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3 mos ago
Current If I owe you a post, it's coming! Been a very busy week but finally settling down!
6 mos ago
The adult in me says sleep, the kid in me wants to play NieR. The kid's winning D:
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7 mos ago
youtube.com/watch?v=7RzA_Oom.. All of my yes. Love this theme <3
1 like
8 mos ago
If you've not had a chance to watch "Your Name" yet, highly recommend!
8 mos ago
If I owe you a post expect replies tomorrow. Been up since 4 am today, barely keeping myself from drooling in a bucket! x_x

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"Practice, that's what I'm gaining! And I'll take that as a compliment." She didn't know what more was to be gained from sparring other than practice. Fighters both new and seasoned could always benefit, and Sasha was certain Viral could as well. If he had no desire to fight back then fine, she'd do what she could on her own. She kept it simple - throwing a punch here, a kick there. She mixed in a bit of acrobatics with a flip or two but otherwise nothing overly technical. Viral kept pace with her easily, making it look effortless as he blocked and evaded her strikes. Compared to some of her regular sparring partners he was proving to be exceptionally better. Heck, she'd even say Viral was better than Ricken. Best not to mention that to him.

Sasha didn't feel the need to answer right away, not as Ricken began shouting obscenities at Leto. Smiling knowingly and nodding her head towards her brother she simply shrugged, feeling like that answered the question.

"Since you're so good then all the more reason to spar with you. You're better than I am, and I'll only get better by fighting someone more experienced. That and I'll admit... I've wanted to spar with you for a while, but Korian never would let me. So when he asked Ricken and I to go I jumped at the chance." Maybe it was a bit selfish, maybe she wasn't here entirely just to help Viral. Though her given task had nothing to do with what she wanted anyways: Viral needed to be monitored. She still thought Korian was completely full of it but she'd been given her orders, and thus far she'd seen no reason for him to be concerned.

"So honest answer...? Korian told me to. My answer? I want to, Korian's just my excuse to be able to. And I won't be reporting back to him after this, if you're worried at all. He didn't tell me to so I won't be. Just here to see if I meet your mark as a soldier." If he was to be their commander in the coming days then she wanted to know she was fit for duty under his command. She'd every intention of fighting those monsters, and to do so she'd have to follow Viral. With a smile she took to a stance again before darting in at Viral, jumping and rotation her body as she delivered a kick, one which was easily blocked. Rotating further she tried to deliver an axe kick upside-down, again having her blow blocked. It worked to her favor - grabbing hold of one of Viral's arms she let gravity do its work, pulling her down and him along with her. Wrapping her legs around his chest she pinned him to the ground for a brief moment before releasing him and backing off, smiling apologetically. "You're really difficult to get down."
No worries, life comes first! :D
It was nothing short of a miracle they were even here right now. Sasha had been open to the idea of training - and why wouldn't she, they weren't doing anything else. Ricken wanted absolutely nothing to do with Viral or Vegeta however and had to be "coerced" into going. And by that she meant forced. She'd managed to compromise with her grouchy sibling and offered to spar with Viral in his stead, sparing him having to deal with that. Besides where the alternative was the eccentric Leto she felt like she'd won out in their deal. Ricken seemed to recognize as much when they finally reached the room, shooting his sister an accusatory glare as he lined up with the man. Offering only a shrug in response she introduced herself to Viral, bowing as a sign of respect. She'd meant it when she said she was looking forward to training with him, his accolades not lost on her. Shame he didn't quite share her enthusiasm.

"Are you sure? If that's what you want then okay, but... Wouldn't it be better of you fought back?" A resounding no shot down any ideas of that. Sasha would do as she was asked but it didn't feel much like training this way. Really it amounted to little more than sparring against a training dummy. With a smile she nodded her head and stretched out for a moment, giving Viral a chance to do the same if need be. "For the record I'm not worried about you hurting me. If that's why you 'just need to be cautious' anyways. I know you're plenty strong but I also know you're not the enemy, so I'm fine." He wasn't the wild beast some people painted him to be, if he was then she and Ricken would never have been asked to come here. She might be reading into things too much but knowing Korian's position when it came to Viral - as almost everyone at this point did - it wasn't hard to guess what was on the Beastman's mind.

"If we're all through talking then I believe it is time to begin our fighting! Let our hearts burn brightly as we do battle, friends!" Leto's pep-talks seemed to get no one besides himself riled up, as evident by the awkward looks all around. That didn't stop the Yulian from facing Ricken and flexing several times over, perhaps his equivalent of a warm up stretch. "Now, young Ricken, I'm sure you're intimidated by my impressive physique! But know that I, Major Leto, will cause you no undue-"

Ricken silenced Leto rather swiftly with a punch, causing the Yulian to spin around on a heel before he was kicked forward with a swift boot to the rear. Glaring at the back of his partner Ricken sicked, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "Just... Shut up and fight, you moron..."

"I guess that's our cue too! Here I come, Viral." Nothing to do but to initiate it and hope Viral would eventually take part. Starting conservatively, Sasha approached the Beastman with her fists raised, waiting until she got closer to throw her first punch. Having it caught she tried with a second, finding her hands both caught without much effort. Kicking a leg out to force Viral back she smiled and moved in quicker this time, throwing a high kick at his shoulder and immediately throwing another as he blocked it, dropping her leg and spinning around as she kicked with the other. Seeing little use in any of that she dropped to the ground and spun on her hands, sweeping at his feet instead and missing. Rising up on her hands she kicked out with both legs before flipping back up and trying to strike his abdomen with her elbow, trying then and failing to strikes his jaw when he blocked her elbow. If she could just keep the pressure on then he'd make a mistake eventually, she just had to be persistent. And hopefully land something before she ran out of energy. "You're not easy to hit, you know that? I'm trying to mix it up here too!"
The Following Day


Only so much progress could be made in a single day's time. For his own part Ethan was making the same mistakes as before, using the wind more like a blunt force than a cutting one as Kensen suggested. Nymira still couldn't super-heat her blades without melting them, a fault she placed more on her materials than her ability. Amuné had yet to report to Gage since the previous day's scene - Gage was predisposed with work anyways, giving the girl the day off. Adrianna and Cecil were perhaps the only two who had any modicum of success over the last day: the former because she simply wasn't training, the latter having succeeded in testing his shield.

Despite having made no real discernible progress for most of the group Taliya had called off their lessons for the day. Ethan assumed they were to be given another task from the woman, Nymira guessed there were more beasts she wished for them to exterminate. It was an abrupt end to an even more sudden regiment forced upon them and no one could guess for what reason they were being brought in today. Being fetched from their quarters and dragged down to the office they had to wait a short time as others were in and out of Taliya's room frequently; papers were being brought and taken out, people were meeting with the leader, it seemed like a frenetic morning. They were finally allowed inside after Taliya could be heard shouting a string of insults at someone, a man fleeing from the room as a book was hurled after him, narrowly missing his head. Not exactly a good precedent for their own meeting.

"They're here ma'am," their guide called in, holding the door for everyone to get inside. As if he was going to join them with Taliya in a mood.

Groaning in frustration the woman behind the desk glanced up briefly, waving everyone inside as she returned her focus to the papers before her. The paperwork for the people Lionel and Adrianna had brought in were on the top, and easily two of them had falsified their documents. That didn't so much matter since plenty of people did, but a tiny inconvenience was a huge headache on a day like today. There were forms from the mayor about their funding, bills from the smithy for all their work, not to mention bills for expenses she didn't even know they'd had! She'd have to wait on all of this exciting work now that the runts had arrived, she'd another job to dole out.

"You kids are doing a favor for me today, consider it your training for the afternoon. I'm sending all of you outside of Mutebo," Taliya began, glancing at Adrianna to make it clear she was included, "And you're going to go looking for two people. First there's a pair of merchants that we sent out yesterday, they should have been back by now but no one's seen them. They've got some shit we need and we can't afford to have them end up as lunch for some animals, so go out and get them. Or their stuff, honestly I don't give a fuck which it is at this point." Not true, she didn't want those people dead persay, but if they'd gotten themselves eaten then there wasn't much they could do at this point. It'd be their own fault for not taking the more traveled, better protected roads. No use in crying for the dead as they say... Or you'd be crying all day.

"You're also going to look for Gage, figure out where he's gone and tell him to get his ass back here. I sent him out early this morning to meet them and haven't seen him since, and it's not like him to be late. I'd send just one of you but you're still shit at combat, so I'm sending the whole group of you. Find the traders and find Gage, get them back here before I lose what little fucking sanity I've got left today. Any questions?"

"Uh... Why send us? Why not send Kensen?" Ethan didn't quite understand, wouldn't it make more sense to send someone more capable? And one person could move a lot faster than a whole group - especially considering Amuné had been brought along.

"Because he is out too, and I'm not calling his scaly hide back here to do this. You brats still owe us and you're not doing anything, that's why. Between the five of you I imagine you'll be able to handle whatever the hell it is that's got that old bastard stuck. Deal with whatever is holding them up and get everyone home, nice and simple."

"Why include Amuné? She's not a warrior." It was Nymira's turn to press Taliya and she looked at the aforementioned Ydran curiously. Every time they'd been in combat the girl had been, frankly speaking, more of a risk than a help. If this was some sort of rescue operation then why send along someone like that?

"If I didn't send her then she'd get the bright idea to chase after you anyways. Then we'd be looking for her too, and I don't feel like mounting 3 fucking search and rescue jobs today. So she's going with you, she can just... Sit back and watch, I don't know. You figure it out." Brushing aside a stack of papers she grabbed her flask and took a drink only to find it bone dry. Shaking it she huffed and shouted for the man outside to come in, tossing it to him with the instructions to get it filled. "If you kids have no other questions then get going! We've both got shit to do and none of it's going to get done standing around with our thumbs up our asses. Go find those idiots and bring them back."

No one wanted to stay here any longer, not with the mood Taliya was in. Filing out of her room they stood just in the hall, not wholly certain of where to go from here. She hadn't given them directions nor an idea of where to look, only to go find them. Far as Ethan could recall there was a single main road leaving Mutebo and it didn't branch off for some ways, which at least narrowed down their search a little. But with how big the area was - not to mention how unfamiliar with it they all were - it could take the better part of the entire day to find even a trace of Gage or the traders. With an exasperated smile Ethan sighed, scratching at his head as he looked between the group for some semblance of an idea.

"So... Where do we start? Adrian, you've been here for a while right. Any ideas?"

"We could try asking, it's not as if no one saw Gage or the traders," Nymira posited, folding her arms as she glanced back at the shut door, "One of the guards perhaps can point us in the right direction. Or if Adrian has some idea..." She didn't care really, whatever was needed to get this job of theirs over with quickly. Ironic though that they were being sent out to save one of the men supposedly training them. If that was her she'd be terribly ashamed of herself, probably going so far as to step down from her job as a mentor. Somehow she didn't see Gage having a problem with it though. "This is all assuming they're even still alive too. He's not a Magi if I remember right, so if he was attacked by a pack of beasts..."

"He'll be alive, that guy seems way too tough to go down to some animals," Ethan interjected, though a nervous smile pulled at his lips. There were things other than simple animals out there though.
And here comes that skip I mentioned two weeks ago :P Just to the very next day! Clumping people together to keep things easy for us :3

Edit: A bit small but just getting the ball rolling, and wanna leave plenty of room for everyone to write :)
"It was a joke Viral, I wasn't trying to make light of someone dying." Admittedly a macabre joke but nothing more than that. Vegeta made a mental note to refrain from any kind of humor in the presence of Viral, at least until there was some marked improvement in his demeanor. The jab made at his capability fell to the wayside as he felt ambivalent at best towards who was better: it wasn't a contest, they all needed to be capable. Whatever degree of capability then that each person had was fine, the more powerful fighters they had the better their odds. "I welcome anyone stronger than me with open arms if it means killing these creatures," Vegeta muttered, watching as Leto began to group up the troops into pairs, "Looks like its time to get started. And time for you to show them what you can do, instructor." Clasping Viral on the back he went to the other trainees and paired against one another. His opponent for the day? A rather large alien with bright orange skin and green markings, difficult to say if they were male or female. Offering a greeting and a handshake he stood there awkwardly as the alien simply stared back at him, cocking their head in confusion. Weren't members of the rebellion generally versed in the common tongue?

"Now then my pupils, we can begin our training in earnest! Viral and I will oversee the exercises today and we will critique form, ability, and how quickly or slowly you pick up techniques. We want to know where our recruits stand so we know better where to start our lessons. So today is simple: a sparring session with the person across from you! And that includes you and myself too, Viral. We'll have partners of our own today!" A slight bit of information withheld from Viral at the behest of Korian. As a man under their leader Leto had no choice but to follow orders, even if Aito had specifically asked to keep Viral in the loop. Perhaps not off to the best of starts with regards to trust. Worried perhaps Viral would get angry - if he wasn't already - Leto clapped his hands loudly and declared for their partners to come out. "I think its only fair your instructors train as well! Lead by example as they say!" the Yulian belted, grinning as he flexed his frame, "And no man would ever turn down a chance to improve himself, isn't that right Viral?"

"Do you always have to speak so damn loud, Leto? We could hear you outside the room," Ricken growled as he and Sasha entered the room, his usual glowing self. "And you really could have just had us come in to start with, there's no reason for all the theatrics."

"I am merely instilling enthusiasm in our dear trainees, my friend! And but of course there is! What fun is life without a little excitement, a little show? I'd argue every day of our lives is a theater performance, and we are simply actors playing a part!" Vegeta buried his face in his palm hearing that. His father had let Leto read some of his psychology books hadn't he? That sounded eerily similar to a theory he'd read about once, now he was concerned the Yulian thought himself a professional.

"Well I think the part we're meant to be playing is fellow trainees right? So let's get to playing!" Sasha declared, attempting to stifle the inevitable bickering that would ensue. Ricken had a charm for that. Taking her brother by the shoulders she directed him to Leto, smiling as he gave her a glare and patting him on the back. In no way was she going to allow someone as confrontational as her brother to duel against Viral, he'd not have any of it. Going to the Beastman then she put her fists together, knuckles pressed, and bowed her head slightly. "On our home world that is how we show respect, like a master should be given," she explained before smiling, "I'm excited to train with our future instructor of the rebellion. I'll do my best not to make this boring for you."
Expect a little skip pretty soon just to move us along a day. Got some stuff coming up!
Lionel wasn't after a philosophical debate, not with Adrianna. She didn't know enough to even consider including in that sort of discussion. He'd give her this much though: she understood people were a product of their experiences. Though to say that adults were merely that - to suggest their actions or faults were a product of how they were raised - that was a farce. The whole point of growing up was to learn and better oneself, not to cling to the idiotic beliefs and ideas you held as a kid. The world wasn't quite as friendly and forgiving as most children believed and it was a lesson that many people learned too late in their lives. Or some far too early.

"True, but there's willful ignorance and there's just plain ignorance. I hate the former more." Regarding the first idea with a loathsome expression, Lionel shook his head and sighed. "People die on the streets on the cities, some beg for money and just a simple meal while wealthy citizens, fellow citizens, pass them by. I don't know if that's willful ignorance or just callousness, but I hate it." People in Adelon were far too content to look at themselves and themselves alone. Regards for your fellow citizen was all but gone, what should be a common trait was now a rarity among the kingdom's people. And what reason was there for that? Why did people suddenly turn on one another? Why were cries for help ignored? No matter how you cut that pie Lionel always found himself coming away with the same answer: the Church.

For perhaps the first time since their meeting Lionel found himself short of words to retort with. Adrianna was critiquing the royal family and the young Magi had to bite his tongue as not to yell at her, forcing a smile and placating her musings with nods of his head. So that was how people viewed the royal family? People just sat in a room, hiding themselves while the rest of her people suffered? Was that how everyone in power was viewed as well? He'd never really thought much about that before but there had been enough examples that he should have been full aware by now. Angry townsfolk screaming for a mayor to do more when they were at their wit's end, soldiers demanding their general send off for a mission that their leader knew full well would fail. It was a disconnect between those in charge and those who followed and it seemed to appear everywhere, even within Mutebo. Was it inevitable, or was it just poor leadership?

"I know the Church is clamping down on Magi but you make it sound like some conspiracy," Lionel laughed, waving a hand at Adrianna's claims, "There's just no use for Magi anymore, not really. The world isn't like it was when the first king formed the kingdom. Beasts are gone, there's very little if any fighting among Adelon's people, and Adelon is still powerful enough that other kingdoms don't threaten her. Maybe its just time Magi are done away with. Out with the old, in with the new." Thrilling though their conversations were Lionel gestured for them to stop as Mutebo's walls were soon within sight. A small chorus of cheers sounded from the group at their flank and he chuckled throatily, amused by their excitement. "It's sad really though when you think about it, and I get why some Magi are angry," Lionel muttered, stopping at the gates as guards came to meet and inspect the group, "You were all so proud and revered once. Now you're like rats, scurrying to whatever hole you can find just to stay alive. No wonder some are fighting back."

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What should he be doing right now? Ethan watched Amuné tearfully dismiss herself and run off but made no moves to chase her, sat on the grass with a conflicted expression. He could imagine it being frustrating for her, being stuck with a man like Gage, and by no means was he 100% comfortable with leaving her like that. But they all needed training desperately even if Nymira might be reluctant to admit to it. The Church's Magi had attacked them a handful of times now and it was only by sheer luck they'd gotten away each time. And that wasn't even to mention the beasts either. None of them really wanted to be doing it but it could be the difference between making their next trip alive or ending up lunch. They had time to train though, and Amuné needed someone right now. Getting to his feet he started to make his way off the training grounds until Nymira called out for him to stop.

"If you keep coddling her she'll never grow, Ethan. Leave her be." Really from what the Dimuran could see the only problem was Amuné disliked her teacher. If the girl was going to run away from every single person she disliked then she'd spend her entire life on the run. "Besides she wants you to find her once we're finished, so let her have time to her own. Maybe she'll realize how ridiculous she's being." They didn't have the luxury of coddling a sensitive child right now. Sooner or later Amuné would have to learn to fight, if not for the sake of the group then for her own. She, Ethan and Cecil wouldn't be around forever and clearly this kingdom wasn't quite as civil as she first thought, certainly not if you were a Magi. If Amuné had any hopes of finding her parents and surviving until then she needed to know how to protect herself.

"Yeah but... Is it right to let her be upset like that? I mean she's just a kid." There wasn't much of a response from Nymira and Kensen didn't seem terribly fussed either, leaving Ethan alone with his sentiments. Maybe it was a Dimuran thing, he got the impression they expected kids to be made of much hardier stuff. But here was a little girl without her parents in a place she didn't know, anyone would be afraid and upset. Yet as guilty as Ethan felt for remaining here he knew he needed to train, and gauging Kensen's reactions to his efforts he still had a long way to go. Rubbing the back of his neck Ethan exhaled and clasped his hands together, returning to the training grounds and to his sparring dummy. He had to get better to help Amuné find her parents, and to help Nymira and Cecil too. And he needed to get better as to have any hope of getting answers about Cedric.

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"Ah, right. A cannonball is a heavy ball of metal, sometimes iron, sometimes steel, sometimes whatever can be found lying around, melted down and cast in the shape of... Well, a ball. They're fired from a cannon and used against walls or often times aboard ships as a way of inflicting heavy damage. In effect your shield is as strong as a reinforced castle's wall!" Which was nothing to thumb one's nose at! Combined with the mobility and the quick regeneration and self-repairing nature of the shield it was a nigh impregnable defense. Assuming the energy sources never ran out. Looking at the Machina confused as he walked away after being congratulated Norman smiled and lifted his shoulders in a shrug of defeat.

"Magic? Afraid not, none of us here are Magi. Though there's no shortage of them in Mutebo, finding someone to test it for you wouldn't be too hard I imagine," Norman mused as he rubbed his chin in thought, "Why not try finding your friends and asking them? I'm sure Ethan or Nymira would be happy to, er... Blast you." Putting it that way didn't make it sound like nearly as positive as it should. But this was cause for celebration and the engineers in the room were doing as much, with Norman himself barely containing his excitement. Beneath his bubbling enthusiasm was a slight hint of concern however, not for Cecil nor any of his friends. He'd created that shield based upon a prototype his company had worked on ages ago, working largely from memory and improvising where memory failed. If he'd managed to recreate it then surely the company had completed the technology as well. And if they were pushing for more models to be made...

"Here's the Demacite you asked for sir!"

"Ah, thank you! That was fast," Norman remarked as he accepted a wrapped wooden container. "Since your shield runs independently from your core power I figured we should give you a few spare batteries, just in case. Its not the most pure Demacite in the world but it'll hold a charge all the same." Handing the container over to Cecil then he smiled and removed his gloves, setting them aside and gesturing for the Machina to offer over his gauntlet. "All you need to do is loosen the latch and replace the crystal inside the casing, simple as that. The Demacite's aspect doesn't much matter either since it converts any to raw energy. You do lose some power in the process from the shard but so long as you can find a supply you'll never run out of power. And in a pinch you can let it run off of your core power as well. I put an inhibitor on that circuit though, so you don't accidentally drain yourself."

"I think that should conclude our work for today, assuming you don't have any questions about how it works? Otherwise I think it'd be a good idea to go find your friends and test it's magic defenses. If there's any problems I'll be here for a while longer, we can take a look at it and try to work out any kinks."
A few days later




What did Viral have in mind when training troops had been discussed? Had he expected to go on missions with troops? Or did he envision more traditional training, something similar to a military's boot camp. Whatever possibilities he had entertained for himself the reality was far from his wildest imagination. Instead of being given full reign of the troops right away - which to be frank Aito hadn't anticipated - Korian had agreed to the proposal with a stern stipulation: a trial run. Viral would be given the way of a few new recruits and have to work with Leto while he trained them to ensure the Beastman's methods were allowable. It was an infuriating limitation but the only way the leader of the rebels would let his troops be seen to by Viral, a man he once deemed wholly unstable and a threat. The fact the man had allowed for any troops to be trained was progress, now it fell to Viral to show him his concerns were wholly unfounded. Not something which would be easy by any means - mostly thanks due to his "partner", Leto. Vegeta wasn't sure who might kill the man first, Viral or himself.

"Now my friends, you must be ready to dedicate both body and soul to our efforts! Ours is the path of righteousness, only true men may walk it!"

It must be a mental tic, to flex every time one uttered any words. Vegeta watched Leto take pose after pose as he delivered what no doubt to him was a meaningful speech - to Vegeta it was mindless drivel. The troops however appeared enamored by the man's fervor and were perhaps, terrifyingly, imagining emulating such a figure. And he was going to have to train with them...

"When you are a member of our alliance you must always remember one thing. No matter where you came from, your past, your old alliances, you are here and now a proud member of our rebellion. We all fight as one and for one thing: a just and fair galaxy. Space pirates, the Saiyans, anything that threatens the peace. That said never think we ourselves are above the law! We are men of peace! We only fight to protect those who are being harmed, we do not enforce laws! Keep this in mind and fight for justice, my brothers, and you will do exceedingly well! Are there any questions?"

A young alien raised her hand tentatively and jumped slightly at Leto's boisterous acknowledgement. Looking between the other trainees she swallowed uncertainly before looking down and pulling at her antennae atop her head. "W-Well sir, it's just... So what are you exactly? The way you talk about it we sound a lot like the Galactic Police. Wouldn't that make us vigilantes? Isn't that wrong?"

"Ah, but that's where you're mistaken! We're more like allies to the Police - brothers in arms! We are a force for good born from necessity! We fight enemies that the Police themselves cannot, and we fight for those whose cries go ignored. Truly ours is a mighty call, one which only the manliest of soldiers can undertake. And that is why you fine young people are here today, to embark on a journey and become some of the galaxy's finest defenders!" In all of his grandiose speech there was one point that the recruits felt a need to address, a point which left the Yulian with an exasperated look on his chiseled features. "Of course I mean women as well, when I say men..." Leto trailed before shaking his head, "Never mind that! Who you are, where you're from, your gender or your race, none of that matters as much as your drive to do right by others! Prove you are virtuous and fight alongside us for a better galaxy for all!"

"I can't decide if this is rehearsed, just for show, or if the man's really this delusional," Vegeta muttered, sighing as he shook his head. Though a trainee he was lined up beside Viral for the moment, having no need of a pep-talk from the overzealous mountain of a man. That might be the philosophy of the rebellion but in practice they were anything but. Their own leader had tried numerous times to mete out his own justice, something they were supposedly never meant to do. One could chalk that up to his nature - a Saiyan was always a Saiyan regardless of allegiances - but Vegeta looked at it more for what it was: hypocrisy. "The man can't fly right? Perhaps we travel to a canyon somewhere and dump him there for the afternoon. Should give us a day to train in peace," Vegeta joked before smirking tightly as Leto continued on, "Or perhaps we can accidentally jettison him into space. I wonder if Yulians can breathe in a vacuum."
Huh... Anger and annoyance, Cecil really did experience a full range of genuine emotion. Why? For what possible reason would a Machina ever be fashioned to harbor emotions? He had a suspicion that gnawed at his gut like a rabid dire wolf. But suspicions were unfounded, he'd have to ask some questions and see what he could dig up on Cecil. Not wanting the Machina to notice anything amiss he put on a smile and made another playful jest as he loaded the next round, aiming just off center-mass and letting it fly. Ripples but no shatter, a sign the shield had actively deflected the projectile and held firm. The density of rock and forged metal was still quite far - closer than metal and wood to be sure, but hardly a good measure of the shield's ability. And this was nothing to say of its ability against magic, something which could only be tested by a Magi. Which with luck would come courtesy of his friend and not one of the Church's people.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to insult you. Just a playful jab, nothing more! All in good fun yes?" Very curious. But again like so many other things with Cecil neither here nor there. Now was time to test the shield, and to be more precise, to fire the metal munition. It was the heaviest round they had in the shop and probably the equivalent of the heaviest physical strike Cecil's shield would take. "Brace for this one, no guarantee the shield can take this hit. I'm firing to your right as well just so you're aware. Counting down from ten." Perhaps not the best choice of words to instill confidence but he was being honest. Honesty was the best policy right? As the count hit zero Norman let the weapon do its work, hurling the weighty object at Cecil's shield. In the blink of an eye it struck and sounded as though it slammed against a brick wall, a thunderous crack echoing through the shop and causing everyone present to cringe and cover their ears. When the sound had passed Norman looked up and laughed, a wide grin plastered on his face, his fists raised in celebration.

The shield had stopped the projectile! While he and the others had missed what had happened - too busy covering their ears - Cecil would doubtless have seen the shield shatter partially and fold in on itself only to replenish and repel the metal orb. Laying several feet away and partially flattened was the metal weight, Cecil's shield having repelled it with relative ease. "Astounding! It works, it completely works! The sound was a little unexpected but I'm sure we can work that out! Your shield just stopped the equivalent of a cannonball!" the engineer exclaimed excitedly before cupping his chin, "Well admittedly a low velocity cannonball, and a small one, but a cannonball nonetheless! If you channeled even more energy to the shield however I'm certain it would withstand any blast! We couldn't have hoped for a better result!" The rest of the workers chatted excitably among themselves while Norman approached Cecil, grinning broadly as he slapped the Machina on the back, shield down. "I think we can consider today a success! Now that we know the technology works its a simple matter of mastering it. Well done Cecil, very well done!"

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Lionel smiled at Adrianna as she chided him, though it was rather forced. Through clenched teeth and closed eyes, perhaps trying to hide his emotions, he uttered lowly, "I never said they don't matter. I'd never say someone's life doesn't matter. They're just useless to us. There's a stark difference between being useless and not mattering. I'll help anyone who's worth helping." And he'd kill anyone that was worth killing. A bit contradictory perhaps but he knew full well what it meant, for himself and for anyone he dealt with. Simply put he wasn't here to make friends or be nice - it wasn't generally in his nature to do so - he was here for his own reasons. He cooperated with Taliya and her people because he deemed it worthwhile, and he helped these people because he was asked. Their lives weren't meaningless, he'd defended them by risking his own, but as far as the people themselves went? He could care less. He didn't wish death upon them but he'd just as little desire to remain in their general proximity. Once they reached Mutebo he'd be just as fine if they never crossed paths again.

"And I suppose that's a fair point about Taliya, maybe I took some creative liberties with her words," the healer admitted with a laugh, "Nothing gets past you huh? You know people so well." Oh Saints be damned why was she trying to encourage these people? That woman was hopeless, she HAD been trained according to her story and she was still a dolt, trying any more was a waste of time and energy. Let her find her true calling, something that didn't involve potentially killing patients. He got it, Adrianna was trying to be supportive, but they didn't have time for niceties and for buttering people up. The world wasn't that sort of place anymore, certainly not if you were a Magi. You either made yourselves useful to the Church or hid, and Magi who were useless to the Church were killed. Magi who were useless to Taliya? She was a little more forgiving but even she had her limits, you had to pull your own weight or you were out. He wouldn't say it aloud but just because these people were being brought to Mutebo didn't guarantee their stay.

With their destination just a little further along Lionel was already planning his next "trip". On to the next thing, he could probably even hand off their little gang at the gates and leave immediately. Though he really should rest, the trip had taken way more out of him than he'd have liked and he did need some supplies before going out. Damn, that meant he'd probably have to help these people get settled. Glancing back again he met the group's collective glares and made a face at them, sighing and scratching at his head. "I've never understood diplomacy or being a "man of the people." How anyone can deal with the public is beyond me..." he grumbled, looking to Adrianna and smiling thoughtfully, "How do you do it? Deal with people and not want to smack each and every one I mean. The questions most people have about the most basic things... I never realized how dumb people are. Makes you pretty fortunate the Church actually teaches you a bit."

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Nymira furrowed her brow in frustration hearing Kensen's reply. Of course she knew fire magic was more than combustion. She understood the fundamentals of her own magic - her father had gotten her some of the best warriors to help show her its use - she just couldn't make her magic do this. Did they perhaps possess different kinds of fire magic? Ralthor's blessing took many forms and no two were wholly identical. Even her father had a form of fire magic that was unlike any she knew, both beautiful and terrifying in its power. And for her own part she had her smithing magic, the ability to melt and work with metals without a cumbersome forge. So was there just a possibility that her magic simply couldn't do what Kensen was demanding? Or was she truly this incompetent?

"Gage doesn't want to be what exactly?" Spoiled runts, they have to labor for a single afternoon and already they complained, wanting a new tutor. While the matter of who taught Amuné mattered little to the man it was a small matter of pride. Like hell his instruction wasn't good enough. He'd taught dozens of men and women, he'd trained a handful of those in Taliya's ranks now. Gage was reluctant to admit the fault was his own and rather blamed Amuné for lack of initiative. Anyone could fire a crossbow, that was the beauty of the weapon. Any regular person could pick up a weapon and with some basic training use it in combat. And the beautiful thing about weapons? In a world where magic reigned supreme Magis were still just people. They died like the rest of them. It was something the girl would be wise to learn instead of looking at Magi as some supernatural beings.

"Perhaps if you weren't as unapproachable as a Vox she'd take more to you," Nymira offered up dryly, the mention of a native beast to her homeland flying entirely over Gage's head. Not that it mattered, the man was simply insufferable to be around. Having a tough teacher was fine so long as they were just in doing so and taught you a lesson in the process. None of her mentors had spared any favors for who she was and she'd come out the better for it, and Amuné would too. If her mentor wasn't just a foul man to begin with. Nothing of what she had seen of Gage since their arrival redeemed him in any sense of the word.

Well this was fun. Everyone was having fun right? Not really too many positive ways Ethan could spin this. With Amuné cowering behind Kensen and Gage and Nymira looking like they might go at it... Probably a good idea to step in. Placing himself between the Dimuran and Gage he held out his hands, smiling uneasily as the two never stopped glaring at one another.

"H-Hey, shouldn't we be getting to training, Nymira? There's a lot left for us to learn!" Ethan urged with a chuckle, "And uh... Maybe there's other stuff for you to do instead, Gage? I uh... I bet Taliya's got some work for you?" Meeting the man's gaze he let out a meek sound as he was grabbed by the shirt, being pulled closer and grabbing at Gage's arm reflexively. Stupid mechanical arm, he couldn't even budge it!

"Do you think me her lap dog then boy? That I just do what she asks at the drop of a hat?" Gage growled, rolling his eyes as Ethan stammered unintelligibly. Letting go of the younger Muran he shook his head and gave Amuné a final passing glance before turning and leaving. "Your problem now Kensen, I'll take the runt back when she's done being ridiculous." He'd better things to do than chase around a fitful child.

Ethan managed out a farewell to the grumpy man as he left them be once more. Fixing his shirt and collecting himself he shot Nymira a look of disbelief as she called Gage an "insufferable bastard." While maybe not wrong she wasn't helping the situation any, if Gage were still here they'd be right back into it. So much for a nice, easy training day. Nymira was going back to her training now and Kensen was preoccupied with Amuné, and Ethan himself felt thoroughly spent. "Hey Amuné? How about we let Kensen train with Nymira and we do something fun?" he offered, probably to the disapproval of his instructor. He wasn't trying to get out of training but it was obvious Amuné was not going back to Gage, so someone needed to stay with her. And he was happy to do as much. "That is if Kensen's okay with it? I'll train extra hard later, I swear!"
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