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2 mos ago
Current I love the dance Sekiro has me doing, but I think I need a break. Thinking I'll SwitchTM it up with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
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Marionetta Molly



@SimpleWriter@KaijuBaragon@Spike@OwO

"Not anymore, you're not."

The answer to Dean's question was carried into the room by a velvety-smooth woman's voice, deepened by her maturity. Looking in the direction it came from, any of the villains in the room would be able to see one of the aforementioned new villains; a woman dressed in a flowing, puffed-up ballgown of black and white, adorned with a large white bow cut in the shape of a bat's wings, wearing a mask over her eyes and nose. Her body, leaning forward at an angle a normal person would struggle to maintain, appeared to glide over the ground, the gentle sound of her footwear scraping along the stone floor audible to the ear. In actuality, her body was being pulled forward by the many thread-thin tentacle muscles that gripped the room's ceiling, sticking and un-sticking as needed to carry her forward toward the table both Corvus and Sharkman had taken a seat at. Her hand reached forward toward a chair to pull it out from the table, then her body rose up into the air for a brief moment as the invisible threads controlling her deposited her body into the seat.

If she were to tell the truth, her arrival at that moment wasn't quite as serendipitous as it seemed; she'd arrived not long after Corvus, and had been waiting outside of the room listening to the conversation, partly to gauge the personalities of her cohorts-to-be, and to try to find a nice dramatic moment to enter. Both of these things she'd succeeded at, to differing degrees.

"You may refer to me as Marionetta. Would anyone like to hazard a guess at my quirk?" she asked, quite certain that any smart person in the room would be able to put together by her demonstration just now, and her name, that she manipulates her body from the outside, at the very least. "I know it's a touch rude to request you all to humor me right out of the gate. I figured it would make a good icebreaker."
Gabriella Gonzales
Repulsa Libre



@Aerandir@SimpleWriter

Though Gabriella had already been smiling, hoping it added some weight to the words of encouragement she was trying to hammer into Renard's head, she couldn't resist the pull of her cheeks as others joined in, adding their own words to hers. Kerianne, Freya, and even Breeze - shy as she was and having not been present at the factory - all joined in to help her lift him back up. She felt proud, both of herself for having apparently chosen her words well enough to spark that reaction from them, and of her classmates for their compassion. There wasn't a single person in that room with her that she wouldn't consider hero material.

All of their words (and Freya beginning to act like a house cat for some reason) seemed to succeed in lifting Renard's spirits. Or at the very least, getting him to recognize what a downer he was being. Gabby felt immense relief as she saw a smile finally bless his face with its presence. He even hopped off the bleacher to talk to Eira, which was a good sign, too. Good. Keep being the Renard we all know. That's what Sofia told you to do. She might not have died, but that doesn't mean I'll let you ignore her final wishes as a student at UJ.

Yi must have felt the weight of the air in the room lift as well, as he promptly suggested a sparring session. "You are-- no, wait...You're on!" Gabriella immediately answered, hoping she'd used that contraction properly. "The weekend left me feeling stiff. I'll set out the--"

She was cut off from saying "mats" when a voice she didn't recognize rang through the gym like the jingle of sleigh bells rings through a mall in December. Turning to the door, Gabby found the source - a blue-haired girl, probably around the same age as her classmates and herself, who performed a pose while she spoke of them a "heroes in the flesh". Gabby couldn't be entirely sure whether she was being sincere or sarcastic, but she wanted to believe the former. Such high energy and cute poses couldn't possibly come from a mean person, could they?

Her friends didn't seem to share her demeanour, which was probably for the best - more than one person with that energy would be overwhelming. Gabriella froze for a moment when the peppy girl introduced herself. Momo? Cute name, too. And so friendly1 No, she definitely must have been speaking sincerely when she entered. Gabby felt her fondness for Momo increase immediately. Conversely, her dark-haired compatriot proved quite quickly to not be worth Gabriella's time or breath. Okay, focus! You're meeting a new person who seems interesting. Don't screw up.

Gabby's hand took Momo's. Engulfed it, really. "My name is-- wait, please."

After cutting herself off, Gabriella released Momo's hand and took a step back. Feeling inspired by Momo's energy, she decided to try to impress her by acting in kind. She was pretty sure this was known as "mirroring". So, instead of introducing herself with a simple hand shake, Gabriella performed a twirl on the ball of her left foot. Her right foot touched the ground for just a moment to stop her spin with her right side angled toward Momo, who she then pointed at with both hands while raising her right leg up and holding her left arm over her own head.

"I am Gabriella! It is nice to meet you, Momo!" Gabriella responded, holding the pose. She then realized she wasn't smiling, and a nervous grin spread across her face in a sloppy attempt to rectify that.

Gabriella Gonzales
Repulsa Libre



@Aviaire@LuckyBlackCat@Heartfillia@Aerandir@Tenma Tendo

Hearing the concerns voiced by both Freya and Kerianne, Gabriella's chuckling subsided. She...didn't hear anyone else laughing. A burning embarrassment overcame her and she found herself wanting to do nothing but continue laying face-down where she was. Even if it hadn't been an intentional slip-up, she'd still been hoping the resulting attempt at physical comedy would have helped lighten the mood at least a little. A silver lining to the dull, throbbing pain she felt in the back of her neck and shoulders, if nothing else.

Next, Yi dropped down behind Kerianne, a fact Gabby only found out by turning her head to look toward him via the corner of her eye as he espoused his question. Gabriella gave a soft exhale, then began the process of righting herself, her arms lifting her torso off the mat and her legs curling under her as she sat up. She glanced around at everyone's face, starting with Yi. While everyone else appeared to have varying degrees of concern on their faces. Yi simply looked pensive as if he was focusing his uncanny ability to read her thoughts, something he'd displayed since the very first week of the semester. She wondered, would he have been the one to talk her out of dwelling on her thoughts if he'd been present last Friday, instead of Renard?

Wait. Had she ever actually thanked Renard for that? It might just have been the blow to the head, but she couldn't remember having done so. And now, with so many of their friends in one room, she felt now would be a great time to do so. Or, it would be if Eira wasn't turning to leave!

"Eira! Please wait!" Eira seemed to hear her, stopping in the doorway to the gymnasium and turning in her direction. Her face still looked pretty dismayed, but Gabby couldn't worry about that now. "There is something I need to say, and I want as many people as possible to hear it."

Gabriella stood up on her feet, glancing between Yi, Kerianne, and Freya as she rose. She felt bad for ignoring their questions, but this was important. She then locked her eyes onto Renard. "Renard. I never properly thanked you for what you did for me on Friday. After that rescue exercise, I wanted nothing more than to go home and think about my failures. I thought that would make sure I learned the lessons I needed to learn to be a proper hero, but in truth, I was just dwelling. You were the one who helped me come to the realization that I do not need to dwell on failure to learn from it. Because of you, I was present at the factory."

Her gaze shifted to Freya, who had been able to escape the villains, however briefly, thanks to the hole she'd made with Peter's help; then to Eira, who she felt she had aided by intercepting the scorpion villain while Eira went to help Renard. "To any of you who feel that my presence aided in their survival against those villains, I wish for you to direct your gratitude to Renard as well. If he wasn't the person he is, I would not have been present to aid you. And for those who weren't present that day..."

She glanced between Yi, Kerianne, and Breeze. "...I hope you'll also extend your gratitude to Renard, for helping ensure we didn't lose any friends that day. He fought the hardest of any of us, and every wound he bears is one that was not inflicted on someone else."

She turned her gaze back to Renard, both to deliver the closer to the speech she had improvised (she took a moment to mentally thank her talent for putting on performances, which was what allowed her to speak so earnestly in front of so many people to begin with), and to gauge his reaction. "Thank you for everything you did for me, and for my friends, Renard."
Gabriella Gonzales
Repulsa Libre



@Aviaire@Tenma Tendo@LuckyBlackCat@Heartfillia

Gabriella entered the gym just after Renard and Freya, and she was glad to see those two together. She was certain Freya was doing her best to help Renard build his emotional resilience - get him back to his normal self. She decided to leave that to Freya. It was clear from how Renard spoke to her the past Saturday at the hospital that the words didn't mean much coming from Gabby. She'd spent the weekend being pretty cross with the guy, but time heals plenty of wounds, and she ultimately wanted to help if she could.

Sometimes harsh words need to be said. But the time for that isn't now, she had decided over the weekend. Her workout on Sunday had helped immensely with that conclusion,

Of course, that didn't mean she suddenly had the patience to deal with the guy in his current state, which was evident as she felt her irritation with him bubble up as he shot his mouth off at Eira. As much as she could empathize, she would never agree with how he was acting. She wanted to be just as short with Renard as he seemed intent on being with everyone else.

Sometimes harsh words need to be said. But the time for that isn't now, she reminded herself.

Renard finished talking with Eira, announced to those present Sofia's departure, and then sat down on one of the bleachers, leaving the card Sofia had given him on the bench nearby. Her curiosity immediately grabbed, Gabby moved to the bench, picked up the card, and sat down to read it.

...

Gabriella returned the letter to its envelope and placed it back on the bench as she rose to her feet. Her fists clenched tight and her head hung. Rather than take the time to change out of her school uniform, she made her way over to the punching bag Kerianne had been using for her training. She stood before it for a moment, glowering at it. Imagining Renard's face on the front of it.

Renard...you moron! Don't you understand you're doing everything Sofia asked you not to do?!

In one motion, she pulled her right fist back, then sent it hurtling toward the bag's midsection. Her quirk activated at the moment of impact, sending the punching bag back, then up, and overhead. The bag had naturally been built with strength-enhancing quirks in mind, so it was not easy to break open or knock free of its chains, and it even had a weight system in its stand to prevent the entire thing from being knocked over.

In her fury, Gabriella didn't fully register how hard she had hit the bag, and was so absorbed with trying to calm herself down after the punch that she didn't get out of the way in time. The bag came down on her head, knocking her face-first into the floor and forcing a grunt of pain out of her. Luckily, the safety mat under her prevented her face from being smashed into the glossy hardwood of the gym floor, so she didn't suffer any real injury.

"...Heh...hah hah hah hah hah! Oops."

She felt her anger drain away as she mental image of what she'd just done to herself played out in her head. Yep, that's why she did her best to stay cool in a fight, because she tended to hurt herself when she got angry rather than others. She could only imagine how silly she must look to the other students. Oh boy.
@tobiax Oh gosh, that'd be great. :) I already PMed EnterTheHero with my initial thoughts on that plus the GM only stuff. Can I, like...add participants to that convo?

Couldn't figure out how to do it if it's even possible, so I started a new PM with the three of you specificall for the backstory.
Gabriella Gonzales
Repulsa Libre



@Zaphander@LuckyBlackCat@Heartfillia

Before Renard could get too far from his classmates, he'd find his path cut off by a large, almost-as-big-as-his-head arm blocking his path as Gabriella forcefully placed her palm against the wall. Her long strides and not-limping gait had allowed her to easily close the distance, and before anyone could do anything about it, she was leaning in close, half-kneeling to bring herself eye level with Renard's face.

"If you are sorry, truly, then do better," she instructed, her body language, furrowed brow, and low tone of voice all betraying how cross she was with him for how he was acting. "If we are heroes, then so are you. If you use a different word for youself, those seven years you spoke of are wasted."

Satisfied with the choice of words she'd come up with for Renard, Gabby's expression softened, though her frown remained on her face out of concern. She pulled her hand off the wall and stepped away from Renard, letting him continue down the hall if he pleased. It seemed the others all had words for him as well. So she wasn't the only one put off by his behavour? It was relieving to know she wasn't alone in how she felt. It wasn't even just how he had blew up at Peter when he was just trying to get everyone motivated, which was bad enough, but she had noticed how he worded his sentences when telling them of Sofia's departure, wording that seemed to purposefully exclude himself.

As upset as she was at him, she knew simply chastising him for what he said wouldn't be enough - she had three younger siblings giving her plenty of experience in that area - so she chose words that she felt he might like to hear. She could only hope that delivering a helpful message in a stern tone would help Renard the same way it helped her little sister that one time she had a big argument with one of her school friends. The same way it had helped Gabriella herself when her mother found out about the bullying she'd been going through when she was her sister's age.
@EnterTheHero Phew, good to know I'm still okay then. :)

Another question, then: Since I decided to post it to this thread, does that mean one of the GMs will PM me once they've read it to discuss the "GM Only" sections, or will I still need to contact a GM myself for that?
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