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Olivia hadn’t gotten far when a voice called out from behind her. Whirling around, she was greeted with the sight of…

“Bonnie!” the blonde beauty exclaimed with a happy smile. “And you’re Tesni, correct?” she asked, refocusing her energetic attention on Bonnie’s companion. “It’s very nice to see you again! Liv? Is that a nickname? Oh, gosh! I’ve never been given a nickname before!” Olivia gushed as if it were the greatest thing to ever happen to her. “Well, at least not a friendly one… Hmm? Oh, Suzuya?” she repeated when her roommate was inquired about. “Um, she said she had a few things to work on but, oh! There you are, Suzuya!” the azure-clad maiden noted with a surprised giggle as her roommate appeared from behind Xolys’s bedsheet-covered form.

Bonnie then suggested exploring the castle as a group, causing Olivia’s already jubilant demeanor to brighten even further. “Oh, yes! I think that would be much more enjoyable!” the Ethereal Rose agreed, completely oblivious to the fact that Bonnie seemed far less enthusiastic about the whole “mysterious castle” thing. “And those torches will provide the most enchanting ambiance!” she added, turning to her roommate. “Thank you so very much, Suzuya! And this is my first sleepover, too!” she told Tesni. “I just brought a pillow, since Darling’s cozy tendrils are better than any blanket, especially when warmed by his eldritch flames!”

It was around then that a startled-sounding Bonnie said something about a pool. Looking in the redhead’s direction, Olivia saw that, sure enough, the was a large pool at the center of the castle’s courtyard, shimmering as it reflected the moonlight. But what was it for? After all, it was a bit too chilly to go swimming. Still such questions would have to be answered at a later time, as another new arrival chose that moment to announce her presence, and she didn’t sound particularly happy…

“Chinami!” Olivia greeted the knightly maiden with her usual cheer, although her running hug was stopped in its tracks when she saw the young woman’s annoyed scowl. “Oh, gosh! I’m so sorry! I called you Chinami instead of Camelot!” Olivia hastily apologized, the fair maiden erroneously believing that to be the cause of her friend’s less-than-pleased demeanor. “I completely forgot you prefer to go by your Magical Girl name whenever you’re transformed… Oh! But isn’t this castle simply amazing?!” she added, her eyes glittering with excitement the moment Camelot mentioned their unexpected surroundings. “I don’t know for certain, but I think the haunted piano brought it here,” she explained. “You see, according to the rumor, the piano can transport people to another world, but maybe it can also bring parts of other worlds to this one!” she continued to eagerly ramble on. “I mean, how else could such a lovely and enchanting castle like this just appear out of nowhere?!”

Olivia’s excited babblings were brought to a halt with Charlotte’s arrival, the “totally not a teacher” making a few playful comments, before heading over to where a large couch sat before a crackling fireplace. However, someone else was already there, their Egyptian-themed form rising up to reveal Marrywell’s student councilor, Mika Fang. And reveal turned out to be exactly the right word, as the young woman’s mummy costume was almost scandalously skimpy, providing yet another piece of evidence to support Xolys’s opinion that Marrywell’s faculty were a rather unorthodox bunch. And that was without even getting into the costumed canine accompanying her…

“Oh my goodness!” Olivia cried at the sight of the dapper-looking dog. “He’s so cute! And I just love his little monocle!” she added, hurrying over to get a closer look.

* * *

Chapter Four-
She Blinded Me With Science!


* * *


Violet couldn’t believe her eyes.

Over the past few hours, the heiress had been shown wonders and horrors beyond her wildest imaginings. She had seen biomechanical monstrosities being grown in bubbling vats of glowing liquid, while moon-sized omninoughts hovered overhead. She had seen monolithic mobile fortresses guided by soultech AIs, and capable of unleashing multiple megatons of destructive power every second. She had seen tri-plenumic perpetual motion machines, polyphasic transdimensional techno-wraiths, technomystic teleporters, tetra-tachyonic time machines, hyper-quantum infinity colliders, vita-voltaic resurrection wells, poly-harmonic trans-planar psionic pulse conductor choirs, and a staggering variety of death rays too numerous to count.

Then, of course, there were the obligatory galaxy-shattering doomsday devices, but even they seemed insignificant when placed against the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Lab itself, the sprawling technoscape that, at times, almost seemed like a living creature, and was so stupendously vast, it even had its own weather. Indeed, it had been while their shielded counter-grav platform was passing through a torrential downpour of glowing, green liquid that Nykannis had informed her that she had saved the best part of the tour for last. As arcs of actinic, yellowy-green lighting crackled around them, Violet couldn’t even imagine what could possibly surpass all she had already witnessed, and yet, when they finally arrived, the young heiress found herself presented with a sight that made all the harnessed hypercanes, self-replicating energy-to-matter nano forges, and hyperdimensional quantum singularity cosmic string projectors pale in comparison…

“Y-You… You… have a petting zoo?! Violet exclaimed, her eyes going wide.

“That’s right,” Nykannis said with a grin. “Whatdaya think, Princess? Cute enough for you?”

“T-They’re… They’re… Adorable! Violet gushed, her normally cold eyes seeming to sparkle with glee as she ran to the edge of the forcefield bubble, which enclosed the various bizarre creatures.

“Just reach in and grab a bunch,” Nykannis instructed. “You can put them on here,” the mad scientist added, gesturing to a hovering table that had just popped into existence.

Not wasting a moment, Violet did as instructed, grabbing two armfuls of the wriggly creatures, and pulling them from the containment dome.

“T-They’re so soft!” the heiress exclaimed joyfully.

“Yep,” Nykannis agreed. “Perfect for cuddling,” she added as Violet proceeded to do just that, hugging several of the little creatures, and lifting them up to nuzzle against her cheek.

As Violet showered them with affection, the strange little things cooed and trilled happily, bringing an even bigger smile to the heiress’s face.

“Oh~! You are just the cutest little thingy wingies~! (giggle!)” Violet squealed, her voice becoming cuter and more high-pitched as she continued to snuggle with her new friends. “Yes you aresie~! Yes you aresie~!”

“Glad to see you’re enjoying yourself,” Nykannis noted with a sly smirk.

“Mmmhmm~!” Violet agreed, her eyes half-closed in blissful contentment. “I just wuv them soooo much~! (giggle!)”

However, her bliss soon turned to alarm, when the creatures’ contented coos were replaced with anguished cries. Opening her eyes, Violet saw to her horror that her various little friends were beginning to slip through her fingers and messily dissolve into puddles of goop.

“N-No!” she cried, still not fully believing what she was witnessing. “W-What’s happening?! T-They’re all dying! Why?!” she demanded, glaring at Nykannis with tear-filled eyes. “Why are you doing this?!”

“To see the look on your face,” the mad scientist replied, her own face set in a smug grin. “But don’t worry, Princess,” she added, tapping a small holodisplay. “They’re all perfectly fine, see?”

As Violet watched, swirling vortices of yellowy-green energy reassembled all the various creatures, who were soon emitting a chorus of happy trills and coos once more.

“There, good as new,” Nykannis declared. “I made every single one of these little guys, so of course I can remake them! Nyahahaha! In fact, they don’t even remember getting dissolved in the first place!”

For a few moments, Violet was silent as she took in everything she’d just experienced. The “Queen of the Mad Scientists” certainly lived up to her title. Nykannis was staggeringly powerful but could also be staggeringly psychotic, and, not for the first time, Violet found herself wondering if she should be impressed or horrified…

“So, now that you’ve had the tour, whadaya think?!” Nykannis was asking. “Most amazing stuff you’ve ever seen, right?! I bet it makes everything your supposedly brilliant mind has ever come up with look like a bunch of pathetic tinker toys!”

“Nykannis… What you’re capable of… it’s… it’s unbelievable…” Violet told her after a moment. “You could solve so many of the world’s problems, end so much pain and suffering… Yet, you could also add to them, or even destroy the planet completely. Is that why you haven’t shared any of these developments with the general public, despite your obvious desire for recognition?”

“That’s part of it,” Nykannis conceded. “I’ve taken a more direct approach on countless other worlds, and even quite a few versions of this one, but I suppose you could say I have a vested interest in making sure this particular iteration stays relatively intact, at least for the time being. Besides, the Grand Magistrate would rather I not disrupt the status quo too much,” she added. “And pissing him off would be a very bad idea.”

“The Grand Magistrate?” Violet asked with a raised eyebrow.

“No one you need to worry your ditzy little head about,” Nykannis replied with a dismissive wave of her hand.

“I-I am not ditzy…!” Violet protested. “A-At least not currently…”

“Yeah, I know,” Nykannis replied. “I only said it to annoy you. But, seriously, you shouldn’t concern yourself with the Magistrate,” she added. “I mean, you’re pretty much the living embodiment of the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’, after all. Or is that not why you enjoy being Magical Dream Princess so much?” she asked pointedly.

“I…” Violet began to protest, before stopping herself. “You’re right,” she conceded softly. “Being Magical Dream Princess does allow me to forget about my many worries and obligations. I suppose you could even say I often prefer being that way, but I know that some things do need to be taken seriously, and I am not particularly fond of how disoriented my memory and overall mental state become,” the heiress added with a frown. “But, thankfully, I have so many wonderful friends to help me. For the longest time, I had always sought to be perfect at everything, relying on my own innate talents and hard work. It wasn’t until I became a magical girl that I was able to see the real value in having friends I could rely on, who I could trust to be there for me even when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable,” she explained, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Friends like that are one of the most wonderful blessings in the world, and one I cherish with all my heart.”

“All that ‘power of friendship’ crap sounds like something from right out of a cheesy magical girl show,” Nykannis remarked snidely.

“I suppose it does,” Violet replied. “And I suppose that makes me childishly naive, but I honestly couldn’t care less about what you or anyone else thinks of me,” she added firmly. “I’m tired of hiding who I really am. I’ve spent all my life pretending to be what other people want me to be, terrified of showing my true self, but not any more.”

“Wow… That was some speech, Princess,” Nykannis noted, while slowly clapping her hands. “It’ll be interesting to see if you can put your money where your mouth is,” she added. “I mean, I know how much of a big deal having daddy dearest’s approval is for you. But for the protagonist of some disgustingly sweet kids show, I’d give that performance a nine out of ten. Oh, and speaking of magical girl shows,” the diminutive doctor continued. “Did you know that, once upon a time, yours truly was actually in one?”

You were a magical girl? Violet asked incredulously.

“Of course not!” Nykannis retorted. I was a mad scientist! And not just any mad scientist, either!” she clarified, holding up a finger for emphasis. “I was the main villain of the show! But I got to team up with the heroine during the series finale in order to help her save the universe, and my epic awesomeness totally overshadowed her in every way! Nyahahaha! Hey! Wanna watch it together?!” the mad scientist asked excitedly. “Then you can see exactly what I’m talking about!”

“Um, I-I suppose,” Violet replied, a bit taken aback by her “host’s” enthusiasm, although when it came to someone as egomaniacal as Nykannis, she realized it probably shouldn’t have been all that surprising. “May I ask the name of this show?”

“It’s called Beautiful Guardian Gunslinger Alexis,” Nykannis replied as she set up a small viewing area in front of a massive, panoramic display screen. “But don’t worry about her! she added. “The real star of the show is my character, Doktor Xylannis, the greatest mad scientist of them all! Nyahahaha!”

As Nykannis continued to cackle away, Violet reflected on just how utterly bizarre this whole experience had been thus far. When she was ambushed by the mad scientist’s minions, she never would have imagined it would lead to watching the finale of a magical girl show she’d never even heard of before, and the heiress couldn’t help but wonder how much stranger things might get before she returned to her ‘normal’ life…






Chickens?! What kind of idiot attacks with fucking chickens?!

Sure enough, a rather sizable flock of chickens was now racing across the flaming field to swarm the monstrous lion, while an enchanted bull slammed into one of the nearest tanks, knocking it over. A bit closer at hand, Mayra engaged the scarecrow with her flaming talons, while a second draconic girl, one of the new arrivals, teleported next to the armless girl and delivered three swift sword strikes, before blinking away just as the Angel’s barrier enclosed the strange monster.

But all that paled when compared to Penny…

“Mother’s Mantel…” Gaia whispered, her verdant visage a mixture of awe and horror as she watched the mechanical monarch plow her way through the monstrous lion and then the rest of the Wonderland forces beyond like a runaway freight train on steroids.

The poor chickens never stood a chance and were swiftly fried to a crisp.

“Good heavens!” the Angel gasped, placing her hands over her mouth, while her eyes widened in shock. “Such atrocious violence!”

Holy fuck… The only other time I’ve ever seen that kind of raw power was during the wendigo attack… Seriously, who is this girl?

Then she remembered the message the robotic girl had sent her.

Pfft… Like I’m seriously supposed to stop that? Yeah right…

Though I suppose helping the poor thing will please Master Chiichuu, who will then reward his humble servant with the most rapturous feelings of bliss!

I am seriously gonna murder that fucking fur ball one of these days… (sigh…) Well, on the bright side, at least her warpath’s going in the right direction, so maybe I won’t actually have to intervene…

Who am I fucking kidding…


Meanwhile, Gaia’s water cannons were succeeding in freezing the giant tin man in place, rust spreading across its towering form even as another new arrival peppered it with a spray of bullets. However, with the guidance of the scarecrow, the tin man blocked the brunt of the water torrent with its free arm, allowing its axe arm to make a mighty swing against the sunflower, chopping it down in one powerful sweep. The toppled plant ended up falling right on top of Mayra, pinning the draconic girl to the ground, while also having the added detrimental effect of drenching her in a deluge of water.

Blast… Gaia hissed.

However, while all this was transpiring, the artillery’s continued bombardment had created a few cracks in the twin protective barriers, allowing a squad of flying spade soldiers to slip through. No sooner had they done so, then one of them employed a rotary cannon to unleash a hail of enchanted bullets upon the Angel of Hope. Thankfully, before the heavenly beauty even realized what was happening, a crimson shield appeared before her, fully blocking the incoming fire. A moment later, the source of the blood barrier revealed itself.

“Thank you so very much, kind champion!” the Angel told Justine with a radiant smile. “This humble servant is most grateful for your generous assistance!”

Holy shit, that was close… These fairytale rejects sure are sneaky fuckers…

The vampire girl proceeded to inform them that she would attend to the aerial threats, but even as she said this, a spade trooper fired a missile at the base of the nearest sunflower, causing it to collapse. Gaia, who had ascended the flower to gain a better vantage point of the battlefield below, found herself falling along with it. Dispelling her staff, the verdant maiden leapt off the falling flower and onto an intertwined column of thick vines rising up from the ground, which she promptly slid down until she was kneeling upon the soft soil.

“That’s it, she seethed, turning a harsh glare upon the advancing Wonderland forces. “Now, I’m mad…

Taking a deep breath, Gaia closed her eyes as she gathered her mystic power. Conjuring Nature’s Blossom once more, the daughter of Mother Earth raised the verdant staff above her head and rapidly twirled it in her hands, before forcefully driving it into the soil before her. The moment she did so, her eyes shot open, now glowing a vibrant green.

“Despoilers of field and flower,” she uttered, her normally tranquil voice rising to a far harsher intensity. “Taste the full force of Nature’s Fury!”

With that, several glowing tendrils of mystic power shot out of Gaia’s floral staff, the life energy surging across the battlefield, touching every plant, from towering sunflower to humble blade of grass, and even the seeds still wrapped in the soil’s warm embrace, filling them with renewed strength and vitality. The toppled sunflowers were knitted back together, rising up and off of the once-trapped Mayra. Restored to their original splendor once more, the mighty flowers joined their companions in unleashing an all-out Barrage of mystic beams, corn cob missiles, pea pellets, and water jets. The latter were directed entirely at the tin colossus, although Gaia was mindful to keep the torrents well away from where Finn and his diminutive ally were assaulting the metallic monstrosity. Simultaneously, a pair of vines shot out to pull Mayra clear of the deluge, so as not to get dangerously soaked, while another set of verdant tendrils wrapped around the scarecrow and attempted to fling him into the nearest patch of still-burning field, where the fiery dragon girl could hopefully put an end to him.

Even as this transpired, the Angel’s attention was drawn to where the second draconic girl was seemingly being devoured by the yellow brick road the armless girl had conjured.

“My heavens!” the angelic beauty cried in alarm, desperately wishing to help, but being utterly unable to do so. Indeed, it was all she could do to maintain and strengthen the barrier imprisoning the now injured, but still very much alive, armless girl, who, despite her imprisonment, had shown herself to be fully capable of engaging the town’s defenders with her magic.

Stupid fucking pacifistic powerset… Sure would be nice to go on the offensive right about now…

Thankfully, yet another new arrival made his presence known, rescuing the dragon girl, and shattering that segment of the brick path with a mighty blow from his fist. The strange Egyptian-themed golem was soon joined by a gun wielding young woman, and the Angel of Hope wasted no time in granting them her aid.

“Please allow this humble servant to bestow her blessing upon you, most noble champions!” the heavenly maiden called, as a sweep of her glowing staff sent a trio of empowering energy beams shooting towards Nefer, Akhenaton, and Kiyome. The three recipients of this blessing would find not only their physical abilities magnified, but a shimmering field of protective energy surrounding them.

Hopefully that’ll give them enough of a buff so they can finish off that armless bitch…

Back in the besieged town itself, the ghost boy was introducing himself to Connie. The nightmare girl was only vaguely aware of Crimson Cradle, a few mentions from Amanda being the rough extent of her knowledge, but since her dream magician friend was apparently a member of the organization as well, she figured Oliver was probably safe enough, despite his somewhat spooky appearance.

“O-Oh! U-Um, t-that’s okay,” the timid girl stammered out a response. “I-It’s n-nice to m-meet you, O-Oliver,” she added, her mask forming a tentative smile, while her trembling hands continued to nervously fidget with her hair. “I-I’m C-Connie. I-I’m h-here with s-some f-friends,” she explained. “T-Thank you f-for h-helping e-evacuate the t-town. I-I just h-hope everyone’s g-going to b-be all r-right…”


A coordinated attack? That was why their backup had taken so long to arrive? The very idea that all the disparate monster factions, and even non-sentient beasts could all work together in such a way was highly unsettling, but the apprehension it generated was as nothing when placed against the far more relatable horror that came next. Breacher’s daughter (Mika, was it?) was still conscious, and had just heard what had happened to her mother. The pain and fear in the girl’s trembling voice wrenched at Ashley’s heart. She wanted to comfort the girl somehow, but the new esper’s swift departure made that impossible, and if Fable’s brusque response to her attempts at reassurance was any indication, that was probably for the best…

I really am useless here, aren’t I?

“Oh, um, thank you,” Ashley replied to Silhouette, her fellow agent’s words of approval breaking her out of her despondent ruminations just in time to notice Oros, of all people, emerging from the darkness.

W-What’s she doing here?!

Even as Ashley wondered this, the pink-haired Depraved esper began explaining how the Diver was different from normal behemoths, in that a grimoire served as its “heart”. In fact, Oros almost made it sound like someone had designed it that way, an insinuation that had all kinds of unfortunate implications…

Still, this was Oros the Mad talking, and the Knight of Tomorrow knew it would be wise to take anything she said with a grain of salt. Such was her line of thinking as Oros and Veronica had a little chat, but when the pink-haired lunatic addressed her by name and brought up a possible “date”, Ashley’s expression noticeably darkened into an annoyed scowl.

“The later, she hissed through gritted teeth, before attempting to compose herself when Veronica inquired about her relationship with the infamous esper. “That’s correct,” Ashley acknowledged. “As hard as it is to believe, she actually saved Gale and I from a group of Depraved espers,” the Knight of Tomorrow added, gesturing to the blue-haired esper nearby. “She said she wanted to go on a date with Gale as payment for her help, and I wasn’t about to leave her alone with someone with Oros’s reputation.”



18 | Female | GEMINI | Vision of Tomorrow
Implements of Tomorrow | Wand, Shield | Arcane | Tune of Tomorrow
Raiment of Tomorrow | Stride of Tomorrow
Light of Tomorrow | Light | Power of Tomorrow
PRO-TEK 4000 Defensive Surgery Implement | Kevlar Coat, Kevlar Padding, Clip Light
[Reveal (2), Purity (4)], Damage (2), Damage X (6), Shield (4), Reflect (4), Heal (6), Major Heal (18), AoE (2), Powerful (0), Piercing (2)

DAMAGE: B | SPEED: E | SENTINEL: C | 750

PHYSICAL: E | ARCANE: C | CHAOS: B | 6


“Then, a really nice tourist took our picture, and then we went to the Sherlock Holmes museum!” Olivia told Xolys, as she prepared for the upcoming sleepover, the eldritch beast listening to the blonde beauty’s happy ramblings in polite silence.

“It sounds like the two of you had a very enjoyable day,” Xolys noted.

“We really did!” Olivia agreed, her eyes sparkling with delight. “And I’m so very glad we didn’t have any surprise rainstorms,” she added, picking up her umbrella, which had now become an elegant parasol. “We only had a single umbrella, and it would have been rather awkward for both of us to try and squeeze under… Oh my gosh!” Olivia gasped as a small white rectangle fell out of the umbrella. “Another letter!” she exclaimed excitedly. “And it’s addressed to you, darling!”

“Curious…” Xolys replied as he took the envelop and sliced it open with a scythed appendage. “Ah! It’s from Master Xozooth, my old instructor, and the original Master of Xhar’doth!”

Your instructor?” Olivia asked, frowning in puzzlement.

“Why yes, my sweet,” Xolys replied. “We all have much to learn in our youths, and I was no exception. In fact, I would not be Master of Xhar’doth today, if it were not for Master Xozooth's exemplary tutelage. Still, he was a rather mischievous and unorthodox teacher,” the gentleman horror reflected. “Not unlike some of Marrywell’s own faculty. We were actually quite good friends, although we haven’t spoken in several millennia,” the eldritch beast added as he unfolded the letter. “I wonder what he has to say…”

After a few moments of silence as he read the letter, Xolys’s imposing form began to slightly quiver, which soon turned into far more pronounced shuddering, as the monstrous horror unleashed a hearty laugh.

“Oh, that devious rascal!” he declared, once his laughter had finally subsided. “I see his sense of humor is still very much intact!”

“What did he say?” Olivia inquired as she leaned over to take a look at the letter, only to find that she couldn’t make an ounce of sense out of the strange symbols inscribed upon the piece of parchment.

“Roughly speaking, he said, ‘You are stupid!’,” Xolys replied, incinerating the letter in a burst of blue eldritch flame.

“T-That’s it?” Olivia asked, not at all comprehending how such an insult could in any way be considered funny. “But that’s so horribly rude!”

“Now, now, my sweet,” Xolys reassured her. “It isn’t nearly as offensive as it seems. Much of the humor and hidden meaning is lost in translation, and very hard to explain to anyone not versed in the intricacies of Non-Euclidean geometry.”

“I see… Well, I suppose I shall have to take your word for it… But wait! How do you suppose the letter got in my umbrella in the first place?”

“You mentioned leaving it behind in the restaurant,” Xolys pointed out. “Perhaps the letter was inserted then?”

“Oh my gosh!” Olivia gasped, placing her delicate hands over her mouth. “Do you think Kate could have done it?!”

“It is a distinct possibility,” Xolys noted. “But I wouldn’t fret, my sweet” he added, placing a consoling appendage on her shoulder. “Xozooth would often employ all sorts of people to carry out his various pranks, most of whom were almost entirely unaware of what he was actually having them do. So even if Miss Kate did convey this message, I doubt her intentions were in any way malicious.”

“I suppose you’re right…” Olivia conceded, her demeanor brightening up once again. “Um, darling…?” she asked as she watched Xolys produce a large white sheet with two black circles colored on it and drape it over his sizable form. “What are you doing?”

“So as not to intimidate any ghosts that may appear, I thought it prudent to wear a disguise,” Xolys explained. “This way, they shall be lulled into a false sense of security, allowing you more time to observe them.”

“Oh, you’re just so clever, darling!” Olivia gushed, while giving her consort a brilliant smile.

“Thank you, my sweet,” Xolys replied, the eldritch beast not having the heart to tell the endearingly naive beauty that the real reason he had chosen to wear a disguise was to keep from unnerving the other girls with his monstrous appearance. “Now, then, let us be on our way.”

“Yes, let’s!” Olivia agreed, wrapping her free arm around one of Xolys’s tentacles, while the other held a comfy pillow.







“You know, it’s too bad Helmi probably won’t be joining us tonight…” the azure robe-clad maiden noted in a sullen tone as they walked along, her mouth drooping into a frown. “I haven’t really talked with her in quite some time, and she was the one who told me about the possibly-haunted classrooms in the first place!”

“As much as I hate to say this, I think that it may be for the best that Miss Wilhelmina refrains from joining us tonight,” Xolys replied. “From what little I know of her, I do not believe she is particularly enamored with the idea of possibly encountering ghosts, or any supernatural phenomena in general.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, darling!” Olivia playfully admonished, while giving voice to a melodious giggle. “She summons all those spectral sailors during battle! How could she possibly be afraid of ghosts?”







After careful consideration, Olivia and Bonnie had decided upon the music room as the venue for their slumber party, in large part because the rumors surrounding it were the most long-standing and well-defined. It also didn’t hurt that Olivia was particularly fascinated by the idea of being transported to a fantastic world and exploring it with Xolys and her other friends. However, when the incongruous pair reached the location where the door to the music room should have been, they were instead greeted with a drawbridge, leading to the open gates of a gothic castle…

“Oh my goodness!” Olivia exclaimed in utter astonishment. “Wherever could this enchanting structure have come from?! It certainly wasn’t here yesterday! Unless…!” she gasped as in idea occurred to her. “That’s it! The haunted piano! Instead of bringing us to another world, it brought part of another world here! Oh, this is just so incredibly exciting!” she gushed as she practically dragged Xolys along after her, the fair maiden’s eyes sparkling with jubilant anticipation of what wondrous discoveries lay in store…


Even as blasts of neon energy dug ever-deeper into the Diver’s massive form, Ashley was dimly aware that a pair of equally massive wings had appeared behind the creature, and were now carrying it (and everyone on it) further into the sky. This was bad. The tenth, and final, plague would soon begin, and over a thousand lives would end. They had to move faster! With Ashley’s help, the cat girl had reached the harp that served as the monster’s heart and grabbed hold of it. But she didn’t seem to have the strength to destroy it, or pull it out. Not only that, but she and Ashley were both starting to sink into the behemoth’s molasses-like body…

That was when Ashely heard the sound of a loud crack. Looking up, she was barely able to see the Diver’s head falling off its shoulders. Before the Knight of Tomorrow could fully register what she was seeing, Leroux’s war pick shot out to imbed itself in the behemoth’s rapidly descending cranium. Despite the Diver’s myriad supernatural abilities, in this instance, at least, it was still beholden to the laws of physics, and Leroux clearly intended to use that fact to her advantage. Quickly comprehending the armored esper’s plan, Ashley tightened her grip on the cat girl, while pushing away from the Diver with every last ounce of strength that remained in her legs. Gritting her teeth as her body was stretched to its limit, Ashley felt her grip about to give out, when, all of a sudden, the harp was finally yanked free, and the chain of espers holding onto it was sent plummeting to the ground below.

D-Did we do it…? Ashley’s dazed mind wondered, even as she fell to her impending death.

It was so dark, she was so tired, and the wind and rain rushing by her was so loud, that Ashley didn’t realize a giant inflatable bag had manifested to keep her and the other falling espers from having a very fatal meeting with a building’s roof until she had landed on it with a loud “Thump!”. The impact was far from pleasant, and the force of it knocked the wind out of her, but Ashley knew she was still alive, from the painful soreness suffusing every inch of her battered body, if nothing else. Slowly making her way off the bag to stand on wobbling legs, the Knight of Tomorrow saw Veronica emerge from the darkness, asking about Breacher. Before she knew it, Fable had stepped up to their leader and begun explaining what had transpired, his voice filled with anguish, with rage.

Stepping up beside him, Ashley placed what she hoped was a reassuring hand on the boy’s shoulder. She should have been the one to tell Veronica the somber news, or Leroux, or Silhouette, not their youngest recruit, not a child! And yet, Fable had been the one say it, to convey the terrible truth, without sugarcoating a single awful piece of it. Was it bravery, youthful impetuousness, or something else altogether? Whatever the case, Ashley’s admiration for the boy had grown considerably.

However, as she listened to Fable speak, the high-tech heroine found herself increasingly troubled. The darkness still persisted. But why? If the Diver had perished, shouldn’t it have dissipated by now? And even if they truly had killed the behemoth, had they done so in time? Ashley had no idea, but she was sure of one thing- it wouldn’t be long before she found out…



18 | Female | GEMINI | Vision of Tomorrow
Implements of Tomorrow | Wand, Shield | Arcane | Tune of Tomorrow
Raiment of Tomorrow | Stride of Tomorrow
Light of Tomorrow | Light | Power of Tomorrow
PRO-TEK 4000 Defensive Surgery Implement | Kevlar Coat, Kevlar Padding, Clip Light
[Reveal (2), Purity (4)], Damage (2), Damage X (6), Shield (4), Reflect (4), Heal (6), Major Heal (18), AoE (2), Powerful (0), Piercing (2)

DAMAGE: B | SPEED: E | SENTINEL: C | 750

PHYSICAL: E | ARCANE: C | CHAOS: B | 6



Over the next few days following her field test, Nova Lux’s common room had almost become Dana’s home away from home. Everyone was telling stories about how their exams had gone, with questions, answers, and a particularly unfortunate hamster flying left and right, along with no small amount of boasting and, occasionally, grumbling…. Indeed, it seemed that an unlucky few cadets had actually failed their exams, and as the school’s resident living ray of sunshine, Dana found herself working overtime to brighten their spirits with friendly hugs and optimistic words of encouragement. Still, it was the tales of victory that really filled the cheerful Norban with eager excitement…

“Really?! The Amara Volkov?!” Dana exclaimed when Priya had revealed the identity of her instructor, the sunny sharpshooter’s golden eyes seeming to gleam even brighter than usual. “That’s so freakin’ cool! Y’know, Shel and I just watched the episode of Guardian Gunslinger Alexis she cameoed in a few days ago! The part at the end where Alexis and Amara team up to take down that swarm of cyber-bugs has gotta be one of my favorite moments of the entire series! Check it out!” she added, turning to face some of the poor souls who had yet to see the episode in question. “So, Doctor Xylannis unleashes this army of Cybugs to wipe out the military research base on Delta Primus, right? And Alexis and her team jump into action to stop ‘em, but they can’t take out the queen’s control node, ‘cause even though Alexis can make the shot, her pistols don’t have the range, which is when Amara makes this super dramatic entrance and is all ‘Leave that to me’! It was just so freakin’ badass! So, like, anyway, she lines up to take the shot,” Dana continued, excitedly acting out the scene by holding up an imaginary sniper rifle. “And Alexis is using every trick shot she knows in order to keep the Cybugs from swarming her, and then finally, Amara fires, and the camera follows the shot all the way to the queen’s control node, until… BLAM!!! It takes the thing out, causing the mother of all shockwaves to race through the Cybug army and make all their heads explode! Doesn’t that sound absolutely AWESOME?!! she asked, her gleeful visage looking over each of the gathered cadets in turn, most of whom were too stunned to answer.

Or were desperately trying to keep from laughing their heads off…

Once Dana had calmed down from her little “performance”, she listened with rapt interest as Penny gave a synopsis of her own exam.

“Wow, Penny,” the cheerful Norban said with a giggle. “Your test sounds like somethin’ straight outta a horror movie! Y’know, once Halloween rolls around, we should totally get Yagami to set up a haunted house!” she added. “Anyways, at least now I know where your recent hatred for rodents came from!”




The end of exams also heralded the start of a two-week break, during which Dana found herself spending much of her time alongside Penny, while attending Priya’s exercise group. Vanna’s roommate, Cara Kelly, was also present, and Dana wasted no time in getting to know the redhead better, both in and out of combat. As it turned out, her first name was actually Nora, but she preferred to go by her middle name to preserve the “sweet alliteration”, something Dana wholeheartedly approved of.

However, it was just as the break period was starting to wind down that the biggest surprise came…

“A party?” Dana asked, as she took a closer look at the text Nicole had received. “On a boat? And we’re invited?! Count me in!”



After doing some research, Olivia finally found the perfect place for Suzuya to try pizza for the first time. Located on Baker Street, just across from the Baker Street tube station, and only a short walk away from the Sherlock Holmes Museum, L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele was widely considered to make the best pizza in London. Their Neapolitan-style pizza, while incredibly delicious, was also noted to be easy on the stomach, something she knew Suzuya would be grateful for. It was a rare sunny day, with clear, blue skies, but Olivia had still decided to bring an umbrella, just in case.

“I haven’t really read too many Sherlock Holmes stories,” Olivia was saying in her nasally voice as the pair entered the restaurant. “But Edgar Allan Poe wrote quite a few detective stories, so I thought I’d give some Holmes stories a try. They were actually pretty interesting! Plus, I really enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘A Study in Emerald’, which combines Holmes with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos!” she added excitedly. “So, yeah, I think it would be really fun if we could visit the museum later!”

The restaurant they found themselves in was rather small, although Olivia had mentioned that most of the seating was actually in the basement. Still, with it being such a nice day, the bespectacled brunette picked an empty table by the window, right next to a wall upon which the words “I want someone to look at me the way I look at pizza” were spelled out in bright neon letters. It was also hot, the large oven taking up the center of the room emanating the warmth of a bonfire. Yet, on such a crisp day, the heat was quite appreciated, at least by Olivia.

“You know, I’ve never actually had a genuine Neapolitan pizza before,” Olivia noted as they sat down. “So this will be my first time, too!”

Suzuya was unsurprised to find Olivia had no issue keeping up conversation even as Suzuya was taking in all the sights without the filter of concern over Pageless to dull the surroundings. A pleasant day on the town, no Merrywell or Magical Girls to worry over, and the even sunnier disposition of her roommate to keep things lively. She'd done a little looking into pizza after accepting the invitation and the pictures of greasy, starchy discs of pizza wider then she was did little to fill her with confidence.

Olivia's words of reassurance, however, did. Trusting that she wouldn't steer her wrong and had put thought into this she went along with a small smile and her hands clasped before her. Her eyes bounced from the museum across the way to Olivia herself, finding it odd that- of all things- Olivia wasn't a blonde out of her transformed state. "We'll enjoy it together than...you know, it's a little funny, but I don't think I realized you wore glasses until today. I'm a little used to you being transformed to keep Xolys out and about. It's almost like we match."

Suzuya nudged her own frames higher up her nose for emphasis, her expression soft yet tentative as she tried to keep Olivia engaged as the warmth of the ovens washed over them. A comfort that reminded her of being enveloped in her Grimoire, but seeing as they actually wanted the staff to see them, neither had come with tails or tentacles in tow. "Sorry, I got a little distracted. I actually rather like books...I guess that's no surprise given who we are...though my knowledge of Western literature is a little limited."

Would Olivia think less of her for not knowing? Feeling herself flush with color she looked down, fiddling with her napkin rolled around a bundle of steel utensils. "Not that I haven't heard of Sherlock Holmes. He was, umm, done by that guy who wrote Hamlet, right?"

“Oh gosh! You’re right!” Olivia exclaimed with a smile when Suzuya pointed out how they both wore glasses. “And I suppose I am often transformed,” she conceded. “I just love being able to have darling Xolys around to chat with, but I wanted this to be a girls’ day out,” she added. “A special treat for just the two of us! Plus, for some reason, Xolys didn’t think they’d let him in here… He can be so silly sometimes!” she said with a giggle that came out as more of a snort.

Then Suzuya mentioned the author of Sherlock Holmes…

“Oh, no,” Olivia corrected, her expression one of cheerful amusement. “Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes. Well, the original stories, anyway,” she clarified, adjusting her glasses ever so slightly. “Like I was saying earlier, lots of other people have written about him over the years. So, um, what kinds of stories do you enjoy reading, Suzuya?”

The image of Xolys stooped over their table did bring a giggle to the blonde easterner, and it was so easy to see Olivia oblivious to anyone's concerns about wayward claws catching a waiter trying to shimmy past his impressive body. Suzuya was finding herself desensitized to him readily enough, in part because her transformation got her through the initial shock, but mostly due to coming to know him as a person on his own. It was more awkward to think of him as a summon who disappears when Olivia isn't in a ball gown then as someone she'd usually see passing her in the hallway.

"Oh. My mistake. My english is adequate but my knowledge of the culture is...limited, to say the least." She sighed, not feeling judgement for her error but not feeling great about it either. Still the pleasant atmosphere kept the wall flower from drawing inwards and she met Olivia's eye with a small smile. "I like short stories. The kinds where every paragraph can have a dozen different meanings and you can pour over them for hours analyzing how different interpretations change the entire context of what has come and will follow it. There's this writer in Japan who was one of our first to reach world wide acclaim, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who did a whole lot of them. My favorite was In A Grove. In a way it's also a detective story but the reader is the detective and everyone's testimony is suspect. It even got made into a Kurosawa film!"

“Oh wow! That sounds really cool!” Olivia gushed. “I’d really like to read that sometime! Did you know Edgar Allan Poe mainly wrote short stories as well?” she asked. “He even once said that he thought all stories should be short enough to be read in one sitting. I don’t know if I completely agree,” she continued. “I mean, there are a lot of benefits to getting invested in a long novel as well, but I can still see where he’s coming from. Oh! So does that mean your favorite genre is mystery fiction?!”

"I don't think I'd want every story that short either. Sometimes you need a book worth coming back to sitting after sitting with more to offer, no?" Suzuya's expression steadily brightened as they talked, her fidgeting hands going still as she left the crumpled napkin lay across her lap. "And yes, I do enjoy mysteries. Not so much murder mysteries but...the stories were someone grapples with the morality of something and there is no right answer. Even horror has a tantalizing mystery to the unknown, though when it turns out to be a monster in a rubber suit I tend to lose interest, movie or book regardless.”

“I suppose that makes sense…” Olivia conceded with a thoughtful frown, before quickly brightening up again. “But even then, some of those monsters do look kind of cute. Still, I agree, the most interesting creatures are the ones your own imagination can come up with,” she added. “That’s what I love so much about eldritch horrors! They’re just so interesting, they defy description!”

"We have these books. They’re like comics but read right to left. You'd like some of the horror ones. Junji Ito would be something you and Xolys would enjoy, now that I think about it." The blonde wondered if she could get one mail ordered for her, and was reaching for her phone when she smelled a fresh whiff of tomato and saw a man walking up with their order. The hesitancy she felt about it didn't seem to rear up this time and she adjusted her glasses. "I'll find you something of his another time. For now we should enjoy our meal."







“That was great, wasn’t it Suzuya?!” Olivia was saying as they stepped out of the restaurant. “The perfect flavor, yet not overly filling in the slightest! In fact, I think that was the best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire—”

“Um, excuse me,” an American-accented voice called from behind them. “I, uh, think you forgot this.”

Turning around, Olivia was greeted with the sight of a short-haired young woman with a camera hung around her shoulder, and holding…

“My umbrella!” Olivia gasped. “Thank you so much!”

“Don’t mention it,” the girl replied with a chuckle.

“I know it’s absolutely gorgeous out right now, but I’ve learned that the weather can change quite rapidly here!” Olivia explained, sounding very serious. “Why, just a few weeks ago, some friends and I were walking through a lovely park on a sunny day, when, all of a sudden, a terrible storm blew in, and we were all completely soaked!”

“Yikes…”

“Oh! I’m so sorry!” the bespectacled brunette gasped as a thought occurred to her. “I never introduced myself! I’m Olivia, and this is my friend, Suzuya.”

"It's nice to meet you." the blonde chirped, radiating contentment after discovering the simple joy of seasoned tomato and cheese settled in her stomach.

“Same here.” the girl replied with an easy smile. “I’m Kate.”

“It’s very nice to meet you as well, Kate!” Olivia added in her typical, over-enthusiastic manner, although Kate seemed to be more amused than bothered by it. “Um, judging by your accent, and that camera, I’m guessing you’re a tourist?”

“Yup,” Kate confirmed. “And I may be goin’ out on a limb, but I don’t suppose you two are from around here either,” she added with a grin.

"No, we're actually students studying here abroad. I've only been here in London a little over a week." Suzuya chirped, finding the tourist a friendly enough face. While there was yet to be a cloud in the sky it would have been dreary to be caught by a sudden storm and getting soaked outside her Magical Girl state. "You're having a good time seeing the sights?"

“Sure am,” Kate confirmed. “This isn’t my first time in London, but even when I visit someplace more than once, there always seems to be something new to discover.”

“This is actually our first opportunity to explore the city since we arrived,” Olivia explained. “And there are so many interesting places to check out and exciting experiences to have! In fact, Suzuya just finished having pizza for the very first time!” she added happily.

"H-Hey, don't go telling her that. People might think I'm some kind of country bumpkin!" The blonde laughed, sticking a finger into Olivia's side for embarrassing her with her ardent sincerity. "It, was, pretty good. Wonderful even. Though I still feel the need to walk it off, so we were going to visit the museum over there."

“Ooohh… Sherlock Holmes, huh?” Kate noted with a grin. “Nice. Say, before you head over there, would you like me to take your picture in front of the restaurant?” Kate asked, pointing to it with her thumb. “Havin’ pizza for the first time is an experience you should have a memento of.”

“Oh, yes! That would be wonderful!” Olivia gushed. “Don’t you think so, Suzuya?!”

Grinning with a giddy sort of energy Suzuya squeezed in closer to the brunette, the London light striking their glasses as the frames bumped against each other with their proximity. "Sure, a picture sounds fun. It'll be nice to make a pleasant memory."

“Okay,” Kate said with a chuckle as Olivia leaned in and placed her arm (!) around Suzuya. “Say ‘cheese’!”

"Cheese!"

*Snap!*

“Looks good,” Kate told them as she inspected the image on her camera’s display. “I just sent it to your phones, if ya wanna see for yourselves.”

“O-Our phones…?” Olivia asked, somewhat surprised to see that she had gotten a new message. “But how did you…?”

“This is a pretty special camera,” Kate explained with a wink, while patting the device in question. “I got it custom-made. I guess you could say I’m somethin’ of a world traveler, so havin’ a top notch camera is pretty important. It’s not much good for selfies,” she added with a chuckle. “But I’m not really into that kinda thing anyway.”

“Gosh… That’s really cool!” Olivia marveled. “And the picture looks great, too!”

“Thanks! Well, I’m gonna get goin’ now,” Kate said as she readjusted her camera strap. “I hope you two enjoy the museum!”

“You’re welcome! And I’m sure we will!” Olivia called. “This has been such a great day already, hasn’t it Suzuya?” she noted, giving her friend a big smile, before looking back down at the picture on her phone’s display screen. “I’m going to cherish this day for the rest of my life!”

* * *

Chapter Three-
I'm Still Standing


* * *


“Leave it to Oros to fuck everything up…” Nykannis was muttering as Violet slowly regained consciousness.

“Well, that was certainly an interesting experience…” the heiress remarked, blinking her eyes a few times to clear her vision. “And it’s nice to know you despise her as much as I do,” she added with a wry smirk.

Upon noticing her captive was now awake, Nykannis turned to face Violet with an annoyed scowl. “Gotta admit, that was actually kinda impressive, Princess,” she conceded. “I never would have imagined you’d be able to overcome all that nightmare energy, especially not in your current state…” the mad scientist added as she examined the various diagrams and schematics depicted on an array of holodisplays. “But that’s fine. It still provides me with valuable data for future projects, so I’m not too bothered by it.”

“That is rather unfortunate,” Violet replied with a frown. “And here I was hoping that you’d have a fit after seeing how your little attempt to break me failed so completely.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, Princess,” the mad scientist sneered. “But I’m not an infantile crybaby like you.

“Yes, I suppose I can get rather emotional in my other form…” Violet conceded. “In fact, thanks to you, I’ve just had the opportunity to learn quite a lot about myself, and I’d like to think I’ve grown stronger as a result.”

“Y’know, I’m having a hard time deciding which version of you I hate the most,” Nykannis muttered. “On the one hand, there’s the hyperactive ditz on a sugar rush, and on the other, there’s the snooty bitch who thinks she’s sooo impressive ‘cause she never looses her ice cold demeanor, even when she’s about to be dissected alive.

“I apologize for not providing you with the show you were so clearly hoping to see,” Violet replied, doing her best to maintain her “aloof dark-haired girl” persona in spite of being presented with a host of wicked-looking surgical implements. “I simply cannot help the fact that I do not find you in any way threatening.”

“Yeah… As much as I hate to admit it, I’m gonna have to go with happy clappy manic pixy dream girl,” Nykannis said with a sigh of resignation. “At least you were actually pretending to be friendly when you were like that…”

“I wasn’t pretending,” Violet replied. “But… is that persona what you would truly prefer?” the heiress asked, sounding somewhat surprised.

“That’s what I said wasn’t it?!” Nykannis snapped.

“In that case, I believe I can facilitate that for you.”

What…? the mad scientist asked, momentarily taken aback, and not quite comprehending what, exactly, her captive meant.

“Just because I am untransformed does not mean I cannot act like my magical self,” Violet explained. “Granted, it may not come as naturally to me, but it is still something I am fully capable of doing. Like, Violet Wiolet and Magical Dream Princess are the same person worson, after allsie~” she continued. “And, like, just because she doesn’t normally wormally talky walky like this doesn’t mean she doesn’t super duper wuv being able wable to~! (giggle!)”

Nykannis's eyes widened at the unnervingly incongruous sight of the formerly refined heiress speaking like her carefree magical persona, and soon, one of them began to twitch.

“What.

The.

Fuck.


“And, like, if Nykannis Wannis really, really wants her to, Violet Wiolet can, like, totally wotally do this aaaall day~! (giggle!)”

“Okay, stop,” a shell-shocked Nykannis deadpanned. “You are seriously creeping me the fuck out…”

“Awww…” the heiress pouted. “Violet Wiolet was having, like, sooo much funsie wunsie… But, like, wait one moment woment~!” she exclaimed as something seemed to occur to her. “Nykannis Wannis is being, like, a super duper meanie weanie head, keeping Violet Wiolet locked up in heresie, soooo, like, maybe waybe Violet Wiolet should keep acting wacting this way~! (giggle!)”

“Whatever!” Nykannis snarled. “I’m actually kinda curious if you can keep that up when I start CUTTING YOU INTO BLOODY LITTLE PIECES!!! NYAHAHAHA!!!”

With that, several buzzsaw, scalpel, and scissor-equipped mechadendrites descended upon the captive heiress, while Nykannis grinned a particularly sadistic smirk.

Violet knew this was bad. Her captor’s patience had clearly run out, and even as she braced herself for the impending agony, her mind raced to find a way to stop it. Why was this happening? Why was she really here? As the whirring and snapping implements drew ever-closer, Violet’s eyes widened, not in terror, but in understanding. Nykannis had said it herself, this was all just revenge for when the transformed heiress had broken into her R&D facility. This was all because of a simple mistake. In a way, this really was all her fault, which meant there was only one thing to do…

“I’m sorry,” Violet told the mad scientist, her voice little more than whisper.

What?! Nykannis asked incredulously, her various surgical implements stopping mere inches from her captive’s body.

“I’m sorry for mocking you, and I’m sorry for breaking into your lab,” Violet clarified. “I obviously offended you a great deal, and I realized that I never actually apologized for it, so I wanted to do so now.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet!” Nykannis spat. “At this point, you’d probably say anything to save your skin!”

“Believe what you want, but I promise I’m telling you the truth,” Violet stated firmly. “I never hated you, Nykannis. In fact, I didn’t bear you any ill-will whatsoever. I was honestly fascinated by you, and by everything you had created, although I admit I didn’t exactly express that in the best way at the time,” the heiress conceded with a sigh. “As I am sure you’re aware, I don’t have a great deal of control over myself when I’m transformed, and our first meeting was my first time in that state, so I had even less control than usual. It was my initial intent simply to gather information, but I was so caught up in the wonder and joy of being Magical Dream Princess that I quickly lost sight of that goal. All I wanted to do was just have fun and make friends with everyone I encountered,” she continued. “The members of Team Alpha, Karen, Kate, and yes, even you.”

Friends, huh?” Nykannis asked with a dubious scowl. “You seriously expect me to believe that bullshit?! Hell, for someone so ‘fascinated by my work’, you’ve done nothing but insult me this whole time!”

“What did you expect?” Violet replied. “Your minions assaulted me, I was brought here against my will, and you made it very clear that you intend to torture me at length. In light of that, I wasn’t about to give you the added satisfaction of seeing me grovel and plead for my life, so I simply employed the persona I use whenever I am in public. That said, I now see that was a mistake,” the heiress conceded. “Keep in mind, I am in no way condoning your actions against me,” she added pointedly. “In fact, I think they are the very definition of disproportionate retribution, but I would be foolish not to admit that my own actions, however well-intentioned, were the catalyst for them. I may not have intended to cause any harm, but I clearly did, and for that, you have my most sincere apology. As for your doubts about my sincerity, do you not have some form of lie detector you could employ to verify my claims?”

A few moments of silence elapsed as Nykannis’s goggles glowed brightly, and then…

“Okay, fine,” the mad scientist grumbled. “So you really are telling the truth… So, what? Do you honestly expect me to just say ‘apology accepted’ and let you go on your merry way?! And here I thought this side of you was the intelligent one…”

“Honestly? While I’d like for that to be the case, I don’t really expect that anything I say will make much of a difference in what you decide to do to me. I just wanted to let you know that I really am sorry for any pain I may have caused, and while I’m absolutely terrified of what you’re planning to do, if you truly think it’s a suitable punishment, then I shall willingly accept it.”

For several long seconds, the various blades and buzzsaws hung poised to plunge into the young heiress, only to rapidly withdraw a moment later as Nykannis gave voice to a defeated sigh.

“Fuck it… This is becoming considerably less appealing by the second, so I suppose I’ll grant you a reprieve…” Tapping a holodisplay, she deactivated her captive’s restraints. “But don’t think you’re free to run amok,” the mad scientist added, raising a finger for emphasis. “I’m still not letting you transform or use your magic, and if you try anything, those restraints will automatically reengage.”

“Thank you,” Violet replied, mentally breathing a sigh of relief as she tentatively flexed the fingers of her regrown hand. “I know I’ve already been through a lot of unpleasant situations, but I really didn’t want to add ‘getting dissected’ to the list.”

“Sorry to burst your metaphorical bubble, Princess, but you did get dissected,” Nykannis informed her. “Half a nanosecond before I released you,” she added with a smirk. “Completely taken apart, analyzed by every type of scanner imaginable, and put back together, good as new. I never said it had to be long, or painful. That was simply going to be for my own personal enjoyment.”

“That’s… incredible…” Violet breathed, more than a little stunned by her captor’s revelation. “And somewhat terrifying…” she added. “So, does this mean that I am free to go?”

“I suppose…” Nykannis conceded. “Although… If you really were serious about being fascinated by my work, how would you like to take a little tour?”

At first, Violet was slightly taken aback by the mad scientist’s offer, but then she realized that it only made sense for someone with Nykannis’s massive ego to want to show off her accomplishments. And Violet knew she would be lying if she said she wasn’t highly interested in seeing them…

“I think I’d like that very much,” the heiress replied.

“Well, then, what are we standing around here for?!” Nykannis demanded, her mouth forming a maniacal grin. “LET’S GET STARTED!!!”


Ashley was so fixated on ending The Diver’s unholy existence that she hardly noticed how dark her surroundings were rapidly becoming. It helped that her melodies gave off plentiful light, and it was thanks to this light that the Knight of Tomorrow was able to perceive an interesting detail of The Diver’s internal structure. The behemoth appeared to possess a giant harp in place of a heart, or any other internal organs, for that matter. But despite the incongruous nature of this new piece of knowledge, the high-tech heroine knew she didn’t have the time to ponder it at any length. The Diver needed to die, the sooner, the better, and it seemed that she had been presented with an opportunity to make that happen. All she had to do now, was take it…

“Punch it again!” Ashley called to the cat-girl. “You’re almost there!”

Realizing that the harp was probably much too large to be destroyed by a single punch, enhanced or not, the Knight of Tomorrow added her own power to the mix. Using the last of her mana, she sent a burst of green-hued destructive energy into the enormous creature, immediately followed by a blast from her techno-wand, both aimed at the giant harp.

This has to work… It just has to…!



18 | Female | GEMINI | Vision of Tomorrow
Implements of Tomorrow | Wand, Shield | Arcane | Tune of Tomorrow
Raiment of Tomorrow | Stride of Tomorrow
Light of Tomorrow | Light | Power of Tomorrow
PRO-TEK 4000 Defensive Surgery Implement | Kevlar Coat, Kevlar Padding, Clip Light
[Reveal (2), Purity (4)], Damage (2), Damage X (6), Shield (4), Reflect (4), Heal (6), Major Heal (18), AoE (2), Powerful (0), Piercing (2)

DAMAGE: B | SPEED: E | SENTINEL: C | 750

[Bronze Touch][Damage X] = -48 mana

PHYSICAL: E | ARCANE: C | CHAOS: B | 6
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