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The position of watching rather than being a major participant of combat came with its benefits. Beniha could easily watch all of the shitfuckery unfold.

Really, if someone had warned her and said "Beniha, today is going to be absolutely miserable, take the day off" then she would have almost taken the day off. Almost.

It was fairly calm at first. Just yurei and hunters being morons. Standard stuff. Some moron managed to see the gas fire that a certain someone made for no discernible reason other than to look cool and said "yes, I want even fucking more of that" with a massive pillar of flame.

A bird flew in. Mostly because she was actively trying to not look at the flame-pillar moron and what she was doing. Looking at her right now was just aggravating. No idea why a bird would fly in! The floating hand near the rocks was almost completely ignored as Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin decided to break through the concrete floor and start shit up at the catwalk. If that wasn't enough, the black rocks that were little more than an innocuous decoration decided to erupt and take the bird with it. Again, Beniha missed the hand once again. All they needed was a police siren and they'd hit the full shebang of what didn't need to happen.

It really was one of those days, wasn't it?

Her frustration was briefly interrupted by an old man falling from the sky and smashing onto the ground.

Yes it was.

She pinched the bridge of her nose, a deep breath being the one thing stopping her from beginning to stab anything that moved indiscriminately.

When they got back, she was going to have a good and long chat about the importance of making a plan and not just making a ruckus for the fun of it.

Leaning her smoldering naginata against her shoulder, she held her incense with one hand and released and ear-splitting whistle with the other.

"Oi! Rocks and the wounded!"

Just out of curiosity to see what'd happen, she tossed the partially burnt incense at the spreading black rocks. She still hadn't exactly decided what the best course of action was.

Shit was verily fucked.

Though her senses had dulled with age, she could still hear the actions of the foolhardy hunters who decided to charge in first. The roar of a motorcycle's engine, the crackle and ignition of fire, and the light of a fire peering through the windows.

Certainly, the Japanese branch needed help in these recent months. That much was apparent. Beniha had supported getting assistance from the other branches. She preferred getting veterans to help deal with the current state of Japan. Getting fresh recruits to replenish the ranks was something she considered untenable for now. It was pretty much sending kids to their death. Though, did they just have to send so many characters?

"Morons..." She muttered to herself. She pulled out an incense stick from her jacket pocket, and calmly placed it in her mouth. Gunshots echoed outside the mostly empty warehouse. Good thing this place was mostly abandoned.

"And Americans."

With a swift gesture, a glowing red feather appeared between her fingertips. It glanced the tip of the incense in her mouth, a thin plume of smoke rising from where the two collided.

No sense in waiting for any longer. The single feather took form as more were plucked from the ether. They merged with each other, eventually coalescing into shaft, hilt, and blade of a smoldering naginata. Might as well make sure the morons didn't get themselves killed. She didn't quite care about the reward for hunting simple yurei at this point in her life. It was more her duty to ensure that nobody would die. Injured--whatever. Die, no.

So she entered the factory. Less of a bombastic assault, more of an observer to the battle. She still dispersed any yurei that came her way. But the thought did pervade her mind: why so many hunters on a simple extermination mission? Might be caution, might be something big coming up.

The mangled comms gave Corsica no clue as to what was actually going on. Their contact had possibly seen her, but he could have just as easily been referring to reclaimed materiel. Well, military engagements were often like that. They were nothing like engaging with mindless bioweapons. Such battles against simple foes were overwhelmingly long, but they were almost therapeutic to Corsica. As much as she had disdain for dealing with more mechanical and unhazardous foes, orders from the High Prophet were immutable after all. She would have to see this fight though. Well, get to a safe position.

The arrival of allies also brought enemies. A bioconstruct?

Well, Corsica had hoped so. If it was entirely, she'd be forced to fire her rounds and pray that the heat warped whatever alloys it was created with. Alternatively, overheat whatever hunk of silicon analog it used.

With Linus' suggestion in mind, she ran. She abstained from commenting on the simplicity of the plan. Bullets flying in one's general direction tended to silence snark. Every so often, she'd peek out from the cover a tree to fire a round at one of the construct's joints. She was more intending to cripple the gun-toting monster in some way. She had plenty of rounds for now. Missing a few shots was something she could afford.

The drone came and delivered its message. She didn't notice it until it had already began to broadcast a message. After all, the process of run-cover-aim-fire-repeat whilst not getting shot took more attention than one would expect. Well, she supposed they'd just head to the park.

When Linus and Corsica ended up near each other once more, Linus gave an idea that Corsica found agreeable. By agreeable, Corsica instinctively let out an excited "yes" and pointed at the celaderaka with enthusiasm.

Rapidly, the micro-fabricators on her hand created a blade of molten silicon-carbide. She sliced into the tree and created a gap within the trunk about the size of a solar tablet. Within the burnt and cinder-filled gap, she began to slide in one of the incendiary devices. She stopped for a brief moment to consider how long the mine should be timed for.

"Eh. I'm sure it's not their time to die."

After setting the mine for a few minutes, she slid it inside of the tree. One of three things were likely to happen when it would go off. The tree would be carved open by the shaped charge and be turned into a burning mass to ignite the underbrush. Alternatively, it the shaped charge would be ignored by the large trunk, turning the tree into a partially natural flamethrower to ignite whatever tree was across from the hole. The shaped charge could also detonate the tree, turning it into an explosive mess of charred wood fragments. She was a reclaimer, not a dendrologist. The exact specifics of the relationship between explosives and trees.

She'd probably end up using all of her Solar Tablets as she repeated the process while running. Well, it wasn't like she carried a backpack full of them. She had about 7 left and would use as many as she could while running. If she happened to run out, then she could always fabricate more out of whatever materials her suit may reclaim.

Then again, that was if they got a moment of downtime. Being constantly assailed by things firing bullets made it difficult to find the time.

The Speedwagon Foundation? That's the first time Lilliane heard anything about that. She never really had the chance to ask, all things considered. The constant fights and running made it difficult to really ask. Well, she wasn't going to ask in the first place. Professional courtesy and all that. Chloe probably would have eventually told her without asking.

"And why, pray tell, would they send operatives from a medical research and conservation group?"

Lilliane was already pinching the bridge of her nose. Really, all that her correspondence told her was that they'd be sending over some much needed supplies for the resistance. She herself wasn't even part of their group. She just had no point to separate ever since they crossed the pond. What did Blighty end up sending over and why...

• Name: Yokoi Beniha
• Title: People often call her the Crone behind her back. Someone called her mom to her face. She's fine with either.
• Age: 47
• Division: Japanese Branch
• Class/Species: Devil Feeder
• Abilities: Beniha's contract allows her to wield the power of flame through the creation and manipulation of burning feathers. Despite their heat, she is capable of wielding these feathers without apparent injury to herself. Her contract also allows for a form of telekinetic control over these feathers. This control, however, is fairly short ranged. Because of this, the control she possesses is used to primarily create constructs of fire. She can create simple weaponry out of these feathers. Bows, swords, spears, and other such martial weapons are all viable creations.

While her contract doesn't quite enhance her physical attributes by any considerable margin, it allows her to possess considerable regenerative capability. While she hasn't tested the exact limits of this ability, it's apparent that she can seal flesh wounds, cure burns, and reattach recently lost limbs, though she's unable to regrow missing flesh. This healing can be applied to others through the medium of her burning feathers, but the process is both agonizingly painful to others and not extraordinarily effective.

• Personality: Grim and sardonic, Beniha is a woman who has seen too much in her years. Her words are often coated in venom with insults intermixed with the praise she gives to others. She isn't one to waste time; a general philosophy of swift and inordinate reaction undertones all of her actions. If she's going to do something, she's going to absolutely ensure that it happens. With this and her sense of duty, it's no surprise that she's one of the most experienced hunters in the field. She often reacts poorly to others bringing up her daughter. They aren't on the best of terms.

While rude and harsh to others, she cares deeply about her younger peers. She sincerely wishes that they stay safe. Because of her general experience, she often acts as a mentor to the new recruits within the DHA. Rarely, her motherly nature shines through all of the bitterness. Small moments of assurance and sacrifice are an uncommon experience to those who interact with her, but they still occur enough to make many hunters confused about how they feel about her.

• Background: Nobody is born an experienced veteran. For Beniha, her childhood wasn't good. Shit house, shit parents, and a shit upbringing. She was a good-for-nothing delinquent ever since she could remember. Though, that time didn't last long. Call it a tragedy, call it an escape. A youkai had liberated her parents of their skin. Before the youkai could finish off the entire family, a hunter bust down the door and promptly ended the youkai. Beniha asked the hunter if she could come with him without giving him time to catch his breath.

And so she joined the DHA at a young age. Turns out, the delinquent child was good at something after all. She was a freak when it came to learning to fight. She could pick up practically any weapon and, within a month, be on par with her peers. Unfortunately, at 12, you're gifted. At 15, you're talented. At 20, you're normal.

Despite her talent with so many weapons, she was ended up as a master of none. Still, be it dumb luck, skill, or willpower, she continued to hunt with frightening efficiency. She ended up falling in love with another hunter. Had a child with him, to. He died, unrelated to the cause. She raised that child on her own, but her duties interfered more and more as her child grew up. By the time her child was 14, Beniha was back at the DHA seeing her daughter for an hour every week.

A dumb test of courage broke that cycle. A group of high schoolers decided to venture deep into the woods for a laugh. What a laugh happened when Beniha's daughter didn't return home from school that day.

Beniha instantly left to find her daughter. With blade in hand, she stormed into the woods and fought what was hunting her daughter. It was too much for her. But she wouldn't stop. No matter how many wounds she got, how many bones were broken, and how close to death she got, she would never give up this fight.

As her vision blurred to an ineffable darkness, a single hatchling appeared in front of her. Through its underdeveloped beak, it uttered a silence that only Beniha could understand.

She embraced the bird in her hands, it vanishing just as quickly as it appeared.

A single moment of radiance. Her wounds bled cinders and, covered in sanctified flame, Beniha charged the youkai once again, unwilling to stop until one of them died.

When dawn broke, the mother had reunited with her daughter--the one witness to the fight.

The dust settled on that chapter of Beniha's life. The rest of the kids were fine. They either got out early or hid well enough to not even hear the sounds of the battle. While reprimanded for not following procedure, her newfound contract and position as a demon feeder let her escape the brunt of paperwork. Her daughter ended up following in her footsteps, much to her distress. The blade she had once used was now carried by her daughter.

And so continued Beniha's service as a hunter.

• Inventory: Beniha doesn't carry much aside from day to day essentials. The most notable things she carries are a photo of her daughter, incense sticks, and a coin turned necklace.

The youkai she's contracted to is within the bracelet on her right wrist.

• Other:
Lv. 29
HP: 341/341 SP: 300/300 MP: 30/30
(300) + 10 + 10% (300) + 0 + 0% (30) + 0 + 0%
STR – 121 (100) + 5 + 15% | AGI – 55 (50) + 10% | END – 42 (40) + 5% | DEX – 40 (40) | LUC – 11 (11)

Holy shit.

Dance really was the universal language. Magpie had originally intended to just dance for shits and giggles to start off a fight, but she managed to avoid one all together. In fact, the leader of the Oni seemed to be rewarding her for her efforts with a rib from the electrobear. It was actually pretty nice to see. Coming from traditional MMOs, Mags felt as though mobs were generally walking EXP containers. A macguffin for characters to murder to complete quests and get levels from. Sure, she technically committed a genocide against kappas a day or so earlier, but the kappas would attack her first. For the most part. Having a mob be diffused by a willingness to have fun was a breath of fresh air.

She took her rib from the oni and savoured it. Even if it would taste weirdly fishy or gross, it was a gift from the blue Oni. If it killed her or it inflicted negative status effects, she'd still eat it. Parasites be damned! She'd also keep the bone as a memento. Also an improvised weapon.

Unfortunately, she didn't really have much to give back as a gift. Ames might have. She'd keep the oni in mind in case she went for another grinding session. Maybe she'd get some good city booze to give them if she could encounter them again.

Man, Thunderstruck Grove was easy to deal with--only a moron would struggle going through this area, she thought to herself. Karma be damned, she was going to stick with this thought.


Were sect ships supposed to land this way?

As the molten metal and viscera flew through the cabin, Corsica watched as the red text appeared in front of the dead man's body. Likely not, she thought to herself. She did little to brace herself from the impact. If her death would come, it would come. There would be nothing she could do to stop it. If she lived, then she lived. That's all there was to surviving catastrophic crashes.

The impact shook her to the ground. Her armour prevented any serious damage. Not that she would be able to tell. Even if her bones were broken and joints dislocated, she would only be able to feel an injury if a limb gave out as she tried to walk.

The ship came to a halt. Miraculously, she hadn't been thrown off. It wasn't her time after all. Quickly, she picked herself up and walked off the broken shuttle. As the mortars detonated far, she gave her arms a quick stretch. Nothing seemed to be dislocated, nor did anything seem broken. She was no worse for wear than the day before.

Well, now was no time to be slacking. The high prophet gave her a mission. She'd see it though to the end. At least, unless the prophet gave her a new order. With rifle in hand, she watched as the one in the keyed armour venture into the jungle. Then she looked at the one hunkering behind the wreckage of the shuttle. After that, she looked at the distant energy mortars that slowly encroached on their location.

She knew which side she'd be on. She reached for one of her solar tablets--a peculiar device that was triangular in shape and was as large as the palm of one's hand. She tossed it at his feet, with the intent that he could use it for whatever purpose he needed while hunkered down.

"Good luck in the fire, brother."

And she was off into the forest with one in keyed armour.
Lv. 29
HP: 341/341 SP: 300/300 MP: 30/30
(300) + 10 + 10% (300) + 0 + 0% (30) + 0 + 0%
STR – 121 (100) + 5 + 15% | AGI – 55 (50) + 10% | END – 42 (40) + 5% | DEX – 40 (40) | LUC – 11 (11)

An explosion of noise. Did the thunder bring combat? In the wake of the boom, Mags almost had to reorient herself. If her strength and constitution were not where they were, she may have been more affected by it. She calmed herself. Was it time to fight? No... It couldn't be...

By god. He was dancing too. Screw loot, EXP, and everything else. Now was time to party!

She began to dance with even more effort than before. She did the trash compactor with such vigor that one would guess she was using SP. She performed it's a snaps with years of rhythm games behind each snap. The did the speeder with every drop of willpower she could. This was the dance of camaraderie. Mankind prevented WW3 with this dance. Well, maybe. Mags wouldn't put any money on it, but she bet that every diplomat did this dance whenever they entered foreign countries.
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