, a familiar face stopped to observe the scene, waiting, wondering...

"Kanbaru? Is that you?"

"Sheesh, bluey, lighten up. Look at it this way, I'm much more useful to you now than I was before~." Akiko's words began to sew themselves into the world around her, almost like she was leaving an impact herself. Regardless, ignoring the obvious elephant gun wielding avatar that Kanbaru was protected by (some defense mechanism, considering the target of said gun), Akiko glanced at the Windela card and ended up stroking her finger along its edge.

"No worries, my friend. We'll reunite you with your other half soon enough." Akiko grinned, looking all around the floor for a moment before her gaze settled back on Kanbaru. "Oh, are you referring to Nephetos? I'm not scared of your..." She paused, making a so-so motion in her hand. "Puppy-dog-threats, bluey, and I'm sure Lorelai would love to mount your head on a wall. Alas, we've got other things to consider here, so we're to do what we need and move from this floor to the next, yes?"

She straightened her suit slightly. "You tell me what I can't see, I tell you what I can. We figure out a plan from there." The annoyance in the air was palpable and persistent, like a faulty sauna. To any, it was evident that Akiko was a little done with Kanbaru's act.

The cat looked at her remaining cat card and stared at it. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to tell me how we can get along, become one permanently within this hellhole of a Tower?"

"Bleh, the smell of cigarettes in here leaves much to be desired." The cat was left to her own musings as she wandered through the casino, on a course towards her allies. Truth be told, though, there was hardly any musing going on. The hustle and bustle of the crowd collided with Akiko in a way that sent her head spiraling. She could see so much going on, and it was driving her a little mad honestly. Thankfully, there seemed to be an empty seat at a nearby set of slots that called to the cat much more than many others.

[What are you doing? Should you really be playing slots at a time like this?] Castle appeared from behind Akiko, but the cat walked forward anyway, even though it's warning was fair.

"It's a casino. Might as well spend a few Bees." She pulled out a blank card with a number on it as well as a series of honeycomb patterns. She slid the card along the reader, waiting several seconds before the machine prepared itself. Guess it took her credits. "Plus, what's the harm in losing a few times? Maybe we'll even win."

She cranked the arm of the slot. [You're smarter than that. You know something, we both know it actually.] The ghost always forgot that the cat, and it by extension, could see the future to an extent. Probably a lengthy extent, given that Akiko just had a realization point.

"Exactly!" The machine lit up as Akiko finished her statement, a bright 'JACKPOT' appearing across the screen and erupting in bold letters. Nobody in the crowd seemed to notice, but that was likely for the best. At least, until one random stranger walked up.

"Congratulations, I guess." They spoke cold and monotone. Likely someone who worked in this casino, if she had to guess. "I don't know what you were expecting, lady, but these machines only dispense these weird cards. Nobody play's em for that reason."

Akiko raised her eyebrow as she pulled her won card out of the machine, smiling at it. "Well, that's fine. I'm a collector of them, they're pretty rare, y'know."

"Hey, so long as you're happy. Good luck gambling!"

As the stranger left, Akiko also continued her adventure. Castle was going to argue about Akiko leaving just as she won and not playing more, but it knew why. Those machines don't give anything out, and probably wouldn't for thousands of spins. Time Akiko simply did not want to use. Plus, this Windela card seemed to have some use out of it, and was probably capable enough on it's own.

- - - - - - - Eventually - - - - - - -

"There you are." The cat said as she approached the whale and some of the others, her hair notably taking quite the shift from the brunette it was and now taking on a single tone of white, save for the remaining black streak right in the middle. "I have to admit, I was slightly worried about everyone when I was missing from the crowd. Guess my gambit displaced my entrance by quite a bit."

She fanned through her cards, looking at the Windela card for a moment as she looked over Kanbaru, her eyes gleaming with a new change, some sort of heterochromia, before she smiled at the whale. "You've been here before, haven't you? My my, how interesting indeed. Have to say, I didn't expect you to be the gambling type, so clearly it's the delinquency here that keeps you coming back~." She joked, waiting for the group to figure where to head next.

Well, that was certainly a way to end things. Nevermind the fact that her attempts seemed to be futile in defending the core, though something told her this wasn't a complete waste of her energy. After all, her barriers had to have taken some of the edge off from the absolute and total destruction of the core if there weren't any of those Demitroops swarming her. Akiko breathed a sigh of relief, floating through the murky blackness of the void. The Tower was likely restructuring itself or something, she wasn't too terribly sure, but she could afford a moment to rest, especially since her hands were bleeding from the impacts of her Stand against everything that Nephuna was throwing at the core.

While most of the party was dropped off at this new floor, Akiko was on her lonesome initially. A waivering thought, but something told her it was due to her absence from the rest of her group. Not that she minded, she needed space from all the chaos to think and work through some of those weird emotions she was feeling. No doubt she'd be reunited with the rest of her crew soon enough, but for now she needed to take in the world around her, and it wasn't anything she was expecting from this Tower. Hell, there weren't any visions of the looping infinity that allowed her to gaze around time itself. For all she knew, this was her first arrival in a completely new plane.

"Ghh..." Right, the blood. She clenched her Red Relic tightly and slowly started to heal at a faster pace. Nothing would be immediate, but at least she wouldn't be leaking blood everywhere. Now... where was she, anyway?

She was exactly where she was meant to be. Open air solidified behind her until solid ground touched her back. The blaring sounds and glaring lights of a chaotic casino buzzed overhead. And yet, the rest of her "companions" were nowhere to be found. While they may have landed in the same Floor(?), Akiko would inevitably find herself still isolated. Alone. Perhaps she deserved some part of that. Kanbaru wasn't even around let alone anyone else. Instead, the jolting clink clank of slot machines and rolling coins hissed near her head, threatening to drown out any thought or self-inflection. Indeed, this was where she was meant to belong. Several high rolling tables adorned the colorfully bright area she landed in with patrons of all sizes and shapes accompanied by bunny girls. Sometimes figurative, often literal.

Akiko frowned in annoyance. She supposed asking for peace and quiet was a little too much given the recent sways of this Tower. Still, she figured at least nobody was talking to her, so that was at least a minor plus. The cat climbed up to her feet and dusted herself off, her ears twitching at the sounds and her tails swishing back to their normal facade. Soon enough, the world started to become populated once again with different figures and shadows, which definitely meant she'd been there before, once upon a time. Guess that meant she wasn't in the clear just yet, though it at least let her keep her head screwed on.

Still, none of the other hers were walking from her direction. Something was different about this time, no doubt. Akiko mulled over the idea for a moment to rejoin the crowds of hers before she stretched her arms up, then out, then back to her side, and started to walk in a different direction than her past selves. "A casino. Interesting place for the next major issue to come our way. Good thing there's not anyone chasing me this time to try and remove my head."

She stopped moving for a second. "... who am I kidding, someone's gonna appear and want to skin me for a new carpet. It always happens."

The crowd moved and swayed to Akiko's movement and direction. But if they held her any mind or attention they didn't show it or give her their time. The lights narrowed and thinned, circling on the path in front of her as if guiding her through the twists and turns of this seemingly endless party. Soon the crowd swayed more, bumps and shoves meant to rock Akiko about even as the pathway in front of her became thinner and thinner. Only at the end was her destination revealed; a table, much like the others surrounding it. While those around her were filled with guests and patrons gambling their lives away, sometimes figuratively, often literally, the one before her was empty. Vacant but inviting. There wasn't even a pair of dice to mess around with to pass the time, let alone a deck of cards.

The crowds seemed to thin around this table, allowing the cat a moment to breathe. The air was thick with the smells of luck and greed, but this offered some sort of reprieve from the chaos. The chairs were empty, nobody around to offer a wager or chance a game. Naturally, this was a suspicious circumstance, but at this point Akiko took it, sitting down at the table for a moment before manifesting her Stand and looking down at herself. [You look like you've been beaten up and mugged.]

"Yeah, I suppose a change of clothes is in order..." Within an instant, Akiko's dress changed to a more... befitting guise of formalwear. Something a high roller to some of these tables might chance wearing, if for intimidation and not for luck. She adjusted her collar and scratched at her ears before she breathed a sigh of relief. After the Abyss, this air was a pleasant change after all.

"Hello again, Akiko."

The voice came directly in front of her, from a patron who wasn't there before. And yet, there he was, sitting as if he'd been waiting for the cat all this time. His face was obscured in more ways than one, if not by the cards he held in front of him then by the mask that adorned his trademark. All the same, the Jester parted his cards to peer directly at the girl from the other side of the table. If Castle's presence suprised him, he didn't show it. Instead he acknowledged the spectral being, watching it as clear as day with no waver.

"It's been a while. We haven't spoken since....the Shattering Floor. That's right."

She raised an eyebrow towards the masked man as he appeared and started to chat with her. "Ah yes, it's been quite some time. I don't believe I ever got a name or a moniker for you, though." She leaned forward on the table, resting an arm on it and smirking towards the man. "I assume you're this 'Jester' that I've heard so much about from so many different sources. Or, at least, one of them, since Kanbaru's not anywhere near you, meaning you're unlikely to be her JSTR."

Akiko leaned back as Castle shrunk to a more catlike form, taking position on the table in front of it's user. "To what do I owe this interaction? Nobody's stolen an heirloom, after all."

"Old friends are supposed to recount their tales to each other and give warm thanks to their presence. Is that not a bond we share?" Even as they were spoken the Jester's words came out hollow and empty, as if some mimicry of a creature tried to replicate what passed as speech. Or maybe he just didn't care. "The JSTR inside Kanbaru is very much like me. You can say it's a copy, living data not unlike the Tower's denizens you've so encountered all this time. Hosting it makes Kanbaru unique. The same uniqueness I once piqued in you."

The Jester placed his cards down, revealing them to be as blank as his mask. A gloved hand outstretched to rub along Castle's back. His motions seemed to betray he had experience with animals before. Curious indeed. "I came simply to observe you. You've continued to become interesting. Kanbaru speaks about you, whether she knows it or not."

"Bad things, I assume," Akiko chuckled, hiding the shiver she felt along her spine as her Stand was touched. "But hey, I hope I've been putting on quite the show. It's kind of hard to stand out from the crowd when you have someone as destructive as Kanbaru, resilient as Riku, and troublesome as Katie." Her eyes glanced over the blank slates of cards that laid in front of her, oddly raising her interest in them further, though not taking her complete attention. "Alas, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself. I can't believe you'd take an interest in me of all people here, though. Can't say I've really done much around here other than... my sister would say I'm gaslight, gatekeep, and girlbossing, I believe."

She leaned in. "What's new with you? I'm sure that there's a sense of one-sidedness to this conversation, anyway, if you know things from Kanbaru or the copy she's hosting."

The Jester was silent as Akiko spoke, letting the cat say what she would. When he responded it was with another question, forming as, "What do you want Akiko. Why did you come into the Tower." He stroked Castle's head a few more times before holding his hand over the cards once again. A flick of his hand had them cuffed and flipping against each other in an almost hypnotic fashion. "You reach the top, you find the Throne. You choose to start back at the bottom. Why do you keep coming back. What is it you're looking for. What is it you need." The Jester stared unblinking and it was as if the whole of the chaotic world around them moved in slow motion, silent. All that mattered was their discussion.

"I wish I could tell you the answer to why I start at the bottom," Akiko blunted. "There's something interesting going on in this Tower. I've become... aware of something in this Tower. Every time I get closer to the top, something happens, and everything seems to reset for some reason or other. I'm able to see every single step, every action, everything done in the past resets of this Tower, and yet... I can't remember what happens when the world resets itself." She paused to think about where to continue.

"In the Abyss, there was a brief stint where I encountered some kind of cat being. Spoke like a robot, but for a while it was Katie. It knew I could see the worlds that have happened, and I could remember every time I had kissed and killed Katie, but I could never remember what happened when I met the short end of the fight."

She stopped to look up at him. "I came to the Tower to become a queen, led by royal knights, but every time the crown is in my grasp... it slips through my fingers." Akiko let it sink in. "Crazy, right?"

"How interesting."

The Jester's cards sifted and shuffled. He removed his hand and they continued moving on their own, guided by the hands of fate. Whether it was literal or figurative, who could say for sure. What mattered were Akiko's words. The Jester regarded them as he did all things and soon she was finished, as if lost in her own mind. As if she didn't know what she wanted anymore or for herself. All the same, she gave an answer, the same one she gave before to the masked man. "Interesting indeed."

The cards moved all the same. "You can see everything and yet you cannot remember it. You can see into people's memories and yet you cannot grasp their hearts or their desires. For your entire time in the Tower, you've only ever watched and waited. Action has been your consequence and you've paid for it, bled for it." The Jester tilted his head like a cat mirroring its owner's motions. "These do not sound like the rousings of a queen. You sound more like an observer to me Akiko."

One of the cards flipped over to reveal the gazing sigil of an eye that stared back at Akiko.

"Things have changed. I can remember what happens around every time, and leading up to it I can also vaguely see, but my sight only extends beyond what happens where I can see. It's the end that I can't recall, almost like it's rewritten every time."

She did listen to the words of the Jester. "I suppose you're not incorrect. Despite finally taking charge for the last little bit, I don't think the active role suits me more than the passive. Working from the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment." She smiled.

"So, what's the next wisdom you're going to impart? The second card in this menage-a-trois?"

"Someone like Kanbaru is more fitting to be active. You seem close to her," the Jester mused. "Someone like her is more fitted to take action and work as the helm, as the tool needed to achieve what can't be realized. What do you think of her." The Jester's second card flipped endlessly. It revealed nothing more but blank sides as it did. "Would you like to know more about her. Would you like to know more with her. You two share a similar sort of ambition that guides your actions. Only, there is a difference. You can never truly become her friend. A barrier is erected between you, and one that isn't so easily shaken. Would you like to loosen those walls."

"Kanbaru's... god, the things I could say. She's headstrong, fast, incredibly admirable, but I know the wedge between us is very real. I want to know more about how she feels, I want her to know how I feel, but... though I've been clouded with so many new thoughts about so many new things, it's hell. I'm not used to it."

[Not at all.] Castle piped up. [She would like to know how to mend this relationship.]

"I assume it involves the odd feelings I have for Riku and Katie that float around in here." She motioned towards her cat, probably getting at something about her soul.

"Would you like to loosen those walls," the Jester repeated. He stared down Akiko as if looking right through her. "Kanbaru follows a different path, one that will never align with you. And yet, even this can be remedied with the right commitment and decision. All that need be answered is simply siding with us." The second card revealed its front, bearing a strange symbol that began to cause a low migraine to Akiko's head the more she stared at it. "You want to become closer to her? You can. You want to see the ending? You will. But all of this and more is only possible through one route. Aren't you tired of being alone?"

Akiko stared at the card, eventually having to close her eyes and hold her head for a moment. What the hell was that about? It was a tricky situation to wrap her head around, and something about this told her that she wasn't exactly going to get everything as clear cut as this guy was making it sound. Yet... it was an interesting thing.

Then he said the thing about her being alone, and she furrowed her brow. That was a sore wound. She'd spent her whole life being alone, not that anyone ever cared enough about her enough to ask if she wanted someone to talk with her. Yeah, Akiko was alone, and she was tired of it, but it was also all she ever knew. She wanted a change of pace, she wanted that companionship she couldn't do on her own, even with this weird Stand of hers.

"What am I agreeing to." She asked bluntly. "I keep hearing this talk of Jesters and things that nobody would explain to me when I ask, so please, grant me some sort of knowledge on what I'd be agreeing to."

The Jester's gaze glinted at her frown as if satisfied. "You will become just like Kanbaru. Free of all limits and restraints, free to do as you please, free to observe all that you want. All manner of knowledge may be revealed to you if you desire, your proper place in events as a true queen. Above all else, you will rule alongside her." The Jester's voice peaked through into Akiko's head to fully gain her attention. Whether it was by him or some trick of the mind, it was hard to say. "That is, so long as you ascertain to our goals; my goals. The Court and Unilysts have no bearing on you or concept. These are alien ideals to you. We are above these ideals and strive for something greater. It is for this goal why that being attacked you. The Demitroop."

The final card inverted itself and revealed to Akiko the same eye as before; only now it was adorned with a crown over it. "Our goals are simple. We only seek to recover the divinity once granted to mortals. We seek to bring about assimilation towards it, to blend the lines between mortal and divine. And we have seen it is possible. So have you through Nephuna." The Jester paused.

"In a way, we seek to observe."

"The divinity once granted to mortals? An inherent divinity or an earned one?" Akiko looked at him for a moment, staring at his cards and glancing up and down at him. It was a peculiar offer, and one that she'd never have imagined to be having in a nigh-infinite casino. It was a lot to take in, and an interesting offer indeed. One that she was very cautious towards, but... she felt some sort of purpose to it. She played an observing role rather well within the Tower, after all. It was quite a role to play, but someone had to play it.

Castle stared up at it's user, blinking in the light of the room before returning to the Jester. Castle seemed fine with it, but then again... the ghost was her soul anyway.

"... fine" She answered curtly. "I don't want a weird observing ghost following me around though, I already have one of those. If you need me to tell you what I've seen, I'll tell you myself. Over coffee." She smiled, crossing her legs over eachother. "I like mine with milk~."

The deed was done then. The Jester's crimson eye met Akiko's own sights and a familiar sensation washed over her. It was the same feeling of her own abilities, though whether the Jester read her memories or not was hard to say. It didn't feel like it, not when a growing pain started to grow and fester in the cat's head. It grew and sprouted, changed and tore apart until all that was in sight was the Jester's offered hand, extended like a saving grace in a maelstrom of conflict. And when Akiko finally took it, the pain was gone, faded completely.

"It is done," the Jester said. "No one forced this on you. No one dictated this path. You chose for yourself to become...let's call it a Jester," he mused. "You're closer than ever to Kanbaru now. You walk the same paths. And now you will know all there is to know." Indeed she would, information slowly processing to the newly christened Jester. Secrets of the Tower's existence, past encounters with Riku, and quite the knowledge on Katie; though of this, it was to be assumed Akiko already knew. Indeed, even Nephuna's seemingly random manifestation had purpose and, now, clarity to the cat.

It was... surprisingly interesting to see the worlds unfold around her. The many paths, trials, tribulations, the reasons and the methods to everyone's madness, it unfolded right in front of Akiko, and for a moment, she was unable to move to react to anything. Her stand even demanifested for a moment to adapt to these new changes. It was... quite the change. It was insane to think about, but for Akiko, this felt like a new situation. Not only that, but a way to get closer to Kanbaru was quite a bonus indeed.

"Eh, I feel like Jester doesn't exactly fit exactly." Akiko joked. "Maybe there's a better title for the role that I play in this grand plan of yours?" Her eyes started to shift in color before they faded into a shining red, similar to the Jester's own. A reflection of her changes, maybe, but who was to say for sure.

"Perhaps that's something to discuss with Kanbaru. As soon as you find her."

The Jester motioned towards the cacophony of scenery around them, a reminder of just where they were. Locating the whale was difficult but no longer impossible now with Akiko's newfound ascension. No sooner did she break eye contact with the masked man was he gone and out of sight like a ghost. "We'll keep in touch," came his voice in her head, leaving her to her devices and with only one piece of advice to follow.

"Try not to encourage Harley."

"Who's Harle- aaand he's go-wait a second, I know things now." Akiko looked around the table for a moment before she looked amidst the chaos of the hustle and bustle, but something was... different. As she gazed, she could see herself move on a path that she knew was the right direction. It was quite a change of pace, but maybe she could make things work much better as they stood.

Castle manifested beside her again. [That was quite an interaction. Do you think it was a beneficial one for you?]

"I don't know to be sure, but I think this might be the start of something very good... or horrible." She looked around once again before standing up and leaving the table, keeping an eye around her for her group as she slowly made her way.

[Who is Harley, anyway?]

"Something tells me she's intertwined with the Jesters as a whole. I'm unsure, but we're bound to meet her soon enough. It's always how it goes."

Her gambit was working, or at least it seemed to have had an effect. She glanced back from the core of the Tower as she looked at the actual fight and what a clusterfuck it was becoming. Spears were everywhere, the world was shattering, and between Thomas and Kanbaru, they had their work cut out for them. It was a lot to bear, but with how things were going, it seemed like they were managing to win here? Maybe not, but she had other problems on her plate to deal with-aaand Riku just snapped awake.

"Glad to hear you're awake." Maybe there was a tinge of sarcasm there, but for the most part it seemed like a genuine comment. "And they just did. A lot's happened since you were out. I think I even saw Katie here somewhere, but that's besides the point." Akiko looked over her shoulder at Riku. "I need you to do something here, or else we're all basically dead. No bullshit, just dead."

As the strength from Kanbaru flowed into Akiko, the shores of the hellish data landscape, Akiko's Serei would fizzle and start to dissipate once again. "Akiko~! We'll help you~!" "Not like we have much of a choice anyway..."

"I've gotta get closer to that core, keep the defense up so we don't completely die, but Nephuna has to go down. I'll throw you over there, and you need to hit her. Hard." Akiko put her arrow away as she started to float through the empty data like it was space. "And... don't die this time." With an odd amount of hope in her voice, Akiko pulled Riku over her shoulder and held her in a launching position, Castle helping to send Riku flying through the void, on a direct course to collide with Nephuna. The rest was up to Riku.

Akiko pulled the familiar Red Relic from her pocket as she started to pull herself through the void, closer to the core. [You care about her.]

"And Kanbaru, and Katie - hell, maybe even Runa. It's a mess, but none of that will matter if we die here!" Akiko felt a sort of power grow in her from a proximity to the core of the tower. It was... similar to something else she felt, a while ago, but she figured that the data in this place weighed similarly in the grand scheme. Regardless, her barriers became much, much stronger. Soon enough the core was strongly protected by the barriers, and in the gleaming lights of the battlefield breaking around them, some could faintly see other Akikos behind the barriers, each with their own stand, starting to fight back against the rising pressure. It was likely only due to the proximity of a core like this, in a situation like this, that allowed Akiko to harness similar abilities to Nephuna, but her defense was much stronger.

Maybe it'd be enough to keep the floor from complete destruction...
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