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The elevator to the floor with the break room dinged as the doors opened and Natalie walked out, yawning. She’d been out all night undercover as a random young partying punk, which was admittedly an easy role for her to get into character for. She’d rounded up some names of the street-level dealers who sold slappers directly to the customers, but still no leads on who was supplying them, and said dealers were completely in the dark too. She’d have to try to catch a supply run and tail the supplier, but whoever was behind this was being more careful than that. The police had probably already tried sting operations better planned out than what she was doing, but they had to start somewhere.

She was glad that not only was there a ground level garage where she could park her bike, but she’d been gifted one of Robin’s old bikes, with a paint job, to use during superhero activities. Natalie hadn’t tried any of that bike’s unique features or gadgets yet but she was excited to play around with it when she wasn’t going incognito.

As it was 9am, the only one currently in the break room was Jeremy. She waved at him as she put her phone on charge and then crashed on the sofa beside his. “Good morning,” she greeted with a wry, sarcastic smile. “The club didn’t close until 6am. Hero work sure is tiring. What’s up?”

"Right, hero work" Jeremy said with a sarcastic chide, a roll of his eyes and a drag of a long yawn that followed both.

The young man was sitting in the break room, cozily draped in a sweater and pajama pants. Steam blew in thin wisps from his coffee which sat of a table in front of him. Beside it was a laptop where he scanned the news. It seemed the police and journalists were just as in the dark as they were on this 'slapper' drug. It didn't surprise him, after the events with Peacekeeper, he didn't expect the police to do much more than clean-up work after the heroes solved the problem. Arching his back and throwing his arms up in a stretching motion the young man pulled himself out of his morning stupor momentarily. Though he had met the girl with sarcasm he knew she was doing good work. Work that Trask or Monolith couldn't given their appearance. Jeremy himself wasn't much of a 'party animal' either.

"Nothing new to report here. Yourself?" He asked casually as he reclined into the sofa.
"Coffee's brewed if you aren't about to crash"

“Nothing of real substance,” Natalie replied, shaking her head. “Sent the street-names and pics of the dealers I came in contact with to Oracle, and she was already aware of them all. Still, now I’ve actually bought from them, I can hopefully build on a relationship with some of them. Already dumped all the Slappers I bought off to the lab. I’m not touching that poison.” Natalie looked into the distance with a cold, resigned anger. Though not Slappers, she’d seen more than one friend lose themselves to drugs in her short life. Part and parcel of growing up a poor orphan who’s into parties and metal.

She sighed and got up, heading over to the coffee machine. “I’m not going to crash out. It’s already daytime. May as well just coast along and then crash out this evening instead.” She made her coffee the way she liked it; black with two sugars. She took a sip then rejoined him on the couch. “Any idea where the others are?” she asked.

Jeremy noticed the stare as she mentioned the ‘poison’ of slappers. He had seen it far too often in this crew, everyone here seemed to have a tortured past except him. Monolith had the same look on that ride home from the blimp station, and Jeremy couldn’t help but sometimes Trask’s vacant death stare was just like theirs, a glimpse into their memories. He didn’t want to pry, but he wondered if maybe this undercover job might be taking a toll on her.

As the girl came to the couch, Jeremy scooted over to allow her to join him. Their cups were nearly identical and he couldn’t help but appreciate a fellow fan of black coffee. At her question he merely shrugged.

“Garf- Er, Animal Man’s in the training room. The others could be anywhere” He added as he closed his laptop to keep the news from blaring over the two of them. They had heard enough of tragedy and corruption for today.

“This place is so massive it’s hard to find anyone” He added with a sense of annoyance. “And I had just gotten used to that old bunker. But I guess the view here is nice." he added, staring out one of the windows as he sipped on his coffee once more.

Gotham was a grimy, grizzly town, but the cityscape as the sun rose over it was shockingly beautiful. The oranges and pinks of the sky contrasted the dark greys and blacks of Gotham’s streets in a thematic way. The bay’s waves seemed to excite in the new sun’s rising, crashing against the docks and swirling in a frothing haze. A thin layer of mist obscured the streets faintly, giving the whole scene a ghostly presence in the wake of the beautiful day’s light.

“We can go look for them if you’d like…” he continued before Animal Man came in and went towards the kitchen area of this floor.

“You guys are up early. Thought I was the only one who’d be up this hour on a Saturday…” the older hero stated while grabbing a bottle of water.

Natalie gave a tired, half-hearted wave to Animal Man as he walked in, before yawning and stretching. “I’m actually up late, boss. Just got back from being undercover. Anyway, you know where everyone else is?” she asked.

Izumi saw the orb of light phase into her body, and it was a brief, unusual feeling of warmth...was that it? Most definitely they hadn't transformed yet but even so, she thought that being given the power would have felt like a more monumentous sensation. That said, she was definitely more in tune with the malevolence that saturated the air now. Lux had been telling the truth. Something sinister was going on here and the children were in grave danger.

She followed close behind Lux and Kohaku as they ventured through the corridor, before they stopped. Izumi could see it too; the black and purple smoke. She hadn't made any declarations up to this point because it was clear they were all on the same wavelength, but without a word, Izumi entered the smoke immediately after Kohaku. In her mind, there wasn't time to waste on maintaining any kind of 'entry order'.

The interior was bizarre, but also not as alien or as abstract psychadelic as she'd been preparing for. It was a lot of mundane school scenes abnd items, chaotically and haphazardly fused together. She saw Kohaku transform instantanuously, and by now she'd also been joined by most of the other teachers. Several of them transformed too. This was all wrong. Their transformations were a thematic mishmash with no unity whatsoever, and even the transform times and styles varied though the rest of them had been fast if not instant. Khaku was in a red uniform with a very clear victorian 'clock' motif. Shinobu was in a...black and white art deco pinstripe dress and a wide-brimmed hat? Amber had shrunk a lot and was nowunderneath an oversized rucksack. Hata was suddenly a young girl in a dress, sporting a pair of goggles, and was the most 'magical girl' looking of them all so far by a lot.

Izumi decided to bit the bullet, and try to transform herself. Like Kihaku, her transformation was instant. She looked down at her outfit...a skintight latex bodysuit? What was this, a Super Sentai transformartion? Had Lux got the genre wrong? Instead of her glasses, she was now wearing a visor that was currently tinting the whole world with an aquamarine hue, and an earpiece. She was starting to feel a little self-conscious in an outfit that was so....figure-hugging, but she quickly steeled herself. Kohaku had at least been given a weapon. The rest had not. Did they really have to figure out how their Magical Girl powers were to work now.

"Lux? Yui?" She asked to them both for either to answer. "Do either of you know how we actually use our new powers?"
So, after watching/reading several anime and manga with the broad premise of 'person reincarnates as an Otome game villainess', I now wonder if this premise could be made into an RP. The setting would of course be the standard 'noble's academy'. I'm still not decided on how big a role magic will play in this world. There also isn't some big complex political or fantastical plot (at least, not one planned yet) but this will be a much more character-focused story.

This won't be too large a group. Five players (including me) minimum and I'd say nine players max.

I will be playing the Heroine, as I had the interesting idea that she isn't an isekai'd player. Instead having her in-game personality and memories but real-time dialogue trees from an unknown player actually affect her actions and responses from time to time.

So the free roles would be as follows;

-The reincarnated Otome Villainess herself
-Her important (possibly Royal) Fiance, who is a romanceable character
-Two/Three more romancable characters. One of them could even be another girl. If Magic does play a big part in this setting, they would of course natually have magic matching one of the four elements
-Friend characters/The Villainess' henchwomen/other NPCs (maybe one or two could possibly also be isekaid themselves. However, the Heroine and the main romanceable characters will not be isekaid)
Natalie's progress in training, while not that of any kind of prodigy, was still impressive. It seems that the largest thing holding her back was her lack of belief in herself that she could be a hero or fight criminals. She was a clever and creative fighter and that only became more true when one day she had gained enough control over her power to be able to move the wires at will. Natalie claimed it was because she finally started thinking of the wires as her own body, instead of an inanimate object her body merely turned into.

She had managed to restrain Animal Man's gorilla form on several occasions. Now the focus had shifted to physical training, to both build her body and to grant her the ability to actually fight enemies as well as simply incapacitate them. She was doggedly commited to her training regimen so was quickly seeing noticeable improvements in her strength, speed and cardio. But when it came to martial arts form, footwork, etc, she had no talent and even less patience so struggled to learn as fast as other students may have in the same amount of time.

Part of this training was being put on a diet to support the training regime. And man, she really missed soda. She'd never thought of herself as 'addicted' to sodas or anything but this feeling was possibly bordering on mild withdrawal. To compensate, she'd started drinking sparkling water a lot. Right now, she was lyring across the entire sofa, sipping from a bottle while scrolling on her phone idly. Her ears perked up when Garfield mentioned one of them lacking in hand to hand but relaxed again when she realised he wasn't talking about her.

She perked up again when she shouted, and sat up to look over at Garfield.

"Who's where? I'm curious now."

The more the conversation went on, the more Izumi's head was hurting trying to make logical sense of what was happening. The was far too realistic to be a hoax of any kind. The fairy before them was real. That was getting harder and harder to deny. She barely understood what it was saying enough to even make a verdict on whether it was telling the truth. It was in a panic and spewing everything out at once, making little sense. But from what Izumi could gather, there was a dark force that was going to make monsters out of students?

The creature introduced itself as Lux, and went on to explain more about the shroud, and...Magical Girls? Did Izumi hear that right? Izumi was a seasoned otaku, and had naturally watched many Magical Girl shows in her childhood and teen years. If Lux really was looking for Magical Girls, why was it here? The inner otaku flared up even stronger when Kohaku referred to Magical Girl shows as 'children's shows'. Izumi was about to snap back at that remark but several of her fellow teacher's came to the genre's defense first, and more eloquently that she would have, so she let it go.

Shinobu was getting slightly delirious, and Izumi couldn't blame her, but she brought Izumi back to the point she had wanted to make. She approached Lux.

"Shinobu makes a good point. Teachers in their 30's not exactly classic Magical Girl stock. What d-"

Izumi cut herself off when she heard Yui speak up, just now noticing the botany teacher. Izumi could see it in Yui's eyes. this wasn't strange to her as much as it was unwelcome. Coupled with the 'hypothetical' scenario of somebody having done all this before. Izumi stared at Yui incredulously and her voice went a lot quieter.

"...Yui, were you a Magical Girl before?"

There was no longer any doubt this was all real. Izumi turned back to Lux, a newfound steely determination in her eyes.

"I'm in. If our students are getting subjected to this 'Shroud', and it's as you described, I have to help."

Lhoren Ashdale

Day 1 Time: Evening Weather: Light Rain Location: Harold's Academy, Main Ballroom
Participants: Lhoren Ashdale @Silver Carrot, Myrion Stevar @Teyao, Raffaella Struna @Emeth, Fasha Sumbul
@jasbraq, Anastasia Arslan @Ti

Lhoren agreed with the choice of Fasha as the recipient of Myrion's gift, her wild eyes darting quickly from one to the other as she listened to their inner monologues. She hadn't been too familiar with either's gifts, but the current situation was causing them to think about the nature of their gifts in great detail. Lhoren was very quickly brought up to speed. Lhoren was still both physically and mentally shaken and was using the call to help and keep busy to distract herself from her owh thoughts and the thoughts of those around her. They were scared. God, they were all so scared...

Lhoren hadn't even considered the possibility of herself being the second recipient. She assumed somebody with a bigger combat focus would be getting that. But when Myrion extended his hand and offered her, it did make sense. With a more powerful gift, she'd be able to find people easier, depending on how her gift evolved, of course. She took his hand, and felt the change immediately.

It wasn't that her gift felt 'stronger' or anything, but it felt distictly different. The wild look in her eyes subsided as she finally managed to calm down. Every thought she heard seemed clearer and more distict but she couldn't tell if that was the gift evolution or just her own adreneline. In accordance with Myrion's orders, Lhoren took her place in the middle of the party, at the opposite flank to Myrion himself.

'Right now? I'd say 'dealing with the noise' is being generous. This is what I deal with all the time. Sadly You're getting thrown into the deep end, getting a version of my gift in this room without being used to it yet. Once we venture away from the crowd and further into the school, it should become a lot more bearable'

Lhoren began to explore the differences in her gift that she felt. She could almost feel what her new ability was instictively, but couldn't quite fully place it yet. That's when she heard the thoughts of Raff and Ana as the party heading straight to the shelter passed by them on the way out of the ballroom. Ana needed Raff to calm down, be strong and take the lead, but Raff was very badly shaken due to one of the Ni-Seraphi having stared right at her despite her own gift. It wasn't that Raff's gift wasn't working. Lhoren only managed to notice Raff's mental turmoil in the first place because Ana was thinking about her. So why, then, had the Ni-Seraphi noticed her? Questions for later. Right now, she decided to help Raff.

'Ana is right. You need to be strong right now. You're capable of that,' Lhoren transmitted to Raff's mind. But then she noticed something strange. That thought was no longer in her voice. It was in Raff's. Raff's brain seemed to have absorbed the thought and made it one of it's own. Lhoren started to hear it taking effect, as Raff's other thoughts started to agree with it. Was this her gift evolution? Did she now temporarily have the abiliy to implant thoughts in other people's heads?! As the group moved out of the ballroom, Lhoren's head spun as she considered the possibilities.
No that's okay. I was just clarifying

Izumi sat on the sofa in the center of the teacher's lounge, using the coffee table as a desk for her laptop as she planned her lessons. She only stopped typing to take sips of the open can of energy drink beside her but her eyes never left the screen. The teaching part of this job itself was no problem to her. After dealing with corporate HR, the admin team, middle management and her old bosses, dealing with teenagers was easy. The challenge in her job came to lesson prep. She didn't want to put too much responsibility on the students to effectively teach themselves as this would only encourage shortcut finding and bad habits. But neither did she want them to only absorb what she told them without any critical thinking or understanding of the reasoning. It was her job to teach, not to shout out commands to a bunch of robots.

She greeted Kohaku with a 'morning' in return when she walked in, without looking up. It was only after the coffee machine spilled that Izumi's attention was snapped away from her lesson plans and back to reality, as she got up and helped Kohaku and Shinobu clean up the mess. Once the counter was clean, she returned to her seat and left Kohaku in Shinobu's care. She wuld be in good hands. Izumi knew from experience that Shinobu was very good at caring for the other teachers, and was always there for Izumi herself when she was having a bad week. Emiko arrived shortly after, who was another welcome ray of sunshine among the faculty. Though Izumi wouldn't call herself as grumpy as Amber or as cynical as Kohaku, she wasn't exactly the most exciting person either. Before Emiko arrived, most mornings in the faculty room passed with few if any spoken words. It was only during lunch break where they may have come alive and warmed up enough to have actual conversations. Yup, monday mornings especially were usually quiet and uneventful.

Izumi jumped when she heard the bang, and shut the laptop as she stood up to investigate. Her first thought was that make it was a bird, but the truth was far stranger. A little winged fairy! The sight right in front of her refused to sink in as reality and she stood and stared and watched as it spoke. She heard her colleagues react in various ways. Like her, most of them seemed more concerned about the message than about the fairy's existance, and Izumi got swept up in that. There would be time to think about a fairy existing later.

"Who's in trouble?" Izumi demanded. "And where are they?"

One question; is Lhoren's evolution just this ability, or does she have any range increase too?
Natalie folded her arms as she listened to Animal Man's words. She felt prickly. There was a lot of things about this whole situation that were making her angry and she was making an active effort not to explode at somebody just trying to help. Still, she couldn't completely bite her tongue. She had to say something.

"Well, Oracle didn't see any need to rush to train us back when one of us was dead, the killer could have been trying to hunt the rest of us down and we were left on our own for a week. I can't believe it had to come to this before it was given priority either. But better late than never, I guess. I've been waiting to get some real training since I joined this team."
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