Recent Statuses

3 mos ago
Current Gonna dress as the whole Conservative Party. If that thing doesn't fucking count as "undead" at this point, I don't know what does.
10 mos ago
"I know this." "You do?" "Hentai!"
2 yrs ago
Somebody, please, kill me before I have to see the RPG Status Bar turn into an argument over Feminism. I don't think the Guild can handle anymore issues at present, let alone Feminism.
2 yrs ago
When people get angry and defensive over a comment seemingly fired at the sky, you gotta stop to wonder if they're pissed cause they think it's false or if they're pissed cause it's true ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
2 yrs ago
Playing Alien Isolation for the first time. NOW I REMEMBER WHY I HATE HORROR GAMES!


I resonate with this sexual icon.

Most Recent Posts

[ Liverpool, England ]
[ January 24th, 11:00PM ]

”I suppose so,” Fourteen replied, bearing a warmth with her words to vaguely mask the dissonance in her tone. She let her head tilt towards the sky, peeling her sight away from the dirt and grime of the city streets, and losing herself in the abyssal night above them. On days and ventures like these, rarely did she return the man’s simple comments. React she did, but what verbal responses she allowed herself were few and uncommon on the best of evenings. The two of them, wandering out into the dark and cold, on the hunt for something to assuage her depthless hunger - up until the meal itself, Fourteen did not take pleasure in the activity.

To look up into the sky, starless and infinite, allowed reprieve for a time: from the fractured world that called itself their surroundings, and from the equally starless, infinite hole of her yearning. It had been a few weeks since her last Emergence - the time left until her next ran thinner with each passing day. Kill and eat, or succumb. Neither option was desirable, but the former always managed to find itself the lesser of two evils. To distract herself from that, if only for a moment, was something Fourteen sought at each and every juncture. To be elsewhere for as long a while as was available, rather than hunting ne'er-do-wells in dismal streets, in her own skin.

Her gaze was forced downwards once more and fell upon their obstacle, as her Handler stopped his onward march. The ones that stood in their way were ragged, chewed up and spit out by the world at large. Unkempt, uncivilised, they had lived through the end of the modern world, and to Fourteen the damage was more than obvious. The hair of their forerunner, the filth that once belonged to the city clung as a veil to their flesh. Though she herself had never had to experience the squalor that was all these people knew, Fourteen read the pain and loneliness of such an existence like delicately printed prose. And on a baser level, The Hound considered how the build up of grime would alter their flavour.

In the evening chill and midwinter winds of England, the pink-red ribbons and billowing black fabric sleeves of Fourteen’s attire took to a gentle flutter. Through the first days of her station the nighttime cold had worn on her, but time passed, she grew accustomed, and rarely now did she have a need to wear much anything to shield her skin from its bite. As her Handler spoke, she found herself watching his own outfit - his clerical attire, his rosary, his hair. He talked, and she listened, to both him and them, not for their words but for their meanings and intents. For many, these would be the last words they ever heard, last emotions they ever felt, and last actions they ever took. And invariably, she thought, all these young men would be dead before daybreak.

Compared to an announcement of the beauty of the night, the commandment of death was a much simpler task. Nothing as grand as words, merely a gesture. A nod of the head. Her discontent surrounding the scenario vanished, and Fourteen took to a sprint with the element of surprise at her disposal, as fast as her genetically modified speed could carry. At first directly towards the bat wielding individual, but then to the right, deviating to the side and towards the first gun wielding member in range. Her hand whipped out towards his armed hand, twisting and snapping his wrist, and taking control of the firearm. Weapon in hand, Fourteen flipped it right-side-up in his direction and pulled the trigger, firing a single bullet from below the jaw into his head.

Before the corpse could crumple to the muck, she fired a second volley, targeting the other firearm wielding individuals with lethal intent, using their hesitation at watching their own die to rapidly pick them off. Followed closely were those with close quarters weaponry - they would receive less mercy. Any that ran would be shot dead, but those that remained would be hit in the arms or legs, just enough to incapacitate them. At the centre of a circle of corpses, and bloodied, dying children and young adults, Fourteen looked back towards her Handler.

”Did you want to talk to any of them, Father?” she began, licking a number of blood splatters from the back of her hand, and gesturing to one of the fallen, surviving youths with the barrel of her gun. Her gaze flicked between the bodies, studying intently the rapid breaths of the soon to expire, and the steady spread of fresh blood across the mud-laden street, ”Or can I start… cleaning this up?”

@EchoicChamber From my understanding, the Merkstave state in a Rune is just its reverse, no? In Futhark, it's represented by the Rune being turned upside down in inscription. Just wondering why that in particular is considered off limits, considering the reversal of Runes is a fairly intrinsic concept in a lot of different Runic systems, such as the aforementioned Futhark.
I could do with something different than I'm used to to get me back into writing properly. Might as well give this a shot, especially when Runecraft is an option that I'm basically being actively encouraged to take.

Quick question, though, is this being limited to Elder Futhark as a system? Cause I totally feel like banging my head against a wall and making my own, respective of the two component process already outlined, if that's a feasible option.


As much time as Shirou had been allowed to spend, near enough alone, thinking, meditating, the days that passed had begun to wear on him. Izo spent his days pointlessly and repetitively, as though stuck in an endless loop, day in and day out. On the surface of things, Shirou was hardly one to judge. In many ways, his own days were fairly repetitive, and with the limited options for activity in the camp, all that truly remained was to fruitlessly investigate, and explore the various relationships he had with his fellow captives.

Grateful though he was for the chance to sit near enough idle, thinking and considering the avenues and threads of suspicion he held towards the Killing Game, the constant attachment to Izo left Shirou more than slightly irritated. The Fanatic sat in the forest, or the field, for hours on end, meditating and praying, only to leave for the bathroom, or something to eat, and return shortly after. Then Izo would take his leave to their shared room, remain awake for hours in the dark praying still, fall asleep, and wake up again to do the same thing again the next day.

In a certain sense, Shirou could respect the dedication Izo held towards his faith. It resonated with him, on an intrinsic level. But at the same time, Shirou cursed it - both his own dedication, his training regiment and drive to heroism, and at the same time Izo’s own rigid religious practices. The latter refused to bend. Suggestions to investigate some more, or interact with the other Ultimates, was met with the same, stubbornly deterministic perspective. That they would murder each other, with nothing to be done about it. The attitude was grating, and though and his soul Shirou desired deeply the capacity to appreciate and accept his fellows, being anchored to Izo day in and day out, with nary an avenue for escape, gnawed at his resolution ceaselessly.

No chances to explore his curiosities. No chances to develop further friendships with others. And no chances to smooth over the lingering resentments sparked in the first few days that Shirou knew everyone. A sensation of dread had loomed on him from the beginning, but even three days in, his patience was tested again and again, pulling at the walls of his resolve. Each day he wanted to shout at Izo, or command him to move somewhere with more people, and each day Shirou swallowed it down, reluctantly allowing it to fester. In his mind, it would do no good to create conflict with the person he was restrained to for who knew how much longer.

The morning of the scream came to pass. As with every prior morning, Shirou had awoken early - four thirty in the morning, sharp - spent thirty minutes warming up, disconnected himself from Izo, and took his twenty minutes of freedom to exercise outdoors, with another twenty indoors, chain reattached. It robbed him each day of the chance to interact, and to build further bonds, but at his core, the regime was something Shirou could never bring himself to break. Izo had awoken, too, an hour after, as Shirou finished up his warm down stretches. The monotonous regime continued. Each showered in turn, and the prayer began once more. Over the course of the days, Shirou had taken to writing notes, in a notebook Lilly had brought from her lab. Possible motives, general ideas, scribbles, drawings, and other theories - all to pass the time over the day.

The scream came suddenly. While Shirou dropped his book, leapt to his feet, and made his way to the door, struggling against the cable to look out of his partners room, which the fanatic had insisted the two stay in, Izo himself remained still. His left eye opened halfway, glancing half curiously, half nonchalantly, towards Shirou’s sudden reaction, with little indication of his own that he intended to arise. Shirou craned out of the door, scanning along the path leftways of the cabin, towards the direction of the cry, for any indication of whose room it came from. And, frustrated, by his lack of information, and lack of freedom, he turned back to look at Izo.

”You plan on moving at all?” he called back to the listless Fanatic, making little effort to conceal a deep seated, underlying passive aggressiveness,”Somebody out there needs some help - you just gonna sit on your ass through this too, or can I have your permission to do my job?”

Izo made no effort. To pay attention, to get up, to even acknowledge the scream from just moments prior. His half open gaze fell shut once again, bathing him in the darkness, and near silence, that accompanied it. In the camp, surrounded by Ultimates chained to the self proclaimed Hero of Justice, the darkness of his own closed eyes was one of the few places that Izo felt was right. Everything outside of it was non-conforming, and most definitely inconsistent, and everyone in it clung to weak, poorly functioning rationales. The boy in front of him beheld every stereotype to that inclination that Izo could even begin to think of. Relentlessly optimistic, grasping at straws of altruism while ignoring the bigger picture of the Killing Game at large. The last few days had been magnitudes worse than uncomfortable.

”’Permission’, really?” Izo returned, casually blinking open a pair of cold, brown eyes, ”You wake up every morning, waste away your twenty minutes of freedom, and then get angry at me for it? I always knew you were a fool, but not an idiot. Y’know, it’s honestly a little hard to tell: do you actually believe this whole hero shit, or is it just to make other people ignore your stupidity?”

With a step of disbelief, Shirou edged back into the room from the crest of the doorway, the door itself still ajar, filtering crisp, cool air into the cabin proper. Golden eyes, conflicted in concern, anger, and shock, met Izo’s stoic gaze. Some portion of Shirou found comfort in the Fanatic’s words, that his own pent up frustration was not without merit, but the feeling quickly found itself consumed by that very same anger. Some things he was willing to tolerate. The wilful abandonment of someone in need was not one of them.

He took a series of steps forward, until the two were some five feet apart. ”I’m not going to play this game with you,” Shirou said, keeping his composure temperate as best as possible, ”Hero or not, humans are meant to have this thing called empathy - when others are in trouble, you help them. Not for reward, or the completion of some arbitrary goal, but for the sake of dece-”

His words were cut off prematurely, with the crackle of a monitor, springing to life on his left. Shirou head spun on a dime, attention utterly relocated, while Izo glanced at the thing from his periphery. Silence filled the room once more, but not the kind that Shirou had hoped for. It was a palpable silence, tangible and heavy, as Monokuma spoke the words that Izo had waited multiple days to hear. A body had been discovered. No doubt, Shirou reasoned, where the scream had just echoed from. The two turned back to each other, gazes deadlocked to the others face.

”What do you know?” Izo lightly chuckled to himself, as he pulled the handcuffs from his wrist, and tossed it to the floor, ”No need to flay myself. Mind telling Taya ‘I told you so’ while you’re out and about?”

A sudden, overwhelming urge for violence welled up within Shirou’s chest. The pull to grab Izo by the collar, push him to the wall, and beat him within an inch of his life. He had no confirmation that anybody was really dead, but in his heart, Shirou could feel it - that something was truly wrong. And for Izo to act so casually, jovially almost, in the face of it, the frustration that he had taken care not to allow out for multiple days threatened to take over. Instead, Shirou pulled his own cuffs off, and dropped them to the ground. He made his way to the door, grabbing the baseball bat as he walked, and glanced back towards Izo.

”Nobody cares if you were correct. If you’re not going to work with the group, you’ll always be wrong. No matter what.”

Without leaving an option for response, Shirou took off in a sprint, baseball bat clutched in his right hand. He had spent an hour recently exercising already - the hot water of a shower had helped in part, but the pain of his still healing gunshot wound was pronounced. The searing pain couldn’t, though, match Shirou’s unbridled resolve. Already he had proved his speed - barely ten seconds had passed by before he had arrived at the congregation, outside the cabin of Fukuda Naomi, the Ultimate Linguist. A brief moment passed as he approached, as Shirou ran through his memory. She was sharing a room with Snow. Likely one of them was dead.

Shirou counted the people already present from outside, as he quickly walked up to the entrance: Chikako, Ayu, Hiroki, Taka. As Taka stumbled back from the doorway, Shirou slipped past him, and everyone else, to cross the threshold of the cabin. Snow, Ryuma. And his eyes trailed the cable, now detached from Snow’s wrist, up to the bed, where he laid eyes upon Naomi. A second of processing passed, while Shirou laid the bat against the frame of the door.

”Ryuma, help Snow to her feet and take her outside,” he instructed calmly, and walked past the two, up to the bed, scanning the room, and taking in the details of the body. Naomi was obviously dead: throat slit, eyes unfocused, skin cold to the touch. He sighed, ”If some of you can go and round up the others, that would be appreciated. We can begin the investigation once everyone is in one place. And if any of you see Lilly, tell her that I would like to talk to her.”

Two identical looking girls sat in the furthest booth from the door in The Pitstop, patiently waiting for someone. The two slowly snacked on a large order of fries as they did. Shion watched the clock on her phone; it was nearly time. Honestly she was nervous, though the clone to her side seemed disinterested in the whole ordeal, making things a little easier on both of them.

At the entrance, a girl no older than fifteen stepped into the establishment. From the wind outside, she brushed aside a loose strand of near hazel brown hair, tucking the piece behind her ear. Although hard to see beneath her maroon jacket, partially zipped across her torso, the girl reached to her chest, and straightened up an oddly formal, black tie, and fixed the vest either side of it. In her right hand she held a bag, no larger than a small medical bag, which emenated a metallic click as she fixed the small bow atop her head.

The girl then cast a glance about The Pitstop - a perceptible gaze backed it, though all it saw were people, unnecessary to her attention, until they fixated upon the person specified in the email. ’Shion, I've got a Puchuu pointing me in the right direction. Tomorrow at 2 P.M. at "The Pitstop" would work best for us; you'll know it's me because there will be two.’ Indeed there were - two girls, sat side by side at a booth, some hundred fifty feet in front and to the right of her. Whoever they were, most likely they shared the girls own penchant for duplication.

She made a beeline, dodging past one too many waitresses in her passage. A short moment later, the girl slid into the booth, opposite her two Informants. ”You must be Shion. I’m Christine, pleasure.” she recounted simply. Before neither girl had a chance to respond, Christine had already opened the bag. In the next few seconds, a multitude of items came out - two voice recorders, a notepad and pen, a flip phone, and touch screen tablet. Both record buttons were pressed in an instant, and Christine began to speak.

”Reporter Christine West, of The Penrose Independent. Interview held at one minute past two in the afternoon, at The Pitstop, Penrose City. Interviewee is Shion Yuki,” Christine spoke aloud, took a quick note, and glanced up towards the two girls. ”Sorry for the formality, standard procedure for unspecified information discussions. Mind if I start by asking why you reached out to us?”

”Hello, Christine.” the Shion on the left said. ”How was your trip here?” She took a bite from another fry, not bothering to wait for a reply. ”I’ll cut to the chase. ‘We’, by which I mean myself, are really after two things, both of which we think we could find from a mutually beneficial arrangement with your… company? Group? Your… organisation. That’s the word.” She went silent as she continued eating, wordlessly offering access to the food to Christine.

The other Shion continued for her. ”All we want from you all is simple. Money, specifically magical coins, which we assume you pay your reporters with… And access to your large number of people at sites of interest.” She pulled out a small metal object, a purple gem with a snake made of silver wrapped around it, setting it on the table next to the fries.

”The Penrose Independent is a news organisation. We offer Magical Girls and Boys jobs and protection in exchange for their help in writing news articles.” Christine commented. She made a note of Shion’s demeanour, and the way her clone spoke interchangeably, then looked back up to the girls, with cold eyes that danced with curiosity. ”Magical and mundane currency is, of course, the main source of payment for the members in its employ. If you want a job, then alright, we can go from there - I’ll send my Boss your application, and she’ll sign you on wherever your skills can be best applied.”

Christine glanced between the two. Behind her eyes, her gaze betrayed inquisition, and their crystalline blue shade gave way to cinders and the smoke of knowledge, with flames that lapped at the falsehoods of information. ”But I’d like to ask what you’d intend to do with access to the entirety of the organisation. It’s no lie that we’ve got a fair few members, so whatever you plan to do with that gem of yours, mind telling me if it’s worth the expense we’ll be put at for using it?”

The leftmost Shion grinned as the other began speaking. ”This gem is a relatively high-grade mana condenser. It collects nearby magical energy and stores it for later use. It’s like a reusable coin, in a sense, but nowhere near as powerful. Our plan is to use your large number of bodies to collect quite a bit.”

The other Shion continued for her, “Look, for some reason, people want this city. Beacon even has a headquarters here. There are plenty of magi willing to fight here. Do you know what the most efficient, renewable way to collect magical energy is? Take a guess.”

”If I have to guess? Then,” Christine began, eyeing the thing with a mix of caution and intrigue, ”I’d say by putting these things in areas of high residual energy. Since our members are usually found in places where magical combat has recently occurred, they can do their jobs and gather Mana for you simultaneously. Am I getting that right?”

”That’s right. In our experience, limited though it may be, the best way to get mana is to be near battles. Not only do you get plenty of residual, excess mana from the combatants, but you get multiple kinds of it. Sometimes very rare kinds that could only be gotten from very specific sources otherwise. If your agents wore these on the job, imagine how much energy you could collect. We’re willing to give you fifteen percent of the total mana collected, more if you really manage to get a ton.” The two Shions paused. ”The only issue is that we’re still waiting for our supplier. We should have them by the time your boss decides if they want to hire us, and this offer is obviously there regardless of whether or not we end up working with you for your own goals.”

"Let's get this straight," Christine said. A hint of impatience lit in her voice, as she leant in, and gestured to the fries. "May I?"
Both Shions pushed the fries closer to her. ”Have at them.” The one on the right said.

”Thanks,” she replied, took a handful, and began to eat as she talked. ”See, thing is, you’re not only asking us to use the things for your benefit, but also to pay you for their use, and a tiny percentage of the net energy. Do you call that a fair deal? I don’t. Besides, I’m not exactly convinced on this. Few questions to start off with: how many do you expect to get hold of, can they be reused - if so how do you expect to store the energy so the gems can be reused - and what exactly can you do with the magical energy gathered besides replenishing your own mana? It’d be nice to know all the details of what we’re buying here.”

”Of course. We’re expecting to get about fifty to start, more if you can manage more people than that. They are reusable, but we don’t have access to where the energy gets stored on our behalf, only our supplier knows where it gets stored, but that’s our personal arrangement. It can theoretically be stored in bigger gems, which we might be able to get one for you, capable of storing quite a lot of gems’ worth. And…”

The other Shion continued in a hushed voice. ”The reason we use these gems is because it stores the type of mana. Fire magic? Store some energy from a fire user and you can shoot a fireball with it. Need something metal moulded? Store some metal alignment mana and do it yourself. You need about five times the mana you would need if you were just specialised in that type of magic, but only half of the mana you use to do it needs to be the type you’re shooting for. So if you have a gem’s worth of fire mana and a random assortment in another gem, you could light fires fairly easily. The best part though has to be how much mana these things store. You could fit about one and a half ‘normal’ magical girls’ worth of energy in each of these.”

”And remember, we’re not saying you’ll get fifteen gems out of one-hundred, we’re saying you’ll get fifteen percent of the collected mana itself, so the more types you collect the better off you’ll be, and that way, neither party can manipulate things to only give the other certain types.” The first Shion concluded.

While the two Shion’s spoke, Christine wiped her hands on a napkin. She leant across the table, as non-obstructively as possible, and took a hold of the gem. A beautiful piece of craftsmanship, Christine though, as she traced her thumb down the rough, scaled snake embellishment, and along the smooth, crystalline sphere. The information ran through her mind as it was given - one of the many reasons Christine was perhaps The Boss’s closest Reporter. And as a Reporter, she did not merely act as a vocal piece for The Independent, but for The Boss herself.

”While I think about this, mind if I ask you a few more questions?” Christine began. She glanced across to the two girls, measuring their responses and language closely. ”I’ve heard that you had a meeting with Cindy Ford and her entourage yesterday. Am I to assume you offered this same deal to her, and she turned you down?”
No, not quite. We tried to offer an alliance with her in exchange for a rather absurd payment of magical coins. She likely didn’t have access to as much as we wanted, but even if she did she refused, resulting in a simple non-aggression pact. We’ll stay out of her way as long as she stays out of ours.

”You’re asking for Magical Coins from us too, though. Any reason why you think this deal works any way in our favour if we agree to the terms as you’ve set ‘em?” Christine placed the gem back down onto the table, directly in front of her. ”You’d get payment if you work for The Independent, as an actual member. Otherwise, that’s gonna be a no.”

”We’re only asking for coins if we do work for you. The coins would be payment for our services as a journalist or whatever else you need; the collectors in exchange for part of what they collect is separate altogether.” The Shion on the left waved off Christine’s comment. Suddenly, both Shions’ phones dinged, signifying a message was received. The one on the left pulled out her phone and checked it, her eyes widening.

”So…” She began, clearly upset. ”As it turns out, we’re going to have to do a ‘test run’ whether we want to or not. I suppose it’s smarter anyway, to not just trust you with so many of these… But we just got a text from our supplier and unfortunately for us all, we’re only getting five more condensers, at least to start. We can send her more money as we get some, so if we work for you you’d basically be paying the bill.”

With a cautious eye, Christine stared across at the duplicates. Little hid behind the gaze - a pure and calculated expression, analysing them both, individually, as one, and in turn. The smoke had vanished behind her pupils, and crystallised into ice. ”Are we meant to trust this, pretty dubious, operation? I mean you can’t even keep up the promises you’ve made, and I’ve known you for about ten minutes,” Christine began. Her fingers rapped across the diner table, betraying a paradoxical, neutral impatience. ”My Boss doesn’t mind as much, but I like assurances. Absolutes. Truths. As a note, this operation wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with these ‘Red Coin’ rumours that have been floating around, would they?”

”That’s hardly fair. We’ve been nothing but truthful with you. If we wanted to be ‘dubious’ we wouldn’t have just told you what we learned.” The leftmost girl huffed.

Red Coins? The only time we saw any of those, it was when we talked to Cindy Ford. Someone made an offering of them to her. Apparently, they’re used to change things about a girl, rather than just adding power to them. We didn’t hear a whole lot of details.”

”Let me make you a deal,” Christine said. For some ten seconds, silence filled the conversation as she took a long series of notes. ”You want to collect magical energy, cool. Tail end of this Soth clusterfuck, we’re gonna have to be spending a long while going through the graveyard, looking for bodies and whatnot, so how about we say - thirty percent of the total collected energy over fifteen, and a weeks trial period where we keep all the energy, as down payment and a test of safety for these things? I’m also kinda curious why you’re interested in getting so much energy in the first place. I’m guessing you want to work for us too, right?”

The Shion on the right bit her lip as the other responded. ”Flat thirty and a week’s trial period sounds fair. And yes, we’d like to work for you, though for the record, all the coins we make doing so is going to go towards getting more of these collectors, so if you’d rather us work for free for a period of time and you simply invest in getting more it’d save us all some time.”

”I think we can agree to that. Does that sound okay, Boss?” Christine asked aloud. There was a moment of pause, an uncomfortable silence that accompanied the wait, but off to the side of the table, from the tablet, came a voice. It lacked expression, nearly androgynous, though still recognisable as female. She was serious, not quite monotone, but the emotion within the words were barely recognisable as something truly emotive.

”It does, thank you Christine.”

Both Shions let out a sigh of relief. ”Thank you.” One said. ”We’ll do our best.” The other said as she took out her phone and sent a text to her original self. -Success-

~ Christine ~

Following the events of the day, the graveyard lay still. Hours had gone by - though the day remained the same, what had been a battleground had become the grounds of an investigation. The destruction that had been inflicted on the place lingered, marring the land of the dead with scars, craters, and debris. The place was in a sorry state, as was to be expected after so many forces clashed in a single area, but the actual severity surprised Christine to a small degree. Many a location she walked past seemed worse than the aftermath of the Stadium, though she hadn't thought it possible at first.

Christine took into her hammerspace handbag - a small thing, a purse sized backpack, lined with useless pockets and equally useless accessories. She withdrew a phone, and immediately the vibrations struck at her. A near constant stream, the moment the device picked back up the signal, from near every source at the Independent’s disposal. Surveyor Teams Alpha and Beta had been assigned to combing the graveyard from on high, searching for The Boss’s mysterious ‘interesting corpses’. The hum of drones overhead drew Christine’s gaze, making passage along the skies, spying for only the Gods knew what.

Around a corner, she came to the mausoleum, large and nearly untouched. The space around it was crater-ridden, but the structure itself had remained untouched throughout the events of the battle. Across the way were body bags, and over the top, scouting for further corpses, were two officers. Since the battle had ended, the police had descended upon the place like flies to roadkill - The Boss had complained one too many times than normal, and false identities only got a teenage girl so far through the line. Sasha had little trouble herself, as a thickset, heavily muscled woman with an equally heavy personality, but Christine was another matter.

Out from her bag came a stun gun. Little did Christine have need for it on most occasions, but transformation would take too long. Instead she ducked up behind the two of them, along the wall and behind a grave. With the first officers back turned, she brought it to his neck, and as he fell, she grabbed the taser at his belt. The dull ring of electricity brought the attention of the second man, but any words he attempted to make gurgled out in sudden tension of his muscles. The moment he fell, Christine brought the stun gun to his neck as well, ensuring both stayed down cold.

”Sorry,” she muttered, and took to the bags. Two large, black pieces of equipment, obviously filled, stretched across the dirt just a way off the crater and mausoleum each. The first she unzipped was a girl she didn’t recognise, decapitated at the base of the neck, with a single, clean cut. The second, Christine reasoned, was the ‘interesting corpse’ The Boss was in search of - and blonde, green eyed dragon girl, scaled along the arms. She wore a white dress, reminiscent in part of a Chinese dress, windowed at the breast, and soaked in blood from the neck downwards. And much like the other girl, the second body beheld a severe neck wound.

Phone in hand, Christine dialled a familiar number. "005: Katelyn Everance located. She's heavily wounded, probably dead."

~The Boss ~

Accompanied with her right hand, The Boss near found herself enjoying the walk. It was something of a distance, from the police checkpoint at the edge of the graveyard to Christine’s beacon at the mausoleum, but with Sasha on her arm, the rare pleasure of walking outside became something greatly more so. It was a quiet trip, with little conversation to share between them, but at times The Boss some semblance of peace. The two talked regularly, and The Boss enjoyed Sasha’s company, as she had done in so many ways for so many years. Even the quiet was a conversation in its own respect.

From around the corner of the Mausoleum, the first to emerge was The Boss, fixing her patchwork cap as she strolled towards Christine. A little ways behind came Sasha, transformed into her Magical Girl attire, presumably to keep her identity secret from any prying eyes. The Boss, on the other hand, kept herself sealed - uncaring of who could have been watching.

”So?” The Boss queried. She had closed the distance from the edge of the mausoleum to Christine in a second, elongating her gait some ways to speed up the process, despite the short distance. Just off to the side, by one of the graves, was Christine, sat idly watching the two approach. And to her right, propped up out of their bags, were the corpses.

Christine pulled herself from the ground, cleared her throat, and took a step forward. She had been preparing what to say here, The Boss reckoned. "Uh, well, that. Looks like the same person got them both - dagger wounds to the throat, I'm guessing?" Christine took a step up towards the bodies, and titled Katelyn's head, showing off the wound. "Whoever it was took this one's head clean off. Though, she was touching her," she gestured from the body to Katelyn, "So I'm guessing they got killed at the same time. Facing each other, too. Assassination'd be my guess."

As the girl spoke, The Boss reached into her coat. A large thing, almost comically so, which covered up the small frame that wore it. Though brown and seemingly never washed, it remained in nigh pristine condition, save the patches, where damage after damage had been sewn and hidden, until nearly nothing of the original coat remained visible. Even its size, though, didn’t explain the things The Boss could pull out of it. An onlooker might have considered it like a hammerspace in and of itself, as she withdrew a laurel wreath, gold and green, embellished with berries, bespoke of a magical artifact. The Boss took a step forward, and placed it onto Katelyn’s head.

"Rebecca completed her mission, yeah?" The Boss asked to no one in particular, without turning away from the body.

"From what she had said, contact has been made with Alicia." Sasha replied.

The Boss nodded, and quickly raised a finger.
”Wha-? a startled Christine began, cut off from beginning to speak. From the corner of her eye, The Boss could see her confusion, but paid it no mind, as the surrounding area was filled with the sound of desperate choking. Katelyn doubled over into her own hands, coughing up blood as she struggled for breath against the vicious wound across her throat, which slowly sealed up with the power of the healing artifact on her head, and her own Regeneration.

"Try not to die a second time, Katie," The Boss said, as she removed the wreath from Katelyn's head and passed it onto Sasha. "Give this back to Charlotte when we're done here, 'kay?" Once the chef had taken it, The Boss knelt down onto the stone, where Katelyn continued coughing, "Mind telling me what happened here?"

Question in the air, The Boss watched as Katelyn attempted to bring her breathing under control. The coughs subsided, and she shifted uncomfortably against the stone of the pillar, and the bag beneath her. "Silhouette, that... that fucking Mint Agent... She's got a Time Specialisation," Katelyn started, her normal, apathetic tone of voice falling away into anger as she spoke, "That stupid knight decided to turn on me, and I guess she, she, slowed time, or something?"

"'That knight'?"

"Shona, the, one of those Beacon girls the Bates kidnapped."

The Boss again nodded slowly, both to Katelyn, and behind, to Sasha. "A Mint girl who can slow time enough to get a hit on you, huh... man, that's gonna be a pain in the ass." she said, as she stood up, and took a step towards Shona's corpse, "Sasha, get a message to the Beckoners, will you? Tell them 'The Penrose Independent has recovered the body of a girl we believe to be named Shona - one of the missing girls abducted by The Bates. As a sign of good faith we would like to return the body, for either storage until reincarnation, or proper burial and funeral rites.'" As Sasha nodded, The Boss tilted her head to the left. "Christine... may I have a word with Katie in private?"

"Sure, I'll go, uh... check in on the Surveyor Team's."

"You're not built for multiple engagements," The Boss commented, back turned to the girl, as Christine vanished from sight.

"Mint, then Beacon, then Mint again, then Beacon again, then Mint again, I'm going to find her and kill her." Katelyn spat. What was once merely a devolved form of her usual speech had derived completely. Every word she spoke was accented with venom, with an anger that far surpassed a grudge against Silhouette or being oppressed as a Monster Girl. A rage burned within her, in the depths of her soul. The Boss had no need to look at her face to see it contorted in desperate, deep seated hatred. And she didn't make any comments. "You know what I mean, don't pretend like you can't see it. Everything I've ever known you know, I swear on my life and hers - The Ebon Mint will be annihilated when I'm through. Understand?! Some fucking God you are! 'Remember the terms of our contract', those terms were mine to begin with."

The Boss made no moves or sounds to stop the rise of anger within Katelyn, until finally it released - a deafeningly loud explosion filled the air of the mausoleum as Katelyn fired off a railgun, completely decimating two of the pillars, and an entire wall of the structure. The air crackled with residual energy as the girl fell to her knees, her weapon skittering along the ground beside her, and she began to cry. The Boss looked back, lacking expression, skin and muscle stretched across bone, and looked upon the dragon girl with smoke in her eyes. She closed the distance between the two of them, knelt down, and hugged her.

"They're not listening, huh? I know the feeling. When your ideal won't listen to what you have to say. It's hard, isn't it?" The Boss leant in, wrapping the sobbing dragon girl tightly in an embrace, whispering into her ear. "But you're not wrong. You've been hurt in so many ways, haven't you? The Ebon Mint is evil, and your mission to destroy it is pure. They hurt people, like you, all the time. Remember what you told me? We made a deal, because I want to help you. Because you can help make the world a better place."

The wreck of a Magical Girl in the Boss's arms seized up for a moment. Every muscle in her body seemed to tense, as the words pervaded her mind. They felt heavy, even as whispers, and backed with tremendous volumes of wisdom and experience, despite their simplicity. But it wasn't the work of a Psychic Specialisation - Katelyn had felt that first hand. It was different, softer almost. Inviting. "Y'know, I made this organisation to help reach the truth. In the end, all things boil down to it. I like to think - that truth is the same thing as what others call justice. When Beacon removes a corrupt member of their organisation, or kills a violent Monster Girl, they are just spreading the truth that is their ideal, right? I think my ideal would adore you, Katie. Because you’re honest and true. Keep up your end of the deal, okay? Find and kill Silhouette."

The Boss pulled away as Katelyn’s sobbing subsided. She held out a hand, to pull the girl off the floor.
"You okay, Ma'am?" the voice of Christine called out, cresting one of the entrances to the mausoleum as she looked in on the scene.

"Perfect timing, Christine, let's have, hmmm... Scarlet and Caleb, come and help you transport Shona's body. Put it on ice until the Beacon operatives come and collect it." The Boss placed a hand of Katelyn's shoulder. "And you, go and get some rest, alright? You're gonna be low on mana after regenerating - near death experiences are hard the first few times around. My Trackers will add Silhouette to the list, and I'll contact you myself when we find her."

"Alright... sure..." Katelyn responded, wiping some tears from her face. She picked up her weapon, banished it, and then took off towards the city, quickly leaving the sights of both The Boss and Christine.

"Have someone keep an eye on her apartment. Make sure she doesn't kill herself," The Boss said, presumably to Christine, though with her back turned it could have been to anyone. She reached into her coat, on the right side, and from within drew a phone, leaving little room for Christine to respond - a touch screen device, with a shatter proof case and wide screen, more indicative of a personal item than standard issue. She brought up her contacts list, and dialled out a specific number of a rather important man. When the dial up ceased, The Boss raised the thing to her ear.

"Hi there, Lee. Boy do we have a lot to talk about, don't we?"

"Ah, 'Cynthia,'" came his voice from the other end. "Good to hear from you."

"The one and only," The Boss replied. On the other side of the call, the sound of gravel crushed underfoot followed her movements, until she came to lean against one of the mausoleum's walls. "How's the fear treating you? Well, I hope?"

"Pleasant as always."

"Good, good. Right, listen, one of my associates has just made contact with a Beacon agent. They'll be hearing about you guys soon enough, and the story about it's being kept vague - no 'potentially deal breaking information' getting into the mix, y'know? I'm thinking, that's my side of the deal done. Beacon knows, my Taskers are out and about and all's cushty. So how're we looking?"

Lee sipped something, presumably from his mug. "Like the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he said, pleasantly.

Across the call The Boss chuckled to herself quietly. "A beautiful friendship, that it does," she echoed in kind. "I suppose you'll want to start giving me the rundown soon enough. Before that, though, I have to say, I've been hearing some rumours about you, Lee. Ignoring you and your biker pals showing up to the graveyard, there've been some interesting things floating about The Web. Where'd you like to meet up, eh? I'm sure we'd both like to get that out the way first."

Lee took a contemplative sounding sip. "Are you familiar with the Beth Lamnnid Memorial Library, on the west side of town?" He paused again. "There's a restaurant not far from there. It doesn't get very busy, but it's got pleasant food. It's called the Nerine Vista."

The Boss smiled, something coy and understanding. She pushed herself up from the wall of the mausoleum, and began to walk, onwards to the skyline of Penrose City. "I think I've passed by there a few times, actually. Seems nice enough. When are you free? - I'll call up for a reservation." Within the sound of footsteps, The Boss sighed of pleasure. A moment where true happiness bled into her words. "Tonight has been going great, don't you think? It's been a long while since I ate out socially. I expect you to keep up the bargain to the letter, I should add. Can't do with spoiling the mood."

"Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of spoiling the mood." The Boss could hear the smile in Lee's voice. "How about Friday night, around seven o'clock?"

"Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good. I'll see you then."

"I'm looking forward to it. Enjoy the rest of your night."

A smile worked its way onto The Boss’s lips. A scarce and distorted expression, backed with emotion and yet lacking it equally. Just skin pulled taut over her jaw. She began to walk, onwards to the Penrose skyline, as smoke billowing into the night.
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