User has no status, yet


User has no bio, yet

Most Recent Posts

Speed Demons

Word Count: 3,425 words
EXP: +4
Rapport: Primrose/Zenkichi +4

Being transported into a new plane of existence would always be a strange and slightly unnerving experience, no matter how many times Primrose went through it. Seeing as it wasn’t even the first time that day that it had happened to her though, she recovered fairly quickly.

‘Connected Climbing Chaos’ was going to be their first event, and it was really all in the name. Ballyhoo was nice enough to elaborate further before their location was changed once more, with the mountain they’d be climbing towering over them.

A large gray knitted band fit over Primrose’s head at an angle, protecting her ears and forehead from the chill but leaving her hair and the rest of her face uncovered. A matching pair of knitted leg warmers covered the area from her ankles to her knees, putting her bare thighs into contrast whenever her dress shifted enough to expose them. She glanced down at the climbing gloves on her hands before finding the rope tied around her waist and tracking its length to one of the more unassuming and plain looking men from the city team.

The brief introduction earlier painted Zenkichi to be on the more friendly side, but even so Primrose couldn’t help but think with some irony about being tethered to a man, physically this time. Hopefully he didn’t catch the sharp, wry smile on her face before it quickly morphed into a much more pleasant expression.

"Zen-ki-chi," she said, putting emphasis on the syllables of his name. "My name is Primrose, if you didn’t catch it earlier. I’m not sure how well I’ll do at this kind of game. I’ll be in your hands~"

Looking around the mountainous area they’d been teleported to, Zenkichi completely missed the look on Primrose’s face, a small shock of disappointment running through him that he hadn’t been tethered to a different woman, but it was replaced with a small smile and a nod.

”Ah, don’t worry about it. With some of the other guys we’ve got, I was definitely not gonna be doing too hot, myself. Let’s just do what we can and maybe it’ll be fun.” And maybe it wouldn’t destroy his knees, but something involving lots of climbing was probably going to wreak havoc on this old man.

Content with not placing very highly, the two of them set off on an almost leisurely pace. Their first obstacle was barely one at all, merely a pair of platforms to be jumped upon, but the series of jumps after looked a bit more daunting. And just looking at the rope holding the two together showed Zenkichi that this was going to require some technique. ”Yeah, that rope is definitely not long enough for us to go one by one…” He said, frowning a little.

"And it looks like they did something to my floating scarf, so no taking the easy way out," Primrose said, picking at the shimmery white material. The runes that allowed its wearer to fly had all dimmed as if they'd already been spent.

They engaged in some people watching, gathering information as other pairs tried, failed, and tried again to get across the long jump until they made it. Some had more unique ways of getting to the other side, but one way seemed to be the most straightforward and successful method: leveraging each other's weight and momentum to swing partners across almost at once. Primrose looked at Zenkichi.

"Want to give it a try?"

Watching the gap, Zenkichi pondered the best way to make use of their tether, before coming up with an idea and nodding. ”I think I've got it.” He replied, before stepping backwards and hopping off the platform.

Primrose took a slightly wider stance to better support the man's weight. Thankfully she wasn't partnered with any of the larger members of the group, else she might have trouble. As it was, the dancer was a little stronger than she looked and kept on her feet while holding tight to the tether. While Zenkichi swung, Primrose looked between him, the platform's edge, and their intended destination. Understanding what to do was different than actually pulling it off, so she braced herself for the feel of the rope's pull in order to time her own jump.

Zenkichi whirled under the platform and forward, the momentum of his fall pulling him in a circle and towards the front of the platform. His stomach lifted a bit, but he grit his teeth and trusted Primrose to time the jump properly, though if they messed this up the fall wouldn’t be terribly harsh, at least.

The rope tying the two of them together kept its slack and both were sailing the small distance to the rock face on the other side of the snow filled pit. With the benefit of seeing the practice of others' for their first time trying the swing and fling technique Primrose and Zenkichi did pretty well. As the second jumper, Primrose didn't quite clear the gap entirely, but she stuck to the cliff with the aid of the climbing gloves until her partner reeled her in.

They could see part of how the course continued from there. It went diagonally up at a steeper angle than the path they'd just come from, but it didn't look like there would be another wide gap for a little while. It would still take coordination to continue the climb, but it was doable. They began to make their way up, taking the time to pause or go at the same time while they jogged to each jump. Above and below them they could hear shouts and thumps of fallen pairs who were taking a less slow and steady approach.

"Let me know if you'd like to pick up our pace," Primrose said casually as they came upon the next place they'd have to swing. "I have something for that."

”I wouldn't say no to that. It's funny, I've actually got a speed buff spell we could've used, but I'm not sure I can summon Valjean in this place.” Zenkichi paused, thinking. Could he summon Valjean? Sukukaja would be useful here…

A moment later, Zenkichi transformed into his Phantom Thief attire, and behind him, a spectral figure appeared before slowly fading into invisibility. ”So yeah, that's Valjean. My Persona. Lets me do a bunch of cool stuff. Just wanted to check if I could still get him in here. You said you had something we could use?”

Primrose had stepped away from him in order to prepare for a dance, but she put that on hold since the surprise revelation.


The way Primrose said the one word, it was that she was surprised Zenkichi had such a thing rather than being confused about what it was. So he was from the same world as Ann, Alibaba, and their friends? No, more than that, his outfit change indicated something else...

"You're one of the Phantom Thieves?" she asked. She wasn't sure, since he seemed much older than they were. Perhaps he was a mentor figure of some sort?

Zenkichi’s guard rose when Primrose asked him if he was one of the Phantom Thieves. Staring into her eyes, he let out a breath and relaxed. ”I am. The latest addition to the team, but back in our world we worked together to take down a corrupt businessman and the AI program he was trying to use to control the world. I guess you were on that other team with them before you all got split up?” He asked, concern evident in his voice for his allies.

That he was their latest edition, instead of the mentor Primrose figured, was an amusing detail. Still, hearing the worry Zenkichi held in his voice for the kids made Primrose soften somewhat. She hadn't been hostile to him, instead keeping up her more friendly facade around the man since he was still basically a stranger, but the genuine concern he showed for the Phantom Thieves went a long way to endearing himself with the dancer - though unbeknownst to him entirely.

"I was," she replied. "They've been looking for their lost friends. We managed to find two of them before we parted ways, but there are still some out there, somewhere." Alibaba's other half, Sakura, came to mind. Primrose shook her head slightly, then flashed Zenkichi a small, warmer smile than before. "I like to think I got to know some of them pretty well. If you're a part of their group, I'm sure they'll be delighted to see you when we manage to meet again."

Zenkichi smiled a little at the thought. ”Yeah, I kinda miss those kids. And it’d be good to know they’re doing alright in here, what with everything going on…” Trying not to let everything that happened in Midgar get to him, he nodded. ”And I think I heard Joker made one of the freakin’ Guardians into a Persona?” Somehow, that just fit that kid so well.

"Oh yes," she said, recalling the Red Eye's defeat and absorption quite well. It was probably the best outcome.

Eventually they really had to get going if they didn't want to end up last. So on that note Primrose bid Zenkichi to mind the rope between them as she took her starting pose.

"The Panther Dance," she purred, beginning to flow into the motions of her performance. It was a smooth, quick-footed dance that increased the speed of whomever she performed it for, which was only Zenkichi at the moment in order not to spread the effects to all of her allies, on the off chance every other pair was suddenly boosted. Of course she'd have to buff herself as well in order to keep up with him, but with practiced step she could move from the end of the first dance into the start of the second seamlessly as though it was a single dance.

When it was finished she glanced at partner. "How's that?"

Zenkichi’s eyebrows were raised at the dance, and at the very noticeable effect that it had on him, making him feel lighter, not unlike Sukukaja did. ”Dang, that’s actually pretty good. I just remembered that my speed-boosting spell can only affect one person at a time, though. Still, was worth a thought.” He mused as he looked towards the next obstacle, another rather long jump that would likely require them to swing underneath the platform.

His partner chuckled. "I've something for that too, if you're so inclined." She supposed if it resulted in accidentally giving the others a speed buff too, it wouldn't be the worst since collectively she and Zenkichi would have two.

”I mean, it’s worth a shot, I guess. Valjean!” Summoning his Persona once more, Valjean appeared in a burst of blue flames, raising his chains above him. ”This one only lasts a minute, though, so once you’re done, we better get a move on!” He warned.

Primrose nodded, and went right into the steps of the more sensual Sealticge's Seduction. This dance was as potent as it was provocative, and once she was finished she let her audience of one know so he could cast his spell.

”Sukukaja!” Zenkichi cried, another burst of energy flowing through him. As advertised, the energy poured not just through him, but into Primrose as well, spreading its effects.

Zenkichi wasted no time in dropping below and swinging, and this time, they cleared the jump easily with the benefit of both their boosted speed and a bit of practice from earlier. ”Now that’s what I’m talkin about!” He cheered.

Primrose joined him not a moment later, jumping when he was at the apex of his arc. She didn't voice her thoughts aloud like he did, though it was clear she too was having fun with their newfound speed.

Together they made short work of the next couple of sections, though not without several close calls. The increase in speed was exhilarating, but also made traversing the mountain more treacherous. The ice and snow didn't help that fact, and just when the unlikely duo had actually managed to pass a couple other pairs the danger of going too fast hit them. After another successful swing, Primrose landed on one of the small floating rocks but promptly slid off, her momentum sending her slipping forward over the side of it. She let out a soft "oh" in place of a gasp, about to go into free fall and take Zenkichi with her.

Zenkichi, right behind Primrose, watched the Dancer slide right off the edge of the rock and managed to get out a panicked ”Oh shi-” before he went right over the edge with her, flailing in mortal terror, watching the ground get closer and closer until they landed with an unceremonious thump, Zenkichi breathing heavily before realizing he was still alive. ”Oh, right, the hat guy said damage was disabled, didn’t he…?” The Phantom Thief mused, scratching the back of his neck. ”That was still terrifying though. Let’s, uh…not do that again.”

Standing up, he offered a hand to Primrose, sighing. ”And there goes all that lead that we got there, though I guess that’s what we get for trying to rush through it so much. Ah, oh well. It was still pretty fun until the whole ‘falling to your not-death’ thing.” A bit on the optimistic side, but he hadn’t expected to have ever really been in the lead in the first place, so it wasn’t much of a loss to him.

Primrose gingerly took his hand and let him help her to her feet. Dusting herself off she glanced up from where they’d fallen. "It was fun," she agreed. Also with the fact that maybe two speed buffs was too much. ”And I suppose there's nothing more we can do than go again."

”All there is to it, yeah.” Zenkichi agreed, turning back to the climb ahead of them. It’d be quite a bit of work to get back to where they were, but having already done it once, they had a fairly good idea of what would work and what would land them in the snow. On the way back up, without the exhilaration of their enhanced speed, however, Zenkichi noticed something…odd. There were streaks of blood in the snow, though when he stopped to look at them, the volume reminded him that the other team of Seekers did have somebody who could disassemble their body on a whim. ”Well, that’s not gross at all.” He nevertheless complained.

"Courtesy of Ms. Fortune, I'm sure." Primrose knew she was partnered with Therion, and having gotten to know both thieves (whether in her home world or here) she certainly didn't put it past either of them to set up some kind of trap.

Stepping over and around the blood, a small grimace on his face, Zenkichi jumped to the next platform and prepared to swing once more. ”So, how did things go on your end? Aside from getting the job done, that is. Midgar was…a bit of a mess. Always has been, at least as far back as my memory living there goes.”

"I've heard some about it from Midna already. As for the Under..." she trailed off, not very keen on going into detail about what they'd seen and done after already chatting about it a little with the Twilight Princess and Queen of Floralia. A byproduct of her pause was the slightly dramatic effect it created, but rather than leave Zenkichi in suspense she gave a simple answer. "...it was unpleasant. Hopefully it improves now that the source of its plague is gone."

And, because she just couldn't help herself apparently, she asked after a moment's hesitation, "...how far back do you remember? You've been in that place, Midgar, the entire time?"

Zenkichi paused at the question, stopping to really think. ”It’s…really fuzzy and vague. I know I’ve lived there for a few years, but trying to remember how long, it just…doesn’t work. I don’t know if my memories are even real, or if Galeem just created a facsimile of my life in Japan and replaced a bunch of places in my head. But I can remember at least two or three years of living in Midgar. That much I know for sure.” It was sort of existentially terrifying, knowing that at least some of his life was either false, or an implanted copy of a memory from the life he lived before Galeem.

He tried not to let it bother him, though his face betrayed some of that discomfort. ”I…haven’t really thought much about what that means, to be honest. I’m trying not to.” It was freaky to think about, really. They had plenty more climbing to do, which Zenkichi gestured towards, careful not to get too lost in conversation. When things got intense, he made sure not to distract Primrose, or himself. But when they found another series of short jumps, he added one more thing.

”What’s weirdest about it is that I’m basically trying to unscrew up my relationship with Akane again. My daughter,” he added quickly, ”Because boy, was I a rotten father for a while both times around after Aoi died…Ah, sorry, that got heavy all of a sudden.” He backpedaled quickly, knowing how weird it could get when he got reminiscey.

The dancer mentally filed away Zenkichi's timeline. The big mystery of it all, or part of it anyway, had already been revealed to her - but she still felt it important to keep track of how far back people could remember. For her, it was a scant few weeks. She didn't reply, especially since her partner hadn't asked, content for now to listen to Zenkichi tell part of his story as they gradually climbed back up the mountain.

The next piece of information he volunteered came as a surprise. Not only did Zenkichi have a daughter, but she was with him. He'd said "trying" - present tense. Primrose didn't say anything for a few moments, full of conflicting feelings as she was. Figuring that Zenkichi's apology might mean he thought she was uncomfortable with the conversation, she was quick to tell him, "it's fine."

A daughter, hm? she thought. In her opinion, Zenkichi was much too forthcoming with things like that. If he told the wrong person, it could put her in danger. Moreover though, the relationship between father and daughter had always been something of a sore spot for her. She didn't know Zenkichi well enough to dispute his comment about being a rotten father; but even if it was true and the man was trying to make amends, then Akane probably didn't know how lucky she had it that he was still in her life.

Eventually, after some awkward silence, Primrose offered him some advice. "...the best thing you can do, I think, is let her know you're there for her. And, then, be there for her."

Zenkichi paused, nodding. ”I think, for now, that’s probably the best thing I can do. She’s hanging out with her new pet on the ship we came in on now, sounded like she thought a carnival was too old-fashioned for her. Gotta admit, compared to an invisible flying ship the size of a small town, she’s probably right, but…am I really that old?” He complained rhetorically. His knees could tell him that he was.

At this point though, the conversation really was distracting Primrose and slowing them down. If they wanted to even complete the course, they'd have to pick up the pace. "Well, let's get going."

They hunkered down for a few more swings, focusing on cooperation instead of speed. Steadily making up for their lost time, they arrived at the mines.

As they crossed the threshold into the mines, Zenkichi breathed a sigh of relief. It was a little warmer in here, though as he looked ahead and noticed platforms moving, his relief turned into mortification. ”Ah. I see it’s only going to get worse.”

The way forward did seem daunting. They'd gotten a pretty good workout so far, exercising some muscles seldom used (at least on the dancer's part), so Primrose would be fine bowing out at this point. Then again, maybe that was against the spirit of the game. She took her time catching her breath at least, glancing down to see how far a fall would send them.

"Taking our time has worked so far. " Hopefully it would work the rest of the way too.
Geralt of Rivia & Zenkichi Hasegawa

Carnival Town

Lvl 13 Geralt (97/130) -> Lvl 13 (98/130) (+1 pending)

Lvl 7 Zenkichi - (23/70) -> Lvl 6 (24/70)

Word Count: 389 words

Their pieces said, Geralt and Zenkichi were rather taciturn for the remainder of the meetup, with Geralt mulling over the loss of Omori and the other Seekers, and Zenkichi just trying to people-watch and piece together who was who, and what everybody meant to each other. It was a bit of doing, and he definitely got the heebie-jeebies from Ganondorf, and a bit from Sectonia, but by the time they made it to the Big Top, the detective felt like he had a basic rundown of some of what was going on. Geralt did make sure to find a moment to give Nadia a short nod, though part of her still felt a bit uneasy at her current situation.

Cocking an eyebrow at Ballyhoo's over-the-top explanations, Geralt quickly made her way to grab a quick snack, getting some kind of confectionary consisting of peanuts covered in chocolate. The snack was rather tasty, though just as quickly devoured. Still, having something in her stomach after that fight with Z helped settle her nerves more, and she sighed. Competition for rewards, huh? With the possibility of getting a powerful Spirit to bolster herself with? It was almost too good to be true. Was it, in fact, too good to be true? What she was overhearing from some of the others indicated that these sorts of things were normal, but she was still a bit put off by the fact that this all seemed to be effectively free, except for the snacks. "Are we...sure this isn't some kind of trap?" She asked, eyes narrowing to slits.

"Honestly, this seems legit to me. This is classic video game stuff, and uh..." Lowering his voice, he slide next to Geralt and leant in. "Where I come from, I know for a fact Peach and Bowser come from a famous series of games. I don't know what that means about Galeem, or multiple universes, but...well, some things really are just what they seem." He stood back up as he said that last part, biting his lip nervously. Should he have said that? He felt like he recalled Geralt mentioning something about multiple worlds where she came from, but he wasn't sure if it was a good idea to even give those ideas to others. It was just...

So weird to him!
Geralt of Rivia & Zenkichi Hasegawa

Carnival Town

Lvl 13 Geralt (96/130) -> Lvl 13 (97/130) (+1 pending)

Lvl 7 Zenkichi - (22/70) -> Lvl 6 (23/70) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 699 words

The display on the Avenger's Bridge of the World of Light caught Zenkichi's interest almost immediately, and he found himself looking over it with Dawn and Sandalphon, though the latter was deeply focused on it. He had no idea just how massive the World of Light was, though he supposed there wasn't much reason for him to have, having only been free for a few days now. A lot of the names were definitely not from Earth, though he recognized one or two names from games like Mario, which gave him pause. He felt like he'd heard mention of Bowser, and Princess Peach had been with them in Midgar. Just what the hell was Galeem? Did infinite universes exist, and one just so happened to at least superficially resemble one of the most famous video game franchises from his world? Weird.

The introduction to Vandham, informal as it was, gave Zenkichi a little more info about where they were supposed to have been going. It seems like the attack on that Alcamoth place cost them a lot, but at least Geralt's wife was okay, and helping keep the new location for civilians safe. He'd have to see what happened with Akane, if the Avenger would be best with her trying to help out here and there, or settling her into this Markarth place. She was used to him being away for a few days at a time, though mostly from Japan instead of Midgar, so hopefully that wouldn't be too stressful if that was the route they took.

Soon enough, though, the Seekers were called to head to the Deployment Bay, and from there they got a crash course in high-impact altitude adjustment, both downwards and upwards. Death trap pods aptly named Hellpods, and a portable balloon device that put so many g's on you that it could knock you out.

Zenkichi gulped, while Geralt frowned with displeasure. Must people come up with such horrific modes of transportation? This might actually be worse than portals, and even the mere thought of that being the case disturbed Geralt. Still, at least Sandalphon seemed to enjoy it. Her deadpan voice the first go, before she teleported back onto the ship, didn't give much away, but her excitement to go again sure did.

Zenkichi took a few moments to text Akane a quick update, to which he received a sarcastic "Go ahead, dad, I'm just gonna hang out with Maru on the totally lame invisible megaship. Have fun at your carnival, old man." Yeah, he couldn't blame her for finding this place cool, especially with her nerves starting to settle.

So it was that Zenkichi and Geralt took one of the later batches of Hellpods down, landing not far from one another and racing to meet up with the Seekers while Midna was having an argument with one of the newer members of the other team, and Nadia completely failed to recognize Geralt. Though, she hardly looked like she had the last time Nadia saw her. As a quick proof of identity, Geralt drew her silver sword and rolled her eyes. "It's me. Fused with a few Spirits since we last saw one another. Though it looks like you've done a bit of Fusing yourself, even if you're still unmistakably Nadia." She greeted the other Seekers that they'd split up with, though took note of a few missing members. Ace, Rubick, and Big Band included among them.

Zenkichi, on the other hand, was meeting all of these new folks for the first time, and he was...a bit overwhelmed. A flying Bee Lady, Literally Bowser (Holy shit actually literally Bowser), a cat girl, and thankfully some kind of normal-looking people. "Hey, nice to meet you guys. I'm Zenkichi, new to the team. Geralt beat me up and shoved a magic heart inside me. Then we toppled a corrupt government and accidentally destroyed a city with millions of people living in it. I, uh...hope your Guardian went smoother!" Scratching the back of his neck awkwardly, Zenkichi shrugged. "At least we took care of it, though. Would've sucked to show up without anything to say for it, jeeze."
Zenkichi Hasegawa

Skies of Dystopia

Lvl 6 Zenkichi - (80/60) -> Lvl 7 (22/70)

Word Count: 808 words

As all of the Seekers boarded the Avenger, Zenkichi found himself looking around, a little awestruck, while he went with Akane to the living quarters. The ship was just so dang big. Akane was still a bit freaked out from the attack, but seeing that her dad and the others seemed to be okay was helping calm her nerves, along with being on a ship much bigger than the Virgin Victory. It'd take a lot more than a few thunderbolts from Z to take the Avenger down.

When the pair got to the living quarters, they looked around for an open set of bunks before settling down, sitting together on one of the couches. "Listen, Akane...I'm sorry things didn't work out the way I was hoping they would. I thought that they'd have a safe place for us to stay, and while it sounds like they do...it was a lot harder getting there than I think either of us expected."

Akane let Maru out of her Pal Sphere, cuddling the Cremis as she listened to her father. "I...don't think you could have predicted basically Zeus coming after us, dad. Though finding out that you guys basically destroyed Midgar was...a lot. Like, how did you even do that? Why did you do that? Those...all those people without power. I know Midgar was a bad place, but..." As the reality of the situation started to settle in, Akane looked more and more distraught, clutching Maru close and trying not to cry or get angry.

"We, uh...definitely did not expect that to happen. What they're...what we're trying to do is destroy these Guardians that are protecting Galeem. That's the thing that brought us here. And unfortunately...the Guardian in Midgar was this weird machine thing that was hooked up to a bunch of portals and generating energy for Midgar. So when we destroyed it...we took down Midgar's power source. They were lying about the Mako reactors, though I wonder if those things are even safe, or even work. I...trust me, Akane, I wasn't happy about it, either, but...honestly, Midgar was such a horrible place, I feel like whatever comes next can only be better. And I know it's terrible to say that about so many people losing their homes, but it was constantly under attack. Shinra never really cared about people, General Affairs was corrupt, and DesporHado wasn't much better. I just hope they can get a new start...if it even really makes a difference." Zenkichi sighed, shaking his head.

"We don't even know what comes after this. After Galeem is gone. How it's all gonna go. If...we'll even remember any of this. I don't wanna just pretend nothing we do matters, but...when it's the fate of like a jillion universes at stake, I can kind of see why people say the ends justify the means. I don't like it, and I'm not gonna just start killing people or anything, but...it just sucks." Zenkichi chuckled bitterly, before sighing again.

Akane forced a crooked smile, giving her dad a vaguely condescending pat on the thigh. "It's okay, dad. At least you're trying, now." She half-joked, prompting another chuckle from Zenkichi.

"Yeah, at least I'm trying, hah. I just wanna do the right thing, and in this screwed up place it feels like that's harder to do than it used to be. But I'm still trying." Akane groaned a little, letting her head fall back.

"Dad, you're not cool, stop trying to be." She chuckled a little, squeezing Maru and burying her face in her fluffy mane. "But...thanks, dad. For trying. So, uh...what's the deal with those weird clothes?"

Zenkichi laughed at that, shaking his head. "I genuinely don't think you'd believe me if I tried to explain it." He deflected, not wanting to go into it. "But it was described to me as the spirit of rebellion inside me. And yes, I know, I'm not a cool rebellious dude or anything. He cut off any rebuttal with a roll of his eyes. "But I'm trying to make this world a little better for people. And get us all home." Akane nodded, petting Maru lovingly.

"Yeah. Uh, if you wanna go and meet up with the others and like, do a strategy meeting or whatever you do, I think I'm just gonna hang out with Maru for a while..." Akane plopped her face into Maru's fur, cuddling the Cremis to calm down more.

"Alright, Akane. I love you, kid. Even if you're a giant pain in my butt." Zenkichi joked, headpatting his daughter softly with a chuckle.

"You deserve it." Came a muffled response from Maru's fur as Zenkichi left. As he left, passing by the bridge, he ran into Sandalphon and Dawn, who were exiting.

"Oh, hey you two. What's up?" He asked.
Geralt of Rivia & Zenkichi Hasegawa

Skies of Dystopia

Lvl 13 Geralt (90/130) -> Lvl 13 (92/130) (+1 pending)

Lvl 6 Zenkichi - (78/60) -> Lvl 6 (80/60) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 780 words

As the battle raged on even harder, Geralt transformed into her Ardor Blossom form, knocking Zeustrikes out of the sky with fireballs, but taking more heat in return. Z punished each Zeustrike's demise with a bolt of lightning, and then simply summoned more. They couldn't be ignored, however, as they flitted around, hurting every Seeker they could land an attack on.

Zenkichi was doing his best to purge the statuses that Z and the Zeustrikes gave out, but his buffs were powerful and far apart, meaning that within a few seconds, whoever he managed to cleanse would likely be Charged and Jolted again. It was rough going, and once Midna's will broke and she retreated, things started to look even more bleak as Z commanded his minions to pepper the Seekers with shavings of iron, furthering increasing their electrical conductivity and rendering them more vulnerable to electric damage.

It was after this point that Sandalphon reached out to Commander Nelson, requesting a change of plan to escape. Sandalphon and Goldlewis unleashed powerful attacks, forcing Z off and heavily damaging the Zeustrikes, and defeating many of them outright. Geralt and Zenkichi filled the air with fireballs and bullets, Zenkichi sighing after his revolvers clicked empty, and Geralt relaxing with satisfaction after the last was destroyed, and the Virgin Victory's shields came up.

Geralt returned to her natural Identity, and Zenkichi let out a long sigh, shoulders slumping. He was just about depleted again, maybe having a few more Triple Downs or -kaja buffs in him. A Heat Riser or Megidola would probably wipe him out, though. Their relief was short lived, with Z bursting through the cloud cover in a completely expected manner, booming that they'd only made their inevitable crash-landing even worse. Zenkichi and Geralt locked eyes, nodded, and prepared for combat once more, before pausing to stare at the massive ship that appeared before the Virgin Victory.

Watching the absolute smackdown that occurred after the fighters burst from the new ship, Zenkichi laughed, hooted and hollered, completely confident that these daredevils had the fight, though Geralt watched with narrowed eyes. That almost looks like Dante, but certainly not the way I remember her. But those three girls are unmistakable as the ones Link freed from that Gaol. Silently, he smiled. That meant they'd know what happened to Yennefer. Good.

Not long after, the Virgin Victory landed and the Seekers disembarked near the Avenger. Akane was practically clinging to her father, who was more than willing to reassure his daughter. While their relationship was sometimes acerbic, the time they'd had to remember the mending that the Thieves had helped them do was easing the tension. It didn't hurt that he'd just risked his life to protect her, either.

When Tora came out of the Avenger, Poppi right at his side, Geralt had to pause. Knowing what she knew, it should have been possible, but...they'd mentioned that Poppi was lost in the Valley when the robots attacked. So...how did Tora get her Spirit back?

Zenkichi was just thrilled to learn that that doomed expedition had been just a little less terrible. Poppi wasn't the only casualty of that mission, but...well, he couldn't blame the others for celebrating having their friend back. It was a lot easier not to think about the people they'd known for a couple of hours, the mercs that had gone out with them. Even for him.

The matter of Poppi's Spirit was explained after a couple of questions by Roxas, and Geralt was...only somewhat surprised to hear about the help from the Organization. He knew Roxas didn't trust them, their leader in particular, but they'd been nothing but helpful so far, even if their help was not always practical in nature. Still, having Poppi, and by extension Tora, back was great.

"It's Geralt, by the way. Flirt with me at your own risk." She made sure to clarify, knowing that neither had seen her since her latest round of Fusions. Zenkichi gave a chuckle to that, though he had no idea just how far Tora's flirtatious ways went when it came to attractive women. Geralt might have had some weird stuff inside her at the moment, but the warning wasn't unwarranted.

The discussion surrounding their new allies, where they had come from, and the...ramifications of Galeem's defeat put a bit of a damper, on the mood, but Geralt looked to Dante, Cirrus, and Dawn, and stepped forward. "Where's Yennefer? On the ship, or did she have you drop her off somewhere?" The possibility that she didn't survive had not once occurred to Geralt, and to even entertain the notion would have felt like a betrayal.
Geralt of Rivia & Zenkichi Hasegawa

Everdream Valley- Virgin Victory

Lvl 13 Geralt (89/130) -> Lvl 13 (90/130) (+1 pending)

Lvl 6 Zenkichi - (77/60) -> Lvl 6 (78/60) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 605 words

Climbing to the roof of the Virgin Victory with the others, Geralt sighed as she saw the approaching form of Consul Z on his chariot. Zenkichi, decked out once more in his Phantom Thief attire, summoned his revolvers and took a ready position, aiming at the Consul but not quite firing. When he cried out, Geralt frowned, her face scrunching a bit. "Moebius? Already? Whoreson must actually consider us a threat." A double-edged sword in that they'd get no opportunity to get used to any of his tricks before he went all-out on them, but that he'd also have no chance to wear them down before unleashing his full might. Though something told Geralt that Z still saw this as sport rather than an existential battle.

The bolt of lightning that rocked the Virgin Victory nearly sent her stumbling, but she widened her stance and cast Quen, protecting herself as Zeustrikes began attacking.

Zenkichi opened up with a barrage of Spectral bullets from Valjean, courtesy of a Triple Down that blasted a small group of Zeustrikes, even managing to triple-up on one of them and knock it from the sky before it could do anything. This activated Protection Protocol from Sandalphon's covenant, and Zenkichi whistled as he felt the defensive buff protecting him, and especially so when Z landed a lightning bolt directly on him, having seen Zenkichi no-sell some of his minions. The Thief retaliated with a burst of revolver fire at the Moebius, causing the Jolted effect on him to detonate. He yelped in pain, frowning before he paused, laughing. "Oh, wow, good luck to me. Uhh...what was it. Purification Protocol!" He remembered, giving a whooping cheer as he felt something change, even though he didn't get another skill out in time to prevent Z from hitting him with a chain lightning which skipped around the Seekers, building another charge. This time, however, when he retaliated with a One-Shot Kill from Valjean at Z, the Purification effect that removed the Jolted and Charge effects saved him from a detonation. "Oh yeah, this is gonna be helpful!" Zenkichi cheered.

Geralt, meanwhile, was working on the Zeustrikes, not confident that her crossbow or Odysseus's Bow especially would do much to the Moebius harassing them. She did her best to dodge attacks from the minions, but between their quantity and the residual sluggishness from the Harbor Water Demon, she took more than a few blows. Quen lasted a decent while, and by the time it shattered she was more than ready to apply another shield, but such a strategy would not work forever. She fired her crossbow at minions one by one, knocking a couple from the sky, but Z simply summoned more as their numbers fell below his liking. Geralt took a glance out at the ocean, wishing they could dock to allow her to summon the Breaching Bastion, but as satisfying as it would be, the massive platform would only make her an easier target.

Zenkichi dodged a shot from Z, firing his revolvers at a Zeustrike to distract it from firing at Blazermate, before starting to reload. A quick glance around showed him Midna, who was not looking so good. Valjean, Rakukaja!" He cried, giving Midna both a defense boost and a status cleanse, before a blizzard landed on him, dealing a good chunk of ice damage and frosting him up a bit. Z followed up by throwing his shield between Zenkichi and some other Seekers, hitting it with a lightning bolt and causing a detonation around it.

Yeah, this ain't my favorite ride!" He jokingly complained.
Geralt of Rivia & Zenkichi Hasegawa

Everdream Valley- Virgin Victory

Lvl 13 Geralt (87/130) -> Lvl 13 (89/130) (+1 pending)

Lvl 6 Zenkichi - (69/60) 7 Collab XP + 4 Collab XP +5 Collab XP -> Lvl 6 (77/60) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 997 words

Zenkichi, Sandalphon, and Akane made great haste back to the Virgin Victory, the former two on careful lookout while their teenage charge did her best to stay calm despite the extreme caution and urgency her father was displaying. This was nothing like his usual demeanor, where he hardly ever tried to scold her, tell her she was wrong, or what to do like other parents did, too wrapped up in feeling sorry for himself. No, he was deadly serious right now, and to watch his head and eyes dart about like they were looking for a wild animal ready to attack at any moment unnerved her deeply.

They made it back safely, without any random bolts of lightning trying to kill them, or mysterious figured shooting at them or any of the many strange and terrifying scenarios she'd been half-panicked about on the run back, and Akane sighed in half relief and half annoyance. "Well, we made it back safe. What freaked you out about that storm so much?"

Zenkichi sighed, catching his breath just a little and running his hand through his hair. "Sandalphon was right, that was not a normal storm. Given the guys who are after us right now...not taking any chances. People in this place have some really weird powers, and if somebody did that? Not sure I wanna fight him."

"Yeah, trust me, you don't." Geralt announced as greeting, looking between Akane, Zenkichi, and Sandalphon with a frown. "There's a Consul, who just told me to enjoy what little time we have left. As soon as he finishes his drink, he's coming. Halo, let the others know. I'll be checking my swords over while we wait."

"Another Consul? Seriously? Guess they're getting serious now. Though, Shirogane did say they got chased by a storm, didn't they? Is it really just a coincidence that we have to deal with a third Consul in one day? Just my luck." Still, Zenkichi didn't seem quite as dismayed as his words made it seem. While Sandalphon got the word out to the others, prompting Midna to appear almost instantly, Zenkichi summoned and tested the new sword he'd just bought, finding it to be extremely heavy, but somehow still manageable. He'd chalk it up to Persona nonsense, given that Valjean also let him cast magic.

While Zenkichi tested his new weapon, Geralt gestured Akane further inside the Virgin Victory, the young girl following her curiously. "Wait...weren't you a grumpy old man with a horn this morning?" She asked, realizing from the tone of her voice who Geralt was.

"I was. Like your father said, this world that Galeem created has many strange people in it, and when they die, we can...take some of their power for our own." Akane looked at Geralt like she was crazy, then horror settled in as memories from Midgar resurfaced.

"You mean...fusing? Isn't that super illegal?" Geralt pulled out her steel sword, a rag, and her vial of Hanged Man's Venom, pouring a small amount of the deadly toxin into the rag as she sat down.

"In Midgar, it is. Most places don't seem too keen on it, given that it incentivizes killing folk." She methodically, quickly oiled her sword, Akane watching in confusion. "Where I come from, death is a common fact of life. Folk die every day. Starvation, murder, war. There are monsters who gather in places where many have died to feast on their corpses. I hunt those monsters. Some of those monsters look just like every other person on the street. People. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm telling you this."

"Uh....kinda...." Akane trailed off, a little worried by the fact that Geralt just implied she killed people.

"Your father is a good man. Maybe misguided. Maybe foolish. But a good man. He tried to save an enemy of his, only for us to be tricked by an illusion into killing him. I wanted to warn you." Satisfied with her blade, now coated in the deadly toxin, she stood, and frowned. "We may have to kill the man chasing us. In all likelihood, we will. Stay inside. He's dangerous, more dangerous than any other man you've met in your life. More dangerous than any we hope you will ever meet. My daughter walked the same path as I do, for a while. It's a lonely one. Your father doesn't want the same for you. So stay inside with the others, and no matter what happens, until your father, I, or one of the other Seekers tells you it's safe, do not come out." The last four words delivered with a slow, dark voice that reminded her of a movie villain, made Akane nod.

"Good. Hopefully we can get away. But they won't stop chasing us until either them or us are dead. I know you and your father have your problems. He means well. Cut him a little slack, would you?" Geralt tried to smile, but between her overly-stern resting face, the sword in her hand, and the knowledge that this woman in front of her was probably a lot stronger than her dad, (as much as she hated to admit her dad was actually kind of badass), Akane could only gulp and give a tiny, scared nod. What had her dad gotten them into? Akane guessed she couldn't complain, given that he was actually trying to do something now, instead of just hide scared for her like last time, but...wasn't this overcompensating?

Sighing, Geralt left Akane behind and returned to where Zenkichi, and now a few others, were. "Akane should be okay. Tried to convince her we had this. Don't think it worked. We need to get going before he shows up. Looked mostly human, has some power over electricity. Not sure how much, but enough that he's comfortable performing parlor tricks." She didn't have much information on the Consul, so she couldn't give much, but they'd just have to make do.
Geralt of Rivia

Everdream Jolt

Lvl 13 Geralt (83/130) -> Lvl 13 (87/130) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 3,286 words

As Geralt savored the giant soft pretzel she’d been brought, dipping it into and taking large portions of the cheese sauce that came with it, she thought on what the Seekers’ next move would be. Getting back in communication with the others was a given, but would they attempt to recreate what they had with Alcamoth, or develop a more decentralized system so that there would never be a single base to attack. It would probably be foolish to give the Consuls another glaringly obvious target, especially before dealing with the ones who had attacked Alcamoth in the first place. Still, all of that was of secondary importance at the moment to finding out what had actually happened to the survivors.

She sighed, tearing off another chunk and dipping it in cheese sauce before stuffing it into her mouth, savoring the rich flavor. “I love those things,” Siobhan said, coming back around for another quick chat between her few customers. “Though they’re not so great if you’re trying to watch your figure.” Geralt hummed in response to that.

“I’m active enough that it shouldn’t be a problem.” This got a chuckle out of Siobhan, who gestured to the armor and the swords on her back.

“Had a feeling. You a mercenary or something like that?”

“Yeah, something like that.” Geralt obfuscated, taking another sip of her drink.

Though Siobhan checked on her customers habitually, happy to make conversation, she could tell when someone happened to be taciturn by nature. Clearly, it would take more than one beverage to make Geralt open up about whatever might be troubling her, if indeed any demons lurked deep beneath those still waters. Of course, the same couldn’t be said for all the bar’s clientele. While the drinksmith’s Dreamjolt Hostlery maintained a quiet, intimate atmosphere, there were still customers who’d worked up a serious thirst. The more booze they quaffed, the more forthcoming they became, and Siobhan made time to listen to every one.

This didn’t apply solely to humans, either. Though the bar’s customers numbered relatively few overall, monsters seemed to be disproportionately represented among them. Geralt could see a four-eyed alien sipping a bizarre mixture, a surly yeti with a tall glass of Ice SoulGlad, an weepy horror gasping to itself, and even a beefy red alligator with a tiny wine glass. Even those that looked downright dangerous made no trouble, however, instead quietly nursing their cocktails of choice. Though the noticeable non-human presence might explain why only a handful of ordinary folks patronized this establishment, the keen observer might get another impression: that this hostelry offered something altogether different from the typical taproom in the first place. Rather than lively socialization, it offered solitude for reflection, the chance to be alone with one’s thoughts–and one’s true nature. These glasses, so thoroughly polished by the bright-eyed bartender that one could see oneself in them, were mirrors, and within the customers could find the courage to face themselves.

Geralt wasn’t feeling quite so introspective yet, but her decision to separate from the other Seekers at the first opportunity belied her own similarities with the other patrons of the bar- if her inhuman appearance didn’t.

Slowly Geralt’s Wake and Slumber dwindled, her pretzel diminished bite by bite. Outside, the sky steadily darkened, and customers came and went. While the Witcher considered getting something else, one of her fellow patrons sidled up to the bar. He appeared to be a ghoul in a suit and fedora, his fingers little more than blades, and he spoke in a whine like an old-fashioned cartoon gangster. “Ey, miss!”

Siobhan turned his way with a twinkle in her mint-green eyes, not at all put off by the ghoul’s hollow sockets or rictus grin. “Mr. Rubin, hey. How was your Wintry Garden?”

The ghoul carefully lifted a finger to his chin. “Not bad, not bad, but I’m lookin’ for somethin’ bitter, see? I ain’t lookin’ to get stuck in a rut, sinkin’ deep into all that cloyin’ sweetness. I need somethin’ that wakes me up, clears out the cobwebs, see? I wanna keep a cool head, and remember the old days like they really were!”

“Hmm…” Siobhan crossed her arms, her brows furrowed above a thoughtful smile. “Something bitter, not too strong, refreshing, with ice, that inspires a sense of nostalgia. You’re a man of rare vision, Mr. Rubin. I’m not sure anything on the menu checks all those boxes.”

Her words left the ghoul aghast. “You’re sayin’ you can’t do it!? Why, I oughta-!”

Siobhan crossed her arms with a chuckle, cutting him off. “Hah! When did I say that? I am a drinksmith, after all. Get ready for a shock, Mr. Rubin, because I’ll give you lightning in a bottle.”

Impressed with the way she accepted his vague challenge, the ghoul sat down two stools away to wait. Without delay, Siobhan got down to business, gathering a handful of ingredients from the shelves and coolers behind the bar. Her slender, practiced hands moved as if each had a mind of its own. While working, she happened to look up and catch Geralt watching. “Interested in mixology?” she asked.

“Of a sorts.” She admitted, watching the bartender mix. “Though I’ve mostly made medicinals, potions, that sort of thing.” Plenty of those, some of which she was still carrying, though she was not nearly as heavily kitted out as she’d have normally liked.

“Ah, bartender! If you’re not too busy, could I get a highball when you’re done? Liquor and ginger ale, please.” Asked a businessman who looked a bit put out by the other clientele, clearly an out-of-towner to the experienced bartender, who was occupied fashioning Mr. Rubin’s complex order.

“So, miss mercenary, how do you fancy yourself as a mixologist?” Siobhan asked, not even taking an eye off her work. The request came as a surprise to Geralt, who gave the bartender a look.

“I can mix a potion strong enough to strip paint off a plank of wood, I can probably manage my way around a drink.” She casually boasted, though she still wasn’t quite sure why she was being trusted with helping a stranger bartend. “Just point me to what I’m using and I’ll manage it.”

“Second shelf from the bottom, third bottle from the right, one and a half ounces, then take the hose with the button that says ginger ale, and fill him up.” Siobhan ordered as she measured a pour.

Geralt did as commanded, easily mixing the drink as requested with little fanfare or flourish, though she made sure to plaster an obviously-fake smile on her face as she gave the man his drink.

As the customer retreated with his beverage, Siobhan gave a nod of approval. “Easy enough, right? But mixology is like a good drink. It has layers.” As Geralt watched, she added an equal portion of pink Practitioner Pepper to the green-tinged Ice SoulGlad she’d just poured out. “When it comes to eliciting emotion, the right ingredients can create a very evocative flavor base,” she explained, using a long-handled spoon to stir the liquids into a homogeneous pale-gold solution. Carefully, the drinksmith wafted the flavor base up to her nostrils, and inhaled with her eyes closed. “Remembrance. Yearning. The fading light of yesteryear. This is the flavor base for nostalgia.” Reaching out her hand, Siobhan skimmed over a bottle of Redsunset Sauce. “Paired with sweetness, it offers comfort. You’ll end up with rose-colored glasses, but not the kind you wear on your face,” she joked with a smile.

Instead of the crimson jam, she took a narrow, tinted bottle of bright, almost alarmingly yellow liquid. “Fellblood Energy. Neither sweet nor strong, but quite stimulating.” She poured it on top of the nostalgic mix, then added a coin-shaped slice of lemon for decor. “When you see the past clearly, it can galvanize you into action. From embraced bitterness, newfound determination.” Siobhan headed over to Mr. Rubin and handed him his drink. “Here. I call it ‘Someday’.”

The ghoul’s rictus grin seemed to spread even wider. “Someday, huh? That’s when I’ll make it big. A drink as gold as my dreams!” He squeezed the lemon, then took a big gulp, simultaneously refreshed and jolted awake. “Ahh. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about, see?”

Leaving her satisfied customer to finish his drink, Siobhan returned to Geralt. “You weren’t half bad with that highball. Or serving it, for that matter. Fake smiles are the one thing I can’t make.” She shrugged, then reached for a used glass. “I get along pretty well with monsters, but people tend to find me…well, a little odd, I suppose.” As she cleaned the glass off, she laughed through her nose. “Why not whip up a little something for yourself? My treat, as thanks for helping out.”

Geralt hummed, looking around at the ingredients and nodding. “Can’t say no to that offer,” She replied, quickly coming up with an idea for her own drink. She took a base of Fellblood Energy, added half as much Rejuvenating Soda Water, a tiny amount of Dream Jam, and finished the drink with a touch of Stellar Champagne, humming at her creation with a bit of pleasure. After the morning she’d had, she could use the pick-me-up. Sitting back at the bar, she thanked Siobhan and took a long sip.

“Oh, that’s nice. I needed this.” She admitted, sighing. “Feel like I’ve been going in circles. Find a new place, do a job, lose track of somebody, try to find them, and once I do I start all over again.” A small shake of the head followed, and another sip. “Just another day on the Path.”

Siobhan leaned onto the counter as she listened, her full attention on her customer and what the Witcher had to say. It looked like Geralt’s potion-making in the past really had set her up for success–striking gold with one’s first mix was rare. Her enjoyment seemed to please Siobhan in turn. The Halovian wore a warm smile as Geralt let slip a little more about her frustrations. “Sounds like the next time you find that somebody, you’d better grab on tight and never let go,” she advised playfully.

The next moment, though, her tone grew more serious. Maybe even a little wistful. “Even if we lose sight of our destination, we can keep moving forward as long as we have the people who matter most by our side, right?” Siobhan looked around the bar. “Many people who drink end up circling the drain. Stuck in a dreamlike trance with no way out. But it’s my hope that everyone who visits Dreamjolt, monster or otherwise, will find the spark they need to ignite their engines, and reach escape velocity.”

Down the bar, a customer waved Siobhan over. She gave Geralt a final smile, then left her in peace. Soon the bar’s customers lapsed into quiet, with only the clink of glasses and the rattle of ice cubes audible over the backdrop of soul-soothing jazz. The minutes slipped by in peaceful relaxation, not unlike meditation, as the cloudy sky outside continued to darken.

It wasn’t long before the soft, white-gray blanket of clouds over the Dystopiascape became a murky, gray-black tumult, angry and turbulent as a storm-tossed sea. Fiercer waves beat against Meridian’s docks, throwing up blasts of foam like punches, and the wind that drove them also hastened pedestrians on their way as it hissed in their ears. The rumble of thunder grew closer, and lightning flashed in the clouds. Though the cloud cover may have foreshadowed a storm for a while, the weather changed with surprising speed, sneaking up on the citizens of Everdream Valley. Vendors hurried to close up shop, while farmers gathered their uneasy livestock and herded them to safety with the help of Yampers, Herdiers, Spitzfyres, and Rayhounds. Though Dreamjolt Hostelry offered a safe haven from the coming storm, the weather outside managed to pierce the veil, convincing quite a few customers to go and take care of business elsewhere.

Just after Mr. Rubin bid the ladies farewell, a particularly bright flash of lightning cut through the midday dusk. The light cast a huge shadow through the doorway and across the hostelry’s back wall, terribly tall, broad, and dark. A frantic look toward the source revealed nothing, as far as any remaining patrons could see, but Siobhan’s eyes lingered a moment longer before she looked down to continue wiping her glasses.

Then the lightning came again, followed almost instantly by the crash of thunder, and when Siobhan looked up, she found an enormous man sitting at the bar in front of her, having come with such speed and silence that it seemed like he appeared from thin air.

Despite her formidable nature, Siobhan couldn’t help but flinch away, the hairs on the back of her neck on end. This newcomer stood just under nine feet tall, his shoulders broad and his arms almost apelike in size and strength. He wore futuristic cherry-red armor over a suit of gray and white, and a black velvet cape dangled behind him, further enhancing an already imposing silhouette. Pure white eyes with no visible pupils stared expectantly from inside his helmet as he leaned forward onto the bar, propped up on his elbows with clasped hands big enough to crush watermelons. This was no ordinary consul.

After a moment, Siobhan cleared her throat. “... Can I help you?”

The Consul’s voice was deep and commanding. “I hope so. I'd like a drink. The biggest you have. Plenty of ice. Nice and sweet. And so thick I could eat it with a spoon.”

Siobhan nodded briskly, her casual manner returning. “Gotcha, coming right up.” She quickly ran through her mental list of ingredients, which led her to purse her lips. “One moment while I grab some puffergoat milk, if you don't mind.”

“Take your time.” The Consul watched her go, his eyes on the swing of her hips, then glanced at Geralt. His gaze rested on her for only a moment before he turned and settled on the middle distance to wait.

Geralt raised an eyebrow when the Consul turned to her, but did not outwardly react, especially when he turned away, and let out the tiny breath she’d been holding. Consul. Has to be. But I thought each Guardian only had two guarding them…? Might’ve heard that we took down Y and came to investigate. Still so much we don’t know about them. She took a sip of her drink, keeping the massive man in her peripheral vision.

“Ducking out of the storm?” She casually inquired, not expecting much if anything out of the man, but unable to suppress her curiosity.

Her question prompted an amused snort. “The storm seems to follow me,” he replied, leaning back in his chair with an idle shrug. “Wherever I go.”

“Ugh,” Geralt groaned, leaning back in her chair like the 90-something old man she was inside, rather than the large, ghoulish woman she looked like. “Know the feeling.” The fact that she was commiserating with a Consul was not lost on her, but here she was. “What brings you out here?”

“A drink, of course,” the Consul replied, his haughty tone somewhat condescending. “I hear even monsters can get good service here.” He leaned on his elbow, his attention fully turned toward Geralt. “If you mean this little town, though, it’s true this isn’t my regular stomping grounds. I’m on the hunt, and I’ve ranged far afield in pursuit of my prey. But now, it feels like the chase is almost over.”

Siobhan returned at that moment with the Consul’s extra large drink already made, prepared away from the discomfort of prying eyes. It was mostly wine red, with an almost purple flavor base and a layer on top of white, garnished with a sticker of a hamster. “There you have it,” she told him, sliding the huge beverage his way. “One Chewing Gum, ice-cold and strong as an ox.”

The Consul accepted the drink with a nod. “Good.” Lifting one hand, he held it over the Chewing Gum with one finger extended. An arc of electricity jumped from his fingertip, igniting the beverage in an instant. It burned for only a moment as he slowly reached up toward the back of his helmet, where he pressed some sort of button. His helmet dissolved, as if digitally constructed in reverse, and down tumbled a mane of white-gray hair plus navel-length beard, adorned with golden beads. He lifted the glass to his lips and drank, gulping down the smoldering, almost toxic beverage with gusto. Only after draining a third of the extra-large glass did he set it down again, exhaling in delight. “Nectar,” he proclaimed. “Fit for a god.”

Another fool calling himself a god. Geralt thought, but her face betrayed not an ounce of her disdain for the man before her. Instead, she focused on his trick with the electricity igniting his drink, and nodded. “Not bad. That actually affect the taste at all, or just for flair?” She asked, finger circling the rim of her empty glass.

The old man snorted again. “The flame caramelizes sugar, adding a smoky flavor,” he told her succinctly. A slight air of indignation suggested that her insinuation touched on his pride. “I am no charlatan, girl. I never perform, or pretend. What you see is what you get.” He took another sip of his drink, much smaller this time, then smacked his lips. Then he nodded at Geralt. “I merely try to live my life to the fullest. As should we all. Whether the time we have is infinite…or very, very short.” Though his eyes blazed pure white, with no discernable pupils, Geralt could feel them staring into her own. “Don’t you think?”

Geralt gave a shrug, and replied without any heat, “As you said, we ought to live our lives to the fullest. If it gave you a little spark of joy to light your drink aflame for a moment, I’d not care if it changed the taste or it didn’t. Merely curious.” Clearly a touchy subject for this Consul. Geralt was playing a dangerous game, but given that he didn’t try to burn the place down and smite her with lightning, she figured he had other plans.

“As for me, can’t say the same. Am I a mutant, a monstrosity, an orphaned god, a soldier, or something else entirely? Could be any or all of ‘em. Not quite sure myself these days. But I do know one thing.” Geralt sighed, tapping the bar. “I’m not alone. Not yet.”

The Consul smirked at her. “How apropos.” He took a deep breath in through his nose, then allowed his shoulders to fall as he sighed. Then he shook his head. “A bit slow on the uptake, aren’t you? Well, now’s your chance to be quick.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Run along, child. Tell your friends on the ship about me. A nice head start should keep things interesting.” He pulled his drink close, leaving a wet streak of condensation on the counter. “You have until this glass is empty. Let us both savor what little we have left, hm?”

Rolling her eyes at the Consul’s insults, Geralt rebutted with little heat: “Figure’d with the fact you hadn’t tried to kill me the second you laid eyes on me, I’d at least try and be civil. See if I couldn’t talk to you. But alright.” She stood up, leaving some gold on the table for Siobhan. “Guess I’ll be seeing you soon, Consul.” And with that, she left to warn the others.

“Indeed,” came the rumble of thunder at her back.
Forging Bonds II

Zenkichi’s @MULTI_MEDIA_MAN, Sandalphon
Word Count: 4,307 words (+5)

Out of Zenkichi, Akane, and herself, Sandalphon ended up finishing her noodles last. While such laggardly conduct embarrassed her somewhat, she knew that too much of a rush could have ruined the experience in more ways than one. This kind of food demanded temperance, given its tendency to splash and stain, especially on snow-white clothing. Well-mannered restraint played a part in her relative slowness, but for the most part the blame lay with the simple fact that ramen wasn’t a very efficient way to consume nutrients. Then again, since her objective right now was technically relaxation, she considered easing up on her dedication to efficiency for once. As much as that went against her nature.

At the very least, the others didn’t seem to begrudge her presence, which made her grateful. Father and daughter alike seemed content to sit here on the bench beside her, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. A refreshing, playful breeze blew in over the bay, driving the rhythmic crash of small waves against the port town’s wharf and the beaches to its north and south. The squawks of seabirds around the docks mixed with the birdsong from Everdream Valley, providing a natural background to the comings and goings of the townsfolk, lively but not clamorous. Everywhere one looked, one could find vivid colors, and living things. To a long-time city-dweller, used to the stagnant, chemical-ridden funk of Midgar, the clear, fresh air here might come as a shock–a startling realization of just how good life could be. Sandalphon would have appreciated this place alone, but sharing it with Zenkichi and Akane somehow enhanced the experience much more than she expected. This sense of fulfillment, she realized, must be happiness.

Their ramen finished, Akane had been petting and fussing over Maru while Zenkichi looked around, enjoying the sights and remembering the last time he’d gone to the beach, with the kids. They practically had to drag him away from the RV to get him to relax. And when he’d fallen asleep, the punks had buried him in the sand and turned him into a mermaid! A nostalgic smile crossed his face when he thought of the memory, because as annoying as it was at the time, it was still something he thought of fondly.

Sandalphon rose from the bench. She turned to the others and gave them an apologetic bow. “Thank you for your patience, and for your company. I had not realized how much I needed a break like this, nor to the degree to which I’ve already overindulged in inactivity.” Her eyes narrowed, her critical gaze not meant for her companions. “It seems my overall performance may be slipping, possibly as a result of my fusions or recent experiences. I must renew my efforts.” She took a deep breath in through her nose and turned her attention toward the Virgin Victory. “Between our campaign’s reorganization, optimization, and expansion, there is much that I must do. I must beg your leave.”

Zenkichi got up as she did, holding his hands up to gesture for her to stop. ”Woah, woah, we’ve barely checked out a few stalls and had lunch! That’s hardly a break. We just fought through the most heavily-defended part of Midgar, took out two Consuls, kind of, and defeated both the Guardian and some of the strongest people in Midgar. You’re gonna run yourself ragged if you don’t let yourself relax for more than an hour, Sandalphon.” He turned to Akane, frowning. ”I didn’t just say any of that.” Smooth.

“Uh huh, sure thing, dad.” His daughter rolled her eyes, running her hands through her Pal’s fur with a loving smile on your face. “You are so adorable!”

The rather sudden and emotive response stopped Sandalphon in her tracks. Her pupils flashed exclamation marks, then became inverted triangles before returning to normal as her head tilted slightly. “I…see where you’re coming from. Compared to my usual duties, our recent endeavors are more intense, with far more hands-on action than I’m accustomed to. Yet we’ve also managed to achieve a great deal, despite the greater challenges.” She relaxed her posture somewhat, sliding her hands into her coat pockets. “I tend to be critical with myself, but changing circumstances mean I must temper my expectations and focus on adaptation. Overworking myself would be unwise.” Once again she bowed her head at Zenkichi, her radiant halo dipping slightly. “I appreciate your concern for my well-being.”

”I mean, I did just see you passed out in your chair past midnight last night. This morning, whatever. Be kind of a shitty friend if I wasn’t at least a tiny bit concerned about that.” Zenkichi admitted, shoving his own hands into his pockets and relaxing a little. ”But yeah, field work is a [lot] more tiring than desk or support stuff. I’ve had my fair share of both, and while it can be exhausting to manage paperwork for ten hours straight, at least my knees aren’t practically knocking into each other by the time I’m done.” He joked, chuckling.

As they spoke, Sandalphon became aware of thunder rumbling in the distance. Though the sky had been bleak and overcast all morning, a glance southward led to the discovery of a thick, heavy stormfront, darkening the clouds as it steadily traveled northward. After gauging the distance, Sandalphon observed that the storm would be here before too long. “It looks like a storm is coming. Quite a few miles away still, but it appears to be moving quickly. I give us approximately ninety minutes.” She turned her attention back to Zenkichi, Akane, and Maru. “Let’s take advantage of this extended break while we can.”

”Hour and a half, huh? Alright, I can work with that.” Looking back at the stalls they’d explored, then to the more sturdily-built storefronts, and had a thought. ”Ya know, we could make it a multi-purpose trip. Not entirely leisure, but not quite work, either. I’ve been meaning to make use out of some materials I got from some of the machines we fought in the slums, so if we found a blacksmith or something, wonder if they might be able to do something with it. And who knows, maybe they could take a look at your staff or that rifle you got.” It wasn’t a total day of relaxation like one might expect at a beachfront, but he did intend to make use out of that memory alloy and machine cores.

Sandalphon nodded, pleased with the blend of pleasure and practicality. “By all means.”

Once they disposed of their empty ramen bowls, the three got up for another romp through Port Meridian in search of a craftsman. Though they weren’t necessarily in a rush, there was only so much time on the close, so they moved at a purposeful, brisk pace. As they searched through the various storefronts, they happened to pass through the scenic town square. Full of potted plants, flower boxes, and vibrant buildings, it featured a tall fountain in the middle, and looked altogether lovely. This place seemed to be popular with couples, with or without children who played and ran alongside their family pets. After admiring the sight for a moment, hower, Sandalphon noticed something incongruous with the happy scene, hidden within the architecture itself. The plaza’s central stone dias, octagonal in shape, rested on a large metal disc built into the ground. It bore a ring-shaped pane, and beneath the surface of what looked like a giant gauge blazed purple flame, a fourth of the way around the ring. That huge dial gave what would have otherwise been a very pleasant spot a backdrop of foreboding. “Strange,” Sandalphon murmured. She logged her observance for further analysis.

She did not dwell on it for long, however, since the trio found a smith soon after. Though possessed of deep red hair, emerald-green eyes, and flashy clothes paired with an enormous greatsword, this artisan lacked something important; she seemed to be a mute. Sandalphon, Zenkichi, and Akane caught her only a few minutes after Midna’s own order got completed, so the silent smith was warmed up and ready to rock. While Sandalphon lacked materials of her own and didn’t plan to present either the Aether Lance or Eye of Sol for maintenance, Zenkichi could try and communicate whatever he needed.

”Good afternoon. I wanted to see about getting a sword worked on, or maybe getting a new…one…” Zenkichi greeted the woman, only to trail off as his eyes locked onto a sword resting against the wall. Though, calling it a sword was perhaps inaccurate, given its size and roughness. It was more like a coarse lump of iron than a proper sword, but still, it called to him. ”Uh, sorry about that. How much for that huge sword back there? I have some things I can barter with,” Zenkichi said, pulling out the machine cores he was holding onto.

The warrior smith pursed her lips. Having just been through the song and dance with her previous customer, and miscommunicated a fair bit about her world in the process, she seemed hesitant to go through the effort again. By now, Sandalphon had noticed the redhead’s conspicuous lack of speech so far, and begun to hypothesize. When the smith glanced over to appraise the greatsword, then turned back and started holding up fingers, Sandalphon felt all but certain. In the end, the asking price for the heavy weapon seemed to be six thousand zenny, which seemed reasonable as far as the archangel was concerned. Iron might not be a premium metal, and the ultra greatsword seemed quite crude in terms of craftsmanship, but it must have taken more than its fair share of materials and labor. Plus, it certainly made for an eye-catching attraction, showing off just what this silent smith could achieve.

“Six thousand,” she stated, looking at Zenkichi. “If money is tight, I would be happy to assist. There is no better investment than the safety of my allies. Though…” Her eyes fixated on the object of the detective’s desire. “It may be prudent to ensure that you can lift and swing that weapon first.”

“Yeah, dad, wouldn’t want to go and throw your back out or something.” Akane snarked, though her tone made it clear she was mostly joking.

”Ya know, if that thing wasn’t so absurdly massive, I’d be offended.” He said, stretching his back out and then his arms. ”But yeah, that looks like something an Oni might carry, hah.” Stepping up to the weapon, he turned his head to the smith and raised an eyebrow, receiving a nod in return. Taking a deep breath, Zenkichi grabbed the colossal sword and lifted, the weapon taking a good amount of effort, but still liftable. Releasing the breath and holding the sword, he flipped it so the tip of the blade was pointing to the ground, finding that he could hide a solid portion of his frame behind the sheer width of the blade.

”Oh wow, this thing is huge, it’s almost like a shield too.” Holding and examining the weapon, Zenkichi gave a resolute nod. ”Yeah, I…definitely think I want this thing.” He said, looking over to Sandalphon. ”It’s a bit soon to be calling it in, but do you think you could pitch in for this? I’ll go find somebody to sell those cores to and pay you back, just…rather not go running all over the place, ya know?” He asked, ears a little red from embarrassment.

Sandalphon nodded immediately, not sure why he'd be embarrassed, but compelled to help him feel comfortable relying on her. “Of course. Happy to be of service.” She produced her wallet, a belted pouch of white with a diamond-stitched pattern and a shiny gold-tine button. Her employment with DespoRHado Enforcement might not have made her much richer than her time with the Lateran Church, but the archangel was nothing if not frugal, and could easily cover the cost. Once the smith received her payment, she hefted the greatsword easily, placing it on her workbench for a final polish before wrapping the base of the blade in a leather sling that Zenkichi could wear like a backpack. As scabbards went it left a lot to be desired, but it beat carrying the massive thing in his hands. The sight of him handling the ultra greatsword seemed to amuse Sandalphon somewhat. “If you did lack sufficient strength, I imagine that simply carrying that around would be an expedient way to build it.”

”Oh yeah, no way somebody could stay lanky carrying this huge thing around.” He joked, gently placing his hand on the sword before it de-materialized, joining his other weapons in Valjean’s storage. ”Oh, and don’t worry about that,” he reassured the smith, ”it’s just a thing I do. It’ll be back when I need it. Thank you for that, I’ll be sure to make good use of it.” Giving a small bow of the head to the woman, he nodded happily. That was really simple.

”Alright, so other than finding somewhere to sell these machine cores to pay you back, Sandalphon, it looks like we’ve got some time to hang out, all three, or I guess four, of us.” Looking around, Zenkichi found a random direction that looked kind of nice, and pointed. ”After being in the city so long, I think a nice walk around the countryside sounds nice. Get some fresh air, see the place, ya know?” His suggestion was met by a nod from Akane and an affirmative from Sandalphon, so with that, the trio set off.

As they walked, the three passed a number of farmsteads, a couple of sprawling ranches with tractors slowly crawling through their crops, watching and adoring the various Pals working the fields. Akane had her hands full trying to keep up with Maru the whole time they were walking, but she spent the whole time laughing and chasing the playful Cremis.

After around a half hour of walking, Zenkichi paused and turned to look back towards the port town they’d left, getting quite the view from the hill the group had found themselves on. They could see a number of farms between them and the port, and the approaching storm off in the distance, still coming in quickly. ”This is probably as far as we should go. That storm’s getting closer and closer.”

Sandalphon observed the scenery, both facing back down the way she and the others came, and out into the valley. The hilltop where the three ended up featured a bunch of old ruins, all overgrown with moss, grass, and twisted roots. In fact, the ground beneath them looked like the face of a colossal coin, its etched words and emblems painted over in verdant green. To the south, the rolling hills extended for miles and miles, the green pastures where creatures grazed interwoven with fields of golden grain in an immense patchwork quilt. Eventually the farmland gave way to a watery rift, where the Everdream Valley, the western mountain range, and the bay to the east converged, shrouded in the bluish atmospheric haze. Above that sunken lake, immense structures hung in the air, from small islands to huge gears that turned as steadily as the sky from night to day. If not for the dark storm clouds, it would have been an idyllic landscape, but to Sandalphon it still harbored an awesome beauty.

When Zenkichi suggested heading back, she didn’t respond right away for once. He was right, of course, but against her better judgment Sandalphon hesitated. The time she’d shared with him and Akane today made her happy in a way she hadn’t felt before, that feeling probably another byproduct of her fusion with ordinary humans, but no less precious for it. It was only a moment, but she didn’t want it to end.

If only now could last forever.

But it couldn’t. All the thoughts running through her head culminated in a conclusion, and breathed in deep through her nose. “Zenkichi Hasegawa,” she began, her tone formal. “After enjoying this time spent with you and Akane, and seeing your compassionate heart for myself, I have decided on something important. Will you sit down?” She beckoned him toward the flat rock that she stood beside.

Zenkichi startled a bit at the way Sandalphon said his name, and then what she said after, but nodded and slowly walked to the rock he was pointed towards. ”Uhh, yeah, sure thing…” He flatly replied, a tinge of confusion in his voice. Akane, meanwhile, had stopped with Maru sitting next to her, looking at the angelic woman incredulously.

Once he seated himself, Sandalphon turned and gracefully knelt before him on one knee. Her face was deadpan, and her pupils betrayed nothing. “I have a proposal for you,” she told him.

Both Akane’s and Zenkichi’s faces reflected their utter bewilderment at the current situation, the former seeming more annoyed, and even a bit angry, while the latter was trying to figure out what exactly was happening and what he’d done to deserve the withering glare his daughter was giving him. ”Uuuuuuhhhhhh….what…might that be…?” Zenkichi trailed, eyes pleading with Akane over Sandalphon’s head not to murder them both then and there.

Her gaze did not waver as she continued. “I have the authority to unite us in a holy agreement that will bind us together going forward. I firmly believe this partnership would greatly benefit both you and your daughter.” She opened her hand to reveal a glowing blue circlet, adorned with gold and alight with miraculous power. “Will you accept my light, for the sake of a brighter future?”

“You. Cannot. Be. For real!” Akane ground out through gritted teeth as Zenkichi sat up like a rocket and looked between the two of them, hands out as if to ward off a fight. “It’s been one date! And I’m RIGHT HERE!” She growled, causing Maru to look around in confusion to find whatever had upset her new master, completely oblivious to the social tension that hung thick in the air.

”Uhhh, Sandalphon, while I definitely appreciated our talk last night, and today was fun…don’t you think this is…a bit much? And definitely too soon!” He added the last bit rapidly, though that just had Akane look at him even more harshly, as if she was hoping he’d confirm there wasn’t something going on. For his part, Zenkichi looked as if he was being pulled apart at the seams, trying not to break poor Sandalphon’s heart while also warding off his daughter’s frustrations.

“Hmm?” The archangel looked confused herself, her pupils flashing question marks as she looked between father and daughter. She seemed baffled that somebody would even consider turning down her proposal, considering how much benefit it offered. The halo in her palm faded as she tried to reason with him. “Too…soon? But…we could be forced to fight again at any moment. My covenant would grant you powers that would greatly aid in your sustainability on the battlefield.”

Her pupils turned to exclamation marks. “Oh. Oh, I see. I beg your pardon. I shouldn’t have expected you to agree without explaining the specific blessings you would receive.” She stood up, conjuring a screen that gained pop-ups as she spoke. Her pupils flashed stress marks. “By accepting this covenant, you would be granted three Protocols, each of which confer a blessing whenever you use a skill. A defense boost for Preservation Protocol, a heal for Restoration Protocol, and an affliction cleanse from Purification Protocol.” She dismissed the informative screen, continuing matter-of-factly. “After recalling the distinct abilities you used in battle, like Triple Down and Megidolaon, I concluded you’d be the ideal recipient of this power. Are you following so far? I can go into more detail on the ‘Locked Sigil’ mechanic if so.”

Both Zenkichi and Akane looked at one another, then back to Sandalphon, then at one another, then back to Sandalphon, before letting out a sigh. “Yeeeeeaaahhhh, it sounded like you were asking him to marry you.” Zenkichi merely groaned, nodding his head a little at Akane’s clarification.

”The whole…kneeling down. Offering me a ring. Halo. Thing. And you literally said you had a proposal for me. We, uh…yeah. Thought that. I was wondering what you meant, but it certainly sounded more…romantic than practical.” Sighing as he ran his hand through his hair, Zenkichi nodded. ”Uh, yes, more details would probably be nice. Though, that does sound useful.”

Sandalphon stared for a moment, her pupils in the form of loading spinners. Then she looked away, her pale features almost imperceptibly reddening. “I…see. Forgive me. That was not my intention, but I can see why you thought so.” Her voice dropped to a slightly incredulous murmur. “I thought such a stance was customary among humans when proposing life-changing contracts…” She cleared her throat and turned back toward Zenkichi, her pupils back to stress marks. “I only recently began to express feelings, and they seem to be interfering with my communication abilities.”

She shook her head, though for some reason or another she still seemed a little put out. “No matter. Regarding ‘Locked Sigil’, it is a three hundred second period after a fight begins during which you have access to any one Protocol at a time. If you reach zero, you will gain access to all three with the use of every skill. Using skills will reduce the time by six seconds, and cleansing an affliction will reduce it by eighteen. When combat ends, the Locked Sigil state will reset.” Having rattled off a lot of information very quickly, the motor-mouthed archangel paused for a second to catch her breath. “My covenant works autonomously, and I do not have to be present for it to function. Its judicious use should drastically boost your odds of survival in any combat scenario.”

”Hey, it’s all good. Emotions can be…tricky.” That was the understatement of the century, but it was hardly inaccurate. He took a few moments to think about it, but there didn’t really seem to be any downsides. ”I accept, Sandalphon. I accept your covenant. Thank you for trusting me like this.” Akane pulled a face at the way he said it, but with the misunderstanding cleared up, didn’t seem all that upset anymore, gently scratching behind one of Maru’s ears.

“Now that that’s over with, can we go back to the ship? I really don’t like the look of that storm.” Akane urged, a small frown on her face.

Now it was Sandalphon’s turn to admonish Zenkichi’s rush. “Just one moment, please. We do need to make a binding agreement before the covenant will take effect.” She conjured a large screen completely plastered with text, all arranged in a very officious format and with copious usage of thick legalese. Despite its size, it featured a tiny scrollbar on the right side, and moving it even a little sent pages and pages of text tumbling by. “If this arrangement is acceptable, please indicate that you agree to the terms and conditions.” On the bottom right of the screen, there was a button that read ‘I do’.

Zenkichi’s eyes bugged out a bit at the sheer volume of text before him, eyes trying to scan the document for any hidden secrets or rules. He didn’t find anything that stood out, but after a minute or so, he was starting to mentally check out, so he dragged the slider slowly down, pausing every few seconds to scan the page, before reaching the bottom. When he clicked ‘I do’, he let out a little sigh. ”Alright, and that’s that. Covenant accepted.”

“Good.” The screen vanished, but Sandalphon didn’t move to leave. Instead she lifted up her hands, her palms up as if holding an invisible tray out for Zenkichi to take. “Now, please give me your hands,” she requested, monotone. Her pupils seemed to be sparkles again.

Zenkichi complied, prompting a roll of the eyes from Akane, who watched with feigned disinterest at whatever weird ritual her father and this woman were performing. ”Alright, I’m ready.” Zenkichi confirmed.

After gently taking Zenkichi’s hands, Sandalphon turned them up and interlaced her fingers with his. Her pupils began to change symbols rapid-fire, and a warm feeling passed between the two of them. After a few seconds they reverted back to sparkles, and she gave a final squeeze before releasing him. A bright light shone over Zenkichi’s head, cast by a glowing blue halo rather like a glowstick, adorned with golden bangles. The next moment it vanished, but a slight sensation of warmth remained. “Covenant successfully established,” Sandalphon reported. “Preservation Protocol will activate the next time you use a skill, and you can switch your own Protocol at your convenience. Thank you for your patience.”

”Alright. Covenant established. Sounds good.” Zenkichi replied, a little bit awkwardly, before taking a breath and nodding a few times. ”Thank you, really. I’m sure this will come in handy. Preservation, Restoration, and Purification, right? The three protocols?” He clarified.

“Correct. And you’re welcome.” By now, the wind was really starting to whip the trio’s hair and clothes, not to mention interfere with their conversation. Sandalphon glanced up at the sky, knowing that the storm could descend any moment. “Apologies for the delay. We should definitely return to the ship.” Her eyes narrowed as she prepared to set off. “This weather strikes me as supernatural in origin.”

Zenkichi’s mouth thinned into a line, and his eyes narrowed along with Sandalphon’s. ”Yeah, we should definitely get back. That…doesn’t look good.” Akane, for her part, picked up on the implication, returning Maru to her Sphere and frowning. ”Akane, if anything happens, put me between you and it. Same for you, Sandalphon. I’ve got your backs.”

Huh. For a second there, Akane could have sworn that her dad seemed…cool. Weird.
Geralt of Rivia

Everdream Valley- Dreamjolt Holstery

Lvl 13 Geralt (74/130) +7 Collab XP -> Lvl 13 (83/130) (+1 pending)

Word Count: 918 words

As the other Seekers began splitting off into groups, or going off on their lonesome, Geralt looked out over the sea. Part of her, likely the part of her that was once an Abyssal Princess, stared wistfully out onto the water, longing to feel it once more, or to see her Ordnance Platform again. The massive weapon was a great help in the Deep Blue, and of no use whatsoever in Midgar. Her thoughts were broken by Goldlewis's announcement, but rather than join him, Geralt went off on her own, walking along the beach in contemplation.

Fusing with Karen was a risky move, with the benefit of some hindsight, though she wondered just how deep a mistake it could be. Karen Travers was powerful, possessing numerous psychic abilities, though it was her understanding that such a thing was unnatural among psychics, who normally only commanded one, and used technology to share their powers with others. Was Karen somehow able to store abilities he'd shared with others? Would she be able to do something similar?

Perhaps of greater import was the damage such continual fusion had done to her armor, and the fact that she was now a woman. They'd have to see if they could get Peach back to normal, so that Geralt could also go back to normal. Though, she'd be keeping at least the Spirit of the Orphan, and perhaps Ishmael. No point in forcing that responsibility upon another. And although fusing with her had triggered the transformation, Ishmael's abilities had proven rather useful thus far. The Abyssal princess was another matter, gratuitous size and claws aside, Geralt had felt slow and...not quite clumsy, but less agile than before. Given how much of her fighting style revolved around dodging and parrying, that would have to be remedied. If somebody else so chose, they could make use of the Ordnance Platform. As overwhelming and useful as its power had been, Geralt wasn't one for standing around and protecting a giant cannon. Maybe she could be used as a Striker?

Her wandering brought her near a bar named the Dreamjolt Holstery, and Geralt paused, thinking. She could certainly use a drink, and taverns often had some food to go with the drinks they served. Entering the establishment, she found a seat at the bar and waited, looking around. It was certainly a nice place, well-kept and playing enjoyable music.

"Hello there, lovely. I'm Siobhan, the bartender. What can I get you?" Asked a strangely-dressed woman, evidently the bartender. Geralt perked an eyebrow at the friendly greeting, but decided to ignore it, chalking it up to her personality.

"Not sure. Always been a fan of the harder stuff, but...it looks like you've got something a bit more complex going on." Looking at a small menu, Geralt tried to pick out the drinks that seemed most appealing, but given that she had no idea what most of the ingredients were, it was a bit tough. Ultimately, she settled on a drink called the Wake & Slumber, which boasted a stellar champagne as one of its key ingredients.

"Won't be too long, now. Let me mix that right up for you. Want anything to snack on while you're here?" Siobhan asked, prompting Geralt to check a board on the back wall. After a few moments, she decided on a Giant Bavarian Pretzel. It sounded like it would be nice, and mentioned having a beer-batter cheese for dipping.

"Got something on your mind? Noticed you staring out over the water for a minute there." Siobhan inquired as she put down a nice-looking drink and gestured to the kitchen. "Pretzel won't be long, dear. So. Lot on your mind today?"

Geralt grunted, taking a sip and savoring the flavors, humming in content. "A lot, frankly. Something big just happened in Midgar, and a lot of people are probably going to get hurt because of it. On top of that, I'm still looking for Ciri, and now I just heard that the place my wife was staying at got attacked while I was in Midgar. Just...a rough day, to be frank."

Siobhan gave Geralt a soft smile, nodding. "I'm sorry to hear about your wife. I hope she's alright, though from the way you talk about it, it sounds like you're less worried about her safety, and more about where she was?" Geralt nodded at that, taking another quick drink before replying.

"Yes. Don't get me wrong, Yen can take care of herself, but we thought we found a safe place to stay at between jobs. And frankly, I'm a bit worried about everybody else that was there, too." Siobhan nodded again, closing her eyes for a moment before giving Geralt a friendly pat on the hand.

"That kind of trust is a wonderful thing. I'm sure Yen's a lucky lady to have a wife like you." Geralt's lip twitched at the reminder of her current situation, but she supposed she was technically Yennefer's wife right now.

"Yeah. It just feels like so much happened while I was away, and now I have to go and make sure the world doesn't burn to the ground while I fix it."

"Oh, that's a feeling I am intimately familiar with." Siobhan replied, laughing. "Especially on busy nights. Though I get the feeling you're being a bit more literal than dealing with some drunks." Geralt let out a little chuckle, nodding in response.

"A bit."
© 2007-2024
BBCode Cheatsheet