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4 yrs ago
Current When you've replied to all the RPs you're in and you're just waiting for one of them to move.
5 yrs ago
Taking a break from RPG this weekend. May be away longer to take a break.
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6 yrs ago
Gah. RPs are so slow around this time of year.


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Beach Vacation

It was a sunny day, like always, in Dan’s dimension. The dolphin seemed to be busy as he bounced and popped around the place, seemingly preparing for something. Then, a portal opened next to the central fountain of the island, and Shane appeared.
The dolphin squeaked in surprise, and like a popped balloon, haphazardly flew right up to him.
“Welcome, Shane! Oh boy, are we going to have a lot of fun!” He shook his hand with his fin.
“It’s not often that someone comes to visit, so it makes me really happy to see you took Paree’s offer! Now, what kind of surfboard do you like? Blue, green, red, a color not seen on Earth?”

Smiling as Dan excitedly came over and began asking questions, Shane shook the hand. ”Well thank you for providing the chance to come. Hmm, I would like green I think." He looked up at the clear blue skies. Certainly was a nice change to the cold of winter. ”Oh yes, I invited Gaia as my date.” She should be just behind him through the portal.

“Ahh… This certainly is refreshing,” Gaia would say with a contented sigh as she stepped through the portal. “Thank you, once again, for inviting me, Shane, and thank you for having us, Dan,” she added, giving both a dazzling smile. “I am certain we shall have a most splendid time.”

“You brought a friend!? Smashing!" Dan was so happy on seeing Gaia that he ended up flying on the green surfboard he had summoned for Shane, circling the two. “Would you also like a surfboard, Gaia?”

“That would be wonderful,” Gaia told Dan, unable to keep a melodious giggle from escaping her lips as she watched the whimsical dolphin fly around her. “Perhaps an electric blue one, to compliment Shane’s choice.”

"Coming right up!" The dolphin flopped down to the ground, and began to roll in place, soon becoming a blue circular blur, not unlike a certain hedgehog character. Soon, electricity built up, forming a surfboard with a radical look to it.
"There, made with blue electricity," the Lesser Force stated, and handed it over to Gaia. "I can also give out surfing lessons if this is your first time on the waves."

“Thank you for the most generous offer,” Gaia said with an appreciative smile. “But I do not believe it shall be necessary. Thanks to Mother’s blessing, my reflexes are greatly enhanced while in this form,” she explained. “Thus, I am confident that I can provide Shane with a suitable challenge, despite this being my first time upon a surfboard.”

”I’ve never surfed before. Usually kept my feet on dry land where my magic was more useful.” He would look at the surfboard for a moment. Despite never having touched one he had a sense that he could use it to great effect. An oddity as a result of the Red Coin he used. Though up until now he hadn’t even had the chance to test it out. ”Huh. Well I could probably use some pointers.”

"Excellent. Let's get this radical rendezvous underway!" Dan squeaked. Dan clapped his fins together, and the three of them teleported to the sandy beach close to the shoreline.
"Now then, the most important thing to remember is to keep a steady footing on the board."
Dan had turned into a beautiful blue-skinned woman, a colorful surfboard on the ground before her. She stepped on the board, and bent her knees. "Lowering your point of gravity and bending your knees are the basics of keeping balance, as is spreading your arms to better control which direction you're shifting your weight." She smiled. "The rest comes from experience."

Laying the board down the boy would stand on it while it was on dry land. He would do what he understood from Dan’s instructions. And from his form he seemed to have picked up on it right away. ”Like this?” He would ask to be sure.

Dan looked down at Shane’s feet with furrowed eyebrows. “Hmm...You’re bending a bit too much, Try straightening your posture a bit...There we go, that’s it!” She gave a thumbs up.
“You’re ready now. Have fun!”

”Cool. Thanks for the pointers.” Hopping off he would pick up the board and put it under one arm. Heading to the water he would get about waist deep before slowing down and waiting for Gaia to join him.

Catching up to Shane, Gaia grinned at her date as she ran her fingers through her verdant tresses. “You know, this place truly is a paradise,” she observed, sighing blissfully as she basked in the warm sunlight. “It’s hard to imagine that it’s still winter back in Penrose.”

”It is. But that’s what makes getting to visit all the better.” He would say as they waded out further and began to make their way out into the white water where they could begin catching some smaller waves to start. ”Alright, let’s give this a shot.” Moving along with the wave he would drift a bit along. Feeling confident with how it felt he lifted himself up and planted his feet on the board. Shifting a bit based on what the Mount perk told him he was off on his first go even if it wasn’t all that wild. ”Ah, so that’s how that works.” He hadn’t tried riding or driving anything since his transformation.

“Looking good, Shane!” Gaia commended, clapping her hands at the magical boy’s efforts. “Now, let the Daughter of Mother Earth try her hand!”

Paddling out into deeper water, the verdant girl waited for a large swell, before leaping onto her board and riding across the wave’s length like a pro. Giving voice to a melodious laugh as she rode through the tube, the botanical beauty reached out her hand and let her elegant fingers run through the water.

“Mother’s Mantel! I have never experienced anything so exhilarating in my life!” she exclaimed with a brilliant smile upon rejoining Shane. “I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to have this experience!”

Shane would watch the girl surf like it was natural and ride for quite a ways. We're this any average beach trip he would be inclined to one up the competition. Though that wasn't exactly why he was here and Gaia and her excitement of getting to come was more than enough to distract from that. "I'm glad you accepted. I'll be honest, I wasn't really sure who to ask until we got the chance to work together." He would say with a slight blush. Walking back out to take another go as they spoke. They would stop on a sand bar so they could talk just a bit though.

“Tell me, Shane,” Gaia asked with a slightly mischievous smirk as she leaned over on her surfboard and rested her head on one hand. “Out of all the girls in Penrose, why did you choose me? Was it simply for convenience’s sake? Or was there some characteristic of mine that you found appealing? My exotic appearance, perhaps? Or maybe my polite and serene disposition? Honestly, I really am quite curious,” she added, her smile widening as she gave voice to a small giggle.

He somewhat expected this question to come up sooner or later. So it didn’t take him all that long to answer. ”A little bit was convenience, but really a number of things. My magic kind of gives me some insight into people and the kind of things they like. So it doesn’t really take me long to get to know someone. I love your unique look, but your personality and how you conduct yourself were a bigger factor. The fact that you serve Mother Earth and not some entity that is out to take over whatever is significant too. And I spent a lot of my magical career with a pretty close connection to the earth. I feel like that’s a big thing we have in common. After all that I figured the only way I’d know would be to try.” He would hold his board and sit across it from Gaia.

“The thing is, Shane,” Gaia replied hesitantly. “I’m not sure if you really do know me. I can’t help but wonder… Will you still find me as attractive when I am no longer acting as the Daughter of Mother Earth?” she asked, a look of concern in her eyes. “You know, I’ve… never been on a date before,” she continued. “When I am in my mundane form, I can be a bit… rough around the edges. It was always hard for me to form relationships. The boys I liked were always intimidated by me, and the boys who liked me were lecherous assholes who got to learn the hard way why the nicer guys were scared of me. Wow…” she added after a moment. “I very rarely swear while in this form. I guess it shows just how much that whole situation really bothers me.”

He gave it some thought. None of those things were significant red flags for him. ”Well… I’ve never really been on a date either so this is new for the both of us. When we first actually met though you were untransformed so I got some read on that side as well. I didn’t get the impression you were that difficult or anything. Really though, we’ll never know if we don’t try. I'm not expecting to be an item after one date. That's not how people work, magical or otherwise." He did his best to reign in expectations. Some people dive right in and get themselves into a mess. Wasn't really what he wanted to do.

“True enough,” Gaia agreed with a smile. “And I feel the same way. It is nice simply hanging out and getting to know one another like this, although,” she added after a moment, her voice taking on a slightly more playful tone. “I do believe my dearest Connie would be very disappointed if you and I failed to share a single kiss before this date is over. She is such an adorable romantic,” Gaia went on. “You should have seen her face when I told her that I would be going out on a date with you.” She giggled musically. “I do not think I have ever seen her so happy in all the long years I’ve known her.”

"Aww, Connie sounds like a sweetheart." He would laugh a bit from the girl's description of the reaction. "Maybe I should see you home once we're done here and we'll share that kiss. So long as you're okay with that." He would offer a smile.

“Yes,” Gaia agreed. “She certainly is. And that sounds absolutely lovely, Shane,” the verdant girl added with a warm smile when the magical boy mentioned escorting her back home. “You know, the Daughter of Mother Earth cannot give her first kiss out to just anyone, but I believe you have already proved yourself to be a most worthy recipient,” she told him with a playful giggle.

"It's an honor" He would grin. Their trip here was only just starting though. With that taken care of he would look out over the water. He would point out a spot where the waves were a bit bigger than what they've tried. "Well while we're still out here let's make the most of it." The two would head out over the water and begin to make several passes, just enjoying themselves on the surf. After a while Shane began to get more and more elaborate and risky with tricks. Despite the difficulty he managed to keep his footing. It was a blast to do though. Admittedly he enjoyed watching Gaia and how excited she was to be surfing as well.

After a good amount of time surfing, the two would make their way back to the shore and where Dan was waiting for them. "Man, that was a lot of fun. I never realized what I was missing." He would look over to Gaia beside him. "Though it was a lot more fun with you. You were really good out there."

“You have become quite the skilled surfer yourself,” Gaia replied. “And now that we have both mastered the art of riding the waves, we can have a proper competition when next we visit this tropical paradise,” she added.

”Oh, you’re on.” He would chuckle as they came up to Dan.

The dolphin was sitting on a beach chair, a big pair of sunglasses over his eyes and holding a folding sunscreen tilted to reflect the sun's rays to his blue about. He lifted them up as the two approached him. "Well, wasn't that a lot of fun?"

“It was indeed,” Gaia told the dolphin warmly. “Thank you again for hosting us. I do not wish to speak for you, Shane, but I, for one, cannot wait to return here for our next date.”

Raising his eyebrows for a moment. ”Our next date? Well…” He wouldn’t finish that thought for effect. He would turn to Dan. ”It was great. I don’t know what else you had planned but I’m looking forward to it.”

The dolphin stood up on his tail and clapped. “Excellent! I know just the thing: hang gliding!” He clapped his fins, and the group found themselves at a very alarming location; they were on a platform situated on the rim of a dormant volcano. There were hang gliders resting on the corner of the platform, as well as skydiving suits. “You can use the thermal updraft from the volcano, and really soar the skies!”

“Oh, my…” Gaia observed, as Dan brought them to the location of their next activity. “I must say, this isn’t exactly what I was expecting…” Then, her emerald lips curling into a smirk, she added, “Do we need to sign a waiver for this?”

Dan dismissively waves his fin. "Oh, you don't need to worry, it's 100%, completely safe...I think!"
A puff of smoke manifested around him, and he appeared to wear a red and yellow onesie. "Now, let's do some extreme sports! Woohoo!"

Looking down the mountain it was a good way down. This was quite a bit different than the boy expected as well. He felt that he would be fine doing this activity. Actually it might be a whole lot easier for him. His boo… er, sandals quartered his weight. ”Wow.” He would laugh a bit. ”Funny enough the first time I ‘flew’ it was on a boulder of all things. Now I get to actually try with some proper equipment.” He would walk over to the equipment and look it over. Not that there was a lot to it mechanically. This time though he would fully use his magic since falling out of the sky didn’t sound like a fun idea. ”Alright. Have you ever used one of these Gaia?

“I can’t say that I have,” the verdant girl replied. “But if Dan says it is safe, I believe we should take his word for it. After all, it would reflect rather poorly on him as a host if we were to get injured while doing one of these activities,” she added with a grin. “Would you like to go first, Shane?”

”Sure thing. But let me explain how this works first.” He would begin going over the various parts and ways in which you control a glider. He also had some pointers for a few scenarios. One could have mistaken him for an instructor.

“My, my…” Gaia observed with an approving smile as Shane showed her the ropes, as it were. “You are quite the expert! Am I to assume you’ve done this sort of thing before?”

Chuckling nervously he would rub one arm, something he did more as Shannon than currently. ”Eh, no. I have a particular magic that allows me to expertly control and ride things. I wouldn’t be doing a very good job as a gentleman if I didn’t try and keep you safe.”

“What a fascinating ability!” Gaia marveled. “I can see how that would be a very useful skill to have,” she added, before striking a pose of exaggerated shock. “Why, Shane!” she gasped, while placing an elegant hand on her chest. “I had no idea that boys these days could be so chivalrous!” Treating him to a dazzling smile, she glided over and wrapped her arms around him. “If my heart knew any fears about our upcoming aerial excursion, they have now completely departed,” she told him as she gazed affectionately into his eyes.

At first Shane was amused by Gaia’s overacting. She seemed to enjoy playing up her responses. He didn’t think what he was doing was all that significant. He was going to downplay the complement when the verdant girl moved in close and embraced him. Looking back into her eyes he would put an arm around her as well. ”Of course. I wouldn’t want any harm to come to you.” He would say in a softer tone. He wouldn’t push his luck right now though and just give her a comforting hug as it were.

Allowing Gaia to take a step back in her own time, he would move them over to the suits. ”We’ll want to wear these. It can be a bit chilly and the wind a little harsh.” He would take up one of the suits and hand Gaia hers as well.

After taking a moment to playfully run her fingers through his hair, Gaia slipped away from Shane and began donning the flight suit the boy had handed her. “It sounds as though it shall be quite the exhilarating experience,” the verdant girl noted. “Although it is a shame these suits cover up so much of my stunning body… Especially since I know how much you enjoyed feasting your eyes on it,” she teased, giving him a playful wink. She had never flirted with a boy to this extent before, but it was clear to see that the nymph-like girl was very much enjoying herself.

”Kind of hard not to.” He would tease back a bit. He would get dressed into his own suit. On returning he would take his glider and point out a few other things before he would demonstrate launching off into the air. He would be able to glide fairly slowly while he waited for Gaia to catch up.

Keeping in mind everything Shane had just taught her, Gaia also took to the sky. Soon she was soaring high above the ocean, giving voice to an exuberant laugh as she felt the wind blow through her verdant hair. “This feels absolutely amazing!” she called out to Shane as she pulled up beside him. “And what a view! I can see the entire archipelago from up here!”

”Yeah... I’ve never been this high up before!” For a while he would just glide and look down at the earth below. You don’t really know what you’re missing until you could see it from overhead. And the area was beautiful, just like what you would expect to see on a postcard. After a while he would begin to try swooping and rolling. Head back in the air he would begin to have more fun just flying through the air.

Dan soon followed after them in his own tiny glider, swooping around like a hummingbird.
“YEAAAAAAHHH! Flying with friends is the best! It’s so exciting I could explode!”
In an ironic twist of fate, that’s when it began; Shane and Gaia heard a rumble slowly build up from below them alongside a plume of smoke that began to rise up; the volcano was turning active. Dan squeaked. “Whoah! Even O’l Smokey’s getting fired up!”

“Uh, should we be concerned about that?” Gaia asked the dolphin as the volcano below them seemingly prepared to erupt.

“Uh, no need to panic, you just have to-WATCH OUT!” At that moment, the volcano erupted, causing magma to burst forth from the depths of the earth, as well as a shower of flaming rocks.
“Dodge the rocks!” Dan shouted as the debris shot out towards them.

The volcano erupting surely was not on their list of activities. Dan confirming this wasn't just some thematic event. Shane pulled up a bit with his glider to get above the others. "Stay close! I'll deflect the rocks." Using his Earth magic he would start redirecting incoming rocks so they would curve to the side enough to miss the trio.

Shane successfully redirected the rocks, causing them to fall down into the ocean. However, magma was now beginning to spill from the volcano.
“Oh no! My island!” Dan squeaked, and with a clap of his flippers teleported out of there. The two could see how he had appeared back at the platform, now mustering his magic to create a tidal wave that swept over the volcano, cooling the magma and turning it into volcanic rock.

“Mother’s Mantel!” Gaia exclaimed as the volcano violently blew its top. Clearly alarmed by this unforeseen development, Dan frantically instructed them to dodge the flaming rocks spewing from it, something Gaia managed to accomplish quite skillfully. “I once played a video game with a similar premise,” she told Shane, once she’d joined him at a higher altitude. “But I never thought it would serve as training for the real thing!”

A moment later, the Earth mage employed his magic to redirect the molten boulders away from their small squadron, before Dan used his own magic to extinguish the volcano completely.

“Nice work, Shane!” Gaia commended. “You too, Dan,” the verdant girl added as she glided down to where the dolphin was waiting. “I only wish I could have done something to assist you. Unfortunately, my magic usually isn’t too helpful when it comes to dealing with volcanoes…”

Following the rest to the ground he would look around to see what might have been impacted by the blast. Given this was Dan’s world he was a little curious how such a thing could happen without the patron realizing it beforehand. Concentrating his magic he would feel out the earth for the cause and if there would be further eruptions. ”Is this a normal thing?”

Dan wiped the sweat off his brow with an oversized napkin, and sighed in relief when the activity finally ceased. He then turned to the two with a droopy nose.
“I-I’m sorry...” He fidgeted in place. “I’ve recently been experimenting with magically altering this world, you see. Some of that magic ended up embedded into the fabric of this reality, connecting it to me and my feelings.” He teared up.“I-I got too carried away by excitement, which caused the magic within the volcano to respond, nearly hurting you-!” He then began to cry loudly, his tears coming out like tiny fountains. “ I ruined your vacation! I’m a terrible host!”

Shocked by Dan’s anguish, Gaia rushed over to the dolphin and gave him a big hug. “Shh… Shh… It’s okay,” she told him while gently patting his head. “We all make mistakes. And you have been a most splendid host,” she added, giving him a warm smile. “Our vacation wasn’t ruined, it was simply made more interesting and memorable. Don’t you agree, Shane?”

Having what happened explained to him, he would stand back up. He would give the dolphin a pat on the head. ”Yes. It’s all good Dan. We’ve had a great time so far and no one was hurt. I think now maybe we can just relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean.” He would assure the aquatic patron.

Dan squeaked when Gaia gave him a comforting hug, and calmed down. He wiped his tears and nodded. "Th-Thank you, Gaia, Shane. Allow me to make ends one last time." The Lesser Force clapped his fins, and they teleported back to the beach, back to their beach wear and sitting on beach chairs. A table with drinks was set right next to them.
Dan then bowed. "Now, please relax, and enjoy the rest of your visit. I'll be going now to work on my little project, but I'll come running if you call me. See you later!" He then disappeared with a puff of blue smoke.

For the next hour, the two simply relaxed and chatted about various things, getting to know one another a little better. Soon enough, it would be time for them to head back, and Gaia took Shane’s hand as they approached the portal.

“Thank you again for such a wonderful time,” she told him. “I do not think I shall ever forget this for as long as I live.”

"It was my pleasure. I'm glad you agreed to join on such short notice." He would lead them through not far from Gaia's place at the orphanage.

“Sadly, I believe this is where we must part ways for the evening,” Gaia observed, before wrapping her arms around him. “Although I also believe this is where we share a farewell kiss,” she added with a smile.

Giving a slight chuckle Shane would put his arms around the girl as well. He would lean in and give her a kiss, holding it for a few seconds. After a moment he would draw back. "Maybe next time we could go out as our mundane selves. Get a feel for that side too hmm?" He would put the idea forward.

Gaia closed her eyes as she felt Shane’s lips touch hers. It was the verdant girl’s first kiss, after all, and she wanted to enjoy the sensation to the fullest. After several blissful seconds had passed, they slowly pulled apart. Shane then went on to ask about the possibility of going out as their mundane selves.

“I… Think I would enjoy that,” Gaia said after a moment. “Although I don’t know of too many places we could go, what with Penrose in its current state,” she added with a slight frown.

Shane could think of a few things still around to do. How exciting or whatever was harder to say. "Well give it some thought and let me know what you'd like to do and we'll figure it out from there. That sound good?"

“Yes,” she agreed. “That sounds like a splendid idea. You know, I am quite fond of playing video games,” she added. “So if you can find a good arcade that is still open, that might be most enjoyable. Worse comes to worse, we could always play some games here,” she noted, gesturing to her room at the orphanage. “If you don’t mind Connie being there, too, of course.”

”Not at all. I don’t think I’ve actually played a video game in years.” He would muse slightly. Being a wanderer since joining the magical world he didn’t really settle anywhere to play all that much. Maybe he did play something at one point, but it was such a rarity he all but forgot about it.

“Wonderful,” Gaia replied. “In that case, I greatly look forward to it. And I promise to go easy on you for the first few games,” she added playfully.

”I look forward to it. I guess I’ll see you again soon at the Christmas party. Oh and let me know how Connie reacts to our date. I’m sure it will be adorable.” He would give her a quick peck on the cheek. ”Have a good evening.” He would step back to leave.

“I shall certainly do so,” Gaia told him warmly as she stepped onto a lowered tree branch and allowed it to raise her up to her window. “And a most pleasant evening to you as well,” she added, blowing him a kiss before slipping through the window and disappearing from view.

There were many things that the twins had hoped to accomplish. Most of those things seemingly impossible with the various people and factions as they were. A number of things had changed though, not the least of which was the leadership in the Cradle. Maura seemed to be much more... open to dialog with those that weren't necessarily friends. If nothing else Kayli had left a good enough impression to act as a mediator for leaders in both Beacon and the Cradle. Though just as likely they could, and likely would, use the encounter to size each other up.

Whatever the case a place of meeting was struck in the Overcity. Given the circumstances a private room at a bar was booked where they could be uninterrupted but wouldn't be in some shady corner of nowhere. Arriving early Kayli would protect the room with what she could. Can never be too careful. Her guests would arrive and find drinks provided.

At the designated time, Alicia strode into the bar with a confident and formal demeanor. This was strictly business, and she held little illusion that things would go smoothly. Veronica might not be in charge of this particular group anymore, but no doubt her influence still loomed. That was why she had agreed to this meeting. She wanted to see what the new head was like.

Directed to the private room, she nodded to Kayli as she entered. "Hello Kayli, nice to see you again. I guess you've been pretty busy since we last saw each other."

Penny's warnings still rang true to Maura's head. Should she be doing this so early? Could she make a good impression at this point? She didn't know, but she trusted Kayli could help things run smoothly. Besides, Maura had her own questions in mind.

Not opting to shadow-hop this time, she'd enter the room a bit after Alicia, Betty in tow. "Good evening, everyone." she waved, then turned to the Beacon leader. "You didn't have to meet with me if you didn't want to, so thank you for coming." she smiled.

Betty was standing at Maura’s side. The girl was armed to the teeth, and she had her palm resting on the hilt of a sheathed sword. Unless someone had seen her fight, they might have found it curious how she had so many swords, and only two hands to hold them in. Her brow was crossed, and she eyed the two other girls carefully. Her fingers twitched, and her breathing was deep.

The keeper gave a nod to Alicia and stood from her seat. "Penrose has a lot going on. I said I would work on things like this and I seek to keep to my word. Suppose it's a surprise to both of us it was so soon." She would step up as her other two attendees arrived. "Hello again Maura." She noted tense girl next to the patron. Clearing her throat a bit she gestured to the mearby table where they could sit. "Yes, thank you all for coming. I don't have specific topics for us to discuss other than perhaps one, but we could get to that later. I though it best if we use this time to sit and talk over some tea or coffee. Or if you would prefer we could order something more specific." She would offer as she guided them.

Alicia took a seat just before Maura arrived, and the meeting could begin. She nodded to Betty out of respect but otherwise didnt pay her too much attention. She seemed to just be here a a bodyguard, so that was what Alicia would treat her as.

She then turned back to Kayli. "Coffee would be good." she decided. It would let her keep her nerves calm. Having made her order, her attention finally settled on Maura as she sized up the Cradle leader. "Well, the cradle is one of the major players in Penrose. With Veronica heading off for greener pastures, I figured I should learn who I would be dealing with from now on."

Maura hummed, sitting down across from Alicia. "Well, I'm sure you have your questions. I'll answer them the best I can." she looked over to Kayli. "I'll take some tea then."

Kayli would check with Betty, but she did not appear to be in a very talkative mood, and just shook her head. With that, Kayli stepped off to one side briefly to pour the drinks. Coming back over she would set the respective drinks before each. Any fixings they might want would be there on the table for them to use. Sitting down herself across from Betty the girl would sip her tea. For the moment she would let the other two speak.

Alicia nodded gratefully to Kayli as she took her drink, gently blowing over the surface to cool it off before she made any effort to actually drink it. Just because she had the superhuman ability to regenerate from burning her mouth didnt mean that it was an experience she enjoyed inflicting upon herself.

While holding on to that, she began the question and answer session. "I suppose my immediate question is what your intentions are for the Cradle. Veronica told me what she had in mind, but she's not here anymore. So what do you intend to do with all this power?"

"I don't exactly have a huge goal in mind. Mostly just getting Penrose back to normal at the moment, and preventing the apocalypse." Maura took a sip of her tea. "Things may be calm now, but who knows what may happen next."

Betty took a deep breath and smiled at her new employer. “Whew! For a second there, I thought you were going to bring a big sweeping change over the organization. Boss always had faith in your style.” Betty took her hand off of her sword and sat down beside Maura, totally enamored with her new employer. Then she turned to the others, at which point her eyes darted between the two other girls she had yet to introduce herself to. “Right." Betty twiddle her thumbs and looked off into space.

It was nice to hear that Maura had no plans beyond preserving peace and preventing general doom, Alicia was not content to just accept that answer on simple faith. Too many things had happened for her to trust a complete stranger. Particularly someone Veronica trusted enough to take over for her.

While Betty spoke with her boss, Alicia took the opportunity to sip her coffee. The bitter liquid kept her mind focused for the conversation, and she prepared to resume.

“That’s good to hear,” she agreed with a small nod. “At least the Cradle is being consistent.” That had been Veronica’s self professed goal after all, or something like it. But having confirmed it, that led to a natural follow up. “And how do you feel about the Ascendancy? Veronica wasn’t exactly fond of them after the Rave. They weren’t fond of her either.”

Maura sighed. "I'll be honest with you, they're not exactly my cup of tea either, er, no pun intended." she let her head rest on her hand. "Though from what Penny told me, you guys didn't ask for their intervention did you? Y'know, with the whole 'vacation' thing?" she appeared concerned.

"Thats right," Alicia agreed, not surprised by Mauras opinion in the slightest. It was hardly unique. "With so many of us gone the city was being overrun by monsters. They stepped in to keep things under control. I had hoped that I could convince them to leave once we had returned, but the attack at the Rave made that unviable."

Truth be told, she wasn't sure what it would take to get them to leave now, short of a directive from the central organization. But that didn't seem likely to happen any time soon.

Betty threw her hands onto the table and stood up. “Well maybe the rave wouldn't have been a problem if they didn't insist on playing directly into the PI's hands!" She spit out her words like they were venom. “Also, maybe don't ally with someone who nearly destroyed the world? There had to have been better choices than Justine, right?" Her body was trembling. “Go ahead, say something about Mariette! The only reason we allied with her was to get at Justine. And you know what? It worked!"

Maura recoiled slightly at Betty's sudden outburst, but tried to calm her down regardless. "Easy there, tiger..." she patted the girl's back., causing her to sit back down. Her gaze lost all intensity as she let out an exhausted sigh."I'm sure they were as unaware of the PI's involvement as we were, at the time." She turned back to Alicia. "Look, they may have good intentions, but the Ascendancy's methods contradict that. You know how the saying about the road to Hell goes. That's my only gripe about them." Maura took another sip of her tea.

"You're still angry about Mariette, aren't you?" She frowned.

Alicia did her best to keep her calm, sipping her coffee through the bodyguards outburst. "As Maura said, we had no idea that they were anything more than a tabloid. Unless you're saying that Veronica knew and decided that a magical bomb would be a useful part of her plans." It wouldnt have surprised her for a former Coin broker after all.

Betty rubbed her head. “I'm saying they involved themselves in something that they were ill equipped to face." She looked off into the distance.

"Technically, we all weren't. But I get it."

Alicia chose to ignore Betty for now, with that line of conversation seeming like a waste of time. What had happened, happened. They just had to live with the outcome.

Personally, she had not had any intention of bringing up Mariette, since that was another legacy of Veronicas leadership rather than Maura. But since it had she felt obligated to address it. "As a matter of fact, there weren't," she replied simply. "No one else was willing to acknowledge the threat she posed. I did what I felt I had to."

Having said what she needed to there, her focus returned to Maura. "What is there to be angry about? Everything was resolved, assuming the eldritch Horror doesn't notice she's been reverted from her brainwashing of course." Alicia was skeptical of how viable that solution was, but everyone else seemed to be confident that things would work out.

"Guess that depends on if she decides to break off of Asengav completely." Maura shrugged. "They could try and get more magical girls free from the mind-control shtick, but he's bound to piece things together if they're not careful."

The subject changing to something she felt more involved in, Kayli would sit forward. "I need to try and get in contact with Mariette if I can. I can see how someone like her could be conflicted about things when they were taken in at such an early age. She needs guidence, idealy from someone that she doesn't feel is trying to use her. Though talking about it makes the whole thing sound fishy." She would admit. Several steps had been made, but it was hard to tell if the efforts would turn out for anyone at this point.

"Regardless, its not my business anymore. You've dealt with the major threats. I intend to focus on making sure nothing steps into that void," she replied. She did her best to be calm and reasonable about it, but she was not entirely content. Still, if Maura was anything like Veronica then being up front about that would only be a weakness.

"Alright. But if you don't have any further questions, may I ask you something?" Maura asked Alicia. "Are you okay? I mean, with everything that's happened, it's bound to strain people, but I can't help worrying." She appeared genuinely concerned.

An eyebrow rose as Alicia looked on Maura in surprise, but her response was about as automatic as breathing. They might not be enemies anymore, but that did not mean they were friends. Especially with Betty being so hostile and being right here. "I appreciate your concern for my well being, but Im fine," she replied, leaving things like that without a desire to elaborate further.

Maura would blink, unimpressed, before it turned into a mischievous grin. "Come on, you don't got anything? Don't want to beat something up for your frustrations?"

Betty’s hand came to rest on the hilt of her massive odachi. Or to those unfamiliar with swords, a two-handed katana. “Maura, if someone layed a finger on you, I’d cut that finger off, along with the hand it was attached to." Betty fret her brow. “But if you insist on having Alicia punch someone, I can take it! She can hit me!"

Maura pouted at Betty. "You know I can take a simple punch! And I don't want you accidentally cutting her hand off either." she turned to Alicia. "It's up to you though, dear. If you have anything else in mind, we can try that." she smiled.

“I won’t cut her, because I’ll be letting her hit me!" Betty leaned in front of Maura while pointing at herself. With both hands. her sheathes lightly bumped into Maura as she did so. “Do it!"

Listening to the exchange, after several moments Alicia interjected. "I don't intend on punching anyone," she protested firmly. Or venting, or doing anything that could make its way back to Veronica's ears. "I'm fine."

"Alright, I won't prod you any further. Bettymoveoutoftheway." Maura shrugged, moving Betty back to her seat. "Well then, what do you want to do now?"

With questions of her emotional stability resolved, Alicia returned to the matter of business. There was not much left to do, at least as far as she was concerned. She was getting a read, though whether it was a read that was correct was an entirely different case.

For now she returned to her coffee, which was mostly finished by this point in the conversation. “I suppose the only thing I’d want to know at this point is your relationship as head of this portion of the Cradle to Veronica herself. Does she have access to your memories too?”

Maura hesitated to speak. This tick did not go unnoticed by Betty, who jumped onto the table and pointed at Alicia.

“Classified information!" Her finger was hovering a few inches over her head. “As an intelligence gathering organization, you can’t expect us to give away all of our secrets all willy nilly- Hey, I didn’t notice, but you have nice hair." She kneeled in front of Alicia. “It’s so shiny! I could have shiny hair, but it’s white so that would be kind of annoying. But yea!" She fret her brow. “Revealing information like that would be like me asking you what kind of shampoo you use, it’s never gunna happen!"

To be fair Maura didn't know what her relationship with Veronica was exactly. So when Betty intervened before she could work out an answer, she mouthed a "sorry" to Alicia before moving the bodyguard back to her seat.

Alicia resisted the urge to roll her eyes once more as Betty spoke up about classified information and whatnot. Perhaps it had been too much to ask, but she had nonetheless held out hope that it would work. As expected of an organization made by a Coin Broker, they had their fair share of secrets it seemed.

For now, shed just have to be more direct. "Fine. Then how likely is it that Veronica will swoop back into town one day and make all this talking pointless?" If she couldn't know how far her reach extended, she could at least know that.

"Highly unlikely." Maura took a moment to finish her tea. "Veronica had to disrupt something important when she first returned, I don't think she'll will again any time soon."

Betty sensed Maura’s uncertainty again, and probably felt like she had to redeem herself. So she added on to what Maura had said. “More importantly, Veronica surrendered the Cradle to Maura with the bindings of a magical contract. It’s impossible for her to get it back unless Maura signs it back to her."

There was some silence for a bit. Kayli would look at Betty for a little while before turning her gaze to Maura. "I do have something that I'm sure several of us have questions about. Justine. I was able to confirm her purification and her profession of repentance. Have you worked out the details of your agreement?" Given Betty's direct encounter, the Keeper did her best to calm the room with her magic. Being under Justine's control was something she understood on a personal level.

Maura seemed to flinch when Justine was brought up. "Erm, yeah. I was hoping to explain to the other agents next meeting, but to keep Father from corrupting her again, I took Justine in." She crossed her arms with a sigh. "I'm more than aware my choice will not be...well-received. The purification potion kept her torn between life and death, thus I was able to negotiate with her. Look at this as her rehabilitation." She looked to Alicia. "And I'm aware she may try to deceive me. I'm keeping a close eye on her for a bit to see that won't happen. If she dares to lay a finger on my agents, the contract will be nulled, and I'll drag her to the depths of Hell myself. I have a few friends down there that'd love to say hello." Maura looked into her tea cup and furrowed her brows. "If anything, I can have Eliza babysit her instead. she joked.

“She was already given a second chance, and she squandered it." Betty propped up her head with her elbow. “She should have been executed." Betty’s reaction wasn’t very strong, but Kayli was being stressed to her limit. This was more taxing than the twin’s attempt to break into Abigail’s mind while it was protected by the spark.

"Why do you think I'm watching her closely?" Maura raised a brow. "Not to mention that was when she was still corrupted. Call me curious, but I want to see how this new Justine ticks. If it doesn't work out, well, it's like I said. Not to mention Sonia's still out there somewhere. We may need the extra help against her."

An eyebrow rose as Alicia regarded Betty. "I believe that squandering is a matter of perspective," she noted, as the one who had been working with Justine up until now. Sure, she had done bad things in the course of that time, and there probably would have been some betrayals, but the actual cooperation itself was not, in itself, proof of her evil nature.

After a moment she shrugged and placed her now empty cup down on the coffee table. "Well, I dont have anything more to discuss," she noted, before falling silent to let Kayli and the others converse if they wished.

Another silence fell, and as it seemed that everyone was done talking, Kayli would break the silence and wrap up. "Well then, if there isn't anything else I suppose we can call this a close. I want to thank you again for agreeing to meet. Not everyone may agree with methods or decisions, but I think it's worth at least trying to work things out. If for nothing else for the sake of what remains of the city and its inhabitants. Given the last few months I don't imagine the area can take many more events like it's seen." She would try and bring them all to some common ground. If nothing else having the world burn around them was hopefully not the goal.

Three girls approached the entrance of the Sanctuary. One had long white hair, striking ice blue eyes, and a calm, almost disarming aura about her. Following behind were twins wearing elegant black dresses adorned with roses, one had plum colored hair with curled ponytails while the other had mostly short royal blue hair. Speaking with the one posted at the door they requested speaking with Penny Asimov.

The girl posted at the door was outside the Sanctuary rather than inside it as normal, they also seemed to be out of uniform, either that or their uniform was rather mundane compared to normal. Baggy cargo pants, and a large zipper jacket. The hood was up, but the girl in question was leaning up against the wall looking towards the sky so her face wasn’t fully hidden. And long neon blue hair could be seen spilling from within the hood as well.

“Newcomers looking for the Queen?” The girl would ask, still gazing skyward “Mind if I ask what it is you’re wanting to talk with her about?”

Taking a little more time to observe the one before her, Kayli offered a smile. Drawing on memories not her own was still a bit slow for her. ”I wish to be of assistance to you and the inhabitants. My name is Kayli Devon, the Keeper of the Keys. However, you may more recognize my predecessors, Cindy and the Howell sisters.” She offered some vague, yet apparently truthful information about herself.

Penny would adjust her gaze towards three girls in front of her, taking a closer look at all three of them with a guarded look in her still golden eyes. Locking eyes with Kayli after a moment “And how exactly did this latest twist come to be?”

”The twins attempted to make use of a wish and I was the result.” She answered calmly.

Sitting forward Penny would maintain eye contact, before speaking softly “Running full system diagnostics. Machine status: Fully operational. Combat Stations: Online. All Systems: Primed and Ready.” A short transformation sequence later and the Queen was no longer in hiding.

“And what assistance is it that you want to provide to me and mine?” She would ask still sitting, though the pressure of her presence was notably greater now that she was no longer sealed.

She opened her mouth for a moment but paused briefly as if considering something. It wasn’t long before she continued. ”I am made up of your friends. Facets of their personalities and memories. My magic has been altered though so I may provide others with purification unassisted. That is my primary purpose. But I do wish to fulfill some of the goals Janet, Jenna, and Cindy did. I can help with defense in the form of wards and maintain the peace with my own inherent presence.” She offered. For the moment she was acting a little like Janet with her straight forward answers. There certainly didn’t seem to be any attempt to hide anything.

“So, potions and Coins still, just cutting out the middleman.” Penny would say with an amused lilt as she stood. “I take it Alicia doesn’t know about this” She would say more than ask, knowing that if Alicia had Penny would have learned before just now.

“And what about them?” Penny would go on before Kayli could answer, nodding at the rose themed girls that flanked the Keeper of Keys. “Who are they?” She would ask looking at the girls in question willing to let them answer in place of Kayli if they wanted.

Rose waved a bit, somewhat excited. ”Good to see you, uh, again? I think we’ve met. You can call me Rose.”

The blue haired girl hadn’t entirely been paying attention, looking around from time to time. Now she just nodded a bit. ”Iris. We are the Keeper’s Guard”

Kayli let out a little sigh as she turned back to Penny. ”Hilde tried to pull the Howell’s out of the magic from the wish and got caught up in the transformation as well. They are my allies and defenders. It is unfortunate, but we are unable to change our fates now.” She shrugged a bit. The two other girls didn’t seem to mind Kayli implying that they served her.

Penny would nod as she folded her arms across her middle as she continued to examine the three before her. She would be silent for a few moments, obviously contemplating. “You are free to enter Sanctuary, it’s never been my prerogative to turn away those that find this place, nor am I going to change that anytime soon.” She would start once again settling her focus on Kayli “But there are two things I want to cover with you before you head inside. First is a promise I made to those within the Sanctuary.”

“I promised that I would never enforce purification on them, as I know that there are some that prefer their new found forms. To say nothing of the fact that they have been forced to lose the form they had before. Know that if you break that promise of mine there will be consequences.” She would explain firmly.

“Secondly, if they ask, you get to explain what happened to Cindy. I won’t announce it to them that you used to be her, but Cindy and Janet did put me in an uncomfortable spot for a moment. So if it comes up, it is your responsibility to explain it.”

“If you can agree to those two points we won’t have any complications going forward.” Penny would conclude comfortably. “Any questions?”

”I agree to and with your terms. I may be tasked with purification, but I would much prefer it be done by choice. And who I was is not as important in my opinion. It might be better to consider me as inspired by the others.” Her mood shifted a bit as her smile brightened up. This process was going to have to be repeated when she went to talk with Alicia. There had been some internal debate on who she should go to first. Eventually the Sanctuary won out as the wish was primarily made for them.

“I consider you someone new compared to who it is that comprised your memories.” Penny would say “I’ve enough experience with splitting and stitching the soul than to assume you are the same as them. But not everyone is going to be the same, and I’m not going to be the one feilding the questions when people start asking.” Silently Penny wondered how the Sanctuary would feel to learn that the Cindy copy was now gone. Mostly relieved she was willing to bet, but her being the one to tell them might not be received too well considering how poorly her first announcement of it went.

“Regardless, welcome to Sanctuary”

”I see no reason to bring it up. I’m telling you because I trust you. If it does come up then I will explain as best I can.” Seemed the best direction to go. ”And thank you. Even though I’ve never been here myself, I miss the place.” She gave a warm smile as she was let in.

Penny would nod once again, some of her cold demeanor finally bleeding away as she turned to lead the way. “Follow me, I’ll introduce you to Dina. She’s the Regent so she’ll want to meet you as well.” With that she would open the door and step inside.

From there she would lead the three back into Penny’s room. It was larger than most of the other rooms in the Sanctuary and was divided into two parts, one was a sitting room. Which had a halfway decent couch and a couple jury rigged chairs around a rough metal coffee table that had a handmade metal chess board set up on it.

The other part was the bedroom, which rather than actually having a bed held a large nest of blankets and a night stand that had a plush doll of Penny and a small lamp.

Dina for the most part, was curled up atop the massive pile of blankets, her tail swishing lazily as she waited for a couple of catmaids to serve her a snack. She had gone through a lot of experiences, and since she had managed to convince that despite the gruesome toll the bakenekos sustained during the attack. Her eyes rested lazily on the opening door as she stretched into a more graceful position, scanning the new arrival.

“Your Highness? Fancy a snack?” She said, questioning Penny, as she ushered the maids to go and increase the snack amount.

“I’m fine Dina, don’t want to dip into the screws at the moment.” Penny would say as she walked into the sleeping area “Brought along company though. A few new faces that want to help defend Sanctuary, they are also bringing Purification expertise.”

Seeming more at home inside, Kayli took a brief moment to look around while being led down. Probably the most notable thing aside from the people there was the statue to Cindy. That perhaps added a little context to what Penny had said earlier.

Regardless when presented to Dina, Kayli gave a respectful little bow with Rose and Iris following her lead. ”It’s a pleasure to meet you Dina. I hope we aren’t interrupting. My name is Kayli Devon and these are my allies, Rose and Iris Silva.”

Dina’s eyes went back and forth with the trio of people that had come in. She was about to greet them with a smile, when the word “Purification” was slung around. Her wariness then kicked into full gear and assumed a neutral expression.

“Pleasure is all mine.” She said in a rather cold addressing. “And I am the one that should be asked for leave. This is her Highness room after all. However, If I am bold to assume, I would say she wishes me to make sure you all feel welcome with the due respect you deserve.”

She paused for a moment. “Would you care for a snack?”

Thus far Dina kept her cool as expected. Though this was just the beginning. ”If it isn’t too much trouble that would be lovely.” Kayli responded back.

“Not at all. Just the usual” She said, as she snapped her fingers to signal the squad of maids.

"I brought them here to meet you" Penny would confirm once greetings were exchanged. "They didn't come seeking refuge like most of those here, they came looking to give assistance." She would explain pulling over one of the chairs. "Both as defender and warders, but also in offering purification to those who want it."

Dina's wariness about purification was known to Penny, as she held some of her own concerns on the topic as well. Which was the main reason she wanted to introduce everyone. More eyes on Kayli to help keep things going smooth, and make sure she wasn't taking advantage of the girls here.

"Dina is the Regent." Penny would turn towards Kayli and her followers "I'm not always available, for a host of reasons, but she speaks with my voice when I'm not available"

Nodding to the explanation, the three visitors took a seat. ”Yes. I have heard of this place as a refuge for those that are hunted or may not have a home. While I am not a monster girl myself I am quite familiar with the hardships they experience. I understand that this facility was attacked recently. I can create defenses to hide and ward off others from slipping in unannounced.” She would begin with something relevant, since it was surely a fresh topic.

Dina took a small breath as she looked at the newcomers. “It’s not the first time I have heard this plight. Not the last time I shall hear of it.” The catgirl then licked one of her hands and adjusted one of her ears, as her sight pierced. “It’s either folly, or hides ulterior motives. Especially if you pair it with the Purification, the anathema that Beacon has for monster girls.” She paused. “We’re not in a position to be exactly trusting, even if you are truly sincere.”
“I’ve met you before. Not with this face. But not with this name either. Yet the paradigm stays the say. How can the purifier support the corrupted?”

”Why must it always be so black and white? I don’t wish to purify those who refuse it. Not everyone is unhappy with how they are. And that is perfectly fine. I am not beholden to anyone, much less Beacon. They may agree with some things I do, but I doubt their leadership at large will be happy with me before long. An unfortunate but necessary consequence if one actually wishes to operate beyond their rigid mindset.” Her eyes narrowed a bit, but the move almost seemed in jest as she brightened up again. Waving a hand next to her she couldn’t help but smile. ”Besides, what I offer is far more refined than any potion or coin. There are some mental mutations that are less than helpful to themselves and those around them. Individual mutations can be selectively removed while leaving the rest of someone as they are.”

Folding her hands in her lap, Kayli kept her eyes on Dina. ”If it is the case that you do not want or need anything from me though that is just as well. Penrose has enough going on to keep anyone occupied.” An understatement if there ever was one. Sanctuary or no, her work was cut out for her.

Penny was tempted to point out the hypocrisy of asking for a non black and white out look while painting Beacon in purely black and white roles, but didn’t really want to hash out that argument at the moment. She made no secret about her status as a Beacon member to the girls here, she never had, but somehow people kept forgetting it.

“Sanctuary is open to all who need it” She would say instead “Even if we turn down your offer of purification, healers and defenders are always welcome. Though we would need to move before S.E.P. wards started to work again I think”

“Yet, for it to stay open… certain agreements have to be made.” Dina said. “T’was never about the black or white… but more of what it appears to be. Sanctuary can’t afford to be murked down.” She paused. “Thing is, we’re just a bunch of misfits. But we’re not exactly rebels. Your offer is welcome, however, it is folly to assume that people will agree with such… outlook you have quite easily.” Dina said.

“I know you mean well.” She paused. “But you must be careful about it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.” She perked up, when she smelled the tray of tea and pastries her cat girls had managed to bring in to serve. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I cannot afford to drag Sanctuary into more than we can chew.”

“So, here’s the thing.” She perked. “You never ever mentioned purification. You are just a healer who for some reason, likes tea and biscuits.” Dina said nonchalantly. “Don’t advertise what you’re capable of. Start little by little.” She added.

“That way we can see how serious you are.”

Kayli listened carefully, and for a moment she didn’t seem to catch Dina’s drift. Were her sensibilities not as mellowed out she might have taken offense. Presented with tea and the pastry she took part and thanked the maids with a smile. Mulling it over she eventually nodded in agreement. ”Yes, you are right.” She held the cup and saucer daintily, clearly versed in some etiquette when presented something more familiar.

Looking between Dina and Penny she chuckled to herself a bit. ”I am glad I came. Things are still a bit confusing for me and I could use some grounding. I would love to assist you in any way I can.” Taking a sip of her tea the tension in her body relaxed a bit. It wasn’t something she realized was happening. She really didn’t want to screw this up, and given who she was there was ample opportunity for that.

Penny waved off the maid that approached her with a smile. The serving tray was filled with bits of polished scrap from the looks of it and Penny would have to remember to thank them for the thought next chance she got.

"It's nothing against you" Penny would say after giving everyone a chance to settle in with their tea. "More so that the last time wide scale free purification was brought up here in the Sanctuary it nearly ended badly." She would look down as she contemplated how to go about explaining things. "I have contacts due to my connections. Who provided some potions and coins for the sake of offering what you now offer. Few trusted it then, it's not much better now"

"Oh, I see. She glanced at Rose and Iris for a moment before looking back to Penny. "I don't want to create more trouble if it can be avoided." Apparently she would have to shelve some of her ideas for the time being. To an extent it conflicted with the purpose of her creation. She still wanted to help everyone here as best she could, and there were many ways to do that so it would be alright.

“There’s more help than just fancy abilities who tend to attract attention.” Dina said. “You could run errands. Not all girls here have… amenable appearances, as you might have surmised.”

“Shoring up defenses is something else, as well as medical help” Penny would add “Most of the wards on this place are to prevent people from finding it which is quickly proving to be no longer any real defense. And there are only a few girls that live here full time that have access to magic that can help heal.”

“I appreciate the offer, and I feel that you do genuinely want to help the girls here.” Penny would say before sighing a bit “It’s just that the timing of it all that’s the issue. Some of the girls here are still unsettled due to an attack that happened recently, same day as the purification announcement in fact. Slow and steady is the best way at the moment otherwise they are going to scatter and then no one gets helped.”

For the most part the two other girls had waited quietly. Beginning to see a pattern though Iris would speak up. "I think we get it. Kayli can let her passion get ahead of her sometimes. Rose and I can keep an eye on her. Slow her down." Catching a slightly surprised look from Kayli, Iris gave her a cheeky grin. Keeping their leader out of trouble was their job after all.

“Believe me… It’s not the first time I have seen tempers very hard to control.” Dina said, as she stared at the trio. “So, are we in agreement?” She said, eyeing Penny first and then the trio of girls.

“I’m fine with this” Penny would agree with a nod.

”I can agree with that.” Kayli would confirm. The two others would nod as well.

“Then we have reached a consensus. Let us enjoy the tea then.” Dina said, as she began to cat-lick her own brew. “We can hash out details later.”

Having received a message from Connie about a Christmas party, it took several days to get back a response. The message was brief and cryptic, but implied something significant had happened. After a little back and forth a meeting was arranged to clear things up as best it could.

Since most of Penrose was still in ruins, or at the very least, shut down, Connie suggested that they meet in her and Mia’s room at the orphanage for lunch. Hilde had been there before, and, as far as Connie knew, still possessed the ability to teleport, so getting in discreetly shouldn’t be much of a problem. Connie nervously waited on her bed, while Mia went out to get some pizza for them. Connie knew she probably shouldn’t worry, but Hilde’s messages had been somewhat mysterious. Something had happened, and the timid girl was worried about her new friend’s wellbeing.

Since some secrecy had been requested so as not to cause a scene, a couple girls walked their way around until they could see the window to Connie's room. Sending a message first to let her friend know she was about to enter she waited until she saw a read checkmark. Transforming, Iris placed a hand on Rose's shoulder. For Connie, two winged girls suddenly appeared in the room. The red haired one raised a hand and waved sheepishly. "H-hi Connie. I-it's me, sort of. "

“Eeep!” Connie yelped, jumping up and hugging herself as two strange girls appeared before her. One of them did seem a bit familiar, though… “H-Hilde…?” the timid girl whispered, clearly very confused. “I-Is t-that you?” Turning to look at the other girl, she added, “I-Is t-this a f-friend?”

Perdictably Connie jumped. At least the girl didn't completely freak out though. "Yeah, it's Hildebell. Or as much as I can be I guess. I remember being Hildebell." She put a finger against her lips for a second thinking about it. Her attention shifted when Connie pointed out the other girl. Smiling brightly she put an arm around Iris, her pigtails bouncing a bit as she moved. "This is Iris. She's my twin sister. It's kind of hard to explain but I got caught in a magical spell and it, well, did this." She gestured to her and the matching girl excitedly.

Connie’s eyes grew wide at her friend’s explanation. “R-Really? A s-spell did all t-this? G-Gosh… Oh!” she exclaimed as something occurred to her. “I-I’m C-Connie, b-by the w-way,” she told Iris, while holding out a trembling hand. “I-It’s v-very nice to m-meet you.”

Giving a soft smile, Iris gently took the hand and shook it. "Lovely to meet you. Rose told me all about you. I look forward to getting to know you myself." She would release her hand and stand up straight. She certainly didn't seem as excitable as her sister.

“R-Rose…?” Connie asked with a frown. “Y-You d-decided to c-change your n-name?”

"Wah?" She waved her hands. "N-no. I-I woke up as Rose. I love the name Hildebell. Its just- "

Iris held up a hand which cut off Rose. Kneeling down, she spoke softly. "The magic that effected us was meant to create a new magical girl. The best I can explain is that Hilde's memories still remains inside of Rose and she would like to remain your friend." She smiled. "And I would like to be your friend too, if you'll have me."

Rose looked around a bit. Not seeing Mia she would ask. "Is Mia around?"

Connie’s troubled eyes seemed to water as Hildebell, or rather, Rose, spoke, but then Iris went on to calmly explain the situation, concluding with a request to be friends, and Connie’s somber demeanor changed in a heartbeat. “O-Of course! I-I’d love it if w-we c-could be f-friends!” Connie gushed happily as she wrapped Iris up in a tight embrace.

Rose then asked about Mia, but before Connie could reply, the door opened and the tomboyish young woman herself entered carrying a pair of pizza boxes.

“Pizza’s here!” she announced, before freezing in her tracks at the sight of their two guests. “Uh, who the heck are you?”

“Hi, Mia!” Connie greeted her friend exuberantly as she finally released Iris. “T-This is H-Hildebell, b-but she g-goes by R-Rose, now, a-and this is her n-new sister, Iris!” she added, introducing her new friends. “T-They s-said they w-were in s-some kind of m-magic spell a-accident, or s-something, and… Yeah…”

“Okaaay…” Mia said as she slowly put the pizza boxes down on their small table. “Well, it’s, uh, nice to meet you, I guess?” she added, holding out her hand to the two girls. “A-Anyways, you guys hungry?”

The girls let the two friends update one another. After Mia put the boxes down Rose ignored the food question and grabbed Mia's hand. She pulled her over to Connie and Iris where she gave them all a big hug with her arms and circled the bunch with her wings. "I thought I might never get the chance to see you again! I'm so happy!"

“M-Me too!” Connie agreed with a big smile. “L-Let’s promise to always be f-friends, n-no matter what!”

"I promise." Said one twin.

"Alright." Said the other.

Letting everyone out of the hug, Rose was about to turn to deal with the pizza when she remembered something and snapped her fingers. "Oh yeah, try not to tell everyone who we are. The girl we work for might get in trouble if certain people find out." To a degree there was limited they could do to keep all the details under wrap. What Kayli did to out herself they could only partly help with.

“O-Okay,” Connie said with a nod. “I-If anybody asks, I-I’ll just s-say that you’re our n-new friends, Rose and Iris. A-And that reminds me!” she added, while reaching into her jacket and retrieving a small piece of colorful paper. “I w-wanted to invite you to a C-Christmas Party! T-This really adorable t-talking dolphin named Dan is h-hosting it in his beach dimension, a-and I think it’ll be r-really fun!” she told them with an excited smile as she handed the magically duplicated invitations to each girl.

“It’s one heck of a beautiful beach, that’s for sure,” Mia agreed. “And it’s the perfect place if you’re getting sick of our current arctic climate,” she added pointing her thumb at the window. The weather outside had noticeably worsened, and snow was beginning to be blown about by a harsh wind.

The two took the invitations and looked them over. "Oh yes. I believe Kayli received one of these. We would love to join you." The girl nodded approvingly.

“G-Great!” Connie cheered, her eyes shining with joy. “M-Mia and I c-can introduce you t-to Amanda, and M-Mayra, and a-all our other n-new friends! A-And you c-can introduce us to K-Kayli! Oh! A-And Faith m-might be there w-with some of her f-friends, too! She h-had to move away, b-but she said she’d t-try to make it, i-if she could,” Connie continued to ramble. “O-Oh… B-But, um, I h-hope s-she doesn’t g-get upset that you c-changed your n-name…”

“Come on, Connie,” Mia chided playfully, while putting an arm around her friend’s shoulder. “This is Faith we’re talkin’ about. I’m sure a carefree person like her would be perfectly fine with it, especially considering Rose’s current situation. Besides,” she added. “We’re not really supposed to tell people that Rose and Hilde are actually the same person, remember?”

“Oh gosh!” Connie exclaimed, while placing her trembling hands over her mouth. “Y-You’re absolutely r-right! I-I’m so s-sorry!” she apologized to the twins. “I p-promise I’ll t-try to r-remember!”

"Maybe it's best to think of us as Hilda's friends too?" She gave as a suggestion. n

“O-Oh, u-umm, I g-guess that c-could w-work…” Connie noted, not fully convinced on the idea herself. “B-But then, w-what should w-we say if p-people ask about H-Hilde?”

Pondering the question a while, Rose pointed at herself. "Not that I want to say this, but Hilde is gone. I know you because Hilde did. But the spell used Hilde as a vessel to create us to fullfil a purpose. We exist now to aid and protect Kayli in her mission." She put her hand down on the table and went quiet to let that sink in.

“G-Gone…?” Connie echoed, her voice a plaintive whisper, and her eyes filling with tears. For a moment, she just sat there, a look of confusion on her trembling face. “O-Okay,” she sighed, while lowering her head in sullen resignation. “I-I understand. Y-You j-just have her m-memories, b-but you’re n-not her. N-Not really… H-Hilde was my f-friend,” she added, using the soft sleeve of her jacket to wipe the tears from her eyes. “A-And I’m r-really g-gonna miss her. B-But, I also m-made two new friends,” she smiled up at the twins. “A-And that t-takes some of the s-sadness away.”

“Thanks for agreeing to come here, and for explaining everything,” Mia spoke up. “I know ya didn’t have to, but it really means a lot. To both of us.”

Rose cringed as Connie worked through what she said. It clearly hurt her to hear and see how the girl reacted. She seemed to react as though Hilda was still somewhere in there as she held a hand over her heart. She was starting to tear up herself. "I'm sorry. I just… It wouldn't be right to pretend. And Hilde would want you to know. She wrapped the two in her arms again. "You were some of her best friends and it's a blessing to hold her memories of you."

“T-Thanks, Rose,” Connie told her, smiling as she returned the girl’s embrace. “I-I just know w-we’re gonna have l-lot’s of fun t-together, r-right Mia?”

“That’s right, little sis,” Mia chuckled. “But what are we still sittin’ around here for? That pizza’s gonna start gettin’ cold soon!”

Letting them go again, Rose moved around the table. "Alright. Let's eat. " After letting her secrets out she felt a little tired. As they went along though and got the chance to relax they moved on to more fun topics. As they would find, Rose seemed to have inherited Hilde's cheerful demeanor while her sister Iris was a lot calmer and kind of anchored her sister before she got too carried away.

After the meal, the four of them spent the rest of the afternoon playing some board games, just as they had on the day they’d healed Faith and Hilde got her new name. With the departure of Faith and the death, for lack of a better word, of Hilde, the memory was now a bittersweet one, but Connie cherished it nonetheless. And now a new memory was being made, the first of what she hoped would be many more to come.

As a Beacon member, most of the daytime for Janet and Jenna consisted of going to school. As a former adult classes weren't something super hard to do. The plethora of new information and how the subjects had changed was eye opening though. They always felt like a parent going back to school only to learn that they remembered very little. Still it was always a welcome break from the fighting and power plays. It was as close to normal as one got as a magical girl.

Despite that the city wasn't doing so hot, the suburbs still had a decent number of people living there. So Gregory Penrose High School didn't really suffer massively from student drop off just yet.

Today they were out sitting on the stadium bleachers of the school. Old habits died hard so even though it was just high school football, Janet and Jenna were super into the game. They had invited Hilde to join them this time and they did their best to explain what was going on. The Spirit girl was quite confused by a good deal but the excitement of the crowd was contagious and she found herself reacting with those around her. The Penrose Dragons vs the Silverburg Strikers was the game today. And thankfully it was a decent game where neither team got trounced. Ultimately the home team lost by a hair, perpetuating the rivalry further. Good thing this was just a game though.

Afterward as people were clearing out Janet and Jenna had their attention grabbed by hearing their names called. Looking around through the people leaving they spotted a girl, one of the cheerleaders, waving them down. It wasn't anyone they recognized, not that they knew everyone there but still. Making their way down the bleachers they looked down. "Hey. We're you calling us?"

The girl hopped up and slid her way through the railing to stand up by the three other girls. "Mhm. I knew I was here for a reason. You probably don't recognize me, but I wanted to thank you for your help." She would gesture them follow as she made her way down the exit under the bleachers.

The two looked confused as they followed. "Thank us? For what?" They cautiously followed, ready to transform at a moments notice if the need arose.

Lowering her voice she whispered. "Helping Mariette." they'd moved around off and away from where everyone else was headed. Once they were out of sight she skipped ahead of them and chanted. "Tell me what it is you wish." A ruby colored plume of smoke swirled around the girl and the cheerleader was replaced with a girl clad in a white belly dancer outfit. "Tada! It's us, Violet and Sakura. We found a way to be rejoined! You can call me Ruby now."

Janet and Jenna were clearly tense as they watched a magical girl transform in front of them. From the incantation, appearance, and explanation it became pretty clear who, or sort of who, they were talking to. "How did you manage…" Jenna started to ask.

Ruby waved away the question. "Don't worry about it. It's not really important. What is is making sure you're rewarded for helping us out. I don't usually like to do repeat customers like this, but I think I can make an exception." She would give a wink.

While the two twins were standing around deliberating on what to do next, Hilde raised a finger while staring confusedly. "Excuse me. What is going on exactly?"

Giving a big smile, Ruby answered. "Wishes. Once I'm done with Janet and Jenna then maybe we'll see if it's alright to give you one." Hilde gave her that "no way" kind of look and Ruby nodded slowly to confirm.

For the Beacon girls there were a number of things they could wish for. Really the list might as well have been endless. However they were in a spot. They'd managed to free both Mariette and Eli from their patron's mind bending, but only Eli had completely broken away. Alicia hadn't been completely happy finding that out. On top of that they'd had some trouble with Rachel's request. After getting a prototype weapon made they set about with a test. They were not however smiths and the spear they created cracked and broke apart after its first use. They still needed and wanted to help Beacon though. Now they needed to prove to Beacon that they were still on their side. That mostly meant winning over Rachel which was easier said than done. They had been encouraged to give it another shot, though they were pretty sure it wouldn't work. So maybe…

"We have an idea of something. Can you do weapons?" She would ask hesitantly.

Pausing for a moment Ruby gave the question a think. "You'll have to make the wish and see." Even if she considered them friends it was still fun to tease.

Jenna chuckled a bit. "Of course. Alright well… I wish we had a weapon that could purify on contact." She glanced at Janet for a second who nodded in agreement.

As usual Ruby had to await confirmation that the wish was good with her patron. But shortly she held her hands out and an orb of light formed in front of the twins. It began to grow in size as tons of magic flowed through her and into the sphere. "Your wish has been granted."

Janet and Jenna watched to see what form their wish would take. Before it would take shape though it turned translucent reveling it was hollow and empty. The confusion didn't have time to set in as the sphere suddenly expended and encompassed Janet and Jenna while shoving Ruby and Hilde back.

This of course surprised Hilda and she was thrown to the ground. Picking herself up her eyes darted to where her allies were. The two inside the bubble were glowing and cringing as whatever magic inside was flowing into them. "What is this!? What are you doing to them?" Getting to her feet she said her incantation to transform.

Ruby didn't even get up. Not yet anyway. She stared at the magic she'd unleashed with her mouth hanging open. This wasn't what she envisioned. What was… Ilum. Breaking from her confusion her eyes drifted over to Hilde who was now in her magical girl form. A stream of magic and spirits deflected off the barrier surrounding Janet and Jenna. It took a few seconds for her brain to catch up with what Third Eye was telling her. "No wait! Don't…" Hilde disappeared from the spot she was standing and teleported inside the barrier.

Immediately the Spirit girl began glowing as the magic inside began flowing into her as well. Her body wanted to seize up and she struggled to even lift her arms. Eventually though she managed to get a hand on both of her friends. She was going to get them out of there. Concentrating as best she could she activated her teleportation.

The light was intense and Ruby had to shield her eyes. It was only a matter of seconds and she'd barely had time to react. There was a loud bang and the light vanished. Jerking her arm away she looked at the now empty space where the three other girls once stood. The magical sphere wasn't there either. Leaping to her feet she whirled around looking for where they'd gone. They couldn't have gone that far. Should be able to see the blinding light somewhere at least. There was no sign though. Putting her hands to her head she began to panic. "What did you do? Ilum. Where are they?" She didn't get a response. Cursing to herself she started when she heard people coming to investigate the disturbance. Just before someone entered Ruby blinked away to the safety of her dimensional home.
Shortly after the Sanctuary Attack

Back among Janet, Deni, and Eli, there was the bright flash of light, and eventually it simmered down… revealing a pair of young girls, each in an eastern-inspired outfit, one white and blue and the other pink and red. Both still with black hair, and they opened their eyes to look at one another…

The one in the blue immediately grinned and looked down on herself and then over at her sister.

‘Hey, look, Eli! We got older!’

‘… A little older, still underdeveloped, Deni,’ Eli replied with a giggle.

‘Heeeeey, I don’t remember you being as into the Japanese theme as me!’ Deni said, chuckling at the fact Eli was now also dressed eastern-style, this despite both girls being unquestionably western in ethnicity and one having the name “Elizabeth”, that’s like the most western name there is.

‘Call me inspired, a little samurai came to save me,’ Eli responded with her own little chuckle.

‘I didn’t do all the saving!’ Deni turned to Janet again, smiling happily. ‘Thank you, once again.’

‘We are in your debt,’ Eli said, doing a thankful little bow, that is totally in-line with how she’s now dressed.

‘Hey, you totally know what you’re doing, looking like that!’ Deni commented with another chuckle.

‘One can know about a subject without being absorbed by it, Deni,’ Eli replied, before once again chuckling, and now both twins were chuckling among themselves here.

‘Eli, do you think our speech should switch colours?’

‘Maybe, Deni. I kinda liked my green, but basically nothing about me is green anymore.’

While she herself had experienced using a Red Coin she hadn’t yet had the chance to see it second hand. It was moments like this she wished she had Third Eye like her sister. God that wish turned her into such a nerd. She hadn’t been entirely sure how things would turn out. Eli wasn’t the only one to change though as it seemed Deni also underwent the same process. They were very clearly twins again. ”You’re most welcome.” For now she put the unused items back in her pack. “”So now that you’re both free what do you plan to do?” She moved the bag off to the side as she waited for a response.

‘We’re going to save Mariette! However possible!’ Deni said, clutching a fist of intention, eyes on fire with determination.

‘Yeah, there’s that. Then, well, I don’t know exactly…’ Eli said, looking like she’s considering something.

Janet was curious what Eli could be considering. She could probably take a peek with her magic. For now she would leave it alone since it wasn't really her business. Leaning back in her seat she hummed a bit. "Well in that case, maybe you could stay and keep me company while I wait and see if Mariette comes along."

‘Sure! But, would she come along? I mean, I’m not out there saving her right now, and she went through a portal to some void somewhere, I’d guess,’ Deni asked, tilting her head.

‘She’s probably going to come look for me,’ Eli said.

‘She won’t know where to find you, though,’ Deni replied, a bit unsure about that point.

”Jenna left me a note to wait. So I can only assume she dropped a hint somehow.” Sadly she didn’t have much in the way of details.

‘… Mariette is not going to be happy right now. Will she be safe?’ Eli asked, looking a bit worried.

‘I’m gonna assume she has a plan. Seems like they planned for your arrival pretty well!’ Deni answered with a little grin.

The Beacon girl nodded. ”We’ve lost some of the element of surprise at this point. It’s hard to say what Mariette will do from here. I have little contact to the outside. Neither does anyone else, which was the point of choosing this place. If she does show up it is highly likely she will fight back. Your help in managing such so I can work would be appreciated. Since I’ve done it once it should be easier to break Asengav’s grip on Mariette.”

‘Hm, okay,’ Deni said, looking like she was considering something for a bit, and then grinned and shrugged. ‘Eh, may as well check what we can do now in the meantime! If I reach forward and flex my imaginary muscles…’ Deni said, Eli looking on curiously as Deni held her hands forward, and…!

… A gust of wind blew out of her hands, blowing lightly past the current residents of the room, providing a bit of temporary cold.

‘Air!’ Deni called out. ‘We’re air-specialists!’ she called, somewhat in amazement. Eli held out a hand and playfully made some wind spin around in her palm in a mini-vortex.

‘Tihi, so it would seem,’ she replied. ‘We’re still not very magically powerful, so we’ll need to consider how to best apply this.’

‘Aaaah, that sucks just a little, though,’ Deni said with a sigh. ‘I really liked being a Reinforcement specialist. Being able to heal others in a pinch, not to mention the self-empowerment and barriers that made for pretty flexible combat… I’m going to miss it.’ So she lamented.

‘Well…’ Eli looked thoughtful and slightly amused for a second, as she manifested something in her hand. ‘Maybe you won’t have to?’ she asked, as she opened her palm for Deni to see, the older twin raising her eyes a bit to look upon the Platinum Coin that Eli held in her hand. Deni gasped, and then grinned happily at her sister.

‘You mean, we could…?’ Deni asked.

‘Yes…’ Eli acknowledged. ‘Let’s get Reinforcement back, as a second specialization.’

Deni grinned so happily and skipped over to hug Eli once again, and Eli hugged around her too, looking kinda proud. ‘Eli, you’re the best…!’ Deni told, so happy.

The two got into position, holding four hands intertwined around the Platinum Coin, nodded to one another, and… the energy dispersed. The power of the Platinum Coin surged through them, making both of them gasp just the slightest. The power settled… and Eli smiled, and Deni grinned. A gust of wind was formed, and a barrier shaped around it. Walls was built around them, and a wind was built to crash against the wall and build around them, creating a little whirlwind contained within a cylinder of reinforcement barriers. Finally, they stopped all magic, and the barriers fell and a gust of wind carried through the apartment.

‘Air and Reinforcement, ey?’ Deni asked with a chuckle.

‘Never heard anything like it, huh?’ Eli responded with a giggle. The two twins giggled among themselves for a bit.

‘Alright. Let’s prepare for Mariette’s potential arrival!’ Deni said, jumping to her feet.

‘Hey, do you happen to have a broken mirror, or a whole one we can break?’ Eli asked Janet, also getting up…

Janet nodded and lifted a small broken mirror from her backpack briefly. ”I was made aware of its effects.”

‘Excellent,’ Eli nodded back. ‘So, with us looking like this, the jig’s going to be up basically immediately, so we’ll need to…’ and then they continued setting up another potential ambush.

”So you want protection from the Djinn Sisters?”

Su, Helga, and Mariette were all gathered together in Su’s office at the golden trove. Shortly after Mariette came to them, they moved to a more secluded location. One where the only prying eyes they had to worry about was those of Boteg. But the dragon did not concern himself with other magical girls much, less they had cheese. But the only thing Su had out was a plate of day old cookies, which sat on a square table for all to take and eat.

”They’re a mysterious lot, that’s for sure. I’m not sure why they would capture Eli, but I wouldn’t put it past them to do something like that either. They can be mischievous pranksters, but I don’t see them doing it for any nefarious purposes.” She stood up. ”Regardless, I’ll come with you. I’m sure Helga wouldn’t mind tagging along, if just to keep an eye on me.”
"You know I'm not letting my eyes off of you, Su."
Helga added standing next to Su, rubbing her arm as it was still sore from the Sanctuary scuffle. Su only sighed in response, but she wore a sly smile.

‘Not necessarily from the Djinn Sisters themselves…’ Mariette corrected. ‘Eli was picked up by Ronin, who’s a member of Crimson Cradle; our allies. She was an insider on the opposing side. From there, I would have just asked Veronica, but when I was in the beach dimension I thought I heard someone saying Eli was with the Djinn Sisters. Thing is, there was nobody there that could possibly have said such a thing. See, me and Eli are friends with the Djinn Sisters, but my organization can’t know or they’d seek to exploit them. So everyone involved here SHOULD be allies. Yet, having just heard this information from an unspecified impossible source that only I seemingly heard scares me. I want to go make sure the Djinn Sisters are safe, but I don’t want to do it alone. Hence, yeah,’ Mariette explained.

‘Thank you. With luck, this isn’t a trap and just… good fortune,’ she said.

”Oh, so Veronica might be involved too? That changes things.” Su folded her arms. ”I don’t think she’d ever do something to aid the Mint, but you know, she has their mind set at the very least. I think it’s smart to go to the dijin sisters first and make sure everything’s okay.” In a swirl of magic, her common clothes were replaced with her magical uniform. ”Do you know where they are?”

"And are you sure you didn't just imagine it?" Helga asked as she also transformed. "Horrors can sometimes slip up and cause scary visions and voices. I remember Father doing that occasionally when I was Justine's slave."

‘I know where to look,’ Mariette said, before probably just using Absolute Direction to see if she can find somewhere to open a portal to.

The magical sense of direction pointed the portal girl in the direction of a nearby hotel. Having been told to stay indoors when not in their Dimensional Home, they had booked a room. Despite it being late the two were up and playing a game against one another on a TV.

She didn’t start with actually entering the room. Mariette opened a smaller portal to her friends, through which to only speak through.

‘Violet, Sakura? Is this place safe?’ she began, because that was her first concern. Assuming it was, she’d follow up. ‘I have brought additional friends. They’re Su and Helga. Is that fine?’ she asked, just in case. Assuming everything was fine and the place was confirmed safe, she’d open a bigger portal for them to walk through to said room, Mariette walking through first looking a bit awkward with introducing friend-groups with one another.

The twins confirmed it was safe and fine to have the other two join. And Mariette's concerns over bringing her friends were pretty quickly brushed away. Not even bothering to pause their game they got up and gave the portal girl a hug. "You're safe! We're so glad to see you." After a few seconds they let go and took note of the other two. "... Su, you're not a little bird anymore."

Violet looked at Helga for a bit. There was at least some inclination that she'd been touched by their magic. "Hello Helga. Nice to meet you."

Helga grinned and waved back. “Sup?”

”It’s been a while. When was the last time we met, when Mariette was meeting with Lily?” Su placed a hand on her hip. ”It’s been a few months anyway. I’m trying to keep the bird thing on the down low, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell too many people.”

”Oh, gotcha.” She made a motion like she was zipping her mouth shut before smiling.

‘Ah… yes, I am,’ Mariette awkwardly said as she was hugged by her friends. Yeah, they’d never harm her, she concluded as she gently dared to hug them back before they went back. They exchanged a couple words with Su and Helga, and Mariette was reminded they had, in-fact, seen one another before. That time with Amber… and Deni… Mariette shook her head a little.

‘Violet, Sakura. This, uh, may sound like a strange question, but is Eli with you?’ she asked, looking rather awkward for asking.

If it weren't for the fact that the two didn't know who all else Ronin had recruited they might have been a bit surprised by the question. "Yeah. A friend brought her to us. Your place was attacked?" Sakura confirmed.

Mariette breathed out a little at the confirmation. ‘It was. But, we're fine. Justine and Beacon attacked us together, but we managed to fend them off and escape. I don't have a dimensional home anymore, but I should be fine for the time being,’ she explained. There was more to it, but… ‘This friend. Can you tell me about her?’

"We haven't seen her in a while, but she's a little samurai girl. Really cheerful. You would like her." The two girls smiled a bit. Helga leaned a bit to look behind Violet, a curious look on her face. Violet realized the game was still running and went back to put it on pause.

It was her, Mariette confirmed. ‘Ronin. She’s one of Veronica’s girls. I’m confused as to why she’d drop Eli off with you, but she’s an ally, at the very least. The dimensional home started collapsing and everyone had to evacuate, but Ronin grabbed Eli and disappeared, and I didn’t know where she went. Then a voice that could have come from nobody said somewhere close to me that Eli was with you. It was really odd. Do you have any idea of what that may have been?’ Mariette asked, seeking explanations.

Sakura rubbed her chin a bit. ”Well… I think she was working with some other girls. Maybe one of them left you a clue?” The last bit was somewhat of a guess. She actually didn’t know what had happened in Dan’s dimension so it was hard to say for sure.

Mariette tensed up a little. That was a dangerous answer. It was possible Ronin was working with a hostile third/fourth/fifth party. ‘Where is Eli right now? Why's she not here with you?’ she asked, a little concerned.

Looking a little confused for a moment, Violet answered as she came back. ”In our dimensional home you gave us. It’s safer there than in this place. We still have to do our job and it doesn’t make sense to bring her along after you were just attacked.”

Mariette nodded. Made sense. ‘Alright. Can you open a path?’ she requested.

”Sure thing.” She offered a hand to Mariette while Sakura held out her hands to Su and Helga.

Helga took a look at Su, and nodded in confirmation before taking Sakura’s hand. “Cool game you got there, by the way. Might pick one up myself.” Su also took Sakura’s hand, but remained quiet as she watched Mariette and Violet.

Mariette swallowed a bit as Violet offered a hand to her. For some reason, she found herself hesitating to take it. It felt really awkward within her, too, because Violet was her friend. Yet… ‘… I’m… I’m considering the possibility that the voice told me to go here as a trap. But that makes no sense. Nobody should know I’m friends with you but am hiding it from my companions, and as such would not bring my forces. Yet, it all feels so weird. Why would Ronin give Eli to you, not just bring her back to me? I’m worried Ronin may have been working for a third party, and Eli may be trapped, and the activation may be my presence. I… don’t want to endanger anyone here. … Is there any way you can bring her out somewhere safe, so I may inspect her?’ Mariette asked, trying to figure out a solution for her doubts.

After a moment of listening Violet put her hands on her hips. She briefly looked hurt, but sighed, this was Mariette they were talking about. Seeing her sisters frustration, Sakura spoke up. "It's alright Violet. Mariette, you know we can't go against you or Eli right? That was the point of the wishes you made. I know friends outside your circle aren't really your thing. They're not ours much either, but we wouldn't let anyone hurt you. I have Third Eye, if Ronin or someone she's working for set up a trap then I would see it. The point of our Dimensional Home is to keep people out so they can't just bring in anyone they want. We let her in because we trust her." She glanced at the others there. "How about this. I can take Su in first and she can turn the place upside down if she wants."

”If it’s of any assurance, I can certainly go in first.” Su didn’t let go of Sakura’s hand. ”I’m not worried. I doubt they would do anything with Helga standing here anyway.” She grinned.

Mariette winced a little at Violet looking hurt. She didn’t mean that. Sakura spoke, and a somewhat panicked Mariette looked over, listening to the end intently. ‘I… I know you wouldn’t, I’m just worried someone is using you… but you’re right. Third Eye… I forgot about Third Eye,’ Mariette nodded. She then looked over to Su as she said that. ‘I… I specifically didn’t suggest that because it felt like I’d be saying you’re expendable, and you aren’t… but if you would, that would make me feel a lot better,’ she said, blushing the slightest as she nods to Su.

No one was objecting at this point so Sakura let go of Helga’s hand. ”Alright then. We’ll be right back.” She smiled and waved as she and Su disappeared.

Arriving in the Djinn’s dimensional home, Su would find the space was filled with luxurious seating and lounging furniture, drapes lined the walls and window, and pillows everywhere. There was only one other figure in the room, and that was the slime girl Eli. ”Here we are.” She gestured Su to feel free to look around.

Eli’s seated in one of said lounging furniture, looking as tense as a girl comprised of slime could be, then when someone showed up she lifted her gaze and blinked with a bit of confusion at Su.

The hotel manager ignored Eli’s presence for now. She wandered over to the drapes and pushed them off to the side before looking behind them. ”No assassins here.” She pushed a pillow with her foot. ”Or here.” Su scratched her chin. ”Hmmm, I don’t think I would be able to find anything dangerous in here even if there was something to worry about.” She placed her hands together. ”But Deni has to be in here somewhere.” A massive burst of wind shot out from Su in all directions. It wasn’t strong enough to be destructive, but it was mighty enough to move every pillow and drape in sight. No one under or behind any of them. Now it was just a mess.

Eli floundered just a bit from the gust of wind that just blew through the room, gripping the place she was seated. Then, though, she peered at Su. ‘Um, Su? Are you… here to help?’ she asked, just for confirmation.

Su turned to look at Eli. ”Yes.” She said, not looking like someone who just shoved every piece of movable furniture against the wall. ”Is there something you need?”

Eli nodded, her lips spreading… into a bit of a grin. A very Deni-like grin on Eli’s face. ‘I’m right here. Just a little something to make her lower her guard,’ she said.

”This is why I was going to ignore you.” Su folded her arms. ”If Mariette asks if I saw Eli in here, what am I supposed to say?”

Sakura was scooting one of the chairs back and trying to locate the right pillows that had been scattered. She paused for a moment and looked in Deni’s direction, then at Su. ”I see Eli. And if she asks if Eli was here, then yes. She WAS here.”

Su looked away from the two magical girls and groaned. ”I know, it’s easy enough to talk around. It’s just nerve wracking trying to try to lie to her like this. She’s in pain, and even if we’re all doing what’s best for her, I’m betraying her trust.” After taking a deep breath, she looked back ahead at Deni. ”It’s good to see you, by the way. I’m glad the two of you made it out alright..”

‘Just tell her everything’s going to be alright! It’s going to be, you’ll not be lying!’ “Eli” suggested happily, kicking happily with her legs a bit. Then, at the last bit, she smiled widely again and waved to Su. ‘It was REALLY dangerous for a moment there, but it worked out! I’m happy you’re alive, too!’

”Can we have the reunion later. Su might not like it but I’m skirting on being reprimanded by my patron. I’d rather not be trapped for a hundred years or something.”

Su nodded. ”That’s fine. You can take me back now.” As quickly as she had gone, Su was brought back before Helga, Mariette, and Violet. ”I’m not going to get used to how fast that is.” Helga was slourched on a bean bag chair with a controller in her hands playing the game she noticed before Su left.
“How’d it go, Su?” She asked as she looked back at her, only to quickly return to the screen with a pout as she lost the round. Su closed her eyes and gave her head a shake. ”I turned over everything that moved, and I couldn’t find anything to worry about. If you want to see Eli, you just need to go inside.”

‘How is she…?’ Mariette asked, kind of cautiously.

”I think she’s fine.” Su shrugged her shoulders.

Mariette looked a bit worried for a second. "Think" she's fine? But, a second later she rationalized it. Eli may have just been there and Su didn't particularly pay attention to her, so she didn't know that particular part for sure. Mariette nodded a bit, and then looked to Violet. ‘Alright. Bring me to her.’

Nodding the Djinn Sisters placed their hands on the three other girls and they all transported into the extremely disheveled dimensional home. "Whoa, what a mess." She briefly inspected the space before she started fussing with some of the drapes out of sight.

Helga followed along, hands on her hips as she surveyed the place with a lifted eyebrow. “Fancy digs, but a bit..cluttered, I’d say,” she spoke in a half-mutter.

Mariette would see "Eli" there.

Mariette immediately looked over towards Eli, sitting there so dutifully on the lounging furniture, and breathed out a bit in relief.

‘Eli? Are you alright?’

‘I'm alright…’ Eli replied, and it technically wasn't a lie. She slipped off the furniture onto her legs and walked over, hugging around a surprised Mariette, who eventually took the time to hug her back.

‘I’m happy you’re alright,’ Mariette said, not detecting any traps just yet.

‘Not as happy as I am that you’re alright!’ Eli said, smiling so happily. She then breathed out a bit, with slight regret.

‘I’m genuinely sorry about this.’

Mariette was confused for a bit, before suddenly crying out at the searing pain of the broken mirror appearing. It was like the glass shards sinking into her body and tearing at her soul. Her dark tentacles were about to burst forth to protect her, except some well-placed candles around made those disperse as soon as they manifested.

Helga grunted in surprise, and bared her claws, confused by what was happening. "What the hell?"

Janet had returned, and all the precautions used to retrain Eli before came back to life. Noticing that Su and Helga were there though Janet hesitated to move any closer to the portal girl. Rather than speak what she intended she mentally communicated what she'd done for Eli. Then she requested permission. "I promise I will not harm her. May I?"

‘Go ahead,’ “Eli” confirmed.

Su nodded, wanting to end Mariette’s suffering as soon as possible.

Nodding the Beacon girl moved over to create and maintain a barrier to keep Mariette from lashing out with any other of her magic. Deni's assistance in that regard allowed her to focus more on removing the mind bending. The process was less pleasant for the girl due to the mirror, but thankfully Janet now had some experience removing the horror's touch.

Once Mariette's mind was clear a few minutes later, Janet lay the unconscious girl on a large pillow, extinguished the candles, and left briefly to dispose of the mirror. Back once again she let out a sigh of relief and took a seat. After a few seconds she gave a slight smile. "She will wake soon. The mind bending is gone but Asangav can still locate her outside this place. We'll discuss that more once she's up."

There was a moment of silence until she turned her attention to Su and Helga more directly. "It's good to see you again Su. It's been too long. Have you been doing alright?" Considering the circumstances she seemed a little too eager to exchange pleasantries. Janet did have something of a reputation for not being your typical member of Beacon though.

Su released a breath she didn’t know she was holding and stood up right. ”Janet.” she said with a tired sigh. ”Thank you for doing this for Mariette, if you did indeed do it without any strings attached.” She placed a hand on her hip. ”But I would appreciate it if you didn’t take such a cordial tone with me. You might have been under Justine’s influence when you took Amber’s life, but we’re never going to be just friends. Even if that old scar finally heals, you are still an agent of Beacon, and Helga and I are wanted by them. There’s no point in carrying on like this.”

Helga also scowled, still wary of Janet even as she attempted a friendly conversation.

Janet's demeanor deflated a bit. Why she ever expected a different response was beyond her. Undying optimism perhaps? Hard to say if that was her or the magic causing that. "I'm not sure if I should be depressed or accomplished that I've managed to piss off everyone in such a short amount of time." She would clam up after that. It would probably take her a minute or two to brush off the comment and be back to herself.

”Sure.” Su said to herself. ”Make it all about you.”

Helga glanced at Mariette, who seemed like she was sound asleep. "Man, you Beacon folks are devious." She sighed, and lowered her claws. "Still, it's for the best that she's now released from the Horror. She can make her own decisions now, and not dance to some narcissist's whims."

Deni transformed back into her normal self, which now looked a bit different than previously. A little older. A little more blue in her clothing, since having used the red coin earlier, but it was still definitely her. She’d held Mariette in place during the operation, ready to use Reinforcement magic to detain/keep her healthy. Now, after the procedure, she sighed out happily looking down on the currently passed out Mariette. ‘This… this wouldn’t have been possible without both of you,’ she said. ‘The operation wouldn’t have been possible without Janet’s support, and Mariette wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t for the trust she put in Su. Thank you… so much for helping me save her!’ Deni grinned towards them, looking really happy. She was intentionally not commenting on what she just heard the two of them talk about.

Turning her attention away from Su and Helga back to Deni, Janet nodded. "You are welcome. Do you remember the options I gave you and your sister once she woke up?"

‘Yupp! Purifying potion, White Coin or Red Coin,’ Deni replied simply. It was earlier this same day, she wouldn’t forget already.

Janet would set out two potions and a single red coin. "I will leave these with you. I won't bother with the last one since I don't think anyone here would want it anyhow." She said as she closed up her backpack.

‘Alright! Thank you!’ Deni replied happily. ‘Two potions?’ she also asked, a bit curious.

"I made them for those that weren't happy with how they were as a dark or monster girl, but didn't want to join up with Beacon. They don't do anyone any good if I keep them all." She stood up and put on her backpack. "I guess we'll catch up later." Leaving everything they should need for Mariette, Janet disappeared without any other fare.

‘An extra. Alright. Say thanks to Jenna also from us!’ Deni waved happily to Janet as she departed.

Su gave the potions a long stare. ”So that’s them?” After blinking a few times, she tightened her arms. ”I wonder if Mariette is going to have a dramatic change like you did. I wouldn’t think so, given that she’s not a monster.”

‘We used a Red Coin, so me and Eli’s appearance changed more than the potion would, but yea! It supposedly cleanses monster-things and connections to Horrors and so,’ Deni replied.A few moments later Violet and Sakura returned, swapping Janet’s spot out for Eli and bringing her back in. ”Is it done? We’re good?” Glancing around she saw Mariette resting. Looking relieved, she relaxed finally. ”Ah, finally done with that.” She flopped over on a chair.

Sakura eyed one of the potions and examined it with her Third Eye. After a bit she laughed. ”I see the Beacon twins have been making good use of their gifts.” She set it back down.

‘Indeed! Thank you so much for helping us out…!’ Deni told the twins, smiling happily to them. Eli, meanwhile, dashed over to Mariette’s side in concern, kneeling and looking on.

Some time later, the person in the bed jolted. Dark tendrils woke, from the power of the one who recently awoke, ready to lash out-

‘Wait! Mariette, you’re safe!’ Eli cried out, and the tendrils froze. Instead, Mariette lifted her head, two wide, confused eyes looking at the people present in the dimensional home, her eyepatch having fallen off.

‘You’re awake…!’ Deni said, bouncing over to sit next to Eli, and Mariette gazed in confusion at them. Her gaze then wandered to the others in the room, still confused and perhaps more than a little frightened.

Su slid a chair closer to Mariette’s side before sitting down in it. ”How do you feel?” Su’s brow was furrowed ”Your connection to your magic doesn’t seem to have faded.”

Helga was standing next to Su, a hand on the chair's backrest. "How many fingers can you count?" Her other hand held up three claws.

The Djinn Sisters watch off to the side for a bit. They felt a little bit like they'd betrayed her, even if Mariette was arguably safe and free to think for herself.

Mariette kept the confused look towards Su as she asked the questions. ‘All Janet did was remove the mind-bending. The powers and connection to Asengav remains,’ Eli explained. Deni remained smiling happily at Mariette.

‘I…’ Mariette looked even more confused at Helga and her claws. A cloud of questions filled her head. ‘What happened…?’ she asked, because she genuinely didn’t know.

Helga pouted as she lowered her hand down, unsure if what she asked went through to Mariette. She decided to wait and see how things played out.

‘Um, Mariette?’ Deni asked, and Mariette looked over at her. ‘Hi! I look a bit different now, but, I… I am Deni. I’m back. Sorry it took so long!’ Deni said, smiling so happily at a confused Mariette.

‘And, uh. I’m Eli, still. Just stopped being monster-girls…’ Eli said, waving a bit at her.

‘So, long story short, every single agent of Asengav is mind-bent to do his bidding, it wasn’t by your choice. No agent of Asengav would willingly part with the Horror. So we had to capture you. But, as a result, you’re free! Janet removed your mind-bending! I am… so happy we actually got here!’ Deni said, probably missing a couple details but looking very happy.

‘Deni…?’ Mariette asked, blinking a couple times at her. Then, yeah, Eli did not look like a slime-girl either. Neither of them did. Mariette looked over at Su and Helga again, as if asking them to confirm what she just heard.

”I didn’t believe it at first either, but who else would think of something as hair-brained as this?” Su waved her hand at Deni and Eli. The smile on her face was getting bigger. ”Though I went along with it, and it worked, so I can’t be too hard on them.” She reached for Mariette’s forehead. ”You’re free, now. Your mind is finally your own.”

Mariette stared at Su with modestly wide eyes, staying still as Su touched her forehead. Light-specialization told her that this was the truth they were saying… but Mariette didn’t really understand, so she was quiet.

‘We’re not quite done yet, though,’ Deni told, and brought over one of the potions and a Red Coin. ‘Asengav is still your patron, we’ve just removed his influence on your mind. To sever the connection completely, you need to either take this purifying potion, or use this Red Coin to alter your magic in such a way that you switch patron. Not sure how that works, but hey! It works!’ Deni explained happily.

“Hold on!” Helga interrupted. “If she does that, Asengavel or whoever was Mariette’s Horror is going to catch on immediately.” She lifted the claw on her index finger up. “I know for a fact that Horrors rely completely on the mind manipulation they place on their magical girls to keep them in line, which means they won’t check whether it’s still active or not unless they become suspicious and think something’s not right. You weren’t the only girl bound to them, right?” She asked Mariette. “I think if Mariette continued to pretend to serve them like she has before, I think she could save even more girls that way.”

”Like how we let Justine go, you mean? Just to have her revert into an even nastier killing machine?” Su’s face was almost flushed red. Anyone gifted with sight could see how she abhorred the idea. But she started to return to normal by the time she addressed Mariette again. ”You’re a smart girl, Mariette. Now that you have your free will back, you can make your next choice based on what you want. It must be hard, it’s probably been so long since you’ve had free will that you don’t know what to do with it.” She giggled nervously. ”I’m just fulfilling my end of my oath. I said I’d be here for you when you needed it. Now it’s up to you to decide where to go next.”

‘Aaaah, I’m not super enthusiastic about letting her go back to Asengav in any shape or form just yet. We JUST managed to get her here, I don’t want to risk her getting snatched back…’ Deni said, speaking directly from her own heart. Mariette, meanwhile, looked at Su as Su told about that the next choice should be hers. She was still reeling. Mariette looked down on her hands, and…

‘L… let me think about this…’ Mariette said, looking down into the bed. Her thought-process was a mess. Still, the girls seemed so excited for her being free, so she made “being free” the goal of her current thinking, and then a huge obstacle appeared. ‘Asengav… he’ll come looking for me. He’s not the kind that lets his agents get away, unless, uh,’ she looked towards Deni. ‘… unless he thinks they’re dead, anyway…’ It wasn’t a suggestion, but more of an observation. ‘I… won’t be exactly free as long as he can identify me. The potion won’t change how I look, but the coin would, but… do I even want that…?’ Mariette asked. ‘What… do I want…?’

Stepping forward, Sakura lightly touched Mariette on the arm. "Don't rush into anything you might regret. I know you're not used to this friend thing. We aren't really either, but we want you to be safe. You're safe here, stay as long as you need."

Mariette nodded to Sakura, appreciating the offer.

Su’s smile ran from her face as Mariette remained indecisive. ”Of course.” Was all Su said before patting the girl on the head. ”Don’t take too much time though. Remember that Penrose is the way it is not because of one magical girl’s evil ploy, but having most of the magical girls being forced to do nothing.” Su looked to everyone before taking hold of Helga’s hand. ”I’d like a moment of privacy, please.”

Su took Helga into one corner of the room and threw up a vacuum wall to block their conversation from being heard by the others. Such a thing was not something Su could easily maintain, but she did so for a bit. Her right arm trembled as she held it up to maintain their screen of privacy.

Helga was visibly alarmed by Su’s use of her magic. “W-What is it?”

”Don’t get upset. Boteg only told me this a few hours ago. I was hoping things would go differently here, however, it’s clear Mariette isn’t stable enough to run things in my absence.” Su closed her eyes and sighed. ”Helga, Penny was right. There are more golden dragons, and some of them live here on earth. But none of them live in Penrose. I’m sure you know what this means.” Her face became grave. ”He wants to leave as soon as possible. I just want to confirm something.” Her lower lip quivered. ”You are going to leave with me, right?”

Helga’s eyes widened, and she lips curled in surprise.
“L-Leave? Boteg is really...Well, it does make sense for him.” She held her arm and sighed, before she nodded.
“Wherever you and Boteg go, I’ll go too. We are family after all, and a family that slays together, stays together.”

All of Su’s uneasiness melted away in an instant, and her smile returned. ”I don’t know what made me think you might say anything else.” She wrapped her arms around Helga’s shoulders and pulled her into a tight hug, allowing the sound proof barrier to come down. She planted a kiss on Helga’s cheek before turning to the others. ”Well, it looks like things are settled here for the moment. If you ever want to talk, you have my number, Mariette. I hope you don’t think less of us for doing this for you.”

Su didn’t wait for a response. The two shifted out of the home immediately.

Mariette was briefly alarmed by Su keeping some kind of secret, before rationalizing that keeping some things private is fine. Mariette nodded, and when she looked up they had left. She made a small decision, and turned to the others.

‘I'd like to think about this on my own for a while, before I make any decision. Using the potions, or anything...’

‘But, but,’ Deni spoke, looking downcast. ‘You're still connected to Asengav! The big bad dimensional conqueror that used us like puppets! At least sever that connection before-’

‘Deni,’ Eli stopped her sister. ‘We just restored her free will. What's the point of that if we're just going to supplant our will in its place? We've done our part, freed her from brainwashing. The next part is hers.’

Deni clearly didn't look super-happy about this, but eventually dug into her pocket for a piece with her phone-number on it. ‘Here, don't you dare hesitate to contact us if you need us!’

Mariette looked just a bit frightened of Deni right now, but accepted the note.

Violet and Sakura would give Mariette a hug briefly. "We've blocked the others from coming back. So it's just us that can come here. Think about visiting sometime and please be careful." They weren't really as sure either way like Deni did. It wasn't their place to tell Mariette what to do.

‘Thank you…’ Mariette replied in the hug. ‘I’ll be back when I figure something out, or if I need to hide. Until then…’ she looked over to Deni. ‘I’m… very happy you’re alive. Thank you, for fighting for us,’ she said, and then she could probably Dimensional Shift herself, leaving the dimension to think.

‘Whelp, there she went. Now I’m not sure what I’ll do,’ Deni commented. ‘Hey, don’t you have a solo life to show me how it is?’ Eli asked with a giggle. ‘Oh, yeah, that! Absolutely! I’ll show you all about the Ronin lifestyle!’ Deni said, grinning widely. ‘Hmm, but what will we call me, then? Are we the Ronins, now?’ Eli pondered, smirking. ‘Can’t we just be Deni and Eli?’ Deni asked, chuckling a bit back. ‘Eeeh, we probably still don’t want Asengav’s champions to figure out who you are, or me for that matter…’ Eli said. ‘Guess we gotta work on a name, then,’ Deni said with a shrug. The two looked at one another, and then giggled together.

It all had gone rather well, all things considered.

Following Trouble - Few Days Later

Sitting atop the Sanctuary Penny kept her gaze outward. The damage to the building had been patched, a far cry from being fully repaired. The toxic sludge had been cleared away, though there were still parts of rubble that had been stained with it. And the damage to the lower floors had been pushed off to the side for now.

Desperately Penny wanted to be down there helping out, but for the moment she couldn’t. She was keeping watch, she didn’t expect anything else from the Mint at the moment. Nor did she expect a Monster to wonder nearby. No, she was keeping an eye out for Beacon. A feeling that she was oddly uncomfortable with.

But she had seen the tip sent into the hotline, and while she didn’t see any chatter or movement about it on Beacon’s network. She was just too on edge to let it lie. Thus here she was stretching her senses as far as she could push them, One eye on the physical world the other on the digital. With Snoopy working as an inside look in case she needed to step away to help calm the girls within.

That was how she noticed them, two unknown girls lurking near the edges of the area. They hadn’t been doing anything, at least nothing overtly magical or technological that Penny could sense, but they had been in the area long enough that it was starting to worry her. So, rather than dwelling on what it could mean. She stood up and made her way over to them, figuring that she would get her answers one way or another.

“Can I help you?” She would ask cautiously once she had gotten close enough to initiate a simple dialogue.

The purple haired one stopped and looked at the mechanical girl. They’d just kind of been wandering about without much of a destination. Surprisingly effective for drawing just the right attention. ”Maybe. Though it might be better to ask. How can we help you?”

Few responses could have raised Penny’s suspicion as quickly as the one she had received and it wasn’t so long ago that she would have outright attacked them for it either, but she already had one lucky break with that course of action tonight so she withheld that response and instead walked a bit closer her eyes narrowing slightly as she examined the two of them.

“That sounds like a loaded question” She would reply as she tracked the both of them “Do you always loiter around disaster sites and ask that?”

Both stayed relaxed even as Penny seemed suspicious. The response was not an uncommon one. The one in pink glanced around a bit. ”We’ve seen worse, but it does seem to happen that way. Just how our magic works. Someone wants or needs something and we’re guided to it.” The two take a slight bow together ”The Djinn Sisters. It’s good to meet you miss...?” They trailed off. Penny would recall Janet mentioning something about the two, though not much in the way of detail. Some searching would support their MO of appearing after events. Despite their appearances they were still something of a myth.

“Penny. Penny Asimov.” She would fill in as she processed what they said. She had looked into them before, they were connected to the White Coins and Purification Potions as far as Penny could tell. Though the how’s and why’s were harder to dig up.

Her stance would lose most of its tension as she shifted to a more relaxed one. “And I think I’ve heard of you two. Friends of mine, Janet and Jenna, had a run in or two with you I think.” She would offer up waiting to see how the Twins would react.

Sakura’s eyes sparkled a bit at the mention of the other twins. ”Oh? Quite ambitious those two were. I hope they’ve gotten good use of what they asked.” Seemed they didn’t keep tabs on those they’d granted wishes.

”So you know what we do then?” Violet asked as she raised an eyebrow.

“Not explicitly” Penny would say at length as her mind sped off working on how she might be able to take advantage of this were her assumptions correct. “But it has something to do with wishes, and the granting of them, if I’m not wrong.”

”That’s right. Don’t go telling everybody though. Makes our job a whole lot harder when everyone starts trying to find us all the time. We’d have to leave town. Can you imagine how boring that would be?” She asked rhetorically.

The pink one rolled her eyes a bit. She quickly returned her attention back to Penny. ”Considering you’re the first person we’ve seen we must be here for you. Do you have a wish you would like granted?”

If Penny was honest, and she was to herself if no one else, there were a lot of wishes she would like granted. Yet she was still hesitant to speak any of them. For a few reasons. “What limits are there on the Wish? And why are you granting them in the first place?” She would ask, as those were two of her concerns, that last one she had she wasn't sure how to ask without being insulting, as she was too well read about magic to not know of the Monkey’s Paw.

”Mostly what you would expect if you’ve watched Aladdin. Sometimes our parton vetos a wish but that’s mostly on him. As to why, well if we don’t then we get punished. I wasn’t very respectful to my patron and so we’re basically cursed to serve.”

“Disney coming in clutch” Penny would quip as she shook her head in disbelief that this was actually happening. “And something tells me that I don’t get to make all three today.” Otherwise it would seem like their profile would be much larger than it was.

“Can I talk out the wish I’m aiming for with you or do I just have to say the magic and hope for the best?” She would add, more to find out how much leeway she had in this than anything else. She knew what it was she was going to wish for, especially if Aladdin rules were in effect.

”You can talk about it, but the magic doesn’t really give us anything until the wish is actually made. And how many kind of depends on what you’re asking for. Most people make one, maybe two if it isn’t stretching it.” There was a little play with the wishes.

Penny nodded her understanding, as to her it seemed less like these two were the ones casting the magic and more the ones channeling it. So there was nothing to do but hope for the best. “Alright” She took a moment, and mimed taking a deep breath. She didn’t need to breathe, but the human action still helped center her at times.

“I Wish I had greater Awareness and Intuition, I need to know what people are after and I can’t miss the details.” She spoke clearly, and hoped, truly hoped, that adding on her explanation would assist the Wish in going the way she wanted it too.

Standing still for a moment the two girls focused on the wishes. It didn't take long before they got back confirmation and the two began to glow. Raising their hands two orbs of light formed. "Your wishes have been granted." The two orbs of light flew toward Penny's head and phased into her. The sensors in her body began to adjust and tune to better hone what she could pick up and process. She would become particularly aware of minor, almost unnoticeable clues of behavior to know when someone was lying. Some of it reached beyond what was normally perceivable, able to get a sense of ill or good intent.

As an aside, the sudden change seemed to affect some lesser quality of life functions. Namely Penny's usually tight grip on filtering seemed to falter as she was picking up on odd things online like ads and spam emails. Nothing significant of course, but it might take a month or so to retrain the blocks. Buy now.

She stayed silent for a moment as she processed the new influx of information and data. There was a lot more than just interpersonal cues and spam pings that were distracting her at the moment. Concise gravimetric reading, nearby electrical readings and metallic composition information was also streaming in, alongside a plethora of just raw data that she normally only interfaced with when she was in EoD status.

“Gah” She would say softly as she pulled in her senses so they weren’t cast out everywhere. “That’s going to take some getting used too.” Shaking her head to clear it she refocused on the two Twins.

“That’s one hell of a Spec to have.” She’d say a small smile on her face, “Thank you. So what happens now?”

The girls shrugged. ”We usually just wander off. That was two of your wishes. If you have an idea for the third then maybe we could do that one too. Up to you if you want to try.”

“Tempting” Penny would say after a few moments of contemplating it “Very tempting.” She would turn to look back at the broken down warehouse that was housing the Sanctuary at the moment. Knowing that her third wish would go to them, but the trick was knowing how to ask for it. For the moment however “I’ll pass though. Nothing against you, but I want to wait and see if anything goes wrong because of the two I’ve already asked for. I don’t want to subject them to the fallout if it can be avoided.” She would explain turning back to face the Djinn twins.

“Did have an idea I wanted to try, if you would be up for it though” Penny would offer instead. “Sorta payback, if it works. I want to try granting a wish for you.”

”I can tell you now that if you try wishing us free or something it isn’t going to work. I think the only one allowed was one that changed our appearance.” It was obvious she didn’t quite understand what Penny was insinuating.

“Nothing like that, I want to hold onto my third wish for now and I don’t think I would be strong enough either way. My magic is... unstable. Because of that I can mimic Magic I’ve seen or been targeted by for a short time afterwards.” Penny would explain with a shrug. It was exceedingly rare for Penny to offer up any explanation of how her magic worked, but this seemed like a good time for it.

“I want to try using it while I can. Thus I want to try and grant you a wish.”

Pausing for a moment they had to glance at one another and seemingly exchange thoughts. They quickly looked back at Penny. ” much mana do you have to expend? Wishes are really taxing in that regard.”

Penny was curious about the non-telepathy, or at least the not psychic telepathy, they seemed to share but didn’t comment on it. “My reserves tend to be on the larger side, plus I replenish my mana rapidly.” She would answer “Not saying it won’t knock me down, but I doubt it will keep me there.”

”If you say so. Well then…” One would think that someone that has granted god knows how many wishes that they would have an idea of one for themselves. They’d mostly given up on getting any though so it wasn’t something they put much thought to. Dammit what did they want?

It seemed to take the two a while to decide. There were a lot of things they could wish for, but if they didn’t pan out they would be in big trouble with their patron. There was one they thought they could get away with, something their careless wishes had done to them when first becoming magical girls. Question then being if Penny could pull it off. ”We want to be whole.”

”We wish to become one girl again.”
”We wish to become one girl again.”

They clasped each other’s hands tightly, closed their eyes, and hoped.

There was an odd moment where nothing seemed to happen but before the Djinn twins lost all hope Penny was suddenly awash in on white “Very well then” Her voice echoed with power, while her eyes blazed a frantic white, and unlike when the Twins granted wishes, it seemed like the Power was only barely contained. A wild chaotic force rather than a smooth and graceful one.

Penny simply followed the instinct that came with the magic, doing everything that she could internally to manage the massive stress the seemingly simple spell was putting on her systems.

Silently she would glide forward towards the Djinn Sisters her arms spread out, her extra limbs unfurling as she went and when she stopped in front of them she would place three limbs on each of them. One on their head, one on their shoulder and one on their hip. From there they would feel the potent magic seep into them. Similar yet, so very different as well.

One last moment to gather themselves then they would feel Penny push, and for a time they would lose track of their thoughts and how long it lasted would be impossible to tell from their point of view. Lost in the slow merger of themselves.

Then, seemingly like all at once the sensations would fade and they would hear an Echoing “Your Wish has been Granted” And when they opened their eyes it would be as one person rather than two.

Penny, true to her assumption, would stay standing for only a moment longer once she felt the surge of magic leave her. Before she dropped to sit. “Holy fuck, you weren’t kidding about being a Mana drain.” She would exclaim feeling like she was in an organic body that had run a dozen miles backwards underwater.

“You made it look easy, you know that.”

The Djinn girl shivered when she came to. It had been a long time since she’d felt a wish used on her like that, all the way at the beginning. Hugging her arms first, then lifting her hands up and feeling her face, brushing some hair out of her eyes. ”Wah, n-no way. T-that actually worked?” Penny dropping to the ground seemed to snap her out of it. She hurried over to make sure the expended girl was okay. It was a little hard to tell since she was made of metal and all. ”Well yeah. It’s what I was made for.”

Looking up Penny would see that the girl she’d formed had tan skin, long ruby red hair and midnight blue eyes. Her clothes had turned white and covered less of her than either of them before. She wore a headdress and a thin veil hung loosely over her shoulders. Lots of bracelets, gold trim, and jewelry both fixed and dangly were adorned around her.

”Are you alright? Do you need help?” Rarely did she respond to people she’d just granted for like this. Then again, few attempted to return the favor and none actually had the chance to make it happen.

Penny waved off her concern “I’ll be fine. I’m a regenerator, I’ll be good in a minute, just exhausted.” She would say taking a closer look at the girl in front of her. Before letting out a low whistle “Not sure who to thank, but you look good.” She would say with a lazy smirk before being slightly taken aback. “Seems exhaustion overwrites the brain to mouth filter still.” She would mutter to herself.

“Kinda glad I didn’t ask for your name before this, would be slightly awkward to ask for it again now” She would say quickly, hoping to move past her earlier statement. “Who do I have to thank for the new senses and the interesting magic experience?”

The girl blushed at the comment and took a second to glance at herself. After a few seconds she cracked a smile. Having recovered from the embarrassment pretty quickly she offered a hand to help Penny up. ”Ashley. Although…” She took a pinch of hair and lifted it up to look at. ”Maybe I’ll go by Ruby to stick to the hair color theme.”

Ruby wasn’t going to let Penny’s comment slip by though. It was too good to pass up. ”Oh and you should probably thank yourself. Considering you were the one granting the wish you probably shaped my appearance without realizing it. Maybe I’m your wish too.” She gave a wink and a teasing smile.

"Ha" Penny would chuckle at the teasing as she accepted the hand. Even though she hardly used the assistance, she was heavy after all and knew it. She was thankful for the banter, good way to know she hadn't stepped on any toes.

"What a wonderful wish you would be" She would tease back. She could see her influence in Ruby's new look now that she knew to look for it. The tan and hair were Penny for sure. Curves too, but she was going to spend much time looking at those.

"But something tells me that wouldn't work out too well right now." She would go on sobering slightly "You're too much of a wanderer to settle down and I've got too much responsibility to pack up and drift."

"Would love to keep in touch if you want" She would offer up. "Friends are always nice"

”Yeah, what I do makes it hard to settle down. Also people get after me eventually so we… I tend to draw trouble. I think this buys me some time though. I still can’t believe it.” She tried looking around for something reflective but there wasn’t really much around to see herself. She was somehow going to have to explain this to Mariette, Deni, and Eli. That should be interesting.

"Makes sense" Quirking an eyebrow at Ruby's glancing around it wouldn't take long before understanding dawned and Penny would pull out a phone from her storage and hold it up so that Ruby could see.

On the phone was Ruby giving a playful wink and teasing smile. The same one she had tossed at Penny when she helped her up. "Best I can do at the moment" She would say, which was true since Snoopy was still off keeping an eye on the Sanctuary.

She would lean forward and look at the tiny screen for a moment. ”Wow, you did a number on me. I’d be jealous if I wasn’t a dream girl.” Felt weird saying that, but it was true.

"Glad you approve" Penny would reply letting Ruby look for a bit longer before tucking the phone away and letting it reintegrate into her. "And for anything that you disapprove of, I'll just remind you that it was my first and likely only wish so I was winging it the best I could"

"I can send you the picture if you want, assuming that you have a phone that is." Penny was still endlessly surprised when she met someone without a phone, but always chalked it up to her own proclivities that it seemed such a necessity.

”I had to ditch the last phone I had when someone with your kind of technical skills used it to trace me. I do alright without one though.” She frowned a bit.

"I mean, fair" Penny wasn't going to admit to planning that exact thing, didn't seem like it would be received well.

"If you do end up getting one at some point" Penny would pull a thin strip of metal out from the storage compartment "Feel free to reach out" it had Penny's number on it.

She would let out a snort. "Since I've got one left, that means you've also got one. Think about wishing for an untraceable phone if we do this again." For as much as Penny did keep track of people, she knew that doing so for Ruby was likely a bad idea in the long run.

"In the meantime feel free to drop in at the Sanctuary if you want. I'll not tell anyone about this or you" It wouldn't exactly stop people from learning about Ruby, but it might give her a place to hang out for a time.

Tapping her finger against her lower lip she gave it a bit of thought. ”Maybe I’ll see if there are any side effects first. My first grantings were a little rough. Also have to see if my patron approves. We kind of undid one of the wishes I originally made that put me in this position.” She gave a weak smile. ”I might have to pass on the Sanctuary. Too many eyes on it to be safe. I’m better off out here.” Another idea popped into her head, but she hesitated.

Her excitement kept coming back every time she reminded herself that her soul had been rejoined. She kept glancing to one side or the other expecting to see Violet or Sakura but they weren’t there. Bouncing back and forth between grateful and standoffish she eventually cracked and gave Penny a hug. ”Thank you.” Sliding back the monster girl would sense she’d been given access to somewhere. ”I-If you need a place to hide you can use my dimensional home for now. It’s limited on who can enter so I’ll try and leave it open to you as long as I can. It’s usually empty unless I’m there.”

"Understandable" Penny acknowledged the worries about too many eyes with a sad nod "But know that the door is always open if you need it."

She was a bit caught off guard by the hug, normally her barriers would have stopped the attempt, they had gone down due to her expanding all of her mana reserves however, but didn't hesitate to return it.

"I- thank you doesn't feel like enough" Penny was in awe at this gift, for if anyone knew and understood the sanctity of one's home it was her. Especially with the attack on the Sanctuary still so fresh. "I'll treasure the honor as long as it lasts." She would promise sincerely.

"Just don't be surprised if you find a desktop set up in there one day. I was serious about keeping in touch."

She opened her mouth for a second to say something and then paused. She seemed to consider something before continuing. ”Uh… It won’t be able to communicate out from there.”

"Not normally, no" Penny's slow smirk was returning "But I have ways of broadcasting interdimensionally. Can't promise you'll always have internet access, but I can say that if anyone tries to trace it it will only lead them to me."

With a grin and a shake of the head Ruby was confident when she said. ”I can promise it won’t work. You’re welcome to try but I’m more comfortable with meeting in person.

”Oh yeah, I need to know your opinion on someone. The portal girl, Mariette. What do you think of her?” She put one hand on her hip.

“So it’ll just end up being a fancy pager” Penny countered, just as confident in her own skills. “A way to coordinate those in person meetups. Even if it is just to invite me to your apartment.”

Penny’s surprise at the turn of the conversation was readily apparent, “That she’d be a lot more trustworthy not working under a Horror.” Would be her initial reply. “She’s alright herself, I guess. Only talked with her once personally, but she helped out earlier when the Sanctuary was attacked. And considering what likely happened shortly before that shows that she’s not a bad person. Just that she’s got a poor setup with the Horror looming over her.”

Nodding at Penny’s assessment, Ruby smiled. ”I agree. Hopefully we took care of that horror part though.”

Wait… What That was not what Penny was expecting and her eyes narrowed, not in suspicion, but calculation. It didn't take long to come to a conclusion.

"You know Ronin, don't you." She would say more than ask. It made sense, but there were still puzzle pieces missing.

Knowing that lying wasn’t going to work here, she just shrugged a bit, knowingly. ”I know a lot of people. When the right people get wishes they’re willing to help friends of friends.” That could come off wrong and she raised her hands a bit. ”T-that’s not why I do what I do. It’s just… eh nevermind. Yeah I’ve been working with her to free Mariette. She’s my friend and I wanted to help her.” Geeze, why was that so hard to get out.

"I'm glad" Penny would say earnestly. "I only met Ronin once as well but she reached out to me hoping to get some assistance in freeing Mariette. I wasn't able to help, but I'm glad things are going in her favor." She would go on to explain "I offered a solution to Mariette when I talked to her but I could tell she wouldn't go for it herself. It's situations like hers that make me hate Horrors"

She wouldn't comment on the attempted deflection. Ruby didn't seem to have a lot of friends, and Penny wouldn't begrudge her trying to protect the ones she had.

Ruby nodded a bit. Awkward silence followed. Suddenly looking uncomfortable the djinn girl took a few steps away. ”Anyway, I should probably move on. Doesn’t do me good to sit out in the open too long.”

Penny would nod as she refocused. She drifted off during the pause, dealing with spam and what not. "I'll swing by in a few days to see how you're settling in" Turning back towards the Sanctuary she would call over her shoulder "It has been fun, and thanks again Ruby"

”I should be thanking you. I give out wishes, I never expected to get one back like this. I look forward to seeing you again.” She called back with a big smile. Penny’s sensors would lose track of the girl completely as she seemed to blink out of existence.

While sampling the strangely magical ice cream, the brightly colored and cheerful girl was able to grab the doll's attention right away. For a moment she seemed a bit baffled. That however didn't last long as MDP's child like excitement caused the doll to slip into the character her patron fashioned for her. "I could use a hug!" Melisa said excitedly as she hopped up to embrace the girl.

“Yaaay~! (giggle!)” MDP cheered as she pressed the small girl against her chest and spun around happily. “Magical Dream Princess always wanted to have a dolly wolly of her very wery ownsie, but, like, her daddy waddy wouldn’t let her!” the whimsical magical girl explained. “She would just, like, totally wotally wuv to play with you, and brush your hair, and have a tea party, and cuddle wuddle, and… Golly wolly~!” MDP exclaimed as something important occurred to her. “Magical Dream Princess is, like, super duper sorry~! She, like, totally wotally forgot to introduce herself~! (giggle!) Magical Dream Princess is Magical Dream Princess~!” she told the doll, holding the small monster girl up to her smiling face. “And, like, what’s your namey wamey~?!”

Melisa's pink eyes were shining. All those things sounded wonderful to her. For what she could only assume was the doll's doing she easily got sucked into activities that younger girls would do. Hell she was playing tea party just earlier. Giggling a little bit at the name she smiled brightly. "My name in Melisa. I would love to do all those things!" She answered excitedly.

“Goody woody~! (giggle!)” MDP shouted with glee as she jumped up and down. “And, like, Magical Dream Princess thinks Melisa Wisa is a super duper cute namey wamey~! (giggle!)” MDP told the doll girl happily. “Oh, and, like, that’s Pastel-chan,” she added, gesturing to Amanda, who casually waved back at them. “She’s Magical Dream Princess’s most super duper best friend in the whole wide wordsie~! (giggle!) Like, does Melisa Wisa want to be Magical Dream Princess’s friendy wendy, too~?!” she asked, her eyes sparkling with excitement.

"I would love to be your friend." So far all of this was sounding perfect. Really her friends were few since becoming a monster girl. Oddly most she considered friends weren't at the Sanctuary like Trixy and Eliza.

“Hooray~! Like, that makes Magical Dream Princess sooo super duper happy wappy~! (giggle!) She just wuvs making new friends~! (giggle!) So, like, has Melisa Wisa always been a dolly wolly, or is this just what she looks like as a magical wagical girl~?” MDP asked. Her new friend was just so adorable, and she just had to learn more about her.

The tiny girl shook her head. "Well, I gues this is how I look now. This is really new to me as I used to just be a woman. It used to just be a doll in a case until I started messing with it and it turned me into it or something." For the most part she still didn't really understand how this all worked.

“Golly wolly~!” MDP exclaimed, her eyes going wide. “That sounds super duper crazy wazy~! Does Melisa Wisa like being a dolly wolly~?” the childish magical girl asked. “Magical Dream Princess wuvs being Magical Dream Princess, but being a magical wagical girl can be kinda strangey wangey, at least at firsty wirsty~ (giggle!)”

Considering it for a moment, complete with a full thinking pose with her hand against her chin, she made the best shrug she could given her body. "I don't know if I mind it. I think the trouble is there's a whole lot going on that I don't understand and it makes things confusing. I thought this place was safe, but now I'm not really sure. I can't really go home. At least not for very long until someone starts looking for the normal me." She mused a bit, partly to herself.

"Erm, pardon my intrusion but,"

Their conversation would be interrupted by a young woman approaching them, parasol in hand. In all honestly, Maribel didn't know how to act. First there was another nightmare mage, now her antithesis seemed to have returned? The dream magic near her did seem disorienting, but she shrugged it off. "I heard there was a dream magic user around here and wanted to introduce myself! I'm-"

"Maribel Whitley." Amanda finally spoke up, hurrying over to stand between the witch and MDP. Somehow, she knew who the woman was. "What business do you have with us, Nightmare Witch?" Amanda's tone was cautious, but her expression seemed more of a scowl.

“Like, that’s terrible werrible!” MDP declared with a frown when Melisa told her she couldn’t go back home. “Melisa Wisa can come stay with Magical Dream Princess if she doesn’t think its safe wafey heresie wersie~!” the whimsical magical girl offered, not quite thinking through the repercussions of such a suggestion. “Or, like, maybe waybe, she can stay with Danny Wanny~! (giggle!)” she added after a moment. “He’s this super duper adorable worable dolphiny wolphiny person worsen, and he’s got, like, his very wery own beachy weachy placey wacey, and⏤”

MDP’s hyperactive ramblings were cut short with the arrival of a somewhat creepy-looking girl. Amanda seemed to know her, and called her a ‘Nightmare Witch’. That was somewhat troubling to MDP, as nightmares were no fun at all, but then, Connie used nightmare magic and she wasn’t a bad person by any means so perhaps…

“Like, Hi~!” MDP said cheerily, while waving at the newcomer. “Magical Dream Princess uses dreamy weamy magic~! (giggle!) It’s, like, super duper nice to meet you~! (giggle!) Are you, like, friends with Pastel-chan~?” she asked innocently.

With wide eyes, Maribel looked Amanda over. Then she looked to the spellbook in the smaller girl's hands, then to MDP once she introduced herself. "So you truely have returned..." Her eyes lit up like a curious child. "Not only that, but there's two dream mages as well! This is amazing!!" She grinned, slightly bouncing in place.

Once asked if they knew eachother, Amanda scratched the back of her head. "It's hard to explain...she knew my predecessor. They worked together in the same coven."

"Surprised you managed to keep her old memories! Though the process of remembering does take time, I suppose." Maribel hummed with a hand on her chin. "You even have her old almanac!"

Having no idea what was going on, Melisa hurried over. For a moment it looked like there might be some kind of trouble, but then things seemed to calm down a bit. Seemed like some kind of reunion...maybe. "Uh, let's try and play nice yeah? Nice to meet you Maribel, I'm Melisa." She offered a tiny hand to shake.

“Wowie zowie~! That’s, like, sooo totally wotally cool~! (giggle!)” MDP exclaimed with her typical excited wonderment. “And it’s, like, super duper crazy wazy that you found us heresie, out of all the placey waceys we could have been~! (giggle!) Hey~!” she squealed, as a thought occurred to her. “Like, do you know Connie Wonnie~?! She uses nightmare wightmare magic, too~! (giggle!)”

Maribel glanced over to Melisa, and her eyebrows rose. "My, aren't you a cute one! A pleasure to meet you~" she smiled, gently shaking the doll's hand with a finger. Then she turned her attention back to MDP. Connie? Was that their name? "Oh, I already knew there was a nightmare user around here. I've wanted to meet them, whoever they; Connie, you said, might be." Maribel giggled.

"She may need the assistance. Just be careful with her, when you meet. Connie's a bit of a nervous girl."

“Yeah~! She’s, like, super duper shy and stuffy wuffy,” MDP added. “But, like, that’s what makes her so wuvable~! (giggle!) And, like, Maribel Waribel and Connie Wonnie can be super duper best friends forever wever, just like Pastel-chan and Magical Dream Princess~! (giggle!) Oh… But, like, that might make Gaia Waia sad…” She frowned and thought for a moment, before brightening once more. "Magical Dream Princess knows~! (giggle!) You can just be normal wormal friendy wendies~! (giggle!) Yaaay~! Magical Dream Princess thought of that all by herselfy welfy~! (giggle!) That’s, like, super duper hard for her when she’s Magical Dream Princess~!” the hyperactive magical girl explained with a cute wink.

"Thank you." She sat by a bit as the others talked. All this she didn't really understand. She was however extremely interested in what was being discussed. Her gaze drifted a bit to the book Amanda was holding.

“Sooo, like, does Melisa Wisa have any friendy wendies of her ownsie~?” MDP inquired.

She thought about it. "Well, I know Penny obviously. The first ones I met that were really nice to me were Trixy and Eliza. They helped me find this place." Most of the other people she didn't really know or hadn't had the chance to interact with much.

“It’s super duper nice that you have so many friendy wendies~! (giggle!)” MDP told the tiny girl. “And helpful welpful ones, too~! Magical Dream Princess didn’t have any friendy wendies before she became a magical wagical girl, but now she has lots and lots~! (giggle!) But, like, Magical Dream Princess was wondering, what is this placey wacey~? It’s, like, so super duper gloomy woomy and stuffy wuffy…”

"Someone attacked us here. I guess a lot of us are outcasts and this is kind of like a shelter. Some people don't like us for whatever reason so finding a place to hide is tough. It doesn't really effect me so much, but keeping everyone fed and comfortable is hard too." Her more logical side was creeping back in as she was recalling her experience and some of the conversation Penny and Shane had early on.

“A shelter welter~?” MDP asked with a frown, clearly somewhat confused. “Like, why would anybodywody want to hurt you~? They must be some really extra wextra awful wawful meanie weanie heads!” she declared with a cute pout. “Like, if they were still heresie, Magical Dream Princess would just wuv to teach them a lesson wesson~!”

"Unfortunately, not everyone shares your kindness, Dreamy." Amanda sighed. "There are normal magical girls, then there's corrupted magical girls; or even monster girls. The latter two make up most of the residents here, if what Eliza told me still stands. With Beacon's Ascendancy and the Mint hunting them down for their own reasons, they're forced to hide here. But now here isn't even safe." She frowned.

Maribel silently listened to her explanation, thinking. The witch appeared concerned regardless. "That bad, huh...?"

Frowning a bit she shook her head a bit. "I think with a little help things could be better. Just have to figure out how." Giving things a bit of consideration she had an idea that maybe she could bring up to Penny. It was a rough idea though.

MDP frowned with a mixture of sadness and indignation as Amanda explained things. “Like, maybe waybe the people weple heresie can go stay at Danny Wanny’s placey wacey~” the childish magical girl suggested. “Nobodywody can fight theresie, so, like, it should be super duper safey wafey~!”

"Maybe we can suggest that to Penny? Dunno the capacity of Dan's place, but it can't hurt to try."

"Perhaps me and my sisters could stick around to help~?" Maribel finally suggested. "At least until whatever's going on is over.

Melisa smiled as everyone seemed to be on the same page. "Yeah, Penny is in charge so we can talk to her. I don't know who Dan is but I guess it's worth asking." There were so many suggestions she was beginning to get a little lost.

“Like, then let’s go see Penny Wenny~! (giggle!)” MDP declared. “Oh, and Danny Wanny’s a totally wotally adorable worable dolphiny wolphiny person werson~!” she went on to explain. “And he’s, like, really super duper friendly wendly~! (giggle!) Magical Dream Princess thinks you would just absodutelylutely wuv him~!”

Sanctuary - Gathering Everyone to Level 1

Shane was moving with Penny and the witches when he paused for a moment to send out another pulse of vibrations to get an idea of where everyone was. People were scattered about and working on various cleanup or mulling around, probably trying to figure out what happened. There was also seemingly someone digging through the ground? "Someone is burrowing nearby. I'll keep tabs on that while I try and gather everyone up. Probably a lot of confused girls looking for things to fight." He would step away.

Most of the lower floors weren't all that big, so locating and directing people to head up was a simple task. Assuming they listened everyone would end up in the larger space above eventually. He saw a couple eating ice cream? Where did... oh. The pink cheery one was changing the remaining magic stuff into ice cream. Interesting. Guess they could keep doing that. He turned his attention to who or whatever was digging in the ground though to get an idea of where they were headed.

Sanctuary - Level 1

As more people she knew arrived, and they were being herded up to the first level, Melisa relaxed and came back down. "S-sorry. I didn't realize you were here to help. Dina is here, she needs healing badly!" The box she'd been moving opened up to reveal the injured cat girl. Not really sure what to do she stepped back. "We were attacked by this girl that turned into some kind of monster. Dina threw something at her though and she changed and left. After that I just hid us." She hung back to let others more capable handle things.

Her attention was drawn to something else going on. Dreams. It didn't feel the same as how dreams she would enter though. Like a moth to a flame she tuned out and made her way down to where MDP and Hilaria were. This was... dream magic? How did that work? Could she consume it? Should she consume it? She had no idea how it was going to work without organs, but she stepped on over and scooped up a little bit on her tiny finger and attempted to eat it.

GM @Flamelord | Lily @Ariamis | Alex @Card Captor | Dina @AtomicNut | Cradle @BrokenPromise@Majoras End

Despite hearing Lily calling out for Dina, the doll girl had no idea who she was or why she was looking for Dina. She narrowed her eyes before taking a step back. The nails she'd sent out returned to her. "I don't know who you are. You're staying here and I'm leaving or I'll drop this building on you." A couple bolts unscrewed themselves and clattered to the ground to prove her point. She hopped up on the crate she'd made as metallic legs sprouted from the box and it began climbing up the wall to bypass any of the barriers that might still be around.

Eliza arrived as she was ascending. That at least made her feel a little better but she didn't feel safe with all these strangers running around. "Eliza!" She stopped moving. She glanced back and forth for a moment trying to decide what to say. After a few seconds she finally resolved something. "Are they with you?" She pointed down to Lily and Alex.
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