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Ink and Angela

”I said I’d draw it in, not find it for you, so be a dear and keep those eyes peeled Ink” Angela replied, not taking her gaze of the darkened false sky, her tone faintly mocking rather than harshly admonishing as it could have been ”or have you been just admiring the stars this whole time, hmmm?”

There's a certain saying; 'better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.' It was very tempting to confirm that, yes, he was just admiring the stars, because you didn't specify a range, miss Angela. Just staring up at the sky covered most of the airspace above Agartha, technically, and if she needed the dragon to look back at her, all she needed was to create bright lights in the dark, which should be no problem for a fire mage. Well, either way, he didn't feel like getting into it at the moment. Not because he didn't want to start an argument with Angela right before taking on a dragon, but because not being omniscient unironically made him feel foolish. Such is human perception.

In any case, Angela went on to create a series of spotlights on herself, lighting up the cavernous sky like a search helicopter in reverse. So Angela doesn't mind finding it for everyone anyway, huh.

As Angela goes on to taunt the dragon, Rika assures her, in trite heroic fashion:
"No maidens will be kidnapped on my watch, fair lady!"

Rika then says she sees something and stands up before she is unceremoniously swooped off the ground in an instant by a fast-moving shadowy figure.

"...So, is Rika not a maiden, or...?"

"It's hardly polite to speculate darling" Angela Replied disdainfully, before hypocritically adding "though I can't imagine someone of her fame lacks for suitors."

Ink didn't miss the way she casually implied she was speaking from experience. He got up off the grass, dusting himself off. "Takes a celebrity to know a celebrity, huh, miss high society?"

"That it would", she replied shamelessly while pointing a glowing finger up towards the might or might not be maiden, trying and failing to line up a shot that wasn't at risk of blasting the subject of their conversation in the butt, before adding "why? Interested?" somewhere between tauntingly and teasingly

Ink obtusely feigns obliviousness. "In being a celebrity? No thanks. I already get too much attention doing jack shit." Seeing her try to aim at the flying Chameleon while Rika is still on board, Ink shakes his head. "Speaking from experience, I don't think you're gonna be able to avoid collateral damage."

Angela gave a truncated snort of a laugh at his artful dodging of her trap of a question, before listening to his advice on her aiming and then replying, "we can't simply lose the cities darling, now can we? I will have to try something if she doesn't get out herself soon." At which point, as if on cue, the rising star broke free from her captor's grip, which earned her an "ah, never mind, there she goes" from Angela as Rika and the dragon both fell from the sky.

Rika proudly announces that she brought the dragon down before getting its attention, seemingly granting the rest of them an easy opportunity to attack it from behind. Ink rushes forward, brandishing the Inkwell and attacking the dragon repeatedly, testing the durability of its scales.
As the group made their way to the ranch, Ink remained in complete silence as Rika and Angela filled the aural void. He didn't really have anything to add anyway. He loved meat, sure, but he didn't have the refined palette needed to care about the difference between lab-grown versions and the 'real deal'. Meat is meat.

When they finally arrived, Rika lied, introducing them as her friends, and they had just enough time to admire the bloody gouges left in the field before the lights cut out and Rika decided that now was a good time to go stargazing. Fuck it, he wasn't going to let someone else claim his role as the team's biggest flippant underachiever, so he joined her, a ways away, on the grass, in the dark, staring up at the fake sky. He summoned the Inkwell and span it around idly in one hand as Rika waxed poetic about the genocide of all devils. Certainly, it would be nice to wipe out the only other intelligent race on the planet once and for all. Lord knows they're itching to do the same.

Rika then asked if the others had a wish like that. A bit personal to be asking when they're all mediums, and maybe she wasn't referring to the wish, but she just told them some version of her wish, so it only felt fair to reciprocate. "Honestly, I fucked up my wish. I asked for too many things at once and was too vague about all of them. In the end, the Jinns offered to cover different parts of my wish, and I ended up going with the one who was the most openly vindictive. I don't regret that choice though, since they're the only one who offered the part I cared about most." He paused for a bit, gathering his thoughts before deciding that he didn't want to mention more. Telling them that a part of his wish involved dealing with the demons implied that he didn't choose that as his priority. To this day, he's not sure, with certainty, what exactly the other Jinns would offer, but he can't say that combat ability was foremost in his choice. He went with a truthful yet vague statement instead. "It would be nice to live on the surface. The stars are harder to memorize out there."

As conversation died down, Ink decided he should make it clearer he was ready to fight. He prompted his teammate without getting up. "Whenever you're ready, Angela."
After watching Rika trip over her own fame and flounder for an introduction, she passed the baton off to Angela, who spent most of it tooting her own horn, explaining why she was better than other Valkyries. Although her opinion of herself seemed to be sky-high, she hadn't began openly berating Rika for her awkward brand of arrogance, nor himself for casually admitting that the protection of Agartha meant little to him, as opposed to a box of otherwise unobtainable candy, augmented by magic, and a bottle of Vodka. Maybe she was just being amicable and quietly hated their guts, but it was always nice to be around magic specialists.

"Mr. Lysander is my father," he said with ambiguously insincere demureness. "Call me Ink. I don't know if you've heard any of the rumors about me, but I'm not exactly a model Sorcerer." As if to prove his point, he whips out his bag and pulls out a magic stone. "It's blessing magic, so don't freak out." He holds it out in front of him as if trying to use it against the others in the room, and a magic circle appears. For a brief moment, everything seems to be going as usual, but then the magic circle cracks. It begins to violently vibrate as magic power begins to leak out, and the magic stone seems to start emitting smoke. Finally, the magic circle begins to glow, as if getting ready to explode. Then, all it once, it's gone, as Ink lowers the magic stone and stares at it in his hands. "No matter what, even with magic stones, I am completely incapable of magic. All magic. Even attempting it will literally blow up in my face. That's my curse." Ink brings the magic stone closer to his face. "However..." Ink tosses the magic stone into his mouth and begins eating it with a disturbing crunch. "Tastes like rock candy."

After he finishes eating the magic stone, he continues. "I eat magic, literally and figuratively. Healing magic, blasts of fire, disfiguring curses, I absorb it all. None of them have an effect on me, and I regenerate a bit based on magic I've absorbed. Basically, it's better to include me in your spells as collateral damage, if you can. The job description of a Sorcerer is a medium who counters magic used by the demon army, so I became one on a bit of a technicality. I used to be a Pioneer, but I don't like the taste of elixirs, so it wasn't a good fit..."

Subconsciously, his hand ended up on the back of his neck, a nervous tick he was consciously aware of but helpless to stop. He's had to give the basic rundown of his abilities many times before, but it always makes him feel awkward to explain himself like this. "Anyway, I prefer close combat. My weapon of choice is a cursed dagger that absorbs magic and uses it to curse enemies, so if you're wondering why an enemy is acting strange, it's probably because I stabbed them. A couple of the curses are broken if they get attacked, so use your judgement."

He tilts his head toward Angela. "Besides all that, I don't have anything to add. If you have a way to lure it into a trap, that seems as good a plan as any." He then turns to tattoo girl. "How 'bout you? Why don't you introduce yourself to the class?"
'One of the Three Kings' he says. 'Most powerful monsters to have ever been slain by man', he says.

Elpidio is a practiced con artist. Intentional or not, he has a tendency to overstate his own excitement when it comes to monsters. To begin with, his description of the Three Kings has 2 qualifiers, along with a level of uncertainty. His own words of praise imply that stronger demons have been slain, and that not only are there stronger monsters out there, but the monster he's asking them to take care of is already well-trodden ground. Furthermore, with abilities like Ink's own out there, the phrase 'most powerful' becomes a lot more subjective, and to top it all off, there's no guarantee that the statement in question is correct at all. Plenty of mediums don't have the luxury of having the circumstances of their death verified. All in all, there's zero reason to buy into Elpidio's 'for glory' pitch, which is just as well since Ink doesn't give a rat's ass about fame or recognition.

What kind of name is Rex Caelistis anyway? It's true that most monsters don't get popular names, and thus end up with whatever latin mess Elpidio or other cryptozoologists slap on them, but Ink knows enough about the names of dinosaurs and RPG characters/settings that never stop getting sequels to know that it means 'King of the Heavens'. It's the kind of name that screams 'exaggerated myth', or alternatively, 'Elpidio wants to market the latest addition to the daemon program in the most over-the-top manner possible.' Either way, it's stupid, and Ink decides he's calling it the flying chameleon from now on.

Setting aside Ink's motive to participate, it's hard to tell if this is even a job for him to begin with. A lot of monsters use magic to avoid the issues inherent in biological systems. Snakes have to control the amount of venom they inject because if they don't, they'll run out of it and can take quite a while to replenish their supply. Dragons are especially suspect because some of them use specialized organs instead of magic. Magic is almost universally a more logistically sound option, but since they're conceived through completely mundane animals, it's impossible to know until a magic circle forms... or doesn't.

"This doesn't seem like my kind of job."

Elpidio immediately interjects. "Au contraire, I think it's the perfect job to add to your resume, if only to flaunt it in the face of your detractors."

Ink responds in a monotone voice, completely expressionless. "My 'detractors' can go suck a dick."

"How about doing it for your career?"

"I'm fine where I am, thanks."

"Then, for the good of Agartha?"

"Elpidio, you're acting like this is the first time we've met."

"I'm just messing with you. I'll have a box of the usual delivered."

It's about what Ink was expecting. "Throw in a bottle of Vodka while you're at it."

Elpidio gives him a wry smile. "Not enough on hand to go day-drinking with?"

Ink puts one hand over his chest in an exaggerated manner, feigning offense. "Why, I'd never! Alcohol upon a Paladin's lips? Obviously it's a necessity for watering my houseplants."

"Do you even own any houseplants?"

"One. It's imaginary, and made of plastic."

Mornings suck.

Were it Ink's prerogative, this would be his cue to go back to sleep. The eye-piercing blues of the fake sky above Agartha are just starting to roll in through the overdramatic orange-purple sunrise, bleeding against it from the opposite end of the fake sun peeking over a horizon that doesn't exist. It's pure artifice, and it makes him feel grumpy, if not downright angry, every damn time. He's not one to tout the supposed inherent value of that which is au naturel, but if the sun is supposed to be either aesthetic or utilitarian in nature, why did they choose to replicate the fact that it's a blinding ball of fiery hate?

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if Ink wasn't trapped in a vicious cycle of inconsistent sleep schedules. His circadian rhythm was like a sundial on a cloudy day that grew limbs and started breakdancing. At this point he doesn't question what woke him up or why he's tired anymore, he just accepts that waking up at times determined by roulette wheel is his new normal. Today he had the misfortune for it to land on the tender hour of 3 am, which called for extra coffee in his morning mug full of milk and sugar. He considered a shot of vodka while he's at it, but wouldn't you know it, he's all out. "i'Ll BuY mOrE lAtEr" he muttered, mocking his past self. Truly, that guy is an asshole.

After burning a couple of hours starting his day, lazily consuming literally cursed sour candies and rewriting the hastily scribbled notes he made yesterday, he got up and out, ready to begin the herculean task of existing in a public space.

Ink wasn't famous per se. Among mediums, sure, his abilities and position were unique enough that they stood out if nothing else, but for most of the middle and upper class, he was more infamous than anything. In some ways it was nice. He seemed to inspire dead silence as he walked by others, a simple glance more than enough to kill the gossip on their lips, though that might be because his resting bitch face is worse than he thought. Either way, it was some much-needed peace and quiet. He gets more than enough judgmental word vomit from the many enemies he's made and/or spontaneously acquired. Really hard to remember which is which at this point.

Brionac Academy is an ostentatious beast of a building. Ink was once told it felt like sacrilege for him to even step foot on the premises ever since his so-called 'fall from grace', which to some is just when he left the Lysander family and abandoned the Paladin tradition, and to others was when he decided to become a Sorcerer even though he's incapable of casting a single spell. Maybe it's just his habit of summoning a bag made from the fossils of dead angels in order to eat candy in such a professional setting that ticks people off. It's still better than a smoking problem, in his opinion. At the end of the day, Elpidio needs his unique 'talents' for the daemon program, so all the petty bullshittery and empty legal threats tend to slide off him like water off a duck's back.

Ink walks through the front doors with his usual nonchalance, through the elevators, down towards Elpidio's office. He's taken the same route many times already, never interacting with much of the rest of the Academy and its facilities. It's routine at this point, just like the way that one medium's bag of gummies mysteriously vanishes while he's in VR, no matter how bad of a curse he places on them to catch the thief. It's his own damn fault at this point, really, he doesn't even try to hide them.

As he tosses the rest of the bag into his angel fossil hammerspace, he opens the double doors to Elpidio's office and is met with a bunch of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Frederica Simonova, former vanguard, first class juggernaut and darling protector of Agartha, a reoccurring name when his father compares him to other mediums, though he's never met her personally. Fire girl, first class valkyrie, someone he's almost certainly worked with before but probably not someone he's actually ever spoken to. Finally, there's some girl he doesn't recognize who was wearing not one but two articles of sleeveless upper body clothing, just to show off the tattoo on her arm. He begins to think he's intruded on either Elpidio's harem or a collective sexual harassment complaint when Elpidio says, "Ah, Ink. You're just in time. Lock the doors, will you?"

Ink didn't exactly like where this was going, but in his moment of hesitation, the three girls didn't seem interested in stopping him, so he did as he was told before walking across the room, producing the notes he was asked to take and presenting it to Elpidio. "As you requested."

"Ah, thank you, this will help greatly. Say, why don't you stick around, Ink? I've got quite the story to tell you."

Blissfully unaware of the message sent on the Maji-nEXT he keeps breaking, Ink walks ass-backwards into Elpidio's trap as he comes to lean against one of the cabinets full of plastic monsters lining the wall. "Sure, I'll bite. What's going on?"
Things have not been going well for me irl lately, but I would like to continue the RP.
It took a while, simply, to answer Minccino's challenge with some modicum of sincerity. Troy couldn't help but stand and stare at Minccino, who was expectantly doing the same, waiting for him to send out Shuckle. It felt unnatural, having been strung along by that other student, and it left a sour taste in Troy's mouth, to receive Minccino's gratitude like this. Well, that wasn't all, either.

Troy had skipped over it earlier, but as he brought his pokedex out again, he confirmed that Minccino's ability was Cute Charm. In essence, it was worthless. Blatantly inferior. Troy had made it a point to not rely on his father's resources, barring some widely available vitamins, and ability patches were not easy to come by. Although it seemed like a talented specimen, not even having Technician drastically reduced its usefulness, even as an interrim pokemon. Why is he even doing this? Because he fears Shuckle getting taunted and losing in a dramatically pathetic manner? Because the journey of a successful trainer involves amassing a wide array of tools, many of which quickly become redundant? Because he let himself think finding perfection like the breeders on the Caecilius ranch could be so easy? Troy ran his clean hand through his hair as a scowl tarnished his ever-placid facade. He could feel his composure slip as the frustration mounted. He liked Cinccino. He kinda liked this Minccino. Still, Cute Charm is fucking useless and so is Rivalry. He got wrapped up in capturing Minccino regardless because he was told the Minccino had a stash of garbage he had to retrieve, but seeing this Minccino demand a battle of him, like it was testing him after it already failed his test, pissed him off.

Troy took a deep breath, as he so often found himself doing, fixing the expression on his face. He was an expert at mental resets and no one could tell him otherwise, but he still found himself changing his course of action. A crack in his inflexibly infallible mask. Cognitive dissonance, he thought, as he made the conscious choice to act on his emotions. What difference does it even make? -Since this is all irrelevant to the end result. He took a step forward and came to a stop near the grass Minccino stood on. "What exactly do you think you're waiting for? Get in the ball or don't, I don't care anymore." He tossed a pokeball on the grass in front of Minccino. An olive branch, a symbol of defiance, a cynical ultimatum, he didn't know himself what it should have represented, but the burden of decision lifted off his shoulders like a pile of bricks. Perhaps the gesture was just a coping mechanism, as if to put the blame on Minccino rather than himself for not meeting his impossible standards. He didn't like this line of thought, because it was obvious to himself and any hypothetical higher beings capable of reading his thoughts like posts on a forum that he didn't like such stringent pursuits of perfection, but it was unavoidable and irreconcilable with his goals and obsessive compulsive nature.

He awaited Minccino's response, holding off on threats just yet, already wondering how many days he would have to cover the gardens with mud before Minccino would give back the things it stole.


As the day of reckoning finally came, Alexis took her first steps through the gates of Hoseforn, a place known across the entirety of Ealinata for the famous adventurers it produced. The courtyard, the main hall, the giant glowing crystal in the main hall, everything was larger than life, no matter where Alexis looked.

Speaking of giant glowing crystals, it seemed to be sentient, given the booths full of students talking to it. It was exciting, stepping to a booth and having her own personal rainbow appear in front of her. She reached out to it right away, but her hands phased right through.

"Greeting's new student. I am Athena. Welcome to Hoseforn's Academy for Gifted Adventurers. Please present your acceptance scroll now."

There it was, the crystal's voice. The rainbow seemed to pulse with each word. She wondered if messing with the rainbow affected her... Or it. Can crystals have genders? It seems like a magical automaton. It's called Athena, so the intent seems to be a feminine identity, or perhaps that's just because it was deemed more agreeable when dealing with would-be adventurers? Unless some form of necromancy was at work, binding the soul of a woman named Athena to the crystal. Something that big and crystalline seems like it'd have the magic properties necessary for that. Alexis reached out to the rainbow again, waving her hands through it and observing how the light would bend. Try as she might though, it just seemed like an ordinary projection of light. Makes her wonder if mirrors or prisms would have an effect.

"Please present your acceptance scroll now."

It seemed she took long enough that Athena felt the need to repeat herself, so she got on with it and pulled out her letter of acceptance.

"Letter accepted. Welcome Alexis Atropos."

As she spoke the words, the letter of acceptance glowed slightly, its text disappearing, replaced by a map of the school with a colorful line going from the main building to a separate building.

"This is a map of the school grounds, your dorm number is 777. A fresh uniform and any supplies you require will be waiting for you. Please change...bathe... and return to the Main Hall within an hour and a half for the welcoming feast. Attendance is mandatory."

Dorm number 777 huh... She did try to use magic to improve her luck with school life, but for it to manifest in such a way... Actually, does it have anything to do with her magic? If this crystal determines everything, then it probably had no effect, which would mean it's a coincidence?

How mysterious. It was more believable that someone or something was behind this. Alas, she'll probably never get an explanation for this. Oh well, time to never think about it ever again.

Alexis, finding that she could not contain pieces of Athena's rainbow in a rudimentary magical container, said goodbye to the crystal and moved on to her dorm. It only had a single bed, so it seemed she had the room all to herself. It also seemed decked to the nines with instruments of pure GAMING. When they said the dorms contained any supplies students would require, they weren't kidding. Her room resembled a combination of a casino and an arcade, perfect for practicing pretty much any spell she could think of. She had brought a few things, but there was no way she could bring physical versions of all the objects relevant to Gambler magic. Did they do this for anyone with the Gambler class? Sure, the cost of all of it pales in comparison to the tuition, but it was still impressive. How many Gamblers were there in Hoseforn's? It wasn't exactly a popular class...

In any case, she took a long shower, enjoying the luxury of magically heated water on demand, then tried on the school uniform. It fit in quite well with the rest of her wardrobe, and she liked the way it looked on her. She didn't hear anything in the school rules preventing students from accessorizing, so she didn't see the need to change anything else about her look. With that, she was ready to head back towards the Main Hall for the feast.

When she got there, it was a bustling cacophony of dissonant chatter. Students from all walks of life were here, and a number of students were of races Alexis had never seen before. In particular, the girl with the large pink fox ears and a tail stood out among the crowd, to the point of drawing constant lingering glances and stares from other students. She had never seen a bestial race with qualities such as hers, though it wasn't that unusual given the numerous similar races.

It was more peculiar, in her opinion, to see a young man sitting by himself, gawking at practically all of the other students and acting stiff and twitchy, a sign he's on edge. Alexis walked up to his table and sat herself down next to him, uninvited.

"Hello. My name is Alexis. I could taste your fear from across the room. Mind kicking it up a notch? My favorite flavor is abject terror." Alexis gave the man a warm smile, not matching her words at all.

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