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@Zarkun@Sanguine Rose

Nolan looked down at Ria and for the first time that she knew him, his cold dead expression had morphed into one of complete confusion; his brow was arched and he just had a look in his eyes that tried to figure out the mental gymnastics that she went through to suggest putting him in any position of power. In any freelance work when hired by another group, it was typical to be under the orders of someone else as long it was within the agreed arrangement. Mercenaries ran a tight ship and hierarchy was the lifeblood within any respectable group, so to go as far as to suggest putting an outsider like Nolan in any position to command a platoon was absurd. It's also why one doesn't hire many freelance mercs at the same time; there were many egos. It would have led to everything falling into shambles, but it looked like things were set on that course anyway.

The suspicious glare from that one soldier did not escape from Nolan's notice, which was returned with Nolan's own icy stare. Of course, the one that was leading this mission was the one that was distrustful of guild mages. It was not as if the tension between him and the guards was already palpable already. It was as if this mission was preordained to be an absolute shitshow. At this point, he would not even wonder how it was going to get worse because it just would.

"Well, we better play nice. That's why you brought me here anyway," said Nolan to Ria before he walked over to the Corporal and the three other soldiers with that usual resting bitch face of his, casually glancing them over not to size them up, but to get a read of what he was working with. They had the kind of faces that screamed that they would be killed the moment things went wrong. His focus shifted back to the one in charge of the platoon.

"Nolan Waltz, A-Class Mage of Rising Star. I look forward to working with you," said the young mage, placing heavy emphasis that he was working with the Corporal rather than working under him. He held his hand out for a handshake towards the Corporal who was no doubt giving him the evil eye at this point. It wasn't Nolan trying to make nice, it was a power move. If the corporal refused to shake his hand, then he looked like he was uncooperative in front of his superior and made Nolan look like the bigger man in the situation, but if he did shake the mage's hand then he shook the hand of someone that he hated very much and was forced to treat him as an equal. It was only a win-win situation for Nolan.

Wisely, Jason retreated from the Deep Woods given that he was woefully underprepared for what laid ahead of him. There was no trouble thankfully and he returned to Starbor with no incident. There he returned to the ground floor Pokemon Center of the sprawling village where he would retire for the rest of the night, occupying one of the bunkbeds used for traveling trainers like a government issued hostel. He would get under the covers, close his eyes, and drift off to sleep.

Then there was darkness. Jason found himself standing in a void, not really knowing his orientation in relation to the space. Was he up or was he down? Well, it didn't really matter. The darkness rippled like a disturbed pond from his feet and above him was a white crescent moon that was reflected below him as well. In the background he could hear 'tick tock tick tock' rhythmically repeat just loud enough to be noticeable, but enough that he would have had to strain his his hearing just to make it out.

With no warning just as he was finally able to make out that sound, he heard something else. A voice, gravely and graver than any he had ever heard, something inhuman. It sounded like static, its own voice cutting off as if it was someone calling with poor reception. However, there was one thing that Jason could clearly hear.

"Seek me..."

A burning, throbbing pain ripped through his head and woke up with a start. It was weird, lucid dream, but only a dream. Other than that, the entirety of Starbor was his to explore. Of course, he probably went to the Pokemart just like he planned and if he did he was greeted by a store clerk.

"Hi there! How can I help you?"

(The mart items list is in the discord)

Kauro held his knife out at the approaching creatures. It really was hopeless wasn't it? The were screwed from the moment that they used that damned app. They wandered into eldritch territories, ignorant of the grander powers at play and were going to pay the price with blood. The monsters just kept getting closer and closer, and then there was nothing, but white before him.

Was he dead? He looked around his new strange surroundings, the first thing he did was look up to see if there an end to the borderless white only to see a star filled night sky above him. From his periphery, he noticed that not only the kids with him from earlier were with him, but other poor saps that he did not recognize as well, no doubt attacked by the aberrations of this world. The strangest thing though was not this place's appearance or the people he was pulled in with, but the thing that resided in the void.

Just like the rest this crap sack world, there was another humanoid creature with them. It was a young girl though with all manner of segments and crevices along her joints just like a marionette and yet had the strange uncanniness of a porcelain doll. Every movement she made was followed by a metallic clicking and jingling, very different from the monsters that they encountered earlier. Nothing about this thing was human though it sure had a sick, macabre sense of humor. It giggled and teased them for the impending doom and yet coyly vague of what it was even talking about.

And then it mentioned salvation. Of course it was just as vague, but he got the gist though with no warning an immediate wave of uncontrollable panic and dread washed over him. Fear prompted by that damned doll, but it was not of death, at least on its own. There were worst things than death. Something like that is what an edgy anime character would say and be reiterated by some fourteen year old on the internet. It was another platitude.

Living a pointless life and then dying an equally pointless death, however, was another thing entirely.

Followed was the sensation of something inside trying to get out literally. Kauro could feel something slithering inside him like cold snakes, bulging against his skin trying to escape. Black branches erupted from his back in a never ending flow. Kauro screamed as he felt like his insides were being ripped from the inside to the outside for the world to see. The end of result was a mass of black branches with a strange texture similar to wrought iron floating in the air. The mass then began to move, cracking and twisting to give itself form.

Kauro watched, exhausted and panting, until what stood behind him was a towering monstrosity, blacker than any darkness and more decrepit and foul. It was a gangling beast with long, branch like limbs and ten abnormally long humanoid fingers though had the feet of a bird. This thing had no real torso except for its visible rib cage made from those branches and the crooked, jagged spine that connected it and its head to the rest of its body. It had wings that on first glance that had feathers, but one could tell that they were not real. They looked like they were carved and welded from metal. The creature had no recognizable facial features save for its raven like beak.

It slouched and tilted its head downwards to look at the creature, opening its beak to show rows of human teeth and a sharp tongue that slid out and slouched on the side.

"How ugly," Kauro said smiling at the creature, patting its beak. He did not pretend to understand what it was though he felt a strange connection to it.
"Were you here for the tornado monster?"

Victor blinked in silence while he processed what he had just been asked. "Here for the what now?" Daniel would then explain in his bumbling manner the summary of the events that transpired while Victor snuck through the school grounds to get back to this world. It sounded like the words of a mad man. Summoning monsters called Personas to act as summons for combat? Monsters dissolving into sea water upon defeat? In any other situation he would never had believed such an insane claim, but after everything that had happened that was least craziest thing he heard today. If anything, it explained one mystery; the voice and sensation of warmth that he had been experiencing ever since they broke through the boundary.

From what he could understand, these Personas were part of them as if they were an extension of themselves if Daniel could still feel its presence. What they were specifically was up in the air, but whatever they were they were it was clear that they were to be of help. More importantly than that though was the state of the rest of the group.

Thankfully everyone else was alive as corroborated by Imogen, but those that figured out that they could leave the island without telling Daniel or checked to see if Maive was alive. It was weirdly fucked up considering from what he heard, the two of them saved everyone from the monster frog though maybe they expected them to figure it out on their own since it did not take a genius to put two and two together. Then there was Daniel.

Victor watched Daniel flail about with excuses and the pure silliness of hearing someone say they killed a frog with their mind was met with a laughter from the French boy. After everything they had been through today, falling through a portal, being nearly killed by that hell frog, and just being stuck with Sophia, appearing stupid was the one thing that Danny was afraid of. It was just so absurd. All of the tension and stress that he had just melted away.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'm not laughing at you. You're just funny," explained Victor calming down with a few deep breaths, but still smiling. "In hindsight I should have guessed you guys would have found your way back without me, but I was panicking too. I'm glad that you're all safe."

And on cue, Imogen suggested that they left while they still could. Victor could not have agreed more. "Yeah, let's do that. I did find something back in our world, but it can wait until we're safe. Come on, let's go."

Glasses girl picked up the other glasses girl though she shunned any offer to help her bring Maive to the spring. Soon enough, the two girls fell into the spring and were gone. Victor eagerly followed and jumped into the spring with no hesitation.

And there he was, back in the school bathroom drenched to the bone though instead of being drenched in his swim trunks his entire uniform was sopping wet. The only improvement was the lack of being arrested for public indecency.
@Joshua Tamashii@Lunarlord34
Luck was on Amelia's side again. She was able to sneak through the ruined city without alerting any of the strange specters and travelled through the underground cave to reach the entrance with no further issues. Again, she pushed through the barrier and was back at the bottom the cavern outside. It was absolutely pitch black outside with only the light of the moon to guide her way back up to the rest of the ruins. However, after a tiring climb she would find something, or rather, someone else that was not there before.

Amelia saw a young woman with fiery red hair reeling from shock and fear emitted from the city in the depths. There was something strange about her though; there was an aura that only the little girl could sense. This woman had been touched by the occult.

For Steph, she would see a young blonde girl not even in her teens before her.

What do they do?

@Sanguine Rose@samreaper

Well, pollen allergies were definitely things that could happen, especially for Pokemon who have superior senses compared to humans. With the two trainers mutually agreeing to check out the Pokemon Center just so they knew where it was and made sure their team was in tiptop fighting shape and get Princess the Riolu some allergy medication.

They would walk along the cobblestone streets and pass by the many cafes and street musicians who were bouncing ideas from one another as they played. For Tristan, he would feel quite at home as the architecture was quite reminiscent of Lumiose City back in Kalos though of course on a far smaller scale and certainly smaller than the sprawling Grand Glory City. There was a simplicity, a comfort to the town that one could get lost in and it would have been easy to. It was all too tempting to sit on the outdoor patios of the cafes with a morning coffee in hand and listen to the music while taking in the rich aroma of flowers. One could only imagine what the night life of the town was like.

Eventually, they arrived at the Pokemon Center and when inside were greeted by another smiling Nurse Joy that, to Tristan's surprise, looked identical to the one in Grand Glory City. When they approached the counter she said, "Welcome to the Florasong Pokemon Center. Let me take care of your Pokemon."

After handing off their Pokemon and Tristan probably explaining that Princess was having an allergic reaction to the pollen in town, they sat around for a few minutes until she called their names. "Here are your Pokemon. For your Riolu's allergies please give them a pill once day."

Tristan received allergy medication

Before they could leave, the Nurse Joy said as if she just remembered, "Oh, by the way, our Move Tutor services has returned. If you are interested, please go to the counter on my left. Thank you and have a nice day!" She said, motioning towards another counter where a breeder was standing behind.

Now what?

Connected Areas
Route 1. A hilly route filled with many ranches and farmland.
Lake Charity. A massive body of water. Used to travel between Starbor Village, Valstille City, and Florasong Town.
Route 2. West of Florasong.

Bloody hell, he will never be able to get used that. Victor stood up with a start and looked around with an urgency that quickly faded away as he realized that there was no Pepe le Hell Frog jumping around. From what he could tell, there were still survivors though Maive looked ready to be buried in a grave and the others were unaccounted for. Dread sat in his stomach like a lead ball.

Probably to the surprise of the remaining group, Victor said, "If she fell in the water, the second floor bathroom if my experience is anything to go by. That's where the spring led to." The French boy hesitantly glanced around, bundled clothes in hand, to see if maybe the rest were just wandering around. No, they had to be alive. If they weren't then the rest of them would be either panicking or shell shocked from seeing someone eaten alive. Tired and stressed, yes, but this was strange.

He settled the wad of clothes on a rock for the two people left in their swimwear, Orlando and Daniel, to grab their clothes. "What happened? Where is everyone else?"

He felt this sensation before, a dread creeping down his spine. It was bloodlust, the intention to kill whatever came across its path. Kauro turned around a split second before the window shattered to see what he could only describe as feminine humanoid creature standing where the dead body was previously. The next thing he knew, glass shrapnel flew towards them, and the tall boy pushed him out of the way before he started hosing the creature down with the fire extinguisher.

Kauro did not put up any argument with the tall boy's command. He followed the cashier who opened the backdoor to back alley with the tall boy soon to follow. The door was locked, but it did not take a genius to realize that the door was never going to hold the monster inside. In fact, in anticipation of a metal spike piercing through the door, Kauro grabbed the boys' arms and pulled them away before they were possibly skewered.

"Just shut up and run!" He shouted not out of panic, but to get it through the cashier's head that there was no time to plan.
@Zarkun@Sanguine Rose

What a sorry state of affairs this was. This place should have been teeming with guardsmen and yet, the command center was barren for lack of a better word short for a few engineers and mechanics tinkering away. It was deplorable that the kingdom refused to send any aid to a region experiencing such unprecedented increase in monster attacks though if Nolan had to wager as reason as to why he could give a few reasons, and none were pretty.

They were soon waved down by someone. A sergeant judging by the uniform, but otherwise unremarkable. Nolan stood there and let Ria introduce themselves as the mages that took the job and showed them the job listing since she was the one holding onto it. The sergeant spoke to them cordially and he did not receive any stink eye from her. At least someone in this guard was able to act with any modicum professionalism. Still, he was not surprised that they were being relegated to being just back up to sit on the sidelines until they were needed to do what the guard could never hope to do.

The intel was shaky at best though. He understood that there were not enough resources to have the guard keep track of the location of these creatures, but this was pathetic. At best nothing would happen, and the job is completed without a hiccup and at worst it would become a massacre and the fault would fall upon not the shared shoulders of soldier and mage, but the guild mages only. They had the most to lose.

"So, how are we dealing with the chain of command? Are we to take orders or is this a partnership?" asked Nolan crossing his arms. "I am willing to work with your men, but the question that needs to be asked is if they are willing to work with me."
"Hey, I'm talking to you! Don't you walk away from me!" shouted Victor uselessly at the figure that retreated into night. He stood there, bewildered and shaking with rage. "What the hell is wrong with this school?!" The boy shouted again and, in his frustration, kicked someone's clothes that were left strewn about.

His anger did eventually simmer down. Victor tiredly looked down at the water like the valet was. He could not help, but to think what that voice said.

"Water... I see. The gateway, the horizon, the boundary..."

It really was the water that was the doorway. He had a suspicion, but it was strange. If this stupid tradition existed and it was not some sick joke concocted by Ms. Top 15 Science Track, then this should have happened before. Some other students, even the freshman this year, pressured by tradition should have been sent to that piña colada deathtrap and either died or made it out, but either way there would've been rumors and urban legends. There should have been panic over students disappearing. There should've been, so why was it happening now?

It wasn't just some freak accident that they ended up in another world and it was not some weird coincidence that the blue valet appeared in their world when he went to investigate the docks. No, he absolutely refused to believe that it was some cosmic coincidence that the fabric of reality opened its maw and spat them out in another dimension just because they won the eldritch lottery. Something happened, something forced a gateway between their world and that other world, and they were either collateral or they were being strung along by something greater than what they could comprehend. All of this led back to the blue valet and the man in black. They were the only lead that he had.

It was crazy and even a jump to conclusions with what little evidence he had, but it was either believe that there was meaning in what he went through or fall into existential dread.

The question was if he could bring himself to take a leap of faith into the sea. For all he knew, there was a possibility that he could be sent to a completely different world. And what were the odds that his peers were still alive? If they were he knew how to get them out of there though surely, they would've figured it out on their own, but they would have to Mission Impossible it back to the docks like he did. It was not like he needed to do it. Why should he risk himself his safety for them?

Victor glanced at the water, to the clothes, back to the water, and sighed. He gathered up their clothes and looked down at the water. "If I die over this, I swear..."

He jumped into the water and hoped to whatever god there was that he would make it out this alive.
@Sanguine Rose

That was the kind of answer that he expected from her. If she already knew how awful his reputation was already and still offered to work with him and show him around town, then she was aware of the consequences that it could have for her and yet she still stood her ground. It was both admirable to stand by her convictions, but equally as foolish to stick her neck out for someone like him and naive to underestimate how quickly people could turn on her. It was far easier to say screw what other people think versus the reality of it.

Nolan flinched from her touch though his face was not flushed red. Given how standoffish he had been, it should have no been no surprised that he did not like to be touched. Give me a break. I'm not here to make- Hey! He did not even get the chance to finish the edgy thing he was about to say as she clasped his hand with both of hers dragged him by the arm with great skips. Uncharacteristically he stumbled forward due to not expecting Ria to just suddenly tug him away to... a pastry shop?

She really goes by the beat of her own drum. Nolan thought while he listened to her ramble about how great the streusel from this particular patisserie were. Ria really was easily excitable. Everything grabbed her attention and she just kept jumping in between them like a kid in a candy shop and just as demanding too. She was dead set on taking him to the patisserie, one of the many places he would be dragged around for certain. No matter how he looked at it, she was not going to let him go skulking back in his room now that she had her clutch on him.

Knowing that he had no chance to escape, Nolan heaved a heavy sigh and said, "Fine, fine, you can treat me. However, I do not like owing people anything. I'll treat you later."

He of course followed her because he agreed to work with her on the job. The job and his flustered blushing were completely separate matters, and he of course was able to maintain a professional enough conduct for a job. It would have been stupid to dwell on something that she never intended to ask. However, he really did hope that she did not notice him blushing earlier. By the gods it would have been embarrassing if she did.
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