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|Majora, Mayjay/Majayjay, Majie, Jora, Scarlet (Rarely)|
"Welcome to White Space."

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Can this be called an intermission? Hecc if I know at this point.

Seems after the tournament was announced, everyone went back into work mode. Amanda did concider entering the tournament, but what could her dream magic do? She wasn't really built for physical fighting, as per her gift giving her some extra help with that. Even now she idly twirled the dagger in her hand. With a bored huff, she glance to Valerie.



"I'm bored."

Valerie looked back with a risen brow. "Why don't you go find MDP?"

"She's on a date with Penny." The magician shrugged. Both Valerie's eyebrows rose. Penny had a girlfriend?


"I don't think she wants to be bothered right now. Besides," Amanda motioned to the mentioned witch. "Girl's got a growth spurt to get used to."

"Oh damn. What about Cerise- Er, Other Cerise?"

"Saw her leave with Tetrad. Can't blame them."

"Maribel? And those other ladies?"

"They're kinda scattered now, it'd take too long to find them.

At this rate Valerie was flabbergasted. "Maura?? Connie and Mia?? ANYONE???"

Amanda was about to say something about volume control when it dawned on her. "Actually, I don't think Connie and Mia are doing anything right now. Come on, let's go look for them!"

"Finally!!" The two got up from their seats, prepared to head out. But before they could, Amanda felt an unwanted presence rest on her hip. She didn't even need to look to know who it is.

"Hey Amanda, is everything o- ....Well shit." Valerie turned around to check up on Amanda, only to catch a glimpse of the magician's current expression. It was enough to convince her not to intervene.

After Oros was done talking, Amanda ever so slowly turned her head towards her. A murderous glare, a warning in itself.

"I will give you 'till the count of 10 to get your goddamn ass off me, and out of my sight, or I will be throwing it to the next fucking island. You hear me loud and clear, you little shit?" Amanda's voice was but a whisper, loud enough for Oros alone to hear it, but it still seethed with rage. She began counting. "1...2....3..."
Throughout the annals of war, information has always played a major part in deciding the victor. Knowing when your opponent might make a certain move, what they are capable of, and how you might be able to nullify or turn it to your advantage can be even more decisive than skill or strength alone. This Samantha Howard knew, so she chose to learn as much as she could before the beginning of the tournament.

She took to the shadows, disappearing into them as she skittered around. Sam avoided being bold or careless with her movements as she couldn't be entirely certain which people had a third eye, so she took paths that kept her out of line of sight entirely. Her snooping led her to watching over Rachel as she was being taught the basics. It was no surprise the girl hadn't participated in Keijo, so she didn't exactly make the most precise movements on the ring. But Samantha could feel the speed and power behind Rachel's behind, and that simply reinforced the fact Samantha would be at a disadvantage even with experience.


Samantha realized she was going about this all wrong! Here she was, tunnel-visioned on Rachel when in reality, the tournament had been won if she reached Rachel! The opportunity to publicly embarrass Rachel, snatch away something she wanted, and best her in a form of combat was all the reward she could ever want! She could worry about actually beating Rachel when she got there. These other people think they need to win the tournament, though. But I refuse to allow them to halt my march, to deny me what is rightfully mine! And... well, Emily likes this place, so it wouldn't hurt to gaurantee its existence, too.

And so, Samantha decided to spy on other people.

...which brought her to the warmer side of Dan's dimension, after she noticed Maura's presence being so far away. Sam originally desired to avoid Maura for the duration of the event, but that was before she got involved in Keijo. And Odin, too? Honestly, this particular tournament was far from normal, but such is expected nowadays. It didn't change the fact she intended to boot each other player, patron or not, off the stage if they stood in her way. Would Maura be one of them? That was her question as she observed, opting to hear them from her mouth instead of contacting her through the admittedly more convenient, secretive way the Cradle could.


It should not have come as a surprise, but alongside Maura was Justine, as well as a fair amount of others. She recognized her fellow time-spec, and Alex. She wasn't sure who the other person was, but had seen them a few times today in passing. The problem here was how irritatingly gushy everyone was being. Samantha was... not particularly fond of such an environment typically, but seeing Justine as part of it rubbed her the wrong way. Disgust, anger, and contempt all tugged at Sam, but even were she not part of the shadows, she wouldn't let that show.


Samantha remained out of the way until she saw an opportunity to speak with her patron while the others were distracted. She was still hidden in a nearby shadow on the ground from a tree.

"What do you intend on doing?"

Of course, Samantha's sudden appearance caused Maura to tense up. Like the assassin, the witch prefered them not to encounter eachother again, due to not wanting a round two of a verbal beatdown. She planned on shutting that down quick regardless, but what now? Sam appeared calm at the moment, but that could change depending on how she responded.

So much for ignoring.

Without moving, Maura glanced at Sam. Her expression remained neutral. "Well I am planning on entering. The form you see here is to blend in with the opponents." She calmly explained. Her brows then furrowed. "Of course if someone wants to try and be an ass about it; Not directed at you, honest, I might as well forget about it. Don't wanna enter if it makes it unfair for everyone else." Sure, there was a genuine reason why she wanted to join. But she couldn't say, especially not to her.

Samantha might've frowned if she wasn't currently just a shadow on the ground. She probably didn't believe Maura's claim that the statement wasn't directed at her. "It would be a lie to say that wouldn't be a preferable outcome for me. I need to win this tournament, and the less competition the more likely that outcome." The shadow almost trembled as if to emphasize the importance this was to Sam. "But whether you participate or not, that's your choice and I do not intend to ask you to withdraw. Rather, I am curious to know what drives you to participate."

Maura relaxed back into her chair. "It'd be too bold to say a temporary control of the dimension could let us ambush the Ascendancy here and now, but my main interest is the mirror." She looked back forwards. "I know Mariette is an ally of ours, but I want to see what this Black Mirror is capable of. If there's a chance to...negotiate...with Asengav over his influence on her, I might as well take that chance too. Something like that may prove useful to us." She explained.

"Though if it's connected to that Interdimentional Home we, or really, you all last fought at, may have to expect some damages. Guess you have your reasons too?"

"While I would like to think your intentions are noble, I am not sure it is a wise decision. I believe someone tried to help her similarly during our battle against Justine and she did not care for it, to put it lightly. But, honestly, I think even joining this tournament is bound to put someone on her bad side, so I guess it doesn't matter, and would be hypocritical of me to act like I am not doing something to draw her ire either. Ultimately, in that regard, I don't care." Maura could almost feel the shadow shrug in indifference to the potential consequences. But her mood shifted, indicated by an almost feral tone of voice when Maura inquired about her goals.

"I only have one reason: I want to defeat Rachel -- need to. It's not a hope or a dream, it's like a hunger... a thirst I can't quench until her defeat. It is for this reason alone that I have joined, I'll admit. The Mirror and the fate of Dan's dimension don't interest me nearly as much."

"Denisova tried to with Beacon, right? Seems reckless in the midst of battle. As much as I don't want to, I can only assume she was looking out for herself. And besides, I'm not saying I wouldn't give the mirror back to Mariette, but it wouldn't hurt to look." The corner of her mouth quirked up.

Though it did fade, her uttering a silent "Oh." at Samantha's explanation. Didn't she have a Warrior mental mutation? Seeing Rachel again must've irritated it somehow. Understandable. Maura thought for a moment. "The participants are grouped in teams aren't they?" She asked.

"I do not believe this one is supposed to be," she answered, perhaps insinuating that this might not be a rule people would go out of their way to follow. "I imagine a large part of the tournament is going to be people who want to assist Mariette in recovering her mirror, had I a guess."

"Sounds irritating." Maura sighed. "Here I was hoping we could team up. Yknow, reach both our goals? I'm aware I'm not that popular at the moment, but you're still my agents." She explained with furrowed brows, shifting over to sit across from Sil. "While you're here, I'd like your thoughts on something."

The deepest part of the shadow swirled until it almost seemed to form a question mark. "And that 'something' is?"

Maura looked around them, then back to Sam. "We'll have to discuss it through magicoms, can't risk anyone overhearing. Justine recently came into contact; Albeit unwillingly from what I can tell, with a mint agent she once collaborated with. Sanngridr, aka Reaver. I'm not sure if you ran into them yet, but apparently they know the whereabouts of Justine's missing sister, Caroline." She glanced away, arms crossed. "I'll be honest with you, even a scarecrow can tell it's suspicious, Caroline dissapeared into nothingness months ago, how could they have found her now? It reeks of a trap to recorrupt Justine. We can't afford that to happen." Be it at death or purification, Maura did care not to let their efforts be wasted.

Samantha scoffed, displeased at where this had headed. "I can't imagine you wouldn't already know what I would suggest, so you're not asking for advice, I see. So what do you intend to do, then?"

Disregarding Sam's obvious response, Maura continued. "Whether they're truthful or not, I wanna plan an ambush, and perhaps snatch little Caroline away from under their noses. Yes, she could still be connected to Father, that's why I can have Eliza get a purification potion from Penny just in case. I know, you might be skeptical concidering who's involved. But done right, we could pull a fast one on our dear competitors. ....Are you in?"

There was a long pause of close to twenty seconds before the shadow seemed to shiver and Maura could hear a sigh through coms. "Since the obvious, simple solution to this problem is out of the question, I can't really decline. If the worst-case scenario happens and she becomes like she was, it would probably be better to be around."

With a smile, Maura breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness. It may take longer to convince everyone else, but I'm glad I asked you first."

"Don't be relieved until we find out if that plan is even going to succeed. Plans have a nasty habit of falling apart completely around Penrose," she warned, her shadow suddenly beginning to move away. "Anyway, I would rather not speak any more about her and plans involving her more than I have to presently. There are plenty of other people attending this tournament, so until then, I'll focus on the immediate future."

And with these words, Maura was relieved of Sam.




After the talk between Samantha and Maura, Finn finally spoke up to the latter. He did notice her talking with...something. But it seemed important, so he waited.

In response, Maura flopped back into her seat with a groan. "Somehow it went better than I expected. But now I'm worried about how Betty will react." There was a mix of hope and dread in her voice.

"Uhuh...should I be concerned over any of this?"

Maura quickly shook her head. "Nono- No. This is my problem to solve, I don't want you getting vilified cause you wanted to help. Already explained to you that things, everything's tense right now. We'll worry later, Okay?" With that, she continued watching Lily and Justine practice.

Though Finn was in thought. How bad was Justine before any of this? As bad as some of the stuff he witnessed, or worse? He didn't see the point in grudges, they often proved unfruitful. And yet the concept of redemption's been challenged. He'll have to catch Betty and this Samantha at some point, ask them about it.

"S-So, like this?"

"Yeah, like that, but remember to keep your knees bent and posture straight! Hiyah!"

Justine yelped as Lily came in with a spinning tackle, and with a single slam knocked the girl into the water...Or she would have, before she unfurled her wings and flipped up into the air with a sigh.
"This is...Harder than I expected."

"At least you don't have a dolphin here to heckle you Alexander said from the sides "Also, I realize I don't have the right to complain, but flying feels like cheating"

"Yeah, Keijo is...Unusual with its rules," Justine added, and landed back on the platform.
The three of them, Alex included, were at the tropical islands for their training period before the Keijo tournament. At Lily's request, Dan had provided them a small swimming pool, like the type you'd see at the back yard of an estate, as well as a square-shaped floating platform.

After a couple more ringouts, Lily decided for them to take a small break. They were now sitting around a table with a parasol set to provide shade and cold beverages placed there by the Lesser Force's kindness.

Justine took a sip, a red towel draped around her shoulders like a cloak.
"So coach, how does it look?"
Lily pouted as she thought about the question.
"Well...Fortunately your flying allows you some valuable maneoverability," Lily stated, "but you need to get the landing and dives worked out. Also, some footwork is necessary in case you get grounded. You'll need to-Oh!"
She looked past Justine, and when the latter turned to look she noticed a certain pair of guys approaching them from the distance.



"You look stupid."

Of course after the conundrum that was the announcement of a keijo tournament, moreso their run in with Sann and Dina, Finn and Oliver took a moment of respite to themselves. With nothing else going on, most of the latter's clones regrouped with him save for two. And that was cause one of them met up with Maura, who was concidering joining the tournament. So the two decided to meet up with her on the sunny side of the dimension.

Even if Oliver was offended by Finn's comment, he snorted in response. "Says you! You're too chicken to even show some skin!" He playfully retorted, lightly elbowing the other boy's arm.

"I know, I know. I just didn't want my scars to be showing." Finn explained, scratching at the side of his face, the side where his festive eyepatch was replaced by his normal bandages. "Maura should be here soon right? Guess we got here fir- Oh." Before his sentence was finished, the two noticed the trio nearby.

"Oh hey, didn't know this place was already occupied!" The ghost grinned, waving at them.

Lily waved enthusiastically back at them, to the point she was leaning on the table, and shouted to them:
"Hii! Did you also come here for training? We're on a break right now, so you can use the pool!"

Justine was not as excited about their arrival, however.
"Wait, I think I've seen you two before...Were you at Dan's feast over at the winter island?"

"N-No thank you. We're just waiting on our patron to swing by." Finn quickly shook his head, not wanting any part of the sport. Too indecent. "Not even sure they'll allow her to join. But, eh, she'll probably figure something out..."

Then Justine asked if they were at the feast. "Yep, but it got a bit nuts for us. So hey, why not explore the place?" Oliver explained, then held a hand out for them to shake. "Name's Oliver, and this is my friend Finn!" He introduced the two of them.

"'Nuts' is a rather tame way to say 'hijacked by a crazy person', but it's not wrong" Alexander commented "Alexander" He then introduced himself.

"Hah! Ya ain't wrong either, fuckin' nerd managed to piss even Finn off!" The ghost laughed, shaking Alex's hand.

"She better have heed my warning..." Finn muttered, appearing unsatisfied at how his talk with Rachel ended.

"Oh, okay then! I don't know about Patrons playing, but I suppose Dan might let her if she asks nicely enough," Lily spoke, and nodded in agreement with Alex.
"Let's just hope that whoever gets to the finals is strong enough to beat her too. Otherwise it's gonna be bad!"
She then blinked, having realized what she'd forgotten.

"Oh yeah! My name's Lily Lightning, but you can call me Lily for short!" The green-haired girl cheerfully introduced herself. She then looked over to Justine; she reluctantly followed up with her own.
"...I'm Justine."

"Nice to meet ya both!" Oliver grinned.

"Keijo is already a fucking mess, with magic being as varied as it is. Someone as powerful as a Patron playing might break what few rules there are." Alexander said, before thinking on it some more "...well...unless she's one of those small animal type Patrons. But that would mean that her body shape would just complicate things even more...probably. I don't fucking know, Keijo is bullshit."

After a second, Finn looked back at the three. "Though it might be good to deal some karma against that woman, assuming other nasties aren't participating- Er, besides that Sann lady, but she's a different case all together. I agree with Alexander though, I dunno if it's considered fair game or not." He explained. "Dunno what Maura would want with that mirror anyways, much less this place."

Lily giggled at Alex' outburst.
"Oh, now I can't help but imagine Umu playing, that would be soo cuuute!"

Justine, seemingly uninterested in the conversation up to that point, blinked upon hearing their Patron's name.
"Are you speaking of Maura, the Witch of Death?" She asked, having stood up to face the boys.
"I recently formed a pact with her. Does she know the two of you are here?"

"'Witch of Death'? That sounds pretty fucking ominous" Alexander flinched "It also sounds like she might not have magic that's okay to use in Keijo. So I hope for her sake that that nickname is some kind of exaggeration."

"Do not worry, Mistress Maura is a kind Patron," Justine explained.
"In fact, she was the one who gave me a new chance at life, and promised not to let Father get to me again. Getting to be here, having fun with my friends...I owe everything to her."
Lily smiled, and hugged Justine.
"Aww, thanks!"

Both boys' eyebrows rose. "She did meet one of my clones so- Wait wait wait, Witch of Death? I thought she already ditched that title back in yester-year!"

Finn shrugged. "She did. Or atleast, I think she still did. Apparently there's been changes we weren't informed about. Some new faction she inherited that probably doesn't even like her." His brows furrowed at the last part, taking note of Betty's reactions when he first met her. But he shook it off and looked back to Justine. He smiled slightly. "Of course we know Maura. I was her first magical- Er, accidentally. She wanted me kept alive and ended up making me a magical boy. Oliver got resurrected as a monster boy few years later. But that was centuries ago. Or was it few millennia?" He asked, resting a hand under his chin for a second. He shook his head.

"Regardless, I'm glad she decided to take you in. She's a kind one, yes, but I'm worried someone will take advantage of that kindness one day." He frowned, glancing downwards. "...Just like people took advantage of mine..." Finn uttered under his breath, a quiet hope that no one heard.

Justine nodded, a solemn expression on her face.
"That may be true, but I believe Mistress Maura has learned by now to be more cautious," she said, having remembered the less than pleasant response from the Cradle.
Lily didn't seem to know what they were talking about, so she quietly sipped on her drink.

"Yeah, yeah. I've been meaning to talk with her. And possibly try and remedy whatever's going on." Finn's frown then turned comical, scratching the back of his head.

"Speak of the devil! Hey Maura, over here!!" Having idly looked away for a moment, Oliver spotted Maura emerging from a nearby shadow. Though she looked somewhat different. More youthful, yet her eyes remained their usual shade of red. Was she in her disguised form?

Maura looked over to their direction. Her eyes widened. Then without any warning, she ran over and tackled Finn and Oliver into a hug, earning a startled yelp from the former. "Boys! How long has it been?! You look great!" She asked in excitement.

"Hello Ma'am!"

"Er, too long, didn't get any memos. Hi Ma'am." They both hugged her back, before the witch released them. "You're using your disguise for the match??"

Maura smiled. "Would be weird otherwise, might as well try and fit in. Don't worry, it doesn't hinder me the slightest!" She then waved to Lily and Alex, then her smile softened at Justine. "Have you been alright, dear?"

Lily seemed impressed by Maura.
"Ooh, so this is your Patron, Justy? For a witch, she's really cute!"

"Please keep it down,"
Justine placed a hand over Lily's mouth, blushing in embarrassment as Maura came up to her.
"I've been fine, Mistress. Spending time with Lily has been, well, fun."
She averted her eyes.
"Umm, I know you're busy with this Keijo business, but, um...When it's okay for you, could we have a private talk? I...met an old acquaintance of mine, and she told me something you should know about too."

Maura's smile faded. "Of course, sounds important." Though she would've talked further through magicoms, she felt it might be more private through a temporary mental link. "If you want, we can talk through here."

Lily's mouth curled into a circle in surprise.
"Oh? Was it the girl in the feast hall?"

Justine nodded without saying a word, and Lily gave a reassuring smile. She then turned to Maura, and began speaking through the mind.
I met with Reaver, a contact I had with the Ebon Mint and a servant of Odin. They have now taken on a new persona named Sanngridr. But what really surprised me was that she mentioned...My sister, Caroline.
Justine paused, looking pained.
She is most likely lying about being able to locate her. But the fact she knows about her...It worries me. What do you think I should do?

Maura internally sighed. "Here I was hoping we could take a break from their lot." Though a part of her was glad Justine trusted her to tell her this. She gave a reassuring smile. "Mayhaps it is a trap to corrupt you again. You know their type, tricky bastards." She crossed her arms, resting her chin against her fist. Then, her smile turned into a mischievous grin that crossed her features. "Though there might be a way to turn it back onto them. And if they're true to their word, get your sister back."

Justine listened, her spirit soothed by Maura's wisdom.
So I should play along with accepting her offer for now?

"That is up to you, dear. If so, allow me to accompany you as your shadow. May take some convincing for the others to help with a possible ambush. But rest assured, they won't lay a hand on any of you and get away with it."

Justine, moved by her Patron's care and affection for her, something she had experienced little of, stood up from her seat, went over to Maura, and hugged her.
"Thank you, Mistress," she spoke quietly, causing Lily to d'aww in the background.

The temporary mental link closed for now, and Maura warmly returned the hug. "It's no problem at all, I strive to treat all of you with the same kindness, even if some say otherwise." She smirked. "Now then! Would anyone care to spar with me for a few rounds?"

"Oh, now you're gonna start?"
While Maura and Justine were talking, Oliver was stacking different sunglasses on Finn's head, while the latter talked with Lily and Alex.

Suddenly, Lily lifted her hand enthusiastically.
"Oh, I do! I'm not going to participate in the tournament, but I'd like to spar regardless!"
She winked at Justine.
"You can also watch and learn from a Keijo pro, Justy!"

"Pro?" Alexander raised an eyebrow "I don't think you have enough experience to be called a pro. In fact, I think you've at least doubled your Keijo playtime today" He then patted her on the head "Still, at least all that energy and optimism has to count for something."

Lily pouted and showed her tongue at Alex.
"Geez, thanks for the confidence, Alex!"

Maura snapped her fingers with a grin. "Excellent! Right this way!" With that, she went over to the platform.

"Well this should be interesting regardless." Finn mumbled, knocking down one of the sunglasses onto his face with a tap. Nearly knocked them all over, a cause to his ghostly friend's dismay.

"I'm not sure if 'interesting' is the right word. I still have trouble believe Keijo is an actual thing sometimes." Alexander grumbled "Like, what kind of nutjob thought this up?"

Lily smiled confidently.
"Alright, you're on!"
However, Justine stopped Lily on her way to the platform.
"Be careful, Lily. Mistress Maura may seem like a regular magical girl, but she possesses great power. You shouldn't underestimate her."

"Aww, thanks for worrying about me, Justy, but I can handle it!"
She gave a thumbs up, and jumped over to the platform. She took a balanced pose, ready to brawl.

"Good." While with Maura, her stance remained calm, relaxed. Her grin turned determined, as she motioned for Lily to act first.

"Now come! Show me what you're made of!"

"Dont have to ask me twice!"

Lily's eyes glowed a brilliant golden color as she powered herself up, enhancing her reaction times and agility, sparks of electricity emanating from her body.
Then, she disappeared...Only to appear right behind Maura, her hips having twisted to perform a turning slam with her butt. Justine gasped.

Magic already, hm? One would think Maura would be concerned, but she was watching her opponent closely. Once she felt Lily's presence behind her, Maura's grin turned into a serious look. Powering up her dark magic, she braced herself to counter the other's attack with her hips. Upon impact, she slid a distance away from Lily.

"Alright, my turn." Turning to stand on her side, she launched herself forward, making sure her rear stuck out for the attack.

As soon as Lily's initial strike was repelled, she had already landed on the platform.
"Ooh, nice move!" She complimented her opponent, and performed a Megaman 3-style sliding dodge, passing under Maura by removing the friction-inducing electrons under her. She followed up the move by performing a handstand-style rising uppercut.

"Tch!" Lily's uppercut managed to send Maura up into the air, but the witch quickly reoriented herself. Taking the opportunity, she performed a ground-pound, with a bit of psychic magic to disorient Lily back.

Lily rolled out of the way, though only barely due to Maura's spell, and she held her head, looking dizzy.
However, before Maura could go in for another attack, someone blew a whistle: it was Dan himself.

"Foul! No use of offensive magic allowed!" He had appeared in a puff of smoke between Lily and Maura, and handed a red card to the black-haired Patron; a sign of disqualification in Keijo.
Lily stood up with a pout.
"What? It was an attack? To be honest, I couldn't tell what she did. I was busy enough keeping up with her~"

"When in the green hills of fucks did he get here???" Both Finn and Oliver's eyes widened at Dan's appearance. And Maura only groaned.

"Psychic magic. Was trying to keep it contained into the right impact, but I guess it slipped out. Sorry..." The witch explained, not bothering to get up from where she sat as she rest her arm on her knee, and her head in her hand. She looked rather dissapointed in herself.

"Wherever there's Keijo, I'll be there!" Dan bombastically replied to the boys, his fins at his sides.

"Better not let people assume your intentions, Phindol!" Oliver called back to Dan.

Lily went over to the dolphin and pet him.
"Aww, thanks for looking out for us, Danny! Anyway, you want to go another round, Mrs. Maura?"
"If you do, I'd like to give a reminder of the use of magic," Dan added.
"Applying a magical effect to your physical attacks is acceptable in certain cases, but not utilizing it directly as a weapon, either by projectiles or spreading effects. Magic to change yourself or the environment is an exception."

"Myself or the enviroment, huh?" Maura thought outloud. Her psychic magic seemed too unstable to use, and she didn't know how her spirit magic could help. So that left ice magic and darkness. Though she was surprised Lily didn't yell at her or something. After thinking a moment, she got back up. "Alright, I'll humor you. But we have got to do one round without our powers, I wanna see something."

Lily jumped to the platform once more, and hopped in place a couple of times.
"No powers? That's going to be interesting. Let's do it!"

"This may be awhile." Finn said, having taken a seat to watch the two practice. He then took off the sunglasses he was wearing and furrowed his brows. Did he really need them if only one eye was visible? Oliver on the other hand put the rest of the sunglasses back.

Justine continued observing as Lily and Maura went for a second round, and turned her attention to the boys.
"So, are you two going to stay long in Penrose? I assume you're aware of the...volatile situation we have here?"

The two looked at each other, then back to Justine. "Well, we're getting a clear idea of what's been going on. Ascendancy's bothering Penrose, I'm assuming?" Finn asked.

Justine sighed, and twirled the tiny umbrella in her drink.
"That's putting it lightly. They've been locked in conflict with the local collection of monster girls, also called Sanctuary. They are led by their queen, Penny. You might have noticed her at the feast as the robot girl."

"Hm. Think I did see someone like that at the snowball fight earlier, or atleast multiple. She wouldn't happen to be working with Miss Denisova, would she?"

"Yes, she is. Do you know her?"

Finn shrugged. "Made her aquaintance few moments back. Her and that strange Sanngridr. We planned on visiting the Sanctuary and see if it needs any assistance."

"Frankly I am not above skinning that bird." Oliver spoke up behind him.

Justine nodded at the mention of Sanngridr, biting her lip.
"Yes...In any case, I'm glad you're here to lend your assistance."

"A bunch of us were away for a few months" Alexander chimed in "We were in the dolphin's beach dimension for a few days, only to find that a few months had passed while we were there. In that time, Penrose completed it's transformation into magical Detroit. I don't remember if I ever heard anyone confirm it, but I'm pretty sure that's why they came here in the first place."

Both their eyes widened at the mention of Dan, and his dimension being the cause of such trouble.

"Christ, if that's why thing are tense, then can we even trust that guy??" Oliver asked, now skeptical of their current location.

"I honestly can't tell," Justine answered.
"But it seems a lot of others trust it, including Penny. Take that how you want."

"For all the crap I give the dolphin, I don't think the time dilation was meant to fuck us over. I think it was meant to be reversed, but he just fucked up somehow. He sketchy, but not outright evil" Alexander explained "Besides, this time he has other Patrons watching him, and I don't think he's strong enough to defend himself if he pissed them all off. So I think he'll behave, if only for his own sake."

Finn nodded. "Makes sense. Dunno if my magic can work on patrons, but I could probably use it to chuck him into the water."

Justine found herself giggling before composing herself.
"That would be funny to see."
She turned her attention back to the pool, only to see Lily get knocked into the water by Maura. However, the cheery girl didn't seem upset by her loss.
"That was amazing! Patrons really are on a whole other level!"

"Yeah..." Alexander agreed "So much so that it feels unfair, even in a crazy sport like Keijo. I just can't see her in the tournament. Did she mention if she tried to register yet, or has she just not gotten around to it?"

The duo looked back to see that Maura actually won the round. "Wait, you actually won that!? Nice one, Ma'am!" Oliver congratulated the witch, who was genuinely surprised.

"I did? I mean- I did??"

"...You didn't play this sport before did you?" Finn would ask her, Maura shaking her head in response. Though at Alex's imput he gave the other boy a quizzical look. The ramblings did irritate him a bit. "That would be up to the dolphin to let her compete. No more, no less. And frankly, anything works to put those zealots in their place." He would calmly explain. Maura stepped off the platform and helped Lily back up on her feet.

"Eh, can't argue with that." Alexander shrugged "The sooner they leave, the better."

"That was a lot of fun! Thank you for letting me spar with you!"
Lily hugged the red-eyed witch, causing Justine to take a sharp breath.
She quickly walked over to remove her, with Lily struggling cutely.
"I-I'm sorry Mistress. My friend here can get a little, um, overly affectionate. I hope you don't mind too much."

Maura did flinch at the sudden hug first, though between the little struggle between Lily and Justine, she ended up laughing it off. "Quite alright! Oh you two are so adorable, hahah!!" She grinned, hugging both Lily and Justine back.

Justine blushed, but graciously accepted the gesture.
"Alright, I think it's about time me and Justy get back to training!" Lily spoke up, and patted Justine on the shoulder. The latter looked back at Maura.
"Um, would that be fine with you, Mistress?"

Maura smiled, ruffling Justine's hair. "Of course. We'll be off to the side if you need anything."

"It feels kind of weird seeing someone rub your head like a little kid" Alexander told Justine "It's such a sharp contrast from what you were like when we first met."

Justine averted her eyes.
"I suppose it would be..."

Lily took Justine's hand, snapping her sudden spell of contemplation.
"Let's go, Justy? Now show me what you learned, ok?"
Justine couldn't help but smile back at Lily's overwhelming energy, and nodded.
"A-Alright then."
Honestly wasn't sure if I should share this, but the rp she was in is complete and it's been sitting in storage for awhile, so here you go.

Funny how quickly things turned around. The party had ended in a showdown, and now Oros did want to take part as if it was some sort of demented game. Dina felt, once again the weight of her words being scattered to ash.

What was the point of trying to be just and honorable, if people just disregarded her intentions to appease as yet another game. Her ears folded, and once again Oros had left her truly without words.

"Have it your way." She said, icyly. She probably didn't understand what was she trying to achieve with this. Probably being the centre of attention. After her piece was done, she then rushed out to a side, trying to hide her obvious displeasure.

She had a century old poise, but some things still hurt.

What she didn't know was that someone had already taken note of her reaction, her expression. Finn had only waited until things seemed calm again to check on her. He excused himself from the table to grab some more ale, but quietly stopped by Dina first.

"Are you alright, Miss?" He'd gently ask.

Dina raised an eyebrow. "Lady Dina." She answered at the kid's response. "Is that evident? One can get so far with props and songs, before the true nature of these people resurface. I'm tired." The catgirl said. "I assume you're a new face, as you've never met me before. I am delighted to be acquainted with you, circumstances not withstanding."

She said, before moving a few steps, her tail dragging along. "I shall be fine... just some stupid backslash."

Finn slightly frowned. "I think I already know why." He looked back to the crowd. Or more specifically, the Ascendancy members and those who challenged Rachel as well. "Not the first time I delt with people like that. Especially like that over-zealous woman." His brows furrowed for a second. "Truely, my friend and I were visiting from Europe for today but it seems things have changed without us knowing. I'll have to talk with my patron, see if we have to stay for a while." He explained. His frown didn't dispate when she tried to reassure him.

"You're tense, Lady Dina. That I can tell. Helped keep everyone in check, I assume? A noble task it is, but one can only do so much before they burn out themselves." He stepped up next to Dina and held out a hand for her to shake. "I'm Finn Vanhorn. And you should probably rest before your match.

"Two matches. I need to win two matches. That brigand wants to have fun by stealing from others again. I had thought her to be better." Dina said. "Dina of the House of Denisov. Regent of Penrose, but not many are aware of that fact yet." She looked at the hand that was being offered. A very passable courtesy, but who was she ask about courtly manners? Sanctuary was already difficult to pull of, but the people of Penrose... were not known for niceties.

She took the hand carefully and shook it. "That much is obvious, mister Vanhorn, but the question is, will I be able to afford it?" She said. "A fellow power user huh. You've come to a ghastly place." Despite her evident tiredness, her stance and words had regained her careful regal tone.

Finn's eyes widened. He was in the presence of a noble, and this is how he acts? How absurd! "Forgive my ignorance, Lady Denisov." He retracted his hand to bow instead. "I wasn't aware Penrose housed royalty. The boy remained calm, even when Dina noticed they had the same power.

He chuckled. "The Power of Friendship, hm? Frankly I find it to be a grim irony. I don't care much for people, not for how long I've resided here, or for those who stabbed me in the back." Finn shrugged. "Alas, those same people tend to be drawn to me for some reason... Ah, well, it does prove useful sometimes. But still, if you wish, I can hold down the fort until the matches begin." He suggested.

"Look at there. We have Odin amidst our midst. There's no way we can hold the fort with... his attitude." Dina sighed. "We can only try for our best." Her eyes went to Finn's reaction. "Royalty? Not quite. I was once upon a time acquainted with the Romanovs... but that is an once forgotten memory."

"Besides, it takes very little for them to disregard the nudges. And fall again in shortsightedness. Like spoiler toddlers. It's the curse of magical power I guess." answered. "But if you wish to ingratiate with me, Mr Vanhorn, better think on how flight footed you are in case we have to leave. I am not alone here. There are acquaintances."

How he didn't notice the norse god among them was a mystery, even to himself. But from what he gathered, Odin was being...a bit of a bastard in his own rite. Finn grimaced at the thought. "Noted." Though Dina's advice admittedly concerned him;He could easily shift to the Overcity or borrow the speed of a cheetah, he had to ask.

"Acquaintances? Is there a chance you can introduce me to them?"

Dina looked at Finn. "Mayhaps when the time is better suited... I must apologize, but I have to be more selective of my acquaintances from now on. Please disregard my words." She added, her words with a slight edge of bluntness.

Finn nodded. "Don't worry, I know what you mean."

"Hm." Dina just hummed in response. It wasn't like this boy... or man was by any chance a knight in needed of purpose, and if his compulsion was as bad as she was, then he was trying to get her appeased for the sake of it. Still, it was worth a shot to get him acquainted.

"Perhaps you can help in some way. Odin's chosen is my acquaintance. Quite an unruly, rude child, but one with enough potential. Not unlike the one who appeared to go at Justine's beck and call. Pass a message to her. Why should I fight my own battles if I have battlemongers..."

It wasn't that he was trying to get on her good grace on purpose, Finn was tempted to clarify that to the Empress. Maybe he was in denial over his good nature, or maybe his Power of Friendship felt as natural as breathing. Regardless, he was always willing to hear someone out.

"Alright, what do you want me to tell her?" He asked. He might have to take a bit to find said recipient though...

"Just avoid she chokes on cake and tell her there's a fight. It can't be missed, she's the girl with the most impressive wings of the entire party." Dina said, tired.

Finn looked around to spy anyone with wings, then nodded. "Hm, got it. I'll check back on you later!" With that, he walked off and over to Sanngridr. His refill of ale forgotten for the moment.

Sann had been left to her devices after sharing some interaction with a fellow glutton called Viva, so she had chosen once more to keep eating cake. She did notice Finn pretty quickly as she grinned while licking her lips.

"Oh, an edgelord. Nice. Do you want to have a nice evening with Sann? " She said, tilting her head with a grin.

Finn visibly flinched. "Uh, no thank you. I approach on buisness, not pleasure." he frowned, shrugging off what she called him for now. "Lady Denisov requested I inform you that there's a fight, possibly the Keijo match comming up. I don't care much for it, but she probably wanted you there as audience." Finn explained.

"The who? Ah, yes! Granny Kitty. Yes, she wanted me to hunt Sanctuary enemies. Has the time come for the reckoning?" She said, closing up on Finn, without any kind of personal space whatsoever, her wings blotting out all the view. "And can I get you as prize? You seem a good prize, instead of these whatever travel around the world trips I have gotten."

The boy tried to back away from Sann, slowly becoming anxious. "F-Forgive me ma'am, you seem like a nice girl but-!" Finn gently pushed her away from him, to regain some space. "Maybe there's someone else that can trade with you, but I'm no prize!" He laughed his worries off.

"Oh, but you are a prize. Aren't all magical boys? The chosen ones, you can get almost any girl you want." Sann said chuckling. "But I have to be a nice girl. Allfather is watching, and I got in far too much trouble for chasing things that don't belong in a battlefield."

She clapped her hands. "You kinda remind me of Reaver, to be fair."

Whew, atleast she won't bother him. For now at least. Though at the mention of Reaver, Finn tilted his head with a brow raised. "Friend of yours, I'm guessing?"

"Not quite. A simp." She said. "A stupid simp who got roasted by Odin. Also is your friend tasty? He's been looking at me staring daggers."

Okay, now Finn was just unamused. "Are you saying I'm a goddamn simp?! Rude!" though before he could get an answer, Sann had turned her attention to Oliver, who was ready to intervene if she didn't leave Finn alone. "Ah. Uh, I don't know if you can, but I'd probably leave him be. Could be poisonous." Finn had a slight grimace, turning around to reassure Oliver that he was okay.

"I'm a valkyrie." Sann said. "In training." She added. "You certainly look like one. Well, some people are into that." The winged girl retracted her wings. "Alright, time to get down to business and stomp...uh, is that the Ascendancy tramp and Oros?"

"I think I love you. Or granny Kitty." She giggled.

Before Finn could say anything else, Oliver had hurried over and grabbed him by the shoulders, pulling him away from the deranged valkyrie. "Thank ya very kindly for your time Madam, but my friend here isn't looking for a relationship at the moment and we should really get back to our seats, okay? Ciao~!" With that, the ghost would drag Finn back to their table.

"You look way tastier anyway. Ah well...time...for...fighting." She trailed off.

Once the duo was back to safety, Oliver sat Finn down before sitting in his chair again. "You okay? She didn't try anything with you did she??" If one observed close enough, the ghost's tone when talking with Finn was different from if he was talking to someone else.

Finn only shuddered. "Thankfully no. Strange one, she is."

Oliver looked at him for a moment, then sighed. "You got to be more careful, Finn. We're not in Kansas anymore, and who knows what may try to hurt us both. You didn't even get more ale did you?"

The other boy glanced down at his empty cup. "...Oh."

"It's fine. I can manage her." Dina said, as she offered a pitcher to Finn. "I just needed to get away from people for the time being."

"Eh, whatever keeps her from hurting 'em." Oliver shrugged. While Finn held out his glass for Dina to pour him a refill.

"Thank you, Lady Denisov." Finn said to her with a polite smile.

"Denisova." Dina said. "Russian girl surnames have different endings." Dina corrected. "Tis' a fine piece that girl. Took too much power at once... without having the ego to hold it at bay. Sanctuary was practically made for these cases... And I don't want to risk a second outburst by telling Her Highness about Oros."

"Ah, right. Forgive me once more, if you can." Finn nervously chuckled, scratching the back of his head. Then Dina explained what the deal with Sann was. Both boys' eyes widened.

"Wait, so we're dealin' with a Monster Queen teetering towards going full ballistic on us? You do have a plan in case that happens, don't ya?" Oliver appeared concerned. "And who the hell is this Oros chick???"

"Not quite a Queen. But if someone keeps feeding her coins, she will. " Dina said. "As for Oros it's a long story. Loves to get thrills and attention." Dina said.

"Coins?? She's not part seagull is she- Ow." Oliver tried to joke, but got interrupted by Finn elbowing him.

"Well regardless, we'll keep an eye out." Finn nodded.

"Devourer and Destroyer. I think." Dina said, her eyes narrowing at Oliver. "You seem to forget that restrained monster girls and monster boys are the exception rather than the rule, mister."

Oliver quickly straigtened himself up. "Sorry ma'am, will behave ma'am."

"Don't worry about him, we look out for each other. As long as anyone he cares for doesn't get badly hurt, he won't be tearing down the place any time soon." Finn whispered to Dina, explaining Oliver's mental mutation.

Dina just blinked. "Come to think of it, we do need more knights at Sanctuary. Shane is not even a monster boy, and while we appreciate his work... more monster kind would actually appease the more radical of the individuals."

The two looked at each other, taking a moment to discuss between themselves. Afterwards, they looked back to Dina. "Well...after we catch up with our patron, we can visit the Sanctuary and see if we can help some. Is that alright with you?" Finn asked.

"As long as you do not belong to the Ascendancy...which I doubt." Dina said. "You are most welcome, even if the Sanctuary is supposed to be hidden these days."

At the mention of the Ascendancy, Finn furrowed his brows. "Don't worry. We know better than to associate with them." He reassured Dina, Oliver gently patting his back.

Dina raised an eyebrow. Maybe these two were lovers? Queer things she had seen in her days... It was then when a couple of wings engulfed her, as an all too familiar Valkyrie was invading someone else's space as well.

"Cute kitty wants to fight that stupid Ascendancy... I will help. But let me pet you before..." Sann had said.

"Shit." Oliver swored under his breath with Sann appearing next to Dina. While Finn didn't say anything himself, not yet. He was curious. He wanted to see how Dina could handle someone like her.

Dina tensed up, very much like an unwilling cat at first, at her invasion of her personal space. "After." She said deliberatedly eyeing Sann. "And I will let you eat tea and pastries." She cooed towards the rude monster girl, who just tilted her head.

" good." She said, before releasing Dina and skipping a couple of steps. "I need to whack them, right?"

"At Keijo...actually."

"Sounds boring...but alright, Granny Kitty." She pouted, as she began to walk once more towards the crowd.

"Hm..." Finn watched as Sann left them be again, then turned back to Dina. "Not bad."
Everyone was arriving and a flurry of gifts were being given out. Scurrying around the Djinn girl was doing her best to sort out any issues with gifts of the like. Melisa for instance got a bunch of chocolates that she couldn't even eat. For the moment it didn't seem like anyone was up to trading with the doll girl so Ruby assured her she could replace it with an alternative.

"Well we can work something out. Let me see." The girl held up her clipboard and flipped to a short list of alternatives. While she looked Kayli and Eliza arrived. "One moment, I need to- Oh." She noticed that the parent wish had been accepted by the now woman. She would walk over and put her hands on her hips, shaking her head. "Kayli, Kayli. Why am I not surprised." She didn't elaborate further, though perhaps she didn't need to. Eliza had gotten her gift and she handed Kayli hers. "Merry Christmas!"

Opening her gift Kayli found that she had the chance to revive someone of her choice. This was quite a gift. For a bit she considered who she could bring back. After a bit though she decided to wait and figure out what to do with it. Somehow she felt there were others that could make better use of it than herself. "Thank you very much."

Leaning down a bit she motioned to Ruby. "This is the girl you can ask about the age thing."

"Hm?" She looked back and forth between the two.

Eliza appeared nervous. "Uhm, yeah! I saw whatever-you-did turn Kayli into an adult, and uh, mentioned that some magicals would want their ages back cause of the whole adult-turned-kid thing!" she'd start to explain. "And well, both Kayli and Connie suggested that I go to you, and see a-about helping me get my actual age back. W-Without turning me mundane, of course!"

Giving a look to the woman for a moment, she nodded her head from side to side. "Well, I can only do something like that so many times. What age are we talking?" For now she would humor the thought. At this time she had a greater access to her patrons magic to grant all of these gifts being handed out.

The witch scratched at her cheek. "I was twenty-five when Maura hired me. I-If you can't go that far, maybe somewhere between my age now and that?"

Tapping on the clipboard a bit she would glance at Melisa who was waiting in the wings. Considering something she nodded to herself. "Alright. You're in luck.then because I have something extra from a defunct wish. It should age you up somewhere between that range." Raising up a hand a life size Super Mushroom would appear in her hand.

"Mamma Mia..." Eliza's eyes lit up at the sight of the cartoony mushroom. Definetly not something you'd see everyday. She then turned her attention to her gift; the toga folded in her arms, and held it out in front of her. Eliza glanced back to Ruby. "Is this concidered a trade?"

Giving a nod she would hold out her other hand. "Yeah, I think in this case it's only fair. I was thinking about trading it to her, but I'm pretty sure she won't want it." She motioned to the doll.

With a silent "Oh." Eliza thought for a moment. She walked over to Melisa. "Hey, Melisa! Do you wanna trade gifts? I feel like you'll have more use for this than I do." With a smile, she held out the toga, offering it to the doll. "This can change into any outfit you want, and maybe it can change sizes too!"

Looking a bit surprised at the offer, the tiny girl looked at the clothing. It could change into any outfit? Something clicked with that idea and she gave a smile. Then she hesitated. "Are you sure?" She picked up the box of chocolates that she got.

"Mhm!" Eliza nodded.

"Well, thank you! I wasn't sure what I was going to do with these." She took the toga and handed the chocolates to Eliza. The item was way too big for her, but as she draped it over herself it began to shrink down to her size. "Hey it works!" She smiled with glee. For the moment though it would disappear in favor of the thematic attire.

The witch giggled. "Glad you like it!"

With that out of the way, Eliza turned her attention back to Ruby, box of chocolates in her hands. "Ah, sorry! When you mentioned trading the mushroom with Melisa, it didn't feel right just taking it from her, yknow?" She'd hold the box out to Ruby. "If the offer still stands, do you happen to take chocolate?"

Grinning a bit, Ruby took the box approvingly. "That was very nice of you. I wasn't sure what I was going to give her to be honest. Here you go." She held out the other item to Eliza to take.

Eliza grabbed the Super Mushroom. "So what should I do with this? Eat it? Absorb it like in the actual games??" She asked.

Before she could get an answer the item vanished. Characteristically to the Super Mario games, Eliza's form abruptly flickered from her younger and older self for a few frames before it stopped and she now stood as a woman in her early twenties. The dark appearance of her clothes didn't last long though as the holiday magic kicked in.

After the transformation, the now woman stood there, dumbfounded and speechless. Eliza looked herself over, looked at Ruby, then Kayli, then around the room. Then she finally found her voice.

"...H-How do I look?"

Having just watched someone rapidly age, Melisa stood there blinking for several seconds herself. "Wow, you look so pretty." The tiny girl clapped playfully.

"You look beautiful, Eliza." Kayli reaffirmed.

Eliza's face flushed slightly from the compliments, then broke into a grin. "Thanks. Oh, and thank you too, Ruby!" She thanked the Djinn girl, bowing a bit.

"You're very welcome. Merry Christmas ma'am." She winked. Her attention turned as otheres seemed intent on some kind of fighting. She sighed and shook her head. "Typical. At least it's just Keijo. That girl has no idea what she's agreeing to." The girl snickered just a bit.
Should be before the whole White Elephant thing.

Eliza was still uncertain if she could be left alone, that much was obvious. So when Kayli went to go talk with Connie and Mia, she waited nearby until they were done. What she didn't expect was Kayli turning into an actual adult as per their contract. It left the witch stunned. She knew there were magicals who could naturally age; even if their transformed state was set to a specific age, those with the Prime power, then there was rare cases like Binky. So where did that leave Kayli?

Kayli would begin to direct Connie and Mia back to the main hall to meet up with everyone else. Standing up after giving the two a loving hug she would notice Eliza's presence and look in her direction. "Eliza..." There was a brief pause as she seemed to assess the girl's reaction. She would pick up the thought though with a smile and she held her hands out to her sides. "What do you think?" Despite the change the woman didn't seem all that flustered about it.

"You've...actually grown..." Eliza blinked. After a moment however, she pouted. "Lucky! Some of us would kill to get our old ages back!"

That detail she hadn't really considered. Then again there really wasn't a way for Kayli to have anticipated the result. It could have given her a disguise or some other magical thing. The realization was evident as her expression changed from a smile to a light frown. "Mmm, I suppose you're right. I didn't really plan for this, but I wanted to fullfil a wish for Connie."

Connie herself had just finished telling Gaia about all the fun she had been having with Rose and Iris, and how she had subsequently gone sledding with Kayli and Eliza. This had also been fun, although Eliza still seemed to be on edge about something, which only got worse when Kayli had briefly left the two of them to get to know each other better, while she had an important talk with one of her other friends. That had been rather awkward for poor Connie. She always hated to see people upset, especially during holidays, but she didnโ€™t really know how to cheer Eliza up and she had always been pretty terrible when it came to socializing anyway. Thankfully, Kayli soon returned, and presented Connie with quite an astounding offer. Connie was still quite a bit stunned by the aftermath of that, when she heard the nearby Eliza say something about how some magical girls would love to go back to their original ages. Now, she herself hadnโ€™t changed ages or genders when she had become a magical girl, but she now knew from experience that some unfortunate people did. Perhaps that was why Eliza was so dejected? Maybe if she could return to her original age, she would start to enjoy herself. With this idea in mind, Connie tentatively walked over.

โ€œU-Ummโ€ฆโ€ she began hesitantly. โ€œI-If y-youโ€™d l-like t-to b-become o-older, E-Eliza, t-then w-why d-donโ€™t y-you a-ask w-whoever h-helped K-Kayli t-to h-help y-you, t-too? I-I m-mean, it is C-Christmas,โ€ she added with a nervous smile. โ€œS-So, m-maybe they could g-give y-you a C-Christmas miracle?โ€


Rubbing her chin a bit Kayli would look off into the distance. She supposed maybe Ruby could do that. Certainly was something the girl was capable of. At the moment though she wasn't really sure where to find her. The announcement about the feast and White Elephant would be called though which gave her an idea. "They might be able to help. Couldn't hurt to ask I suppose. Let's head to the hall, I'm sure they should be there. How does that sound?" She would suggest and look back to Eliza.

Eliza quickly looked between Connie and Kayli, appearing alarmed by the suggestion. "God, I-I don't know! I've gotten so used to being a kid again, I never thought of finding a way to become an adult again! Well, besides leaving my organization and turning back to normal..." she mumbled the last part, glancing to the side. "I don't even know what they'd think- What Maura would think!"

Seeing that Eliza was a bit conflicted, Kayli stepped over and put a hand on the girl's shoulder. "Don't worry too much about it. If you don't want to or aren't sure then you don't have to do anything right now. Let's just see what the rest of the event has for us first, okay?" She would reassure.

Eliza looked back to Kayli, and her expression softened. "...I'll think on it, but yeah."

With a nod Kayli would begin to lead them and before long they were all back at the hall to meet up with everyone else and receive their gifts.
Eventually all of Majora's characters would join the others in the Feast Hall, cause it'd take too long to wrangle everyone up from their collabs and groups. Eliza stuck by Kayli, still worried about her own state of mind, Amanda and Valerie regrouped and sat down next to each other, and Finn went to meet Betty's friends; Oliver soon joining him.

Maura herself didn't know where to sit. Either with Rowena or with her agents. Either way, she expected the outcome to be...not so pleasant. So she decided to remain standing nearby.

Then it was time for White Elephant. Like everyone else who had signed up, Eliza, Amanda, and Valerie were some of the few who got their presents.

Surprisingly Lily got Eliza's gift first. The witch's eyes widened when the other girl read the note outloud, then grinned when she tried the artifact out. "You're welcome, glad you like it!!" Eliza yelled back with a laugh. She then turned her attention to her own gift.

"My gift to you is any outfit you desire. Huh?"

Eliza reached into the box and pulled out a toga. Weird. Did the note get mixed up with a different present? The witch glanced the article over. She did kinda wish for a different party outfit at that moment. With that thought, the toga changed into a basic santa dress. Oh. "So that's how that works. Neat!"

Then Fanfan, who Valerie recognized as one of the Ascendancy members, got the android's gift. A heavenly cake, fit for royalty. She didn't think much of her choice but from Fanfan's reaction, she probably made a good one. Valerie smiled slightly, then read her note.

"My gift to you is a glance of what could've been."

Without looking into the box, Valerie reached in and pulled out a small scroll. Must be a modified mystic artifact, she thought. She opened the scroll, and her eyes widened.

"Val? What is it??" Seeing her expression made Amanda curious. And a bit concerned. After a moment the android quickly closed the scroll and she turned to smile at Amanda.

"This thing can let me see what could've been if I didn't become a magical girl, look me in the eyes and tell me you don't seen something like that everyday!"

"That's cool, but is it a good memory or...?

"Good so far, but does it matter right now? Come on, open yours!"

Being egged on did make Amanda a bit nervous. She carefully grabbed her present's note.

Uhm, my gift to you is something you've always desired."

Like the other two, she looked into the box to find a small orb of magic. It didn't seem like much, but the magician knew. The unassuming orb can turn into anything she wanted. But what did she want? "...Well, I do need a different weapon. Not that Dreamcatcher hasn't been a great spellbook, but I need something more physical, y'know?" With a bit of a push from Amanda's magic, the orb transformed into an ornate dagger, outfitted with gems associated with dreams.

Of course as soon as it did, the dagger shape shifted into a toy one as per the dimension's magic. Amanda shrugged, then pocketed her new weapon.

Seems like Amanda got Maura's gift. Or atleast, Maura thought it was. For some reason even as she signed up for the event, she didn't get a gift. It made her a bit sad. But seeing the others happy with their gifts, well, maybe it was okay.

She didn't notice Rowena approaching her until she felt something set on her head. It was the flower crown her sister was working on a few hours ago. Brows risen, Maura turned to look at Rowena, who had a warm smile on her face.

"Merry Christmas, Maura! Sorry I didn't get anything better..." Rowena nervously chuckled, scratching the side of her face.

"Oh no, don't apologize! I didn't even think to get any of you some normal gifts at all, this is perfect!" Maura reassured her, adjusting the crown. Though what she said made herself think. She didn't plan for any of this, did she? Or did she not have enough time? She was no time mage, but it seemed like a luxury these days.

Speaking of plans, it looks like someone was about to interfere with Dan's.

And just as things were going so great.

Even if Finn didn't participate in the White Elephant, that didn't excuse Rachel from threatening to screw things up. Like Alex, he started to walk over to the Beacon Inquisitor. But he took his time. He knew better than to rush someone like her, especially when tensions are high and she was prime to attack. Then Lily stepped in. Okay good, she managed to calm things down. But seeing Rachel treat the girl like that left Finn...unsatisfied. So after Dina said her piece, he continued walking to the Inquisitor, a faint scowl on his face.

"Have you no manners?? What gives you the right to make a scene like that?! For fuck sakes, this is supposed to be a party, not a bloodbath!" He whisper-yelled.

"A party?"

Rachel turned around, and looked at Finn like he was a piece of garbage.

"Calling it a party would be an insult to proper festivities. This is nothing but an indulgence in sin and depravity. It needs to be purged," she added, and stepped threateningly closer to Finn.

Even as she stepped closer to the boy, there was naught a trace of fear in his eyes. He knew he was playing with fire. Finn's brows furrowed.

"Has your pride blinded you? Have you forgotten that there are normal magicals here that may need a break like this?! I don't give a rat's ass if this is a deadly decadence in your eyes, but there are good people here that I don't want to see in bodybags!" He growled, making sure his voice remained low for the others' sake.

Rachel stopped mere inches away from him, and looked down on him, the light of the room reflecting on her glasses.
"They won't be, as long as they accept Beacon's mercy, and release themselves from gluttony and lust," she stated. "You see, I embody no pride, only my duty to a world of light and order."

Gluttony? Lust? Such preachings of the seven sins admittedly bore Finn. "You claim such hypocrisy. No one is infallible, not you, not I. We're all sinful creatures in our own ways. That's one of the many vices of being human. Unless you claim you're above us all, that is." He calmed down slightly, crossing his arms. "And if that's the case, I'd be careful not to break anyone's hands here, got it?"

Rachel scoffed. "We are all equal under the Beckoners' judgement. I am but a tool, a vessel for their holy edict. As long as there is heresy, I will cleanse it."
She turned away, glancing back. "A mere hand is nothing to a magical girl. It will heal in time for her foolish challenge." leaving those words to hang in the air, she left.

Finn clicked his tongue as the woman left. "Zealot." He uttered, walking back to his seat. A concerned Oliver watched the exchanged from his spot at the table, and once his friend sat down, the spirit slid a glass of ale to him.

"You good, man?"

Finn's expression softened once he looked back at Oliver, at Betty and those around them. The boy sighed. "I'm good, Oli. Just can't stand those types." With a sip of his drink, he silently rooted for Lily in her challenge. Someone's gotta put that woman in her place, he thought.

At the broadcasted announcement of the next event, Maura woke up from her nap. Or was it that she was awake the whole time, but just didn't bother to move? The main factor would be the harebringer soundly asleep in her arms either way. Quietly she stood up, not wanting to wake the hypnotic bun up, and went to set it back into it's nest. "Sorry for disturbing you." She whispered. With that out of the way, she walked back to the lodge. Maura signed up for White Elephant, and she didn't want to miss out on that. At least.
They won? They actually won??

Seems Finn and Betty shared the same sentiment. He wasn't able to count how many racers were in front or behind them, and the whole parachute wings thing could've slowed him down depending on wind speed. So when Dan called them out as the winners, his eyes widened in a genuine shock. "We...won??" He uttered, looking down at the snowbun coin the host gave him. It was kind of ironic. The beast magic specialist, winning another pet he could summon. He decided to go ahead and use the coin then and there.

In an attempt to test the new perk out he felt a snowbun hop onto his head, the same one as before. Finn reached up to hold it in front of him; staring blankly at it, then hugged it close to him, burrying his face into the snowbun's cold floof. A content hum was heard, if not muffled. When Betty suggested they walk together to the feast hall, Finn slightly looked back up to nod. "Everyone seems to be gathering there anyways. Why not?"
*Casually hides knife in pocket* Problem?
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