.:⋮Rising to the Throne⋮:.
In the lower levels of the sanctuary, those that Cindy had spent most of her time overseeing, sat the majority of the housing space that had been added. Down here sat Cindy’s room, still untouched since she last left it. Her death had left a void within the City, and as of yet it hadn't been led to anything. But that wasn’t a case that Penny was willing to hope on maintaining itself for long.
And that led to the reason why Penny was down here, as in truth she didn’t have a room down here, having always preferred to stay in the main area, even more so now that sleep wasn’t an issue. No she was down here seeking someone else. Goblina, Cindy’s right hand. Penny needed to talk to her first, before she went ahead with her plan. Because the goblin girl deserved to know, and deserved the right to choose before everyone else.
So when Penny came across the door to Goblina’s room, she didn’t hesitate in knocking. “Goblina”
Penny would call out through the door “Do you have a moment?”
Penny heard Goblina’s feet pitter patter as she rushed to open the door. “Penny? Come in, come in!” She gestured in a hurried fashion to her before shutting the door behind her.
“Did anyone follow you?” She asked, peeking through the keyhole before shaking her head.
“Doesn’t matter. What is it?” The robot girl could tell that the shorter monster girl has also had it rough ever since Cindy’s demise, having spent all her time preventing the Sanctuary from falling apart in more ways than one.“No one that I was aware of”
Penny would answer regardless of the smaller girl dismissing her own question. At the same time it wasn’t like Penny was keeping an eye out for people following her, she hadn’t tried who she was or what she was doing for the Sanctuary. On the other hand following Penny without her noticing within the Sanctuary was no small feat, all the metal here spoke to Penny as she had put herself into it back when she was first building this place.“I wanted to talk.”
She would go on “And I wanted to thank you.”
Quietly she would move further into the room “Without you things would have been much worse off, I wouldn’t have been able to do half as good as you at keeping this place together”
Penny just didn’t have the same rapport with most of the girls here, and there hadn’t been the time to try and build it before everything went to hell.
As she spoke she reached out her hand and three Silver Coins appeared “Payment. At the very least you deserve it for all the help.”
She would explain, and Penny knew that she owed Goblina much more than this, but she couldn’t give everything she had, as she very well might need it. Considering what Penny had to say next however it was best to at least do so now, as doing it after felt too much like it would end up being a bribe.
Goblina's mouth opened wide at the sight of magical coins, and she snatched them off Penny's palm. "Thank you so much, Penny! This is going straight to the emergency budget." She pocketed the coins, and patted the pocket with a somewhat uplifted smile. “I also wanted to talk to you about Cindy's title.”
She paused here, uncertain about how painful this next part might end up being “I was thinking of taking up the mantle of Queen. Before Mint steps in, or any one like them tries to do so.”
Never had she wished that Jason spent more time caring about the people here then Chloe, then she did right now, things would have been so much easier if they had.
Goblina blinked, but then nodded. "I figured. It's your place after all. Well, I was never going to corral these wild horses, so maybe you'll have a better chance at it. So, uh, what's our plans in the long term?"
Penny would sag with relief for a moment, she had been afraid for naught it seems “Long term is hard to pin down. There is a lot going on in Penrose, but that’s nothing new. My main goals, outside of keeping this place and the girls here safe, would be more renovation, working on our exit strategy and possibly getting some trustworthy allies.”
Renovation would be easy, or at least not any harder than anything else going on here. The allies bit would be the hardest, but Penny already knew most, if not all, of the major factions in Penrose. The exit strategy would be the most tricky, as it involved summoning the Earth Bastion.“Short term, I was planning on making an announcement to everyone here about picking up the title of Queen, so I could field their concerns, yours as well if you have any.”
Goblina took out a phone and jotted down notes. "Got it. I'll get everything set up for that. As for recruitment, I have a couple of ideas. Based on what I've heard, a lot of girls have been drawn to the Golden Trove hotel. It's run by magical girls, so we should get on amicable terms with them." She put the phone back in her pocket. "Another place is the Cradle; heard good things from them, though the Mint has them on a blacklist, so might be dangerous to be associated with them."
Penny couldn’t resist a snort when the potential allies were listed. She wasn’t too surprised that her networking habits would come in handy now that she was actively working to make allies, more just surprised at who it was that was first in line. “Trove might be an issue, might not. I’ll head over there in a few days personally to work that one out. If they have an issue with me I want it to stay with me. Which they might, seeing as I accidentally stole something from the Dragon that lives there.”
Goblina cringed. "Yeowch. Dragons hate it when you steal from them."“And I’m not going to be turning away the Cradle. Any enemy of Mint is a friend of mine, after a fashion. Plus I’ve met with some of their members. They are decent people, if a bit odd. There is also the fact that I’ve talked with Veronica before”
To say nothing about having the vampire on speed dial effectively. “I can definitely try talking to them a bit more once we have gotten better settled here.”
"Okay, that sounds better," Goblina responded, still typing notes.
Penny would fold her arms as she started cycling though what they had and what they needed. They had safety, for the moment, and decent, if basic, supplies. What they needed was stability, and a greater sense of safety. Comfort wouldn’t be a bad thing either, but that could take time. “After the announcement, think you could help me round up some of the Metal girls and Builders?” Penny would ask as a possibility to improve the situation they were in came to mind, to say nothing about how it dovetailed into the exit strategy she had mentioned before. “I have a project that I would like them to work on.”
"Consider it done," Goblina answered with a casual salute, before she turned a bit meek. "Not to, uh, be snoopy, but what kind of project is it?"“Ties back into what I stole actually”
Penny would reply with a snicker “I own a ship, which is also a tank, that's the size of a baseball stadium. But back before it became mine, it used to be able to fly. I’d like to get it airborne again.”
She would explain with a mischievous grin.“That would give us an immense advantage. As we could take the Sanctuary anywhere we needed too and land anywhere we needed too. It’s not going to be an easy task though, the original Sky engine’s already been scrapped, but I have a copy of the blueprints and a bit of what the original engine was turned into as well so it should be doable.”
Goblina's tooth poked out from her mouth, opened wide in surprise. "Oh wow. I can't wait to see that!" She took Penny's hand and shook it repeatedly. "I'll do my best to keep us rolling, Boss! You can count on me!"“Of that I have no doubt”
Penny would reply with a nod as she went along with the handshake. “Off to let the rest of the Sanctuary know what’s up I suppose, before that got any questions for me?”
"Well, uh…" Goblina scratched the back of her head. "I know Cindy wasn't the most fun girl around. But she really did care about us, about keeping us safe. So, uh, could we hold a memorial for her, or something like that? Nothing too fancy, of course."
Penny would blink at the question, granted it was more of request but still. "Of course. I may have built the foundation but Cindy was just as passionate about keeping the girls here safe."
She'd reach up and rub at the back of her neck "I'm more upset that I hadn't thought about it before, now that I think about it"
Drawback of her mechanical nature she mused internally, focusing too much on her chosen task and all else falls to the side.
Shaking her head she'd push that aside for now. "I can make a statue in her image for it. We can set up a small area either in the main room for it as well, that way we can give everyone a chance to mourn everyone that was lost due to the Rave."
Goblina nodded with a bittersweet smile. "Yeah, that sounds good. Thanks, Boss." She made a few more notes. "Well then, that's all from me. I got a lot of work to do, but call me if anything comes up." She waved a bit, then left the room.
Penny would be right behind Goblina, glad that things went well. Now she just had to hope that her next course of action would work just as smoothly.
When Penny once again reached the main room she would start walking towards it’s center but as she did metal stairs would begin to fold out of the ground along with a small circular platform and as she ascended the stairs her presence would suddenly draw everyone’s eyes to her, Because Gravity was so much more than just a force for determining weight.“Everyone!”
She would callout as she reached the center of her platform, the stairs folding back into the ground. “I have some announcements to make.”
Her voice would echo deep within the Sanctuary, a mix of Gravity and Metal only doable because of how much of herself she put into this place.“The first, is long overdue. We all have lost people, friends and close ones, over the past few days. Either at the Rave or due to the ongoing riots.”
She would slowly walk the perimeter of her platform as she spoke, unafraid to meet the eyes of the girls and boys that would gather to listen. These were the people she was going to be pledging herself to protect, and she was going to use this time to make sure she knew each of their faces. “Each of those losses is a tragedy, and after I’m done up here I’ll be setting up a memorial. Everyone is free to add to it, be it pictures, or keepsakes, or any other way you can think to honor those that you have lost. I personally will be making a statue in tribute to Cindy. For without her many of us wouldn’t be here.”“The next announcement, and well this is one that I feel will become a discussion so feel free to speak up.”
Hopefully by now most of the Sanctuary had arrived, she wanted to give them all the chance to speak up for their opinions to be heard. “We have lost Cindy to the Mint. A fierce protector, and one who always looked to keep us safe. I hope to keep that Ideal alive. To that end I am taking up her mantle as Queen of Penrose. My goals are not different from hers, to keep you safe from those that would abuse you. This Sanctuary is open to everyone who needs a place to be safe, that has not changed, but there will be people that come here to try and take advantage of us. That I will not allow. There are those that will try and dismantle this place. That I will not allow. And there are those that will try and endanger this place. That I will not allow.”“I will state I am an enemy of the Mint and their manipulative ways, and the same can be said of the Ascendency for their acts of wholesale slaughter. I will not bow to them, and will always place myself in between them and any who call this place home. Because this is my home too, the first one that I have had since I became part of this world. And I will die before I let them take it from us.”
By the end of the speech, every Sanctuary resident's eyes were on Penny; their expressions ranging the spectrum of emotions. Whispers ran amuck, but soon enough, a single pair of hands clapped, as hard as they could; it was Goblina, crying with a scrunchy mouth.
"The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen!" She blurted out. Then, others joined in the clapping and cheering. "Long live the Queen! Long live Penny the Builder!"
It didn't take long before the entire Sanctuary rang with cheers for the new queen, the robot girl having succeeded in giving faith and hope to the downtrodden bunch.
Dina Denisova.:⋮First of many⋮:.
Before large events there were signs. A flood would be preceded by heavy rain and thunder and a choking atmosphere. Animals being restless would be signs of earthquakes, and a red moon was a sign of a heavy fire nearby. One who could read the signs and anticipate events would no doubt end up in a privileged position.
And for Dina Denisova, the Stray Empress, it was a life that she was loath to part with. Ever since being bereaved by her highborn cradle and forced to work like another cog in the system, she had yearned for the dances of lords and ladies, of princesses, kings and queens. Her new rebirth in this world of magic and events, could provide the strike of luck she needed.
If only people weren’t so wanton and haggard. Abandoned to fend of by herself, she was well acquainted that rulers had to isolate themselves if they were to be effective. Yet a ruler without associates was essentially worthless. What was she, then, nothing more than a girl with a knack for attracting stares and some magical powers? She had to put herself in a position where she could exert the lessons long ago learned in statecraft.
Penrose would offer a nice canvas, as she had read the whispers. Change, strife, vacuum. Cindy had not been amenable enough to her presence before in her court, perhaps now it would change. A talk had to be made.
And thus, she treaded the so-called Sanctuary, an allegorical hallowed ground for all monsters. She was bearing her human disguise, as a further sign of caution… The warehouse was hushed as many of the people there huddled together in mourning. And Cindy seemed to be gone.
Yet there was one person who seemed to easily slip between the separate bands of people within the sanctuary. Bringing food and blankets, or a soft word and a moment of compassion. Her presence was both impossible to miss yet seeming sublimated into the very foundation of this place thus easily relegated to the background. After all Penny wasn’t going to simply ask these people to assist the city and sit back and forget about them. No, they were in just as much need of support as those in Beacon who had lost friends.
It was while she was getting ready to head back for some more blankets that she would lay eyes on Dina and in that moment she would go deathly still. A deep red would bleed into her eyes for a moment as all compassion flowed away from her. Yet before she would move, her entire demeanor screaming of danger and hate, she would tilt her head to the side ever so slightly.
And just like that, she would blink and the soft caring look would be back and the red vanished, with a small hint of embarrassment mixed in as well. Rubbing the back of her neck for a moment Penny would slowly approach the new girl “Sorry about that”
She would apologize first and foremost “Thought you were someone else for a moment there”
“Mm.” The newcomer assessed the situation, looking right and left. She tilted her head, and in a blink… the cat ears and tail sprouted from underneath her clothes, swishing vigorously. “Whoever that must be, must be someone regal… and dangerous.” She said, purring softly as she did. It was then when the people surrounding her noticed her monstrous nature.
And they weren’t disturbed… more like, they were enraptured by it. The newcomer seemed to exude a fair aura, someone who could be helpful in these trying times. “The city seems to be in turmoil… I see many downtrodden stares, and people in need of comfort. Furthermore, whoever I wished to meet… is not here. Mayhaps...I delayed my entrance too much.” Dina tilted her head.
“No matter… I am not going to be unsympathetic to this plight, It would not be fit for my station to do so.” She added, concentrating as a luminous aura parted from her, reinforcing, healing, invigorating as she walked by. The aura of radiance of those born to occupy a throne. “Assuage your fears, you are not alone in this. I am the Empress of Strays, Dina of the Denisov…I seek your Queen. Where might I find her Highness Cindy Ford?”“She played the part of appearing regal”
Penny would agree with a hint of distaste at the thought of Chloe. Some wounds ran deep, and even though it wasn’t truly her that Chloe had betrayed she held that scar nevertheless. She pushed those thoughts aside and refocused on the newest girl to visit the Sanctuary just in time to feel Dina’s aura unfurl and blanket the area. In which Penny would only raise an eyebrow.“Cindy is dead”
She would answer solemnly “Assassinated by Mint operatives a few days ago”
It was a sad truth, but Penny was more interested in the reactions that Dina might have, as the timing was just a tad suspicious considering the catgirl’s aura “For now I’m in charge of this place. Penny Asimov, the people around here call me The Builder.”
Dina’s poise wasn’t broken upon hearing the news, although she casted her gaze down, her ears and tail following suit. “Is that so… truly a pity. Then again they are profiteers.” Dina said. “To be a Queen is to sleep with a dagger under a bed, always waiting for the one who will plunge into you from the shadows.” The cat girl answered. “We had… our differences, but she shall be missed. Not many people left with her veterancy nowadays.” She said, her gaze recovering and setting herself on to Penny.
“Asimov huh? Should it not be Asimova? Has no one taught you about ancestry?” Dina said, as she then was distracted by a trembling girl by her side, and decided to kneel and whisper a couple of words of encouragement, before rising once more.
“Originally I had come to seek a spot in the court, as this situation brought forth opportunities. I have no shame in admitting that. Hm.” She added, eyeing Penny. “Are you going to aim for that throne, I wonder…”
Penny simply watched Dina as she spoke, it would be perhaps noticeable to the other girl that Penny never seemed phased by the enchanting aura.and instead simply kept her gaze clear and focused. “Considering my ancestry, Asimov fits much much better then Asimova, and I can’t help but think that more than just Queens live a life in which they must watch the shadows, so you’ll have to excuse me for finding you rather suspicious. All things considered.”
She would say after a moment.“Regardless, I built this place to act as a safe haven. So you are welcomed to stay. As for seeking a spot in the Queen’s court...”
She would pause and give Dina a piercing look, one that seemed to measure all there was about Dina, and when Penny next spoke there was weight behind her words that had been lacking beforehand. “Prove yourself to be for the girls here, to be willing to give back to those that have nothing but this roof over their heads and I will consider listening to your council. For whilethey call me Builder, That does not mean I have not claimed Queen as well.”
Dina looked at Penny, raising an eyebrow. Well, sometimes people were guarded like that. Being confused for that other person, whoever that was, probably had soured her disposition. “Hmm….” She purred, looking at the girls, and then at Penny. “Magic does queer things.” So, Penny had once been a boy. “Mayhaps I should share a bit of personal history. Denisov family was once one of the noble retainers of the Tsar. Roughly a hundred years ago, the Bolsheviks took everything and kicked us from grace. I’ve raised five children on my own, and then I became a magical girl. Believe me when I say, I know what it feels like.” Dina added, as she turned her back on Penny eyeing the other girls.
“Food is mostly taken care of. Healing and blankets are too. Now we need to fortify, and gather resources.” She said to herself and nobody in particular, as she put her hand on her mouth… and whistled, a second specialization briefly becoming active over her aura. Beast.
A score of eyes peered from the dark that surrounded the warehouse, before rushing past the entrance. Half a dozen cats of all sorts of pelts and sizes surrounded Dina, eyes staring. But these cats weren’t definitely normal. Each and everyone of them had two tails instead of one, as well as vivid eyes betraying abnormal intelligence.
“I have a task for you, Bakenekos. This haggard place, make it more amenable.” Dina commanded firmly, as she swished her tail, eyes peeking at the magical creatures.
“Um, what about the reward?” One of them, the apparent leader, talked back in a woman's voice.
“Fine, I will treat you all to fatty tuna Sushi once we’re done here. These poor girls don’t have much on their own.” Dina grumbled. People always were demanding things upfront. Did they not trust her word anymore?
“Yay!” Every single of the creatures said, before activating their magic… and becoming something taller and more human(safebooru.org//samples/1880/sample_c0…
). Complete in a maid suit.
Dina let the cat maids do the job that Penny had been doing earlier. “Hmm, that should make it a little better.” She added, before beginning to pick all of the youngest magical girl refugees by the hand and getting them to a secluded corner, before clearing her throat.
“Been a while since I did this, so...ahem.” She began to sing a Lullaby.youtube.com/watch?v=IfBPo7cLWFw
Penny hadn’t been expecting such an immediate and direct response to what she said and was knocked back onto her heels at the sudden influx of assistance. “Well, now I feel like an ass”
She would comment to herself while she waited for Dina to finish her lullaby. Snoopy floating about watching the catmaids wandering around helping comfort people.“Seems I owe you another apology”
Penny would say as she strode forward once the song was tapering down. “Hopefully that doesn’t become a habit on my part. Thanks for the help though.”“Didn’t mean to be so suspicious of you, just timing, appearance, and skill set just seemed too good to be true.”
Dina let herself rise, while tucking the tired and now sleeping girls under the blankets, as she rose once more, her ears twitching upon the mention of apology. “Hm.” She paused as she saw the maids she had summoned going on and about. “No need. I am doing this for myself too. It’s highly unlikely I will go anywhere in this town without building a good rapport with certain factions. This one seemed a good starting point.” She tilted her head. “Don’t you think so, Builder? It also helped my past resonated with your plight a bit.”
She added. “I was to be an aide of Princess Anastasia at some point. But the Bolsheviks meddled. I too suffered the lash of unchecked potential, even if my feline features are often more a boon than a curse. And as a result, I was left alone.” She said, performing a good curtsy.
“Offer me a court, and I shall give you my best statecraft. That’s all I can say”“I would agree that this place is a good place to start”
Penny would say, offering Dina her hand. “And call me Penny. Come on, I’ll introduce you the the rest of the girls that are part of the court”