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Today's the first time in a long time that I've felt empty. Not even sad or tired, just empty. This quarantine is getting to me more than I thought.
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Oh shit, I've been surrounded! The room is ripe with the scent of bitches!
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Vashya Rafflesia
@j8cob

The social worker frowned. He suspected that Vashya might have been planning to do something like this. He wasn't surprised either - guilds back then had a habit of taking in stray kids, more or less inducting them as "part of the family" so to speak. The practice had died out over the years, with the government taking on a more active role with regards to the authority guilds had and the welfare of displaced children. Nevertheless, such instances still occurred from time to time, and the romanticism of it had yet to disappear. If anything, it seems to have grown.

But he himself disagreed with the idea of guilds acting as surrogate families on principle. To allow a child to be entrusted to one was like playing with a roulette - on one hand, you'd get Fairy Tail, on the other hand you'd get Phantom Lord. A 50/50 chance to save or damn them.

Still... the circumstances this time around where different. The girls' actual father was here, and from all reports was an upstanding man who would take care of her, should he know the truth. He supposed the problem lay elsewhere then.

The social worker asked Torys if he could step aside with Vashya for the moment, and spoke with the girl in a hushed voice.

"You don't want him to know... do you?"

When she gave a subdued nod in response, he nodded and asked, "May I know why?" though he already knew.

"'m scared."

He closed his eyes even as he held in a long sigh. Vashya for all that she was an incredibly open girl, was also deeply mistrusting. She wouldn't understand why, and most likely wouldn't for some time yet. Another scar left on her by her witch of a mother. He felt his teeth clench reflexively, and forced out a smile.

"Okay, I understand. But... we'll do it like this, okay?" He proceeded to explain the what they would do from there and what step they would take. When he finished, he returned to the guild master, Vasya in tow.

"Guild Master Torys, I believe a proper introduction is in order. This here is Vashya Rafflesia. She's recently lost her mother and her only living relative happens to be a member of your guild. Now, the circumstances this time around are rather unusual, so she'd like to join your guild without him being aware. I'm hoping in the meantime that you could act as her unofficial guardian, until the time comes where she's comfortable with revealing the truth."

With his piece said, all that was left was a response from the Guild Master. It was out of his hands now.

Marduk

Marduk let loose a deep sigh, the simple action containing a mess of emotions. Nostalgia, regret, sadness - all the things that seemed to be coming to him easier these days.

"Suppose I must be feeling my age, eh?" The man chuckled dryly. Silence greeted him, but he closed his eyes and imagined for a moment that the people in the graves in front of him replied. He always did, and for a moment he was in a different time and place.

Then the moment passed.

"Cheers, old friends." The old man uncorked a bottle of wine and poured it over the graves. They'd appreciate good make.

A week had passed since he'd been away from the guild. The older ones would understand - he usually disappeared around this time of year. Marduk would make a week-and-a-half sojourn to a little known village where a certain set of graves were kept, to visit old friends from his time as a mage with the council.

Moreover, he always made a point to check up on the various children he'd picked up on the way. In his time he'd constantly been both witness or perpetrator to the orphaning of kids, caught up in the wrong place and the wrong time. He did what he could for them, often personally looking for families to adopt them, or otherwise taking them to an orphanage he knew he could trust. It was his own form of atonement for those times he felt that he had not done enough.

And even then it feels like he came short.

Even now he thought about what more he could have done. If he had been more careful. If he had more power. If he were smarter or was more knowledgeable.

If, if, if.

Always he would think "if" until he eventually stopped because it was useless. Changing the past was outside of his power. Not everyone could have the fortune of Fairy Tail.

Anyway, he's had his time, took his shot and he missed. There was another generation of dreams waiting, so he ought gracefully step aside. Smiling at the thought of his guild, the large man got up and stretched. It was time to head home.



Vashya Rafflesia

The red-head was bouncing around from place to place, looking intently at even the most mundane items of the guild, like its' lights and even tables and chairs, uncaring of the stares she was attracting from their bemused occupants. It had been a week since they'd first visited, and her father was unfortunately still out. Most times, they'd left right away, but this time, Vashya had insisted on staying, finally getting bored with the lack of activity. Her warden didn't really feel the need to stop her - she wasn't really bothering anyone, and it was all harmless curiosity. He still made sure to watch her though closely; anyone who expected kids not to get into trouble was asking for trouble.

Which was exactly what he was expecting when the little girl stepped towards a girl that looked about a few years older than her; "looked" being the operative word because the guild master of Fenixtear was definitely not anywhere close to Vashya's age - or his for that matter!

"WOAH! YOU'RE YOUNG!" she squealed in delight, apparently finding Torys' age highly amusing. "How're y'that young! You're the guild master right? So you've gotta be like, super duper old! I mean, my mom was old, but my dad is really really old!"

It felt like the girl had been holding in this question for days now, and a stream of words just kept pouring out, even as her warden stood up to try and get her to calm down before the young looking guild master decided to kick them out.

"You have got to be using magic. What kinda magic do you use? I bet it's time magic. I've got magic too, watch!"

And now a dark mass of tendrils began wriggling around her, like a ghostly menacing octopus. Each tendril snaked towards various objects and began lifting them into the air, with all the grace of an energetic eleven year old, which is to say very little.

Plates and silverware clattered to the floor as they slid off lifted tables, drinks spilled as their glasses were danced through the air, and there were more than a few foods that spilled due to careless handling of serving trays.

And then Vashya noticed the mess she was making, flinched, and shunted her magic away. The consequence of turning off the magic holding various things in the air where needless to say unfortunate.

Everything she held fell to the ground creating an almighty mess. The little girl's head swiveled around at her handiwork, eyes wide and panicked.

Silence reigned as her mind shut off in an attempt to process what she had just done.

"S-so, um, tadaaa-aa...?" she shrunk into her shoulders, her voice trailing off shakily. "A-anyway, is that good enough to join your guild please?"

Ah, the warden thought. So that was what she was going for. He'd be lying if he didn't see this coming. He'd also be lying he said that he knew what to do next.


JM frowned. The questionable legality of a student being kidnapped for an apprenticeship flew over his head. He wasn't the kind of guy to over think these kinds of things. Their reasons too; they could be out to save some magical world on Mars or whatever, he didn't care. If the school wanted him to hang out with these dudes, then fuck it, he'll ride.

He shrugged.

"If you guys are on the straight with me, I ain't got no questions. You gonna teach me to be a youkai or exorcist or the fucking fairy princess, then fine. Just don't waste my time, I've behind everyone else as it is."

He knew what he must have looked like to his classmates, and they weren't wrong. He was older than most of them, and less educated besides. It was a struggle to even retain scholarship, despite how minimal the requirements were. And speaking of uneducated...

"And I dunno if my dad was an Oni or whatever, but you'll be doin' yourselves a favor if you don't find much similarities with 'im, deadbeat useless hairy drunkard that he is."

Okay, so he might have put little more venom in that than he intended. It was an opportunity to bad mouth his old man though, so he wasn't going to take it back.

JM shrugged again, and turned to his Senpai or whatever.

"A'ight goldilocks, whatchu got for me? Your bossman seems like a busy guy, so I don't wanna stay in his hair for too long."


The days following Aresvius' nighttime rampage passed by quickly and in monotone. While JM wouldn't say he was opposed to the rote, it nonetheless served as a reminder that he was not the academic type. The young man was eager to learn, he really was, but his inability to garner much interest in the droning of his teachers save a few key moments kept him from making rapid progress.

Fortunately, he could say that his time in the classroom was not totally fruitless. He had managed to retain some of his lessons, and he could confidently say that he was top of his class when it came to P.E. - overall, he could be doing better, but the curriculum wasn't too hard on him yet...

"At least, I think it's not?"

It was a testament to how out of depth he was that he couldn't even tell if he even was. The last few months had seen him put more effort into his studying than he had his entire life, and he was finding himself constantly regretting not putting effort into it before. Nothing came to him naturally at all. Still he had no choice but to push on; he had committed himself to this, and scum as he was, he wouldn't lower himself to the cowardice of backing off from a commitment.

And so May turned to June, and the scheduled field trip to Kyoto had come. JM had to admit, even he was a little excited: going to new places was always fun for him. He could do without having to go as a group, he wasn't really close to anyone in class after all, but nevertheless, it was all expenses paid, and lodging was at a swanky hotel. Far better accommodations than what he was used to during his truant romps across the country back then.

He decided to get some souvenirs for the twins. They were overdue a present from him anyway.


Naturally, he found himself kidnapped by fucking yakuza on the way to the loo. Fucking hell.

As JM attempted to struggle against his captors, he found himself reassessing his situation. These guys were too strong to be run-of-the-mill gangsters. Something about them felt off too... it reminded him of his old man, and oh boy did that send chills down his spine.

Which made their relatively gentle treatment of him strange, in contrast to the way they spoke. These guys didn't feel as antagonistic as they ought to have been. That was his first inkling of something abnormal being afoot before he was shoved out of the car and now face to face with what definitely wasn't the HQ of a yakuza family.

Ghostly pink flower petals floated in seeming perpetuity against the backdrop of a night sky that he knew should have been shining with the light of day. There was a ghostly beauty that he found himself appreciating for one moment, before the reality of the situation set in, and the half-kapre found himself ripping out a feral snarl as he rounded to his captors behind him, hand curled and ready to ignite at his command.

"Nice place you got here. Mind fucking explaining before I do something stupid for everyone involved?"

Threatening your captors. Probably not the smartest thing to do in the world, but he did warn them he was going to do something stupid. Might as well give them a preview, right?
@dragonpiece You good fam. Feel free to jump in. Good luck teach, you chose the wrong school.

Hanna


Hanna wiped her face with the handkerchief given to her, and was surprised when a jacket flopped over her head. Looking up at the scruffy haired young man in confusion, she nodded her head. She was okay; or rather, this was a huge improvement from the usual.

Someone actually did something. She didn't know how to feel about that. It didn't feel like a one time thing either! Was it possible the Headmaster was serious?

"T-thanks," she said to the two boys, wiping herself off with a towel. She was probably going to be late for her next class. No way she was entering like this, she'd have to change clothes.

She eyed the... young man? Holymoly this dude was huge. She was short for her age, yeah, but Jesucristo! This guy was a student?! Well, she didn't recognize any of them, and she really doubted that they were younger than her, so they must be higher years. Hanna folded Oscar's jacket and handed it back to him with an appreciative nod.

As for Henry, "I'll return your towel later. I'm sorry but I think I'll need to borrow it for awhile." She'd have to hit the showers, and she had a spare change of clothes in her locker, thankfully. No such luck for her underwear, however, but she could bear with that much for awhile.

She handed Henry her ID. Sev Hanna Leia Marlon, Grade 10, Rank #7, Class A-10. "Where's your class?" she asked, "in case I can't bring it to you, just drop by my class. And... thanks again."

Leaving the two with an appreciative smile, the girl walked away, feeling a little bit better, and a lot more optimistic about this year.
@The Man Emperor Power wise, you're good. Since Bee likes everything else, looks like you're all set. Feel free to jump in.

Also, obligatory:
Marduk & Vashya
w/ Grasidia @j8cob

Marduk received a new list of orders for the bar, and tipped a glass to Torys before manning his station once again. This shouldn't take too long. He hoped the others' jobs went well; gods know that they'd picked from a weird list. Most likely none of them would have an easy time of it.

The moment he disappeared into the kitchen, Vashya and the serviceman took the opportunity to step inside. With the door opened, they followed after the hooded man, Vashya's normally excited demeanor fizzling out at the sight of so many people. The young girl did not quite cling to her guardian's clothes, but she certainly stuck closer. Still, as visibly nervous as she was at the crowd, her eyes were undeniably gleaming. They lit up as she took in the full view of the guild, eyes bouncing around like a pinball, unable to decide on the most interesting thing in the room.

Eventually, they came to a stop near the job board, as the child service worker asked around for Marduk, or at least the guildmaster. Unfortunately, it looked like both were occupied at the moment, so the both of them had no choice but to come again when they were free.
Bump!
Trinidad Academy

Trinidad Academy was a second rate school - this was known to just about anyone that was familiar with the Noble Arms scene in the Philippines. There were scant few schools that were qualified to act as an academic facility for Arms masters, and more often than not, these requirements were strict - it was, after all, a facility dedicated to raising up children who were now in possession of powerful weapons that could not be taken from them, and could pose as a threat not only to the public at large but even to themselves.

That it was even qualified to be an Arms Academy might have been a point of contention for many people, but the explanation was really very simple, if not eye-rollingly typical: Simply put, the wealthy men and women who were parents or guardians of young Arms Masters kept it afloat. Trinidad was the perfect place to shunt off affluent kids who had no hope of accomplishing anything of note in an actual Arms Academy; it's administration could be bought, rules bent and broken for those that could afford it, while the poorer, less influential students were treated as chaff and disposable bodies. The vaunted scholarship that allowed students of a lower status attendance was at once both a shield and a sword - as long as it existed, the government and staff would have an excuse to keep it open under the guise of charity and opportunity for all, while at the same time raking in the "donations" of the wealthy in exchange for special considerations.

This was the academy's state until recently. The arrival and work of the new director marked a turning point for the school; an increase in standards, a stricter adherence to the rules, and a startlingly draconian approach to the the treatment of the students. Under the guidance of the new director, it appeared that all would be treated equally, and rewarded accordingly - and, it appeared, punished accordingly.

All this the new director promised, though naturally, many were disbelieving or otherwise scoffed at the notion, considering it being mere lip-service.

They would learn, in time.


Morning classes began, and the chiming of bells signaled to the students to get a move on. A day at school typically lasted 9 hours - from 6:30 AM to 3:30 PM, starting with an 30-minutes of homeroom period, followed by one subject per hour for a total of 6 subjects with a 30-minute recess and an hour lunch period in between. For students that had Noble arms, they were required to stay two hours longer, from 3 to 5 PM, for Arms related training. Noble Arms Academies also had half a day of school on Saturdays from 7:30 - 11:30, and on those days were entirely focused on Noble Arms specific training.

Each class was roughly 30 students each, with an assigned homeroom teacher that would take give out announcements and take role-call at the start of each day. The homeroom teacher would also act as their supervisor and default authority figure for class-related projects and activities, such as field trips, festival booths, and intramurals. Trinidad was a fairly typical school with regards to how they operated as a school. It was only their blatant corruption and overwhelming favoritism for the richer caste that muddled the system they operated on.

So far, the wealthy kids had been content to simply coast through their school life - understandable, after all, why put effort when it wasn't needed? - and despite the change in leadership, they had little inclination to change their ways. It had been this way for as long as they had been there, and the concept of actual change had eluded them.

"Oh god, there goes that bitch again, she things she's so special."

"Yeah I know! Ugh. Teachers pet. I heard that the school actually paid for her to come here."

"Wouldn't that make her a whore?"

The vicious, biting words hung in the air as a mousy brown-skinned girl walked past its source - a huddled group of girls and their hanger-ons. They were the popular and rich, and the ones naturally incensed when their position was threatened. They glared at her, and she tried to shrink into herself to escape their attention, but no such luck, so in spite of their continued verbal stabs she kept her head down and ignore them.

Her attempt to dismiss them only seemed to irritate them further. She heard a snort of disbelief, and suddenly she was showered in water.

"Oops."

One of the bullies held a water bottle in her hand, its remaining contents dripping to the floor while the group laughed. She grit her teeth, her mind blank with fury and shame and confusion. She wanted to do something but didn't know what and it was so hard to think!

And then she felt liquid pour over her head once again, accompanied by the smell of strong sent of mango.

Another girl stepped away from behind the mousy girl, a lazy grin on her face, and a crushed tetra pak carton in hand. "Aah, finally we got the smell out. Aren't I nice? You smelled like carabao, and a I thought I could help you out. I'm nice right?"

That might have been the last straw, and she was just about to snap and pull Conquistadora on them when a teacher rounded the corner.

"What's going on here?!" he asked, alarmed at what was presumably the dripping wet floor and the girl that the juice and water was dripping off of. She pursed her lips - the new director promised changed, and she was loath to hope that maybe something would finally be done about this but-

"Oh nothing, sir. Just helping a classmate out. She was smelling a bit funky so we share some perfume with her." In what most obviously a bullshit answer, the lead bitch gave a simpering smile to the teacher, who simply grinned back at her like a goon. "I hope you don't mind? I was just trying to be a good friend."

"Ah I see. Well, just be sure to call a janitor right? Wouldn't want anyone to slip over your perfume," he said with a chuckle, and in that entire time, he never so much as looked at her again.

Of course. Of course nothing was going to change. That new director was lip-service, like all the other blasted adults in this cursed school. The ones that actually cared couldn't do anything, and the ones in power did everything to keep it the way it was. If it weren't for the fact that there was no other place she could afford to study with a Noble Arm, she would have nothing to do with this school.

She turned to leave, shoulders trembling, her eyes running with tears. When she turned, the only thing she could think of was "Speak of the devil, and he shall appear..."

There appeared the new director, clothed in fine traditional clothing and smiling disarmingly. The mousy girl tried to keep her glare out of her eyes, but it was a tough doing, and the man appeared to notice. His only reaction was to give raise a single brow, before turning on the group behind her.

The teacher all of a sudden looked nervous, but the students wore the same smiles still.

"I-!" Began the teacher, before the director raised a hand to stop him. Measured, quite steps, and suddenly he was putting a hand on his shoulder.

"I expect to see your letter of resignation on top of my office in an hour, Mr. Romulo, or else I will be reporting you to the police for participating in bullying and for bribery."

And all at once, the atmosphere changed. The smile slid of the bully's faces faster than the water they had poured, while they victim's head jerked around, expression disbelieving... and hopeful. The Director turned away from the stunned teacher, who quickly ran away, to the bullies who jerked back in fear, before their ringleader, took a shaky step forward.

"Listen, m-my mom and dad are lawyers you know? And the-they've given a lot of donations to-"

"Ms. Kristine and company, you will be serving a month of in-campus suspension from classes, where you will be doing community service for your classes in the afternoon. Any tests, quizzes, and activities done during that time will be marked as zero. Kindly see me in my office after school so I can send the letter to your parents. Failure to show up will be considered as grounds for expulsion."

He smiled and all was silent for a moment.

"You may go now."

The girls all but ran, some stomping their feet in anger, but nonetheless with a fearful expression on their faces. The director chuckled and turned to the mousy girl, offering her a handkerchief.

"Clean yourself up Ms. Hanna. Hopefully you may preserve a modicum of dignity before class starts. And, it's small consolation, but you can expect these things to no longer happen. For what it's worth, I applaud your restraint - and patience."

The director nodded, and for the first time, it felt like someone was really looking at her, and that she could really see someone.

"Welcome to my academy, Ms. Hanna. I assure you, someone like you will do quite well here..."
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