/help - display this menu
/help <command> - display detailed help
/ping <handle> - displays lag time
/quit - exit chat
/su - elevate privilege
/who - list active members
/whois <handle> - displays user profile
|Sonic Sorceress Airi|
Lag time? What does that mean, here...? Agh, not important. I hope.
...hopefully, whois will tell me enough. Maybe it'll give me more. Have to check what /su would mean in respect to reality if I used it as well - well, if I even can...
I wonder how whoever set up the network is seeing this, if they even are. It's definitely going to seem strange to them.
Nothing for it. Spam /whois. Even for me, I might learn something. There's the symbol next to Libra too...maybe the admin? The one who made the network? It certainly marks them out.
From there, they enter /whois for every handle provided by /who.
...yeah, admin was probably going to be having some interesting reactions to this if they could see this.
...I wonder if it would have any interesting results if I...well, it's safer than trying an unknown handle.
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The tent flap is torn aside, and out of the maelstrom steps a crooked figure in black coattails. He strolls in, snapping his fingers and leaning into a hand-carved walking staff. When he reaches conversational distance, he flips up a pair of sunglasses which exist only for this affectation. “S’not like, you, Tengri. I know it’s only been three days, but with all that’s happening on the field? I would’a thought you’d’ve shown your hand by now…”
The man picks a fruit that isn’t there off the table, which isn’t there, and takes a bite. You feel as though he’s taken that fruit from you, even though you recognize he’s only playing with you. You’re pretty sure he’s aware this is as much your domain as his, even if you are a junior officer, so to speak. Still, it’s hard to tell if he’s just playing out his role out of habit, or trying to put you in your place with all of these superfluous affectations.
You can still feel Sora, just out of your reach.
“Encore! Encore!” You panic for a second, trying to remember a setlist that doesn’t exist, then the man barks out a laugh like rain at a funeral. “How are we tonight, my sweet-sweet? Are you enjoying your role in my ‘Cabaret Magnifique? I hope the ironies have not been too-too heavy for you.” He flashes a smile of too-many teeth. “I am afraid, however, that I have come to collect.”
The door behind you opens, and a man whose steps break unevenly across the metal tile enters your office. Deeply ingrained instincts have you on your feet and saluting before you’ve placed the man’s scent- opiates and fresh-dried ink. “Airi. So nice to see you. I notice that despite your best efforts, you have not been able to complete your-” he laughs dirisively, “wild goose chase. -how is the boy, by the way? Any closer to the breakthrough you so desperately need?”
You can still hear Junpei, as if on the far end of a long, dark tunnel.
The woman’s head promptly explodes in a shower of gore. The man seated next to her wipes his lips and eyes, then proceeds to lick his fingers. “Junpei… So good of you to join me. I was afraid you may be out of my reach with that mess you call sorcery.” The man smiles, revealing two neat rows of far too many teeth. “It has been a great deal of fun watching you. It pains me, now, to come calling so soon.”
A moorish trapper scales the steps to what is, for once, your audience hall. “So... should I call in Solomon from his castle in the sands? You know he would only have us cut her up.” He looks up, and in the sky hangs a translucent egg. Something moves within, but it is still hard to see just what it is. “She will be great, whatever we decide...”
You can still feel Kiyomi, gestating just at the edge of your awareness.
“She never does.” The voice comes from behind you. A youthful man with long spidery limbs sits at the stoop of a ruined temple. Your family crest over the door. “I do not think she is sure herself. It was not easy for her. There were so many people depending on her. Yourself included.” The man taps out a long pipe, using a long nail on his little finger to clear the ash. “I was not so invested then as I am now…” The man brandishes a toothy grin.
The busdriver angles the mirror to get a good look at you. “First time on this side?” The older man’s laugh is like particularly dry salmon. “Not everyone gets to go right back up to bat after a no-hitter. I’d say you’ve got someone looking after you, but then again, here am I. A dead ringer for the prince of darkness.” The man’s smile shows at least twice as many teeth as it should, seemingly all canines.
You can still see Alex but he’s too far in the distance for you to catch his attention.
The bailiff snaps his gum. “You ready, son?”
A small black dog in your lap emits a low growl. You’ve never seen this dog before.
You wake up, as if from a dream, staring into the fountain’s placid pool. The eclipse hangs, mirrored perfectly in the clutches of the dragon. You notice the black cat is missing, and when you turn to look for him, you see a panther, sitting at the edge of a cliff, staring down a towering skull filled with row after row of teeth. The skull roars, but nothing passes the panther’s cool stare. The world beyond the Panther's steady paws has been torn away, and what remains is spinning madness.
All that remains of the world around the pool is a path of tiny stones leading to another floating rock with the pump building on it. Water streams down from exposed pipes. To say you could reach the building from here is like stating you might be hit by a meteor in the next five minutes. True, strictly speaking, but highly implausible.
Feel free to improvise your other lives given these context clues. Their actions and motives are still essentially yours to determine.
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
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I think I understand those references.
"It's Tenshi now." the woman corrects, testily as she adjusts her Gofuku, white. "You as well as I know what is in a name, and how important it is to be seen as you wish to be." One flap of the outfit dislodges and flutters its annoyance. "To be viewed as an angel has as many tactical advantages as to be viewed as a deity." she adjusts the wing, which folds perfectly back into place as if it had never not been clothing.
"Perhaps I have already shown my hand. What would you say to that?" she asks as she looks to the well-dressed man, waving her hand to reset her maps to their initial positions. "What are you doing here. she says, not so much a question as a command. "Why have you removed me from the young Sylph?"
"Where's everyone else?" Tenshi asks the man, immediately, defaulting to the english he'd chosen. Neither of her bandmates were there, no one in the crowd. She'd never been asked to wear a little black dress on stage before. Just her and him. Well dressed... she shakes her head. She knew people like him well enough. Appearances for Appearance's sake. She didn't so much sneer - she felt more like herself than she had in recent time - as she slid the microphone back into its stand, before hopping off the stage. "I'm fine. But I can't stay here. There are people to help... a lot of them." The panic dies down as she remembers how to deal with people who think they're in control. She twirls her finger in the air.
If she has her magic, or any control over the setting:
And a song starts to play. "I know who you are... I think. And you can't have them."
If she doesn't have her magic or any control:
She freezes as the ball of her foot touches the floor. Her eyes move to the exit, then back to him. "You can't have them." she says, somewhat shakily.
The change was noticed by his ears at first...
It was not an empty silence, as that of the void, but it just felt to him like it was near the edges. It was a silence that lay within the edges, and beyond was incomprehension. He lifted his head from contemplation of the pool as he looked around, seeing what remained of the world. The pieces that remained were pieces he had not yet touched, Elsewhere.
He was calm. Like the pool. No ripples of uncertainty, just the sense of peace like the silence. He found his footsteps taking him towards the panther, towards the edge, and closer to the skull that faced it. It was certainly an ominous representation, if anything beyond had been removed by its arrival. Why then, could it not progress?
His feet had stopped just behind and beside the panther, one hand reaching out to rest on a furred shoulder, not stroking as if to calm, but simply resting there. Reinforcement. Acknowledgement. Internally, he was extending that extra sense of himself outward, to feel what resonated back at him.
The skull had not moved. It could not. Not yet, at least.
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The shade wordlessly pours another pair of shots.
“My father thought he was some kind of yakuza hardass, selling guns. He was only ever a punk with wasted talent and a fabrication workshop.
One day, my brother’s dog bit a neighbor. After the police were gone, he told us that the dog had to be punished. If we wanted him to live, we’d have to take responsibility. See, that’s what he called crushing one of the dog’s legs with a hammer. Then, he doused the dog with gasoline. If we couldn’t be responsible for the dog, he’d light him on fire. Classic a@@&%&@.
After my brother broke the dog’s leg, my father said two words: one more.” Yuki takes the next shot.
“My brother begged, pleaded, cried… my father only lit his cigarette… and my brother broke another leg.
One more, son.
When he’d broken all four of his dog’s legs, my father tossed his butt and the dog burned anyway. On his way back inside, he said: They’re never going to stop asking for ‘one more’ if you just give them what they want. Figure out what you want, and fight for it. No compromises.”
The shinigami nods. “And what do you fight for?”
Yuki shakes a finger and taps the table. “Ah-ah-ah. One more.
The spirit laughs, and takes the shot.
“That’s why I’m not looking to get cut up, or trade for lopsided wishes. Nothin’ wrong with it, and I respect those that do, but if I go down that road, there will always be one more thing I need to do for them to accept me. They are not who needs to accept me. I am.” She takes another shot.
“You’re not going to out-drink me-”
Yuki taps the table. “You know the rules. Can’t speak if you’re a shot behind. Can’t lie if you can’t speak. Can’t weigh Kiyomi against the baby if I don’t listen. My brother bargained himself away to folks who said they could make his dreams come true, and all it got him was a fancy gravestone. I’m here to endure, and overcome, not bargain.” Yuki takes the bottle and pours herself another shot.
|Sonic Sorceress Airi|
Oh, how she loathed him. He looked down on her, she knew. And he never missed the opportunity to show that.
She'd make him eat every disparaging word he'd ever said.
Oh, yes. He'd see.
Still, just because she loathed him did not mean she didn't have work to do. She sets herself back down and returns to the life support systems. "Just because you don't personally believe this is a worthwhile endeavour does not make this a wild goose chase. These things take time, as you never forget to ignore. So I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't let your disdain make you so petty."
The harmony starts to become something discordant. Growling and gritting her teeth, she takes a more aggressive approach to stabilising the systems. Damn if it didn't take a lot of concentration, though. She needed him out so she could deal with this properly. "To give you the short version, because hell if you ever listen to the long one...he's managing. He's not fine, not after what he has dealt with, but he is managing...even if he is now wary of my perceived persona. How that particular incident played out was unexpected for me."
A problem that would have taken down a pod cluster is quickly stamped out, at the same time that three more start to take effect. She knew she'd have heard the subtle signs of each in advance if he wasn't here right now. "Regardless, this 'wild goose chase' has been more productive than anything before it, and now-" She hammers one last key, and the systems are brought into temporary equilibrium, to hopefully stay that way until she could give them her full attention again. "-I am, indeed, quite close to my breakthrough. Though I'm sure you'd disagree, as per usual."
She rises once more, and look him in the eye as best she can. He always stood in the same spot anyways. "Why you are interrupting my work, if you would deign to answer? And for that matter, just what are you doing with my charge, and what are your intentions with them? Even if your behaviour always tasteless, it is rarely pointless."
For a moment, they don't respond, crushed by the weight of a girl's life and shocked by a woman's head exploding. Then...
Wait...wait, hold on! Snap out of it! We've seen this before! Well, most of it. When Miyako hit you, remember?
...yeah, that's right. I still have no idea if I actually did something there.
Umm...maybe think about that later? The guy with too many teeth might just be real.
O-of course he is. We're back to my body, so...guess I'm dealing with this.
Wiping himself off and checking his hat, trying hard not to think about just what he was wiping off - It's not real. You can't freak out now. - he makes himself as presentable as possible and turns his attention to the man and his many, many teeth. He squashes down the initial shock, and puts on his best smile. Act normal. He's being polite. Return the favour.
"Got to admit I don't know what this is about, but it's a pleasure to meet you, head explosions and calling me into an old fear hallucination aside. What would you like me to call you? Would you mind telling me what's going on? And what happened to the others? I'm kind of confused here."
They wonder briefly what's going on here. How this place works. If they said their shared name...would they switch?
They start idly mumbling. 「...this just keeps escalating. I hope trying this isn't hostile or anything...Sonic Sorceress Airi.」
You whisper, and nothing happens. “Ah, no. I think you should know I’m the one who gave you that key. That’s my door you’re asking to open, and right now it’s staying closed. Call me Sailor Pluto.”
You feel your stomach drop as the cosmos rejects your paltry perspective, as if the information you’re requesting literally could not parse into any form you might comprehend from your perspective.
You sense yourself, a hand over yours, looking out at the cosmos through the tiniest hole. Everywhere but there, space has been torn like velcro. Two infinite spaces made to intersect, like a quilt, along crisscrossing lines. Your first impression is a humbling one. Around you are thirteen pillars, and on one end of the nearest stands your sister. You can see ‘here’ and you can see ‘there’ but traversing the space between… you’re not even sure it’s a matter of physical movement.
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
Tenshi ponders the board as it's been reset. "I still don't understand just why so many of the pieces moved to the garden. The girl should have gone to the mall along with everyone else that she'd contacted, but she took that left turn. I think I failed to account for her 'Dream Prophet's' effect on her. Nothing's out of place, particularly, but the former garrison is significantly more important than the petty squabbles of the tree and the devil." she shares aloud, more out of force of habit, ruminating at the newly set board.
"So you desire more than a pawn," she says, tapping the dog, "But even a pawn that transforms isn't enough?" she says, tapping Kazue's piece. "And a queen, still, would not be enough?" she asks, tapping Juno's piece.
"I fear you're more set upon the endgame than even I. So... do you intend to utilize the Wisdom of Solomon to take your due? Or do you prefer to take a pound from each? Is this due to the actions of the tree or the rebirth of the knight?"
* * * * *
"Because I trust my magic." Sora says, perhaps too quickly. The fact that it had failed her only just now seems to weigh a little heavily into her missed step, causing her breath to slow as she feels the weight on her shoulders. "The kitten could have taken them to anywhere, in any one. And I know what I'm looking for. If you could get them, you'd get them yourself, right? You wouldn't need to trap me here." she says, musing as her adrenaline kicks in and clears her mind, if only a little. The flight portion of her brain highlighted the exit. The fight part of her brain said to swat his hand away. The freeze portion of her brain was currently winning, leaving her with enough mental leeway to not move until she'd thought things through. "Not a lot. Only that making a deal always leaves the other guy the loser, unless you can be beaten at your own game." she answers, finally. "But there's nothing I'm particularly good at to challenge you with. Certainly not a prodigy. I could paint something for you. I've never really heard any stories about how you take to gifts, only to games." she says, finally, before taking the hand that was clearly, after a moment's thought, meant to be asking her to dance.
"It is a rather sordid mess, no?" The man regards the pawns you've indicated, frowning. "Always a wish for more wishes... Give a girl a comb, and she will ask for a mirror. Give her glass, and she will ask for silver. Show her a wounded crow, and she will ask it mended, and never mind how it bites and scratches. All these things and more we give them, so long as they open their hearts to us..." The man's eyes grow unfocused, looking past the table and its map.
"All I need is an offer... one I do not expect you would ever consider making, but I believe someone will break, if the offer does not come naturally."
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
"She bound the crow? That is... surprising. Is that why she was upset with the little dreamer's borrowing of its power? Not over pressing upon her servant, but rather over playing with her toys? Fitting, I suppose."
"You desire things that I cannot give; you know that I have a destiny more important than any of the others." she says, cooly. That was certainly one perspective. "The best that I could give you is nothing that I value, and that would hardly be worth your while. Perhaps my charge will offer you her beloved ePod." she adds dismissively.
* * *
"I'll need a subject, and media. What would you like a portrait of?" Sora responds, quickly, heart skipping a beat as he begins to circle a subject she wanted to go nowhere near.
You are Juno, a queen among Gods… or were, at some point. Eternity has been tedious. Your newest project, both hanging in the sky and growing in your latest host, is something altogether new, which is the only reason it has kept your attention. With a series of lucky breaks, you’ve managed to reclaim the magic of a hydra without corrupting the vessels, and have used your own brand of magics to bind it. You honestly don’t know what will come of it. You don’t particularly care if it ends the world. It would only be one more title to bring back across the veil.
The man before you, the veil’s gate-keeper, seems to be claiming some involvement. You don’t recall inviting him. You’re surprised he hasn’t given up on you. You’ll return to Chaos on your own terms.
Hard questions like, why did they all have to die?
“You wonder why I would show you this.” He’s not always correct. Good to know. “Your mother and I, we are very close.” He uses the stem of his pipe to point at the moon, vivid behind the smoke and clouds. “It broke her, to put you back. I do not think she will ever be the same. I wonder now what she feels knowing you returned to it.” From his pocket, the man draws a white sphere, the size of a golfball. With the flick of his wrist, a knife appears, and with the ball and pipe carefully cradled in one hand, he carves a few bits of whatever it is into the pipe’s bowl. It carves like soap.
“I can put her back, same as I did you. Same deal as she had, no questions asked...”
“You fought valiantly, but that bird won out again.” The busdriver snickers. “He’s a tangled web, that Ayatori. S’got everyone convinced he’s their best friend. No one’s given a second thought to where he’s gotten so much power. Three tokens. That’s three centuries of home-grown magic, and he’s still got his voice. With Chione’s seventy unspent years, Shvibzik can hardly speak a word unless he’s got a host, but Ayatori? He’s got three of you wrapped around his finger, and you can’t do a thing.”
“Ninsar wiped Solomon clean, if you’re wondering, and Tenshi can’t duplicate what she hasn’t seen. Your whole agenda was dismantled hours after you died.”
As he reaches for you, the dog lunges forward, biting the bailiff’s finger.
The man howls, and flings the dog across the room. The wall collapses as if the dog had been a rhino, or the wall made of styrofoam. Something clicks, mentally, and the bailiff blooms in a cascade of black robes, becoming in an instant he whom you have named.
The reaper “Aren’t you a bit young for this one?”
The silence was an echo in his ears, and he could feel nothing beyond what was under his feet. Even the fountain did not smell like water. He was "present", but it was like existing in an image.Only now did he come back from trying to make sense of what he could see, what he could feel in regards to the space that existed around him. There was no sense of how long he had been there, staring out into the uncaring void, the large feline— that he was quite sure was not even a "feline", but it faced the manifestation of the void, and that was enough. The sight of his sister on a pillar gave him no small amount of concern, and he did not want to understand what he was seeing.
He and this large cat were the only entities present, facing a skull, beyond which lay madness and nothing... So much for denial. Perhaps something on a smaller scale? Reflexively he took stock of the "fatigue" he usually felt after work. It was not quite that, he was certain now, but that was how he thought of it. If it felt like he had enough energy, he was going to try something. Indefinitely facing down the void did not sound appealing. Necessary, but not appealing.
How is he feeling after that pair of symbols?
With the invisible hand guiding you, the work feels effortless. Where it would have taken you hours to achieve even marginal success, you feel only that time is short.
Rather than Drain, hunters usually operate by preparation. Silver's bullets, DK's solar charge, etc. Because this place doesn't burn your prepared scripts, you don't suffer the penalty for rushing a new tag, and don't use a prepared tag.
Very surprised by the work that should have left him feeling a little fatigued, Ao could sense the press of time, like the this was a bubble, somehow sustaining the press of the outside world. The emptiness of this place was disconcerting, the symbolism that he did not understand, and the silence that it existed in. Certainly no place to remain, not when there was something to be done.
His hand began tracing the pattern to [Reinforce], pushing the completed pattern towards the feline that was facing down the skull, as gentle as one would push smoke.
The fountain and pump house remained, but he still sent a [Link] pattern and attempted to press it through the intervening space to set against the column that she was standing on.
This was the curious part. He could remember the containment patterns, but here, he did not know what would happen if he tried to apply them. The other places that he had sealed were not visible, and only those remained. Maybe it would be better to see what results the first two patterns had on where he was.
Reinforce: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 1) = 4
Link: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 3) = 5
For a moment, the tent pulses, like a freak wind pressing in the walls. The man stands from the map table, eyeing the tent flap warily. “Not everyone is such a team player…”
As the two of you waltz to the center of the room, the music changes back to your selection, and the man looks up with a frown. “Impossible…”
When you make the second symbol, and press it into the barrier, a tunnel tears into the distance, forcing a tangible link between two intangible points.
At the end of the tunnel, the world is warped and twisted. A sunny field of crimson grass and a sky like Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The scene is vaguely familiar, with the small two-story home with a greenhouse out back. A porcelain marionnette, strung in rose vines stands before Kyou. As you approach, a dessicated corpse passes through the far wall. Fire licks at her skin as she pushes into the negative exposure landscape. A glowing silver chain strings the three of them together.
Resting against the black picket fence is a nobleman in white robes, petting a white rabbit. He doesn’t seem too terribly surprised that there are so many visitors to this scene. “Come, settle in! I’ve some important information for the four of you, as your leaders have made things very difficult indeed.”
There is a change in the air, and the smell of ozone. The harmony of your IO panel maintains cohesion. This is a symptom of the dealer’s half of this shared space. “That would be him I suppose... I had hopes your pet project would crush his spirit by now. They can’t keep leading him on like this indefinitely. He’s resilient, but he’s no God.”
The larger figure is a mass of bent and twisted metal. Matte black plates hang from an aluminum frame. Inside, Benji looks terrified. Beside the hulk stands Lys. His hat and coat smouldering, and a large purple bruise closing up one eye. With a pop, the window shatters, filling the room with glass shards and hot salt.
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
"I'm not particularly interested in cohesion, honestly. That's the girl. I long ago learned that it was easier to manipulate a person into following their dreams than to actually align myself with any individual. Would that I could continue to do so. But no. The girl is the one who seeks to work with others, and I can't say that I have a complaint in regards to that. It slows her actions, but it also tempers them. She has a tendency to leap before she looks, but so long as she believes that what she desires is the others, it prevents her from... shall we say, overstepping. There is much that she could do that would be worse than a tear if she allows her precious ties to morality wane. Or... so the prophet seems to think. Regardless, that is neither here nor there. It simply doesn't serve me for you to be misguided in our intentions. In exchange for that, however, perhaps you will answer a question that I rather enjoy asking." she calmly uncrosses her legs before crossing the other over it, finger toying with the golden piece on the board. "What is best in life?" she asks, lips slowly turning into a smirk.
"I don't think that giving you an old creation is fair. Some belong to others, and some are others. I would happily make something new for you, however." she suggests, as her eyes wander up to the roof. She snaps an index finger over to the side to test if a cymbal sound clashes. If it does, she purses her lips slightly and blinks a few times. "That doesn't change anything. I made you a promise and I intend to keep it, but I can't promise you what isn't mine."
Ao paused as he took in the scene, and gave a double-take at Kyou before giving her the smile he often gave her when he had seen that she had gotten into trouble that he had seen coming. 「I am not surprised」, he said with a grin. The other two got curious looks, but he was perhaps still where he needed to be. The last tag remained to be placed, and he had seen things that he did not want to see much of for a while. Giving a glance to the last point, he stepped into the tunnel, curious about what was going on, since Kyou didn't seem to be panicked.
|Sonic Sorceress Airi|
Airi laughs a little at what she hears. "Really now? Crush his spirit? And here I thought I was supposed to be the one with foolish hopes. I think you know it's not quite that simple."
"We both know you're the one who allowed his situation to become as it is now, even if you're barely willing to speak about it most times. And now, you're not even making efforts to clean up your mess, as you had any other time. Unless..." She raises an eyebrow. "There's something you're keeping quiet?"
Sailor Pluto, tears in the veil (What even IS the Veil?), drawing things out from fractured minds...
"You know, I'd really appreciate it if-"
Shattering. A mangled iron body containing someone he knew he'd hurt, and a long-time friend that had taken beatings of his own. 「Lys? Benji? What happened to you?」 He rushes over, looking over the both of them to try and get a better feel for how badly they were doing. 「How did you even get here? Are you alri- no, stupid question, you're not. How badly are you doing?」
He eyes the gold figure with a smirk. She’s about done.I do hope I can settle the accounts before the interlopers make too-too much of a mess.
At your snap, there are three knocks at the door, and the dance ends. The man in the top hat backs away from you and the door. Don’t suppose you’ve heard the phrase ‘speak of the devil’? I’ll be frank, Sora, if you call to Them once more, They will come, and I would do a great deal to avoid that. They cannot be allowed across the Veil.
Kyou taps the marionette on the shoulder. 「I don’t think he will hurt us, Sakura.」
The corpse lady sways as she enters. I wouldn’t go that far, but yer animal friends fetched you the nicest version of him anyway… I hope Tomoyo is okay...
She’s sa- er, ali- er… She’s okay. Nothing for me to collect. The man spreads his hands innocently. Let me get a few things out of the way before we get started: Kyou is a channeler. She was channeling Sakura, who had recently died and was being evoked by my beloved Emi
Beloved my shriveled ass! Emi spits something on the ground that smokes and sizzles.
We are here because your grandmother is possessed by a phantom called Ninsar, who has managed to channel themself. They have been masquerading as Kyou Oshiro for a very long time, and has managed to orchestrate, however subtly, the largest collaborative withdrawal through the Veil between worlds. If I do not bring about balance, the resultant maelstrom will destroy your universe. Any other questions before I get to the point?
Lys cocks his head to one side, indicating the insubstantial void behind them. 「It’s a maelstrom back there in the space between. After I dispelled my image of Hades, I rescued this one.[b]」 He glances at Benji before taking a step forward and tuting at your dark host.
The man pulls his hand out of his pocket and raises both again. [B]The scales must return to balance, paragon. Someone must pay this bill.
「Maybe you do your damn job, gatekeeper, and close this Veil of yours for good.」
The man laughs derisively, You know not what y- the man’s head and shoulder disappear in sizzling black smoke and he collapses to the floor.
「Who do we rescue next?」
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
"You wound me. I prefer to see it as enlightening my enemies, broadening their horizons, and... well, yes. Do you need any aid in drawing this to a conclusion?" she asks, seemingly genuinely interested. She'd had the opportunity to feel him out and while he was as much a snake as any creature she'd met, he was a snake that had no interest in her and hers. So to aid him in clearing the garden was clearly the best course of action.
"Sorry, I was curious. I... really like having magic. It makes it feel like I can make a difference. Like - Like I can make the world a better place." But the truth was, it felt like she had control. Like she could protect the things she cared about. Certainly, she was a 'good guy' as it were, but... things were complicated. "Is there anything I can do to help?" or get out a little faster..?
A lot of those words made no sense to him, but he did look at his sister in confusion. 「That is... not my sister?」 Mentally, he was berating himself for asking a question that was already answered, but he was wary of the others, and more confused about the entirety of what was going on at this point. This was more weirdness than he anticipated, but he was here now. 「Please, nevermind the question. What is the point?」 The whole time, he was stealing glances at the grass and sky, trying to maintain some sort of composure, and wondering if the time that was spent here was being taken away from what he was supposed to be doing.
|Sonic Sorceress Airi|
This time, the laughter isn't quite so restrained, the idea of what he's suggesting darkly humorous given who he's talking about. The offended tone she'd provoked from him only made it worse. "I'm, sorry, I'm terribly sorry...but you and I both know it's not quite that simple. Bargaining with them always took gunpowder, and you seem to be on short supply."
Her expression returns to a more neutral one, the vestiges of humour gone. "If you really hope to influence them, then you need to find a little more leverage than you currently have, don't you? And I have to wonder if you can even reach for such a thing at this point."
"It's in neither our interests for the extremities they're inclined to to be put in enforcement. The question is if you can reach the position you need alone, isn't it? I still have more than enough openings for my needs, but can the same be said for you?"
Junpei's speechless for a moment as someone's head is destroyed for the second time since he came here, mouth wide open. He looks between Lys and the headless body, before clamping his jaw shut.
...who to rescue? Is...is that even a question?
Who to rescue NEXT is. And if they're here, there's only really one answer right now, isn't there?
「Tomoyo. I was meant to be there for her before all this, and if she's somewhere around here, I need to be there for her now.」 He looks about, trying to comprehend the strange space that surrounds the place. 「I'm going to need a little help here, though. I still don't have a clue what's going on, let alone where we are.」
He looks over at Benji again, concern on his face. He...still hadn't responded. He didn't know if he could respond. 「...Benji?」
Airi witnesses the interlude below in-character
Another figure, as pale as they themselves were dark, sits crouched a few paces away. They don’t so much as glance over their shoulder to address the dark one’s plight. Oh, suck it up, we don’t have time for your whining.
A third figure walks into the clearing, a spring buck picking his way behind them. They all had arrived in this literal backwood to avoid scrutiny. I think we actually did it. We’re inside the grand experiment. Will your leg prevent you from re-opening the gate?
The pale one interrupts, preventing the dark one from answering. “I’m not going back. You can leave once you’ve helped me blend in, but I’m not going back until I can end Ashen Mother Void... Done!” The pale figure stands and turns toward the others.
The other stifles a gasp. “That shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t have been able to recall-”
The pale one grins, revealing a golden scroll, already dissolving in the sunlight. Along both arms, traced in black ink, truths of the cosmos are writ. “I didn’t get it all, but I got the most important parts. This could be it. No more watching gates. No more testing the dead. No more wasted talents. We have all the keys.”
“Didn’t someone already try this? Didn’t they make things worse? Getting through the Veil was interesting as a puzzle, as a pastime, but I’m not here to challenge authority so brazenly.” The dark one tries to stand, but pain grounds them.
The pale figure stoops to touch the broken leg with one hand, and the leg knits itself back together. “They weren’t working from within the system like I am. I’ll have these monkeys belching balefire and writing their own experimental worlds in no time. If that’s not good enough, nothing is stopping you from turning back now.”
The other figure pets the deer. “I, for one, will not be returning- By choice, or by accidental injury.” They nod to the dark figure’s healed leg. “And you’ll not drag me into your war.”
“What is that?” The pale figure points to the deer. The air hisses around his other hand.
The other figure steps in front of the animal, defensively. “Another trespasser. He followed the energy of our passing through the Veil. I think he is... hungry.”
Standing, the dark figure reaches out to the Veil, probing its damage. Pushing three bodies through, physically, had almost ruined everything. It had seriously strained the Veil to translate their beings into something this world could grok. “We cannot do this again. Not like this. We will need a more subtle means of crossing.”
“So you’ve changed your mind?” The pale figure is still eyeing the animal while addressing the dark one.
“No, but I won’t stand idly by while you bring the whole thing down around us. Some of us respect this ‘experiment’.”
The man makes a bleak expression. It would not be so bad, but you were near the center. Now, at the end of this corridor you will meet a very strange quartet. A few of them should be familiar to you. Draw them for me, and give the drawing to the… er… the one who is there. He will be expecting you. No funny business, I merely wish to see what you see. They are a peculiar bunch.
The corridor is long and bends just enough that you can’t see it extend off into the distance. Other than the intended destination, the only distinct feature is a tunnel, cut in green light, that overlaps this hall. The green tunnel is straight, and you can see a part of the gardens on the other side. While you are looking, you feel something brush up against your ankle, and find your new friend the cat passing between your feet, tail wrapping around your ankle as cats do. You don’t remember the black cat having any fur patterns, but irregular white stripes run through the black fur. With the cosmos burning around you, it’s hard to focus on such a minor detail.
Benji’s eyes come back into focus and settle somewhere just above your eye line. For a moment his lips move without making sound, and it seems like he’s completely out of it, then he manages to speak. “You… Sound nothing like your voice actor.” He runs his tongue over his lips. “Is this… for real?”
A spark catches Lysander by surprise and he backs away from the mech, alternately shaking his hand and sucking a burnt finger. >This would be easier if Hughes was here.<
There is a peel of thunder, and the sky outside goes black.
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
Sora nods slowly, not quite following what was fully intended. Not knowing the persons involved would very likely affect her art. Would they be less real than Kazue wound up being? Would her magic even work without the inherent passion..? Maybe she'd not know until she'd seen what she was meant to do. So her nod abruptly stops, and she follows the path that had been intended for her by her host. Her leg instinctually jerks away slightly at the cat's touch, having not expected it. 「Oh, hi, Kitty.」 she adds, quickening her pace.
* * *
Tenshi's smile slowly grows broader as the man starts to leave. "So, I've permission to leave the tent, then..? Goody." she says as he reaches the tent flap. She immediately focused on the spirits of the others within the space... more than a dozen... and picked the second strongest to visit, letting herself step sideways through this particular veil.
She's near where Ao came in. Sora recognizes him as the antisocial boy from the apartment. Looking around, she should find the scene somewhat familiar. It's the yard outside the greenhouse where Kazue was attacked, but the colors are all inverted, like a photo negative.
In the middle of the yard stand three girls connected by a thin silver chain. The first is the animal senshi, Kyou, the girl Sora brought to the garden. In the middle is Sakura, dressed as a marionette strung with blue rose vines. The third is Emi's desiccated corpse, dressed in sheer beaded silks and evidently ambulatory.
By the fence in the distance stands a man in very formal clothes. A white rabbit gnaws on the red grass nearby. Ah, Sora, if you would be so kind. He gestures to the others in this 'shield'.
Inside the apparatus is a very confused-looking disarmed hunter. While the one in the black long coat is definitely an siege engineer, it's hard to tell with this one, so probably a caster of some sort. He also has a gun, or more accurately a hand crossbow, at his hip, but it is neither his nor made by him. He's inside the other hunter's apparatus, wearing it like a suit. There is an indicator on the suit's chest shaped like a sun. The central light is dim, and only two rays are lit.
The front window of the cafe is blown out, and Airi's tall and dapper host stands inside. The two of you are compatible. Anything you give him he should be able to wield, just not as intuitively as if you had the same sign. It would be a good idea to keep it simple, even if it goes against either of your natures. He would not be able to consign you any energy through a trinket, and it would be very dangerous to try and make one here. Fortunately, with the Veil torn, you have access to your own limitless energy. Describe your entrance and appearance for Junpei's benefit.
The tear in the Veil is widening. Tenshi and Airi can manifest simple magic, strictly of their Domain, without rolls or consequences.
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
A blank part of the wall across the street suddenly cracks, like too much pressure within the wall, the crack rises and spreads and then finally splits at the top, before widening and widening. The crack immediately begins to spill open, leaving blackness behind, only touched by the barest of stars as it opens wide enough for a single person to step through, the crack not so much closing behind her as peeling off as she goes, making up the blackness of her hair and wings as they peel away from the wall leaving it precisely as it had been before.
The dark-skinned, petite woman is dressed in silks and gold and carries no visible weapon. Her mouth splits into a wide smile as would happen when meeting with an old friend - though she's met none of these people before. She walks with a soft clack as her sandals are lifted fully from the ground with each step as she moves towards the destroyed shop-front. And then pauses in a pose that belonged in a magazine, tilting her head just slightly.
"Now, boys, if you're not going to play nice, we're going to have to start taking your toys. And none of us wants to be put back in time-out, do we?"
|Cloud Watcher Tenshi|
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Sora appears wearing a little black dress with tiny silver sequins leaving it able to stand out in a mostly dark room on a dance floor. Her hair is parted into little impossible clips - the sort that you'd need someone specifically focused on making you look your best to do. She's dressed for a dance or perhaps a show - your guess might be the latter as the makeup isn't quite right for 'interpersonal' but works perfectly for a stage production, given the overly accented aesthetics of the makeup.
"I don't know if I can without my magic. I... I don't know these people like I knew Kazue." she half-mumbles. Her eyes flicker for a moment, but she nods. "I'll try."
She starts with Emi. Broad strokes that would be full of color - and in this place, were full of color- fill the portrait. She ignores the person that she is here almost entirely, and instead fills the portrait with what she believes Emi to be. Her pastels seem more than willing to write directly on the redhouse wall. At first she starts to incorporate part of what's here, the way that they're depicted, but then she decides against that. It was a trick, as the room was - Emi wasn't a zombie, dead on the inside. She hadn't just accepted life as it was, she was the most passionate and most capable of the group. Her visage held a vibrance that this place wouldn't be allowed to taint in her real depiction.
Next came Sakura, dressed in her vines and chained to these other two. She edits this portrait by adding what she knew of the little girl that had bound herself to the doll originally; Sakura wouldn't disappear, but neither would the doll. Neither would be alone and so, Tomoyo would have a little of her sister to remember her by. she didn't have to be a marionette. She didn't have to be just sadness. She could be more.
For 804-chan, she wanted more, as well. The girl was strong, and bold, but was looking for a hero, a way to make a difference. Something she had shown in the gardens, and she would receive a little more confidence in her portrait.
Which left Ao. Ao's portrait would be strongest without his phone, regally looking into the opportunities that the world would present him without the need to turn away unless he desired to.
None of what she would do would change them, but instead leave the seed for change, give them the chance to be better than they were, and help them to be who they could be, not simply what they were.
Each began as an outline, a sketch, one done by one, as she fills in the inverted space with white that traces into motes of color that floated on the glass, haunting reflections of what they were and could be.
There was the possibility that things were not at they seemed, but the incomplete job was still hanging over his head. This whole going-on was something that he would have to dedicate time to figuring out later, but for now, he could help with those creations. He knew her— had met her– and at least he could perhaps trust in what she was doing, rather than some of these other people that he did not know. Uncertain about how to proceed, he let Sora complete her images, though he was listening to every word.